Day four of my four-part Dopey Challenge started out with another 3 AM wake up call.
I felt much better mentally about running a full marathon than I had in 2013. And as we all know, the marathon is 90% mental.
My running muse Marc Bigbie would be running the full marathon as well. I got all my gear together and met Marc for the ride over to the start of our 26.2 mile journey.
The weather was cooperating nicely. It wasn’t going to be the scorching hot hell that it was the previous year. I normally run empty for a half marathon but knew this wasn’t going to be possible for my full marathon. Luckily my girlfriend Leslie had some cinnamon raisin bagels and I choked down a half of one.
Marc and I would only be together for a short while as he had to make his way to a higher corral than I did…but I didn’t mind because I had a buddy that I was going to be looking for in my own corral.
That’s right, my girlfriend Ashley and I had vowed to run the entire length of the full marathon together. You may remember her from my Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare race recap. I ran those two races with her as well.
I was excited to run with Ashley because it’s easier to push through when you have someone with you and as Ashley and I like to say, we always go for a PR in fun.
I was worried that I might hold Ashley back from performing at her best because I was coming off of running 22.4 miles and she was starting her race on fresh legs.
It was weird…I almost always get pre race jitters but I was surprisingly calm and ready to get this race started. By the time our corral “M” had made it to the starting line both of us had determined that we needed to use the bathroom pretty bad. #runnerproblems We would wait and use the nice clean restrooms in the Magic Kingdom.
The first 5 miles flew by. We joked and laughed and did our run/walk thing. I ran into my girlfriend Nichole just past the Transportation and Ticket Center and we paced each other until right before running onto Main Street USA. Nichole was going Goofy. Proud of that girl.
I was excited to hit Main Street USA. Not because of Cinderella Castle, but because I knew there would be a lot of friendly faces there.
My girlfriend Meaghann from MealsandMiles.com
My WDWRadio Peeps who got this shot of the two of us…
And lots and lots and lots of runners.
Through Cinderella Castle again.
We were holding out for the Frontierland bathrooms and boy am I glad we did. Those stalls are usually empty, clean and I ran into my friend Katherine!
It was almost time to leave the Magic Kingdom but not before we were captured and tied to the train tracks!
We exited the Magic Kingdom. Passed the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort and then headed towards the Walt Disney World Speedway.
This was where the race would differ from the half marathon that I had run the day before. I didn’t get any pictures inside the speedway but the sun was starting to come up and I finally hooked up with my friends Mark and Amy again. Time to head on the long stretch of Bear Island Road which connected the speedway with Animal Kingdom. I kept pushing through because I knew my husband and daughter would be in the Animal Kingdom parking lot waiting for me.
Around mile 12 there was a food stop and I couldn’t wait to get that banana! I was starving. It was also at that point that we had to decide whether we were going to ride Expedition Everest or not. Oh yes! Marathoners DO ride that attraction in the middle of the race! We thought that we may not be able to stand up if we sat down so we decided to pass on riding the roller coaster. Next year…
Family portrait! This was the halfway point.
Back onto Osceola Parkway and headed towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. My least favorite part of this race.
As we entered the sports complex there was a voluntEAR pouring ice cold water on wet washcloths. What a treat.
Another banana stop and some walking and bathroom breaks and then a run around the baseball field.
Also another glimpse of my family. And this awesome spectator.
I was pretty tired by this point and I was doing a lot of walking. My feet were starting to feel like they had in 2013. But I just kept on trucking.
Just past mile 20 I ran into my friend Charles. He ran the stretch from mile 20 to mile 21 with me. And then I broke down crying when I reached this sign. #Mile21 Find out why here: Celebrating 21 Miles – My Story of Struggle and Enlightenment in the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon
I pulled it together cause I didn’t want to make Ashley cry. We were both feeling kind of rough. She was having problems with her feet and knew that she was fighting some blisters.
We just wanted to make it inside of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Before we got to the entrance of the park we met a gal on the road who had just had back surgery. She had paid for the Dopey and didn’t want to defer. She was walking the entire thing. Ashley kept looking behind her for the balloon ladies and this walker reassured her that they were nowhere near by. She’d been keeping an eye out.
I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. It was painful. When we entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios they were handing out chocolate and gummy candy. I took a pack of gummy candy even though I don’t like them. I was starving. I would’ve eaten anything anyone handed me at this point.
As I exited Disney’s Hollywood Studios I choked down a few of the gummy candies. And then… Like magic… A spectator with pretzel sticks! Ahhhh! I took two. I wanted to take 10.
On the walkway between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the boardwalk I found another spectator with animal crackers. I took three of those.
We were coming into the homestretch. It was almost over. I knew I had another group of friends waiting for me at the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion at Epcot. That was the next place I was trying to make it too.
And more hugs…
and this awesome checkered flag that my friend Karen made for me.
It was almost over. This thing that I had been training for all year. I was completing the last 5 miles that had haunted me for so long. Today would not be a day filled with regret. Today would be the day that I conquered the marathon.
I AM A MARATHONER…
To read about the first three legs of this journey check out:
Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 1 – Disney Family Fun Run 5K Race Recap
Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 2 – 2014 Walt Disney World 10K Race Recap
Inaugural 2014 Dopey Challenge Part 3 – 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap