Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WDW Marathon Weekend Recap

Our first (and certainly not last) racecation was a success! We had such a fun trip!

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long post :)

From the time we checked our bags at the airport we met runners going to marathon weekend. I sat beside a guy running the marathon and we got to talk about our pace and training programs. I really enjoyed being surrounded by thousands of people who love running as much as I do!

We arrived in Orlando the Thursday before the race. We checked into our hotel (Baylake Tower) and ate my favorite Mahi Mahi sandwich at the Contempo Cafe for lunch. Em and I then headed to the Expo! Since this was our first rundisney race we weren't 100% sure of what to expect out of the expo. I had read mixed reviews from other bloggers (some had great experiences and some had crowded experiences).

Prior to going to the expo we read the race program and took notes in my phone as to where everything was located. The expo was dead when we were there which was awesome. We walked right up to get our bibs and shirts without any line.

All of the vendors! We were in heaven.
They had a booth that you could get your picture taken
We met Jeff Galloway! He was so sweet and easy to talk to. The advice he gave us was to pace ourselves in the beginning so that we could pass a lot of people in the last few miles. (Excuse my hair, it was humid/rainy which turns my hair into a lion's mane haha)
Race bibs, shirts and program. The shirts that you get from registering are long sleeved, so I bought the yellow shirt at the top of the picture because it's short sleeved. Em bought headbands from the Sweaty Bands booth. 

We spent Friday in Animal Kingdom until mid-afternoon and then relaxed at the hotel the rest of the night.

Travis' sign that Emily made

Cameron's sign

We went to bed and had our alarm set for this horrific time! 

On race morning we boarded the monorail at about 3:30 am and headed to Epcot. We hung out around the water table while stretching and hydrating. We then began the trek to our corrals. It felt like being in a pack of cattle haha It was a good 20-25 minute walk to get to our corral. From the time that corral A was started we only had to wait 30 minutes until we stepped up to the start line.
We were in corral I

Pre-race picture
We took it easy for the first 3 miles and then picked up our pace as the race went on. We stopped for a bathroom break between miles 2-3 and didn't have to go the rest of the race! Our 5K split was 41:57 which is so slow compared to our training pace. There was a marching band around mile 2 and mile 9 which was really motivating. They played Eye of the Tiger and Rock and Roll Part 2. Taking pictures at the race was hard because it was still dark out :/

This was a little before Mile 3

At mile 5 we saw Cameron and Travis holding their signs/cheering outside the Contemporary.

Tunnel right before Mile 5 

Once we passed the Contemporary we headed towards Magic Kingdom and we were so excited to run through the park! This was definitely the highlight of the race. We strictly ran through the park instead of doing our 4:1 run-walk interval.

Running down Main Street in Magic Kingdom during Mile 5. So many awesome spectators!

When we left The Magic Kingdom we headed to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian. There were a lot of people out cheering by these hotels which was so encouraging. Our 10K split was 1:17:52.

We headed back to Epcot and passed some more characters and entertainment along the way. We didn't stop for any character pictures because the lines looked pretty long :/ Our 15K split was 1:54:20.

During mile 10 we had an emotional moment when we passed a guy carrying an American flag and had a picture of a fallen solider on his back. I then started thinking about finishing the race and how far we've come, which was even more emotional. I then made myself hold all of this in because I knew I still had another 3 miles to finish.

Once we hit mile 12 we abandoned our run-walk ratio and ran until the finish. Our last mile was 10:25! I knew we were close to the finish when we reached the gospel choir. Crossing that finish line was so surreal, I can't even describe it! When the volunteer put that medal around my neck I never wanted to take it off. Our finish time was 2:36.

We're half-marathoners!

Our race supporters!

I want to give a huge shout out to all of the volunteers and spectators! They truly make the rundisney experience magical! From the water station volunteers to the volunteers simply standing on the course cheering I thank every single one of you! The race wouldn't be what it was without you :)

After the race we headed back to the hotel and showered. I ate all of the snacks that came in our cute snack boxes which they hand out after the race. We then slept for 2 hours. When we woke up we were hungry again and I ate pizza and french fries which I had been craving for about a week before the race haha.

Sunday morning we headed to Hollywood Studios. I knew that the marathoners would be running through there during their race, but didn't realize that it was mile 23 on their trek. It was so motivational to get to cheer them on as they came through the park! I now want to add the marathon to my race bucket list :)
As we were walking down the main stretch of Hollywood Studios I kept an eye out for my favorite blogging duo Pam and Christine from We Run Disney. That morning they had posted a picture of their race outfits on facebook so I knew what to look out for. I also knew there were 26,000 people running the marathon and that the chances of seeing them were slim to none. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something pink and polka dotted. I rushed over to the course and it was them! I started yelling, "Go Pam and Christine!!!" I didn't get to officially meet them, but it made my day that I got to cheer them on. 

Below are some other pictures from our trip...

Goofy told us that he ran the Dopey Challenge and was upset we didn't run his race

Ohhh the crane...

 Donald loved our medals!

While we were still in Disney my mother-in-law texted me and asked if we wanted to do Wine and Dine Half in November. We gave her a resounding yes! Knowing we are coming back in November to run another RunDisney race made leaving a tinge easier :)

I also registered myself for 3 other half marathons and a 5K that take place between April and October. I'm excited to get back on the training horse and work towards my next race!

That's all for now!     

P.S. If you read the entire post, hat's off to you!                             

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