Ms Chenandler Bong
Disney Marathon Weekend Race Report
So I’m a big Disney Fan. I ran the Princess HM in 2011 and decided that weekend that I would run the Goofy Challenge (HM on Saturday, FM on Sunday) in 2013. I saved money each paycheck to be able to pay for this Bucket List race (I only work PT so this wasn't easy!). I was fortunate enough to have my husband, Brett, join me for the FM on Sunday. He's a runner as well but doesn't love running. He loves drinking and runs to keep his weight down. His training was sub-par to say the least, I think he ran 26 miles in Nov and Dec total. LOL! But this was his 5th marathon and I didn't doubt that he could do it. I had very high expectations for this weekend to say the least.
Training went well. I ran a FM PR in April (4:07) and ran a 6:10 trail FM in August. Cooler temps in the fall brought better training. I peaked at 52 or something miles, running 6 days a week with a 10 mile mid-week run and 4 19+ mile long runs. I had already decided that I didn’t want to run the full with a goal time in mind, I just wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, taking pictures along the route whenever I wanted. Docket Rocket was also running the Goofy so we discussed having me pace her to a sub 2:00 HM on Saturday. After running solid 1:55 HM's in September and early December, I felt confident that I could help her reach her goal.
Then 3 weeks before the race, I woke up with extreme pain in my left foot. I knew it was PF as I’ve had it before in my right foot. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I was in tears from pain, disappointment and anger. I called my sports MD and his office got me in within a day so I could be seen before Christmas. He confirmed my fears, gave me a prescription for steroids and assigned PT. My PT started working with me that day and 2-3 times a week until I left for the race. He put me in a boot for 6 days to optimize my healing time. He scraped my calf, Achilles, arch and heel and used ultrasound on my arch. These sessions were extremely painful and I was bruised for 2 weeks. But – the pain in my foot was gone. I tried running a few times, 3 miles was fine, 4 miles put me back into the boot for a day from the pain. Needless to say, I was very, very nervous about this race. If it had been any other race, I probably would have DNS to be safe. But everything was non-refundable so I was doing it. Figured it was an 8 hour cut-off and I could make that. Saw the Sports Dr again and he gave me another round of steroids to take while I was at Disney.
So – race week arrives and so do the high temps. Damaris and I exchange numerous messages and decide with my foot and the heat it would be best to treat the HM as a fun run to save our legs for the full. That ended up being a very good decision for both of us.
Brett and I arrive at Disney on Thursday, hit the expo (large and overcrowded) and go to a very nice dinner in Animal Kingdom Lodge (wore a new black dress that he picked out, he said he didn't notice how low cut it was but I'm sure he did). Back to our hotel (Art of Animation) where neither of us sleep well.
Friday was the Family 5k through Epcot. I decided if I’m going to run 2 races, I might as well run 3 to make it 42.4 miles for the weekend. So, I was up at 4:00, waited in a long line to catch the Disney bus and arrived at the starting area about 4:50 for the 5:30 race. I was in corral A but I didn’t want to race this, it was more of a taper, see how the foot feels, type of run. Everything was very organized and we were off right on time. The first mile goes around the parking lot and into the back area of the park. Then we entered the World Showcase in the first country, Mexico. My foot is feeling fine and I’m happy about that. I see Daisy Duck in Norway and stop for a picture. Then there was Goofy in the America’s area, Pluto in France and Donald in Canada. I text and call my DD(9) who was at home getting ready for school and tell her all about it. The rest of the race is through Futureland and around Spaceship Earth. I keep a pretty steady pace and finished with a relaxing 42:25. I got my medal, a nice box of food and hop on the bus back to our hotel. Iced and stretched my foot out. DH was just finishing his tapering run around the hotel jogging path so we shower and head to Epcot and Magic Kingdom for the day. We did plenty of walking but also took lots of breaks too. Still, I was pretty tired by the time we got to our hotel (we switched to an off-site hotel that night to save costs).
