Friday, January 18, 2013

20th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon (my first)

...I woke up at 3:15 (that is A.M. people) and this was actually the thing that had been worrying me the most throughout this whole process. I really enjoy running at night and although I am a morning person, I do not choose to wake up so early in order to go running. Becky ( my sis in law) and I made our way down to the bus and luckily we got right on (or so we thought). Our bus driver proceeded to try and avoid traffic (weird!) and drove the opposite way from the drop off point. He drove us to the corals which of course we couldn't get off there. He then made a U-turn (its a bus- very scary) and we proceeded to join the traffic back to the drop off point.

When we got to the drop off location at Epcot, we walked up to hear the announcer saying that they were loading corals C & D because A & B had already been called. Yikes!!!

 We headed to the port a potties because I really figured I should go get it done ASAP. (I still after all the years I have done races do not understand the port a potty lines...why does one line go to 4 toilets instead of one per potty?? oops- I digress.) After the potties we headed through the sea of people headed for corals A-D

We got up to the corals and Becky and I separated and I was on my own (with a whole lot of other people). I made it to my coral and started to squeeze in and realized that I was a bit too close to the front of Coral B.
At this point all I was thinking was that I was about to start running 26.2 miles and that I was going to enjoy every single step. I had a vague time goal in my head but I was not going to beat myself up about it and I was going to run my race. Before I knew it, they had sang the National Anthem and then the fireworks...
photo by runDisney

I turned on my ipod and off I went. I kept telling myself to SLOW DOWN. It didn't really feel like I was going fast, but it never does, and I really really didn't want to go fast and then bomb. So, if 1000 people wanted to pass me, that was ok. What I noticed right away was that there were A LOT of people walking!!! Not that there is anything wrong with that but it was the first couple miles and some of the people really were looking like they weren't going to make the 26th mile. I don't remember much about the first 4 miles except that they went by really fast for me. At about mile 4 the 4:15 pace group went past me and I told myself once again to SLOW DOWN!!! I didn't wear a watch or have RunKeeper going (drains my battery) so I didn't really know what my pace was for the first 6 miles. Mile 6 is when you are in the Magic Kingdom and there really is nothing like running down Main Street and through Tomorrowland.
Disney has the best workers and volunteers I have ever seen at a race. I was trying to take pictures along the way and they had  really nice people stationed around to help with pictures :)
photo taken by RunDisney

No matter how many times I do it, running through Cinderella's Castle never gets old. On my way out of the Magic Kingdom is when I saw the pace group for the 4:30 finish time. I knew that I had to add my 7 minute start time to that but I decided to stay with this group. In my mind, I figured that I would stay with them up until mile 20 and if I was feeling good, I would try to make up those pesky 7 minutes in the last 6.2 miles. My pace leaded was a nice lady and what really helped me was that she was carrying a stick with balloons. Yes, she carried the stick the whole 26.2 miles and those balloons really became my focal point. Miles 6-13 were making our way to Animal Kingdom. I knew that once I got to Animal Kingdom I would be half done and also that I would be seeing my family there. Oops, I forgot that once we left Magic Kingdom, we ran around Richard Petty Experiences track. It was one of the 3 "hills" on the entire course. All around the race track were people with their classic cars and that was a nice distraction because the track is curved and not the easiest terrain to run on. I really just focused on keeping the balloons of the pace leader in my sights at all times. Another great part of running with the pace group was that they walked through EVERY water station. The other thing that I was concerned about during the race was hydration. Everyone knows that I have history of kidney stones and dehydration and this was key to making my experience the best it could possibly have been. I knew that my group was going to walk through the water stations and I was able to fill up my water bottles (half Gatorade (yuck!)/half water) every time without being nervous about losing my pace group.  We got to Animal Kingdom and I started looking for my family.
When we were running out of Animal Kingdom I got to see them and give them a wave and I knew I would see them again toward mile 24. Through the next 6 miles- I focused on the balloons :) I figured that this race was kinda like childbirth and those balloons were my focus point. Wide World of Sports  was about mile 19 and I honestly do not like running there. We ran there during the Tower of Terror 10 mile race and it really didn't hold good memories for me (ha!) At the end of Wide World of Sports, we got to mile 20-
I was feeling really good at Mile 20, but I stayed with my pace group until we walked through the next water station and then I decided to try to make up those 7 minutes that I lost in the first 6 miles.
Through Mile 22, I started to think of my family and I dedicated that mile to Ryan and I chanted his name when things started to get tough. Mile 23 was going into Hollywood Studios and that one I dedicated Ashley. Since I was doing so well, I stopped to take a picture with Wreck It Ralph for Ryan :)
I knew exactly where Mile 24 was because I had seen it the day before on my run from the boardwalk to Hollywood Studios. This is where I started to look for my family again. I was starting to get my runners high and knew that I was almost done. I dedicated this mile to Lexi.
By this point I was knew the exact route that I would be running to the finish and part of it I had run just the day before. There were so many spectators and the energy was amazing.
This picture says it all!! I was having such a good time and right here was Mile 25 where I saw Lexi and knew that I had only one more mile to go. Now let me tell you, that Mile 25 was for my hubs Dave. He had put up with all my craziness during the training for this marathon and I dedicated it to him. The longest mile you will ever run in a marathon is the last one. I knew every step I took through Mile 26 that this last mile was for me. I tried to treasure every step and to think of all the hard work that I had out into the training. I concentrated on focusing on the moment because you only do your first marathon once. 
And before I knew it, I was turning the corner and the finish was before me. I had no idea how fast or how slow I was going, but I knew that it had been the race of my life and that I had smiled the entire way and that I loved every step.

Right after I finished I looked up and there was Bart Yasso, so in true CrazyKyle form I walked up and got my sweaty post marathon pic with him :)
Honestly, I had the BEST time and I really didn't think I would. I believe that I trained to the best of my ability and it showed in the final product. I met my goal and finished in 

If you are thinking of running a marathon- I can not recommend the Walt Disney Marathon enough!!! It was worth every penny and next year I think I'll be Goofy!!! Next up is the Princess Half and I have some lofty goals for that race as well... 
I kept a smile on my face through the end and that was really was the only goal that I had. 

One Step at a Time,

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on a great race! It was such a fun day. I'm thinking of going Goofy next year too. We'll see...