2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

Like I mentioned in my post about the day before the race, I’d really been looking forward to the Walt Disney World Marathon since the Space Coast Marathon.  I’d really been beating myself up about how I performed there and knew that I could do a lot better.  I think there were a lot of things that contributed to me not really being very motivated to push myself that day — I was bored, the hills were annoying, and I really just didn’t feel up to it.  That wasn’t the case the morning of the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I really wanted to do better, I wanted to do what I knew I was capable of and what I had trained for.

That being said, I went into the race with three goals:

A – 4:45

B – Under 5

C – Finish

They’re a bit slower than my goals were at Space Coast, but I had a better idea of what I was getting myself in to and I wanted to be realistic.  A 4:45 finish would be a nearly 30 minute PR so I knew it was a lofty goal, but I thought it was within reach.  I thought 5 was definitely within reach.  And I knew that barring some crazy thing happening, I’d finish.

The Walt Disney World Marathon starts just outside of Epcot, heads over to the Magic Kingdom, then around the Speedway, past the waste facility, through Animal Kingdom, down a long, boring stretch of highway, into the Wide World of Sports, then on to Hollywood Studios, loops back around the Boardwalk, then finally around the World Showcase and ends in the parking lot at Epcot.

2014 walt disney world marathon course

Since Disney added in new corrals to try to ease the congestion on the course, I had a bit of a wait once we made it to the corral.  It was about 30 minutes from the time the first runners started until my corral went.  I thought it was a little weird — I was in A for the Princess race with a slower time, but J for this race.  It ended up working out well because it kept me from starting too fast.

The first five miles took us right up to the Magic Kingdom.  I was well rested, well tapered, and full of energy so my legs just wanted to go.  I remembered all to well what it felt like to use up all of my energy in the first part of the Space Coast Marathon, so I tried really hard to keep myself at a slow, steady pace.  To hit my A goal, I needed to try to keep it around 10:53.  I kept checking my watch to make sure I stayed close to it without going over.

Mile 1 – 10:37

Mile 2 – 10:15

Mile 3 – 10:40

Mile 4 – 10:25

Mile 5 – 10:34

We hit Main Street in the Magic Kingdom right after Mile 5.  That’s probably my most favorite mile of the entire race — I love running through the places we spend so much time with the kiddos, we have so many great memories there.  Add in the massive amounts of spectators cheering for you and it’s really easy to zone out and just run.

Mile 6 – 10:34

2014 walt disney world marathon

The next two miles take you backstage at Magic Kingdom, then past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian.  I ran past Andrea’s parents here and yelled hi, but they missed me in the crowd of runners.  I was feeling really great and struggling to keep it slow.

Mile 7 – 10:23

Mile 8 – 9:59

Going into the Speedway there was an inverted hill.  It was so steep that most of us slowed to walk so we didn’t fall down it.  Then the uphill was equally steep.  Thankfully it was short.  A lot of the other runners were frustrated that we slowed so much (the course narrowed considerably with the steep drop) but I’d rather take it easy than risk injury.

2014 walt disney world marathon

I caught up with Andrea on the Speedway as she shifted to a walk break (she’s a Galloway runner), so I walked with her for a minute to see how she was feeling since she went into the race with an injury, she was doing great so we snapped a quick picture and I was on my way.

Mile 9 – 10:55

My knee was starting to bug me, so when I got to the water station right after the Mile 9 marker, I stopped to take some Advil.  It took FOREVER for me to figure out which pocket of my skirt I’d stashed it in.  I finally found it, took it, washed it down with some water and took off.

Mile 10 – 11:08

I couldn’t decide if I should run a little faster to try to make up for the time I was stopped or if I should just keep going at a comfortable pace.  I decided to run at a comfortable pace, I kept reminding myself – go slow.  When you look at the course map, this part looks like you’re running through the woods.  It was just a 2-lane road without much going on.

Mile 11 – 10:17

Mile 12 – 11:11

The next mile took us through Animal Kingdom.  There were handlers out with some of the animals, which was kind of fun to see.  I loved running through the park and especially loved that there were real bathrooms!  I saw one that was literally steps off the course and popped in really quick.  I think I probably over hydrated the day before.. oops.  A huge perk of Disney races is that there are actual bathrooms on the course – yay for not trying to get everything back in place while also trying not to touch anything in a port-o-potty.

Mile 13 – 10:31

2014 walt disney world marathon

I knew Adam was waiting for me outside of Animal Kingdom, so I started looking out for him as I exited the park.  I stopped to chat with him, told him I was feeling really great, and grabbed a bottle of nuun from him.  Disney provides Powerade on the course, but after having stomach issues at Wine & Dine, I decided to stick with what I knew worked for me.

I also stopped at the medical tent right before Mile 14 to put BioFreeze on my thighs.  I am actually not sure what made me decide to stop at that point, but I remembered my friend Carter telling me how good it felt and I was a few minutes ahead of the 4:45 pace group, so I figured why not.  He was right, it was amazing.  I even texted Andrea to tell her that she needed to try it too.

