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Old 05-11-2012, 08:29 AM   #76
Ariel484
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2012 Walt Disney World Marathon

First, some background…

I’ll just get this out of the way upfront…the weeks leading up to this trip kind of sucked. Nothing truly 100% awful happened, just a lot of crappy things all around the same time. When it rains, it pours, right? There was job stress (good stress, but still, stress all the same), some family/personal issues to deal with, house appliance repairs/replacements, our dog got sick off and on, and I injured myself twice during training (back spasms in October and a rolled ankle in November – neither injury lasted too long, but they were just bad enough to completely freak me out for a couple of days at a time – after both injuries I immediately thought marathon training was over. Luckily, I was wrong). Apparently life doesn’t stop when marathon training begins. Who knew?

But the crappiest thing that happened involved my poor husband, Will. He had been dealing with some health issues (nothing life-threatening, thankfully) since September and decided that this trip just wasn’t in the cards for him. He knew he wouldn’t have fun not being able to ride the rides, and I know both of us were afraid he’d experience a huge setback in his recovery, which had been long and slow up to that point. He made the final call around Christmas and I canceled his flights on New Year’s Day.

It was pretty upsetting for both of us. If he had wanted me to, I absolutely would have stayed home, but since he’s so fabulous , Will encouraged me to go on the trip and enjoy myself. He was disappointed to miss the marathon but said he’d feel bad if I didn’t have a good time...yet I felt guilty getting excited for a trip that I knew he wanted to go on, but couldn’t. I was, of course, looking forward to seeing my brother (who lives in Florida…I see him maybe once a year) and spending time with my mom, but there’s just something about being in Disney (my favorite place) with my favorite person – nothing compares to that, you know? Ultimately we both realized that it would be better for me to come home to Will having recovered even more rather than for him to push himself to come on this trip and return home the worse for wear. Plus, Disney will still be there…it’s not like we’ll never go back! It just wasn’t meant to be this time. Blech.

And the GREAT news is that at this point (knock on wood) he's 99% recovered and is anxiously awaiting our next Disney trip! So YAY!

So beyond these issues, I had the race to train for. I found a training plan on Hal Higdon’s website called Novice Supreme (which is just like his Novice 1 plan that I know a lot of runners use, but has a 12-week period added to the beginning to build a base). I’d taken a break from running during the spring of 2011 due to being a bit burned out, so I was almost starting from scratch…this extended plan was just what I was looking for. The first 12 weeks (spring/summer) went fine…when all this other crap began in the fall, it was a different story. Oftentimes running helps me relieve stress, but throughout the final months of training it just felt like one more thing heaped onto a pile of a million other things I had to worry about. There were times where I missed a run because I just mentally wasn’t there, and times where I cut a run short because I would be thinking of everything going on and suddenly find myself exhausted and struggling to move or (on a couple of occasions) breathe. It was overwhelming.

But I got through it as best I could, and Will was a huge help with that – he was, as always, very supportive and gave me a kick in the butt to put on my running shoes and get out the door when I needed it. Yet another reason I was disappointed he couldn’t make the trip – I wanted him to see me cross the finish line! He's determined to be there next time.

Sorry for such a long, sad post…but this was my mindset going into Marathon Weekend. Shall we?

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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-11-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:29 AM   #77
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Day 1: Friday, January 6 - Arriving and Checking In

I woke up early on Friday to remotely log in to my work computer to tie up a few loose ends before the trip began. Once my work stuff was done, it was time to bid farewell to the pup and perform the final luggage check. I find packing for a Disney trip (even a short one) to be stressful enough – add a race to the trip and that stress doubles!

See ya later, Monster Pup!



After deciding I was good to go, I loaded my car up and grabbed some lunch for me and Will, as well as some bagels for breakfast the morning of the race. Next stop was Will’s school (pretty close to the airport) for a nice, short lunch together around 11:30. I’m so glad that I made this stop…it was really nice to sit and chat for a bit, plus Will had worn brown shoes with black pants that morning, so I needed to bring his black shoes to rescue him from this fashion emergency!

We said goodbye around noon and I made it to the airport in about 15 minutes. My uneventful layover in Baltimore was sandwiched between two uneventful flights…just the way I like it.

Onward to the Magical Express! Are these signs new? I don’t remember them from past trips. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention in the past because OMG I'M AT DISNEY!!!!



