Welcome to my experience in the Walt Disney World marathon, or, here’s the story of running 27 miles in a black cotton t-shirt!
Last year after completing the half marathon and the marathon relay back to back I realized that I am capable of more than half marathons. I vowed that in 2013 I would not only run the 20th anniversary of the WDW marathon, but I would do it while completing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge! Never before was I so excited about a race weekend, and finally it was upon me. I was putting on my costume, eating breakfast and heading out to a bus to take me to Epcot. The energy at the pre-race area was electric. The air was warm, people were dancing, stretching, shopping (yeah, that was me!) and tracking down friends. Naturally it was during the Cupid Shuffle that Abby and I met and clobbered each other with big hugs. She is just so darn cute!! After some photos we split up and went off to our respective corrals. In the corral I had my big “OMG” moment! It was runDisney’s Dennis again! Frank Shorter (Pre’s friend!!) was on stage speaking, which told me it was going to be a great day for running!
Batman and Batgirl were ready to go! No idea what was in store for us, we optimistically crossed the start line (and even got a shout out from the announcers!). So much went through my head. Excitement, caution, fear, awesomeness. I was really doing it! I was running a marathon just 24 hours after running a half marathon and 48 hours after a 5K. I was insane!! What really freaked me out was how good my legs felt. I expected pain – which did happen after about a mile, and then was gone after two miles. But really I was doing pretty darn good. I was slower than most people around me, but also those faster people I noticed didn’t have on Goofy bibs, so they were a little fresher. The first water stop came and that’s when it got scary! People didn’t want to walk through the stop, they were running and drinking. Holy whirlwind, Batman! I slowed to a very fast walk and then started running again out of pure fear. It was still dark, there were masses of people, cups on the ground … please just don’t let me fall!!!
Once we got on the “big” road we were able to spread out and relax, such a relief. Jack Sparrow was again the first photo stop – long line – took our own photo and then went on our way. We were pretty laid back in our approach at the start because we knew it was going to be a long hot day, but we steadily moved forward … hitting every photo stop. At mile 4 I had to potty … that felt like a 10 minute stop, eek! But after that it was the adrenaline filled run from the Ticket & Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom. I love that stretch so much! Once inside MK I realized how lucky we are to be running through there with all of these people up early to cheer us on, so I pulled over, took it in and got some photos of the runners and the crowd. Great memory! It was while running down Main St that we met up with Becka and Giraffy! I tell ya racing is such a small world!
Again we skipped the Fantasyland photos (aside from Alice) due to the really long lines, and instead enjoyed our run through the Castle! I wish it didn’t fly by so fast. Outside of Frontierland while waiting for Sleeping Beauty (which we did the day before) I looked over and saw Abby and Jaime! Screw the photo op – I immediately jumped out of line and ran with my friends through the water stop. …small world, right?!?! The runners in this stretch between MK and the Raceway seemed so calm compared to the day before, it was odd. Still we hit all the photos and had a blast running through the crowd with our capes on!
Next up, the Richard Petty Speedway! I actually enjoyed this part. It was fun to have a new place to run, and Man Friend was totally enjoying the cars, so as supportive team mate I was all for it. We did A LOT of zig-zagging here, going to each side of the track to check out and get photos of cars. We spent a ridiculous amount of time here, and when we decided to start running again ... we found Abby & Jamie, again! I probably terrified poor Abby by having my shadow run up right behind her, then yelling PINEAPPLE!! Obnoxious? Yes.
|Those villains can't defeat Tew Legit!|
During the stretch to Animal Kingdom (let's not talk about that smell!) we scored a lot of photos - the villains being my favorite! Also cool was seeing a bunch of actual animals on the course, including a Ball Python that I had to get a photo with, even though it stuck its tongue out at me. Heading into DAK's backstage area a fellow runner actually recognized me from the blog. Hello!!! If you're seeing this, leave me a comment so I know who you are, you lovely Canadian! As expected, DAK flew by too fast for me. I just love it there, so beautiful and peaceful. Heading into Dinoland by Everest we ran into Becka and Giraffy again! And heading to the parking lot I ran into Ron, a Cast Member I used to work with at Flights of Wonder!
They are everywhere I tell you!