Saturday morning – alarm goes off at 3:00 for the 5:30 race. I hadn’t slept well but was still excited. Was up, ready and out the door by 3:30, no foot pain!!! I got a little lost going to the start line because of road closures and missing a sign but I made it there in plenty of time to find Damaris. It was so fun to meet her in real life and she’s just a blast!! I would love to run with her again, any time! We checked our bags and headed to Corral B at 4:30. It’s a long, crowded walk but we did get into the corrals by 5:00 or so. The crowd was very excited and Disney was doing their best to keep the energy and entertainment going. Now, it’s hot and humid. I was comfortable waiting in just my running clothes, that early in the morning. I’m not sure of the starting temps but I know the humidity was thick. Yuck. We agreed to take water or Poweraide at each opportunity as well.
Mile 1-3: 11:01, 10:43, 15:35. Our plan was to warm up in the first 2-3 miles and see what we could do once it got crowded and the photo opportunities started. Damaris knew and was super cool about the fact that I wanted to get tons of pictures. Mile 3 had Captain Jack and the Black Pearl in the median so we had to stop for that!
Mile 4-7: 10:26, 10:41, 24:26, 19:28. This portion was highway entering the Magic Kingdom area. We didn’t have any problem dropping back to our desired pace after the Capt Jack stop, the roads were wide enough to get around any slower people. There was a small hill entering the park but nothing to be concerned about, we both ran it strong. Then, mile 4.5 or so, we hit MK. My breath is taken away by the beauty of the castle lit up in icicle lights, I get choked up, thinking about all the expectations that I’ve had for this race and this moment. The crowds were 5 people thick, the whole length of Main Street. It was very crowded for the runners and most got on the sidewalks for pictures but some just stopped where they were, which was a little annoying. It’s still too dark for very good pictures but we did our best. Saw Buzz Lightyear, Ariel, Belle & the Beast before the castle. The trumpet players were blowing as we shuffled under the castle and down the walkway. It was way, way to crowded for any good pictures there but I think the professional photographer got at least one of me and D with the castle background. Next was Liberty Square, Tiana and Jesse & Bullseye. Aurora and Prince Phillip were just outside the park as well. Texted some pics to DD and we were off. No foot pain so I’m very encouraged.
Mile 8-10, 17:25, 13:16, 16:34: The road is pretty narrow and crowded at this point. We had lost anyone near a Corral B pace long ago so we were crowded with run/walkers and slower people for the most part. I ran in the grass while D ran on the shoulder for part of the way. We chatted and bumped elbows so many times that I’m surprised we weren’t bruised! Running with D really did make this race so much fun, I’m very glad we were able to do that. There were most picture chances here – Mary Poppins and crew, Genie, Green Army Man who yelled for us to run harder up the hill and Phenius & Ferb (my kid’s favorite). The sun is up by now and I’m getting pretty hot. But not “oh I’m melting, get this over with” hot.
Mile 11-13.5 - 11:16, 10:40, 11:55, 10:04: We enter the last stretch and some decent overpasses but D and I keep running, happily passing many, many other runners. I could have probably ran harder as I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself but D and I both wanted to save our legs for the bigger race the next day. There weren’t any characters once we entered Epcot so that helped keep us moving to the finish. D and I got our medals, I grabbed some ice for my foot and we went our separate ways, agreeing to try to meet up the next morning.
So my finishing time was a 3:08. It might be a less than perfect finishing time for me but it was one of the most fun races I’ve ever run and that’s exactly what I was looking for in it. I’m so happy that Damaris and I ran together. She’s smart, funny, honest and has a great sense of style. I’d love to run with her again!
Saturday day was spent wearing the boot, icing, stretching and relaxing. That evening, Brett and I meet up with some other BF forumites, Lurch (with his wife and sweet daughter) and 4outa5 for dinner in Downtown Disney. The time passed quickly as we exchanged race stories and got to know each other. I may have scarfed down all the bread in a weak attempt to carb-load. The shrimp pasta was decent as well.
Sunday morning – another 3:00 alarm. I slept pretty well that night, as did Brett. We left right at 3:30 and had no problems following the directions to Epcot. The traffic was significant but was moving and soon we were parked. We found Damaris, hit the port-o-lets, bag check and walked straight to Corral B. We got there early and just sat on the ground for 40 mins or so. Brett and D found some bushes to water as well. D was pretty excited about doing that for the first time!!