I do remember these guys:



This was the shortest Magical Express experience I’ve ever had. I took the above picture at about 7PM, and we were on property by 7:30. Madness.



About a half hour later, I checked into the Beach Club Villas. After getting turned around a bit on the way to my room (you have to exit the resort and go into a separate building) I had arrived!



Eventually I found my room…the very first room right by the elevator. Good and bad at the same time (only bad because it got noisy at times over the weekend).



I really was not feeling picture-taking for the first couple days of this trip. I think I was just feeling weird due to being at Disney by myself…odd, since being myself actually afforded me more time to take as many pictures as I wanted. I did get it together enough to take pictures of the room, though.





My first thought was that the room was nice…then I saw the bathroom.



They’d given me a handicapped room. Not a huge deal, but the sink in the bathroom really bugged me – NO counter space. I needed room to spread out all of my crap! This is the second time I’ve been given a handicapped room at Disney, and I’m starting to think I need to specify on my reservation that I’d prefer a regular room. In this case I felt silly wanting to be moved for a short weekend trip, so I left it alone.

The other issue with the handicapped room was that there was no closet…everything was hung in the entertainment center, in the tall doors on either side of the TV:







Love this, obviously.



In the end, I didn't like this room was as much as the villa we stayed in at the Boardwalk in June 2011. I'm sure it was most likely personal preference, due to the décor or the issues I had with lack of closet and bathroom counter space. Plus, the Boardwalk has a lot of sentimental value for me (we've stayed there the most, including our honeymoon in May 2009). So it's hard to beat the Boardwalk Inn for me!

Anyhoo, I pretty much walked in, quickly unpacked, and headed right back out…it was time for Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios!

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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-11-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:26 AM   #78
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Day 1: Friday, January 6 continued - Nighttime at the Studios


If there’s one thing I love the most about the Epcot resorts, it’s the location. The ability to walk to 2 parks cannot be beat.

At about 8:15, I exited the villas and was back in the Beach Club Resort near the Marketplace. Here was my first sign that, oh yeah, it was Marathon Weekend.



Eek!

Through the lobby…





…and onward to the Studios!



After crossing the bridge near the Swan and Dolphin, I ran into another sign that the marathon was actually happening…porto-potties and a med tent!



Yikes! I said a quick prayer to the runDisney gods that I wouldn’t have to visit said med tent on Sunday and continued on my way to the park. I should mention that as a gal traveling by myself at night, I felt completely safe. Nothing like strolling Disney property in the evening.

This walk was somehow longer than I remembered…I think it took me about 25 minutes to get to the park entrance. And would you believe my feet and back were a little sore already? And I actually stepped funny at one point and tweaked my knee (not too badly, just a bit of pain that went away quickly). What a wimp. I made a mental note to make a better effort stay off of my feet more – after all, I was planning on running a marathon on Sunday – and was very pleased to see the Christmas tree was still up when I got to the Studios!

Here are some crappy pictures…this is what happens without a tripod, I guess.





It was odd seeing Christmas stuff up and hearing Christmas music when Christmas had been over for 2 weeks, but it was nice at the same time…almost like a little marathon weekend bonus.



My first stop was Toy Story, which of course had way too long of a line (70-80 minutes I think?). So I strolled beyond Pixar Place and found the Osborne Lights!





It was bittersweet to see the lights…this was my first time, and I’d always wanted to see them, but it was odd not having someone to share it with. So I took a picture on my phone, texted it to Will, mom and Craig, and started to explore.







As I was looking around I realized that in my previous trips to WDW, I’ve never actually been to this area of the park before. How stupid is that?!



Once I’d had my fill of the lights, I headed to Sunset Boulevard. Single rider for Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster wasn’t open and the standby line was way too long (over an hour) so I headed to my absolute favorite…the Tower of Terror!



I almost felt guilty going on this without Will, as it's his favorite too, but I knew I’d get yelled at if I didn’t. Plus, well…I just really, really wanted to ride it. I got stuck with a few obnoxious guys in the library that seemed to really want to prove to everyone just how much they knew about this ride (“Hmm, I bet the lights will go out! I bet the TV will turn on now!” etc.). Dude, you’re not impressive. Shut up. Then, as I entered the Boiler Room I found myself behind a group of cheerleaders who were, apparently, planning to chant “Down the shaft! Down the shaft! Down! The! Shaft!” during their ride. Okay, I’ll admit it, that one made me giggle…having said that, when they went into the line to the right, I veered left. Then I ended up sitting next to a super obnoxious dude on the ride that was screaming and yelling "WOOOOOOHHHHH!" at random points. Awesome.

