When you last left us we were riding a roller coaster and setting off for the second half of the marathon.
These miles are usually pretty dark and stormy for me. Luckily, this time, I never really felt that way. We headed out of the Animal Kingdom and met up with Charles — Kelsey’s husband — and her mother in law where they had sodas and fruit for us. We ran past a marching band playing All I do is Win so I knew that these miles would end up OK.
The miles between the Animal Kingdom and The Wide World of Sports were lengthy to, as I’m sure you’ve heard, make up for the miles that were lost in Hollywood Studios because of the construction. With the Team all together, the miles were really flying by. We finally were on the stretch where we could see the runners leaving WWoS so I thought it would be a great time to start telling each other stories. We each told the story of how we met our husbands. I did need to stop right before we went into WWoS to get a blister taped up. I have never ever ever gotten a blister, never mind one on my toe, during a race, but this was a race of many firsts. Thankfully the med staff is amazing and I had an extra sock aka Kelsey’s mittens, to switch into. We were off again lickety split.
I hate when bloggers use this phrase but it’s seriously the only way to describe it: before I knew it we were getting our second helping of bananas after running through the stadium.
we were having fun I SWEAR. Also K what are you holding?
We tried to find a bathroom but everyone was using the bathroom. So, we ran on. I grabbed a couple of chocolate bars as we headed out of the WWoS and then, out of nowhere, I see them! Sarah and Matthew McShupp!
It’s worth noting that I, in fact, was not having a bad race at all. In fact, I was having a pretty amazing race considering I almost froze to death waiting to start, I was wearing 7 shirts, and I accidentally was wearing shorts under tights. But, seeing Matthew and Sarah on the course was kind of like thinking you were going to have to eat a salad for dinner and then miraculously there were nachos worth the same 0 Smart Points Value as your stupid salad. In short, it was like a double bonus during an already pretty boss experience.
Sara got to meet Sarah (they both are married to Matthews. MIND BLOWN) and we all got to catch up about the race, how everyone was feeling, how excited we were about vacations, how much we loved each other. It was a great little boost. We trotted with them for a while and then we were off.
Sara was having some trouble with her leg so we stopped again at the med tent and I just kept pacing around to stay warm. I texted Abby and Matt (Sara with no H’s husband) to let them know her leg was bothering her. To his everlasting credit, Matt asked if he should meet us somewhere on the course. What a guy. My husband is famous for telling a nurse at Mile 24 of a marathon that sure my leg was pretty much falling off, but I could make it and no he can’t make it up there. I was very impressed.
About this time we were headed up the last two hills of the race. Unforutnately we just missed the green army man but I never miss an opporutnity to list all the foods I want to eat on the last hill. We slid down the on ramp into the Hollywood Studios for a short run past the volunteers handing out FULL SIZE BAGS OF M&Ms and onto Sunset Boulevard.
After turning out of the Studios we started down my favorite homestretch from DHS to the Crescent Lake resort area. I was extra light because I knew we would be seeing Matt and Abby and Chris soon. We made it through aide station 18/19 and up the bridge right before the Boardwalk when I called out for Matt! There he was. We hugged and high fived and everyone told Sara how awesome she was and then we were off.
We rounded the corner and entered the World Showcase. I’m pretty sure I told Sara that this is what she trained for. And by that of course I meant seeing Charles at the France Pavilion with the Grey Goose Slushie.
Charles. I love you. Call me.
We also got a picture with Belle. This year, without ruining any child’s trip to Disney.
Sara’s training had finally paid off.
We ran around the showcase, hooting and hollering at the other runners and the spectators. As we headed into Mexico Kelsey picked up her Avacado Marg (omg yum!) from her in laws.
And then we ran through Future World, making sure everyone knew it was Sara’s first marathon.
No, YOU’RE crying uncontrollably with pride.
And then, the Hallelujah Choir and the finish spectators! Including Abby and Matt and Chris! They MADE IT!
so many shirts!
And then. As always. The finish line. The sweet, glorious finish line. We did it!
they did it! ❤
I tried to take a sweet pic of Sara getting her medal but the volunteer was so aggressviley happy for her I couldn’t deal.
this will have to suffice.
We very slowly made our way through the chute, picking up blankets, snacks, bottles of water and then hobbled over to the Race Retreat to SIT DOWN.
and get a team medal pic.
We grabbed some food, drinks and settled in for a few minutes. Abby, Chris and Matt met us outside of the tent and we caught up with them.
it takes a village
I bid Sara farewell and went back to the tent to let Kelsey know Charles was waiting for her with a Mickey-shaped pretzel. After the girls left I was sat quietly by myself, eating my fake cheese and chips, basking in the glow of another marathon.
Then I hobbled out to the monorail (running into former co-worker and resident bad ass Mark Ballesteros who ran Dopey. Again) and got back to the room. Bear in mind, showering was a feat unto itself given the extremem chafing I sustained because of my short/tight layer mishap but all in all it turned out OK.
I snuck an hour-long nap in and then gathered up Sara’s things and headed out to the Ohana dinner at the Whispering Canyons. We celebrated mightily with 2L of diet coke, bottomless milkshakes, giggles, high fives and birthdays.
Ohana means family. And family means listening to me scream about my diaper rash from my chafing in public.
The next day, I got up bright, but not early to straighten up, pack up and get ready for MB’s afternoon arrival.
I stopped on my way out to see Richard.
This marathon was, without question, one of the best I’ve ever had. I still think about it wonder — did that really happen? We ran it with such ease, such joy. I would be remiss if I didn’t once again tell Sara how proud I am of her. What an accomplishment less than a year after giving birth, never mind keeping two small humans alive. My love and inspiration of and from you knows literally no bounds.
Special thanks also go to everyone who made the marathon possible not yet mentioned here: MB, Jan (who did not get a mile 20 phone call for the first time EVER), Big Paul, Eric and Amanda, my business partner Brandon who unknowingly allows me to run really good marathons, my PT and her team who were amazing at rehabbing me, Team Princess 1983 and the BABs who knew I was down but never ever out, Sara’s family — especially her mom — for their support of the dream, Kira for the edible arrangement and for calling me a Jag when necessary, Katelyn, Jessica and all of our shared friends who were so supportive and loving, Steff, Joe, Natalie, Jeff, Nathan, Patrick, Aimee, Danielle, Amelia, Holley, LW and the rest of the running Ohana who were there in person or in spirit cheering us every step of the way. Every. Single. Person. who donated to my Team in Training fundraiser which raised over $2,000 . And countless other people who have been cheering us the whole way.
I love the quote if you want to run, run a mile. If you want to have a different life, run a marathon. Even though it was the 10th time I chased down that different life, it feels different again. I feel renewed, peaceful and ready to take on the next challenge. Only, of course, with the best people at my side.