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Old 01-16-2010, 06:47 PM   #1
It's kind of hard to ride with someone when your on vacation by yourself
I knew that impulsive decision would come back to haunt me!
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 3,891

From 0 to 26.2 .... running the Disney marathon

This Trip Report is going to focus on running and, in particular, running the Disney marathon. It will be posted in two parts:

Part 1: Background and Training
Part 2: The 2010 WDW Full-Marathon

When I decided to sign-up for the full-marathon last August (this after I sulked for a couple of months because registration for the half-marathon was full) I searched and searched the internet for all of the information that I could find on the full-marathon. I couldn't find much and what I did find never seemed to be enough. I was desperately seeking as many marathon experience reports as I could, worried about what my own experience would be.

If you've ever considered being involved in Disney's marathon week-end but don't run regularly, or at all, at this point in time; I highly recommend that you sign-up for the half-marathon before registration fills up in (what?) a couple of months. The half-marathon books fast. Now, if you want the challenge of the full marathon, have a determined and (extremely) stubborn personality (like me!), willing to be extremely strict with a training schedule and are prepared to walk the course should anything happen, then here is my story to give you an idea of what your life might be like for 5 - 6 months leading up to the big day.

The time: August 2006 - August 2009
The place: Various locations in the state of Texas

I developed the grand idea of running Disney's half-marathon from reading a small half-marathon TR buried in a fellow DISer's larger Trip Report. I have never been a runner. Ever. I was overweight most of my life and, in fact, just lost the weight about three years ago. In school, I was always the last person picked for various sports activities. I simply didn't look athletic, which I wasn't, and no one ever wanted me on their team. (And since I wasn't athletic, I really didn't want to be on their team. Darn those Phys Ed requirements!)

After I finally got the bulk of my weight off, I developed a somewhat consistent exercise program. OK, I confess: my exercise program goes in spurts: There are periods of time when I'm gung-ho and work hard at the gym several times per week and then there are periods of time when I'm at home, sitting on my lazy butt, and forgetting that a gym exists until I can no longer zip up my pants. It is then that I remember the 'G' word: Gym.

A couple of years ago I did the C25k program. I started the program running outdoors but wound up on the treadmill in the later weeks. The treadmill running didn't last for long and I never reached the 9th (and final) week.

Fast forward a year: I still worked out (somewhat) consistently at the gym and I'd built up enough cardio endurance to run 3 -4 miles on the treadmill. That would be, 3-4 miles on a flat (0% incline) treadmill at about a 11 mpm pace. There is a difference in running on a treadmill and running outdoors.

The time: August 2009
The place: Various computers in various locations in the state of Texas

Information about the full-marathon began demanding my attention. I was very disappointed that I would have to wait until 2011 to run the half-marathon and everywhere I turned, on message boards (and this was before I discovered the W.I.S.H. board on the DIS) to e-mails from Disney, the fact that the Disney full-marathon was still open to registration would grab my attention. It nagged at me ... I couldn't stop thinking about how I really wanted to go to the 2010 Disney Marathon Week-end now that the bug had bitten.

I finally caved. I waited a full 24 hours after making my decision before I actually signed-up and forked over the money. I laid out all of the pros and cons for training and running a full-marathon when I wasn't currently a consistent runner. I finally convinced myself to go for it after acknowledging the following points:

1) I was still far enough out to develop a 3 mile base run before going into a full-marathon training program
2) I'm a walker by nature. I literally can walk for hours and at a quick pace. It's meditation for me. Worst case scenario: I'd walk the entire 26.2 miles.

So, now convinced, I signed-up. I paid the race money. I booked the hotel. I purchased the airfare. I just spent over $1,000.00 and there is no way that I'm backing out now! Financial commitment is great motivation!

The time: August - November 2009
The place: my training park in Texas

I went to www.marathonrookie.com and printed off their 16 week marathon training program... oh! but I'm further out than 16 weeks. I'm a little over 21 weeks out. Onward to the C25k podcasts. I download the last four podcasts (weeks 5 - 9) and picked up in week 5 to train myself to run outdoors. Off I go to the running store and am fitted for proper shoes. (...hold on! there's special clothing to run in?? oh well, that'll have to wait. I don't currently have an extra 30 bucks to spend on a special t-shirt that looks like a normal cotton t-shirt. real cotton t-shirts will work for now. who knew that running is so darn expensive?!?) I find a nice park, complete with duck ponds, and a 2 mile running trail. I'm set!

Remember, this is Texas. It's 100 degrees outside. (and I'm in the real cotton t-shirts; not the wicking t-shirts that look like cotton!) My Saturday morning "long" runs (.. yeah, not much "long" to long back then!) I could do in early morning but it was still quite warm. My week-day runs were after work around 6:00 pm. It would still be at or around 100 degrees in temp that late in the day.

I'm training for Florida. Florida's hot (), I'd console myself to get out there and do it. At that stage of my training it would be more walking than running, so it wasn't too bad for me. I never finished week 8 of the C25k program - I was already running 3 miles, easily, by that point. I felt great! I finally began to believe that I could do this. I reached the 16th week of the 16-week marathon training program and felt both nervousness and elation that I was now moving into the actual training program. This meant that each Saturday's "long" run would increase in miles. I felt good at three miles, I looked forward to 4 miles ... but what about 5 miles? ... or 6 miles?.... and oh-my-gosh! It doesn't seem all that long until I'm scheduled to run 16 miles! Can I do it?

Yes, minor freak-out did occur but I'm stubborn. I plowed on, determined to accomplish this. Here's another thing: I did this entire training solo. Last Tuesday night, flying home from MCO, I argued with another marathon runner on my flight. (And I suspect that she's a DISer, but I didn't ask. ) She kept insisting that it's "more fun" to run with others. That I should run with others. Yada, yada, yada. From what I hear, most people do prefer to run with others. That's great. But, it's not for me. I trained solo and I was happy with training solo. I was able to hold myself accountable to get out there and get my run in. My biggest fear: Lining up at the Start Line last Sunday morning with 26.2 miles looming before me and being seriously under trained. That thought alone kept me going out, four times/week, to do my next run.

