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January 13, 2015

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend, Part 3 - Marathon

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2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Sunday, January 11

I slept a little better Saturday night so for a change I was asleep
when the alarm went off. A few minutes later we received our wakeup
all from Baymax, who told us to have a "fun-filled day".

It was hard to get up, and I really wanted to just go back to bed.
Lee and I both wondered how we managed to do it four mornings
in a row last year when we did the Dopey Challenge..

It was a much warmer morning - 56 degrees at 3:00, which was 10
degrees warmer than the day before at that time. We only needed a
throwaway shirt and our trusty trash bags. I also had gloves and a
couple of "Hot Hands".

We left the room a little after 3:30. There was a little more
traffic driving to Epcot, but not bad, and we were actually
parked two rows closer than for the half marathon.

There was a very short line to get through the bag check and we
entered the race area. There was a stage with a DJ, and there were
a couple of photo backdrops with the Marathon logo on them.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Before we went to the corrals we hung out with a lot of our running
friends - it was nice to see a lot of our former Team All Ears
mates!

We were running with a group of friends, and around 5:00 we all
headed to Corral K. The race started at 5:30, but we knew we
wouldn't start until after 6:00. The walk to the corrals was a
little more crowded than it had been the day before, but still not
bad.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were 26,000 registered for the marathon (though there's always
some number of runners who are unable to participate), separated
into 16 different start corrals - A-P. As they did for the half
marathon, each corral had their own set of fireworks. One thing
I hadn't realized was that they shoot the fireworks off from a
couple of locations, and we could see both the ones at the start
line, and some that were off to our right. As we moved forward
those were behind us.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Our corral started around 6:10. It's always a relief to finally get
going. Our group was doing 2:1 intervals: two minutes running and
one minute walking. It was really a wonderful morning for running:
nice and cool - ~58 degrees and not too humid. By mile 3 I had
discarded all of my throwaway clothes, though I hung onto the "Hot
Hands" for a while longer.

The character lines were significantly shorter than they had been
the day before as we made our way towards Magic Kingdom. It was all
the same characters, so I guess a lot of runners (since about half
were either Goofy or Dopey) had gotten their photos during the half
marathon. But we stopped for a photo with Wreck-it Ralph - and got
photobombed by several other friends who caught up to us just as we
were posing. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The runDisney banner was staked down at the bottom this time, so I
was able to get a better look at it!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

It was starting to get light as we approached the "underwater
overpass" where we go under the channel that connects Bay Lake and
Seven Seas Lagoon. The "Big Hands Guy" is always there playing
music and cheering us on.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There was a pretty sunrise as we looked towards the Contemporary
Resort.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Once we reached Magic Kingdom we enjoyed running down Main Street.
At the end we had some friends who were there cheering for us. It's
always so wonderful to see some familiar faces when we are running,
and we appreciate them getting up way early to come out and support
us.

Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff were cheering us on from the castle balcony
again.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We stopped in front of the castle to get a group photo.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

After we left the Magic Kingdom it was time for the dreaded "Cone
Alley" section from there to past the Polynesian. We were further
back in the pack than we had been during the half, and there were a
lot more people. Plus we were running as a group of eight, so we
couldn't really run together. We get really frustrated with big
groups who run side-by-side on the narrow parts, so we tried to stay
mostly single file, especially when we were walking.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were some new signs up today. The "song" for this part of the
course was "This is the Best Day of My Life". (How would you like to
be the DJ working that area, having to hear the same song over and
over and over..).

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Until just past mile 8 the course had been identical to the half
marathon the day before. But from there on it was different. We
made a left to the Walt Disney World Speedway, where we took a
lap around the track.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
`

There were car enthusiasts who had brought out their cars and were
cheering us on.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
`

After we left the speedway we had to run across the grassy median to
get onto Bear Island Rd towards Animal Kingdom. Our path across the
median was marked with pink (and green) flamingos, which I found
very amusing.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were a number of character stops along the road, but the lines
were a little longer than we wanted to stop for. As we neared Animal
Kingdom we ran by the Waste Treatment facility. It did not smell
very good in this area, but there were a number of informational
signs to read as we ran by.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The group from Robin Hood was out for photos! You don't see them
very often.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

A lot of us wanted our photo taken with this Goofy topiary!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

As we neared Animal Kingdom some of the animals were out with a
number of animals and birds. Beaker the vulture had his own way of
encouraging the runners to "look alive" and keep moving. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Emme Lu the pig was even wearing a marathon bib! I thought there
were more animals this year. It's a lot of fun to see them.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Because of the construction between Harambe and Asia we entered
Animal Kingdom by the Maharajah Jungle Trek instead of Harambe. We
were almost to mile 13 by then. The park was open, and we got in
line to ride Expedition Everest! It only took about 10 minutes
and it was really fun. Where else can you ride a roller coaster in
the middle of a marathon? :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

But all of that fun took a long time - about 3:25 to do the first
13.1 miles. I wanted to finish in under six hours, so I said
goodbye to my running companions (including Lee) and picked up the
pace a bit. I switched to 4:1 intervals, which is what I'm used to.

After leaving Animal Kingdom there's about a mile of narrow paths
and roads. That was pretty frustrating, but I was happy to see Mike
Scopa's smiling face along that stretch!

Once we were back on the main road towards Wide World of Sports it
widened out a bit, but there were still a lot of people. And since
I was moving faster than almost everyone else I had to weave my way
through a lot of traffic.

About mile 15 it started to drizzle, and then it rained lightly for
10 minutes or so. The temperature was up to about 65, which was
still a comfortable running temperature for me - I was actually
really pleased with the weather, since it was not quite as warm as
had been predicted. According to the weather forecast the rain was
supposed to hold off until 1:00, but it was only about 10:00. I
was really hoping we weren't going to have a repeat of the rain we
had for the Wine and Dine half marathon.

As the course turned right to go towards Wide World of Sports it
went down to one lane - because on the other side were all of the
people who were exiting WWoS who were almost four miles ahead of me.
This part was decidedly not fun - I dislike it even more than "Cone
Alley".

Once we turned right again just before mile 17 we were no longer
facing the other runners and the course got a bit wider. Volunteers
were handing out cool towels, and those felt really good! Also in
this area was a huge Baymax towering above us. Signs posted at his
base said things like: "I heard a sound of distress", "I am not
fast", and "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your
pain?" At that point I was still feeling pretty good, but ask me
that question again in another 9 miles...

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Most of the time in the Wide World of Sports complex we are running
on concrete walkways - pretty narrow and hard on the feet. But we
get to run almost a lap on the track, and that has a rubberized
surface that feels really good on the feet after almost 18 miles!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Just after mile 19 we did a lap around the field at Champions
Stadium. I know some people don't like the dirt surface, but I find
it's a nice break from the concrete and asphalt.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The race banners from the Expo had been moved so they would be next
to the marathon course.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Once we left the WWoS complex we were again down to one lane, but
this time we were the ones who were a long way ahead of the oncoming
runners. I really did not like this part of the course. But I
think I already said that.

At mile 20.5 I found cheerleader extraordinaire Laura Ozo. She had
asked people in advance what they wanted her to have for them, and
offered me a variety of choices - chips, candy, coke, etc., but I
wanted an orange slice, which tasted really good. Thanks, Laura!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

By mile 22 I was starting to feel pretty tired. I knew I could
still do the last four miles, but my running pace was slowing down
a bit, though I was still able to do 4:1 intervals.

I was very happy to reach the Studios - just over three miles to go!
They were handing out chocolate there - I didn't take any, but it
was nice to have the option. No gummies this year, which is what I
would've liked. I love chocolate but not during a race.

Several character stops but they had lines so I didn't stop. I
passed by the Sorcerer's hat with all the construction walls around
it - that might be the last time that I'll see it, since it is being
removed.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

After leaving the Studios the course narrowed again as we ran on the
path along the waterway towards the Epcot Resort area. It was so
wonderful to get to the Yacht Club and see Deb and Linda there to
cheer in the same spot they'd been during the Team AllEars years! I
got two great hugs to speed me on my final two miles.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

That was about when it started to rain again, and by the time I
reached the International Gateway it was really raining. Ivana
Dream, the self-proclaimed Marathon Fairy, was out. She was
impressed that I knew who she was (but that's only because I asked
her last year during the Princess Half Marathon!).

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

As I came into World Showcase at the UK, I found Phil, Pam, and
Nancy cheering - rain hadn't dampened their enthusiasm!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Because of the rain the characters who are usually out during the
race had either been pulled or were in sheltered spots. I was able
to get my photo taken with Aurora in France.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

And Mushu in China.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

It was raining and I just wanted to finish so I didn't stop for a
frozen margarita in Mexico this year - plus I still had my eye on
that under 6-hour finish.

