Day 4 of marathon weekend – the “main event”! It was time for the Walt Disney World Marathon. I woke up with a mildly achy knee, but it again didn’t actually hurt, so I did the same as the day before: got ready and decided to go for it, and see how far I could get. This was the only race that I laid out a true ‘flat Katie’ for, instead of just piling my stuff up on the table.
I wasn’t the only person from home running this race, and we had finally wised up and designated a meeting area. When I got there, my friend Lisa was already there – she was running her first marathon too! After a little bit I decided to head to the corrals… sadly before anyone else showed up. But I was so paranoid about walking and falling behind pace!
Like the day before, as we moved up I found a discarded sweatshirt so I could ditch my heat sheet. True story: I refused to part with this basic gray sweatshirt, and am actually wearing it today! Anyway, we took off – I learned my lesson at the half and didn’t even attempt to run. I stayed over to the far right and walked as fast as possible.
The course is the same as the half until maybe mile 8, back by the hotels. So we followed the same roads into Magic Kingdom. I was walking along, feeling rather blah (my body would not speed up and I was convinced that I wouldn’t even make it to the castle!), when I heard Lisa’s laugh right behind me. WOOHOO! They found me! I got a run-by hug but Tad, who was running with Lisa for company (and to drag her along in the later miles), wasn’t letting her skip intervals, so they kept on going. Spoiler alert: Lisa rocked her first marathon!
Again, there really wasn’t much entertainment until we were in the MK parking lot. Lightning McQueen and Mater were still out at the same place they were the day before. I was just telling myself that if it was still Vanellope and Ralph that I would stop again, when I heard the familiar refrain of DuckTales! Oh my goodness, for real, there was Scrooge McDuck and LaunchPad! I think my boys were ready to disown me when I admitted that I didn’t stop… but again, fear of being swept kept me going…
Until I spotted Maleficent. The Queen of Hearts and the Evil Queen were also out but I didn’t care about them. Just Maleficent! I had to stop! Maleficent is my absolute favorite Disney character in the history of ever, and I’ve only even seen her once before at a Not So Scary party. Plus, I was running dressed as Aurora. I had to stop! I told everyone in line that I didn’t even care if I was swept right then, so long as I got this picture. When I got to Maleficent, she said, “Oh princess… shouldn’t you be sleeping? It can be arranged you know!”
After that photo stop, I continued on past the Ticket & Transportation Center, but then had to stop for a potty break (and not a good had like stopping for Maleficent was). The dismay kept mounting as pace group after pace group passed up, but eventually I was back on the road to the Contemporary. I overheard someone saying that they still hadn’t seen the back of the pack so I felt a little better, but I was still going to much slower than the day before.
Eventually I made it into Magic Kingdom. I was honestly so surprised, but so happy. I was even happier when I made it through the castle and finally got a “running through the castle” picture (even if I wasn’t actually running). That first picture shows the emotion perfectly… “Hallelujah, finally!”
I either missed the PhotoPass stand in Frontierland or it wasn’t there, but eventually I made it into the backlot. I was telling myself that if Aurora and Philip were out again, I had to stop (yes, the good kind), but they weren’t. Instead, the Maleficent dragon float from the parades was out! SO! COOL! I got my picture and headed on again. Like the day before, I stopped for an acetaminophen. At this point my knee was actually hurting, but I refused to stop until race officials made me.
Back on the Road of Boring, I saw Richard. I’m not sure how I missed him at the half, but I was able to stop and thank him for cheering us on, and get a picture. Richard works at the Grand Floridian and is a legend in his own right. He is so sweet!
The Traveling Genie was out again! If you remember, I saw him during the 5K and the 10K without stopping. Well, I was far enough back that there was zero line! Not a single person! So I hopped off the road and got a picture, then continued on. I had to let Natalie know right away!
We turned right to head towards Animal Kingdom. I was in literal tears at this point and called my mom to complain. Nothing like a mommy’s comfort, right? Her response was basically “well if you’re never running again and don’t care if you blow your knee out, why don’t you just run?” Umm, because running hurts! But it was what I needed to keep going, so thanks mommy!
I think it was that random out and back that completely zapped my desire to continue. I finally saw the balloon ladies, and it was just rather blah – even with DJs and music to try and pep it up. I was texting with Michael and this point, and my only goal was to get to him. He let me know that he was just past the mile 13 marker in Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the balloon ladies passed me just past the mile 12 marker! I had to haul butt (and really hurt my knee) to keep up with them until the mile 13 marker.
It was worth it though! I actually started crying again when I got to Michael, but I stopped that pretty quickly. I didn’t want him to see me crying and think I was upset about stopping, because I really wasn’t. I had resigned myself to it and come to peace with it. But the emotions were pretty high! We talked for a minute, and I contemplated an Everest ride, but decided just to keep going. Michael walked with me until the course went out a back gate in Dinoland. One of the PhotoPass photographers even caught Michael on course! He’s so happy – he said he was going to tell people he did the marathon with me! Hehehe!
I kept going until I hit a Parade Bus (aka sag wagon), and climbed on before they even had to tell me to. I’ve read reports from other people saying when they got on a bus there was a lot of crying, but I really didn’t see much. I let my friends all know that I was being picked up, and promptly sat down on the floor of the bus (because all of the seats were taken). After a while, I started getting texts that my tracking said I was still going, so I sent them this “I’m on the bus” picture.
We made it back to the finish line area, where I promptly went to the aid tent for ice. I refused food but took a heat sheet and Powerade because the medics insisted. All I cared about was ice for the knee though. The volunteers also handed out medals and celebration Mouse Ears. Yes, I have the medal hanging up, even though no, I didn’t finish the race. In this case, I’m choosing to celebrate that I started and attempted the race, not that I finished it. Judge me if you must. I am giving my ears to a friend who has previously run the race though!
I said for a long, long time that this was going to be my last race, and my running career would be over. Yeah… not so much. I’m going to have to go back for another shot at Dopey, and I’m already twitchy with no running anyway. But I am taking a break to let my knee heal up, and then I’ll be working really hard at cross training and strengthening all the supporting muscles and joints and stuff.
So! I hope to see you all at Marathon Weekend 2020!