WDW Full Marathon Weekend!

My marathon weekend experience started on Thursday when we went to the Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo.  With my shoe tucked under my arm we went and picked up my race number.  Dad took a quick shot of me getting my number from the volunteer, I ran my shoe over the chip plate to make sure my chip was registered properly, and then we headed down to do some shopping.  Our last stop was to pick up our race packets for the 5K on Friday.

The 5K on Friday took us through the Animal Kingdom.  I was hoping to see some animals, but much like all of my other “Zoo”-like race experiences this past year I only saw Flamingos.  Unfortunately I lost the decal off of my champion chip while running the race.  I am going to have to try to contact CCUSA again and see if they can help me get a new one.  After the race I headed home to rest until dinner, which we had at the Concourse Steakhouse.  I tried to keep it light by getting some chicken with potatoes and broccolini and skipping dessert.  It was delicious! 

The next day was spent again mostly resting.  Mom went for a walk in the morning and I lent her my Garmin because she couldn’t find hers.  When she came home I washed it off and stuck it on the charger and it appeared to be dead.  After several tries to get it going I just gave up.  We headed over to Epcot in the evening to get on Spaceship Earth and go to the Italian restaurant.  Spaceship Earth now has a new interactive segment at the end much like the jib-jab cartoons.  They take your picture at the beginning of the ride and as the interaction starts they ask you a series of questions and produce a little cartoon of what your future would look like.  I was riding with Mr. Dave, my running partner for the full, and it showed us running in our future.  I thought that was hilarious.  For dinner I had a simple pasta dish and then it was home for race packing and bed.  I prepared Mom and Dad a bag of stuff to have for me at the 10.5 mile mark and then pre-made my breakfast.

The Disney race starts at 6 AM and they want you to be in the parking lot by 4 AM so that you don’t get caught by the traffic jams from the closing roads.  That means my alarm had to be set for 2:15 so that we could pick Mr. Dave up by 3:15 and make it to the park by 4.  As my alarm went off I hopped out of bed and into a thick layer of body glide and my moisture wicking clothes.  I tried eating my breakfast, but I was having trouble getting it down so early in the morning.  Before I knew it we were in the car and on the way to my first marathon start.

Mr. Dave and I went through the crowds up to the area where they would release us to walk to the corrals.  This area was created by basically a wall of porta-potties.  I took advantage of this by peeing like 3 times before the released us to walk to the corrals.  At about 4:45 they opened the gates and we made the walk to the starting corrals.  It was actually a pretty interesting walk because we were on a service road next to Epcot.  We saw the carts from the food and wine festival as well as a bunch of decorations from Christmas.  There were also several cars from the Backlot tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The walk went by fast, then we were just waiting for the countdown.  Time flew by.  Next thing I know we are counting down from 15 to the start.  Off we go!

The first 5 miles went by quickly.  At that point I started feeling stiffness in my hips.  The humidity was high (someone said 94%), which was making it difficult to breath and since I was a bundle of nerves I was making it much worse on myself.  By the time we saw my parents at mile 10.5 by the castle in the Magic Kingdom I looked awful and they almost tried to pull me from the course.  Mom, Dad and Mrs. Brenda snapped several pictures of us.  I accidentally threw my cliff bad on the ground.  I was just very frustrated at this point.  I know when I left Mom and Dad were very worried, but I wasn’t about to give up yet.  By the time we made it to the half split we only had a 10 minute coushin on the 7 hour time limit to be an “official finisher”.  As we proceeded that 10 coushin would get smaller and smaller.

From the Magic Kingdom we made our way to the Animal Kingdom.  At this point I started adjusting my fuel belt.  I noticed if I pulled it up a little further I was getting more bounce but it was releasing the pressure in my hips.  It never occurred to me before this point that the fuel belt was actually hurting me.  Miles 14 – 18 felt really good for my legs.  The sun was really strong on the miles and I could feel it draining me.  This is also when the blisters started forming on my heals.  I stopped at several med tents to get vaseline and kept trying to stop it from getting any worse.  It is during these miles that I decided I needed a massage and asked Mr. Dave to call Mrs. Brenda and have her make me an appt with the woman that was doing his that same day. 

At some point during these miles they gave us sponges to cool off with.  I loved that part.  I also decided to try to dump water on my head.  I aimed a little too low though and basically thew a cup of water in my face.  It provided for some good comic relief as we headed out of Animal Kingdom.  As we made our way towards Wide World of Sports Jessie, Mr. Dave’s daughter that ran the half with us last year, called and provided some words of encouragement to keep us going.  I definitely was going to need it. 

Apparently my wall resides at Mile 19.  We hit that point and I just felt awful.  I couldn’t get comfortable with my fuel belt so I just took it off and started carrying it.  It took some strength to keep myself going, but I figured I made it that far I was at least going to finish this.  The next 7 miles were the longest of my life.  As we rounded the turn-around between miles 20 and 21 we could actually see the sweepers gaining on us.  I wasn’t going to let them take me.  At mile 22 I started unloading stuff.  I threw my sponge, sports beans, and sunblock off into the trees.  I think people around me thought I had lost it.  I just knew I wasn’t going to need the stuff anymore and I needed as much energy as I could muster to finish the race. 

