Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 Disney World Marathon Race Report Part B: The Rest of the Story

(Make sure you read Part A first)

The early miles of the race went ok. I wasn't very pleased with my heart rate, which seemed to climb pretty quickly into the 160's. Since that happened with MCM, I tried to brush it off - believing that I had more gas than I thought. However, our early mile splits were right on pace for a 5 hour finish, and I felt that I didn't have the gas to keep the pace up for the entire race. We would play it by ear. At the 5 mile split, we were on pace but by 10 miles we were behind about a min or so. At about 6 or 7 miles into the race, we spotted the 5 hour pace group, just up ahead of us, but we just couldn't catch them. So we let them go and decided to settle for a 5:10 or 5:15 finish.

Shortly after the 10 mile mat is where the race enters the Magic Kingdom and goes down Main Street USA. This is my favorite part of the race and always makes me want to cry that I am really running. The street is packed with a very supportive crowd! There is no way I walk down that stretch, even if it was time for a walk break!

We made our way around Tomorrowland and through Fantasyland - back toward the castle where we were greeted by antiphonal trumpets and lots of Disney royalty. As we ran through the castle and out the other side, there were the usual set of photographers, ready to get a picture of runners with the castle in the background. We made sure we got in a good shot with at least two of the photographers. We hit mile 11 in Frontierland and as we headed out past the old steam engine to the train that goes around the Magic Kingdom, a couple dressed as Mr. and Mrs Incredible were posing as if they were pushing the train back. There were so many of the Disney characters throughout all of the parks. Lots of marathoners bring cameras and will even wait in line to have their picture taken with them during the race. Many dress up in a variety of outfits ranging from mouse ears to Goofy hats and Winnie the Pooh outfits. I think I saw the same guy that Maddy did, dressed as a Spartan. He must have been doing the "Goofy" (more on the Goofy in another post).

At this point in the race, my husband's knee started to bother him. This knee had not bothered him during his marathon training, but DID get him when we ran the Disney half a few years ago. We concluded that running on those sloped off ramps between the parks irritated the knee. He toughed it out, but as time went on, it became more painful for him to run. We took more walking breaks and I tried "rubber banding", with him running faster to gain a bit on me, then walking while I caught up with him.

We entered Animal Kingdom shortly after mile 16. Maddy was going to meet us here but her daughter got sick on the way to the park so they had to head home. Still, the signs she made were great and I very much enjoyed them :-). There were lots of native drums playing in Animal Kingdom as we ran through the Asia area, past Everest and through Dinoland - past the big yellow Dinosaur.

As is true with any marathon, things got tougher as the miles went on. The rain did not come but the humidity stayed. Then around mile 19, the sun broke through the clouds and the temperature rose. Between here and mile 23, we are on a long trek toward Disney's Wide World of Sports with a 2 mile out and back loop. There is no shade on this stretch, just one water stop and runners coming from the opposite direction - and a timing mat at the end to ensure no one cheats and crosses over early. You know, for the possibility of saving maybe 1 mile, I am not sure who would even consider doing that.

My husband's knee is really bothering him now. We stopped several times to stretch and he begins to walk more than run. He has long legs and is a fast walker, so I told him to just walk fast and I would jog beside him. We ran, walked, stretched our way into MGM studios. As we approached the big Mickey Hat, the 5:30 pace group ran by us, singing loudly as they went. It was disappointing - we wanted to at least beat the 5:30 group - and we were just 3-4 miles from the finish. We ran out of MGM, past the Swan and Dolphin hotels and around the boardwalk. As we went, an ambulance was taking a runner away. We are not sure if he was felled by the heat and humidity or something else. It is tough to see the race end that way for anyone, especially 24 miles in.

We entered Epcot - where we had been running just over 5 hours ago. We passed the 25 mile marker just outside of the French pavilion and made our way all the way around the world showcase. By now the park was officially open to visitors who joined other spectators in cheering the runners on: "You are less than a mile a way", "You look great, you've done it." After passing Spaceship Earth one more time, seeing the finish line, my husband and I joined hands and he RAN in with me across the finish line. We put on a big smile for the finish line cameras, then after crossing the mats we stopped off to the side and gave each other a big kiss. WE HAD DONE IT! The clock read 5:37. Our net time was 5:35:16.

Today we are both a little stiff but recovering well. We just signed up for the 2009 Goofy Race and a Half (more on that in my next blog entry).

“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhileration of victory.” Unknown


Maddy said...

Great race report! It sounds like despite the struggles with your husband's knee and the heat and humidty, you ran a great race. A new Disney Marathon PR for you and a benchmark for your husband! Plus some great memories for you both!

I am anxiuosly awaitng Janury 10 -11, 2009 when we will get totally GOOFY!

Congratulations to both of you!

ShirleyPerly said...

I think you guys both did great considering the weather. Glad you got done before the skies opened up in the afternoon. Congrats to both of you!!

Susan said...

First off, what a good looking group!

This was such a great race report. The way you two worked together to get it done is awe-inspiring. I am very proud.

Now you two both deserve some serious rest!

And you have motivated me to try this one sometime!

Jason said...

Way to go Chris! What a great way to run a race with your spouse... my wife ran the half on Saturday, but we're thinking about doing Goofy next year (like you). Maybe we'll see you next year!

Drusy said...

Congratulation Chris! And also to your valiant husband - ouch! I bet the shared adversity you battled will be remembered for many years.

Michael B said...

stumbled upon your blog while searching for new running podcasts...and am thoroughly enjoying it.

at fifty i ran my first marathon just over five years ago...and have since run places like barcelona, dublin, loch ness, budapest, portland (or), tucson, sf, las vegas...blah, blah, blah. have convinced my stepson and stepdaughter to run with me on ocassion.

so far this year i'm down for eugene and hoping to get into chicago. maybe we'll run into each other. regardless...happy running. i'll be following your exploits.

mine are at


Michael B said...

oops! couldn't even leave you the correct url for my's


Cheryl said...

Great race report!! Congratulations to both of you for finishing, you ran 26.2 miles!!

PLANET3RRY said...


Congratulations to you and your husband! What a great way to share an anniversary than to run a marathon together. That is very cool! You've gotten Goofy for next year... COOL!