Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 Disney Marathon Recap

Well, the day arrived! It was time to run a marathon! The 2:30am alarm came quickly and it was go time! It was a lot cooler than I expected it to be, so I made the decision to run in a light long sleeve shirt. Best decision I made!

I met up with some of my friends before the race and we were all freezing! At least I wasn't alone.

Hubs and I headed to the starting corrals a little before everyone else. I was in B and it took a little bit of time to get there. I actually didn't feel like I waited forever in the corral. I ditched my layers, the music started playing and I started to cry. Like UGLY tears. This was going to be an emotional day and I needed to be ready for it.

I ended up starting with about nine minutes on the clock. Alright, here we go!

The first few miles went by so fast. It was really dark and after the second mile, I felt very alone. There was tons of space around me and I didn't feel trapped at all. This right here is why I worked so hard to lower my proof of time!

I was doing really well on my pacing. I felt very comfortable and found a groove. I stayed there for awhile. As I got closer to the Magic Kingdom I remember my friends told me that the course changed as you entered MK. This year we would run right in the front entrance. I really liked this change. It never felt very crowded.

Five Mile Split: 44:46

Running down Main Street USA was ugly tears number two. The energy was electric! It was all too much. Plus, I got to see Montana which was amazing. I felt really good and like I was coasting. It also helped that it was still really dark and I couldn't focus on my watch.

I ditched my gloves around the 10k mark. Mainly because I was struggling hard with getting one of my salt tabs out. The sun was slowly starting to come up and I still felt really good. My watch was on point until about mile eight. Once it was off, it got further and further off. This is going to make things difficult.

10 Mile Split: 1:29

Still there! Awesome! This part of the course was different from the first time I did it. I ran the speedway last time, since it was gone, Disney added an out and back near Animal Kingdom. On the way out I saw the four-hour pacer for the first time. They were about a mile or so behind me. No worries at all!

When I got in to Animal Kingdom I loved seeing the animals greet us! The sun is up but it is still really windy. I am also thrilled with my decision to wear long sleeves. Entering the park was great. Maybe it was the change of scenery, but it was awesome. I also really had to use the bathroom. REALLY had to. Then I saw a lady and she was pointing people towards REAL BATHROOMS! It was like the marathon gods were smiling on me. Too bad for me it was literally steps from the half marathon split. Oh well, I needed to go.

Half Marathon Split: 2:01

Great! Still there! I know I was over the two-hour mark, but the bathroom break totally made that happen. I still feel good so onward! Leaving Animal Kingdom starts the worst part of this race. The death march to Wide World of Sports. I keep focusing on 5k segments. I have been fueling every 5k and salt tabs every 10k. My body feels great but I am starting to feel the wind.

Out on to the freeway we went. As I took my 15 mile gel I started to notice how rough the wind was. Wide open freeway with nothing to block the wind. Also, not a lot of people around to hide behind (tiny people know what I'm talking about). I was putting out the same effort but losing time. This is crazy. There is still over two miles until Wide World of Sports. I'm not gonna be able to find that pace again with this wind.

It was at that point that I let go of my goal. Cue ugly tears number three.

Well, maybe I can still PR. I decided I would walk to water stops and run the rest. I think I cried for an entire mile. I physically feel great, but I know I made the right decision.

By the time I made it to Wide World of Sports I could see people on the other side of the freeway getting to the 35k mark. Wow. Am I ever actually going to make it to there?

So, I am sticking to my plan. Run until the water stops and walk. Count down the miles. Heck, we are already to mile 18ish. I can do this! While running on the track, which is literally the worst thing you can do to someone in the middle of a marathon, I saw Goofy! Well, there is no line and I have no time goal. TIME FOR CHARACTER STOPS!!

Heading along the course I then stopped for Joy and Sadness, and Mickey and Donald!

Okay, new goal. All of the photo stops! Since I have more parks to get to, why not!

20 Mile Split: 3:15

Yeah, PR is not happening. That would be an hour for cover a 10k. Not today! Heading out of Wide World of Sports, my music died. Of course it did. I was scanning the crowd coming in to see if I could see anyone I knew. I was so ready to see a familiar face. Come to think of it, I never saw the four-hour pacer pass me. That's weird.

I didn't see a single person I knew and I was melting down. I felt so alone out there. My goal was gone six miles ago. I'm in silence. My watch is so over at this point I actually have no idea what pace I'm running. I am so over this.

I finally got to that 35k mark I saw in the other direction. I still didn't see anyone I knew. There was an overpass coming up and I made myself a deal. If you walk this overpass, you have to run the rest of this race. It would be a little more than a 5k. At this point, I heard a pace group come behind me. Was this the four-hour team?