The weeks flew. October came and with it came the "flood of 2009". (You wont find news headlines ... that's just my own assessment of the month) Almost the entire month was nothing but rain, forcing me to the gym and the treadmill many times for my run. By this point, I had learned that if you're going to run on the treadmill, set it at a 2% incline. Also, I had learned that my running pace was much faster than my previous futile running attempts had been on the treadmill. Running outdoors, I started off with a 9'10 mpm pace but as I reached the double digits, I dropped down to an avg 9'3 mpm pace and stayed between a 9'3 - 9'5 mpm pace (depending upon how I was feeling in my run that particular day) as my miles continued to climb. By this point in time, my lower miles were picking up to the 8-something mpm pace (I discovered this by accident on a short-run that I didn't check my pace on until after I stopped running. I was curious as to why I was so exhausted!) and I had to teach myself how to start out slower and pace myself so that I wouldn't burn-out a few miles into my run but could stay consistent into double-digit runs.

One thing that I learned during the month of October: I hate treadmills. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them. I won't run on treadmills anymore. Seriously. I've developed the running bug and have had some runner's highs from running outdoors. I don't notice the passing of time when I run outdoors. I can relax and enjoy the breeze in my face (ok: sometimes it's a gusting wind or the pelting rain!). But time ceases to exist for me when I'm running outdoors. Time on a treadmill, however, ... let's just put it this way: there are no happy thoughts while I'm on a treadmill. In fact, I often feel as if I'm being tortured.

I'll never forget this one run: I was beyond sick of the treadmill. A storm was scheduled to move into the area late that afternoon. I had a 4 mile run scheduled and I decided to go to my park instead of the gym to see if I could fit in the run before the rain moved in. It was very humid so I took a water bottle with me (In my training runs, I don't carry water on me for any runs under 6 miles. That will probably change during the Texas summer this summer as I'll fully be running in it. But for the cooler months, the previous statement stands). The thing was, I didn't have a sports bottle with me and running with a screw on cap water bottle was ... interesting. Especially when you lose said cap the first time you remove it and have water splashing all over you for the remainder of your run.

The sun was still out when I parked but in the distance the sky was nothing but black and I could hear the BOOM! BOOM! of thunder as I started with a quick warm-up walk. Worried that I wouldn't make the full 4 miles (and I didn't) I took off, not caring about my pace. Needless to say; I was already burning out 1 mile in - NO idea how fast I was moving. I just wanted to get the last 3 miles in quickly. I was moving and so was the storm. The sun was gone, the thunder louder and at one point I was running along the edge of the storm system: It was hot, then freezing cold, hot, cold hot, cold... I kept running. I think that I was nearing 3 miles when the tornado sirens began to blare and the sprinkles of rain started. Redirecting my route, I cut across grass, making a desperate dash toward my parked car. The water bottle was still in my hand as I neared an open trash can. Without slowing my pace, I attempted to pour out the rest of the water onto the grass before throwing the still half-full bottle into the trash. I felt a bit guilty that I hadn't been able to empty all of the water.... yes, it took several seconds to click that the trash can was about to be full of rain water and who cared that a half-full water bottle was tucked inside? Hey, I was trying to run here! There wasn't time for logical thinking!

As I reached my car, I hit my locks on the remote, threw open the door, jumped inside and slammed the door shut just as the sky opened and the rain poured. I burst into laughter.... then I had to drive home in torrential rain and couldn't see the road in front of me for anything!

As my runs continued, I began to learn more and more about running and each run was a different experience. Not to sound like a total cheese here; but I began looking at my training in a new light: I was collecting memories. This was really turning into more than just January 10, 2010 - this was an entire new experience in my life. In October I took a New England cruise, but I didn't stop with my training. I had a 9 mile run scheduled that week. We were docked off the coast of Portland, Maine and the temp was 34 degrees outside. I was on the top deck of the cruise ship running to get my 9 miles in. I believe that it was 6 laps that = 1 mile on the running deck. Remember, I didn't run when I was a kid so I never ran track in high school, needless to say; not college either! I learned the hard way that when running on a track, you need to switch directions every so often. A pulled calf muscle later, I figured that out on my own. I did complete my 9 miles and fortunately cruise ships have spas. One massage later, I had the muscle pretty much worked out.

The Time: November 2009

I signed up for a 1/2 marathon to be held on November 1, 2009. I managed to work it into my training schedule and this was my very first race. While it wasn't Disney, it was a huge learning experience for me so I will share. There were about 3-4,000 runners in this race. Since I knew that a huge rookie mistake was to start out fast, caught up in the excitement, and burn out quickly; I decided to tag along with a pace group that was a few seconds slower than my normal pace. I found them in the start line-up and joined. We were off! I was happy as I experienced my first time to run over a chip mat and going into mile 4, I felt great! As this was a slightly slower pace than I was accustomed to, I wasn't even breathing hard. I barely felt as if I were running. Sadly, and despite trying to be as prepared as possible for my first race, I still made a HUGE rookie mistake, and one that could have easily sent me to the hospital in an ambulance:

When we began hitting the water stations, the pace leader would begin yelling: "Get some water! Get PowerAid! It's going to be hot! Hydrate! Hydrate!" and full cups of water would be shoved out at me. I was overwhelmed and despite the fact that I didn't drink this often or this much in my training, I'd grab a full cup of water and attempt to chug it all down during the few seconds we were in the water station.

My rookie mistake: I didn't follow my training. Going into mile 5 (after 2 - 3 water stations of doing this) I'd over hydrated. You hear discussions about dehydration all of the time, but you don't hear much about taking too much and it's just as dangerous. I was bloated, I felt sick, I'd washed out all of my electrolytes and I was beyond miserable. At first I attempted to keep up with the pace group but then I stopped off at a port a potty. The stop didn't help at all. I attempted to run again, but couldn't. I moved off to the far right and struggled to walk. Another runner saw me and stopped, concerned that I was about to pass out. She began to walk with me. It was time for me to take a couple more Cliff Shot blocks (those are my fueling of choice. I love them! My favorite is the Cran-Breeze and I also used the Margarita (b/c of the salt) during the Disney Marathon)

Getting that into my system, I felt a little better and when the woman who'd been walking with me wanted to run some more, I began running with her. I think she was at a 10 mpm pace. We ran for about 3 miles but going into (I think) mile 9 I decided to take some more water. This time it was just a sip - I finally caught on that you just drink what you need and toss the rest - but it was one sip too many. It sent me over the edge and I had to begin walking again. The pace group that she wanted to finish the race with (she'd been ahead of them) passed us and I sent her on.

