Time for the 25th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon!!
Cold again! But forecast to get warmer through the race – this required a bit of a rethink of my gear.
On the other 3 races I wore thermal running leggings and my winter running jacket – with the expected warmth later in the race the leggings were too warm so I skipped using those for the full. I also had to carry the winter running jacket from mile 4 on during the half so I didn’t want to have to do the same thing for the marathon. Instead I used an extra thermal mid-layer that I could toss if I needed to.
These gear changes meant I needed to also wear some disposable sweat pants and anther Mylar blanket and garbage bag.
For the past several years I have run marathons using a hydration backpack but I didn’t bring it with me this race – and I re-discovered on half the day before that the Powerade will not work for me. I did however bring a belt pouch that had 2 bottle holders – I put a flat bottle of Coke in one and a bottle of the zero calorie electrolyte drink I have used on ultra-marathons in the other. I resolved to drink water at every aid station and slowly work out my 2 bottles through the race – this worked surprisingly well and I had absolutely no stomach issues through the race!
I decided that I wanted to use the gimbal again this morning but once I got back to the hotel after the half, I saw that my phone was down to 16% battery life – as a Canadian my phone is always in roam mode when I am at Disney World and that burns more battery (cell looks for a non-roaming tower more frequently using more juice than it normally would), plus I used the phone for music to run to. So I needed another plan for what to take videos with if I wanted to use the gimbal the next day.
I spent some time after the half rigging up my GoPro Session 4 to fit in the gimbal – there are gimbals specifically for GoPro cameras but mine is designed for smart phones so it took some playing but I came up with a solution that I was comfortable with.
The GoPro does not do as well as the smartphone in low light so my videos before dawn are not as good. Also the GoPro will not do 4k so my videos for the full are in 1080p instead. But that was the trade off to make sure my phone lasted to the end of the race giving me running music!
So I was up extra early again and once again I was on the first bus out of the Boardwalk Resort – whoohoo!
There were more buses at the drop area than there were for the half – so there were more people already there!
That meant there were more people already in line to see the characters but I needed to still visit Pluto and Minnie Mouse and their lines were the shortest since their associated races were already completed.
I got those pictures relatively quickly.
After that I made one pit stop before heading out to the corrals. Corral C again for this race.
I found a spot by the fences and sat down, snuggled into my Mylar and garbage bag, and relaxed until it was time to get up and get ready to move.
I ditched the throw away sweat pants, the Mylar and the garbage before the start and then we were off.
I had no plan to get pics of the mile markers for this one so I didn’t have any regular stops planned – this worked out fine – I was able to keep my brain occupied even without a short term goal to keep hitting.
Video of some of the highlights of the run:
In the backstage area on the back side of Magic Kingdom they had out the steampunk dragon from the Festival of Fantasy parade. I hadn’t intended to do any character stops but I had to stop for this one. There was no line and I love the look of the float. I always have to make this stop!
By the time I got through Magic Kingdom, the sun was up and I was boiling! Time to ditch one of my thermal shirts…that was made fun since I had to ditch a mid layer. Put down the gimbal,rRunning hat and belt off, top shirt off, thermal shirt off, top shirt back on, then hat and belt back on, tie shirt around waist, pick up the gimbal and continue on…then stop 5 minutes later to ditch the shirt that I tied around my waist because I could not get it to sit comfortable. Some time lost there!
Then it was the long stretch between the Grand Floridian and Animal Kingdom – I stopped to get some pictures of some old ride vehicles that were out for viewing. Love the Nautilus sub!
I enjoyed to run through Animal Kingdom and I like that the half way point is now in the park instead of in the parking / backstage areas – although I don’t really enjoy the out and back section that makes this possible.
And then, continue on toward ESPN along the road system – not really exciting but no drama and it went smoothly.
Next ESPN Wide World of Sports – it is always a bit disheartening to see the runners coming out of ESPN as you are going in and knowing they are at least 3 miles ahead of you. Meandered through ESPN and made the obligatory stop to get stones out of my shoes after the run through the stadium. At least there were benches right after the exit from the stadium!
From there back out on the highway through the area where they are doing a bunch of road construction – not particularly magical but before long we were taking the onramp to head toward Hollywood Studios.
Then the shortened trip through Hollywood Studios – all the construction there means that you don’t get as much time in this park unfortunately – I am holding out hope that once Toy Story and Star Wars lands are complete the marathon will give more time in this park. Thinking about it though they might reserve Star Wars land for the Dark Side half?
Coming out of Hollywood Studios you head past the construction area for the Skyway station for Hollywood Studios before going down the path towards mile 24 and the Boardwalk area.
Just past mile 24 my wife and kids were out and waiting to cheer me on! They had a can of Coke for me as well which would have been great but I didn’t think I could handle the fizz at that point.
I continued on from there past the Dolphin and Swan hotel areas, past the Yacht Club Resort, Stormalong Bay and the Beach Club Resort.
Heather and the kids were waiting for me on the bridge heading toward International Gateway but unfortunately I didn’t see them. I had my headphones in and did not hear them call me and wasn’t expecting them so wasn’t looking around. Oops.
Then through the construction area for the Skyway station by International Gateway, hit the last aid station for water and then into World Showcase by England. I did the tour through World Showcase before heading toward Future World and Spaceship Earth.
Interestingly they had out some princesses in the France pavilion but they were off to the side so the runners were missing that they were there…Heather and our daughter took advantage though!
Made the corner at Spaceship Earth and headed into the backstage area for mile 26 and the choir. Interestingly the choir was split up on both sides of the course instead of on just one side like usual. Kind of liked the split as it gave a stereo effect.
Checked my watch and I was at 26.4 miles with around 0.2 to go – definitely added some of my own mileage to this race!
And then the home stretch toward the finish line!
Done and it never turned into a death march – frankly that was a nice surprise – my training was not good going into this race (injuries, etc) but I finished in less time than I expected and still felt ok. No injuries! This means I have figured out my nagging Achilles and knee issues and I can start to get training properly again – maybe a return to form for 2018?
Got my awesome 25th anniversary medal!
Then went to the challenge tent and got my Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge medals. Both are awesome – love the angular design of the Goofy medal and the blue jewel eyes on the Dopey!
Next it was time to get in line for some after pictures.
While I was waiting I noticed something drop off the guy in front of me when his picture was getting taken…I scanned around and realized he had lost one of the eyes off of his Dopey medal. Crap! I pointed it out to him and he grabbed it – it could be glued back on for sure but I personally probably would have gone back to the challenge tent and asked for another medal. Not sure what he did.
I saw online after that some others have had the same issue. I babied my medal after I saw the one fall off and mine made it home with no issues.
After getting through the recovery area I thought about grabbing a post race beer from the beer cart but saw that it was over near the entrance to the secure area – across the full parking lot from the hotel buses. Decided that I had beer in our hotel room and opted for the buses.
Short wait for a bus and then a quick trip to the hotel and a long shower!
Whoohoo!! My 2nd Dopey Challenge complete including my 7th Goofy Challenge, 14th full marathon (8 of which were the Walt Disney World Marathon)!!!!
I then opted for a short nap before we headed into Epcot to celebrate our running adventures together. We visited with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Minnie Mouse with our medals and got some great pictures!
And with that the running portion of the vacation was over and the true family vacation part began. Great trip and great fun running around Disney World!