So despite all these super cool people I'd encountered, the ride was most excellent as usual. On the way out I grabbed a ToT coffee mug and shirt for Will.



Love this window display:



By now it was about 10PM and I hadn’t had dinner yet. I made my way out of the park and, keeping my promise to myself to stay off my feet, did something I almost never do when staying in the Epcot area: took a Friendship Boat back to the resort. Very relaxing.

I got dinner at the Beach Club Marketplace (some kind of turkey & cranberry brie sandwich, which was pretty good - no pictures, sorry ), called Will, and was in bed by about 11. My travel companions were due to arrive the next day! Yeehaw!

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Old 05-11-2012, 09:29 AM   #79
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Day 2: Saturday, January 7 - Exploring the Villas

Originally I’d planned to head to the Studios this morning for Extra Magic Hours, but after being there the previous night I decided to just sleep in a bit and possibly catch the end of the half marathon.

Here’s the view from my balcony (looking toward Epcot)...pretty and quiet:



Looking the opposite way at the resort (toward the Studios)…I never realized that the resort (the blue building) and the villas (the greenish building) are actually 2 different buildings. You learn something new every day!





Maybe it was just me being weird, but the balcony seemed extra small.



After admiring the view, I got myself cleaned up and wandered out to the common areas in the villas.

The Drawing Room:







Here’s the path to the resort from the villas. I’m standing with my back to the villas entrance looking at the resort. For whatever reason this had been incredibly confusing to me the night before.



On the path, looking back at the villas entrance:



The covered walkway from the villas to the resort. The walkway leads right to the entrance of the Beach Club Marketplace.



Another thing I need to mention here…as I was standing outside taking these pictures, I realized that I could hear the half marathon finish line! (“Bring it home! You’re about to finish the 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon!”) Very exciting! Also, as I made my way to the resort from the villas, half marathon finishers wrapped in their mylar blankets were arriving from the finish, donning their hard-earned Donald medals. I realized, OMG, that’s going to me tomorrow!, a thought that was equally exciting and terrifying. I also realized that I had dawdled too long – there was no way I was going to make it to Future World in time to see any of the half marathon and still make it to the expo for packet pick-up at a decent hour. Bummer.

I suddenly found myself with some time to kill, so I decided to explore the resort.

Cape May Café...originally Will and I had a breakfast reservation here for the last day of this trip, but I canceled when he decided he couldn't come. Maybe some other time!





Mickey sandcastle:



Oops, almost forgot breakfast! Back to the Marketplace for a muffin and an apple, enjoyed in the Solarium. And coffee from the room (which I’d made when I woke up and forgotten to take with me…had to go back and grab that). No mud, er, Nescafe for me.



By now it was about 9:30. The expo was set to open at 10…time to head to the bus stop!

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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-11-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:30 AM   #80
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Day 2: Saturday, January 7 continued - 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo, Part 1

As I mentioned earlier, I did not enjoy the Princess Half Marathon expo in 2011. Everything – bib pick-up, d-tag activation, vendor booths, etc. – was crammed into the HP Field House. It was jam-packed with people, hot…just not at all pleasant. So I was hoping to get to the marathon expo as early as possible, do what I needed to do, and get out quickly.

The special runDisney transportation wasn’t actually at the normal Beach Club bus stop…I think it was near a convention area of the resort or something. At any rate, they did have a decent amount of signs telling us where to go. Of course, now that I really wanted to get somewhere early, this was the longest I had to wait for a bus the entire trip (maybe 15 minutes). During that time about 4 or 5 half marathon shuttles pulled up to drop off half marathon finishers.

I ended up sitting next to a really nice woman from New Jersey on the bus to the expo. She told me that this was her first marathon as well…she’d trained for the 2011 marathon but had slipped on a patch of ice on New Year’s Eve and broken her arm, so she couldn’t participate. Isn’t that horrible? Plus, she’d missed the deadline to defer her entry to this year, so she’d lost the entry fee. Woof.

We arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports a bit after 10…marathon signage was everywhere!





First stop was the HP Field House for bib pick-up and b-tag activation.



Look at how empty it is! What a beautiful thing. For the Princess Half, bib pick-up and vendor booths were ALL in this room, and it was packed. It was so nice to have things spread out this time. Plus, at this point, the only people that were picking up packets were non-Goofy marathon runners and relay runners, so that helped cut down the crowds a lot.



