January 19, 2013 by Sarah
Last Sunday was marathon day in Disney!
The race started at 5:30 am, so we set an alarm for 3:00 am. I don’t think I have ever set an alarm for 3 am before! Mark and I got ready, grabbed our breakfast (pre-race fuel for me was a Luna bar and a banana), and headed to the shuttle. bus The shuttle was packed, but it got us where we needed to be. After hitting up the porta potties, we walked to our corral and were ready to go!
As we started, we kept a slow but steady pace. The crowds were pretty thick which made it difficult to pick up our speed. All of our efforts to hydrate started to backfire a bit, and we stopped around the first mile marker for a quick bathroom break.
After a bathroom break, Mark needing to re-tie a shoe, and stopping to get a small stone out of my shoe it was finally smooth sailing.
The first park that we encountered on the course was Magic Kingdom (around mile 5-6) and it was awesome. It was just magical – there were crowds cheering and the energy was incredible. Plus, we got to run through the castle!
Next up was Animal Kingdom (around mile 13). I have never been to Animal Kingdom before and it’s a neat place. It felt like we were in a different world! I loved running through the jungle and having Mount Everest in the background.
After leaving Animal Kingdom, we had a long stretch to the EPSN Wide World of Sports Complex. This was a little hilly and the characters and crowd support were a bit more sparse. Mile 15-16 were very tough for me. I was starting to feel a bit sore and got bogged down thinking about the distance ahead of me. Mark suggested stopping by the medical tent for some biofreeze for my legs, which was a lifesaver and together Mark and I powered through it.
ESPN Wide World of Sports (mile 18-19) was not my favorite part. Running on the track and the baseball stadium was neat, but the couple of miles around here felt so long. Soon after we left the baseball stadium, we hit mile 20 which was decorated to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Marathon. There was music, lots of cheers, and these awesome Disney puppets (I don’t even know how to describe them). I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Mile 20 Spectacular, but it was fun.
The next park was Hollywood Studios (mile 22-23). It was a strange route through Hollywood studios, but it was still fun to be running through the park. We moved straight from Hollywood Studios to Epcot, which is where we ended the race. I was so happy to be in Epcot and was feeling okay until part way into mile 25. I started to feel so nauseous and just terrible. Mark and I would run and then walk in short intervals to get us to the finish. I knew we were close to the end, but the finish line felt so so far away.
Right before the finish line I saw my Dad and Mark’s parents. The only thing I could get out was my plea for water – I was really struggling. I was feeling so dehydrated, nauseous and hot at this point. I continued with the short intervals of walking and running and just tried to focus on the finish line. Mark and I tried to take it all in and realize what we were about to accomplish – we were about to finish our first marathon!
As I crossed the finish line, I gave Goofy a high five and felt flooded with so many emotions. We grabbed a few bags of ice and I started to look for a place to sit down since I was still feeling nauseous. After a few minutes of laying down in the shade and drinking water I started to feel better.
Throughout the race, I drank water and fueled with 2 gus and 2 bananas. They had Powerade on the course, but it normally upsets my stomach so I stuck with water. Unfortunately, skipping Powerade meant that I ended the marathon with an electrolyte imbalance. I will need to make sure to replenish salt somehow next time. I never had this issue with my long runs, but I think it was too much between the heat and the added mileage.
As soon as I was feeling better, we snapped a few pictures and then headed back to the hotel to shower, eat, and rest.