When I signed up for the Walt Disney World (WDW) Marathon I had no goals in mind. I planned on running it with my sister and having a good ole’ time. As my training progressed and my running improved I started toying with the idea that I could potentially set a PR. My current PR for the marathon is 4 hours 49 minutes 4 seconds, which was set back in 2011 during my first marathon. During my WDW Marathon training a number of my long runs were at paces that would have allowed me to PR but I was never able to hold the pace for the entire run without bonking, so it was probably an unreasonable goal to have, but in the back of my mind it was there, taunting me.
Running through Disney, enough said! Running through the parks at Disney World was a blast. It was so much fun to see everything, especially for a newbie like me who has never been. Yes, there were a lot of roads that we ran but Disney tries to make those entertaining as well with characters and music along the way. While I found myself a few times ready to be done with some of the long stretches on the highways I never felt alone and was always entertained by other runners in costume or marching bands or what have you.
The number of water stops along the course was amazing! By the time we finally started running I was getting hungry so I took PowerAde from the beginning and at pretty much every stop along the way. There were bananas at 2 places along the course, Clif Shot gels at 2 stops and a stop devoted to chocolate, which was awesome! And I can’t forget to mention that in the later miles there were some very generous spectators handing out pretzels, animal crackers, Coca-Cola and candy! I took full advantage of all of it. The twizzlers I got in Epcot helped get me across that finish line, I swear. I was proud of myself for fueling well along the way, it has been a downfall of mine in the past. And I never ran into any stomach problems, thank heavens!
My playlist. I didn’t start out with music but I did bring my iPod with me for when I was desperate to take my mind off the fact that I was running 26.2 miles. Sometime shortly after the halfway point I put the headphones in and listened until the list ended which was a few miles from the end. I didn’t mind since by then we were running in areas that provided a little more entertainment. I called my playlist, Desperation Disney, and it had a mix of the lyrical songs from the soundtrack to Frozen (yes, I love it!) and a mix of current POP music such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, Mackelmore and Taylor Swift.
I honestly have very little to complain about after this race. I guess I could say the bad was that I didn’t PR, but I’m not too upset about that. I knew it was a farfetched idea and I am happy that I didn’t kill myself trying to PR, instead I had fun taking in the sights and enjoying the journey to the finish line.
I guess I could complain about the early wake-up call, I mean come on, having to set my alarm for 2:45AM for a race is a little ridiculous. But that comes with the territory. As runners it’s a given that races are usually early. And honestly, I often set my alarm for 4AM to get up before work to workout, so I guess it’s not so different.
I could have done without the rain at the end of the race, but that isn’t anything that anyone could have changed. It poured as I was crossing the finish line and while I was trying to weave my way through the crowds to find my sister and our shuttle. I was so happy to be done, but I also really wanted to just sit down somewhere dry!
The crowds in some of the parks were a little bit of a nuisance, especially in the Magic Kingdom. There were a number of places where I wanted to run but couldn’t because it was too congested. While I don’t think it made a huge difference on my overall time it could have spared me a few minutes I think if it hadn’t been so packed.
(For not having much to complain about I sure did manage to just say a lot, ha! Let’s move on, shall we?)
Crossing that finish line! While I may not have finished in my “goal” time (and I use that term loosely), I did finish, and I did so feeling pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, I was ready to be done, but I was in good spirits and was overall happy with my race. Harrison would attest to the fact that normally if I have a bad race I’ll swear to never sign up for another and shockingly that was not the case this time. While I’m not planning any marathons anytime in the near future, or the next year really, I will run another someday. I have a couple on my bucket list that I have to cross off sometime in the future. Oh, and in case you were wondering, my official finish time was 5 hours 10 minutes and 1 second.
In summary, I had a blast running this marathon, and that is not something I can say about the other 2 that I have completed. While the Shires of VT Marathon (I ran it twice) is a great race in a beautiful location it is lonely and remote and hilly! Disney was so much fun with all of the crowd support and all of the characters and bands along the course. There were a few stretches that seemed to drag on but overall it wasn’t bad and there were always other runners around for entertainment as well. I finished this race happy. Happy to be done, but happy to have run such a fun race. I can’t wait to run the 10k and half marathon in Disneyland in May. I’m sure it will be just as fun as this was, if not more since I don’t have to run 26.2 miles!