The one thing about these Disney Races isn't so much the race but the start of the race. The fact that we had to be at the buses before 4am is insane and add in the inability to sleep - a 2:45am wake up is just tiring.
I was up and ready by 3:30am and made sure to eat more this time. I had more to drink and my Sports Beans with me. Allen walked with me this time to get to the bus and there was actually a line today. I was scared this time that we would be late since I knew how long it had taken the day before to get to the corrals.
My plan for the race was to start out slow again, take plenty of pictures and allow myself to walk when I needed. I already could feel my feet and I just wanted to run at least 1/2 and finish standing. The first 6 miles were pretty easy and I maintained a good pace. Because of the course changes, the first part of the race was exactly the same as the half. But then my feet were hurting more.
I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Mile 8 we veered off and went into the Speedway.
It was awesome seeing everyone running on the track:
I took way too many shots as there were cars lined on both sides. I couldn't pass up a shot of Mater and Lightning McQueen however:
This put us at mile 9 and it was at this point that I seriously doubted my ability to finish. My feet were aching and I kept trying to figure out how much I could walk and still finish. Finally around mile 11, we made our way into Animal Kingdom. Got a bunch of shots of the animals including a scary snake shot:
At mile 12 we really made our way into AK park and winded through - past Everest. I was starting to remember more of this from the previous year. I ate some beans and started making sure to grab water/powerade at the stops. It was starting to get pretty hot. Miles 13 -16 were probably the worst 3 miles of the entire race as it was on Osceola Parkway and it was on our way to the Wide World of Sports. Mile 17 came as we made our way in and we ran past the complex and by Mile 19 we were in the stadium.
10k left! I knew at this point we just had to get to Hollywood Studios, run past the Boardwalk and through Epcot so I knew I was going to finish. The run to Hollywood Studios was bad however. Again it was very hot and I took several breaks to stretch. Mile 22 and we were on our way into HS! Again the park was open by now and just tons of people cheering us on. My feet were still hurting but I definately had a lot more energy and was able to start running a lot more. After mile 23 we made it past the Mickey hat. Could the finish really only be 3.2 miles away??
Outside Hollywood Studios we ran past the Boardwalk. My energy was way up by now and I was running more. The crowds were out and I was in such a better mood. With only 3 to go, I knew I was close to finishing and again got super choked up. Had to get a shot of some of them as I don't know if they realize how helpful they are. Each one put a huge smile on my face.
Finally made our way into Epcot. I don't know if it is the normal music that plays at the World Showcase but whatever it was, it was awesome. As you make your way in, you hit Mile 25. Looked around and finally saw what I had been waiting for:
Less than a mile left until I completed something I never in a million years thought I would do. Passed Mile 26 and onto the home stretch.
The previous year when I crossed the finish line I high-fived Goofy. I searched for him but only saw Donald and Mickey. Donald was on the right side so I gave him a half-five and I was DONE! Got my Mickey medal and then made my way to the Goofy medals. I hated that I was almost crying as the lady put my medal on me. Made my way to bag check and Allen was already there waiting for me.
It's not apparent but I was so overcome with emotion that I was crying as soon as I reached him. Got the awesome three-medal shot:
Official stats -
A little slower than I had wanted - I wanted to finish in 5:30 but I am still pretty proud of my time. We made our way back to the hotel again and I rested for a bit before getting lunch. At this point it was as if a huge weight had been lifted and I was not feeling bad at all, not tired, but my feet did hurt quite a bit.
We went to Epcot and rode a bunch of rides there. Got a fast pass for Soarin' but it wasn't until 6pm so we rode several others - like Test Track which took forever. Had dinner, did Soarin' and then went to Magic Kingdom again. It was fun walking around with the Goofy medal as it's almost as if you have joined some sort of club. Everyone is congratulating everyone.
The parade was about to start so we were able to ride a few rides - Thunder Mountain, Pirates and then Haunted Mansion. My feet were in agony so we made our way back to the resort. Still a little wired but went to bed. Woke up, had breakfast and drove home.
Final thoughts about Goofy: it's definitely not something I ever saw myself doing. I probably won't do it again as it was such a struggle to finish. It does put things into perspective a little however. It makes me realize that a marathon isn't quite as hard as you originally thought. Adding an additional 13.1 to it however, makes it more difficult. This will more than likely be the last time I race at Disney. It'll be very strange next year not going down as I've raced there since 2011.
It's always a let down after such a big race since prior to the race, that is all I can think about and everything is in terms of pre-race and post-race timing. Now I actually have to start thinking of the rest of the year. But I will always have this. When they unveiled the 20th anniversary Marathon medal I loved one of the quotes that is engraved on it: "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." And that's exactly how I feel now.