At one point I had to stop and stand where I was. I physically couldn't move without hurting. I was so miserable. One more port a potty stop and a few more Cliff Shot Blocks later, I finally began feeling somewhat normal going into (I think..it's been too long now!)mile 12. Mentally, I couldn't run anymore. I was done with running. So, I walked. However, the last 1/4 to 1/2 of the marathon, I found the strength to pick it back up to a run and crossed the finish line at a run. I came in under 2 1/2 hours and still beat in the last pace team out there. I was happy that I completed the race in that condition but I was disappointed in myself for making such a rookie mistake - and one that I could have ended up in the hospital over!

#1 Rule for a race: Trust your training. Follow your training. I mean, that's what it's for.

The Time: December 2009
The Place: New Training Park/Old Training Park

I ran the Dallas 2009 8 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. I think that it was about 38,000 people that ran that day. It gave me more race experience and also a chipped time to turn in at Disney's EXPO that was a better reflection of my true running time capabilities. Obviously, the 1/2 marathon I ran wasn't a good reflection.

I moved to a different city over Thanksgiving week-end and decided that I needed to find a new training location. I discovered another area that made just over a 2 mile loop. I had only walked it once to check it out before I went to do my 17 mile run. It was a cold day, upper 30's - low 40's and rainy. I began my run only to discover that around 85-90% of it was at a gradual incline! I didn't notice the one time I walked it but running it, I really began to feel it a few miles in. There were also a couple of areas that had a somewhat steep hill. Going up wasn't a problem, it was actually nice to take the stress off of my legs and use my glutes instead. It was going down them that continued to put stress on my already stressed-out legs.

I was supposed to have stopped at mile 17. The thing was: The loop was really more a 2.3 mile loop rather than a 2.0 mile loop. I was backing up my counting as it was easier to think: 2, 4, 6 rather than 2.3, 4.6, ect... I was finishing what would be my last loop and since I didn't really think about how those .3's would start adding up fast on a double digit run, I was really around mile 18.3 instead of 16 when my left IT band flared up and screamed ENOUGH! The almost constant gradual incline put too much stress on my lower body, a lower body that wasn't accustomed to handling constant incline and to run that many miles on that terrain...

Now, this was my left leg; a leg that I hadn't had any complications with during any of my previous runs. My right leg, I'd had some aches and pains and I was a bit concerned about developing a major injury in it. But my left leg, I wasn't overly concerned about it right then since I hadn't been having problems with it. However, I'd been running for 3 solid hours at that point, it was very cold, it was now raining, I was still 1 mile away from my car and could no longer run on this leg. I did what any exhausted, frustrated, hurting female standing in the rain and not allowed to finish her scheduled run would do:

I burst into tears.

Another woman was walking past me, in the opposite direction. She passed and then stopped and turned back.

"Are you OK?"

"I'm fine!" I managed between sobs and then I turned and had the longest 1 mile walk back to my car that I've ever had in my life.

So, sadly, that wasn't the last that I heard from Mr. IT band. I wound up taking that entire week off from running. It killed me! This was the first time that I was missing runs and it wasn't just because of my injury, I became sick with fever, ect... that week and my doctor yelled at me when I mentioned the word "run". I'm serious, she did. We argued and argued. She won. I went to her hoping for some miracle pill/shot/whatever to make me 100% well within 12-24 hours and she gave me nothing except orders to go home, miss work, and get well.

My boss at work has ran a few marathons, but primarily sticks to 1/2 marathons now, and has mentored several other marathon runners. She was all for me taking the week off. I was quite bitter about it. I had a training schedule that I was desperate to stick to. But I took that week off. My IT band stopped hurting within 48 hours after that 18.3 mile run and I prayed that it was healed.

It wasn't. By the time that I was able to run again, I discovered that I would now have problems leading up to the actual race day. My leg would begin causing me grief usually around mile 3 1/2 - 4. I could run on it for awhile with it hurting but eventually the inflammation would become so great that it would lock up my knee, leaving me with only sharp pain and no mobility to where I was forced to stop running.

I switched back to my old training park, despite the drive, to finish out my long runs. On my 20 mile run I was able to run 17 before my knee locked up and I had to switch to power walking for the remaining three. By this time, I accepted that fact that I would not be able to run all 26.2 miles of this marathon (there's always 2011!!) and I hoped that I'd get in 17-20 miles of running before I had to switch to walking.

I completed my 20 miles that day and stopped off at the running store to grab some last minute stuff and chat with the staff. They were amazed that I just completed 20 miles. They stated that most people would be heading to an ice bath now. Nope, not me. With the exception of my hurting IT-band, I felt great!

As I mentioned earlier, I take Cliff Shot Blocks for my fueling. At my pace, I take two blocks (there's 6 to a pack) at following miles: 4,7,10,13,16,19, 22, 24 (<--24 is iffy since it's so close to the end. I didn't take any at that mile during the marathon) I love these! They're like candy to me! I take them with water only. During my half-marathon and during the Disney full; I never took power-aid and I also didn't take real food. Disney did have some food stations on the course but since I don't take real food during training (and you're supposed to stick to your training during a race) I ignored the bananas and chocolate candy and stuck with my Cliff Shot Blocks instead.

So far, I've fueled properly and have shown no signs of hitting "the wall". I know that I can do 8 miles without Cliff Blocks but any more milage than that, I'll take some with me and start taking at mile 4.

Another thing: I didn't train with music. When I was finishing up the C25k, I had my ipod as it was a podcast. As soon as I stopped with the podcasts, the ipod stayed at home. Most races discourage - or even flat-out prohibit - the use of music during a race. It's for safety reasons: if you have music blaring in your ears you can't hear any important announcements or other runners coming up behind you that need to pass.