Mile 14 – 11:25

2014 walt disney world marathon

The next few miles are where you start to hit the overpasses and you’re running on a highway and to be honest, it was boring.  I knew the hills at Space Coast wore me out, so I decided I’d walk up them.  There was a pretty long hill going into the Wide World of Sports and I walked the entire thing.  I could have run and in hindsight, probably should have, but I remembered how I felt at Mile 18 before and I didn’t want to hit the wall again.

Mile 15 – 11:13

Mile 16 – 12:17

Mile 17 – 12:04

Right around Mile 17, they were passing out ice cold wash cloths. I had a flashback to how amazing that little blue cloth was at Space Coast and was so, so happy. One minor difference though, it wasn’t hot. I started to wipe my arms off and got a chill. So instead I wiped my face, then decided I’d run with it in case I changed my mind and wanted it later. Dumb idea, Kristin.

The next five miles were the worst of the race. Not awful, but the constant twisting and turning on the sidewalks and the narrow paths, and random terrain in the Wide World of Sports was kind of annoying, then the ramp going into Hollywood Studios, it was just blah. I stopped during Mile 19 for another potty break and took a minute to splash some water on my face and stretch. I stopped again in Mile 22 to put more BioFreeze on my legs and chatted for a minute with another runner. I felt bad for her, she was hurt and wasn’t going to be able to finish.. I felt really bad leaving her behind.

Mile 18 – 11:44

Mile 19 – 12:32

Mile 20 – 11:54

Mile 21 – 11:35

Mile 22 – 12:43

Around this time is when I realized that carrying the soaking wet wash cloth was not smart. It kept dripping water into my shoes, so now my feet were all soggy and wet and sore. Mile 22 also had an on ramp, so I walked up it. I was actually pretty proud of myself because up until that point, I’d been running most of the way without stopping except for walking at the water stops and up hills, to use the bathroom, and for BioFreeze. Okay now it sounds like a lot, but it didn’t feel that way!

Mile 23 – 11:50

Just before Mile 23, the 5:00 pacer caught up with me. I heard her telling her group that there was chocolate up ahead and to only take one or two pieces because any more may make you sick to your stomach. I’m not really a fan of Hershey’s miniatures, but those things were so, so good. I decided to be a rebel and not just take one or two, I grabbed one of each flavor (so 4 mini’s) and took a little break to enjoy them. At that point, I also decided I’d let myself walk if I felt like it. I knew I wasn’t catching up to the 4:45 time I wanted but I figured if I was around the 5:00 group here and felt okay, then I’d hit my B goal and I was good with that.

2014 walt disney world marathon

I soaked it all in going through Hollywood Studios, I gave lots of high-five’s to the kids out cheering.  It was a lot of fun.

Mile 24 – 12:00

The next mile took us through the Boardwalk, which is always fun!  I ran past some of our friends (hi Mike & Rachelle!) who ran the half the day before, and past our hotel — and didn’t even have the urge to stop!  There was a sweet lady here handing out pretzel rods and I took one, and took a quick second to reminisce about Mr. Pretzel at Mile 21 of Space Coast.

Mile 25 – 12:04

2014 walt disney world marathon

The last mile was through Epcot and I loved it.  There were a lot of people out cheering, so much to look at and take in.  So many amazingly delicious smells.  I realized I was really, really hungry.  I ran through China and seriously considered making a pit stop to get a snack, it smelled wonderful.  My friend Jessi ran the Disney Marathon in 2010 and she said all she wanted when she got to Epcot was a margarita and a turkey leg.  I totally understand now!  I really don’t know why this split was so slow, I don’t know what I was doing.

Mile 26 – 12:38

2014 walt disney world marathon

Oh wait, yes I do.  I was staring at my watch.  I was so, so annoyed.  I hit 26.2 miles and my watch was at 4:56.  I STILL HAD HALF A MILE TO GO!!  I literally stopped in the middle of running, took a [blurry] picture of my watch, and was just annoyed.  Who does that?!  Apparently I do!  I remember getting to the gate right after you hit the Mile 26 marker and thinking to myself “You’re not going to be officially under 5 hours, so you might as well look good and strong when you finish!”  There was a fence just before you make the turn where all of the finish line spectators can see you, so I stopped for a second to stretch my legs and took off!

2014 walt disney world marathon

I high-fived Donald at the finish line and immediately started wondering when I could do it again.  Runners are crazy like that :) Seriously though, I want an official time that starts with a 4, gosh darnit.  Actually, being honest, I still want 4:30 but that’s going to take some time and training.  I know I’ll get there, eventually.

I really wanted to stick around and wait for Andrea and Cori to finish since it was their first marathon, but we had to get back to the hotel to shower and check-out.  We did that and headed back to Epcot to eat.

2014 walt disney world marathon

And I finally got the Chinese food that smelled SO good when I ran past it.  It tasted as good as it smelled too!  I’m not sure what was on those noodles, I think it was a spicy sesame dressing, but it was delicious and I’ve been craving it ever since.

