It seemed like such a fun idea last March--to go to Disney World for 6 days and while we were there to run the Disney Marathon! Lynn suggested making the marathon my goal to inspire me while I recovered from my surgeries last year. I agreed! And then the reality hit of interrupted training due to my last surgery in October--3 weeks of no running, and then a couple of weeks to ease back into the long run. There is something to be said for actually doing your training runs while preparing for a marathon. Cutting corners does not work! So I knew going into this marathon that I would be slow. However, I never dreamed it would be this slow.
In addition to my scaled back training, I also had an injury to deal with. As a result of my ramping my mileage up too fast (October's miles: 50; November's miles: 100; December's miles: 173), I developed pain in my IT band. It only hurts after several miles of running, and it does not hurt any other time, but when that pain kicks in, I cannot run. It is not like I can just bear the pain and keep on running, I literally cannot run--it feels like my knee is going to buckle, and I am just going to fall down. So I walk. On some training runs the pain began at mile 18 or 19, on some runs it appeared at mile 8 or 10. When we did our last long run before the marathon, 22 miles, it never hurt at all!
But in this marathon, it began between miles 22 and 23, and I was done! I tried hobbling/running a few steps here and there, but for the most part I walked the last 3 miles. I was so disappointed! We already had a slow time due to our many picture taking sessions, four bathroom breaks, and several visits to the medical tent for BioFreeze, and I was ok with that. But when I had to slow to a walk those last few miles--that really slowed our finishing time. Lynn and Jimmy both stayed with me. I encouraged them to go on ahead, but they stayed! Jimmy carried me on his back as soon as we crossed the finish line, because by that time I could hardly walk!
I am so glad that I ran and completed this marathon. Running with my friends and husband was such a memorable experience! Heather and Esther began with us too, but we sent them on ahead after a few miles--they are so much faster than Lynn and me, and I really felt badly for them to keep such a slow pace with me. It worked out great! They had a super time (see Heather's blog posts), and after seeing how my last few miles went, I am so glad that they went on ahead! Jimmy has had a nagging knee injury since October, so his plan all along was to stay with Lynn and me. He is much, much faster than us too, but we really enjoyed his company! After a while, he would run ahead each mile and then wait for us at the mile marker, but beginning around mile 23, he stayed with us the rest of the race.
The night before the marathon, our friend Christian spent the night with us in our hotel room so that she could catch the 3:00 AM bus to the race! Yes, we had to be on the bus at 3:00 AM. And Jimmy, Heather, and Esther had to catch that 3:00 bus two days in a row since they did the Goofy Challenge--the half marathon one day followed by the full marathon the next day. All six of us piled on that early, early bus and joined thousands of other runners for the big day.
Jimmy and Christian, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:30 in the morning!
Heather, Lynn, Me, and Esther walking from the bus drop-off area to the corral holding area. This was about a 20 minute walk, and it was chilly!
This is what the corral looked like--people everywhere. There were jumbo-trons broadcasting the live speakers all along the holding area. Lots of music, jokes, interview, and general excitement and merriment. It was easy to forget how early it was--and how most sane people were still in bed!
Waiting to begin.
For each corral's start, there was a countdown by Mickey Mouse and then massive fireworks! How exciting! We were in Corral D, so we got to experience the start line festivities four times!
Here are Lynn, Me, Esther, and Heather just in front of the starting line.
Jimmy was our race photographer, so that is why he is not in any of the pictures!
And then we were off! The marathon route took us through the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, ESPN Wide World of Sports, the Disney car racetrack (I can't remember the name of it), and all along roads that connected them all.
The first park was the Magic Kingdom.
Here we are with Space Mountain behind us.
The sun was rising, and the castle was beautiful!
We ran through the castle...
And he we are out front.
Next up was the car speedway. I think it was at least a mile along that track! I had no idea that car racing tracks were that long. They had antique cars and Mater parked along the side.
Now we are in Animal Kingdom--taking a little break in front of the Big Tree.
More of Animal Kingdom-the monkeys are in the background.
In front of Mount Everest.
Next, we ran to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. We ran all over that place! Around baseball fields, along walking tracks, and we even ran a lap around the 400m track. Fun!
Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is where it all fell apart!
After water and powerade at every mile, Gu gels at two stops, and bananas at two stops (the very best bananas I have ever eaten, I might add!), this was the last "food" stop--chocolate candy! It was delicious! I ate three Krackel bars!
It was after this stop that I didn't run much more.....
I am not sure who this princess is in this picture, and I cannot move this picture to the center!
Finally!!! The Finish Line!
Here I am getting my huge Mickey Mouse medal!
And here is Lynn getting hers!
Do you like our matching outfits? Boingy Mickey Mouse ears?
Disney Marathon tattoos on our faces?
Can you tell that I cried for most of the last part of the race?
Oh, it was HOT!
Here are two of the Goofy runners--Jimmy and Heather. Esther went on back to the hotel as soon as she finished her marathon to join her family at Animal Kingdom.
Our finishing time: 5 hours, 54 minutes.
After we tied ice bags on our knees (all three of us--Jimmy, Lynn, and myself), and after Heather iced her feet while waiting for us to finish, we took the bus back to the hotel. Heather had to hurry and catch a plane home. Jimmy, Lynn, and I spent the rest of the day resting at the hotel. I took a two hour nap! While we were running the marathon and resting, Kelly and Greg took all 16 of the children to Animal Kingdom. They all wore matching gray Spartan shirts. And they came back to the hotel with all 16 of them! Kelly really helped me out a lot with my children on this vacation! I appreciate him so much!