I love this ad. I’d seen it all year in issues of Runner’s World.



I was a very nice sister and offered to grab my brother’s stuff for him (I needed a copy of his drivers license, his signed waiver, and a form from him allowing me to pick up his stuff), so I had 2 lines to wait in. I hopped into his first (6001-6500) and then into mine (5501-6000).



I got my marathon bib (I took this picture after the race, which is why the bib is so wrinkled) and pin…oh crap, they actually expect me to run this thing!





The half marathon bibs were royal blue (with Donald), the Goofy racer bibs were orange (with Goofy, of course), and I believe the relay bibs were white (with Chip and Dale).

Next stop was Runner Relations to change Craig’s corral so that we could run together. This corral placement stuff continues to be a mystery to me. The race starts in waves (so the fastest runners are in Corral A, and they start first, then B a few minutes later, etc.) and runners can submit a time from a previous race to try to move up in corrals – so you’re guaranteeing yourself an earlier start. I thought Craig had submitted a time from the same race I did (a 10-mile race...the same time I used for corral placement for the Princess Half), yet even though the time he would have given Disney was 20 minutes faster than mine, he was in corral E and I was in corral D.

So I am guessing that he actually did not enter his time, and this makes me think that people that submitted times were in corrals A-D. I entered in a time when I signed up for the race, but it was a slow one, so I was in the last possible corral for people that submitted a time, and then those that didn’t give a time to Disney were in E-H. The order for E-H is something I’m not sure about – is it based on when you sign up for the race, or when you think you’ll finish? Who knows.

Okay, enough rambling on corral placement. I’d brought a proof of time for Craig and easily changed his corral from E to D. My last task was to walk over a timing mat to activate our b-tags (which are attached to the bibs and track our time). One of the volunteers got weirdly snarky with me for having 2 bibs until I explained that I’d picked one up for someone else…odd.

Bibs in hand, I was off to the Jostens Center for the expo.



Shoppinggggggggg!



The biggest area in the back had official race merchandise. On my way there I picked up our goody bags (which were not impressive – no drawstring mesh bag like we got for the Princess Half, just a bunch of coupons and ads) and tech shirts…which I LOVE.



My favorite detail is on the sleeve…since the course goes through all 4 parks, we get all 4 park icons!



The shirts for the other races were very similar – the half was royal blue with Donald on the front (the castle and Spaceship Earth were on the sleeve), the Goofy shirt was white (totally should be orange to match the bibs and stand out, in my opinion) and the Chip and Dale relay shirts were, I think, dark blue. Very cool. I should also point out that the shirts are unisex…I probably could have used a smaller size, but I still love mine.

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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-11-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:38 AM   #81
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Day 2: Saturday, January 7 continued - 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo, Part 2

After getting the shirts, it was on to the official race merchandise area. I found their use of color on the merchandise to be really interesting. For example, most of the marathon stuff was purple, not red like the tech shirt/bib, for whatever reason. I really wanted a hooded sweatshirt, but it was brown, so I balked on that one (and regretted it later). Here’s what I did get…a Marathon Mickey plush (which the monster pup definitely thought was a souvenir for him…nice try, buddy!):







A coffee mug:





And one of those “I did it!” shirts. The CM assured me that no, I was not jinxing myself by buying this thing the day before the race…I would be jinxing myself by NOT buying it, since they’d almost surely be out of my size! That’s salesmanship for you. The shirts were in women’s sizes, which was nice (they also had a long-sleeved version that was black and, I think, in unisex sizes).



I don’t really love the concept of these things...I bought it purely for the course map on the back.



Apologies for the messed up color here. It’s a dark purple shirt.

There was also lots of “runDisney 2012” merchandise (hats, shirts, etc.) and more pins. It wasn’t crowded at all so I could take my time looking. As a nice bonus, I could use Disney giftcards that I’d gotten for Christmas to pay for stuff and the CM gave me a Premium AP discount of 20%, which was really nice since I only have a regular AP.

I didn’t find much else I wanted to buy (I really wanted a Mickey-shaped 26.2 sticker for my car but never found one ) but I did find the runDisney booth with all of the other race medals! Ooh...shiny.