Disney interviewed Bill Rogers, Jeff Galloway and Frank Shorter while we were waiting. It’s pretty amazing that this race has been going on for 20 years, 92 people have run all 20 of them. I was very excited to say the least. Fireworks go off right on time and our corral is released. Brett and I had decided to “make hay while we could” during the race, knowing we’d lose time with pictures and crowds (Brett HATES running in crowds so I had given him plenty of warning about that). We said good luck to D and headed out.
Mile 1-3: 10:18, 9:57, 12:06 We started off at a good pace and stop for a picture with Capt Jack again. The road wasn’t very crowded as we were on a 3 lane highway and it was well lit too. My foot is feeling fine and I’m so excited that I feel like I’m flying.
Mile 4-7(Magic Kingdom area): 9:36, 9:49, 23:18, 17:11. Stop at each water stop for Poweraid, take a Gu about mile 5 as well. Entered into MK to another packed Main Street and I had tears in my eyes. Brett and I stopped for several pictures along this way. The same characters were out as the half but I wanted pics with Brett so we stopped for them all. The longest line was for Mickey and Minnie, under the castle, which is to be expected. We waited probably 10 mins there but people were very considerate, taking pictures as quickly as possible. We were able to run through the castle this time but the crowd at the bottom was a little rough. Ran through Liberty Square and Frontierland, where we decided to make a pit-stop in the nice bathrooms rather than waiting for a port-o-let later. Pics with Cinderella and Prince Charming outside the park as well.
Mile 8-11, 10:02, 12:25, 12:57, 9:42 – I knew we had several miles of nothing so we went back to our running plan. We both ran in the grass to pass as many people as possible. We skipped a few photo stops as well (he didn’t care about Mary Poppins!). The sun was up by now but we had some good shade too. Part of this course was on the Speedway they have with cars along the track. We joked about how anti-climatic it was after running the Indianapolis Motor Speedway several times.
Mile 12-14, 13:07, 10:58, 14:52- Animal Kingdom Park – The route gets really narrow again as we’re running through the park. Stop for pics with Pocohontas, Rafiki, Minnie & Daisy. Hit the half way point at 2:51.
Mile 15-17, 13:20, 10:18, 9:46 – Went back to our plan and started passing people. The road was wide but the sun was getting higher. I mentioned to Brett that I could tell my quads were going to be hurting later but were good now and that my foot was pain free still. He said his quads were bugging him as well. Ate some gel, powerade and he ate a banana as we entered the Wide World of Sports.
Mile 18-21, 10:41, 10:41, 11:42, 12:31 – This part of the course was strange. We weren’t in park but the large sports area for all the high school teams that come down for conventions and stuff. Best part was the ice sponges we got at mile 18, which was perfect timing for me as I had just mentioned wanting to take a walk break. We ran around an actual track (joked about doing intervals) while some high school kids were warming up in the infield. Ran around some baseball fields while some kids were practicing. We were also on narrow walkways for most of this part. We did run around the baseball stadium where the Braves practice but that wasn’t a big deal. Mile 20 was supposed to be a big celebration and there were rumors of Aerosmith playing there. Ahh, nope. I think the celebration was a few extra characters and a large 20th Anniversary banner over the road. We stopped for some pics and our quads were hurting pretty bad when we had to step up and down on the platforms the characters were on. So we decided to stop at the next med tent for some Biofreeze gel. Luck would have it that the med tent was just in mile 21. We both slathered our legs and continued on. Full sun on the hot highway and the heat really started to hit us. I started dumping a cup of water on my head at each water stop now, which really seemed to help. Brett’s quads kept cramping so we stopped at another med tent for more Bio-freeze and some Extra Strength Tylenol that they were handing out.
