Well I did it!! :) Last weekend was a very tiring but very fun weekend and I am so excited to share the pictures from my weekend with you all.
The weekend started with a 6am flight out of Boston. I live over an hour away from the airport so that was day 1 of a 3 am wake up. For the most part, I got to Orlando without much problem, I didn't have a repeat of my Twin Cities flights. I did have delays and I didn't arrive on time, but I did make it there.
We immediately went to the expo and I love the race gear you can buy and I know the Disney expo has history of selling out of their stuff. We picked up our packets very quickly and headed to the merchandise. I picked out a few shirts, with the idea in the back of mind that I could return it if I didn't complete the race. (A cool thing about Disney, the expo may be closed but you still purchased Disney merchandise and can return to their stores.)
I immediately hit up the Kinesio booth. I bought Kinesio tape online before I left, but didn't have any experience running with it, but I have read such good things about it. The people at the booth were AWESOME and taped up both of my achilles and I bought 2 more boxes of the tape.
Next I found a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10. Previously I was wearing a neutral Brook's shoe but my Physical Therapist suggested a supportive shoe, so I decided to take a chance and wear a new pair of shoes for the half marathon. I have been wear testing a pair of New Balance support shoes and loving them, so I figured I would try a similar shoe from Brooks. I also bought a new Brooks Equilibrium long sleeved top to wear the next day. Obviously all my plans of what I was going to wear was going out the window. :)
After the expo, we got a light dinner and headed back to the hotel to sleep. BUT, I didn't sleep. I was so nervous for my upcoming weekend that I was up the entire night tossing and turning. There was no need for an alarm that morning as I was already wide awake at 2:30a.m.. We got dressed and headed down to the Pop food court to fill up water bottles. Here is a picture of my sister and I before we boarded the bus to the start line.
So we boarded the bus and headed over to Epcot. I was about 35 degrees that morning and the second we got off the bus, it started to rain. Yes, another race in the cold, cold rain. We checked our bags and pretty much headed to the corals where we huddled under a bridge behind some drop clothing boxes. When we finally attempted to hit the actual coral, we grabbed garbage sacks from the boxes and put those on over ourselves. (We already were wearing multiples layers of clothing, plus warm up clothes and a blanket.)
At this time my nerves were going crazy. I had not run more than 11 miles since October and my 10 mile run the week before, I had a little bit of achilles pain, so I was worried that this weekend wouldn't work. The fireworks went off and we were running. I was so cold, so it took 3 miles before I felt warmed up and my legs weren't as stiff. I had no foot pain so I took that as a good sign. We entered Magic Kingdom at around mile 5.2 and we were having so much fun. We stopped to take a few pictures for our kids:
After leaving the Magic Kingdom around mile 6, my nerves were still not calm and my stomach started acting up. I still wasn't feeling any pain in my feet but I couldn't get my stomach to calm down. Once we started stopping for pictures we pretty much threw out a goal time and were just trying to have fun. I was thankful for this, as I needed to stop a few times to use the porta-potties. I thought I was going to throw up or explode or both. I guess I forgot about my stomach problems that gets worse with long distances. So the last 5 or so miles were pretty painful and we really slowed it down until we had 1 mile to go. At that point, I picked up the pace to about an 8:00 mile. My stomach wasn't happy with me, but I wanted to finish strong. And we did. We finished in 2:14:24. I was pretty happy with that as I wanted no more than 2:15 for the half.
The rest of the day we tried to rest a little bit and went back to the expo. I did get an ice bath in as well. I was EXHAUSTED from the lack of sleep for 2 days and my stomach was still not digesting food very well. I went back to the Kinesio tape booth to get re-taped for the marathon. I don't know if that is why I felt no pain, or the combination of the healing and stretching, but I was going to do it again so that I would have the best chance of crossing that finish line the next day. We went to bed around 9 and I took 2 benadryll's and slept so good. This was the best thing as I woke up full of energy and not sore one bit.
The forecast for the marathon was colder but no rain. The starting temperature was around 25, so I decided to wear an extra layer of clothes in case I had to walk more than I wanted to. So, on top of my tights I wore a pair of sweatpants and I wore my Twin Cities Marathon Brook's Vapor Dry 3D Hoodie over my base layer. I also brought another throwaway blanket and sweatshirt. My friend and I both purchased Disney's Race Retreat for the full marathon which allowed us to sit for about 45 minutes in a heated tent and have private porta-potties and bag check. It is an expensive option, but it was so worth it at that point. I headed to the corals at 5a.m. My wave was set to take off at 5:40, so I barely had time to go to the bathroom and get to the corals before we started.