The gospel choir was still out singing in spite of the rain, though
it had slowed to a drizzle by then.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

And I did it! I finished in less than 6 hours: 5:51:42, to be
exact. I ran the second 13.1 in 2:25, and I was very happy with
that!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The rain stopped about the time that I finished. I got my Mickey
medal from the nice volunteer and a cool towel from another. It
wasn't uncomfortably warm, but it still felt good to wipe my face
and hands and arms.

I made my way to the Dopey/Goofy tent. I was skeptical about how
well this photo process would work, but it went very well. They had
a lot of lanes open with a computer and volunteer at each one. The
volunteer punched in my bib number and said "You're good to go -
congratulations!", and then I went through and the next person gave
me my Goofy medal. (The woman in front of me was not so fortunate,
and she was immediately directed off to the side to talk to a
manager.)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I saw lots of runners with the runDisney mylar sheets, but no one
was handing them out. I was wet, and concerned about getting
chilled (I hadn't checked a bag, so didn't have any dry clothes,
and Lee had the car keys), so I went looking for one. I asked one
runner where she got hers, and she directed me to Medical. I went
to Medical, and was told I couldn't get one if I didn't have a
Medical condition - that I needed to go to Self Treatment or the
Massage tent. Those were outside the finish area in the Family
Reunion area. Ok. As I exit, I see lots of people, including
spectators, who have the sheets. I go to Self Treatment, but they
don't have any. I go to the Massage Tent, and they don't have any
- though the answer I got was "I can't give you one". But still...how
are there no mylar sheets for runners??? I eventually got one that
a spectator was discarding. I ended up not really needing it,
though.

After all of that I went to the Champagne Station and rewarded
myself with a glass of champagne.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I checked the on-line results and saw that Lee had finished so I
went back into the runner's area to find him. By then not only had
the rain stopped but the sun had come out a little bit. Which is
why we're both squinting in this photo. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

He had continued to have a good time with the group, so that was
great. But we were both tired and wet and ready to get out of
there, so we headed back to the car. It really didn't take long to
get back to our room at all. We were pretty wiped out - after we
showered we snacked on my leftover chicken parmesan from the night
before ("Chicken parm you taste so good") and what was in our
runDisney MRE boxes, and took a nap.

After we got back I took a closer look at the Goofy medal. It's a
spinner, but Goofy is upside down on the orange side! It's not a
mistake, because the writing is correct. Just Goofy being, well,
goofy.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

So. We're glad we did it, and it's nice to have that anniversary
medal, but we are done with marathons for a while. I won't say
"never again", but it's going to have to be something pretty
special. We just don't like the marathon distance, and all of the
training required. Love the halfs, but marathons are just not for
me. I have friends who run multiple marathons a year, and I don't
know how they do it.

Next up is Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland this
next weekend. Another Inaugural event! We will be doing the
Rebel Challenge which is the 10K and the half marathon. And
we will be earning our Coast-to-Coast medal, also.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for all of the good thoughts and well
wishes!

Learn more about my runDisney experiences on AllEarsNet TV Show #33:

You can follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura


January 12, 2015

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend, Part 2.5 - Marathon

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2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We finished! Goofy Challenge #4 complete. It was very tiring, though - I'm actually more tired and sore than I was after the Dopey Challenge last year. So no race recap in today's blog entry - that will be coming tomorrow (I hope).

Thanks everyone for the congratulations and the well wishes - we really appreciate it!

Learn more about my runDisney experiences on AllEarsNet TV Show #33:

You can follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura


January 11, 2015

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend, Part 2 - Half Marathon

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To paraphrase Lao-tzu:
"A journey of 39.3 miles begins with a half marathon."

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Part one of the Goofy Challenge successfully completed - the marathon is tomorrow. That's the REAL challenge.


As they always do, our race morning began far too early - 2:30 a.m. Or 11:30 p.m., as my Garmin informed me. We had breakfast in the room, and tried to prepare ourselves as best we could for the cool conditions. It was 46 degrees, and was supposed to go down to 44 around 6:00. Nice conditions for running, but difficult for waiting around. I'll take it over the heat and humidity, though.

We left about 3:30, and had decided to drive to Epcot. We were actually hoping for a bit of traffic so that we could sit inside our nice warm car, but there was very little, and we were parked by 3:45! We still sat in the car for a while before donning all of our warm clothes and heading to the start area.

No photos, because I was too bundled up, but I had my running skirt and shirt, a throwaway cotton t-shirt, calf sleeves, arm sleeves, and gloves. Also a new running jacket that my niece and nephews gave me for Christmas (that wasn't a throwaway; I thought I might need it later in the race if the wind came up). And over all of that a trash bag that went down to my calves. I also had "Hot Hands" to put in my gloves. Was I warm? Mostly, and I was fine while we were moving, but the last 10 minutes in the corral I was starting to shiver. (Remember, I am a native of southern California, and I have very thin blood!)

We had to go through bag check to enter the race area - trying to dig my running belt out from under all of that was a challenge, and I lost a glove in the process. Oh well, it was a cheap throwaway, and I still had the hand warmers that I hadn't yet opened. The bag check line moved well, and we were soon into the pre-race area.

It was already about 4:30 by then. We said hi to some friends, and made another potty stop. It seemed like there were a lot more porta-potties this year, both in the pre-race area, the runner's only area, and near the corrals themselves, and the lines weren't nearly as long as they usually are.

By 4:40 we were on our way to the corrals. This was a much more pleasant trip than it has been in some years. We could walk, and didn't have to shuffle along shoulder-to-shoulder - though this morning that might not have been so bad - it would've been warmer! :-) The path also seemed much better lit than previous years.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

They had some cheerleaders and a DJ to entertain us along the way - first time I've ever seen cheerleaders in body suits and earmuffs. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

By 5:05 we were in Corral J - only 25 minutes until the start of the race! I was surprised that it wasn't more crowded - we were not too far from the front of the corral. We settled down on the ground to wait and rest our legs and feet a little bit.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We were too far back and not near one of the big video screens, so really couldn't see any of the pre-race "show" with the characters. A male vocalist sang the National Anthem at 5:25, and then the fireworks went off at 5:30 when they started the wheelchair racers, followed closely by the first corral.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

While we were waiting for our corral to begin moving we chatted with some runners around us - Richard, a mutual acquaintance, was right behind us. And hello to Michael, an AllEars reader who was next to us.

Once our corral started moving forward we found a break in the fence and left it so that we could make one last potty stop - the cold weather shrinks the bladder! There's no lines at that point, so it's pretty fast. We nipped back into line at the back of the corral, so we didn't lose any time in starting - well, except that we were at the back of the corral.

I'd removed my trash bag by then but that was all. Oh, and in the meantime I'd found a discarded glove to replace the one that I lost. :-) Lee was down one layer: he'd removed his lightweight pants and put them in his running pack.

Finally we were close enough to see the start line!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The race announcers were on-stage, though all of the characters had left by then. We were Corral J, and they still had to get all the way to P. At that point there were sending them off every 3 minutes, though I think for the larger corrals in back it's 5 minute intervals. As it was, the race had been underway for almost 30 minutes when we started. It's over an hour for those in the back.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

It was a relief to be running, and have the opportunity to start getting warm! I had the hand warmers in my gloves, and those helped.

The course is the typical half marathon course that goes from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back. With the usual narrow one-lane places. I didn't feel that we were unpleasantly crowded this time, but still, it was a relief to get to the first really wide section about about mile 1.5. When we were almost at the mile 2 marker the first elite runner passed us going back! That was about 50 minutes into the race for him, 23 minutes for us. Our plan was to do 4:1 run/walk intervals, and maintain an easy, steady pace since we still have to run a marathon tomorrow.

There were a number of character photo stops along the way to Magic Kingdom, but the lines were long and we didn't stop. I still hadn't discarded any clothes - it seemed like every time I'd start to think about doing that and unzip my jacket we would turn into the wind and I'd have to zip it back up. I'd taken my gloves off and put them in my jacket pocket but I still carried the hand warmers in the palms of my hands. That helps a lot to keep my hands warm.

