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Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Recap

24 Jan

The night before the marathon, I could not sleep. I was excited, nervous, and scared. I was scared to repeat my prior performance in the 2011 WDW Marathon where I had stopped running altogether at Mile 15 because of blisters on my feet, and I walked the rest of the way. I had such a bad attitude about that race and felt so disappointed in myself despite accomplishing something so great.

I hadn’t trained hard enough for this marathon. I had gotten up to 17 miles in mid-November, and even then, I had to take lots of breaks. But the morning of the marathon, I decided I was going to toe the start line with a positive attitude and just have fun. I arranged all of my marathon necessities and climbed into my bunk bed (we were staying in one of the cabins at Fort Wildnerness).

cabin

Two o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. I tossed and turned all night. Luckily, I had some friends who indulged me in a few games of Words with Friends. Everyone got up at 2 and changed into our gear. Anne Marie was nice enough to braid my hair!

braids

before the race

We were out the door around 3:15am and caught the bus to Epcot.

bus

 

As soon as we arrived at Epcot, we immediately made our way to the corrals and waited there patiently until it was our turn to move up to the starting line.

Anne Marie and I made a promise to stick together for the race, and so we did. We agreed on 2/1 run/walk intervals (run for 2 minutes, walk for 1). The first few miles went by very quickly and before we knew it, we were at the Magic Kingdom toll plaza.

We held a steady, slow pace of approximately 13:10/mile for the first 5 miles. By that time, we were entering Magic Kingdom and getting ready to run through Cinderella Castle!

main street

castle

My pace dropped to close to 14-15 minutes for Miles 6-9 as we headed out of Magic Kingdom, dealt with a single-lane road by the Grand Floridian and ran our way around the Richard Petty Raceway (a new addition to this year’s course). I wasn’t a fan of the race track because it was long, boring, and I’m just not a fan of Nascar/races/anything related to racing cars. When we were running around the track, my legs were aching and dying for some Bio Freeze. I had never used Bio Freeze until this race, but I had heard enough amazing things about it. I believe “circus in your pants” was the quote which inspired me to stick my hands full of Bio Freeze right down my pants at the med tent around the 10th mile marker. Within seconds, I could feel the tingly, iceberg sensation and was good for a few more miles.

Miles 10, 11, and 12 are pretty boring as they are spent on a back road to Animal Kingdom, and my pace had slowed to around 16 minute miles because I had scaled back to 1/1 intervals. The heat was getting to me, and my shoulders were aching. I was feeling pretty fatigued altogether. But it was nice to get a little pick-me-up by running around Animal Kingdom, despite the narrow and winding walkways.

everest

I believe the half-marathon mark was somewhere just outside of Animal Kingdom, and it was around this time that I could no longer consistently keep up with Anne Marie and our intervals, so she went ahead and ran her own race. To be honest, I needed to do the rest of the marathon on my own and my own pace without any pressure. It was such a relief to have her by my side for the first 13-14 miles because the time went by so fast, but it was time for me to finish this on my own. And by that time, I had less than a half marathon to go, and I was feeling pretty good despite everything.

Miles 15-17 were at about a 16 minute/mile pace, and it was all on Osceola Parkway going from Animal Kingdom to the Wide World of Sports.

mile 16

I spent a little too much time at a medical tent along the way because they were running out of Bio Freeze, and it took all of us some time to squeeze as much out of the bottle as we could. Miles 18 and 19 were spent in the Wide World of Sports complex, and we got to “run the bases” on the baseball field where the Atlanta Braves hold their spring training.

baseball field

Once we were out of Wide World of Sports, it was time for the Mile 20 Spectacular, a surprise Run Disney had been promoting for months. It was a display of large, moving puppets, an archway displaying all 20 of the WDW Marathon medals, and Mickey, Goofy, and Donald were up on a podium.

After this, I knew I only had about 6.5 miles left, which was completely do-able. It was going to be a short-ish run to and around the Hollywood Studios, a run to the Yacht and Beach Club, and a run around the countries. I was trying to calculate my pace to see if I could PR, but unfortunately, my brain was in “marathon mode”, and I was completely incapable of doing math. But what I could figure was that I could come pretty close to breaking my past marathon time. I was walking some, but I ran when I could and even when I thought I couldn’t.

2

My pace ranged from 16-18 minute miles for the last 6.5 miles. I was honestly giving everything I could and still having fun. Jackie (MomJovi) snagged this picture of me and Mr. Incredible as I was running past France.

181a41485db211e2a5d622000a1e94d6_7

I was surprisingly all smiles and absolutely drenched in sweat.

Before I knew it, I was rounding Mexico and heading towards Spaceship Earth and eventually towards the finish line!

