Disneyworld 2017 Marathon. 26.2 miles. I did that. Like what the heck? Prior to this race, the most I’ve ran is 8 miles in preparation for the sadly cancelled half marathon (when we got to the 13.1 mark, I felt good so now I know half marathons are my “sweet spot”…actually the 10k was when I felt my best haha). I admit part of the reason I finished the marathon was because I’m stubborn as hell and I’m not a quitter. It takes a lot for me to walk away from something uncompleted. It still haunts me that I gave up in the middle of 7.3 rock climbing wall a few years ago. Of course I returned the following week to finish it but I hate that I didn’t get it done in the first place…
Anyways when my cousins and I decided that we were going to do the full marathon in lieu of our cancelled half, we started freaking out immediately when the registration confirmations started to roll in. To make myself feel better, I thought if I can do at least up to the halfway mark, I would have done what I came for and there’s no shame in taking the bus back and calling it a successful day. Of course race day happens and we’re up at 3am in 37 degree weather (felt 10 degrees colder due to winds) to take a 4am shuttle to Epcot for the start. We’re shivering in the cold as we wait for our corral to be called. Fun fact: wearing a garbage bag helps keep one warm. We looked a little crazy but I don’t mind looking a fool to not freeze. Also hand warmers are your best friends!!
So we finally get called and it’s go time. You can’t really go out the gate guns blazing because there are usually a lot of people around you going at different paces and going 100% mile one is a rookie mistake because then you’re screwed for your future miles. My team of 6 kept pace with one another and we were dodging and weaving to keep together. Side note: it is so surreal watching the sunrise as you run through Magic Kingdom! Actually this whole experience has been surreal…
By mile 9, we split into 2 teams of 3 as one team was a good minute or so faster per mile and to be honest I knew I couldn’t keep the pace if I was going to complete 26 miles. So we got to a comfortable pace of 12-13 min/miles and getting to the 13.1 mark was pretty easy. I had some hip pain (I always have hip pain…stupid cliff diving…stupid choices of my youth lol) but for the most part felt good so we continued. Also I didn’t see a bus to pick us up if I didn’t want to finish so the only way to end this was to finish >.<
So we’re jogging along just fine and BAM mile 16 I hit a wall where I was like “okay I need to wave the white flag…muscles I didn’t even know existed on my leg have sharp pain”. My aunt and cousin said let’s walk .2 of a mile and jog the rest of the mile. The little reprieve helped me get it together and we were sailing again from mile 18-21 and then mile 21 starts and BAM my legs are jello and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die since I felt like crumpling up into the fetal position where I would most likely be trampled. Of course I am a germaphobe and can’t lay on the ground everyone walks/runs on so I continue to soldier on as a power walker. Thank God for my aunt and cousin because if it weren’t for the mutual misery or the pep talks, I’m pretty sure I’d still be on the track 😛 we end up walking and stopping for pictures with Disney characters to forget the pain.
This is also when I noticed that my fingers have swollen up and I freak out x_X My dreams of being a hand model are now dashed! Luckily my aunt said this is normal for extremities to swell when one runs longer than 15 miles (also bad news for my already big feet…) and yes my fingers would go to normal size again phew! Anyways I have to say at this point everything below the waist hurts and my body basically hates me..but the finish was so close!! It becomes a mental game now. So to keep going we make ourselves do small jog goals like “okay we will jog to that trash can and then power walk to that tree. Now jog to that bend in the road. Oh there’s a camera, jog and smile. Okay camera gone, walk again” 😛
Finally we hit mile 26 and we are literally so close!!! We hold hands and cross that finish line together! Then we hug and scream and that my friends is my first (and probably only :P) full marathon experience!
If my tale does anything I hope it entertains you but most of all, I hope it encourages you! As of May 2016 I could only run a 5k and before this race, I had only ran 8 miles straight and look now: 26.2 miles done! No regrets! Well my legs probably have some regret but the amazing feeling of accomplishment is so worth it. Mind over matter my friends! Also Disneyworld is pretty magical so not a bad place to do your first run. And even though I’m in pain a bit (seriously stairs are the worst right now…and so is getting out of chairs!), I’m already signed up for the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland in August which is a 10k Saturday and a half marathon Sunday back to back. Come join me for one or maybe challenge yourself to do both! We all start somewhere 🙂 xo
Ps marathon runners, any recommendations for wireless headphones? I love my TaoTronics buds but they died at mile 21 (perhaps that was part of why it got hard…?). Or are wire headphones recommended? Also extra battery charger for cell phone recommended? Hard to have Rock my Run and Map my Run playing without ending up with a dead phone…and I didn’t even get to snapchat 😛