From L-R, Coast-to-Coast, Tinkerbell Half, Neverland 5k (I think?!), Disneyland Half, WDW Half…



…WDW Marathon Relay, WDW marathon (mine mine mine!!), Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Wine and Dine Half…



…Wine and Dine Half again, Wine and Dine Relay, Expedition Everest 5K and the 2012 Princess Half Marathon medal.



I wish I’d done a better job with these and made them into a panorama. Oh well.

At the time I was tentatively planning to run the Tower of Terror 10-miler (it's not happening this year ) and was disappointed that the medal wasn't out. I shouldn't have been surprised, but still...boo! I grilled the runDisney representative and he said that the medal was a secret (they have since posted a picture of it on the runDisney Facebook page...WANT.), told me there would be a 5k race during the weekend, and that the 10-miler course will be “all-terrain” – concrete, dirt, etc. That’s all I could get out of him.

My last and best purchase at the expo was The Stick (picture from their website):



Basically you roll it over tight muscles and it helps to loosen them up. The guy at the booth let me try it and let me tell you, the thing works.

On the way out of the expo there were castle screens set up and stations to print free photos! I like free.



Possibly one of the worst photos of me ever taken, but in addition to the free printed copy I allowed was to email it out to people, so I have a digital copy as well. Hmm...hooray? Oh well, how often do you get something free at Disney?!

After running into my New Jersey friend from the bus for the 2nd or 3rd time that morning, I wandered around taking some pictures before heading back to the bus stop.

Just a few baseball games going on that day:



He’s jammin’:



Heading out.





At the bus stop, New Jersey friend and I were at the same place at the same time again! Hehe. On the bus back an information video was playing with tips about the race and logistics of how race morning would go. Great idea. A guy on the bus commented that Disney should dedicate a channel on the resort televisions to this stuff as well. Even better idea.

By now it was about 11:30, and I was getting texts from my mom that she and Craig had checked into the Yacht Club. Hooray! I made it back to Beach quickly, dropped off some stuff, and headed over to their room.

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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-15-2012 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #82
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This is good stuff, and I'm not talkin' bout the coffee...I don't even like coffee (but they don't have a little lemonade drinker dude...hee-hee)!
Seriously, I'm enjoying your new adventure!!
I can totally relate with you on the Disney-alone thing, as last year I was forced to take a planned cruise without my DH who had to pull out for the last minute due to work...I cried through the lifeboat drill!! Now that's pretty sad!! And, just like you, I too had my immediate family with me, but there was just something so starkly sad about being somewhere that both of you enjoy without the other one!
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:37 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurleyGirl View Post
This is good stuff, and I'm not talkin' bout the coffee...I don't even like coffee (but they don't have a little lemonade drinker dude...hee-hee)!
Seriously, I'm enjoying your new adventure!!
I can totally relate with you on the Disney-alone thing, as last year I was forced to take a planned cruise without my DH who had to pull out for the last minute due to work...I cried through the lifeboat drill!! Now that's pretty sad!! And, just like you, I too had my immediate family with me, but there was just something so starkly sad about being somewhere that both of you enjoy without the other one!
Looking forward
Thank you so much. I really appreciated that you are reading and commenting!

That's so sad that you had to cruise without your husband! I really had an underlying feeling of guilt the entire weekend, like I almost felt bad for having fun without him. I think it would have been different if it had been a planned solo trip from the beginning. I was so happy to have my mom and brother there, but they don't completely *get* Disney...the husband does. It sounds like you can relate.

The good news is that he is much better now - FINALLY! - so I am hopeful that he'll be there for Marathon Weekend 2013!!
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:22 PM   #84
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It is always more fun going with someone else who enjoys it, isn't it? I am really excited to read about the marathon, though! I'm probably staying at the Beach Club this Jan., too, so this is a great coming attractions. And I love the little runner Mickey.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:08 PM   #85
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It is always more fun going with someone else who enjoys it, isn't it? I am really excited to read about the marathon, though! I'm probably staying at the Beach Club this Jan., too, so this is a great coming attractions. And I love the little runner Mickey.
Yes, totally. My mom and brother enjoy it, I just don't know if they appreciate the whimsy as much, ya know?

Good choice picking the Beach Club...you just cannot beat the location! I love runner Mickey too...he's currently snuggling up on the bed in our guest bedroom with our other Mickey plushes
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:21 PM   #86
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Really looking forward to hearing about your marathon! I am still hesitating about pulling the trigger and signing up - trying to read as much as I can about others' experiences to feel confident that I can actually do it...

