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Old 01-16-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
irishtwins1112
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My story - Disney Marathon 2013 (super long w/lots of sweeper info)

I am the mother of two boys; 21 months and 9 months. My mother signed me up for the Disney marathon in June of 2012 to help motivate me to exercise and get back into the running hobby since the birth of my youngest in April. My last completed full marathon was the Disney Full in 2008. I did well in training until November of 2012 when I injured my toe in a local half marathon. After that I was only able to get in long cross training activities (that didn’t aggravate my toe) on the weekends and one (pretty good) 10 mile walk/run before the big day. Going into this race, I knew that the likelihood of me not being able to finish due to time constraints was most likely greater than the likelihood of me finishing. I also knew that if I didn’t try I would never know.

This is my story.

We drove most of the early morning (think midnight on) Saturday to arrive at Disney by about 11am. We dropped my mom and little bro’s off at their resort to check-in. Next, we went to the expo to pick up my packet. Then we went to pick up my family and eat at Chic-fil-a. After that we checked in at our hotel, the Dolphin. We let the boys nap. After they napped we walked to Epcot about 6pm. In retrospect, we should have ridden the boat because that is a really long walk. We got in about 6:30pm and didn’t stay long at all for the pasta party before we went to ride Nemo and look at the Seas. We were beat and went back to the Dolphin after this. We put the babies to bed and I got my race stuff out and ready.
Here is a list of what I carried on me …..
In my sparkle skirt:
Travel pack of cottonelle wipes, 9 gu’s, cell phone, Ziploc bag, extra scrunci, chafing powder gel, camera, room key, one of those fever pads that cools your head ….I think they are called Bekool?
In my drawstring backpack (this was kind of an expendable thing I did at the last minute because I didn’t want to carry my powerade the whole time) :
1.5 bottles powerade (in case they ran out towards the end), an extra gu, sunblock (in case I needed to reapply.
Bag Check:
Blue Disney mammoth crocs, fresh socks, post-race snack food, powerade

My mom and two brothers waited at Disney Hollywood Studios for me. I wanted them to be right at the entrance where the runners come through the park when I got there. They were going to hand me a coke when I got that far. My mom had also iced down a wet towel to give me at that point. DH with DS 21months and 9 months were at mile 24-25 on the boardwalk right before Epcot.

Saturday night I slept about 4 hours from 9-1am-ish. From midnight to 2:30 I tossed and turned. I finally got up and got ready to go at 2:30 since I couldn’t sleep. Both of my babies were crying by the time I left and I felt sorry for my DH. I ate my breakfast in the lobby (whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter and a banana) and put on my garmin and ipod. I got hit on by several inebriated men in the lobby of the Dolphin. I needed to ask the check-in desk about something and when I did I told them about the drunk people in the lobby. She said she was aware and sorry. She said it was a particular group that they were having for a convention. That was the only thing I disliked about the Dolphin. I got on a bus about 3:30. There was a nice lady encouraging a first-timer by telling her that she had done all of her marathons while on chemo and that she would be fine.

I arrived at the staging area about 4am. I went ahead and checked my bag and found a line to hang out in for port o potty use. About that time I met up with Terrapin. We visited while in line and walked to the corrals together when we were done with the potties. I was going to try to sneak into Corral D but they were being pretty thorough with checking so I chickened out. I went ahead and split from Terrapin and tried to make my way to the front of Corral E. I found a place to sit and offered others my sunblock. We all nervously chatted. A few minutes before 5:35 I changed into my fresh race socks and discarded the ones I had worn to the start area in an effort to avoid blisters. After a few minutes it finally began.


1. 16:40

Knowing that I was undertrained I went out pretty slow. I didn’t want to run out of gas too early.

2. 16:21

I saw several WISHers along the way. Most were too fast for me to catch. I did talk to Tigerlily03 but I am not sure which mile it was.

3. 16:58
4. 16:45

Somewhere between 5 and 6 I saw Buzz in Tomorrowland and then Jesse in Frontierland. No Woody. I guess he was in Disney Hollywood Studios. I didn’t stop for pictures like I had originally planned because I wanted to do my very best in the race.

5. 16:45
6. 16:39
7. 16:47

During mile 8, I met a nice couple. I am not sure what the exact situation was but the husband was leading the wife. They were holding hands the whole time. I believe she had a sight disability. They were doing the Goofy.

