Race Recap: The Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 Part I

I can’t believe that it’s been over a week since I completed my 10th marathon.  We did a lot the weekend leading up to the race and we had an amazing vacation afterward.  But, let’s start with the big show.

Sara, Matt(Sara’s husband), Abby (bestie) and Chris (bestie’s husband) arrived from other parts of Florida on Saturday morning.

Let me say a quick word about the Disney World Half Marathon being cancelled.  My race was not cancelled, so I don’t know how it feels.  I’m so happy that so many of our dear friends (like actual Ohana) were either out there getting their 13.1 in or supporting those that did.  THAT is what running is about — not the finishers medals or the starting line — but the running and the community.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

After some Tonga Toast we headed out to the expo.  Usually, when I just run the marathon, the expo on Saturday is pretty chill.  Everyone already has all their ish and they don’t need to be back at the expo.  With the half being cancelled, and what runDisney was offering for pick up at the expo, it was literally a mad house.  There were people and lines everywhere.  We grabbed our things and we were outta there.  Except that we sat on the bus for an hour before it moved.  Literal mad house.

Once we were back at the resort, we popped over to 1900 Park Fare for dinner with Cindy and her crew, plus a bunch of our crew.  It was a win.  Sara, Kelsey and I were staying at the Grand Floridian — Team Bey All Day  in formation.  Sara got to take her first flat Sara and then we went to bed.

2:30 AM rolls around really quickly.  Miraculously, I felt like I got a decent amount of sleep.  I got Body Glided and started to layer up.  As I’m sure you’ve heard, the weather was bitterly cold (for a race in Florida) even for my standards.  The cold is one thing, I’m from Pittsburgh, after all.  But the wind gusts — that was pretty lame.   We all layered up everything we had on hand, including lularoe tights, socks on hands as mittens; I was wearing every shirt I had that was tech material.  7 in all.  We dashed out of our room and to the Grand Floridian lobby to wait for the monorail.

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very fancy

We waited inside until the monorail rolled up which was a few minutes after we got to lobby.  Perfect timing.  We rode to the TTC and switched to pick up the Epcot monorail.  We chatted with another LLS Team member and breastfeeding mama which was really nice.  Then we got off the monorail and walked to the staging area — breezed through bag check, and hauled ass to the Race Retreat.

I say the following without hyperbole:  getting the Race Retreat option for the marathon is totally worth every penny. Without question, if I had to stand outside in the cold for more than the  one hour that we did stand, I would have been toast.  I just can’t deal with the elements.  And to be frank, I was not prepared for the cold.  So warm, heated tent with breakfast it is!

We got our bagels and diet cokes and power aides and waters and sat down to eat.   We got the text that the running Ohana assembled, so Kelsey and I ran, literally, to meet our most frozen friends.  Big hugs, kisses and assurances that one day we would all be warm again and Kelsey and I were back in the tent.   I would not leave the Race Retreat for anyone but my Running Ohana, just FYI.

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Ohana means family.  And family means being really cold before the marathon.

When we got back to the tent, Sara reported that the volunteers told her there was nowhere to plug in her breast pump.  Uh uh.  There is so much light and music in this tent, there is an outlet.  So I went to the phone charging station and asked very politely of the other runners if we could steal the outlet for a while.  They were all female and so so gracious.  So, we got Sara to pumping, got our gear checked, last few bites and sips and savoring the warm and we were shooed out of the tent for the long trek to the start lines.

Thankfully we were moving almost the whole time.  I told Sara and Kelsey that, without a doubt, this would be the coldest we were all morning.  Once we made it to the corral, we huddled for warmth and the race started.  We were in corral I – good and middle packed — so we didn’t have too long to wait.  As we moved up and were encouraged to ditch our heat sheets, I picked up a very pink, very lovely (seriously) smelling sweatshirt to put on over my hands.  And then, we started Sara’s first, my tenth and I think Kelsey’s third marathon.

Miles 1-5

With the cold settled in, I anticipated that the spectators would be sparse.  Understandably, there weren’t many in the first stretch like there usually are.  But the first marching band was awesome.  We swung through the first stretch of highway without  a lot of problem other than we were pretty cold, still.  We reached the Magic Kingdom gates and stopped to take our first mid-run selfie.

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We are cold, but we are happy.  Look at that awesome sweatshirt I picked up.

As we wound our way through the parking area, I was so excited to see so many spectators out cheering.  I wanted Sara to have the full experience of people yelling their ever loving faces off for people they don’t know.  They did not disappoint.  As we rounded the corner to the TTC we thought about the bathroom but that wasn’t an option — they had them all closed.  We had to stop for the awesome spectators with the Beyonce sign.

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team bey all day!

We rounded the corner and there we were in the Magic Kingdom!  Down Main Street through screaming walls of people.  We stopped for a bathroom break right around the corner from the Main Street Bakery — best kept marathon secret.   From there we got our castle pictures and ran through Fantasy Land and out the other side.

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Sam Eagle was out in Liberty Square.  I was pretty pumped about it.  We ran through Frontier Land and then we were off the Animal Kingdom.img_3773

Miles 6-13

We’ve been doing a really steady 5×1 run walk interval.  It was still very very cold.  We looped around the Grand Floridian and past the chapel, the water treatment plant and before long we were eating the bananas at the banana stop.  This was a great time for Sara to stop for her first mid-run pump with her hand pump.  We pulled into the medical tent and were given blankets to keep warm.  After we got moving again we were in the back of Animal Kingdom.  The animals are usually out to greet us but this year is was just the goat.  And then, the best animal of all Meeko!

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what a great character stop!

After hanging out with my favorite raccoon, we were finally in Animal Kingdom.  We rolled through Africa, past the Tree of Life and then onto Asia.  The wait for Expedition Everest was only 25 minutes, so we waited in the line.  Sara was able to use her hand pump again, and then, after what was not a 25 minute wait, we were doing what most people do during a marathon, we rode a roller coater.

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Stay tuned for the back half of the marathon, which is my favorite part.  Tied with all the rest of it!

2 thoughts on “Race Recap: The Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 Part I

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