I love that stuffed runner Mickey! So cute
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:34 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by BigEeyore View Post
Really looking forward to hearing about your marathon! I am still hesitating about pulling the trigger and signing up - trying to read as much as I can about others' experiences to feel confident that I can actually do it...

I love that stuffed runner Mickey! So cute
I'm glad you're looking forward to the marathon portion...it is long, detailed and full of pictures!

I did the same thing you did last year...I went crazy googling "WDW Marathon Race Reports" or something similar, and I feel like there are certain reports that I've read so many times I practically have them memorized. You're not alone!

I love Runner Mickey too! So glad I brought him home with me.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:39 AM   #88
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Day 2: Saturday, January 7 continued - A solo trip no more!

Hooray! My people had arrived! I greeted Craig (haven’t seen the kid since February, so that was exciting) and my mom in their room at the Yacht Club and they excitedly showed me this:



Sheesh. Talk about your amazing views. I don’t know how they got this room, because I booked it for them (30% discount or whatever) and they definitely did not pay extra for it.

I liked their room much, much better than mine, and not just because of their view. I really need to stay at this resort some day.







LOVE.



After oogling the view for a bit, we all agreed that it was lunch time. To Epcot!

We got tickets squared away for both of them at the International Gateway (Craig got a sweet Florida resident rate) and marveled at how short the walk was to Epcot from our resorts. Can't beat it! We got a nice surprise walking in to Epcot: 3 Soarin’ fastpasses from another guest that couldn’t use them! Score!

Craig decided on sushi from Japan for lunch, and I convinced mom to hold out for Norway. We both got ham and apple sandwiches from Kringla Bakeri og Café, along with giant cups of ice water. Time to start hydrating for the race!

YUM. I think this might be my favorite counter service place in the World Showcase.



After lunch, Craig and I decided it was time for Soarin’! Mom wasn’t so sure…she was convinced it would make her sick. During the walk from Norway to the Land, we tried to convince her otherwise.

When we got to Soarin’, the wait was posted at 80 minutes. Not a problem when you have these babies!





Mom was ready to take the chicken exit up through the intro video, but eventually we convinced her that she could just shut her eyes if she didn’t like the ride. So we got in our seats and…nothing happened. The ride broke down! We couldn’t undo our seatbelts, so she started to freak a bit, saying “I am not going on this thing if it’s broken! I’m going to get sick! I’m scared of heights!” We were up and running a few minutes later, and I kept looking at her and laughing the entire time because she sort of looked like someone was torturing her…yet she loved it! Huzzah!

The break down really messed things up for everything else…the wait time shot up by an hour!



Since we were in the Land anyway, we went on Living with the Land (which they thought was lame until the greenhouse part), then the Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush. I had to work really hard to convince them to see Crush…it was seriously like pulling teeth. But they liked it. We checked out the aquariums for a bit (including catching part of the dolphin show, which was super cool) before heading out of the Seas. As soon as we left the Seas, we were surrounded by people in matching dark blue shirts. Somehow we’d found ourselves in the middle of a Brazilian tour group! Yikes!

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Last edited by Ariel484; 07-12-2012 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:45 AM   #89
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Day 2: Saturday, January 7 continued - Oh, that's right...we have a race tomorrow!

After leaving The Seas we decided to head back to our hotels to rest up a bit and get changed for dinner. We made our way back to the International Gateway.

A dark picture of the Epcot tree:



Birds hanging out on the angel:



Craig and I both grabbed lattes from the small coffee stand in Canada and we made it to our hotels around 5PM. This seemed as good a time as any to lay out everything I’d need for tomorrow:



After getting a bit turned around, Craig and mom found my room and we headed back to Epcot at about 6:15. We were a few minutes late for our reservation at Via Napoli…bring on those carbs!

There was a decent-sized line for walk-ups (20 people maybe?)…so glad we had an ADR!

This was my second time eating here and it was just as delicious as it was in June. I’d wanted to pick a place for our pre-race meal that I’d been to before and seemed like “safe” food (nothing weird to possibly make us sick). This was perfect…plus, the server didn’t harass me when I kept asking for more water.

I ordered the margherita pizza. This was good, but I'd have to give the slight edge to the pepperoni:



Mom ordered the pepperoni...I didn't take a picture so I'm going to cheat and use this one from my and Will's lunch there in 2011 (hence the slightly better lighting, as we were sitting near the windows):



And Craig got pasta with clams and other seafood on it:



He liked it, but after trying our pizza he wishes he’d ordered the pizza instead. Next time bro, next time! Both he and mom loved Via Napoli, and as a bonus, I randomly saw a cast member friend of mine there. Excitement!