1

finish line

finish 2

I finished in 6:54:57. Just 94 seconds slower than my 2011 time.

finish time

splits

(I forgot to stop my Garmin at the finish line and didn’t realize it for a few minutes)

My medal was hung around my neck as I held back a variety of emotions. My first thought was “this wasn’t a fluke! I’ve done TWO now!” Then the tears came. I was so dang proud of myself, and I had FUN!

finisher

medal 2

I gathered up 2 bananas, the silly lunchbox they keep insisting on giving us, and my favorite post-race treat, a real Coke.

coke

lunchbox

lunchbox 2

I grabbed a seat near the big TV screen so I could watch a few more friends cross the finish line, and then I caught up with everyone else.

the three of us

anne marie me

The three of us had all finished and were feeling pretty good despite just finishing a full marathon. We took all of our obligatory photos and caught the bus back to Fort Wilderness, where we made our way to the hot tub as soon as we could when we got back.

That evening, we checked out the “after party” at Downtown Disney. It was pretty much more photo opportunities, some live music, undiscounted marathon merchandise, and some of the restaurants offered food discounts.

Time to reflect…

My 2011 WDW Marathon race was just plain awful. I didn’t have fun. I battled blisters on my feet, and I walked the last 11 or so miles (even though I probably could have tried to run a little bit). I honestly felt like I had given up. Although my time was 94 seconds slower than that awful race, I had fun this time. I felt like I really accomplished something. I gave it everything I had, and I was still able to do some running intervals even at the very end.

I said last time that I would never run a marathon at that weight again. I was disgusted by my pictures. To be honest, I’m the same weight now as I was then. I look at the photos from this race, and I’m not going to lie. I see the fat rolls and the extra weight on my entire body. But do you know what else I see? I see a confident, strong, and happy athlete.

I’ve now run two full marathons, and I’m so damn proud of myself. I’ve gone from the sophomore on the high school cross country team who always brought up the rear and was almost denied a varsity letter because I was so slow to a two-time marathoner. Fifteen-year-old me would be amazed and so proud if she knew I’d still be running at 31.

Completing this marathon has really inspired me to lose the weight and really get more involved with yoga. And I’d also like to give bootcamp or Crossfit a try. I know I definitely want to sign up for next year’s WDW Marathon, and maybe I’ll sign up to run Goofy (1/2 marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday)!

Did you run the WDW Marathon? What did you think? What’s your favorite race you’ve ever done? Which race do you really want to do in the future?

2011 WDW Marathon

19 May

It’s official! I have now officially registered for the 2011 WDW Marathon… the whole 26.2 miles!!!

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I know it’s worth every drop of sweat and every tear! This has been my dream for about 6 years now, and I can’t wait to finally do it!

I know I’ve been a horrible blogger, but I’ve had so much going on! And I’ll update you all very soon on the following:

  • I’m no longer moving to Orlando. I’m moving somewhere, but I can’t say where yet.
  • I got a second job at a new restaurant. I’m waiting tables just to earn some extra money and pay off some debt.
  • I ran my first 10K.. or I should say I completed it. It was an awful run/walk situation for me.

Well, it’s time to get back to work!

Disney Princess Half Marathon~ Part Five

14 Mar

On Monday, the day after my first half-marathon, my mom and I headed out to Epcot to check out the Flower & Garden Festival. I was still sore and stiff when I woke up, but I knew a day of walking would help the situation.

After taking this picture, we realized my medal was already falling apart. The one single thread holding it together had started to unravel. Therefore, I had to take it off and not flaunt it all day long like I wanted. Instead, I only took it out for pictures with characters.

Aren't these the cutest garden knomes ever?!

On our way out of Epcot, we were stopped by one of Disney’s researchers and were asked to complete an online survey regarding healthy eating. It’s about time Disney focuses its energy towards providing more healthy options!

My mom and I headed back to our resort to drop off our souvenirs and picked up some hoodies and then headed over to the Grand Floridian for dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. We both enjoyed the  caramelized onion soup au gratin as an appetizer…

And the salmon with asparagus, crimini mushrooms, leeks, and potato-chive sauce

And for dessert… chocolate fondue with fresh fruit

Everything was delicious, and the service was superb! This probably tops my list of favorite meals at Disney! After dinner, we strolled around the Grand Floridian property to enjoy the atmosphere. I used to work at GF, so it was nice to be a guest there instead of a cast member!

We even ran in to a talking palm tree, and my mom posed for a picture with him. He called her a “tree hugger”.

Some more pictures around GF.

On Tuesday, our last day at Disney, my mom and I checked out of our resort and went over to Downtown Disney for shopping and lunch. We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, and I ordered my favorite meal ever- quesadillas with no chicken and a side of guac.

Luckily, my legs were feeling about 90% better so walking around the airport and sitting for over two hours on the airplane wasn’t too painful.

