Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

I honestly wasn’t sure how to write this post. I feel like I never have anything interesting to say when I recap a race. In the end, I’m usually happy that I’d taken a few pictures along the way to commemorate the race as a whole. But this race was a lot different than all those other races I’d done….

I’d get comfortable, folks, because this might be a little long….

I ran my very first marathon. I can officially call myself a marathoner!

A little back story: While my boyfriend (Martin) and I were on vacation last January at Walt Disney World (for the half marathon), we decided that we should run the Walt Disney World Full marathon in 2013. Not only was it an anniversary year (20 years!) but since we ran our first half marathon at Walt Disney World, why not run our first marathon at the same place as well?

Fast forward to January 13, 2013.

It’s the big day as the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon is finally here! Out of our traveling party of 8, five of us were running the marathon. My parents, my baby brother, Martin, and I were about to embark on 26.2 magical miles around the Walt Disney World Resort!

We were all placed in different corrals: My parents and baby brother in Corral G, Martin to Corral F, and I was sent to Corral E. I got really lucky being placed into such a “fast” (by my terms) corral; I was originally placed in the very last corral but was able to change at the race expo. I felt pretty lonely as I was making my way to my corral because everyone else went the other way to theirs. Luckily my friend Jindy had touched base with me to let me know where she was at in Corral E so that we can start together!

The start line of the WDW Marathon

Jindy & me at the start of the WDW Marathon!

As our corral was making our way to the start, I had trouble syncing up my Garmin Forerunner 405CX. It stayed at “Locating Satellites” for the longest time, and I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to start it in time! Luckily, right as our corral’s fireworks went off, I was able to start my watch with all satellites connected. Whew!

I let Jindy go ahead and do her thang, and I decided to walk the first two miles. I had a good pace going on, keeping my feet moving. Somewhere between the 1- and 2-mile mark, I “ran” into Adam Rucker and his friend, Franze!

With Adam Rucker!

With Franze!

(Side note: Adam Rucker is this really cool guy that I subscribed to on YouTube after watching a few of his Disney vlogs. Franze is usually with Adam in all of his videos, and they travel everywhere together. Which I am jealous of. I wish I had a friend that I could travel everywhere with. At this moment, please take a moment to subscribe to Adam on YouTube for awesome Disney vlogs, and also check out his website, ThingsGoofy, for lots of Disney goodness.)

I was quite starstruck, and he even “interviewed” me for his marathon vlog. Super neat! I may, or may not, be YouTube famous! 😛 You can view the video on Youtube here

Martin managed to catch up to me around mile 2, and then he left me. Like I said, I’m the slower half between the two of us, so I wasn’t surprised when Martin passed me up.

This part of my recap will get boring, because there isn’t much to recap. Basically, after mile 2, I started my walk/run intervals and was finally on my way. I am not one to stop for character pictures or anything, I just keep on going. I get into my zone, and usually tune everything around me out. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I remember running through Magic Kingdom, and trekking through the back roads before coming into Animal Kingdom. Mentally and emotionally, I was doing well.

Entering Magic Kingdom

Heading down Main St. towards Cinderella’s Castle

My baby brother caught up to me somewhere around miles 7 and 8. We played leapfrog for a few miles. I stayed with him for the duration of running on the Speedway, which I wish I had a picture of, but I don’t. 😦  He was in pain, and eventually I left him around mile 12 or 13. But he managed to catch up with me, and then left me in the dust. Heh.

With my baby brother

I was getting tweets from my friends, Christine and Francis, via Twitter throughout the entire race. I’m so glad to have had support from across the country! Somewhere around mile 15 my brain was on overload, and I wanted to cry. My body was starting to get tired. No pain, just really tired. How could I possibly do this marathon??

The second longest stretch of the race was running from Animal Kingdom to ESPN Wide World of Sports to Hollywood Studios. It seemed like for-ev-er to run that part of the race. My brain was holding up pretty well, and my body was feeling ok, yet still fatigued. At the water stop around mile 19.5, I saw a fellow Instagramer that had commented on one of my pictures saying she would be volunteering there. So I said hi and continued on my way.

Entering ESPN Wide World of Sports

It warmed up pretty fast around that point of the race. I officially “bonked” at mile 22, so much that my pace slowed down  a lot, and the heat took it’s toll on me. And of course, by the time I hit mile 22, the dreaded orange flag was being waved, which was a sign for me to pick it up as best as I could so I wouldn’t get swooped up. I didn’t think I was going that slow, but apparently I was. 😛

I was lucky to make it to Hollywood Studios and make my way down the Boardwalk and into Epcot. This girl was not getting swept! The longest part of the race was that very last mile… Running around the World Showcase was the hardest mile of my entire life as a runner. Truth be told, my brain started to break down along with my knees, and once I saw the marker for mile 25, I started crying. I cried that entire last mile up until the finish line. It was more of an emotional cry, rather than a painful cry. There were so many people and Cast Members cheering the runners on still, and their cheering was all the encouragement I needed to make it to that finish.

Being able to cross that finish line was the most amazing feeling ever! I continued to bawl my eyes out as I limped my way to get my medal, where the lady handing me my medal gave me a hug and the obligatory “Congratulations!” Martin found me right after that point, and gave me a big hug. He then proceeded to carry me to the medical tent, as I continued to cry and soak my achievement in. Yes, it was a very emotional moment. I really have no words to express how thankful and happy I was to see Martin after that finish. I know he was probably in some pain from the marathon, and he had waited nearly an hour for me… That’s love.

Martin and I after we finished our very first marathon!

Iced after the race

I was very excited to reunite with everyone afterwards. I’m so thankful that they all waited for me, even though I probably took forever. 😛 We took a few pictures before heading to bag check to make our way back to Saratoga Springs.

Lianna – Marathon Finisher & Jindy – Goofy’s Challenge Finisher

We’re missing one runner, but these are the Team B half marathon and marathon finishers!

Back at the villa, Martin and I plunked ourselves down for an ice bath, which helped immensely!!!

Ice bath for those muscles

We were only a tad bit sore following the ice bath, and we were able to walk around Downtown Disney for some dinner. Even the next day, we were good to go for a day around Epcot. Luckily, I didn’t get sick after this race the way I got sick after my first half marathon last year….

All in all, RunDisney put on an amazing 20th Anniversary Marathon weekend for all of the runners who participated. Whether you ran in the 5k, the half marathon, or the marathon, or even all three, everyone was a part of the big celebration!

As for my first marathon, it was definitely an emotional and somewhat physical roller coaster. The run was a great experience, and I think I may want to do another full marathon in the future. But for now, it’s time for me to switch gears and transition into triathlon training. There doesn’t seem to be an off-season for me, so let’s just keep the ball rolling!

I hope you enjoyed reading my WDW Marathon race recap. I highly suggest participating in the RunDisney events; whether you’re new to the sport of running or a veteran, there’s definitely something for everyone at a RunDisney race. Plus, they’re a lot of fun, too. 🙂


One thought on “Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

  1. Just saw your recap on YouTube and then this blog post. Thanks for putting it out there!

    I’ll be running my first marathon in next year’s Disney Marathon, and I’m really looking forward to it. My daughter and I ran the 5K this past January, and we had a blast!

    Like you, I have some family and friends coming to run in January…and we’re all excited about the race(s)!

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