So, I trained without and despite being a huge music lover, I didn't miss it at all. I'm often able to relax in my run and let my mind wonder. It's nice and often very peaceful.

Also note: You will have to invest in running clothes: wicking t-shirts are now my primary wardrobe. If you do races, you'll begin to collect tech shirts. Running gear is $$$ And you'll probably go through around 3 pairs of running shoes during the course of a full-marathon training program.

Also remember: Body Glide is your friend!

Experienced runners on this message board know all of the above, but when I first had the brilliant idea to do the Disney marathon - I knew nothing. This post is for all of you playing around with the idea of doing the 2011 (either half or full) but have no idea where to start with training.

Up next: January 10, 2010 AKA: The Walt Disney World 2010 Marathon
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:40 PM   #2
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Great post! I love all of the detail! This past half marathon was actually my third, but I learned all kinds of new stuff while I trained for it. I'm with you on hating treadmills! Five miles seems like fifteen miles on a treadmill. I too like training alone. It is like therapy to be out there with all the time in the world to think and no one to interrupt. And while I'm doing it I can watch the birds and squirrels. Sometimes I even see deer on my runs. Plus you watch the seasons change. I loved running and watching all the leaves change! Anyway, I can't wait to hear all about the marathon.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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You are providing much needed motivation with your details - it is amazing how empowering running seems to be - at least when you write about it! More!
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:49 AM   #5
It's kind of hard to ride with someone when your on vacation by yourself
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Originally Posted by dismagiclover View Post
Great post! I love all of the detail! This past half marathon was actually my third, but I learned all kinds of new stuff while I trained for it. I'm with you on hating treadmills! Five miles seems like fifteen miles on a treadmill. I too like training alone. It is like therapy to be out there with all the time in the world to think and no one to interrupt. And while I'm doing it I can watch the birds and squirrels. Sometimes I even see deer on my runs. Plus you watch the seasons change. I loved running and watching all the leaves change! Anyway, I can't wait to hear all about the marathon.
Yes, already in my short running life I've learned that each race is different and you're constantly learning. But, yes, training outdoors is so nice... except on really cold and wet days. But some of those have been fun as well!

You are sooo ready to train for the full marathon next year! You said that you want to stay at BWV for 2011? I'm pretty certain that I'll book at the BWI. yay! That's my favorite resort.

Originally Posted by MrsSpratt View Post
You are providing much needed motivation with your details - it is amazing how empowering running seems to be - at least when you write about it! More!
Thank you! I admit that it's a little easier to write about than to actually do. But researching & reading other people's stories really helped me to get out there and do it. I honestly never thought I could run distance and now I actually enjoy it! Currently, I'm having to take some time off from running to let my leg heal, but I really want to get outside and run. I do miss it already.

I'll try to write my Marathon Day TR this afternoon. This really is more of an FYI thread for anyone who might be interested in doing the Disney 1/2 or Full marathon in the future.
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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Wow, you have all my admiration! I, too, can maybe run about 3 miles, and my DH is really wanting us to try a marathon, but I am really apprehensive. Thanks for all the insight!

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:41 PM   #7
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Part I of Part II: EXPO!
(Not to be confused with Part I. Part I was training. This is Part I of Part II. Yesterday I forgot that I should cover EXPO. oops! )

I flew in Friday morning. My main concern was getting into EXPO. I was told that is something you want to be at as early as possible. I believe that it began Thursday at noon. Pick-up for your bib and EXPO is located at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.

On a normal day, if you don't have your own car, to get there you need to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios to take the Sports Complex bus. For Marathon week-end, they run special busses from each Disney resort. It was very easy to get to. When Magical Express dropped me off at my hotel (Port Orleans - French Quarter) There was a huge sign reading something like "Marathon Transportation" in front of the walk-way. I practically had to trip over it in order to go inside to do my check-in. Trust me, you won't miss it.

This is also the same spot that the busses will pick you up from to take you to both the half and full marathon Starts on their respective race days.

I reached the Sports Complex around noon - 1:00 on Friday and it was busy. You stop at the Milk House first to pick-up your bib. Also, if you need to change corrals, like I did, here is where you submit your time. When I signed up for the marathon last August, I'd never before run a race. Therefore, I didn't have a time to submit with my entry and I knew that I would be placed in one of the "general" corrals.

After my injury, I'd debated for if I was still going to submit my times since I knew that I'd have to walk some of it. Finally, acknowledging that I planned to run at least half of it (and had my fingers crossed that my leg would allow me to make it at least to mile 20), I decided to turn in my proof of time so that I could start out with people at my running pace and not have to worry about dodging a lot of people for the first few miles.

When I got my bib, I noted that I was assigned to corral G. After submitting my times, I was bumped up to corral B. I think that I should have been placed in C, not B, (more on that later) but oh-well.

Here's how the corrals for the full marathon were set up:

For the first 3.4 miles, there were two separate starts. There was the Red Start and the Blue Start.

Starting at the Top of the Red Start:

Elite/Wheel Chair Corral
Corral D
Corral E
Corral F
Corral G
Corral H
Corral J

Starting at the Top of the Blue Start:

Corral A
Corral B
Corral C

There were three waves. First wave at 5:40. Second wave at 5:50. Third wave at 6:00. The wheelchair start was before wave 1- maybe 5:30?

I'm not 100% certain as to how these corrals broke down for the wave start - but here is how I think that it played out:

Wave 1

Red: Elites
Blues: Corrals: A,B,C

Wave 2

Red: Corrals: D,E, F

Wave 3

Red: Corrals: G,H, J

(If someone ran in Corral D, please let me know if you started in wave 1 or wave 2)

I'll go into more detail as to how that played out later. As you can see, since I was on the blue start, being in Corral B, I was in wave 1 that started at 5:40 am. My impression is this: Corrals A,B,C were the "mid-packer" corrals expected to make it to the finish in 4:30 or less. And, had I been able to fully run the 26.2 miles, based on my training, I was expecting a 4:10-4:15 finish time. My impression is that Corrals D&E may have been a 4:30 - 6:00 expected finish time and Corrals G-J were a 6:00 - 7:00 expected finish time.