Mile 22-24 12:39, 12:36, 13:29- Ran through Hollywood Studios here. Got a pic with the Incredibles, Mike & Sully and Wreak it Ralph. I was feeling good still since the Biofreeze kicked in. Right before stopping to have our picture taken in front of the Fantasia hat, Brett pulled up with a severe quad cramp. He hobbled off course and pounded on it. We decided to have him run ahead in an attempt to stretch it out some (I think he needed some time to mentally tell himself to Man Up) so he headed off. I could still see him 100 yards or so in front of me. I kept my pace just fine, but the course was very narrow now as we were just on a connecting walk way and going around the Boardwalk hotel area. Many walkers and run/walkers in this portion. But lots of crowd support too. I high-fived every kid that I saw. Brett would stop every little bit to wait for me and then run ahead for another ¼ mile or so. He kept telling me that he was really looking forward to the beer at Epcot’s World Showcase (WS) about mile 25 and that it was the only thing he had been focusing on for the last 5 miles. We knew that WS opened at 11 and we were right on time for that (this beer was the only way that I convinced him to run with me instead of running his own race!!). Stop for a pic with the Fairy Godmother. Last water stop as well, dumped more water on my head.
Mile 25-26.8 (Garmin was way off!!), 10:25, 12:50, 16:53. We entered WS in England and went straight to the beer kiosk. It was closed. Seriously, I thought Brett was going to snap at this point. An employee said the UK doesn’t start selling alcohol until noon. Oops. We run over to France, get a nice picture and ask the kiosk there for an Orange Grande Marnier slush, my favorite drink there. Again, not until noon. Crap. We get some pics (no lines!!) with Princess Aurora and Marie the cat. Then on to Morocco for a pic with Jasmine and still no beer. I was feeling pretty crappy for Brett and kept apologizing. Germany was a bust as well, but I grabbed a picture with Dopey. Norway was beer free as well. But then – Mexico was next. And they were open with frozen margaritas and XX Equis!!! We happily stood in line and handed over our money, thanking the employees for serving us! They took our picture and we took more pics in front of the Mayan temple. From there we walked, holding hands and drinking our cold beverages. We were a hit among the spectators! He finished his by the time we got to Spaceship Earth but I had to throw ¼ of mine away (talk about a brain freeze!!!). We finished off the race running together, cheering with the crowd and cheesing for the cameras. It was amazing. I high-fived Mickey when I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes.
I started to look around the crowd and listen to the cheers and see the other runners finishing and got very emotional. All the money I had worked hard to save for this, all the training and planning, the frustration and anxiety from my PF. It call hit me at the finish and I couldn’t stop the tears for a few minutes. Brett just hugged me and told me how proud he was of me. We got our medals (Ah-Mazingly awesome) and I got my Goofy medal as well. I grabbed some ice for my foot and we cooled down. Brett walked around, stretching out his quad too. After the race, I had a massage scheduled at the Grand Floridian and I know that really helped with my recovery as I wasn’t very sore after that and feel completely normal 48 hours later.
So – was it worth the money? Yes and no. The race absolutely was. It is by far the most organized race I have ever run. There is plenty of value in it. Yes, it got crowded in parts but I know if I was looking to PR, I could have there by not taking pictures, my pace would have kept the narrow areas from being too crowded. But as I told others, I can PR at 5 marathons within 30 mins of my house. I wanted this race weekend to be an unforgettable experience and it was. What wasn’t worth the money? Well – hotel, flights and food are expensive. But we also chose to spend plenty on souvenirs for the kids who stayed at home. And we ate at some very nice restaurants and went to the parks for a day. So we could have spent less. The time that Brett and I spent together was priceless. We really, really enjoyed the time away doing things that we both enjoy (drinking, running, eating, sex and Disney). I would do it again in a second but probably only every 4-5 years rather than every year. There are many other big races that I want to do as well.
Swag – I received 3 l/s tech shirts and a tee-shirt for the 5k. 3 medals and a plastic medallion (5k). Shoelaces and a 20th anniversary button. I purchased a Goofy pint glass, headband, commemorative pins and a necklace as well. Also a Mickey doll with a Goofy medal.
Official stats from the full: 5:34:33. We managed a negative split, only because all the characters and congestion in the MK. But still, we could have given up when we started hurting but we didn’t so that’s something to be proud of.
So, thanks for reading this novel!!!!
Training for NC24. Not sure why.
