Sunday, January 15, 2017

WDW Marathon 2017: Non, Je ne regrette rien

Well another marathon weekend has come and gone. I was signed up for the Goofy Challenge which is where you run both the half marathon and the full marathon...back to back like a totally and completely insane person.

I'm gonna be honest, I was not ready. I got some miles in, but not nearly enough. I was sick to my stomach going into the weekend because 39.3 miles is a lot. My plan was to run the half with my friend Carrie because she was coming off an injury. I knew we would be slow and I was good with that. 26.2 after that though? Oooooh Lordy.

Then mother nature was like....

The radar was tracking heavy storms with a ton of lightning for Saturday at race start. The decision was made by runDisney to cancel the half.


Yes. That happened.

Since the decision was made that night Cathy and I were able to sleep in, and by sleep in I mean I woke up at 6:30 and started tracking the weather to see when I could sneak in a run. I found a window and took my chances. I am so glad I went because what I saw was the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.

Runners, running and cheering and celebrating. Disney may have canceled the half but these runners were out there earning their bling. They had on their bibs, they were in costumes, you name it. When I made my way to the main building of Riverside there was a group of people handing out water and Powerade. It was amazing.

I only ran 2 miles because I knew the rain was coming back and I really did not want to get stuck in it. Plus, Cathy and I were going for breakfast!

Heck yes we were matching, you wanna say something? 

After breakfast we headed back over to the expo because Cathy needed to pick her race reimbursement option (yes, they offered 4 options which is completely unheard of!) and I wanted to swap out my Goofy Challenge stuff for marathon gear. 

Literally everyone was doing the same thing as us. It took forever to get there, five seconds while we were there and a lifetime to leave. Seriously we waited longer on the bus than most people waited to get on the new Frozen ride. But did the people on the Frozen ride have this kid photobomb their selfie? they did not.

The whole expo debacle really screwed up our day because by the time we were done it was time to head back for dinner and get some sleep.  There was no time for popcorn OR cotton candy. Ridiculous.

Before I knew it, it was upon me....

Marathon morning was cold. And I'm not just being a Florida wimp, it was 30 with a windchill in the 20's.  Thankfully I was layered to the high heavens and had some hand warmers. 

I was pretty okay going into the full since I saved my legs the day before, so my nerves were pretty good when I started. My only issue was that I was cold. I finally started to warm up around mile one and a half and decided to shed a layer. This was all fine and dandy until I turned the corner and hit a head wind. Yeah, that was awesome....NOT.

I had to just keep moving, it was the only way I was going to stay warm. I made it to Magic Kingdom not long after the sun came up and it was a much welcomed sunrise. I was still feeling pretty good and tracking to finish in under 6 hours (for reference last year I finished in 6:38). 

How fun is this security cast member? I went to take my selfie and saw him walking up to me, he asked if he could take the photo and I said, no you should be in it!

Have I mentioned I love running through Magic Kingdom? It's my favorite and one of my favorite parts is usually the mile 7 mark. Last year the mile marker was Bambi and I lost my mind (I LOVE Bambi and I love the song "Little April Showers" which was playing). This year I almost lost my mind because who was at mile 7?

Sam Motha Lovin Eagle.

I love Sam Eagle. You don't even know. If I could have scaled Hall of Presidents and kissed his beautiful blue beak, I would have and then run from my security friend.

Sam Eagle y'all! Ah!

Okay, I'm back...(SAM EAGLE)...

I was still clipping along coming out of Magic Kingdom and heading towards Animal Kingdom. This stretch was a little different as far as entertainment this year. For instance, they had this gem:

No, not the woman dressed as Dory, the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride vehicle. It is my brother Kevin's favorite ride. Okay, marathon detour...on one of the first trips to the World (maybe it was the first, I don't know, I wasn't there) my family waited some ungodly amount of time to ride this ride because Kevin wanted to ride it. Upon arrival at the front of the line my brother said he was not going on the ride because it looked stupid. My father being the calm cool and collected person that he is threw him into the submarine and the rest is history.

The course changed a little before heading into Animal Kingdom, which I anticipated because of the construction at Hollywood Studios. But LORD is it boring on that stretch of highway. Thankfully we had some entertainment in the form of barnyard animals when we entered the park.

I was still doing pretty well in Animal Kingdom as is evident by this photo:

Look at my jazz hand smiling face behind this poor woman. 

Once we left Animal Kingdom the stretch of highway I despise was upon me...Osceola Parkway. Snoooooooze fest with a head wind because that sounds amazing. 

After what felt like forever I made it into Wide World of Sports. Last year this is where my stomach gave me the middle finger and I had to do a lot of walking. This year I was doing pretty well and met up with the 6 hour pace group. 6 hours was still better than 6:38 in my book. 

Except I hit my wall. Mile 21 my body and mind were like, "Oh, this is cute." 

Then I saw Shelly (MRTT ROCKS) around mile 22 or 23 and all was right in the world. We walked and talked our way through the final few miles. We even ran the last .2 and I didn't look like I was dying, so bonus.

I came in at 6:14 which was a 24 minute PR. That's huge and I should be insanely proud, but part of me thought if I trained a little better I could have been sub 6. But no matter what I had this waiting for me at the finish:

Something about getting my bling from him makes it that much sweeter.

This marathon went a lot better than I could have imagined and I am eager to actually complete Goofy next year.

A huge thank you to my sister who also braved the cold to cheer me on and who wrote encouragement signs in French, a language neither of us speak. This is our jam though and throughout my training Cathy constantly sent me this as encouragement:

I am thrilled this marathon is behind me and like I said, I cannot wait to really commit to next year. I pushed myself harder this year and it totally paid off. 

Now I will leave you with this...proof that no matter how old you are you will always be the baby sister that the older sister photobombs at Cinderella Castle.

So...Goofy 2018 training starts now, right?

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