Hope you enjoyed my recaps 🙂 As much as I disliked certain parts of running this race, I’m sure I’ll be back next year. And I’m thinking of signing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 5th and the Inaugural Wine & Dine Half Marathon on October 2nd.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap ~ Part Four

13 Mar

As soon as I finished the race and found my mom with my “after the race” bag, I grabbed my Three Musketeers bar (it’s my treat, ok?) and we headed over to the buses to go back to the resort. I found Brandy back in the room, and thankfully, she was feeling much better. My mom, on other hand, was feeling a little sore from running all around Disney World at the butt crack of dawn to cheer me on. Since we didn’t get to have a Bahama Breeze dinner the night before, Brandy and I headed there for lunch. I got the caesar salad and quesadilla lunch combo. Delicious! I wore my medal to lunch and got a few comments from the staff there. After lunch, Brandy and I headed to Menchie’s. I can’t get enough of that place!

Brandy left that afternoon, and my mom and I headed over to the pool for some relaxation. I only spent a few minutes in the hot tub before I crawled out and fell asleep for about an hour in my chair. My hips were still stiff, and my quads were so sore I had trouble walking down any kind of stairs or ramp.

Around 6, my mom and I headed over to Magic Kingdom for dinner and to just walk around to enjoy it with no set plans. Unfortunately, all of the table-service restaurants were full for the night, so we ended up at a quick-service place called Columbia Harbor House near the Haunted Mansion. I had the tuna sandwich and clam chowder… I’ve decided to go pescatarian for a bit instead of full-on vegetarian, by the way. After dinner, we enjoyed a ride on the Haunted Mansion and the Wishes fireworks! What a perfect ending to this day?! “A dream is a wish your heart makes” was the theme of the day for me, obviously.

This day will forever be placed in my top ten of most perfect days!

Pros and Cons of the Race

12 Mar

While I absolutely loved running my very first half-marathon, there were some positives and negatives about it, and I shall share with you 🙂

Let’s start with the not-so-good:

  • Because we had to stand in our corrals for over an hour (at least this was the case for my Corral) with hardly any room to stretch, my muscles never got warmed up and loose, which landed me with stiff hips and an inability to run the last few miles.
  • My pregnant friend who came to support me had to leave early because of a very painful cramp in her side. When my mom asked a volunteer if someone could help my friend, they said the medical tents were for “runners only”. Gee, thanks. She had to leave and go back to the resort right after the start of the race. She didn’t get to see me run at all, and she drove 3 hours to come support me.
  • I never once got a single email from Disney regarding anything about the race. I had to learn everything from friends on Facebook, message boards, and blogs.
  • We hardly got any “goodies” in our ugly purple mesh bags. I’ve seen some awesome swag from other marathons.
  • After you leave the Magic Kingdom, it’s a really boring course.
  • The Storybook program outlined some simple etiquette rules like being courteous when trying to move around someone. I politely said “excuse me” to several people only to get evil looks back.
  • My medal is already falling apart.
  • It seemed to me that the ChEAR Squad thing was a little unnecessary since anyone could stand by the castle and the finish line. Why pay more?

The good things:

  • The official race photos were available online very quickly.
  • The registration fees went to a good cause (not sure what percentage though)
  • Check-in at expo was well organized and smooth
  • They let spectators in to the parks before the parks opened to cheer us on.
  • Disney had volunteers lined up to cheer us on at different spots throughout the course. It was awesome and motivating to have people (even strangers) cheer  you on!
  • Even though I didn’t stop and take pictures of the characters, that was a cool added benefit
  • It was at a great time of year.. we got to see Epcot’s Flower &  Garden Festival
  • I got a lot of “congratulations” from cast members and characters as I was walking around the parks with my medal on after the race.
  • It was a good first half-marathon for me because it wasn’t too serious of a run.. there were tutus and a 16-minute/mile pace requirement. It’s gotten me prepared for more serious races, like next weekend’s NYC Half.
  • I got to race in Disney World!!!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap ~ Part Two

10 Mar

I spent the majority of Friday night waking up from nightmares. Ya know the ones you have about sleeping in and missing the race? Yeah, I had those ALL.NIGHT.LONG!

My mom and I spent Saturday morning over at Celebration’s Porch & Yard Sale. We couldn’t spend too much time over there because I was going to meet some blogger princesses at Pizza Fusion at noon. So, my mom and I picked up a few goodies (because rich people have good stuff!), and then we (or should I say “I”) got lost in Celebration and landed us about 10 minutes late to the blogger meet-up.

It was such a neat experience to walk in and see so many familiar faces. I’ve never met any of these wonderful ladies before, but I feel like I already knew so much about them.