After dinner, we walked around World Showcase a bit. I found the park to be surprisingly crowded. I thought this was supposed to be a slow time of the year?!

My terrible streak of nighttime photos continued :





I’d actually kept forgetting about the race all day, but by now Craig and I knew we needed to start thinking about turning in for the night. Mom headed to the Magic Kingdom while Craig and I made our way to France for dessert (strawberry tarts…yum!). I got back to my room at about 8:30, called Will, and realized I could hear the announcement that Illuminations was starting soon! Maybe I could see the fireworks?!

Yes, I could!







I also realized that the informational marathon videos actually did have a dedicated channel in the resorts, just like the guy on the bus had been talking about. Basically it talked about race logistics, runner etiquette, etc. It also had some inspirational runner stories, as well as ads for other races and TV shows on ABC (i.e. Tim Gunn and Ty Pennington promoting their new talk show while wishing us runners good luck). Um...thanks?



Before going to bed at 10:30 (later than I’d planned), I set 3 alarms for Sunday morning: my phone (2:45 AM), a wake-up call with the front desk (3AM), and the iHome on the bedside table. When I’d checked in I’d noticed that the iHome was set an hour ahead and never figured out how to correct the time. I wanted this alarm to go off at 3AM, and knew I needed to adjust for that…I don’t know if it was nerves or just the fact that I can be a little stupid at times, but I set the alarm for 3AM – no adjustment made. Ugh.

After setting the alarms I got into bed and fell asleep pretty quickly. The marathon was almost here!



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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-16-2012 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:11 AM   #90
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Day 3: Sunday, January 8 - WALT DISNEY WORLD MARATHON! Start and Mile 1



Overall I slept pretty decently the night before the race, though I did wake up a few times to peek at the clock (once at 12:30 and again at 1AM), and was awake again at 2AM when the iHome went off . Luckily I was able to easily fall back asleep each time and hopped out of bed pretty quickly when it was actually go time at 2:45AM.

After changing into my running clothes, I stepped outside onto the balcony and was hit with a cold blast of air…and that’s when I realized that throughout all of my careful planning, I’d forgotten throwaway clothes. While runners were required to be in the starting corrals at 5AM, buses from the resorts would stop running at 4, and we were planning to catch ours by 3:30 at the latest, so we would be hanging out in the staging area near the start for quite awhile. Temperatures were, I believe, in the high-40s to low-50s at the point. Smarter people would arrive at the race wearing warm clothes that they would discard before the race or at some point along the course – Disney would pick up these clothes, clean them, and donate them to charity. We, not being smart people, were going to arrive without throwaway clothes and most likely shiver our butts off for a good hour or so.

After having that sad realization, I decided I was as ready as I’d ever be. I grabbed my bag of food and fuel belt and headed out of the villas to the quiet Beach Club lobby. While quickly walking past Stormalong Bay toward the Yacht Club I alternated between cursing myself over forgetting throwaway clothes and looking at the bright side – At least I’m from Ohio and am somewhat used to weather like this. That’s got to count for something, right?! Really, it ended up not being that bad. We didn’t catch pneumonia or anything, and once we actually did begin to run, the weather was perfect.

The Yacht Club lobby was a little busier than the Beach Club lobby. There were quite a few runners and one girl who was, clearly, not a runner. The runners were all wearing old sweats, stocking caps, garbage bags, etc., while this girl was wearing a short skirt, spiked heels (4 inches maybe?) and tons of make-up. Clearly she was returning from a night of partying, just as the rest of us were getting ready to head to the marathon start. Quite a contrast to say the least.

Party Girl and I shared an elevator up to the 3rd floor and I was pleased to find that my brother was up and almost ready to go. Like me, he didn’t pack any throwaway clothes, and was not pleased when I told him how chilly it was outside. He gathered all of his stuff quickly and we headed out into the hall only to remember, just as the door closed, that he didn’t have his room key with him. Poor mom woke up to give it to us and we headed down to the lobby and out the door to catch a bus to the start.

We hopped on the bus at about 3:40 or so, and I think we also stopped at the Beach Club and the Swan and Dolphin – fine by me. The bus was nice and warm, so I didn’t mind the stops. We each had a granola bar and some water, and I recall starting to feel very, very nervous. All I could do was try to remind myself that I was there to have a good time and that this was going to be just like any other run, except way more fun. Luckily my brother is a “good talker” so he kept telling me random stories during the ride, which took my mind off of how anxious I was feeling.