Thanks for the fun Race Report! It was a pleasure to meet you at the FE on Saturday night. I heard that some people stop for a McFlurry at the McDonald's at mile 17 and that some people rode Expedition Everest, but stopping for an adult beverage in Epcot? Capital idea!
The pics aren't showing up for me
Entertaining RR all the same though great job! Definitely a cool experience to have had and shared with your DH! Congrats!
5K (6 total) PR: 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K (2 total) PR: 1:05:02 (5/19/13) 4M (2 total) PR:44:46 (4/7/13) [yet to "race" one of these all-out] HM TBD 10/12/13
Capitol Hill Classic 10K 5/19/13
Baltimore 10 Miler 6/15/13
NY Giants Run of Champions 5K 6/23/13
Goal Race of 2013:
Baltimore Half Marathon 10/12/13
About to read this Mary, but pics aren't showing up for me either.
Shake off the dust....Arise.
PR's.....5k - 24:00......10k - 55:21........15k - 1:19:43.......HM - 1:59:45
I read it. I loved it. But I can't see the pics of my pretty Mary! :-(
Congratulations to you and your hubby, Mary! What a fun weekend!
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
Sounds like a dreamy weekend. Bummer I can't see the pics. Congrats!
Yay pictures!!!! Love love love all the outfits! Your half outfit is the BEST!!!
Great report, Mary! I love how you describe the HM exactly as I was experiencing it too! It was very nice to have met you and run with you. Your husband is also super nice. Glad to have met him too!
We need to do this more often!
Congrats on your Goofy!
DamarisMarathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
PRs: 24:57 (5K); 51:25 (10K); 42:46 (5 Miles); 2:04:31 (HM); 4:34:09 (Marathon); 8:00 (Trail 50K)
Next: San Francisco Marathon * Chicago Marathon * MCM * Ft. Myers Beach Marathon * Philadelphia Marathon * Space Coast Marathon * WPB Marathon
Damaris Runs with Asthma
Congratulations on the races!! I loved your costumes - and those nails! It sounds like you had a blast running the HM with Damaris. The swag? So fabulous. Thanks for the report and all the wonderful pics!
Awesome report and pictures. I will forgive you husband for not wanting a picture with Mary Poppins, although that is VERY strange. :-) Well done to both of you.
What a fun race! Great report!
Marathons are habit-forming...
"I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:13, NLT
Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing your race experience.
And I'm glad your foot was able to cooperate!
Started C25K Feb. 2012! First 5K 5/1/12 32:00
Current PRs: 5K: 26:03 12/15/12 10K: 58:32 9/23/12
10M: 1:26:15 3/16/13 HM:1:56:00 4/14/13
Ah! Now I can see! Mary, you look so beautiful in all of your pictures... and those outfits are sooo cute! I'm so glad you got to meet Damaris, so much fun you must have had together,and a romantic getaway with your DH is priceless. But sex and Mickey mixed together? I don't know about that...
Awesome RR Mary, spoken like a true Disney aficionado. It was special to meet you and Brett on Sat night, my very first FE as part of my very first Marathon (my RR will be later). Thanks for eating all the bread (both orders), I was seriously carb deficient on Sunday and that surely cost me several minutes of time!
I am happy for you both that you got to spend quality time away from the kids. Everyone here should have a Mary and Brett as their friends, the world would be way better off as you both are super nice. Tell Brett thanks for the salt tip, I used that on Sunday several times to help retain water - wonder if he did not and that contributed to his cramps.
Shame we didn't get to meet in the pre-race area, I was in Coral B near the middle with Amik and her DH (which btw Amik is no longer a bush virgin also, hehe). I have one question: WTF is Brett wearing long sleves in a 70 deg/100% humidity marathon -- doesn't he know how to dress himself?
It was a great weekend, the second/third largest running event in the world and Disney does it best. Hopefully Brett managed to get the Biofreeze in the right places so it didn't mess up the rest of your time together.
Don't call me Buttercup!
Sounds like a great weekend! A 5K, a HM, and a FM - that is amazing! Congrats!
Slow and steady wins the.... wait a second! I've been lied to!
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