(stealing some of Meghann‘s pictures)

Recognize everyone? 🙂

I customized my own personal pizza with roma tomatoes, portabello mushrooms, organic mozzerella, and pesto sauce. Delicious! The crust was crispy and oh so tasty! All of the ingredients at Pizza Fusion are organic or all-natural. Loved it! I can see myself going there often when I move to Florida.

After lunch, we headed out to the parking lot to see how many of us could fit in Caitlin and Meghann‘s Chevy Traverses.

From left to right: Ashley, Leslie, Caroline, Julie, Kate, Anne, Meghann, Kelly, me, Ryan, Katy, Megan (Caitlin not pictured because she took this picture).. Also not picture are Lindsey and Katy.

Half of us agreed we all needed a little bit more Menchie’s in our lives, so we headed over there promptly after lunch. I had never been, but I had read all about this amazing fro-yo place on a lot of blogs.

You start with a bowl and fill it with your favorite fro-yo flavors, top it with a slew of candy and sauces, and end up with something like this…

My mom loved it!

It was such a great experience to meet all of these inspiring, amazing women. My running journey would not have been the same had I not followed their journeys as well. I hope to see all of them again sometime very soon!

After finishing our delicious fro-yo, my mom and I headed back to the hotel to rest by the pool.

Port Orleans' pool

My mom enjoyed an orange creamsicle smoothie while I attempted to catch up with Google Reader on my iPhone.

My very good friend, Brandy, came in to town around 6:30 to help cheer me on as I run the half-marathon. We wanted to have dinner at Bahama Breeze, but the wait was incredibly long, as was the wait at T-Rex at Downtown Disney. Brandy and I had dinner at House of Blues when I was in Orlando in December, and we were both craving their pasta again. And since I needed to “carb up”, we decided to head on over there. My plan was to be in bed by 9, but we actually didn’t even get a table until almost 9.

I ordered the Wild Mushroom and Roasted Chicken Pasta without the chicken. I’m in love with this meal!

Me and my mama

Me & Brandy

We quickly made our way back to the resort, hopped in bed, and set our alarms for 2am. Disney put the fear of god in to us about being at Epcot at o’dark thirty.

I’ll be back with my race recap shortly!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap ~ Part One

10 Mar

I know you all want to hear race details now, but I’m going to start from the beginning of my half-marathon weekend.

On Friday, my mom and I caught a flight from Philly to Orlando at 10am and checked in to our hotel, Disney Port Orleans Riverside.

We quickly grabbed some personal pizzas at the food court before heading over to Celebration to check out some office space for my new business I’ll be starting in Orlando in the next few months.

My mom and I were both super impressed by the office building and the staff. I’m very excited to begin my new business venture in Florida!!! (if you live in Florida and need a mortgage, let me know) 😉

Pictures around Celebration

Neighborhood Clubhouse

There was this really cute kids’ candy store downtown. I just had to take pictures of the cupcakes they were selling. And the kids get to create a plate full of their favorite treats. Soooo adorable!

Once we were done looking around Celebration, my mom and I headed on over to the Disney’s Wide World of Sports for the Fit for a Princess Expo. I used to work at the All Star Cafe at the Wide World of Sports, so it was great to be back at my old stompin’ grounds!

I was greeted at the expo with a red carpet and these fine young men

The scene inside the expo

As soon as I walked into the building, I was told the order in which I needed to go, so I headed directly to the back to pick up my racing bib and D-Tag (timing chip).

I was a little less than thrilled about my Corral E placement since I already knew this was the last corral and was pretty much designated for those people planned on doing a lot of walking. Although, I found this to be quite inaccurate since Leslie registered for the race the day it opened and submitted proof of time only to be stuck in Corral E as well. After that, I was told to validate my D-Tag and pick up my goodie bag. The goodie bag was a purple mesh drawstring backpack, which I think I might donate to Crazy Gym Girl. And the shirts were sized wrong, so I got an XL instead of the Large I requested. Oh well.

The expo was full of awesome companies, and I found so many things I wanted to purchase… but it was crazy crowded, and I knew I could buy everything online or at the running store. But I picked up a lot of marathon pamphlets, and I’m thinking about signing up the Disneyland Half Marathon on 9/5 and the Food & Wine Half in Disney World in October.

I’m sorry, but I was not interested in any of the clothing Disney had for sale. Just because we’re women and running a princess race, does not mean I want to look bedazzled and prissy pink. No thank you, Disney.

My mom and I got back to the resort, had some delicious salads at the food court, unpacked, and I took a picture of my “swag” and new racing shirt.

Just look at all of that precious loot! Are you sensing my sarcasm? Gee, Disney, you really gave us a lot… a wrongly-sized shirt, eyedrops, a disposable camera, socks, and a mini Luna bar. Whoop-de-doo.

Well, that’s it for Friday’s recap. Stay tuned for Saturday’s recap.. I got to meet some other bloggers!!!

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