8. 16:44
9. 16:42

At this point I began to feel some effects of being dehydrated. I was taking 2 powerades at every water stop but I began to feel a little more sluggish and it was more difficult to keep the pace I had been at. I probably should have been drinking my emergency powerade at this point but I was trying to save it in case I needed it later.

10. 18:13
11. 17:57

I considered riding Everest. I decided to skip it, in an effort to do my very best on the race. A few times in AK I ran into Andrew. I forget whose son he is on the DIS but you should be proud of him. He was very encouraging and looked like he was giving it his best.

12. 18:41

Nearing the outside of Animal Kingdom I began having severe calf cramps. I continued to hobble along and drank some of my emergency Powerade that I brought in a drawstring backpack. I was trying to save it until later in the race in case they ran out of water but I had to drink it then or I wasn’t going to get rid of that cramp. I had to stop a few times to stretch my calf. I also got a few pretzels from one of the WISHers outside of Animal Kingdom. I didn’t have time to stop and announce myself but Thanks, guys!

13. 19:35

Exiting the Animal Kingdom parking lot I saw what appeared to be a couple. There was an older man walking with a walker and what appeared to be his wife. They stopped at the 14 mile marker for a little while to rest. We leap frogged a few times.

14. 20:19

As some of you slower people know….the heat really turned on around Mile 15…..nothing but black asphalt and sweeper buses. Blech! Around this point is when the sweeper bikes would ride up and down beside us. At some point the balloon ladies caught up to me. I tried to keep pace with them for a while and it worked for a little while. Slowly they started fading away. I was walking with a lady who had a friend doing the marathon with her. She was trying to hang back for her friend but her friend was injured.

15. 19:48

During this mile, I could still see those balloon ladies but they a good gap away. The lady that was with the man that had a walker came running by me. I am assuming he just couldn’t keep the pace, because I know he didn’t pass me. The pace cyclists were riding up and down asking if we were okay. I asked how long we had to get to the next mile but the lady cyclist just said she wasn’t sure but we needed to catch up to the 16 minute balloon ladies. She said they would pull the bus across the road at the mile marker when they were ready to sweep. We neared closer and the bus started to cross……………

16. 17:46

But I ran and made it just around the bus. So did the other lady that was hanging back for her injured friend. She told me her friend just stopped and she had to go…..and she ran on. At this point I asked cyclists when the next sweep was and she said 21 was the next big sweep but they would continue to let me (and anybody else) walk until the smaller white vans caught up with me. I knew there was no way I could make up the amount of time I would need to in order to catch up with the balloon ladies at 21 but I walked as far as they would let me.

17. 17:35


17 was the entrance to the Wide World of Sports Complex. I continued walking. God bless those spectators and volunteers that were still out there. At this point, I let most of the people that I knew were thinking about me know that I was going to get swept but that I wasn’t sure where. The white buses followed the marathon course into the Wide World of Sports Complex. None of my spectators got the see me but I know my mom was a blessing to somebody by giving them that icy cold towel about mile 22-23 and my 15 year old brother had a lot of fun cheering on people. If you saw a boy with a beard and a pirate doo rag with Goofy ears on your way into DHS, that was him.


18. 22:42(pace for that last half mile)


I ended up with a 17:50 pace (average) for the 17.5 miles I was able to complete.

The pace cyclist came up beside me and said they would need to take me off at the next bicycle parked by the side of the road. There was a girl sitting there….crying. She was doing the Goofy Challenge. I gave her a hug and told her how good she did. They put us on a white van together.