The time in MGM seemed to go by a bit faster because the roads were surrounded by people cheering and clapping.  We set minnie goals for me to aim for, like we would run the main street and then I could start walking again in the parking lot.  It helped us keep up the pace and still give me plenty of rest.

When we passed mile 24 and were heading towards Epcot I knew my goal was within reach, but I also knew we were really short on time.  I tried to run as much as I could, but it felt like I could only make it about 20 feet and then I had to stop.  We were also having issues with walkers getting in the way.  I started to panic and Mr. Dave’s GPS started to act up.  He kept calling Mrs. Brenda to get time updates so we could see how much time we had left.  I swear the World Showcase felt huge!  We could see Spaceship Earth, so we knew our goal was in reach. 

I kept telling Mr. Dave to leave me because I didn’t want to cost him his Goofy medal and he wouldn’t do it.  He stayed right by my side urging me on.  I truly felt he wanted me to get my medal more than he wanted his own.  We finally rounded the bend and started our final sprint into the finish line.  He had a little more steam than me, so he passed under the finish line before I did.  I saw Mom and Dad right by the finish line in the grandstand and I saw that the clock read 7:01:48 and I knew we only had about a 2 minute coushin on our chip times so I just pushed.  I slapped hands with Pluto and headed on to get my finisher medal not knowing whether I had a good enough time to get my finisher’s certificate or not. 

I stood at our meeting spot and waited for Mom and Dad to catch up with me.  It seemed like it took them forever and I was so tired and achey I was near tears.  As soon as I saw Dad I thrusted my water belt into his hands and said that we needed to go.  I started hobbling towards the Champion-You Are My Champion booth so that I could get Mom a medal from me.  The whole day was so stressful for her I wanted to give her a little something. 

We climbed into the car and I took my shoes off to survey the damage on my heals.  The blisters are going across the whole back bottom of my heal.  I tried to use Dad’s Blackberry to see the race results, but his firewall blocked me.  We were running short on time before our massages, so we decided I would just shower at Mr. Dave and Mrs. Brenda’s hotel room.  I laid on the bed with my water and Mrs. Brenda put cold compresses on my head and under my neck.  After Mr. Dave got out of the shower she made me a bath with some sports salt in it meant to help with tense muscles.  It felt wonderful.  After a quick soak I stood up and took a shower.  Mom and Dad had headed home to get me some clothes so I wrapped myself in several towels and waited for my turn for the massage. It was heavenly.

After a quick lunch we headed over to Downtown Disney for some shopping before dinner.  For dinner we went to Narcoose’s at the Grand Floridian.  It was such a good meal.  I got some filet minon with broccolini and potatoes au gratin.  The waitress then brought out a cake and sat it on the table.  It said “Congratulations Katie and Dave” and had the marathon logo made out of white chocolate on top.  It was so beautiful.  Mrs. Brenda had ordered it as a surprise.  Since we were all on the Disney Dining Plan we decided to box it and take it home (I had some for breakfast – delicious!) and instead ordered desserts from the restaurant. 

When we got home I ran straight to the computer to pull up our finishing times.  While I waited for the website to load I plugged in my GPS and is started working again!  It then occured to me that it was probably a blessing in disguise that it wasn’t working because it would have stressed me watching our time as I ran.  I checked Mr. Dave’s finish time first because I was afraid that he wouldn’t get his “official finisher” certificates for his Goofy.  His finish time was 6:59:11.  A lump formed in my throat because that would mean I was REALLY REALLY close.  I kept joking all night that I finished with 2 seconds to spare, but in actuality it was 10 seconds to spare.  My official finish time was 6:59:50!

This morning I feel pretty awesome.  I have some DOMS in my shoulders and back I think from fooling around with my fuel belt all day.  My legs feel remarkably good.  I think the only reason I have a “Day after the Marathon Walk” is because of the blisters on my heels.  But I did it!  I am a marathoner.  Now I switching back to a more friendly distance – the half marathon.  🙂

4 Responses to “WDW Full Marathon Weekend!”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Katie — YOU ROCK! I am so happy for you. Checked your time last night, but didn’t know about the cutoff.

    Would you have ever thought you’d be where you are? Truly, an amazing accomplishment!

    CONGRATULATIONS and WAY TO GO!

  2. patmonahan Says:

    congrats Katie. That is a great story and you have great friends there. I guess Sunday is the day that you and I both became Marathoners.

    I’m very proud of you.

  3. KingHade Says:

    Congrats on the marathon! Thats awesome!

  4. EatDrinkRunWoman Says:

    I’m just getting around to reading this, but CONGRATULATIONS on finishing your first marathon! Also, I have a tip for you for reducing blisters (I’ll be blogging about this soon): Bag Balm! It’s the stuff that comes in a square green can that is also used on cow udders!!! I slather it on liberally and it’s greatly reduced my blisters. I don’t even rub it in — I just put a huge dab on the trouble spots. They still get somewhat tender, but they don’t blister like they used to.