The bus let us off in one of the Epcot parking lots (the Explore lot maybe?) at about 4:15 AM and we walked over to the staging area. I’ve read online that the previous day the buses had been a mess in some areas for the half marathon, but for us it wasn’t bad.

People complain about how much walking is required before these Disney races, but I don’t really mind it. Having to constantly move helped keep my nerves in check and allowed me to warm up a bit. We started off with a short walk to the staging area, which was located in the Wonder lot and was set up almost exactly as it had been for the Princess Half – food trucks, a med tent, an information booth, a DJ…and CHARACTERS!

Pluto and Scrooge were available for pictures…I was surprised to see that Pluto’s line was huge (nothing against Pluto, but he can easily be met in the parks on any given day), while Scrooge’s was almost non-existent. So we met Scrooge for the first time!



Why I look like such a doofus in this picture, I have no idea. This would be a trend all day.

The screens with the marathon weekend logo also had short lines, so we grabbed a picture there as well.



We skipped Pluto’s line (he wasn’t wearing a special outfit or anything) and just walked around for a bit, trying to take everything in. After heading through the “no bag check” line we made a porta-potty stop and continued on toward the corrals on World Drive. I think that this, specifically, is the walk that people hate. Again, I don’t mind it. We just sort of slowly chugged along for a half mile or so, eating bagels with peanut butter that I’d brought from home along the way, chatting, and listening to all of the activity around us. Old Backlot Trams were to our left, the Lights of Winter (I think), wrapped in plastic, were to our right.

After one last bathroom stop, we arrived at Corral D!



We definitely took our sweet time during the walk…a few minutes after we were granted access to our corral, Mickey (talking Mickey, that is), Donald and Goofy were sending the wheelchair racers on their way. The 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon had officially begun!

Corral D was due to start the race at 5:47 AM. Twelve minutes before our start, Corral A got a round of fireworks and began running.



In the above picture you can see the people in front of me looking behind us…in addition to the fireworks being shot off at the starting line, they also came from the overpass behind us (for Corral A only). It was a neat surprise that I don’t think anyone expected. Also, huge flames shot up from the starting line, which felt nice and warm on that chilly morning, even to those of us way back in Corral D.

For the first time ever, despite the fact that it was a total rip-off, I actually bought official pictures from the race. Disney hires a photography company to photograph runners, and there are photos specifically of us that are tagged to our bib numbers as well as general race and resort photos. There were 2 in particular that I wanted, and by then I was almost at the price for the full picture package …plus, it was my first marathon! So I splurged. I’m sure they get a lot of money out of people who think the way I do. Anyway, one of the generic pictures included in my package was this shot of the elite corral starting. Can you feel the heat?!



Corrals B&C got their fireworks and we began to move closer to the starting line.



People were beginning to shed their throwaway clothes in droves at this point (including 2 guys in front of us that arrived wearing very warm-looking bathrobes …genius!). Before we knew it, Mickey was counting down to our start!

3 2 1 GO!



The Corral D runners let out a collective “WOOOOO!” as we crossed the starting line and made our way down Epcot Center Drive. I had thought about the moment that this race would start for months and expected to be sick with nerves, but I wasn’t at all. I was just excited…it was finally here!

The fellas cheered us on:



I punched the start button on my Garmin and one thought kept running through my mind throughout the first mile: Run your own race. It was surprisingly easy not to get caught up in the excitement of what was going on and run too fast. The fact that the road was a bit congested with runners definitely helped with that.

We reached Mile Marker 1 in a little under 13 minutes…I think we saw a high school marching band somewhere during that first mile, but I can’t remember for sure. We saw marching bands at 5 or 6 points throughout the race (some I recognized from earlier miles throughout) and they were great!



“Only 25.2 miles to go!” I shouted to the bro. He and a couple of other ladies nearby laughed…I’m glad no one smacked me.

After walking through the first water stop (lemon-lime Powerade, yuck!) we looped back toward the starting line. Across the way we could hear people cheering. Looking over, we realized that the elite runners had already run through Epcot and were almost to mile 6 already! Talk about speedy fast.

As for us, we still had yet to enter the park…but we were close!



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Last edited by Ariel484; 05-17-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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