Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

Warning: This is going to be a long post, bear with me!

Sunday January 11, the long anticipated day had arrived. I was about to run a marathon and complete the Goofy Challenge. I was a ball of emotion pretty much the entire day. All of my hard work and determination was about to culminate in a 26.2 mile victory lap. I trained for six months and ran 439 miles during training.

I wrote 439 KC on my hand and welled up with tears as I was doing it. KC are initials of a person who died way too young and loved Disney and runDisney as much, if not more than I do.

I didn't realize that I had taken the picture at 4:39 until I posted the photo on social media, so crazy!

We were a little more slow moving when the alarm sounded at 3:30 am for the second day in a row. I put on my Minnie Mouse outfit, stashed all my fuel and was ready to run. We were pleasantly surprised that it was warmer outside and decided to walk to the TTC to take the monorail to Epcot. It was already 4:30 by the time we got to the TTC. I was a little nervous about not being able to start with the correct corral, but we made it in plenty of time. 

When we crossed the start line it was surreal that we were running a marathon. The first 8 miles of the course are the same as the half. I really enjoyed getting to run through Magic Kingdom with Cameron, huge highlight of the race. The crowds energy level seemed even greater than the day before. 

When we left the Magic Kingdom we ran past the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian. Somewhere between miles 7-8 they had this sign that said, "I'm running a Marathon! This is the Best Day of My Life!" and the song "Best Day of My Life" was playing. Cue the emotions, this one really got me!

The Walt Disney World Speedway is where the course took us next. I was excited to see what the speedway had in store for us. I was not expecting the steady decline that was immediately followed up by a steady incline to get onto the speedway. Overall, the speedway wasn't bad. I had no idea just how huge it would be from the inside!

Miles 9-12 lead us to Animal Kingdom. There were some characters along this road as well as adorable animals (that had signs and bibs on) with their handlers outside of Animal Kingdom. I regret not getting a picture with the adorable sheep, donkey or goats. What I distinctly remember is Mile 11 brought the smelliness of the water treatment plant on Disney property. I found it hilarious that they had signs with fun facts all along the road where the treatment plant was.  I guess they thought it would occupy our minds from the smell. I stopped at the medical tent at mile 12 to get some lube which did the trick. My left armpit was chafing and it was getting quite painful. I also snagged a banana from the food station here. We had a short jaunt through Animal Kingdom that kept our energy levels up. The crowd outside of Animal Kingdom was awesome! Next thing I knew we were jogging across the 13.1 mile split and then headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports. Halfway done!
Everest was still closed when we went by, but it was pretty in the morning light. 

Miles 14-17 is run along a highway that leads you to ESPN. Around mile 16 there was a DJ blasting the best songs at the top of a slight hill. Cameron and I loved this part of the race! We were bobbing our heads and lip syncing. I had to stop for more lube at the mile 16.5 medical tent. Somewhere in this stretch we saw Phineas and Ferb with no line. Cameron teaches third grade and his kids love Phineas and Ferb, so we had to stop. P.S. I've never even watched this show haha!

ESPN was pretty boring, which I had already mentally prepared myself for. It's basically 3 miles filled with lots of turns. I did enjoy running on the track because it felt so bouncy compared to the asphalt we had been running on for 18 miles. We did a lap around Champion Stadium and there were a lot of spectators and two marching bands playing which was awesome.

There was another banana station at ESPN and the thought of choking one down made me want to vomit so I passed it up. At Mile 20 I started to struggle. I'm not sure if I "hit the wall" or what, but I was not feeling well. I just kept plugging along hoping that the feeling would pass. I took some extra fuel hoping that would help to get me through and it did. Mile 21-22 had a weird uphill/slant to the road that killed my right knee and hip. 

We finally got to Hollywood Studios. I kept telling myself that when I got there I was on the home stretch and I had finally gotten to that point. The candy station was in a backstage area of Hollywood Studios and the mini Hershey bar tasted so delicious at this point in the race. There weren't too many people in the park cheering, but the ones that were there were great cheerleaders. We ran through the "disco tunnel" and there were flashing lights, but no music which was a let down. As we exited the park there were tons of people outside the park which was incredible. They were so loud and so encouraging! From this point to the finish line the spectators and course were awesome. 

I loved running on the boardwalk past the Swan, Dolphin, Beach and Yacht clubs. Such a beautiful area of Disney property. Right by the hill that takes you into Epcot there were two girls from #TeamSparkle cheering. I was wearing my Minnie sparkle athletic skirt (which is probably the most comfortable thing I've ever worn) and they started cheering so loudly, "Go Team Sparkle!!!" and gave me a high five. This is exactly what I needed to get me through the last mile. They also took my favorite picture from the race. I had a good laugh when Cameron turned to me and said, "What is team sparkle?" hahaha, I said, "I am, my skirt is a Team Sparkle skirt."

We then entered Epcot and did a lap around World Showcase. When we hit the mile 25 sign I told Cameron I just wanted to run the rest of the way. It felt like it took forever to run that last mile. I was just in a daze running through world showcase. We headed into Future World and past Spaceship Earth towards the finish line. As soon as we passed the gospel choir I welled up with tears and had to hold it in until the finish line because I knew if I started crying now I wouldn't be able to breathe.

All of the pictures of me coming towards the finish line are of me on the verge of tears. They look ridiculous lol. We crossed the finish line and all of the built up emotion hit me and I broke down. It was an incredible moment that I will never forget. It's hard to even put into words. 

All of the bling!

Goofy was so happy that we all ran his race! 

If you made it to this point, thank you so much for reading! This race has a special place in my heart and I hope you enjoyed reading the recap as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Later I'll have another post about the Goofy Challenge overall. 

If you've run a marathon, how did you feel after your first one?

That's all for now!


  1. I almost cried reading the end of this! I am very emotional and think I would be bawling coming up to the finish line (I have not run a full.) congratulations!!

    1. Thank you Jennifer and thanks for reading! I'm glad all of the emotion came across to my readers :)

  2. What a great race for you! You had a lot of good signs too, the numbers, the song, the sign! What a wonderful race! Are you ready to do it again?

    1. Thank you, it was incredible! I was ready to do it again as soon as I stepped over the finish line haha. We are already planning for marathon weekend next year and a huge group of my husband's family is going to come along this time and run the 5k/10k. I am seriously considering Goofy again (never thought I would say that!) because I love the half and I LOVED the full!! Are you planning on doing it again?

  3. I got super emotional at the end of my first marathon. It's awesome that Disney was your first. I think I would have bawled if I chose Disney to be my first. I will more than likely cry in my second marathon too. Probably all of them! I'm an emo runner lol!

    Glad to see you had a great time!

    1. Yea, I think me crying at the end of a marathon is going to be the norm haha. Hope you had a great time on your honeymoon!

  4. Congratulations! I bawled my eyes out when I did Goofy in 2013. It was my first marathon, too. How cool that Sparkle Athletic put you on their FB page. I have that same skirt!

    1. Thanks Jaime! Gotta love the awesomeness of Sparkle Athletic! That skirt is the most comfortable thing I've ever run in.

  5. This was such a great recap! Congratulations, marathoner!!!! :-)

    1. Thanks so much Sarah, I really appreciate it!! :)