About mile 5.25 we entered Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, where there were lots of people to cheer us on, including Beci and Bea!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We had to stop near the castle to have our photo taken with the beautifully lit ice castle in the background.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We ran around through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. Anna, Elsa and Kristoff were hanging out on the balcony at the castle - guess Disney realized the lines would be unmanageable if they were actually available on the course.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The course goes through Liberty Square and Fontierland, where the mile 6 sign is placed. We were almost halfway through the race, and still feeling pretty good. Lee had thrown away his outer shirt, but I was still wearing all of mine.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

After exiting Magic Kingdom the course goes down the infamous "Cone Alley" for over a mile, past the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian. It was not as crowded for us this time, but I think that's because we hadn't stopped for any character photo lines and were still in the top 40% of runners. Most everyone around us was running a similar pace.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Our friends Gail and Julian were cheering in that section, and it was wonderful to see them.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Around mile 8 we found Laura, another of our friends who was cheering the runners.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were also a series of signs giving us some "Fun Facts" about Donald Duck, like the names of his parents and sisters, movies he'd been in, etc. Appropriate since Donald is the mascot for this race.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Lee broke out his dance moves when we passed one of the many high school bands who came out to cheer us on.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There was a nice runDisney banner on the course, but the wind was blowing it around so I couldn't get a good photo.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The sun came up - it had ended up being a nice clear morning. It was still only 48 degrees but it felt warmer once we had the sun on us. I could've gotten rid of my t-shirt at that point, but it was going to be more trouble to take it off than to continue wearing it. I'd been wearing my running belt with my race number on it under all of those clothes, and at least I finally moved that to the outside. My poor race number is already pretty beat up, and I still have another race to run!

Mile 10 is always a milestone for me in a half marathon - once I reach that point I know that I can do a 5K, even if I have to walk it. Mile 10 is at the start of a series of overpasses, so that two-mile section is a little challenging at the end of a race. Once we get to mile 12, in the Epcot parking lot, it's all flat from there.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Our friends Eddie and Phill had finished quite a bit earlier, but had come out to cheer for the rest of us. They were enjoying a well-deserved adult beverage. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We ran into Epcot and did the loop around, stopping for a picture near the fountain. I always tell Lee that "there's no sprinting in Goofy", so we didn't sprint the last .3 miles, but we picked up the pace.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

As we were crossing the finish line we got a nice shout out from race announcer Rudy Novotny, and Lee high-fived Mickey Mouse.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

The nice volunteers gave us our Donald medals.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I was surprised that they were not handing out the runDisney mylar sheets at the finish area - it was still 48 degrees, and I started to get chilled pretty quickly once we stopped running.

We made our way through the refreshment area and picked up water/PowerAde and the runDisney MRE boxes. (I was happy to see the Goldfish crackers inside.) There were signs directing Goofy and Dopey runners off to one side, so we were expecting them to check our photos to make sure we were really the person who had picked up the bib, but they didn't do that. I guess that'll be tomorrow.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

As I mentioned, it was chilly, so we didn't linger, and pretty quickly went back to our car. We'd both brought dry shirts and jackets to change into, and those felt very good!

My official time was 2:33:35. I was hoping to do 2:35, so that was right on target. We felt pretty good, though I can't say that I'm really enthused about doing double the distance tomorrow. After we returned to the room I took a cold bath (though Florida water is not that cold). My legs will thank me tomorrow. :-) We went to our traditional post-half marathon lunch at the Dolphin Fountain - they make an excellent turkey burger. We relaxed in the room the rest of the afternoon - even took a nap, since neither of us has slept well the last two nights.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

It was a really good race for us. We didn't experience most of the things that have made me write more negatively about this race in the past. The pre-race experience, especially the walk to the corrals, was good, and the on-course crowding wasn't bad at all. There were plenty of water stops, and all of the wonderful volunteers and cast members. Thank you to all of you, and to everyone who came out and cheered on such a cold day.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Tonight will be another short night, with another early wakeup call. The weather will be a lot warmer tomorrow. It's supposed to be 56 at the start, with very high humidity, and will be in the 70s by the end of the race. That's pretty warm. We're hoping to get a lot of miles in while it's still cool. Looking forward to running through Animal Kingdom and the Studios!

Learn more about my runDisney experiences on AllEarsNet TV Show #33:

You can follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura


January 10, 2015

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend, Part 1 - Expo and 10K

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2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Lee and I are back a WDW Marathon Weekend to participate in the 10th Goofy Challenge. An anniversary year - and that means special bling! :-) We opted not to run the Dopey Challenge again this year - just couldn't take the getting up early 4 mornings in a row. Besides, that gave two other people a chance to run it. Yeah, that's why we didn't do it. Total altruism on our part. :-)

I've been stalking the weather all week trying to figure out what to pack for this weekend. Started off looking warmish, but as the week went on the predicted highs and lows kept going down - though of course the warmest day is still supposed to be the day of the marathon! But it looks like we will be standing around waiting when the temperature is in the 40s and low 50s, so we had to bring some throwaway clothes and trash bags, and also packed calf and arm sleeves. Once we're running we should be ok in shorts and short sleeves, but it's the waiting that's hard. We still managed to get everything in carry-on bags, and they weren't even overly stuffed! (Had to leave room to come back with at least the three new race shirts!)


Thursday, January 8 - Arrival

Alaska Airlines now has a non-stop flight from San Diego to Orlando (and vice versa), and this was our first chance to try that. Best flight experience I've had in a long time. The plane wasn't full, so Lee and I had a row to ourselves. And it's a newer plane with the less bulky seats, which felt significantly more roomy. The people in front of us didn't recline their seats on top of us, and there were no screaming children around us. Fairly smooth flight, and only 4 hours and 40 minutes! The service was good - they came around with the beverage and food carts twice, and in between asked if we wanted coffee or anything else. I hope the flight home on Monday will be as pleasant.

We arrived about 6:00, and since we only had carry-on bags went straight to the rental car area. Had a glitch with the rental car reservation, but finally got that straightened out, and we were on the road by 7:00. It was a chilly (for Orlando) 57 when we arrived. It was downright cold that morning for the 5K - 38 at the start, with a wind advisory. The wind of course made everyone feel colder. In watching the posts of our friends on Facebook, we were pretty happy we hadn't run Dopey this year!

At the Boardwalk we had our first issue with the Magic Bands. We'd brought five (have to color coordinate, you know), but only one of them would open our room. On our way to dinner we stopped by the Concierge Desk, who verified that they were all linked and active, but she re-encoded them, and now they all work.

After dinner at the Dolphin Fountain we came back to our room to unpack and try to go to sleep. We're on the fourth floor overlooking the hotel entrance, and we could actually see some of the IllumiNations fireworks.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend


Friday, January 9 - 10K and Expo

I was awakened about 4:00 by the sound of the announcer way over at the 10K in the Epcot parking lot. Sound carries. I could hear some of the words and the music. I got up a little bit before 6:00 and put on warm clothes, since it was only 48 outside, and went out to a spot near the Boardwalk Bakery with the Mickey Milers to cheer the 10K runners. That area is just over 4 miles into the race, and there were already a lot of runners going by when I arrived about 6:10. And it was still very dark.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I was very surprised that the Boardwalk Bakery wasn't open yet - they opened at 6:30. Once they opened a lot of the spectators went in, and even some of the runners went in for coffee and pastries!

It was a cool morning for the run. I saw lots of people who were wearing the long-sleeve yellow Minnie race shirt - several of us commented that it seemed like there were more people wearing the race shirt than we have ever seen.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were lots of costumes, and it was fun to see all of the creative ideas people had. There were a LOT of Annas and Elsas and Olafs - many of them running together in a group. The Olaf costume was seeming like a pretty good idea given the weather - it's a little warmer. (How ironic is it that a snowman costume would be warm?) The oddest combination I saw was Anna and Elsa running with Darth Vader, though. :-)

I saw a couple of groups where all of the runners were dressed as Snow White. I'm not sure what the term is for a collection of Snow Whites! A blizzard of Snow Whites?

There were also a lot of people dressed as Dalmatians, enough that they must have been some kind of a group, even though they weren't running all together. It was fun to see a few of them running with a Cruella, or with a Cruella not too far away from them.

I think the most unique pair I saw were the couple dressed as Mary Poppins and Mr. Banks.

Cheering was fun, though I wish I'd brought gloves! And a cowbell. Next time...The final runners followed by the bikes and the carts came by around 7:30. We visited with our fellow cheer-ers for a while before getting some breakfast at the bakery. There was no line there, which really surprised me!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

After breakfast we grabbed our race waivers and drove to the Expo. Very little traffic and we were able to park close, so our walk was shorter than if we'd taken the bus from the Boardwalk.