If you expected to run anything under a 6:00 finish time, you had to submit proof of time to be bumped into one of the non-general corrals. When I signed-up for the marathon, I gave an expected 6:00 finish time. You have to be able to complete the full marathon in 7:00 or less or you will be swept. Disney demands a 16 mpm pace. I was told that 8,000 people did not finish the marathon last Sunday. 8,000 people!

One, or two, other things that you will find in the Milk House is The Cheer Squad booth and The Race Retreat booth. I failed to notice The Race Retreat booth while in the Milk House - and I had to worry on race day that it would turn into a problem. I did fork over the (what?) $100.00 for The Race Retreat Tent and last Sunday I was thankful that I had!

The Race Retreat Tent has different prices depending upon which race you're running:

The Donald: $$
The Mickey: $$$
The Goofy:$$$$$$$$$

I should have gone to the booth for them to place a wristband on me (one that I would not be allowed to remove until after the race on Sunday). I think it's the same for any family/friends who are signed-up for the Cheer Squad. I believe they're to go to the Cheer Squad booth to receive their wristband as well.

Needless to say, I left the Milk House without my Race Retreat Tent wristband. I found a huge line (but not nearly as huge as it would become within the next hour) leading into EXPO. I was led into EXPO within minutes and had my packet. They had it divided for Donald, Mickey and Goofy. The tech shirts that you receive in EXPO were different. My tech shirt has Mickey on it and calling the full-marathon. The half-marathon tech shirts have Donald and the Goofy had.. well, Goofy.

There's tons of things to buy at EXPO. There's a website called: www.onemoremile.net ... well, I'm pretty certain that is the website. It's currently not working. Per the description on Google, it's the correct site. But regardless, they have tons of cool running apparel for both men and women with fun sayings and other goods like keychains and bumper stickers. Their running shirts say things like: 'This sounded good 6 months ago' 'I will run for wine' and something like 'If I collapse, please drag me across the finish line'.

It's fun stuff. I'd previously found their website and planned to order stuff from them so I was extremely happy that they showed up to EXPO. That booth is where the bulk of my money went.

So, that is what to expect for EXPO. You need to stop at the Milk House first to pick-up your bib (and go down to the very bottom floor. I was a bit confused when I first entered but I had to go downstairs and follow a few people). Also, if you purchase the commemorative pin, you get that at the exact same time you get your bib -same booth. Like I said, need to submit a time or pick-up a wrist band for either the Race Retreat or the Cheer Squad? Here is where you go. They will also check your D-tag on your way out to be certain that it's working and pulling up your info properly.

EXPO, where the major lines seem to be, is in a separate building. Just follow the masses. You'll pick-up your bag with tech shirt and other free goodies first and then you can shop for almost anything (running related) you can think of from GU & Cliff bars, to K tape, to t-shirts, and a I even saw the (I guess they're "famous"??) running skirt twins. They sell running skirts.

There's lots of things to see and buy.

OK. I will post Part II of Part II either tonight or tomorrow night - I'm out of time for now. This will cover race day from when I get up at 2:00 am until I cross that Finish line!
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cmp1111 View Post
Wow, you have all my admiration! I, too, can maybe run about 3 miles, and my DH is really wanting us to try a marathon, but I am really apprehensive. Thanks for all the insight!

Can't wait to hear more!
It's do-able if you train right. But maybe start with the half-marathon? Honestly, I would have never signed up for the Disney full this year had there still been open registration for the half when I caught the running bug.

I'm going back in 2011 for the full again. I've really had to think about it -not about running the full, I'm already ready to do it again. I really had a very good experience last Sunday (despite injury complications which I'll discuss in my next post). My thing is: I really want a Donald medal. But I don't want to run the Goofy. At least, I don't want to do the Goofy in 2011.

Kuddos to those that do the Goofy but it has to be hard on their bodies and I'm not certain that I want to do that to myself yet. Now having completed the full-marathon, I don't want to take a step back and do the half. I think that I'll really regret it if I don't do the full-marathon for 2011.

Maybe 2012 I'll decide that I'm up for the Goofy challenge and can finally earn a Donald medal.

I say, if you guys have discussed doing a marathon, go ahead and sign-up for the Donald now, before it fills, and do the 2011 half-marathon to get your feet wet. Then you guys can see if you want to do a full-marathon.

If you already have a 3 mile base under your belt, your good. Most half-marathon training schedules only have you go up to 10 miles before race day. And you don't even need to start a training plan until August or September of this year. Right now all I'd do is work on consistent running about three times/week. Maybe two 3 mile runs during the week and work yourself up to 5 miles for a week-end run?

Just develop a strong base. You're already well ahead of where I was at when I decided to sign-up for the full. If your husband wants to do a full, and it has to be a full, I'd get out there now and work on that base before starting a training program 16 weeks out.
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:03 PM   #9
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Wow.. What a great inside look at what kind of training is required. You've officially scares me off! LOL! DH and I were there cheering you all on last Sunday. Kudos to you!
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:28 PM   #10
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Joining in for some inspiration.

I've never been very athletic, so I appreciated reading your post with the same comment. Since July I've lost 35 pounds. I started out walking to help, but as I got in better shape, needed to run to get my heart rate up . I've worked up to 2 miles, and am hoping to run a 5K soon.

I would love to run a 1/2 marathon, or even a full one. So I'm really interested in reading all your posts.

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Old 01-18-2010, 09:19 PM   #11
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Hi Dolce, I'm in! Great details, anyone planning to do a WDW race needs to read this!

About the proof of time thing... It sounds like it wasn't a big deal for you to do that at the Expo, right? I'm doing the half again next year and want to get in a higher corral. I seem to remember that this past year some of those who submitted proof had issues and still had to go to runner relations at the expo. So I wonder if it's simply better to just wait until the expo in the first place, you know?
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:05 AM   #12
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Race Day! Part I of Part II of Part II of Part II of Marathon 2010
(make sense?? I'm exhausted and was only able to type out 1/2 of this tonight. I'll try to complete it tomorrow. I'm not trying to drag this out - really, I'm not! I just type a lot and that takes time.)

