January 11, 2015
It’s marathon day! And, oh my gosh it’s early when the alarm rings.
I met a group of running friends for dinner yesterday afternoon at the Food Court here at the Art of Animation resort. We had a great time hanging and I made some new running friends. All of us are running the marathon today; some Dopey, some Goofy, and some marathon. Either way, we’ve all got 26.2 miles ahead of us today.
I’m moving slow. My ankle is tight after my incident yesterday. It isn’t swollen like I thought it would be and it isn’t sore. It’s just tight. This is good. I’ve got it taped with KT Tape and I’m hoping it will loosen up as I keep moving. John and I don’t plan on setting any records today so I hopefully won’t irritate it or make it any worse.
I get dressed eat my breakfast, and head out the door to the bus. It’s cold again today though, it’s warmer than it has been any of the other days thus far. I have on a pullover but I’m sure I’ll end up taking this one off once I start running. The weather isn’t supposed to get too warm though it will be the warmest day yet. We’ve been very blessed to have great weather all race weekend.
I beat John and Kenneth; John’s brother; to our meeting location. Kenneth is running the marathon today and trying to break the 4-hour mark. He’s obviously way faster than we are and we’ve been razzing him about being speedy when we’re just pokey. He’s good sport though and he’s been razzing us about being slow too.
When they arrive, we head through to the runner’s area. The guys need to use the restroom so I volunteer to hold fuel belts while they use the facilities. The lines move pretty quickly so we don’t have to wait too long.
We make the long walk to the corrals and stop for a picture together. This is the ONLY time John and I will be near Kenneth until we reach the finish line so we might as well have one commemorative picture of all of us together.
The wait doesn’t seem long this morning. Before I know it, the National Anthem is done and corrals are being sent on the course. We’re in corral L and it seems like no time at all before we’re standing at the start gate waiting to be sent on our run. Here’s the official course map.
The race announcers are keeping the energy up and time just ticks by. The fireworks go up and we’re off. Once again, we’re a few seconds into the run and I’m heading right at the cameraman that is doing the live stream feed. Unlike yesterday, this time I see him and the camera is on. I give a big smile and a quick wave and keep running.
John and I do well sticking to our 1/1 intervals. We’re taking the day at a comfortable pace. We’d both like to stay under the six hour mark but we also want to enjoy the race. This is John’s first marathon and he’s just happy to be running given we’ve already finished three races!
We stop for mile marker pictures but not for any character pictures. Neither of us have seen any characters that we just need to stop for. John is also trying to keep tabs on his brother’s progress. He is getting some text alerts and family members are also texting him. Unfortunately, this is causing his phone battery to deplete…quickly. Eventually, he has to shut his phone off to preserve enough of the battery for the last couple of miles.
We make it to Animal Kingdom and we’re at roughly the halfway point. We had talked about riding Expedition Everest yesterday and had only come to the decision of “we’ll see”. We were coming up on Expedition Everest and runners were being sent through either the single rider line or the regular line. We made the decision to run and opted for the single rider line. Our thought was that we would likely be on the same train and it wouldn’t be as long of a wait as the regular line.
We waited about five minutes to get on and we ended up getting to ride together. We’re loaded in the train and the ride takes off in just a few seconds. We had a great time and I took some great video of our ride. We laughed the entire time!
We exited the ride and jumped right back on the race course. We took it easy as both of us felt like our legs might’ve gotten tight from stopping even though we both tried to keep moving and stretching while we were waiting in line. We stuck to our intervals and we both seemed to recover from the stop pretty well.
After Animal Kingdom, there is a long stretch of boring course running down Osceola Parkway towards the Wide World of Sports Complex. There is just nothing out here. The blessing today is that the sun isn’t out so it’s not hot and the sun isn’t beating down on us or shining right in our faces. Entering the Wide World of Sports Complex is around mile 16/17 and we don’t come back out of WWOS until mile 21. That’s a lot of miles of weaving in and out and around baseball fields, soccer fields, tracks and sidewalks. The one bright note is that, as you enter WWOS, there is a wet sponge/towel stop. Volunteers had runners a cold, wet towel (it was a sponge in 2013 and a towel in 2014 and 2015). This feels amazing. It feels so good to wipe your face, neck, arms, etc. When it’s hot out, runners will often hold the towel and wrap it around their necks to help them stay cooler. Since it’s cool out, most people seem to be using them for a few minutes and then tossing them to the side.