I always like seeing the race banners near the entrance to Wide World of Sports - it's a a very nice photo spot. This time there was a cast member there to take photos of people - not a PhotoPass photographer, just a regular guy who used our camera.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We went to the Field House first to pick up our bibs. Bib pickup for Goofy, Dopey, 10K, and 5K runners as well as Kids Races, was upstairs. So at this point almost everyone up there was a Goofy runner, since the others had already picked theirs up.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

When we picked up our bibs they told us that we needed to get our photo taken while holding our bib number. This is a new policy, and has apparently replaced the wristbands they have used to identify Goofy/Dopey runners in previous years. The policy was in place at Avengers for Coast-to-Coast runners, but it was iffy as to whether the volunteers knew to tell runners about it, and we also had wristbands there. We'll see how well it works on Sunday when all of the runners have to be looked up on a computer instead of just showing a wristband.

Anyway...there were signs directing us to the area where they were taking the runDisney mug shots. I do have to say that this was very efficient. There were multiple photographers and backdrops, and someone at the head of the line to direct us to the next available backdrop. Mine really will look like a mug shot, since the photographer didn't tell me to "smile" or anything - just took the photo. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We still had to go downstairs in the Field House to collect our shirts. They had already shut down the merchandise area there, but the bib pickup for the half marathon and full marathon were still going on.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I like the graphic design on this year's shirts, but I think that the Goofy shirt is an awful color. I don't like orange to begin with but with the colors they used Goofy barely shows up on it. I really like the Donald shirt, but I wish the Mickey shirt was a lighter color. The fit and fabric are still very nice, though - I still am SO happy to have a women's shirt that fits me!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

When we'd seen images of this shirt on-line we though that the graphics were a lenticular or metallic, but they aren't.

In addition to the shirts, our bags had this odd item in them (this is both of ours, so I can show front and back). It's the size to hold a gel packet, but it has an adhesive strip on the back, and I'm not sure what you're supposed to attach it to - I certainly wouldn't trust it to hold during a race.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Next we went over to the Josten's Center to visit the main Expo - especially to see what was still available for Official Merchandise. It was just after 9:30 and it wasn't too crowded yet.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Though the Merchandise area was pretty busy - lots of people in the aisles. There still seemed to be a good selection of merchandise available - I was particularly surprised at how much Dopey merchandise there was. Plenty of stuff for the half and marathon, and still quite a bit for Goofy.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

They had all of the "I Did It" shirts, also, though they were down to only smalls and mediums in the Goofy shirt - and there were only 5 mediums. This one didn't appeal to either of us - we have other "I Did It" Goofy shirts.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I was still able to find the things that I wanted: the Goofy Challenge magnet, and the mini-medal pins for Goofy and Coast-to-Coast. Lee and I both bought the new Coast-to-Coast shirts - I like this particular design. My other Expo purchases (from other vendors) were a pair of throwaway gloves, since tomorrow is colder than I was expecting, and a pair of black and white tie-dye calf sleeves, which will go much better with tomorrow's half marathon outfit. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Lee bought the new runDisney vinylmation, but we were dismayed to find that they are no longer selling the little medals that go around Mickey's neck. The runDisney rep we asked said that they didn't sell them for Avengers, either.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

Short line to checkout, but it moved quickly, and as Annual Passholders we received a discount. That's always nice.

After we shopped we visited some of the other booths. The runDisney booth had the usual collection of medals, though we were hoping to see the new Pixie Dust Challenge medal, and it wasn't there.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

I again admired the Castaway Cay Challenge medal - I really hope they will offer that in conjunction with the Wine and Dine Half Marathon this year!

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We visited some of the other vendors and picked up a few items before leaving the Josten's Center. This year there are more vendors located around Champions Stadium. Given the cool weather that's probably not a very favorable spot this year.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

They had some fun cutouts to pose with over there, though.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

There were a lot of people still arriving as we were leaving, so we'd timed it pretty well. On our way back we stopped at the Hess Station near the Boardwalk to buy water and yogurt. Four containers of yogurt and 1.5 gallons of water was less than $11 - at Disney, just the water alone would have been more than that! So we're set for food for tomorrow morning - we also brought some bagels and almond and peanut butter from home.

This afternoon we finally went into a theme park. :-) Our Magic Bands functioned just fine, so whatever issue we had with our doors either didn't extend to the park passes, or was fixed when they were re-encoded.

We had lunch at Katsura Grill, and we were able to sit inside - it was still chilly outside, only 52. Hot food tasted good!

After lunch we finished our circle around World Showcase. I was surprised to see that the Christmas decorations were still up in all of the pavilions that decorate for the holidays. I guess the "undecorators" haven't made it that far yet. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
2015 WDW Marathon Weekend
2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

In Italy, the Magic Disney Screening Shrubbery is not doing a very good job of hiding this large tower. :-)

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We also stopped in the Karamell Kuche for some caramel goodness. Yum.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

At one of the two shops at the entrance to World Showcase we were surprised to see a pretty nice selection of Star Wars merchandise, in addition to all of the Anna/Elsa/Olaf stuff.

2015 WDW Marathon Weekend

We'll spend the rest of the day relaxing a little bit, visiting with friends, and then going into Epcot to have an early dinner.

And then we try to sleep before our very early wakeup call tomorrow, so we can go out and run 13.1 miles! Doesn't that sound like fun? :-)

Learn more about my runDisney experiences on AllEarsNet TV Show #33:

You can follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura

April 11, 2013

The Dopey Challenge - Walt Disney World Marathon

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First it was the Goofy Challenge, then the Coast-to-Coast Challenge and the Dumbo Double Dare. Now the evil geniuses at runDisney have developed a new series to tempt their loyal running fan(atics): The Dopey Challenge.

runDisney is introducing a new 10K race into the 2014 Walt Disney World marathon weekend lineup. And they are convinced that there are plenty of runners who are, well, Dopey enough to want to run the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon and earn the Dopey medal to go along with the 5K, Minnie (10K), Donald (half), Mickey (marathon), and Goofy medals.

Yes, that's right - six medals for four races. If you're a bling junkie like me, how can you pass that up? :-) And I couldn't. Lee and I are both signed up to run the Inaugural Dopey Challenge next January. "Are you insane?" is the question I most often hear when I tell people that. :-)

I loved the observation one of my fellow Team AllEars members made - that at various points during this challenge we would probably feel like all of the Seven Dwarfs...definitely Grumpy and Sleepy! (I hope not to have much experience of Doc and Sneezy, though...)

And speaking of Sleepy...to be honest, the thing Lee and I are most concerned about is not the distance (48.6 miles over four days), it's having to get up really early four mornings in a row. It starts with the 5K on Thursday, January 9 and finishes with the marathon on Sunday, January 12. Followed by a really long nap...

Bring on the Dopey Challenge!

The Dopey Challenge

Registration for all of the events during Marathon weekend opened on April 9. For more information, visit http://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/.

And Team AllEars 2014 is now open to new and returning members. Lee and I are back for what I'm sure will be a memorable year - it's the final year for Team AllEars. See http://land.allears.net/blogs/teamallears/ for more information.


January 15, 2013

2013 Marathon Weekend - Part 3 - Marathon

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We did it! The 2013 Goofy Challenge, and the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Though Sunday wasn't quite as hot as they thought it might be (81 instead of 84) it was still a tough day to be running 26.2 miles. Very humid, too, and sunny, without the clouds I was hoping for, which just made it seem even hotter. It was a beautiful day if you *weren't* running a marathon. I was really happy to cross the finish line! I actually had a pretty good race, and although I didn't push it, I still ended up with a personal best time of 5:22:07. There must be something to this whole training thing because I wasn't totally dead after the race, and today (Monday) I feel pretty good. A little stiff if I sit too long, and slightly fatigued, but otherwise good!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Race day began, as it always does, much too early at 2:30. At least we slept better since we were tired from the half marathon. :-) There was a longer line for the bus and we had to wait for the third one (they were stopping at some of the other Epcot resorts first, so were arriving 1/2-2/3 full) before going on our way. There was more traffic so it took 20-25 minutes to get to Epcot - that's more normal than the 10 minutes it took the day before.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

There were 25,000 people entered in the full, not much fewer than the half, but it seemed like there were a lot more people in the staging area. We again met up with Team AllEars, and there's a group photo floating around somewhere, but I don't have it. I think there were almost 40 of us in the marathon - that's very cool, especially for the first-timers like our intrepid co-captain, Michelle Scribner-MacLean.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

After the disaster in getting to the corrals the day before they tried something a little different, and the first call was for those in Corrals A and B. Makes sense, since they start first. Then after about 10 minutes they called C and D. This time there was no huge non-moving mass of humanity - we were able to walk continuously to the corrals. Not a fast walk, but better than the shuffle I've seen before.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Of course the disadvantage is that we arrived in our corral with over 45 minutes before the race started, and over an hour until we were due to start. The advantage was that we were able to see all of the pre-race "show", featuring Disney race announcer Rudy Novotny (and a couple of others I don't know) and their interviews with Jeff Galloway, Frank Shorter, and Joey Fatone.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We were waaay back from the start line, but they had huge screens up by each corral so that we could see what was going on (sorry that the pictures are grainy - but that's why).