I woke up at 2:00 am. I dressed and was out to the bus a little before 3:00 am. (Disney wanted us all there no later than 4:00 am) I was ready. I had a couple of throw-away items (zip-up sweatshirt and a second pair of gloves) and I was eager to go. I wasn't nervous at all, actually. I arrived to the Staging area and Disney had a full dance party set-up in the parking lot in full-swing. It was a vain attempt to keep the runners warm and not suffer from frostbite. It was 27 degrees and wave 1 of the race didn't step off for another 2 1/2 hours.

I went to the Race Retreat Tent a bit worried. It was on the bus, from a couple of runners, that I discovered that I should have had a wristband to gain entrance to the tent. I had my iPhone on me and I had the e-mail receipt pulled up to prove that I had paid the $$ for the tent.

No need. There was a master list and the woman easily found my name. She slipped a wristband on my wrist and granted me entrance. I had forked over the $$ for this but then I began reading on the DIS that it's a waste of money. I didn't know, going in, what to think. The money was already spent but had I read posts on the DIS before spending that money... I probably wouldn't have purchased a ticket.

This particular day, I'm THANKFUL that I had! Remember: It's 27 degrees out there and still 2 1/2 hours until race time. I enter a tent lined with tables and sofas. Flat screen TV's are set-up, showing the poor freezing runners outside as they attempt to keep warm at the dance party. There are tables lined with Bagels, bananas, water and hot chocolate. A few characters are in the tent, as well, for photo ops. I think that it was just Chip & Dale, Pluto and Max (Goofy's nephew)

I skip the hot chocolate, concerned that it might upset my stomach for a long distance run, and grab a bagel and water. Another tip: Try different foods before training runs and figure out what works for you. Many runners develop sensitive stomachs to certain food items when training for long distance. That's why I refused to take the solid food during the marathon. (especially the chocolate that they pass out at the Hollywood Studios - and to my understanding, it's normal for them to pass out chocolate to the runners at the Studios.) My stomach wasn't accustomed to taking in solid food during a long distance run and I wasn't certain what would work and what wouldn't. (Banana's were probably fine for me - but I erred on the side of caution.)

I chatted with some runners and at 5:15 am, I make my way, along with everyone else, out to the corrals. I easily find corral B. Stepping into the corral, I look around and notice which pace groups are inside. I spot a group and decide that I should be a little further back... probably in Corral C. I began working my way to the back of the corral when Disney releases the mesh dividing corral B from corral C. Perfect! I find the spot where I believe that I should be, pace-wise, and get into it as the people in corral C push their way forward.

Soon the National Anthem is sung and suddenly there's fireworks! In front of me, over me, behind me! I can't help but smile as we surge forward. It was great! I'm at a run crossing the Start Line. It's my first race to actually run over the Start Line! Disney did an excellent job with the corrals, at least my area of the corrals. My first two races I had problems with people lining up wrong pace-wise. I've seen way too many slow joggers and walkers try to line up with people that run 7 1/2 - 8 minute miles. It does nothing but cause problems! The runners are tripping over them, wasting energy to dodge them and becoming annoyed. The slow joggers/walkers are getting their heels stepped on, the occasional, accidental, elbow shoved into them and are becoming annoyed.

It's a no-win situation. I don't understand why people want to line up ahead of where they ought to be in a race. But it was because I've been that runner that has stepped on a heel or two and burnt energy trying to dodge around slower participants that made me be certain that I moved back to where I felt that I should be for the race line-up and not just where Disney told me to be.

Now, two things starting off this race:

1) IT band. Normally I wouldn't have any problems with my IT band until around mile 4 into a run. I'd feel 100% fine starting out a run. No so in this case. The IT band began hurting me when I arrived in FL on Friday (which was very unusual for it to do) and was still hurting as I crossed the Start Line Sunday morning. This was not a good thing.... not a good thing at all.

2) Since I was in the Race Retreat Tent and didn't head to my corral until 5:15, I was only out in the cold for 30 minutes or so before the race started. I couldn't feel my feet. Seriously, I couldn't. I have no idea how those who had been outside for the past couple of hours coped, but only 30 minutes and I couldn't feel my feet! For the first two miles it felt as if I were running on air. I simply couldn't feel my feet!

Being on the Blue Start - we were across the road from the Red Start. We took off and headed toward EPCOT -as did the Red Start. However, they had a different route that led them around and to the front entrance of EPCOT and on through Future World. We, the Blue, ran up to the back of the World Showcase and entered through a CM entrance into the World Showcase in the UK Pavilion. (This is the exact same entrance that I would run through again going into mile 25.) We run around the World Showcase. I did notice that Aladdin and Jasmine were out for pictures at the Moroccan Pavilion.

(Wow. I just pulled up the map to be able to explain details such as where exactly we entered/exited and I can't believe the distance! It sooooo did not feel to be that far when I ran it! Seriously. The milage flew for me that day.)

So, it looks like we, the Blue Start, exited just after the Italy pavilion. All I remember is off-stage.. off-stage..CM's.. more CM's..large gate.. UK pavilion... Aladdin & Jasmine... the Illumination torches all lit.. music in the background... another large gate... more CM's..off-stage... off-statge.

That's my memory. The World Showcase run was maybe... at mile 2 1/2 or a little past that? Mile 2 is before EPCOT and mile 3 is backstage at EPCOT.

Now what happened with Red Start was this: For the first mile, heading west, Red and Blue ran together (just opposite sides of the freeway). At Mile 1 Blue takes the overpass to the left and veers toward EPCOT. Red continues straight for a bit and finally loops around and heads back east and continues on past where we, the Blue, had veered toward EPCOT. Red goes a bit further up the road and then veers to their right (south).

(FYI: I currently have the marathon map up in Google Earth. Running the darn thing- No idea where the heck I was going! I just kept following the people in front of me, thankful that I'm not an Elite. Those guys/girls have to figure out the course! The rest of us just follow.)

So, back to Red: They finally reach the front of EPCOT, run into Future World, past Spaceship Earth and into the World Showcase where they reach mile 3. They exit off-stage just after Norway (I think). Pretty much as soon as they get off-stage, they're merging with us, Blue, at Mile 3.4. We, the Blue, had continued wrapping around the World Showcase off-stage.