Nope, it was the 4:15 pace group, lead by my good friend Joe! Guys, it was exactly what I needed to see. A familiar face, the proof that my goal AND PR were out the window, and only a few miles left. I can do this. Let's finish this up!

The final ramp up to Hollywood Studios meant there was only parks left in the race! It really is almost over.

Almost right inside Hollywood Studios I saw the mile 23 marker and it read 4:00 almost exactly. I flipped it off and smiled. That time has been haunting me for seven marathons. It's where I expected myself to be. It was the time I was killing myself to achieve. It was the time that was making running not fun. Flipping it off felt so good!

As I ran pass Tower of Terror people were in the park and just watching us. I decided to get the crowd in to it and yelled "WE ARE RUNNING A MARATHON! YOU SHOULD CHEER FOR US! WE HAVE BEEN RUNNING FOR FOUR HOURS!" The two men next to me loved it and thanked me.

Time for the Boardwalk! I love this part of the race. The people are so supportive and I know I can walk from Boardwalk to Epcot! Plus, I haven't stopped running and my legs are still moving! I have started to feel my quads tighten up which is not pleasant.

I heard someone say THIS IS THE LAST WATER STOP! I screamed back "YOU'RE AMAZING THANK YOU!" Seriously, if you guys ever run a race with me, this is how it goes.

I made the turn in to Epcot and the World Showcase and it really was almost over! All of the countries had their representatives out. It was awesome! The energy was great and I don't think I stopped smiling. I took more pictures before heading back out to the finish line.

As I was heading out. ugly tears number four happened. Screw you Phil Collins "You'll Be In My Heart".

I saw the choir and that meant there was only .2 to go! I saw the finish line crowds. I heard Montana yelling my name. I even heard the announcer announce my name! I high fived either Chip or Dale, I can't tell them apart, and finished my seventh and final marathon.

Final Time: 4:27.

I stopped my watch and literally cried so hard I could barely breathe. I got my medal and the ears they gave us this year and could not stop crying. I wasn't in pain. I don't regret my decision to stop racing. I think it was relief. Relief that it was over. Relief that I am very happy that this would be my last marathon. Mostly relief because I finished and I am healthy. I took full advantage of this experience. I ran my third fastest marathon! Plus, the last time I ran this race I did it in 4:49. Talk about progress!

I talked to Kristen and cried again. She was just happy that I wasn't hurt and agreed with me on my decision. I also got to hang out with Montana a little longer and watch my husband finish his first marathon! He ran it in 5:35.

Was it the race I wanted, nope! Honestly, I wouldn't have had my final marathon any other way. Nothing will top this experience. I put to rest my dream of a Sub-4 marathon. Heck, 4:14 is a great marathon PR!

I know you all might say that I might run another marathon, but I truly don't think so. My body is not recovering as well as it use to. After my eye condition diagnosis I know that at some point there will be something wrong with me. While I'm still able to, I would rather focus on things I like doing. Marathon training is not one of them.

Thank you all so much for the incredible love and support through this journey. It means the world to me and I am truly grateful. If you ever have the chance to run Disney Marathon weekend, do it. It is magical in every sense.


  1. Great recap! Even though you may have missed the elusive sub 4 marathon goal, you have accomplished so much in 2017 and made an amazing comeback. Let's face it, marathons are just tough! I haven't regretted my marathon hiatus (and will probably only make the exception to run PGH, Chicago or NYC). What a fun experience though! Running Disney is definitely on my list.

    Great job and congrats on all that you were able to accomplish!!

    1. You need to run a Disney race! They are really the best. Thank you so much for all of the support Sara!

  2. It sounds like you ended your marathoning days on a high note! Congrats on the finish. Any day you finish a marathon is a good day!

    1. You are definitely a Wonder Woman!! Congrats on a super race!! Love, Uncle Kerry and Aunt Carole 🏅🎉🎈🏅

    2. Thank you Dodie!! It truly was the best victory lap I could have had.

  3. Congrats on finishing despite a tough second half!! We have so many similarities in our race experience too funny enough - I felt like the early miles were flying, stopped at the same bathroom in AK, and even had to ditch my music at WWOS because I was sweating too much and they were falling out. I ended up finishing a few minutes behind you though in 4:31, and you started ahead of me, so I don't think our paths actually crossed on the course!

  4. I can't believe I didn't read this before now! I feel like a bad friend lol. Anyway I'm super proud of you!! You did great and it was awesome to finally meet you in person and get to hang out! I'm glad I could motivate you a little and make you feel good while running a marathon! And I think you made the right decision. Listen to your body. I am toying with the idea of a second marathon...but I want to do it while I'm in good shape and able to work for a PR.