Osceola Parkway is where we made a friend. Starting at the Speedway we started seeing him at every character stop. It sort of became a "running" joke between all of us when we'd stop for photos. He was pretty cool, but we did lose him at a med tent. I discovered BioFreeze at the med tents. Holy chill factor, Batman! That was fabulous on my knees, if not for the relief of any soreness, but for the cooling down it gave me. Did I mention I was running in COTTON?? What can I say, I was dedicated to the costume plan and powered through even though I was stinky and soaked completely with sweat.
ESPN Wide World of Sports was alright. They gave us wet sponges which I carried for miles. My mental breakdown began in here (clearly I needed more characters!). I stopped again for a bathroom break where I almost started crying in line while talking to a fellow runner. She was so sweet and told me not to worry (I wasn't keeping pace with all my photo stops and I was terrified they'd not give me my Goofy medal). She said she'd fight for me and my medal at the finish if it came down to it. How nice! The stadium was cool, but everybody was walking so we just gave up on running and enjoyed the walking pace around the bases.
|Mile 20 Spectacular|
Nearing mile 20 is when I really lost it. Every sign got to me. Any cheer made me tear up. I was doing it. I was REALLY doing it! It was so hot. I was so tired. My feet felt like bloody little stumps. The Mile 20 Spectacular was going to boost my spirits ... or was it. Um, fellow runners ... let down much?? Did I miss what was so "spectacular" about it?? Between 20 and the Studios MF was my lifesaver. He took the camera and became photog for the team. He ran up to get me spare water to dump on myself. He held me steady when I had a sudden Meniere's attack. He was fabulous!! Go Batman!! Go Batgirl! Batlady! Bat people! Oh boy did we hear all sorts of Bat names during the race, especially in the last 10K!
Once in the Studios I dug deep and turned back on to runner mode. It was awesome!! We did skip photo stops though, I just wanted to be done and see my mom. As we passed through the Yacht and Beach Club I pulled out my phone to tell my mom my status and warn her that I was coming. It was then that I saw all these encouraging texts from her. I couldn't even read them because I started nearly sobbing! It really helped!!
And there we were, at the entrance to Epcot. OMG this is it! The final stretch and then it is over, I'll be officially Goofy!! I don't know what got into me, but I was back in fine form and flying through World Showcase, smiling and having a total blast. As I came into Germany it happened again ... "PINEAPPLE!!! I can't even look at you or talk to you, I'll start crying again. But you all are my witnesses .. NEVER AGAIN!!!" And with that I took off and told Abby and Jaime I'd see them at the finish line. The rest of the race just flew by faster than expected.
The mile 26 marker hit (and I was almost at 27 miles on my Garmin) and the choir sang. I motioned a big thank you to them, they livened up even more and my tears started building. As we came in the biggest, greatest, longest finishers' chute Batman and Batgirl stuck together taking it all in. Minnie Mouse gave me a big high five at the finish line and I was over the moon! I was in disbelief and high fiving Man Friend. In no time at all I saw my mom, cue the sobbing! "I did it Mommy!! I really did it!!" She had her camera out and I couldn't even see through my tears. We took our time going to the medals. Once the volunteer placed the marathon medal around my neck I just lost it. I mean full blown crying, no question. More pictures from my mom on the sidelines, then off to get my Goofy medal. Again, more sobbing. The tears wouldn't stop! I really did it. This girl that came to Disney 3 years ago to run a 5k just completed her second marathon and was a legit Goofy runner!!
|See that headband? MF made it for me!!|
In no time at all I looked and found Abby and Jaime. We were all a girly, crying, happy mess! I remember going up to Jaime (also doing Goofy) and saying how we are all sweaty and gross but I don't care, I'm hugging her. And from there we all just kept crying. It was pretty awesome and obviously emotional! My mom even tried to hug me, without touching me, of course. First order of business was removing my shoes and getting on some flip-flops. Walking after that - slow motion. Very slow. At the hotel I passed out, woke up, and proceeded to get drunk in Epcot while rocking my Goofy shirt and medal.
All in all, a freaking awesome day!
Oh yeah - and that loud declaration of NEVER AGAIN?? Yeah, it was the next day that I declared I'd be back in 2015 to do it all over again!