Sunday morning around 3:30 AM rolled around and I awoke for the second leg of the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge–the Walt Disney World (WDW) Marathon. This race was different for me compared to the day before, knowing that it would be a huge challenge to get through the miles and to PR.
The course starts off at Epcot, runs to the Magic Kingdom, through the Walt Disney World Speedway, towards Animal Kingdom, through the ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWOS) Complex, on the way to Hollywood Studios, through the Boardwalk, and finishes through Epcot. It was awesome to be able to run through pretty much the entire resort and seeing areas such as the speedway and the WWOS complex was really cool.
I started off the race strong with about a 10 minute pace–perfect for me to PR. The conditions–including weather–were perfect, so I was incredibly glad. The first half of the race went pretty well for me; I kept my pace, my spirits were high, my music definitely pumped me up, and I was ready to own it. However, once I hit around mile 16 to 17 (where you could see those on mile 20ish on the other side of the street), I was hurting. For the first half of the race I watched as I passed runners, and now I watched as everyone else passed me! My quads and hamstrings had never been so tight. For most of the miles ahead of me, I definitely struggled. My music could no longer give me the energy I longed for and I was ready to be done. But of course, no way was I going to stop, so I just kept on going. Below are some of my stats:
- 5 Mile – 49:48 – Pace 9:58 (YAY!)
- 10 Mile – 1:39:01 – Pace 9:55 (YAY!)
- 13.1 Mile – 2:11:01 – Pace 10:00 (Yay!)
- 20 Mile – 3:25:58 – Pace 10:18 (Yay)
- Finish – 4:36:48 – Pace 10:34 (Yay … !!!)
My greatest friend Lacey and I had planned for her to come cheer me on around mile 24 near the Boardwalk, so once I was in the low 20 miles (getting very discouraged, mind you), I was getting very anxious and excited to reach the Boardwalk, knowing that I would be able to see Lacey and get a huge hug from her. Boy, was it necessary! I was hurting, tired, discouraged, and the minute I heard Lacey call my name, I ran into her arms for a huge hug and burst into tears. No one has ever come to cheer me on during a race before (only to cheer at the finish), so it was very special to have Lacey there. She gave me words of encouragement for the final 2 miles, and I ran off to the finish.
A man watching the race noticed Lace and me and took this picture of us hugging, and sent it to her after I ran off. What a special moment captured on camera!
While I did not PR and I was incredibly close to, I am very proud of myself and the pace I was able to maintain considering the half marathon the previous day. I also did lose some time when I stopped to take pictures in front of Cinderella Castle, when I briefly talked to Lacey, and when I was in Epcot to take a pictures with Belle, Aurora, and an old high school friend (who I was on the cheerleading team with) who plays Mulan. Considering all of this, I am confident I will be able to achieve my 2014 goal of a sub 4:20 marathon! So until then, I’ll take this weekend with a huge smile, and I thought it was a much better race and course than the experience I had at the half marathon the day earlier. Big thumbs up to Run Disney for this one!
Lacey met me and my poor broken knees at the finish with my celebratory beer
Third time’s a charm for this picture of us post-race at the Boardwalk
The race was especially emotional for me; I found myself laughing, tearing up, and on the verge of crying during a lot of the race, especially with some of the signs, support, views, and overall experience. Some of my favorites and things to note?
- This marathon had somewhere between 25K and 27K runners, which is the first marathon I have run with that large of a number. I have only done the two Nike Women’s Marathons in San Francisco, which only about 5K run the marathon (while the rest run the half marathon), so it was really awesome to have such a huge running support system surrounding me throughout the entire race. I never ran alone, let’s just say that!
- Only a couple of miles into the race, I saw a sign that read, “Only a sh!tload of miles left to go.” Way to be blunt! It gave me a good laugh.
- I was able to see the sunrise. A real sunrise. It was beautiful and special to see that mid-course–something we don’t get in sunny San Diego!
- At mile 16, there was a spectator-made sign stuck into the ground, “<– Shortcut,” that pointed to the runners on mile 20 who were running in the other direction on the other side of the island from us. That was another perfect laugh!
- A sign that read, “You know they have buses and monorails and shit.” Haha!
- Another sign saying, “Our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
- “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Oh Walt Disney, you clever man, you.
I wish I could write about everything I loved about this race, but of course “ain’t nobody got time for that!” Just trust me, it’s a great marathon to run. But anyway … no time for breaks! This Sunday I’ll be running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort, so see you all then!
Read my race recap of my experience at the WDW Half Marathon (Goofy Challenge part 1!) here.