As the fireworks went off, I was extremely calm and excited. We started running and though I was in the first coral, I ignored everyone around me and was trying to hit a 10:00 pace. Yes, I know, don't start in the front when you are going that slow, but that was my coral and I went all the way to the back, and just went my pace. I had no idea what would happen after 13 miles so I knew that a 10:00 pace was my only option for finishing this race pain-free. My first few miles were around 9:40 pace but I kept slowing myself down, I was not trying for a fast time, I was going to finish. I was feeling great and enjoying myself those first 5 miles. We started up an overpass where we turn towards Magic Kingdom and I tripped and wiped out flat on my face. We are talking THOUSANDS of people running around me and I am on the ground. Amazingly, 2 runners behind me, swept me off my feet faster than I fell and many people were asking how I was doing. I was so thankful for all the runners as I was in pain, and surprisingly, I wasn't embarrassed. I got to the side of the road to calm myself down and assess my knee pain. I knew my knee was bruised, but figured I would try and run and see if I could push through the pain and I did and after about a mile, the immediate pain was gone. (Luckily with all the layers of clothes I had on, I only had tiny scrapes but big bruises after....If I would have just worn my running skirt like I wanted to, I would have been extremely cut up. My water bottles are both scuffed badly from the fall.)
After my fall, I kept moving at a sub-10:00 pace but trying to slow down. I was still feeling good. Magic Kingdom was around mile 10.5 and that is when I decided I would start taking pictures with the characters to slow me down, give my legs a temporary rest, and make the experience even more fun. Just before entering the castle was the Cinderella characters who were my first stop of the day. (I look like an idiot in this picture with my eyes closed, but I still love the picture.)
Next, I ran through the castle and then pulled over so the ASI photographer could take a photo of me and then I continued on. Next I saw the Princess and the Frog characters again and decided to stop for my solo picture with them.
Next you leave Magic Kingdom and just outside is a Pirate ship and I decide to stop for my picture with the pirates.
I am still feeling good at this point and it was at this point. I decided to take a gel around mile 12 and when I did I noticed my water bottle was iced over! The water stops were also iced over so you had to shuffle through them so you wouldn't slip and fall. So yes, it was that cold. Next I saw Goofy and Minnie dressed in golf clothes just outside of the Shades of Green military hotel.
I also finally saw my sister at this point. She came running on the other side of the road to snap a picture and ask how I was doing. I was doing GREAT! My legs felt fine and my stomach was fine. I was approaching the half marathon point and I was faster than the day before with all my stops and attempts to slow down.
Here is my halfway point:
Now, once you leave the Magic Kingdom resort area, the marathon gets really boring and mentally challenging. You are basically running highways with no one but other runners around you. At around mile 16 or so, my legs finally started to ache. I was getting tired and knew that my race had finally begun.
Here is a picture of Donald and Daisy just before entering Animal Kingdom at around mile 17.5.
Not surprising, it was no longer hard to maintain my 10:00 goal pace. :) I was getting really tired and just trying to knock off those remaining miles. There weren't many characters in Animal Kingdom but there was a lot of music and performers that made the short run through there entertaining. Upon exiting Animal Kingdom, we finally got to see Mickey Mouse.
At this point I was now surviving. I am 19 miles into the marathon and my legs are tired and I am hungry. I finally decided to take my first walk break just before mile 20. I pulled out my phone and updated my facebook status. I did this so that I could actually say I was doing something during this break even if it was totally pointless and stupid. I walked for just over a quarter of a mile and got moving again. Mile 20/21 are on an out-and-back. Last year, I loved it because I saw my husband, but this year I was just trying to get it over with. I made it to the end of the out-and-back and the next not-fun part came. It was a cambered incline. I didn't want to irritate my achilles so I decided to walk this as well. I took a gel at this point and I really was happy to have my last boost of energy. After the incline I got moving again. I was managing around a 10:15-10:30 pace at this point. I just wanted to finish under 4:45 so I knew I was probably going to be OK to slow down. At this point the water stops were coming every mile and I walked through those to avoid falling and to rehydrate myself.
Hollywood Studios finally was here and so was the dog from Up, Doug.
Notice I was still smiling at mile 23 even though my legs were super tight, I am surprised that I let myself stop. I made it through Hollywood Studios and saw Chip and Dale on the other end at around mile 24....I figured why not take one last picture.
After you leave Hollywood Studios, you follow a path to the Boardwalk and then it is the World Showcase at Epcot and the final stretch to the finish line. I was so tired but I knew I was almost done was just trying to fun in between every water stop where I would get my breaks. There were a lot of people telling you that you looked good on the Boardwalk which was such a nice thing to hear at that point.
I entered the World Showcase and knew I only had just over 1 mile to go so I picked up my pace to about 8:30. I started passing a ton of people and started to get teary. I couldn't believe that I was going to finish this race running. I gave mile 26 my kiss and I passed the gospel choir and rounded the corner to the finish line. I yelled my way down the final stretch and was jumping all around. I crossed the finish line in 4:33:54.
The Goofy Challenge was more of a challenge than I thought it would be when I signed up due to my injury, but I am so proud of myself for making it through both of the races. I am so thankful for my husband for allowing me to do such a crazy thing and for my sister to cheer me through it and slow down with me during my terrible half.
Here are a few more pictures we took after.
My sister and I with our medals. Thanks for being there for me Kelli!
My friend from college who finished her first full marathon that day. Congrats Jax!
Lilo & Stitch.
If you made it all the way to the end, thanks for reading!!! I can't wait to review a lot of my products I used this weekend for you all.