The guys driving the van were really nice. There was one guy that took our names down. They asked if we needed anything. Since we were still technically on the course we went by powerade/water/bananas and energy gels and they would pass them through the van window to us if we wanted anything. We all talked. I told them I was grateful for making it this far. The Goofy athlete and I talked. I told her that I had been exactly where she is. I told her how I got swept at 23.5 of the full on my Goofy in 2009. I told her not to let it ruin her outlook on races and to keep doing it. I also apologized for hugging her (I was gross from the race…..and you know…some people aren’t touchy feely). She said she was grateful that I did it (she needed it) and she thought it was her mother hugging her until she looked up. Slowly more and more were added to our bus until our van was full. I met a girl who had a hip injury and was just trying to make it through to the end. No matter what the story, most agreed that it was just sooooooooo HOT! Somewhere before the end of Mile 20 we split off from the marathon course and went back to the staging area. At this point I saw Andrew still running and I figured he was going to make it. I hate that he got swept at Mile 21. From what I could see of Mile 20….it was pretty lame-o. Weird balloon puppet characters……but maybe I just missed the main part of it????
While on the bus….I gleaned a little info from the guys driving. Of course this is not coming from the “Race Director”….so you can’t take it as gospel but this is the information I was given. They said there last sweep was at 12:06pm at the 21 mile marker. That gave the 6:24 (Corral H I believe), 5 hours and 42 minutes to complete 21 miles. That is about a 16:15 mpm pace. He said that as far as they knew, as long as you make it past 21 you were okay and that they would allow you to finish. I told him about my experience getting swept at 23.5 in 2009 and he said that a lot of their policies had changed and he didn’t think that would happen now. I also asked about medals being given out. He said that the general rule is that you get a medal if you start any of the RunDisney races. According to this guy, Disney went to this policy because of the high level of complaints they were getting from people who would get swept and not get medals. According to him the earliest sweep during the marathon was just over the start line. A woman went over the start line and then waited by the side of the road. She claimed she was injured and that she just wanted to get her medal. The guy driving apparently does this (drives a sweeper van) at all the races. According to him…..he and all the pace cyclists are WWOS employees. The other guy that took our names was a guest relations cast member. He was the one that made sure we had water, snacks, etc.
We were dropped off by the marathon transportation busses in the staging area. We were given medals, a box of RunDisney post race snacks (which I am pretty sure are made by the company, gopicnic) and powerade and/or water. I hobbled my way to the bag check. After sitting down for 35-40 minutes on that van I was super stiff. I got to bag check and no bag. They sent someone to look in all the other tents to check for my bag and still no bag. I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t change into my crocs because my feet were tired and I had a small blister. I had to fill out a form and supposedly RunDisney will get back with me when they find it. After that, I hobbled to my bus to the Dolphin. While on the bus I spoke with a girl who said that her brother developed some pretty nasty blisters early on in the race. She said he stopped at a medical tent and it was early enough in the race that they transported him a few miles up and dropped him back off on the course because he really wanted to finish the race. I have never heard of this happening but I thought that it was interesting.
When I got back to the hotel I took the best shower ever. When the babies woke up from their naps we headed out to Downtown Disney to eat at Raglan Road (So good!!!!!!!!!!) and get a souvenier from TRex. After that we headed to Magic Kingdom. We did Buzz Lightyear (DS21 months liked ok), Pooh(DS21 months was terrified once we got into the heffalumps and woozles), watched Wishes(I thought it would terrify him but he loved it…….everytime it made a big boom he would smile), and rode the people mover(DS21 months was not a fan) before we headed back to the room. I was so tired(a good satisfying tired). I slept so good that night.
Monday morning we all packed up and hit Animal Kingdom for a few hours. Mainly we just wanted to do the safari. After we did that, DH and I hit Everest a couple of times while my mom watched the babies. Then we ate at Yak and Yeti. On the way out we got some sugared pecans and went on our way. We got back home around 10pm Monday night.

I had a blast on my trip and I really enjoyed the race. I came out feeling really good physically, with the exception of a quarter sized blister on the pad of my right food underneath the toes. I didn’t make it the whole way within their time constraints but I know without a doubt that I did my best. I am a slowpoke and I am okay with that. Even, if I knew it would have ended this way before starting, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great day and I am so thankful that God allowed me to go 17.5 miles on my own two (now swollen) feet!
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:11 AM   #2
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! Hugs to you! I remember seeing posts before the race about your injury. Congrats on making it as far as you possibly could, given the conditions on race day (injury, heat). And extra congratulations on a really positive attitude! All anyone can ask of us is that we do our best, and you did that.