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Several times we were cautioned about the heat - don't go too fast, drink lots of water and electrolytes, don't go for a PR...(And I didn't! It just worked out that way!)

Mickey, Donald and Goofy came out and "spoke" to us, we heard the national anthem, and then it was time to countdown to the start of the race! The wheelchairs went off at 5:30 and Corral A followed at 5:35. We again had a good fireworks display behind us, but each corral got their own start and fireworks over the start line.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We were near the front of Corral D and so once we got up to it we had a better view of the start line than we had the day before.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

At 5:52 we were off! There were a lot of people still, but the course didn't seem quite as congested as it had been the day before - these were more experienced runners who understood (and practiced) race etiquette. So while there were still people walking (us included!) they generally weren't walking 2-3 abreast in the middle on the one-lane sections like we had seen the day before.

Still it was crowded enough that I didn't take any photos in the early going. There were the same character opportunities there had been the day before like Jack Sparrow and the pirates and Jack Skellington, but the lines (while shorter) were still too long.

It was a new marathon course this year. At the beginning, instead of going around and through Epcot like it has in the past, this year the marathon course was identical to the half marathon course for the first 8 miles, which meant we headed straight for the Magic Kingdom, and reached it about mile 5.5 At mile 6 we were in Frontierland in front of the Country Bear Playhouse.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

The first new part of the course was just after mile 8, when we went onto the Walt Disney World Speedway. There was a steep hill going down under the speedway and then back up the other side which was a little treacherous.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We ran on the flat part of the track for about 3/4 of a lap.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

On the track itself were a bunch of classic cars that the owners had come to display to us as they cheered us on - very much like what we saw at the Disneyland Half Marathon last September. It was great to see them out there.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Mater and Lightning McQueen were also out there.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

After we came off the speedway we took the familiar Bear Island Road towards Animal Kingdom. The sun had come up by then and it was starting to warm up. At least that helped reduce the humidity, which was pretty close to 100% for the first 90 minutes or so. Along Bear Island Road there are a lot of tall trees that shaded us, and there was also a cool breeze so it still wasn't too bad.

Once we got close to Animal Kingdom we had some more character sightings, though most of them still had long lines (the one I was sorry to bypass was the villains). It was still Christmas there!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

With the new course we arrived at Animal Kingdom about mile 13 instead of mile 16. I have to say that messed with my head a little bit - I'm used to thinking that I'm about 2/3 done by then instead of just halfway through, and I was a little discouraged to only be half done.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Outside Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite photo stops - the Haunted Mansion gravediggers. Alas, the race had been too much for Lee...(he said he was tempted to lay there a little longer!)

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We had Team AllEars and Team AllCheers people cheering us on throughout the race, and they are terrific! Some of the most welcome places are in the second half of the race where there are some long stretches of road without much in the way of entertainment or spectators (because it's hard to get to!) and several of our cheering sections had set up in those areas. So a HUGE thanks to everyone who came out to cheer us on - it helps so much!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

There were a couple of sets of characters out there and we didn't have to wait long for photos with them - that's what usually happens in the second half of the race.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Near mile 17 we entered the Wide World of Sports complex. This was another new part of the course. The best part: they gave us wet sponges!!! That gave me some relief - I was very hot and very sweaty by then, and it felt good to sponge myself off a bit. Ahhhh.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We ran around most of the complex, which included running on the nice cushy running track. I've heard mixed opinions on that - some people (like me) thought it felt good, while others didn't like the feel of the surface.

At this point Lee told me to go ahead - he was doing ok, but I was having a better day than he was, and he didn't want to slow me down since he knew he would be walking more. It was a tough day with the heat and humidity.

We ran on concrete paths throughout the area - I didn't like that very much because it's quite a hard surface. It was also winding and relatively narrow - it's a good thing the runners had gotten fairly spread out by then.

They had the Mickey balloon on one of the fields.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We ran around the inside of Champions Stadium. This wasn't nearly as cool as running through Angel Stadium, though. And this also got mixed reviews - we were running on gravel and apparently a lot of people got it in their shoes.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

After we left Wide World of Sports we arrived at the Mile 20 Spectacular. Or the "not-so-spectacular", as it was dubbed.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

They had music and a bunch of the big character puppets, like Lumiere, Sebastian, Genie, and Tigger.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

There was also a raised stage with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto on it, where people were getting their photos taken.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

And over the road was a huge Celebrate 20 Years sign. A lot of people didn't realize that was mile 20, and further down the road I heard several people asking where mile 20 was, and I told them we'd already passed it. :-)

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

So yes, it was a nice diversion, especially since otherwise that was a pretty uninteresting part of the course, but "spectacular?" Not so much.

We had more Team AllEars people near mile 21 - it was really good to see them!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

At about mile 22.5 we entered the Studios. And by this time people were hot and tired and just wanted to be finished so there were almost no lines for characters from that point on. I took advantage of that, and had my photo taken with the Incredibles and Wreck-It Ralph.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We were staying at the Boardwalk again and our room looked out over the course very close to the mile 24 sign. That section was a bad part of the course, though - the path along the canal is not very wide and a lot of people were walking by then. I was still (mostly) jogging and I kept having to weave around and through people - it was frustrating. Once I got to the bridge that goes over to the Yacht Club it was wider and wasn't too bad the rest of the way.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

More Team AllEars folks just beyond the bridge - I got a big hug from Deb Wills, and that helped get me the rest of the way to the finish!

There were a number of characters at Epcot. These two were just outside the International Gateway. I recognized the Fairy Godmother, of course, but who is the one in pink?

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

There were more characters out in World Showcase. World Showcase was open to guests by the time I got there, but priority was given to runners, and in a couple of places guests had to wait for me to get my photo taken first. I thought that was very appropriate.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

At the mile 26 point was the gospel choir. I LOVE seeing these people. And not just because it means I'm almost finished. They sing with so much energy and passion that it flows into me and I can finish strong. I don't know the name of the group but they are awesome!!!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

At the finish line I got to high-five Mickey just before I crossed!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

And then a wonderful volunteer gave me my Mickey medal, and another wonderful volunteer gave me my Goofy medal!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

They still had those silly runDisney food boxes...come on, I just ran 26.2 miles and that's what I get??? Oh, yeah, there were bananas and packets of gummy candies, too. In preparation for that I'd put a package of mixed nuts into the bag I'd checked, and I was glad I did. (To be fair I have to say that I talked to a woman on my flight home who liked the change to the boxes, and thought the snacks in there were better than the bagels, orange slices, and bananas they usually have.)

Lee was not too far behind me, so I waited for him and we exited the runner's area. We made a pass through the merchandise tent just to see what they had - there wasn't a whole lot left by then.

We were pretty tired and took the bus back to the Boardwalk rather than walking - I hope they give all of those seats a good cleaning after marathon weekend... :-) When we got back to our room I could still see some people out on the course.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

As you can see, Donald isn't lonely anymore - he has plenty of company now!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Thank you to all of the terrific volunteers and cast members for a wonderful weekend. And thank you to all of the spectators who came out to cheer us on, and all of the bands who came to play for us. I'm sorry that I didn't have the energy to acknowledge everyone who cheered for me, but please know that I appreciated you, and the energy you brought to the race, and in turn passed to me, so very much.

Marathons are hard - I'm going back to halfs for a while, though we have our eye on Goofy in 2015, since it's the 10th Goofy Challenge. Our next race is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland, which is this Sunday. And yes, that means we'll earn our Coast-to-Coast medals in a week - and we won't be the only ones doing that!

Thanks for reading!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon


January 12, 2013

2013 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

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*** Update - we finished this morning's half marathon in 2:32:58! Faster than we had planned, but we only stopped for one character photo because the lines were so long. We feel good - now we're resting up for tomorrow.