One thing about this particular morning: Ice. It was icy. CM's were yelling at us, cautioning us, in various locations about ice. One place that was extremely icy: Water Stations. Remember: runner just drink what they need and toss the rest. Water is flung everywhere at Water Stations and it's 27 degrees outside so it's all freezing. In fact, the joke of the day that the volunteers had: "Water, get your ice-cold water!" Because, seriously, some of the cups they were handing us was freezing over. There were times that they'd pour cups of water only to have it all frozen before it could be given to a runner so they'd have to pour more. I did grab a cup once where the top layer was all ice.

I guess, technically, Red and Blue didn't "merge" off-stage at the World Showcase. Per the map, we were half way back to the road which we started on before the actual merge happened. I guess that we were just running along side of each other once again, like Mile 1, for a stretch. We finally reach the Blue start. Red and Blue is now together so this is where I started my run but across the road from where Red started theirs. We're heading into Mile 5 now but just before we reach Mile 5, we pass Blue's Mile 1 sign. I have to laugh as I yell out "That's the longest mile I've ever run"

No one laughed.

I guess that I'm not very funny, or at least, I'm not very funny in 20 something degree weather at 6 -something in the morning. As we pass the Mile 1 marker, Spaceship Earth is in clear view. It seemed that we could NEVER leave EPCOT. That was my (almost) only frustration that morning: It wasn't the cold. It wasn't that it was 5 - 6:00 am. It wasn't the running. It was Spaceship Earth. I wanted to get to the MK! I've dreamt and dreamt of running down Main Street USA in this marathon for so long... where's the MK? Why am I STILL seeing EPCOT when I've already run through EPCOT?

We pass Mile 5 and approaching Mile 6 we can hear one of the high school marching bands off in the distance, further down the marathon course then where we're currently at. You know, I was in band both middle school and high school band. I've played at numerous football games. I've played what this high school band was currently playing but I can't recall the name of it for anything! It's a common thing that you'd hear a marching band play at a sporting event: Na Na Naaa Na Hey! Na Na Na... Na Na Naaa Na Hey! Na Na Na.. .ect...

Anyways.. the band was playing and despite that we were still, I don't know - a half to a full mile away, some of the guys behind me began yelling the "Hey!" and soon everyone around me was yelling "Hey!" and it was a good vibe as we reached Mile 6 and looped around.

We are on our way to the Magic Kingdom! I still have my "throw-away" clothes on. It's still cold enough to keep that extra layer (and, yes, if you were wearing shorts for the marathon, I think that you're NUTS! It simply was not that warm!)

One other thing: Hydration.

Obviously, hydration is IMPORTANT. I have a new co-worker who started last Monday while I was still at Disney. When I returned to work last week, we started talking marathons as she wants to train for a half-marathon. Her friend's daughter died in one of the NYC marathons because of dehydration. So, as I learned during my half-maraton in November: Over-hydration = bad. Also, as several deaths have pointed out: Dehydration = bad.

The thing is, you can't wait until race day and suddenly pile on the water. You have to already be hydrated going into race day (*warning* gross alert (but it needs to be said): as in your pee needs to be clear. A sign of dehydration is colored urine.) The day before the race I only drank water. I didn't drink tea, coffee, alcohol or sodas - all of those drinks are dehydrates.

Now what happened to me on race day: I didn't need a lot of water intake. Because I was fully hydrated going into the race and because it was so cold that I wasn't sweating much, if any; I actually had to make a couple of port a potty stops to get rid of the sips of water that I was taking at the few water stations I stopped in. I HATED the port a potty stops. Just gross! gross! gross!


So, I'm running, and running. I'm happy. I don't feel tired. I'm enjoying it. I'm ready for my Main Street USA run ... and I see Spaceship Earth. Again.


I turn to the guy on my left and am like: Are we running to EPCOT again?!? He just shook his head and said that it seemed like it, that it seemed that we could never get away from it. Each time we turned, there it was.

A mile or two later, and I burst into laughter.

The first two times I saw Spaceship Earth - it was Spaceship Earth. That last time.... it was a helium balloon!! From the distance it really looked like Spaceship Earth!

With a sigh of relief, I run on. After a serious debate at Mile 8, I finally ditch the throw-away zip-up sweatshirt and the 2nd layer of gloves. It was cold enough that it was a tough decision to make! I still had on a wicking shirt, arm warmers, a zip-up wicking jacket and 1 pair of gloves ... but it was cold and even having just ran 8 miles, it was still cold! (Again, you people in shorts! You're nuts! You know that - right?? )

I don't know where we were. It was a lot of road. Crowd spectators were picking up. I think that we were at/by the TTC. I remember the Contemporary and then I recall running down and up. I believe that was the part where we ran under the water. I don't know... I was too busy running. I just recall that several people mention this section of the race on the DIS. People state that it is a tough 'hill' to run up; one of the "problem" areas that most runners seem to have on the course. I had no problems with it. It didn't give me pause or anything. I just knew that we were close to the Magic Kingdom and that was where my thoughts were focused.

Mile 10 and we're backstage at the MK. I can see the open gates and Main Street straight ahead. Suddenly, I'm running out onto Main Street. I curve to my right and run toward the castle and....

experience a huge let-down.

I read this one TR by a guy who spoke of his first WDW Marathon. When he reached Main Street, A Dream Is A Wish was playing over the speakers and that's all he could hear as he ran toward the castle with tears in his eyes. It was a very magical moment that he'd never forget.

I have no idea what was playing over the speakers when I ran, I could barely detect the sound of music over the noise of the crowd. And Main Street? It just ain't very long. Seriously. It's a very short street. It felt like I took no more than five steps before I was veering off toward Tomorrowland where I encountered the funniest sight EVER:

A CM, in Tomorrowland costume, is standing at the entrance to Tomorrowland, just inside the archway. I guess her to be around her mid-50's or so. A Bright Hot Pink Fluffy Feather Boa is wrapped around her neck and she's shaking it and dancing away with that boa as we run past her.

I couldn't stop laughing as I ran. Fortunately, I'm capable of laughing and running and caused no wrecks or injuries in my mirth.