Good info on the sweepers... I had a rough day Sunday, but finished ok (6:53). I did see a couple walking holding hands in WWOS at about Mile 19....wonder if they were one of the couples you mentioned. Anyway, as much as people want accurate info on what happens when you get swept, I think this is a great post!
Not too sure what I think about the woman who got "swept" at the start to get her medal, though. Seems like you would at least try a little, and see what you can do in the 7 hours you are given.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! You do have such a good attitude towards the races. I felt a bit undertrained when I went into the race. I really wasn't sure what would happen. I think it could have gone either way for me. I had to make a mental adjustment pre-race and focus on the fun and how fortunate I was just to be able to be there. Then take whatever outcome was presented. It surely was a wonderful experience!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:59 AM   #4
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That was a tough weekend and you did great regardless and I admire you for keeping such a great attitude the entire way! The information they gave you was correct. I got on the sweeper bus just after mile 21 and there was a line of them just waiting for everyone after what seemed like an eternity of waiting for the sweepers to finally cut off the course and block it with a police vehicle. I felt anxious for the cast members because there were so many runners still on the course still when they started waving the flags! I had never seen the sweep in action, just had been warned last year during the Goofy and it was so interesting. I think that the lady that just crossed the start line was not indicative of most of those swept, or those of us that volunteered to be taken off the course. I must say I saw some of the most determined and wonderful runners getting on the bus. I know your words of comfort helped that lady more than you probably ever realize. I tried to offer comfort to all those forced off the course, and hope that next year, I will be joined by you and all of those runners crossing the finish line.

If anything, I enjoyed being able to finally cool down and talk with the Guest Relations cast members and the Mears Driver about past sweeps and the ones that happened earlier that day. I always thought that there would be a lot of tears because no one wants to throw in the towel...but the attitude was a bit different. I wish that I had felt better earlier so I could ask them a lot more questions! All I know for sure is that Disney cast members have a really long day. They had to clock-in at 1 a.m.! I think most of us were still trying to or actually were sleeping then!
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing your story! You did AMAZING considering how hot it was! So impressed.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:46 PM   #6
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I may have seen you near the medical tent went you got off the van. Were you wearing a WISH shirt?

17.5 miles is an amazing job! You should be very proud!
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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It was a pleasure to meet you Zela and visit while we were walking to the corrals. With your young babies and overcoming injury you are an inspiration! I'm sure to see you again at a Disney race in the future. I am thinking of Princess 2014 as my next Florida race. Keep in touch!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:41 PM   #8
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You are quite an inspiration and should be so proud of what you accomplished! Thank you for sharing so much detailed information about the sweep, great info for others to understand how things work.

Kudos to you for getting out there!
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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Way to go, Zela.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:03 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone! I hope this race report helps some people better understand the sweeping process. I wish I had a enough money to do it again next year but I am probably going to have to save up for a while before we can afford another Disney race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagny View Post
I may have seen you near the medical tent went you got off the van. Were you wearing a WISH shirt?

17.5 miles is an amazing job! You should be very proud!
No wish shirt. I was wearing a black sparkle skirt and a white tech shirt.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:38 AM   #11
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Thank you for sharing your story, Zela. You are such a trooper. You did an amazing job in that heat and especially considering that your training was derailed due to your injury. You should be so proud of what you accomplished! You are truly an inspiration.

Oh, and thank you so much for your kind words about my son, Andrew. I was very proud of him for being supportive of other race participants during the full marathon. He had cheered me on during my half-marathon the day before, getting to three different places on the course and to the FINISH line. He could have slept in and saved his legs for Sunday, but he is a great WISHer and supported all the WISHers on Saturday, too. I agree that it is sad that he got swept at mile 21, but just after I saw him at mile 19.5 he got ill and sat on the side of the road being sick. If he had been able to push through to the finish, he might have been even sicker. Sometimes the hard decisions are taken away from us.

I hope you are doing great and that I'll have the opportunity to meet you at another race.

(Sorry to hijack your thread.)
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #12
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Great job!!! Thanks for the detailed report, too.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:46 PM   #13
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It is so cool to go back and read old race reports. I am super pumped about Goofy 2015! I have been averaging 14 minutes per mile on pretty much all of my runs. It is so exciting! This is gonna be the year that I get that Goofy medal and cross it off my bucket list!!!!!
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:17 PM   #14
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Thanks for sharing your story!

The best thing we can all do is just keep going and not giving up and you did not!!!

I know people who signed up for Disney races and had a bucket load of excuses why they couldn't even cross the start line. They will spend their lives wondering if they should have because maybe they could have...but they never even tried.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:55 PM   #15
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I remember reading your original post waaaaay back in 2013 when I was trying to figure out everything about all these silly runDisney events! I'm so happy you'll be trying again. I'm so proud of the courage and gumption you possess to never have the end be the end. I'll be at the marathon in 2015 as well and I can't wait to hear you're updated story!
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