Walt Disney World Marathon - Run

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Orlando, Florida
United States
Walt Disney World Endurance Sports
68F / 20C
Total Time = 4h 41m 7s
Overall Rank = 5037/20000
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 632/2000
Pre-race routine:

Stayed off property this year so we had to provide our own transportation to the race start. I was a bit nervous about this process because of all the horror stories I'd heard in the past about traffic and parking so we left the hotel plenty early for the race, around 4:15 (5:30 start) and we were parked and sitting in our car listening to an Ultra Runner Podcast by 4:50. I don't really see what the big deal is! We stayed at the Holiday Inn next to Downtown Disney and had no problems any day getting to the race on time. We parked with all the other people at Epcot, they don't charge you for parking for the race, and although the traffic grew worse each day leading to the marathon, it was never absurd and we never felt nervous or anxious about getting to the race on time.
Event warmup:

Walking to race start, after using the portapotties and the walk I arrived at my corral with only a few minutes to kill before the start. I had plenty of time to stretch though, and I actually felt really good going into this race.
  • 4h 41m 7s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 44s  min/mile

Wow, this was an unexpected and great day! PR by 10 minutes, after having run the 5k, 10k and half on previous days. As the race progressed I just kept feeling better. I was elated throughout the whole thing as I compared how great I felt to how awful I felt the previous year running this same event. I started off slow and just focused on keeping a steady, even pace with walk breaks at the aid stations. I also focused on proper nutrition and actually ate 4-5 gels plus two bananas then powerade every mile. I just love it when racing smart pays off, and it did for me today! I kept to myself for the most part on the race course, listened to my own music (Pandora Phish station) and took my headphones out every now and then to listen to the local high school marching bands. After I got to the half, I started doing the math and thinking along the lines of, "what do I have to do to come in under 5 hours". Well, that was a 2:40 second half which was entirely possible if I hit a wall anytime soon. I continued to run conservatively for the next 4-5 miles and starting hitting up the medical tents for some biofreeze on my quads and knees. By the time I got into ESPN at mile 17, I was feeling stronger and stronger and started dropping the hammer and walking less. Last year at this time I was a mess, walking 75% and running 25% with severe pain. I cruised out of ESPN and started to run faster, dropping into 9 minute mile territory. My only slow miles were when I stopped to apply biofreeze about every 3 miles. I ran past mile 20 with a laugh at the "wall", then cruised up a brutal, steep onramp at mile 21, the one with the army drill instructor yelling at everyone for walking. I was the only one I could see running, and it gave me even more strength. At this point I realized a PR was easily in the bag if I could keep it under 11/mile. I cruised through Hollywood Studios, made my way around the Boardwalk and the wheels finally came off a bit around mile 24.5. I started having some knee pain and I then worked out that I'd have to run 9min/miles all the way to the finish to come in under 4:40, so I took it easy. Still, coming out of Epcot at mile 26 with the giant Gospel Choir for the first time in 3 Disney marathons was amazing and I loved it. I pumped my fists along with the beat and ran it in to the finish from there feeling great.
What would you do differently?:

Not alot to do differently in this race, I'm thrilled with a great race execution.
Post race
Warm down:

Stopped into medical for some ice, met up with my wife and started taking in fluids and food. I was starving and just wanted to eat! Walked to car, then walked around the parking lot trying to find the car.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Three prior days of racing.

Event comments:

This is a really well run, destination event. A bit pricey and crowded, but it is what it is and you just have to go into it understanding that.

Last updated: 2014-01-15 12:00 AM
04:41:07 | 26.2 miles | 10m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 632/2000
Overall: 5037/20000
Performance: Good
Splits - 5 mile 53:14, 10 mile 1:45:44, Half 2:19:39, 20 mile 3:35, Finish 4:41
Course: One big loop around all the Disney parks including the racetrack and the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Too complicated to describe otherwise!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5