My sister and I arrived in Orlando on Friday morning about 10am. My sister and I make marathon weekend a girls' weekend every year, and this was going to be her 4th marathon. We picked up our "Kermit Mobile" and headed to the expo at the Jostens Center at the Disney's Wide World of Sports.
A hint to future Disney Marathon participants, go to the Expo on Thursday or Friday if you want to buy race specific merchandise. I have learned this the hard way in the past and heard from many disappointed race goers this past weekend. We didn't even pick up our race numbers before hitting the merchandise section of the expo. My sister and I knew we wanted sweatshirts so picked them out quickly before they were snatched up by other racers.
The actual expo was kind of disappointing. There were hardly any booths that were giving away free samples and it was incredibly crowded in there. I started getting sick to my stomach within an hour of trying to walk around. I don't know if it was hunger, or if I was nervous or just plain overwhelmed with the amount of the people. All I knew, was today was not the day for me to look around. Before we left for the day, I stopped by the Arctic Ease booth to see my running partner, Colleen. It was so nice to see a familiar face in the crowd of people.
My sister and I left the expo and went over to Downtown Disney for lunch and a little shopping. Our kids both had specific requests and I figured it was the perfect time to get those requests filled. After we shopped for a bit, we finally decided to check in at our hotel and relax a little before dinner. I like to carb load, 2 nights before marathon, so that night we decided on pasta at the hotel. Luckily, Disney counts on all the runners lining up for pasta, so were pretty quick with making fresh pasta for the masses.
We went to bed early that night as I wanted to spectate the half marathon the next morning. Hint #2, for future marathon weekend participants, get up early, even if spectating, because traffic is a nightmare going to the Magic Kingdom parking lot and kind of confusing.
My plan was to see people at mile 8, which is right outside of the Polynesian Resort. We got to the parking lot with plenty of time to make the short walk over to the Polynesian before the first runners would be running by. This would have been great, but unfortunately, where we were directed to park, there was no way of crossing the race path to get where we needed to be. We walked all around and even found a bridge, but they were not letting people walk across the bridge, so we had to go back to our car and join a line of traffic to cross the bridge that led us directly across from where we started. This was incredibly frustrating because by the time we got to mile 8, the 1:50 pace group was already passing. :( We missed seeing a few of my fast friends, but still had plenty of spectating time left.
My sister and I had a lot of fun yelling for the runners and loved all the costumes. I rang my cowbell and yelled out for all the runners. My voice was shot by the end of the day but it was worth it because I know how good it feels to have people yelling for me in a race.
We picked the Polynesian to cheer as I love eating breakfast at the Kona Cafe there. I highly recommend their Tonga Toast if you want a delicious carb-filled breakfast. It made for the perfect breakfast the morning before a race. Afterwards, we headed back to the expo so that we would have a chance to actually look around without the crowds. This made for a much more relaxing time. I had a chance to talk with many of the vendors, which is always fun as a running gear junkie. :)
We only had an hour at the expo as we had a Twitter/Blogger meet-up scheduled for 11. All the girls I met up with were running Goofy so had already run the half marathon that morning. I felt like the slacker in the group. We ate a great lunch at Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney and the conversation was awesome. I now want to start training for triathlons thanks to my new friends and Kristin and Jill. And I am ready to travel to North Carolina for a race with Jennifer and her awesome friends and Erin has convinced me that I need to run the Top of Utah Marathon. Thank you ladies, for keeping me calm on Saturday and for making my trip even more fun I thought it could be.
Yay for Brooks ID friends, especially fast ones!
After walking around a little longer with Erin, it was back to the hotel for rest and race preps. My 2:30am wake-up call was ready for the big day!
And if you made it through my long post, finally, my Marathon giveaway winner. Thank you all for your kind comments on the giveaway. It really helped getting emails every few hours to ease the nerves and know I had support behind me. The winner of my Disney Marathon giveaway is:
Amy, please email me with your information and I will ship your prize out to you this week. And in answer to your question, a few of my mantras that I used on Sunday were:
- You have this!
- Today is your day, you will BQ.
- No, body, you WILL NOT beat me today. (Thanks Steph!)
- You WILL meet your goal.
I had so many thoughts going through my head that day, and staying positive really helped. Here is what I picked up for you at this weekend. Hope you enjoy it!