Marathon weekend festivities kicked off (for us) on Thursday, and it was nonstop fun from there. Thursday was filled with packing (maybe too much packing); I worked a half-day on Friday and then spent the remainder of the day packing (see…), foam rolling, and spending time with my uncle and his girlfriend who flew in for the Marathon.
My Uncle, his girlfriend, the Boy, and I woke up early Saturday to grab breakfast and make the Tampa to Kissimmee drive. We made it to the Expo around 11:00 and headed straight for Packet Pickup. Packet Pickup line was nowhere near as crowded as I was expecting, but I suppose that stems from the fact that the particular building in which Packet Pickup was located was NOT housing many vendors at all. We then headed over to Jostens Center to pickup our Marathon shirts- now THIS is where the vendors were. I get so stoked for running accessories, so this was like heaven! I picked up (and should have tried on) a yellow marathon shirt in the Official RunDisney merchandise booth. I love the shirt, but it is seriously the most unflattering piece of clothing I have ever worn. L I paid for it, and I fought for the right to wear it…so I’m totally wearing it. Hah! KT Tape had a nice booth where they were doing demonstrations and giving (one) free tape application. My IT band pain had already kicked in just from walking around the Expo, so I figured I’d let them tape me up so I could see how to recreate it. I am so happy I did- more on that later! I purchased a roll of yellow tape, and love it!
Pasta in the Park
My Uncle, his girlfriend, the Boy, and I made our way over to Epcot around 6:00, as our tickets got us park entrance as early as 6:30- we used that extra time to walk around before dinnertime at 7:00. Pasta in the Park was situated in World Showcase between Canada and England in a building I had never noticed before. They were serving salad, green beans, two types of pasta, breaded chicken, and breadsticks; there were also ice cream carts throughout the facility, and bananas atop each table. A DJ, live “entertainment”, and character photo opportunities were placed throughout. We left Pasta just before 8:00 and rushed over to Soarin to see if we had enough time for a ride; the wait time was estimated at 55 minutes. We opted to hang around, and luckily we did because the wait was maybe 25 minutes at most. After a short bus ride back to Port Orleans we met up with my parents who had just flown in from a week in Illinois (my sister graduated Basic Training on Friday J). The nerves were definitely kicking in, but somehow I managed to sleep Saturday night.
3AM! That’s what time my alarm went off. Have I told you I am not a morning person?! Because I’m NOT! The Boy and I quickly got ready as everyone was expected in our hotel room around 3:15 for a bagel breakfast. My parents were the first to arrive- right on time. My uncle and his girlfriend were 15 minutes late. 😛 That’s okay though! At this point I was beginning to freak out and just kind of circling the room checking everything twice to make sure I brought all that I needed. We hopped in the car at 4:00 to head over to the starting corral at Epcot. I’m glad we were with my uncle and his girlfriend, as this part become rather confusing rather quickly…they have both run in numerous marathons so knew what they were doing and where to go. My parents wished us luck, and then we parted ways. After what seemed like a very very long walk, we made it to our corral. Everything I read told me that we needed to be in our corral 45 minutes prior to the start. The marathon itself started at 5:35. Our corral did not cross the “start” line until 6:39. Needless to say, there was a lot of standing around. J
Once we were off, my uncle and his girlfriend took off. The marathon takes you through all 4 parks, but there is a lot of downtime in-between parks. It wasn’t until mile 5 that we entered our first park (Magic Kingdom). The course went something like this: roads, Magic Kingdom, more roads, Speedway, Animal Kingdom, roads, ESPN Wide World of Sports, roads, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk, Epcot, FINISH. J Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome!!! I felt GREAT the first 16 miles. Then around mile 17 things took a turn for the ugly; we were approaching ESPN and my knee started to act up. I’ve felt this pain before on training runs- training runs that I would end early because of the pain. The pain didn’t go away. I was in tears and terrified I wasn’t going to make it. I had to walk a lot more than I wanted to, and at one point the 16-minute mile pacer was in front of us. The Boy (who is in no way a runner, does not like to run, and is probably still kicking himself for agreeing to do this) had to push me. I am so thankful he was there- even when I got so upset that I became mean and snippy- he pushed me. We were able to get a multi-minute lead from the scary pace lady, and before we knew it we were approaching Epcot and the end of this journey. We crossed the finish line in 6 hours and 56 minutes.
Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. I am so thankful my uncle and his girlfriend shared in this with me, I am so thankful the Boy was there to support and push me, and I am thankful to my family and friends for supporting this crazy dream of mine. 6 hours and 53 minutes is not what I wanted. Not what I was expecting. But…I went into this with a simple goal of FINISHING a marathon. I did it! I finished my first marathon. I will finish my next one with a much better time- mark my words. 😉
Looking back here are the top 10 things I would have done differently:
10. Try to avoid the Expo the day before race-day, or only go for an hour at most.
9. Do not walk 10 miles the day before a race
8. Save the 50 bucks and skip Pasta in the Park. It wasn’t terribly exciting, the food was average, and the entertainment was not that entertaining. My family would have had a better time going to Flipper’s Pizza.
7. Consult a doctor. If you experience pain during training- get it checked out. I’m stubborn and never did, and now 3 days post-race my knee pain has not subsided. I’ll be calling my doctor tomorrow.
6. Foam roll more
5. Make strength training and core work a more integral part of the routine and stick to it!
4. Change up run/walk intervals- we stuck with the same interval during the entire training program- and now I worry it may have been habit-forming.
3. KT Tape my right knee- my left IT band and knee were still taped up from Expo-day, and gave me zero issues (I normally wear a knee strap on both knees).
2. Have fun with training runs- practice with friends or join a local running group
1.Don’t think that because you’re training for a marathon you can eat whatever you want…except for cupcakes. 😉
And there you have it… Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
Questions of the day
Anyone else run WDW?
Anyone else race this weekend?
Did you set any 2015 goals?
For more pictures from Marathon weekend click here