2014 walt disney world marathon

Now that I have two marathons under my belt, I feel like I’ve learned a lot.  I told Adam after I finished that I knew I could do better.  The distance still intimidates me though, so I really struggle mentally.  I’m so scared to push too hard and run out of gas long before the finish line.  I’m not planning to run another marathon until next fall, so I think I’m going to take some time to really work on improving my mental game.  I need to start making myself work hard on my long training runs so I can hit my time goals for long races.

Also, I can’t decide if I’m calling this a B or C goal day.  Maybe a B-?  Technically I did run 26.2 miles in under 5 hours, but.. my official time was 5:01:04.  What really gets me though is all of the random times I stopped that I didn’t need to (the 2nd potty break, for BioFreeze, chatting with the injured runner, chatting with Adam) because I know all of that adds up to well over a minute and 4 seconds.  So yes, I’m kicking myself again. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time and that’s what is important, but I still want to be under 5 hours!

The fun part will be deciding which marathon will be next one where I try to do it..

What’s your favorite marathon?

Do you use your official race time or the time from your watch when determing if you met a goal?

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37 thoughts on “2014 Walt Disney World Marathon”

  1. I’ve never done a marathon, but I think you are a ROCK STAR! You finished, you rock, you’ve done something a lot of people cannot say that they have done! I go by clock time…because that’s what everyone’s going to see, even if I KNOW my watch has a different time. For some reason…people love to go by what’s “official.” Whodathunk?
    Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #1My Profile

  2. Great job! 2 marathons in 2 months is an amazing accomplishment. Don’t stress over 4:30. You will get there. I know an AWESOME speed coach you could train with on Wednesday nights. You’ll have to fill me in on the details for your fall full. Keep running!

    1. Thanks TK :)

      Getting out of the neighborhood during the week to run is hard with our work schedules and the kids :( I’m switching over to a FIRST training plan though and it incorporates a lot of speed work and tempo runs so hopefully that will help get me closer to my goals!!

  3. Amazing job Kristin!

    I have struggled with the watch v. race conundrum a few times. Because the WDW Marathon is a Boston Qualifier, it has to be certified by the US Track and Field folks, so the race distance would be spot on. My watch always lies to me…not a lot, just enough to be annoying! I have researched this a bit in the past, here’s a decent article by a track club: http://www.riverregionrunners.org/html/gps_accuracy_article.html If the course is certified I always take the course length as the right one, if it’s not, then I make my own determination which time I want to keep. 😉
    Sara {House Bella} recently posted…January Race Report: Billy Goat Loppet Freestyle Ski RaceMy Profile

    1. I think part of the issue at Disney is that there are so many runners on the course, you spend a lot of time weaving around them. Plus running off course to use the bathroom probably screwed with it too. Usually my watch is pretty close (well, my old one was, I just got a new one so maybe it’s off more?) but a half mile extra seemed crazy! I know I definitely didn’t run the tangents though so it’s probably mostly my fault! Oh well! I’m keeping the official time, it’s just more motivation to push harder next time!

  4. Congrats! Looks like a fun race. I’ve considered doing this race but have been disappointed looking at the course map. There is a lot of running in no man’s land, isn’t there? Would you recommend it again? My first marathon was Marine Corp Marathon in DC, and although I have nothing to compare it to, I would HIGHLY recommend it. The crowd support is absolutely amazing and people literally line every inch of the course (with the exception of about a 3 mile section). Definitely look into it if you can!

    1. Thanks so much, Sue!!

      I’ve heard that MCM is absolutely amazing — it’s on my bucket list. The hills are intimidating for me though, since I’m not really used to running on them.

      I would recommend the Disney marathon, at least once. There is a good chunk of time where you’re running along the highway and not in the parks, but Disney does a good job of trying to keep things interesting. The only part I really wasn’t a fan of was all of the twists and turns in the Wide World of Sports.

  5. Congrats Kristin! I say you did run a marathon with a 4: in front of it! GREAT job!

    I just saw your comment on my blog, so you know we’re in the same boat. I’m incredibly intimidated by marathons too and psyche myself out so, so much in the beginning. I don’t know what it is about them, but if you figure out a way to overcome it PLEASE let me know!
    Jen recently posted…Pregnancy update: week 28My Profile

    1. Thanks Jen :)

      I’ll definitely let you know — even thought I said I wasn’t so sure I wanted to run another, I agreed to sign up for the Disney Marathon next year with some of my girlfriends and I’m toying with the idea of another fall one!

  6. You did so great on your second marathon! You took so many minutes off!! I understand about the whole time issue–I was 7 minutes off my pre-injury goal. And I know that I stopped at every mile marker plus many other pictures–50 pictures total. So I know that if I hadn’t stopped, I would have hit my time goal. But then I think I needed those stops–even if they were only 10 seconds or so–as a mental distraction!

    And thank you for the biofreeze tip!! I stopped at the next med tent to get some–and felt so good I got some several more times!!
    Andrea recently posted…Race #43–Space Coast Half MarathonMy Profile

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