We arrived in Orlando Thursday evening and headed straight to the Expo from the airport. We'd been seeing Tweets and Facebook posts from our teammates all day about the Expo, and how they had been able to register for the new Dumbo Double Dare - the 10K and half marathon race pair at Disneyland over Labor Day weekend. Another chance to earn three medals by running two races! Registration doesn't officially open up until January 22, but we wanted to make sure that we got in. Lots of fellow Team AllEars people will be there, too.

2013 Marathon Weekend

The Expo closed at 7:00, and we arrived on the floor at about 5:50 where we went straight to the runDisney booth to sign up for Dumbo. The line wasn't too long (compared to reports we'd seen earlier in the day), but it still took half an hour.

2013 Marathon Weekend

And then we went over to the Field House (different building) to actually pick up our race packet and bib number. No lines there, and lots of very helpful and friendly volunteers. Like last year, those of us doing Goofy only get one bib and not two - which means we have to re-use our kind of icky bib on marathon day, too. I don't really understand that...it would still be easy to give Goofy runners distinct (but separate) half marathon and full marathon bibs. Lee suggested it's because of the RFID timing chip on the back.

2013 Marathon Weekend

Then we went back over to the Expo to pick up our goodie bags, containing our three shirts and some other things. In this photo is the race program, a "20" button, and a set of 2013 Walt Disney World MARATHON shoelaces. For some reason I received three shoelaces rather than two. :-)

2013 Marathon Weekend

The shirts are the usual long-sleeve Champion tech shirts. Lee thinks the fabric is a lighter weight this year, but it feels the same to me. I don't like the sleeves - I have to get an extra-small so that I don't swim in the shirt, but then the sleeves are too tight.

2013 Marathon Weekend

2013 Marathon Weekend

2013 Marathon Weekend

I really wish they would offer a choice of unisex or women's style shirts like they do for the Princess and Tinker Bell (and other races, too).

We had about 10 minutes to shop in the "official merchandise" section. I was disappointed that there wasn't much of a selection of Goofy shirts - I would've liked a short-sleeve cotton t-shirt, but they were almost all tech shirts - and the one cotton shirt only had XLs left. They did have a women's short sleeve version of the "I did it" shirt in cotton, but it was *pink*. No way. The unisex version was a long-sleeve cotton shirt, so we both got that and I'll cut the sleeves down. :-)

So in an hour and 10 minutes we registered with two more races, picked up all of our registration stuff and did some shopping. Not bad. :-)

Today (Friday) we went back to the Expo, since we didn't really get a chance to look around last night. We drove over from Animal Kingdom about 12:30 - lots of traffic, and we were parked out in the overflow lot that's across Victory Way! We don't mind walking, so it wasn't that bad, but we definitely arrived at a very busy time of day.

Outside the entrance they had some photo backdrops set up - one for Goofy, one for the half marathon, and one for the 5K.

2013 Marathon Weekend

And near the Field House (packet pick-up) was one for the marathon.

2013 Marathon Weekend

The Mickey Mile kids' race was finishing up as we stood in line to get *in* to the Expo.

2013 Marathon Weekend

It is unseasonably warm in Florida, and Disney posted these signs and warnings in a lot of places. It's expected to be 62-63 at the start of the races, and probably in the high 70s, maybe 80s, by the end of the marathon. It's pretty humid, also. So definitely not optimal running conditions, especially since most of us have been training in much cooler weather. So the idea is to run slower and hydrate - but not over-hydrate.

2013 Marathon Weekend

Given the line to get in, it's not surprising that the Expo was quite crowded - it was tough to move around in places.

2013 Marathon Weekend

We went back to the merchandise area, and I was surprised at how much was GONE compared to last night. Very little Goofy merchandise at all, and they were out of some sizes in the women's "I Did It" shirts. There was still another day and a half left of the Expo!

2013 Marathon Weekend

We made our way around the Expo floor - there were some things we would have looked at a little more closely if it hadn't been so crowded. But Cigna was doing something cool - they took our photo against a green screen and this was the result:

2013 Marathon Weekend

They had various props we could use - like the Mickey and Goofy medals we are wearing, as well as a tiara and ear hats. Fun.

Lots of traffic getting away from Wide World of Sports - it took a while. We won't see it again until Sunday, when the marathon course takes us all around the complex!

We tried to take it somewhat easy the rest of the day...it'll be a short night since we'll get up about 2:30 in the morning. By the time most of you read this we'll probably be done with the half marathon! I'll post a follow-up with our time. You can also follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura.

Do you have any questions about Marathon Weekend? Use the "Comment" or "Feedback" links below and I'll do my best to get the answers for you.

January 10, 2013

2013 Marathon Weekend - Preview

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It's that time of year again - Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! Lee and I are "going Goofy" again, and will be participating in the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. We've had a good training season, and we're as ready as we're going to be.

This is the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon, so there are some special things this year. And of course, the one that is most appealing to me, all-new bling! It's a striking and rather different Mickey medal this year.

2013 Marathon Weekend

There are two spinning elements in the center. The Mickey head features a more contemporary Mickey on one side, with a black and white pie-eyed Mickey on the other. The ring around it also spins. On one side it says: "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." And on the other side: "I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - it was all started by a mouse."

The marathon course is also slightly different this year - it still starts and finishes at Epcot, but rather than going around Epcot for the first few miles, runners will head directly toward Magic Kingdom. After leaving Magic Kingdom we'll take a lap around the Walt Disney World Speedway. We'll also be running through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including the stadium there (I wonder if we'll be on the Jumbotron like we are when we run through Angel Stadium during the Disneyland 1/2 marathon?). You can see a map of the marathon course HERE.

There's also going to be some special entertainment at Mile 20, though according to the map the entire mile from 19-20 is the Mile 20 Spectacular. I'm looking forward to that - that's usually the point in the race where things get pretty hard for me, and a little diversion and something to put some energy into me will be appreciated!

Later that day from 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. is the Downtown Disney Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney Westside. It's open to anyone at no charge and will feature the awards ceremony and entertainment.

It's not just the marathon going on this weekend, though - there's a number of other events, too. Thursday-Saturday is the Health and Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. That's where all race participants pick up their registration packets and goodie bags. At the Expo you can buy all kinds of running merchandise - including lots of things you never knew you needed! :-) There's always a pretty good selection of official runDisney race merchandise as well - we never seem to escape with less than a couple of shirts...

On Friday there's the Family Fun Run 5K at Epcot at 6:30 a.m.. On Thursday afternoon and Friday and Saturday mornings are the Kids Races at ESPN Wide World of Sports. There are events for kids 13 years of age and under, with variable-length "dashes" open to specific age groups (including a Diaper Dash for crawlers!), and the Mickey Mile which is open to all kids.

Saturday morning is the half marathon, starting at 5:30 a.m., which will include somewhere between 27,000 and 30,000 participants.

One of the highlights of the weekend for us will be hanging out with our fellow Team AllEars members. This is an amazing group of people - so inspiring! The Team Meet on Saturday, where we'll all get together, and often meet each other in person for the first time, is a really special experience. That's also when Deb Wills will unveil how much we have raised in the fight against breast cancer. This is last year's team photo (click on the photo to see a larger version):

2013 Marathon Weekend

Read more about Team AllEars.

I'll have more as the weekend progresses - and you can also follow me on twitter: @AllEarsLaura.

Do you have any questions about Marathon Weekend? Use the "Comment" or "Feedback" links below and I'll do my best to get the answers for you.

January 9, 2012

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

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The Inaugural Walt Disney World Marathon Relay is in the books! Lee and I both had really good runs - he finished his half in 2:13:02, and I finished my half in 2:30:33. They also counted the 3:17 we spent in the transition area, so our total time was 4:46:51. I was thrilled that it was under 5 hours! The number "4" was still the first number in the race clock when I arrived at the finish - I didn't think I'd ever see that.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Just a few photos for now - I'll have a more detailed report later.

The morning started EARLY - we caught the bus a little after 3:00. Here's the Team AllEars photo, taken about 4:15 - a few people were missing because their bus drivers got lost. :-(

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

In the transition area (they had a HUGE area for the relay, much larger than we needed), they had numbered chutes, and you waited until you saw your runner approach, and then moved out into the lane. There was no official passing of a baton, or any point that you both had to cross - just whatever greeting you wanted to give your incoming runner, and then runner 2 could take off.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Lee crosses the finish line! He had a really good time. Which made it nice for me, because it put me ahead of a whole lot of runners, so the course was less crowded for me, and I didn't have to wait too long to get my photos taken with the characters. :-)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

They had a really elaborate area set up for the Villains!

