Thursday, October 26, 2017

From the Archives: My Experience at the 2015 Marathon

Hiya Pals!

Happy Throwback Thursday, as I prepare for the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon I can't help but reminsce about the first time I ran a Marathon!

My desire to run the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge started after my first 5K, That's right before I even ran the Princess Half  I had decided that I wanted to run the biggest, baddest, RunDisney race (at the time) of them all!!

Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge! 

Of course, since then RunDisney has added the Dopey Challenge - so Goofy isn't as highly recognized as being a big deal... but... Mr. Goof' I think your race is pretty sweet, and to be honest... Even just part of the Goofy Challenge is pretty tough - and something you have to train for.

But ... enough babble - let me actually talk about the race.

The Night Before
The night before the race we had dinner with our families (yep.. OUR families) So, my Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother in law. Along with my Mom, Dad, Grandma, Sister, Sister, Brother in Law & Niece all got together at the Olive Garden for some dinner.

Of course, Little Lady and Little Miss stole the show with their cuteness and I could barely eat. I just didn't feel good, and nothing on the menu seemed appetizing so... I picked at my food and shared with Little Lady.

We got back to the hotel room, organized our things for the race in the morning and went to bed as early as possible.

The Middle of the Night
Little Lady had gotten cold in the middle of the night, and so I snuggled with her until the alarm went off and it was time to get ready to go!

Little Lady was snuggled warmly on our bed, and we began to get ready to go. I felt really stiff so I grabbed my headphones and my iPhone and went through a Yoga Sequence (Yoga with Adrienne).

Pre- Race
We were in Corral O, which is pretty much the last corral to start. I mentioned that there was whining before the half, and honestly... what's the deal?  To block out the noise around my I put some music on and tried to get my nerves in check before the race.

Miles 1-5 
Just like the half, these miles seemed to FLY by. We didn't really go FAST, in fact, I was a little dehydrated, so I had to drink a little more water than I wanted to in order to avoid a cramp. So, an extra bathroom stop became necessary - which made our time a little slower. My sisters and niece had decided to follow us along the course - it was a HUGE surprise to see them when we turned onto Main Street. I almost cried, because... there it was... The castle, and my sisters cheering me on!
I defiantly had an "is this real life" moment.

Miles 6-12
A blur... I stayed so focused on my 1 min walk / 1 min run ratio, and was determined NOT to get swept, I just buckled down and ran. I will say, I do remember this being a really boring section of the course. A special thank you to the employee in the Animal Kingdom the words "course to the left, bathrooms to the right" sounded so beautiful to this preggo.

At mile 12 I ate a Clif Bar and treated the second half of the course like "just another half marathon". I think breaking it down like that really helped me.

13.1
As we crossed the Half Marathon mark I heard a lady say her friend was swept at mile 10. I got scared... Truly - it lit a fire under me because I was NOT ready to be swept. I'd trained too long and hard for this, I WOULD finish.

13.1 - 17
So,  this was another really boring part of the course. My husband saw Little John from REALLY far back and ran ahead to get in line. Robin Hood is his FAVORITE Disney movie, and he'd never seen Friar Tuck out for pictures. So, we waited in line.

He didn't know about what I overheard, and how terrified I was of getting swept.

Also during this stretch, someone tapped me on the shoulder and said "I know you", at first I was a little surprised because I was so focused on my intervals I wasn't sure if he was talking to me, but it was pretty neat to be recognized.

Mile 17.
Is there anything as disheartening as seeing the mile marker for mile 17, then a BUNCH of people turning into the road that leads to MGM at Mile 21 right next to you? Yeah, don't think so.  I'd noticed it but didn't want to think about it. Until some total stranger taps me on the shoulder and says "THAT'S MILE 21, AND WE ARE ONLY JUST AFTER MILE 17" ... I could see ESPN Wide World of Sports, and I knew it'd probably be a scenic 5 miles, but ... now all I could think about was how many miles we had left and how much I had to use the bathroom (again!).

ESPN Wide World of Sports
We made it. The Wide World of Sports, full of interesting things to look at, a banana fuel station, a cold wet towel, lots of people cheering you on - it was a dream. I (sadly) had to pee SO badly. Our time suffered greatly because we waited about 5 minutes for a bathroom. Annoyed almost to the brink of tears, I held it together. During the WWOS we also ran the track that we'd just run for the kid's races, so naturally, I started thinking about Little Lady about how much I missed her, and how someday I'd get to tell her and the little love bug inside of me all about our first Marathon. The two of them were such a big part of it - I guess mile 19 brought out the sentimental side of me?  We saw my sisters again, and got some more hugs and were on our way.

I'd saved a FunSize Hershey bar for mile 20 celebration. I knew if I made it to Mile 20 without being swept, I could do it!

Mile 21 - 24
We finally made it to MGM and the volunteers never looked more fabulous with buckets full of chocolate for us back of the pack runners. (One of the fuel stations was empty before we got there) We moved pretty quickly around the park and before we knew it, were on our way to the Board Walk. As soon as I saw the boardwalk I got so emotional.

Why?
1) I just ran a WHOLE lot of miles with a 25-week baby bump - I'm allowed to get emotional.
2) The crowd on the boardwalk was vibrant! So many runners with their medals, and families, and people with "way to go" signs.
3) We were almost "safe"

Mile 24-26.2


As soon as we turned the corner into the World Showcase of Epcot, I could NOT stop the tears. I'd made it. Only 2 more miles until I was given the title of "Marathoner". I'm not talking pretty tears, I'm talking big ugly tears. Through the rain, humidity, and COLD we followed the Galloway Run/Walk, and we had done it. About the same time we made it to Epcot I noticed my watch had died, so we just did what felt good for the end. 

We soaked in the energy from the crowd, high-fived small children, and waved to people on the sidelines, and then as we approached the finish line we smiled and waved at our families and I blew some kisses to my dear friend Lena who came to cheer me on.

A hug from Minnie Mouse, and we crossed the finish line.

Goofy Challenge Finishers.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be running a Marathon. Never would I have imagined I'd run a Marathon at 25 weeks pregnant, but sometimes dreams change.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to complete the Goofy Challenge without anything more than bruised and ugly toenails.  My husband was my constant beacon of love and support, I knew he believed in me and together we could cross both finish lines for the goofy challenge. 

I'm also thankful for our families who supported us, watched little lady for us during long training runs, fed us when I was too tired to cook, and came and cheered us all the way to the finish line. 
Purchase your Minnie inspired tutu here!*

We are truly blessed. 

Now, to focus on havin' this baby in just about 13 more weeks... 

*This post contains affiliate links, this costs nothing extra for you but your support of StorybookErin.com is greatly appreciated. ;-)
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