Walt Disney World Marathon - RunMarathon

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Orlando, Florida
United States
Total Time = 3h 29m 11s
Overall Rank = 533/14000
Age Group = W40-44
Age Group Rank = 10/1051
Pre-race routine:

Drove half way down on Friday afternoon after the kids got out of school and the rest Saturday morning. Went to get my packet at about 2 pm and there were no lines at all. Went to the Flying Fish for dinner-great pasta meal. To sleep about 9:30 or so. The kids were so excited to be hitting Animal Kingdom in the a.m.! Got up at 3 am and caught a bus about 3:40. Ate a PB and J prior to getting on the bus. Found a place to sit for a while at the start. There was this surreal moment at about 4:30 am when I found myself in the portapottie line behind a guy dressed like Tinkerbell in a dress with wings. I wasn't sure if I were dreaming or not.
Event warmup:

I stretched a bit, but didn't do any running. I think I should have done a bit.
  • 3h 29m 11s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 59s  min/mile

I have spent the last 4 years doing triathlons and trying to learn how to swim and bike. I hadn't run a stand-alone marathon since 2002, so I wan't sure at all what pace I could maintain. I thought I could go sub 3:30, maybe even about 3:25, but I just didn't know. I debated over a pacing group, but the 3:20 was too fast and the 3:30 seemed a bit too slow. It was easy to get a good position in our corral (A), and I made it to the start line in about 20 seconds. The fireworks at the start in the dark with the full moon were very cool. I decided to run with the 3:20 group at the start just to see what the pace felt like. I could tell right away it was too fast. I kept with them only for the first 2 miles, then dropped back to a more comfortable pace. I never felt great on this run, but never felt bad either. It was lots of fun running through the World Showcase and through all the countries in the dark. You never know what is coming up in this race. You round a corner and there are Aladin, Princess Jasmine and the Genie waving and cheering you on. The full moon was a beautiful site in the dark too. The weather was a bit warmer than I would have liked, and really warmed up after 8:30 or so.
The miles went fast most of the way. I kept missing mile markers and would come on the next one without realizing I had missed one. (Love it when that happens!) There were lots of marching bands and other groups along the way to entertain. On the lonely stretched of highway, they had signs every few yards with quotes, strange thoughts about nothing or odd facts. The Magic Kingdom was great! Running through the castle and the crowds on main street were awesome. I felt like I was pushing it just enough, not enough to bonk, but as much as I could handle. I took a Hammer gel at miles 7, 11, 15, 19, and 23. Took mostly water with some Powerade in the second half. Nutrition was good.
On to Animal Kingdom. My family was going on there ahead of me and I knew I would get through it before they got there. Looked for the van in the row of cars headed in, but didn't spot it. At about 20 or 21 miles there is the out and back section. Lots of people seem to dislike it, but it was so short and nothing to bother about. After that you head to Hollywood studios and run down the main streets and the crowds again. This is always a lift. We then took a run around the Boardwalk area. We stayed at the Beach club, so we ran right by our site. Finally, we made the turn into Epcot. It seemed to take a long time to reach the Spaceship Earth, but after making the turn, there was the finish.
I thought maybe the 3:30 group would catch me, but they never did. I did get passed by a guy in a kilt though about 2 miles from the finish.
What would you do differently?:

I spent most of last year swimming and biking in order to get ready for IMFL. Then, after recovering from it, I only had a few weeks to train for this race. I think I could have been faster if I hadn't done this. But, this race was more for fun than for time, and I really enjoyed it. I think I could have taken in a bit more liquids too.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked to the buses. Got on the one to our place. Took a brief shower and then caught another bus to the Animal Kingdom. Silently wished well to all those we passed still on the course. Walked in the gates there by 11:30 am. Spent the rest of the day walking all over there. Love Expedition Everest! Spent the rest of the week at Disney visiting all the parks and walking miles. By the 3rd day I felt fairly good and could get on and off rides with out a major effort.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This race was thrown in as an afterthought when the kids time off from school corresponded with the marathon. As such, I didn't really train for it. I think I could run faster with more running specific training. Still, this was a great race for me. I managed to do it without getting injured and knew when to back off to prevent a melt down. Nutrition was right on. Cooler weather may have helped some too. I think I can still do a 3:25, maybe even a 3:20 again.

Event comments:

I really enjoyed this race and would recommend it to anyone. It definitely rates very high on the fun factor scale. I waved to all the characters, but didn't stop. The volunteers and park workers were enthusiastic and great in general. The corral starting system helps if you are trying for a good time. They seemed very well organized. How can you not have fun at Disney?

Last updated: 2009-01-18 12:00 AM
03:29:11 | 26.2 miles | 07m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/1051
Overall: 533/14000
Performance: Good
Course: One big loop through all 4 parks. Lots of behind the scenes running and highways in between. Mostly flat except for a few small hiccups.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5