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Team All Ears cheering area just past mile 24 - this was really a great place for them to be, since at that point a lot of us are very tired - we know we can make it to the finish, but a little extra encouragement really helps, and they were so supportive of EVERYONE - not just TAE runners!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

My new Chip and Dale relay medal!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2



March 20, 2011

New Walt Disney World Marathon Relay Race

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Just after this year's Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January, Disney announced some of the details of next year's event - one of which was a new race - the Marathon Relay. A marathon without having to run a full 26.2 miles? Isn't THAT an intriguing idea! It was a little frustrating, though because up until this week there hadn't really been any additional details on it. But finally, just a day or so before registration opened up on Tuesday, there was some additional information on the web site, and even more has been released since then. Here's the press release.

In the new relay, two-person teams will each race 13.1 miles (each completing their own half marathon). The first leg goes from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and ends in the Pluto parking lot. The second leg goes from there to Animal Kingdom, the Studios, and Epcot, and ends in the Epcot parking lot. It will be run at the same time as the WDW Marathon on January 8, 2012 and will share most of the course with those who are running the Marathon, with some slight differences because of the relay aspect and exchange zone.

Those mischievous chipmunks, Chip and Dale, are the hosts for this race, and will be featured on the new relay medals. It will be fun to see what the medals look like! I hope they are not responsible for the aid stations, though - I'd prefer something other than acorns. :-)

The web site says that "registration is limited" - though it doesn't say how limited. I didn't take any chances, and I signed up (Lee and I will be running as Team Zimmerbreath) as soon as registration opened on Tuesday morning. :-)

I love running in Inaugural events - this will be my 4th Inaugural Disney race. I've also done the Inaugurals of the Disneyland Half Marathon, the Tower of Terror 13K and the Princess Half Marathon. It will be interesting to see how some of the logistics work, though, and I hope there won't be too many first year glitches - that's probably one reason they are keeping it somewhat smaller. I know I have lots of questions on how things are going to work - like how they will transport those of us running the second leg to our start area, and if we'll have any way of tracking our partner to know where they are and when we might expect them to arrive - and then how do we find them to do the "exchange"? And then there's the transportation or runner1 back to Epcot, and whether Lee will be able to monitor my progress, and how we find each other at the finish. Not to mention how we all amuse ourselves while waiting at least a couple of hours for our partner to finish their leg of the race! I'll be running leg 2 - it's bad enough to have to get up insanely early for the start of the marathon, but it looks like I'll have to get up insanely early and then wait for Lee to arrive at the exchange. And then he'll have to wait for me at the finish - and since he runs faster he'll have a longer wait than I will. :-) Hopefully all of these questions will be answered before the race - but if not, we'll definitely find out on January 8, 2012!

Now that we've figured out what Disney race we're running in January, Lee and I are also happy to be returning to Team AllEars again this year. We'll be Running with Purpose along with our co-team captains Michelle Scribner MacLean and Mike Scopa, the incomparable Deb Wills, and the rest of our wonderful teammates. We'll all be doing our best to raise awareness and support breast cancer research. You can read more about Team AllEars HERE.

If you've ever thought about running a race during Disney's Marathon Weekend this is a great opportunity to do it. It doesn't matter if you've never run before - every year the team has people new to running who work and train and then are able to complete their first 5K or half marathon during Marathon Weekend! Everyone on the team is so supportive and encouraging - it makes a big difference in all of those months of training since even those of us who are experienced runners have our ups and downs, too.

Team AllEars is dedicated to raising funds to support breast cancer research. We're not quite ready to start with the on-line fund raising yet, but when we are I will be posting information here, and I hope that you will all consider supporting Team Zimmerbreath as we participate in the first Walt Disney World Marathon Relay!.



January 10, 2011

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Marathon Day

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We did it - we're Goofy! We felt a lot better than I expected, and we actually ended up run/walking the entire race - I figured we'd be walking a lot of the last 6-8 miles since I thought we'd be much more fatigued after the half marathon yesterday. I was hoping to finish in 6 hours, but we finished in 5:23:25! We were both really happy with that.

I think I alluded to it in Part 1, but I didn't talk about our run/walk race strategy for the races this weekend. We've become intrigued with Jeff Galloway's program (and he is, after all, the Run Disney consultant) to run/walk our long runs rather than just running the whole thing. How long you run versus how long you walk varies from person to person, and what works best for you. We've been using a run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute program since November, and I'm really a big fan. Though it might seem strange, running and walking use different muscles in your legs, and by walking some you give your running muscles that time to rest and recover, so you don't tire as easily. I've found that for the most part I can maintain (or even better) my overall pace by walking 20% of the time. Then when I am running I can run a little faster, so it makes up the difference in my walking pace (though admittedly I am a fast walker).

It really worked well for us this weekend!

As you might imagine we are pretty tired, but it's nothing that a little rest won't cure.

The day again began at 2:45 a.m., though at least I slept better last night since I was tired from yesterday. The buses were waiting at the Boardwalk, though we had to wait about 10 minutes for one to fill up (in the meantime we were in a heated bus with cushy seats, though!) before we were on our way to Epcot.

We again had the race retreat, so headed there after we walked over from the bus. We met Julie, from Team AllEars, and visited as we ate our breakfast, then checked our bag, and walked over to the start corrals. The marathon had "only" 17,000 entrants, as opposed to 27,000 in the half, so the walk over was a LOT more pleasant - there were just a few places we were reduced to a shuffle. Based on what I submitted as our estimated finish time (I drastically over-estimated and gave it as 6 hours), we were in the last start corral - ugh. So we started about 25 minutes after the first wave started.

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The weather was about 10-12 degrees COLDER than yesterday, and I could really tell - it was about 42. I was wearing my trash bag and emergency blanket right up until the race started, had my hand warmers until about mile 13, and didn't throw away my sweatshirt until almost mile 14. I was glad I'd decided to wear the long-sleeve shirt - there were times when the wind blew that I got a little cold. But the sun came out and it was really a perfect day for running.

Because we were in the last corral where just about everyone was either walking or running slower than we were, we ended up getting stuck behind slower people in the narrow places - it was frustrating. Though it did ease a lot earlier than during the half yesterday, and wasn't much of an issue after mile 13.

As we headed from the parking lot into Epcot they had some of the Electrical Parade units out to greet us - since it was still really dark, those were very effective. They were playing the music in the background, too.

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In Epcot we went under Spaceship Earth and up the promenade, where the Illuminations globe was lit (they must have gotten it fixed, though it still wasn't spinning).

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We saw a lot of the same characters today that we did yesterday, and today the lines were for the most part shorter (except for the Pooh characters and Mickey and Minnie) so I got a lot more character photos today. First up was Panchito and Jose Carioca at Mexico.

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After we left Epcot it was a long, long way to Magic Kingdom - MK was just after mile 10, as opposed to mile 5 yesterday. We saw our friends Gail and Julian cheering near the Contemporary and stopped for a quick hug and photo.

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Once we entered Magic Kingdom we saw the AllCheers group at the hub before we turned into Tomorrowland.

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Lots of characters in Magic Kingdom, but many of them we had seen (and had photos with) yesterday, so we bypassed those and did photos with some of the others that had too long lines yesterday. Like the Cinderella group - though today Cinderella wasn't with them - it was the Prince, stepmother, and two stepsisters. They were a hoot.

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We again saw the Fairy Godmother and asked her for a little more magic because it worked so well yesterday. :-)

The pirates were out again, and this time the line wasn't too long so we had our picture taken with them. A lot of the character locations had one of the official marathon photographers working there and taking photos, but this wasn't one of them. Because of that a cast member was asking everyone as they got in line if they had their own camera - we appreciated that - it would have been terrible to wait in the line and then not get a photo! I asked Jack Sparrow why there was no rum, and he told me it was waiting for me at the finish line. :-)

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I think I've mentioned this in the past, but the characters were all so gracious, and didn't seem to mind being around (and even touching!) all of us sweaty runners. The ones who could speak usually made appropriate comments. It's just one of the things that makes the Disney races so much fun!

A couple of miles after we left Magic Kingdom we were at mile 13 - just about half way! Yikes. We were still feeling pretty good - a little more tired than we were at mile 13 yesterday, but not too much.

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The stretch from there to Animal Kingdom I remember as being pretty boring five years ago, but it seemed like there was a lot more entertainment along the route this time. Several "streetmosphere" types of characters, including a bayou woman and her big (fake) alligator (someone dressed as Peter Pan put his head in the gator's mouth and she said: "Ohhh...I guess we'll have to re-write the ending to Peter Pan!), and "Davy Crockett" and his sidekick. My favorite was Zorro, though. :-)

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There were a lot of characters backstage at Animal Kingdom - and the line to take a photo with Mickey was actually fairly short. We noticed that the longer the race went on the shorter the lines got - I know we found it harder to get started when we stopped, and perhaps a lot of others felt that way, too.

