It was another early morning wake up at 2:45 am for the marathon! Luckily the forecasted temperature was a bit warmer than previous races. It was about 4C at the start, and expected to warm up to around 15C later in the day. This seemed like a good opportunity to ditch the long sleeve shirt and wear one of the many pairs of shorts I had packed.
My run outfit was inspired by Kevin from Up, a costume I’d been thinking of since I first saw the rainbow Sparkle Athletic skirt. I crafted a visor using an orange Sparkle Headsweats visor, and sparkly craft foam, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and feathers from Michaels.
Mental Headspace & Goals
Before the Dopey Challenge kicked off I felt unsure about how prepared I was. Thanks to my busy school schedule I didn’t feel as trained as I was for the Goofy Challenge in 2015. This was also the first time training for a standalone marathon where I hadn’t run a 20 miler. My longest individual run was 15 miles (followed by another 3.3 miles later that same day). My longest day of running was 12 miles in the morning, followed by 7 miles in the afternoon. While I hadn’t done one really long run all in one go, splitting my long run into two helped me push past the fatigue I felt on the second run of the day.
Coach Angie reminded me the experience I had running these goofy challenges at Disney would give me a leg up. She also encouraged me to find a mantra that I could connect with when things would get hard.
My big goal for the entire weekend was to run a strong final 10K in the marathon. Rereading old race reports I often talked about fading in the last few miles. Today I would not let that happen.I wasn’t tied to a time goal, but I did think it would be nice to finish somewhere around 5:30, .
Walt Disney World Marathon Race Report
Miles 0 – 10
Starting off the marathon I was unsure of how my legs would feel after the 22.4 miles they had already run. For the first two miles my legs felt ok, but they weren’t itching to run faster than planned. Once I hit two miles my legs must have warmed up, because now they wanted to pick up speed. I had to work to keep it in check!
Because it was so chilly at race start I used one of Neil’s old t-shirts as a throwaway layer. I had cut a small slit at the neck, so I could tear the shirt down the middle and toss it just before entering the Magic Kingdom.
Running down Main Street was just as magical as the day before. I said hi to Neil and my dad and high fived spectators along the way.
Today Buzz Lightyear replaced Sulley and Mike Wazowski in Tomorrowland, so I was glad I hadn’t worn my Sulley outfit today. I debated ducking into the bathrooms here, but the lineup was out the door, so I kept on.
I ran through the castle…
…spotted Neil in the crowd, and continued on into Frontierland.
After exiting the Magic Kingdom I had to keep telling myself to slow down. My legs were itching to run faster! I hadn’t planned to stop for character photos, but Carl, Russell and Dug from Up were out by the TTC parking lot. I had to make an exception to say hi to my friends!
Miles 10 – 15
The marathon route has changed a bit since I ran it last. An out and back along a nondescript road makes up extra mileage for the demolished Richard Petty Speedway. DJs were playing great tunes here and it was fun to see the costumes some people were running in. Along this stretch I felt a tap on my shoulder as two ladies complimented me on my Flyte tank. It was great to meet some fellow Oiselle Volee runners!
Just after the 12 mile mark we ran into Animal Kingdom.
I crossed the halfway mark in 2:51:26 and kept an eye out for bathrooms, but all of them had lines. Runners were starting to form a line for Expedition Everest, even though the park wouldn’t open for another 40 minutes. Some of them appeared to pass the time in line by enjoying a frosty beverage!
Just past Dinoland I spotted a bathroom with no line up, so this seemed like a good time to take advantage. We then exited the park and continued on through Animal Kingdom’s parking lot. Neil was spectating out here, so I stopped for a quick kiss and told him I’d see him at Epcot.
Miles 15 – 20
The miles after Animal Kingdom can be a dark time for many runners. The long straight stretch of highway to the Wide World of Sports (WWOS) is pretty boring, and running through WWOS isn’t much more exciting. Making things even more difficult today was a very strong headwind on the way to WWOS. These were some tough miles.
I mentally flipped the messaging in my brain by thinking about how the headwind was keeping the temperature comfortable for running. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and told myself I was excited to run through WWOS. Anytime my body or legs started to feel fatigued I told myself that I was feeling fresh and amazing. Luckily all of these tricks worked and I managed to stay in a pretty positive headspace through here.
Miles 20 – 26.2
At mile 20 it was time to make magic happen and run the last 10K as strong as possible. I threw caution to the wind and let my legs speed up. A mantra began flashing in my head as I kept telling myself over and over to crush the final 10K. I told myself this was the moment I trained so hard for.
With the construction at Hollywood Studios we barely run through the park at all now. I actually liked the short route through Hollywood Studios because it meant there wasn’t much left in the race once we entered the park. I could keep pushing through the hurt and fatigue to run faster.
The run from Hollywood Studios to Epcot along the Boardwalk got a bit dicey. The pathway is narrow and many people were walking in groups side by side. My energy was in short supply and it took a lot of effort to ask people to move over and to wind my way through the crowd. I realize we can get caught up in our own race, but I wish more people paid attention to etiquette.
Finally we turned into Epcot and Neil shouted my name as I started my run around the World Showcase.
I kept repeating my mantra over and over, never letting my foot off the gas. Thanks to the difficulty in running the tangents at this race I measured the course long, reaching 26.2 miles on my watch at 5:28:29. I made one last run past Spaceship Earth, and then on towards the finish line.
Tired and elated, I crossed the finish line in 5:33:32.
I was overcome with emotion at the finish line for nailing my goal! After running 48.6 miles in four races over four days, the final 10K of the marathon was my fastest 10K of the weekend!
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this race report, congratulations! Like a marathon, this one was a long one. Up next I’ll share some overall thoughts on why I think my race came together as well as it did.
Dopey Challenge Race Reports:
- Net Time: 5:33:32
- Overall: 8,104 out of 20,050
- Women 35 – 39: 601 out of 1,856
- Women Overall: 3,388 out of 10,785
- 5M split: 1:03:32
- 10M split: 2:12:19
- Half Marathon split: 2:51:26 (second half split 2:42:06)
- 20M split: 4:19:46 (12:59/mi)
- Final 10K split: 1:13:46 (11:52/mi)