Tomorrowland is gone and we're now in Fantasyland. There'd been a character in Tomorrowland... and now I can't recall who. Up to the carrousel and toward the back of the castle. Trumpeters are on the castle balcony, announcing our presence as we reach the breezeway. The wicked step-mother and the two wicked step-sisters are standing for photo ops just to the side of the breezeway. I don't stop, but I was tempted to.

Through the castle and our pic is taken (mine was horrid! ugh!) by some of the sports photographers and we veer off toward Liberty Square. Onward to Frontierland and we exit back off-stage.

My impression of the MK run: short and very anti-clamatic. Maybe I built it up too much and next year I'll enjoy the experience more?

I ...

(By the way, sometimes I say I as in 'me' and sometimes I say we as in the 'collective we' - all of the runners. I was running solo. I'm too tired to go back and take out the 'we's' so I'm adding in this explanation instead. I'm also switching tenses a lot. Hopefully no English teachers are reading this. I'm too tried to correct that as well.)

... I reached Mile 11 while exiting the MK and heading into the backstage area. Captan Jack Sparrow and a bunch of his scallywags (along with their ship) were back there. I saw photos of last year where they all stayed on the ship and the runner would have to stand on the ground below them. Not this year. This year they were on the ground so that the runner could stand beside them for the photo op.

Onward to Mile 12, which is behind the Grand Floridian. They had a lounge singer at the Grand Floridian. It was funny but he was good. He had that whole swarmy thing down pat. He seemed to enjoy the compliments tossed out to him as we passed.

Almost to Mile 13 and disaster strikes:

My IT band (the one that had been hurting me from the Start Line?) finally said ENOUGH and REFUSED to run one more step. (Believe me, I tried.) So, I'm now walking and making futile attempts to step back into a run when Mr. Annoying #1 and Mr. Annoying #2 bring me to an abrupt halt.

See, Mickey Mouse decided on a game of golf that day despite the cold weather. He and his golf cart were posing for pic's. Two men, both appeared to be at least late 30's, were stopped and staring as if they were Ralphie in the movie A Christmas Story and had just spotted the Red Ryder BB Gun.

They were dumbstruck and they couldn't move. (apparently Golfer Mickey was their idol) Unfortunately, where they "couldn't move" from was right where I was trying to walk. I'd moved over to the right side. Proper etiquette dictates that walkers stay to the right. (Wow, I feel like I'm preaching on here! Sorry if my text is coming across wrong - I'm really tired right now. I'm trying to toss out as much advice/tips/info for both running and the marathon that I can think of but I feel that I'm coming across as a Ms. Know-It-All which is not my intention)

So, off of proper running etiquette and on to yelling at two grown men on general etiquette! Attention: please clear the marathon course before you stop and drool over Golfer Mickey Mouse. Some of us actually want to finish the race. Thank you.

They ignored my exasperated "Careful!" (the rest of the above was only said in my head at the time) as I plowed into them as it was impossible for me to avoid them. Fortunately, that was my only real irritation (the Spaceship Earth thing wasn't a real irritation) for the entire marathon course. Really, my getting irked at them had a lot to do with my IT band going out on me right then and realizing that I still had 13.1 miles to walk. For the most part, I went with the flow. People cut each other off, ect.. in all races. It happens but it's not intentional. Those two men just had to become oblivious morons to everyone/anything other than Golfer Mickey Mouse right as I had to come to the grappling realization that my running was done for the day and I was highly disappointed that it was only 13 miles in.

So, I'll finish up the last 13.1 miles tomorrow.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Disneyland_Mama View Post
Wow.. What a great inside look at what kind of training is required. You've officially scares me off! LOL! DH and I were there cheering you all on last Sunday. Kudos to you!
Not what I was going for. I was hoping that you'd read this and go where's the sign-up for 2011???

Thanks for being such excellent cheerers!

Originally Posted by MHTeacher View Post
Joining in for some inspiration.

I've never been very athletic, so I appreciated reading your post with the same comment. Since July I've lost 35 pounds. I started out walking to help, but as I got in better shape, needed to run to get my heart rate up . I've worked up to 2 miles, and am hoping to run a 5K soon.

I would love to run a 1/2 marathon, or even a full one. So I'm really interested in reading all your posts.
Congrats on the weight loss! If you can work up to 3 miles soon and the 2011 1/2 marathon isn't full; I say sign-up for the 2011 1/2 and go for it!

Originally Posted by liznboys View Post
Hi Dolce, I'm in! Great details, anyone planning to do a WDW race needs to read this!

About the proof of time thing... It sounds like it wasn't a big deal for you to do that at the Expo, right? I'm doing the half again next year and want to get in a higher corral. I seem to remember that this past year some of those who submitted proof had issues and still had to go to runner relations at the expo. So I wonder if it's simply better to just wait until the expo in the first place, you know?
Thank you! I'm currently reading the TR that you're part of!
As for corral placement, I'm going to have problems this year as well. I can't submit this year's marathon time. As I just posted - I wound up having to walk 13.1 miles of the race this year because of injury. I don't expect to be injured next year and plan to run the full 26.2 miles. This year's time will not be an accurate reflection of my running capabilities.

I haven't signed up yet for 2011. When I do, I think I'll just sign-up for general corral placement (6 hours or more) and submit time later. I plan to do another 1/2 marathon this November and will use that time. I do plan to submit before going down to FL but I didn't have any problems at EXPO. However, I did hit EXPO at a somewhat good time. The line to change corrals was at a decent length when I got into it but it moved fast. I'm not worried about the possibility of having to stand in it again next year in order to get corrals worked out.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:33 AM   #14
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Another great update! I bet that does get annoying running circles around Epcot. It makes you feel like you aren't going anywhere. If it makes you feel better I would have laughed at your joke at mile 5 (or was it mile 6) Now I'm not making excuses for the Mr. Annoyings, but Mickey and Donald in their golf gear were pretty dang adorable! I'm a bit worried to hear about the rest of the race, but since I know you got the medal I know it has a happy ending.

Last edited by dismagiclover; 01-19-2010 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:54 AM   #15
I dream of living in Bay Lake Tower for the rest of my life!
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,114

Your report of the race is so much fun to read. I've already talked with my TnT coordinator and I will be running (aka walking) Mickey with them next year!
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