John and I ended up walking a good bit of WWOS. We stopped by the water/food stop for John to use the bathroom. I used that opportunity to eat my snack and stretch my legs. Once he finished, we were back on the course and both of us commented about having tight and tired legs.
We walked a lot until we got to Hollywood Studios. Just before we enter HS, there is an exit ramp that we run up; this is mile 22. We walked this and made the turn into the park. Around one of the early corners is a candy stop. It may sound weird, but this is the best chocolate ever. They are handing out Hershey miniature candy bars and some other candies. I grabbed two little chocolate bars and they are the most delicious things at this moment.
We continue and head into the park. At this point, the amount of spectators exponentially increases for the rest of the course. And, since people are cheering for you, it drives you to push yourself a little bit more. Despite being tired and both of us having tight legs, we start jogging to our intervals. We aren’t running fast but at least we’re running.
We leave HS and head to the Boardwalk area. We run along the Boardwalk and then head into EPCOT near the United Kingdom in the World Showcase. We’re at mile 25 and we both have that second wind. A few turns and we’re headed towards Spaceship Earth.
Once we pass Spaceship Earth, we head out of the park and see the mile 26 marker and the gospel choir. We stop for final pictures. The finish line is only 0.2 miles away. We keep running and make our way to the finish line. My family and I have been texting and they know to look for me on the live stream. John moves to the opposite side closer to the grandstands so his family can see him cross.
It is a glorious moment. Crossing the finish line never gets old. I feel my eyes get a little teary. I look over my shoulder and find John. He’s got the biggest smile on his face and I see that he has some tears too. I can’t help but smile. I am so proud of him and for him. He set a huge goal to run his first marathon as part of Dopey. A marathon by itself is no joke. To run one as part of the Dopey Challenge is just, well, Dopey.
I give him a big hug and we start walking to through the finisher’s chute. We make it to the medal station and receive our marathon medals. I take a second to snap a selfie with the volunteer that puts mine around my neck. We keep moving and collect water and Powerade. John and I are both still smiling from ear to ear.
We finally make it to the Challenge Verification tent. We file through one by one letting the volunteers look up our pictures by our bib number. Once they verify that we are, in fact, the correct person, we move ahead and receive our Goofy and Dopey medals.
We finally make it through to get some food. We sit down for a brief moment to stretch and eat. I tell John we finished in 6:23:40; well over our six hour goal. We knew around mile 23 that we were going to be over our goal. We had chatted about it and John told me that he didn’t care. He was so happy to have finished the challenge and he didn’t care that his marathon time was over six hours. He had a great time and that was all that mattered to him.
I gave John a big hug and darted back to the bus. I didn’t have a lot of time to hang out since I had to checkout of my room by 1 PM. I got late checkout but I’m cutting it close still. Once I’m back to the room, I take a quick shower and then load up all my stuff. The walk to the car seems to take me forever. It doesn’t help that my arms are loaded and my legs are tired. Once I get all of my stuff and myself in the car, I take a minute to reflect on the weekend and I get a little teary eyed again. I’ve had such a fantastic weekend; the weather was great; I got to see some old friends and make some new ones; I got my first D&B purse; I completed Dopey for the second time; I’m completely exhausted.
The drive back home was almost a blur. I stopped by the kennel to pickup my pups. When I got home, they ran around while I unloaded my things. I emptied my suitcase and sorted my clothes so I could start a load of laundry. Normally, I wouldn’t care so much but I am leaving again in a few days to head to California for Star Wars. If I can get some things done around my house now, I’ll feel less stressed and busy during the week while I’m trying to get myself packed again.
My second Dopey experience was great. I had an amazing time running with John. He was a lot of fun and running with him made me realize how much fun it can be to run with someone. I generally run solo and this was a refreshing change. I really liked the Art of Animation as well. It’s a fun resort and the food court was really good. I loved the ‘create your own’ pasta station. The only thing I didn’t love about the resort was how far away from the main building I was. Since I was in a regular room and not a family suite, I was in one of the farthest buildings. The family suites are in the buildings that are closer to the main building. Now I know. Making the walk back to my room after getting off the bus after running the marathon was just shy of miserable.
Dopey #2 is in the books. And I am now going to take a nap.
Until Star Wars…gotta run.
Race Entry: $571
Hotel (3 nights): $469
Commemorative pins (6 pins): $96
Souvenirs: $128 (this includes my D&B purse)
Kennel (3 nights): $145