Walt Disney World Marathon - RunMarathon

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Orlando, Florida
United States
Walt Disney World Endurance Sports
50F / 10C
Total Time = 5h 52m 34s
Overall Rank = 10027/13478
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 1115/1288
Pre-race routine:

Ran a half marathon the day before. This wasn't just a marathon, it was the Goofy Challenge! I did find time to refuel with a post-Half burger at the Sci-Fi dine in theatre, and celebrate with our first-half-finish friends at the Raglan Road Irish Pub, where a few beers served as recovery beverages. Then it was early to bed to get up early the next day.
Event warmup:

An advantage of running two races back to back is that I knew the weather from the first race and properly prepared myself to be warm enough to wait in the start area for the second one. Other than staying warm, I did not "warm up" in any way.
  • 5h 52m 34s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 13m 28s  min/mile

Fun. Fun. Fun. Did I say fun?

I was running with my wife, doing a 2:1 run:walk ratio. Her knee was feeling tweaky from the Half the day before and we had no idea if she'd end up unable to finish, so our goal was just to keep up the run-walk as long as we could. She had a few stops at various restrooms and aid stations (lots of biofreeze available!) and by arrangement I walked until she caught up with me and we resumed the run-walk. We never really processed in our minds that we were running 26 miles... we had been advised to treat the Goofy as three half marathons so for the whole first half of the race we were just trying to get to mile 13.

The first miles passed somewhat slowly as we were moving in the cold and dark along roads between the parks, but at the 6.5 mile point we knew we were halfway done with the Goofy, and we were approaching the Magic Kingdom. That proved an excellent distraction through mile 11, and soon we were passing mile marker 13 and turned our attention to the last half marathon, finishing this thing! We were prepared to walk more if we needed to, but both of us felt great and continued on the 2:1 intervals.

The highlight of the race came during Mile 16 as we were passing through the Animal Kingdom. We were passing the Expedition Everest roller coaster and noted the wait time was only 5 minutes. Heck with it... off the course and into line we went. Some people with Half medals on their neck from the day before saw our bibs, laughed, and let us cut the line. Soon we were on the ride and going. This is an appropriate time to note that I hate roller coasters that go backwards. As the ride started and we were going up the starting hill, the conversation with my wife went like this:
Me: "I've never been on this ride before."
Her: "You haven't? Uh..."
Me: "Am I going to get sick?"
Her: "You might."
Me: Nervous silence.
The ride was fun and smooth, and then got to a point where the track obviously ended and we stopped.
Me: "This thing's going to go backwards, isn't it?"
Her: "Yep."
Me: *expletive deleted*
Okay, so it wasn't that bad, really (I closed my eyes!) and we finished the ride with smiles on our faces. (Garmin was on the whole time: 0.66 miles in 3:30 ... a 5:15 pace!)

We left the ride and resumed the race, passing the mile 17 marker, giggling to each other about the fact that we'd ridden a roller coaster during a marathon. And, it turned out, our pace picked up as well! I guess we got a huge adrenaline surge from the ride. Or the smiles on our faces for the last 9 miles helped.

The adrenaline lasted through the last on-road segment from miles 18 to 22, when we entered Hollywood Studios. By now we knew we were definitely going to finish. Heck, we could break a leg/foot and still hop to the finish line if we had to. The parks made the last few miles fly by, and our grins only got bigger as we entered the last mile. The gospel choir at mile 26 was a great touch, and a very loud (and crowded) cheering section on the final stretch was thrilling. We high-fived Donald and Goofy and crossed the finish line!
What would you do differently?:

Not a damn thing. This has got to be the most awesome, most fun racing experience I ever had. I mean, c'mon. Riding a roller coaster during a marathon? And *still* negative splitting it because the adrenaline surge and/or grin on your face made you finish faster than you started? Priceless.

Yes, time was not a concern and I've got to do another marathon sometime with a proper taper rather than a half marathon the day before. But that doesn't change _this_ race.
Post race
Warm down:

Kept walking as we went through the finishing area, collecting medals and taking photos. My wife and our friends wanted to go shopping but I felt nauseous in the enclosed spaces so stepped out for fresh air. Of course that came with sunlight and I started feeling faint. Turned out I was getting some heat exhaustion. My friends helped me find shade, lie down in a cool breeze, and elevate my legs until I felt better.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Having too much fun. Riding a roller coaster. :)

Event comments:

I cannot say enough positive things about the organization of this race. Corral placement was perfect: we spent most of the race seeing the same people over and over at our pace. Lots of places where crowds were cheering (this destination marathon probably attracts a lot of first timers and their cheering sections) which brought a lot of energy. Water stations were plentiful (almost every mile) as were aid stations. The second half of the course had lots of food / candy stops as well. Tons of volunteer support. A little congested in some places, so unless you're starting in one of the early corrals, don't expect a PR, but if you're in it for fun, this is a perfect race to do.

Last updated: 2011-11-30 12:00 AM
05:52:34 | 26.2 miles | 13m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 1115/1288
Overall: 10027/13478
Performance: Good
Course: Fun course starting at EPCOT, running through the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, along the boardwalk, and finishing at EPCOT.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5