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Outside Animal Kingdom there were these refugees from the Haunted Mansion. :-)

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One of the hardest (cruelest) sections of the course is the part that goes out towards Wide World of Sports - and then loops back on itself. So you can see the people that are coming back towards you, but they are .6 miles ahead. I was getting really tired by then - my legs were fine while I was walking, but those 4 minute running intervals kept getting longer, and the one minute walks kept getting shorter. (Though the intervals often got disrupted by character photos and water stops, especially in this later part.)

When we arrived in the Studios, we were very disappointed that they hadn't rolled out the red carpet for us like they did when we ran the marathon five years ago. We had been looking forward to that...it felt SO good after running on pavement! There were quite a few characters backstage for us, though - we did our best monster impression when we posed with Sulley.

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At this point we were past mile 23, and it was only about 3 miles to the finish. We knew we could do it, and also knew we had a chance to finish in under 5:30, which would be a real accomplishment for us.

There were two groups of AllCheers people along the Boardwalk - they helped keep us going. We got back into Epcot just before mile 25, and found a rather lonely Princess Aurora in France - everyone was anxious to finish and was just running by her. We didn't, though.

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We got to the mile 26 marker - only .2 to go!

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I really didn't have much left for a sprint, but did the best I could to try to keep up with Lee (he slowed down for me) and we crossed the line together - 5:23:25. WAY better than I was expecting to do!

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It was a cooler day today, so the emergency blanket was very welcome, and the Mickey Marathon medal even more so. There was a special area for "Goofy" runners, and that's where they put that lovely Goofy medal over our heads. Woo hoo - we did it!!! (This picture was actually taken in the Race Retreat - because we had three medals the photographer asked Buzz to hold one of Lee's medals and Jessie to hold one of mine.)

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Today we were able to meet up with our Terri, our fellow West Coast Roadrunner - she did the Goofy Challenge last year, so she knows what it takes. It was really nice to see her.

We went to the Race Retreat where we had some hot food - in addition to eggs and potatoes they also had a vegetable bean soup. It was pretty salty, but after all that running that actually tasted pretty good. We got our picture taken with our medals, as you saw above. I wasn't up to walking back to the Boardwalk today so we took the bus - our timing was good because it was almost ready to leave. We did get off at the Swan and walk back to the Boardwalk, so we got in a little bit more of a walk.

Tonight we actually feel pretty good - tired, of course, but it's a good tired. Once we get moving we can walk pretty easily, and without pain.

We had a lovely dinner at Kouzzina, but I'll write more about that separately. (Thanks to AllEars reader Gail for coming up and introducing herself!)

How do you like my collection of bling from this weekend? I'm very proud of it!

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January 8, 2011

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Day 1

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We're back at Walt Disney World (yes, less than a month after our last trip) for Marathon weekend. As I mentioned several months ago, Lee and I are planning to run the Goofy Race-and-a-Half Challenge this weekend. That means that we run the half marathon on Saturday (which is today for many of you reading this) and the full marathon on Sunday. Something that you have to be, well, Goofy, to do. I think there are about 3000 of us entered in both races this year.

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To prepare for this we trained for the last six months with a group in San Diego called the West Coast Roadrunners. We've trained with them before when we ran our first WDW Marathon - it's really a fun group of people and they have years of running experience. So there's lots of support and training tips and coaching available. Those long training runs are a lot easier to do when you're running with a group. Some of the coaches and group members had run Goofy before, so we picked their brains about strategy and training. Since we are only trying to "finish in a vertical position" and are not trying for any personal bests, our strategy is to take it easy during the half marathon - stop for pictures, do some walking, don't push the pace when running - and then just try to do as normal a "long run" as we can on Sunday. If we have to walk a lot, so be it - we have 7 hours to finish, and even if we didn't run at all we could do that.

We've been doing the walk/run thing (as recommended by Jeff Galloway, Disney's running consultant) for the long runs, with a 4-minute run/1-minute walk interval. I think it's really helped me a lot. Though you don't always realize it, you use different muscles when running than when walking. So that walking break allows my running muscles to rest and recover a little bit, and I'm not quite so tired at the end of a long run. We plan to do that for both races this weekend, though it's really hard to slow down to a walk during the first few miles when the legs are still fresh! But you have to do it from the start for it to be effective.

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As for what else has been going on...After we arrived last night we went to Epcot and had dinner at the Tangierine Cafe - that's one of our favorites, but we didn't have a chance to eat there last month - partly because the seating area is like a breezeway and it gets really cold - and it was cold enough last month without eating in a wind tunnel. Anyway, after dinner we walked about World Showcase lagoon, getting some hot spiced wined and some caramel corn in Germany, and then we watched Illuminations. The globe was seriously misbehaving last night - first it didn't turn on, and then it wasn't spinning, and then it kept going off and on. The middle of the show is pretty boring if there's no globe! At the end it didn't open up which worried us - but someone must have hit the "emergency abort" so that the fireworks inside it didn't go off. It made the finale not quite so effective though. Hope they get that fixed soon!

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This morning we took the bus over to the Expo, though first we met up with some of our Team AllEars teammates. It was nice to put some faces to some names!

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The packet pickup was pretty uneventful - as "Goofy" runners we had our own pickup area and there really weren't any lines.

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Down in the merchandise area there were more people and the checkout line had a lot of people in it, but they kept it moving quickly. There was a much better selection of merchandise than I remember from past races.

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The Expo was in a separate building, and it was a lot more congested than it was when we ran the marathon 5 years ago. That's where we picked up our "Goody Bags" which had our shirts in them. As "Goofy" runners we got *three* shirts - the regular half marathon and marathon shirts AND a special Goofy shirt.

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We did a little shopping and bought a few things that we will use both this weekend and in the future.

Geico is one of the race sponsors - and the Geico gecko was there. :-)

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HP had a booth and would give you a photo for free, so we did that. We really weren't at the Magic Kingdom. :-)

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As we were leaving they had this banner overhead:

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Taking the bus to the Expo was really a good thing - the traffic getting in there was pretty bad, so it was a lot easier to take the bus. The bus was serving all of the Epcot Resort hotels, so we got off at the Dolphin and had lunch at Picabu. Lee had a dinner with lasagna, mac and cheese, and creamed spinach (getting started on that carb-loading!).

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I had a bowl of chicken and pasta soup - it was very good. We like Picabu - it's close to the Boardwalk AND we get a 20% discount by showing our DVC member card.

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We had a short break back in our room before the AllEars meet at the Belle Vue Room this afternoon. I don't know how many people were there, but it was quite a turnout. Lots of the Team AllEars members. And it was wonderful to see old friends like Gail and Julian Robinson (from the old RADP days!).

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And we met some other RADP people, too - Linda McCollough introduced herself, and we'd met Ed Russell back in December. (Ed ran the 5K this morning, just six months after open heart surgery, and got his first Disney bling! Woo hoo Ed!)

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Team AllCheers is going to be out in force cheering us on this weekend (which really means a LOT, especially late in a race), and they even got custom cowbells for it! I love these.

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Our plan for tonight is go go have dinner at Seasons in Epcot (yeah, probably more walking than we should be doing, but at least we haven't been in parks all day like some of our Team AllEars teammates have!), and then get as much stuff ready and laid out tonight as we can.

And then comes the really hard part - trying to sleep. Complete with pre-race jitters (this will be my 11th half marathon, but I still get nervous before a race), and knowing that the alarm is going to go off insanely early (like 2:45 or so). The buses start running at 3:00, and our goal is to catch a bus by 3:15 or so, so that we have time to get to Epcot and enjoy the Race Retreat (that's a special tent that's heated, with chairs and refreshments and its own porta-potties - we paid extra for it, but I think it'll be worth it!) before we have to walk to our starting corral.

The weather looks like it'll be really good - no rain, some sun, and temps in the 50s. That may sound chilly, but it'll be pretty nice for running.

Hopefully as you are reading this, especially if you're on the west coast, we are already done with the half marathon, since we should be finished by 9:00. I'll post an update to this blog right here once we're back at our room.

And we're done! It went really well - I finished in 2:35:49 and Lee finished at 2:35:47 - not sure where he picked up two seconds on me, though. :-) We feel good.

Now, please think good thoughts for us for Sunday's marathon!


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About WDW Marathon

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the WDW Marathon category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

WDW Half Marathon is the previous category.

WDW Marathon Relay is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.