What an adventure! I’m back from my whirlwind tour of all things Disney and I can’t wait to relive the fun by sharing it with all of you!
It all started out with a crazy suggestion. A running friend and I were talking about running Disney races together – her family lives in the Inland Empire near Disney Land. My family lives in central Florida near Disney World. We talked about running each other’s “home” races. One thing lead to another and we decided 2014 would be our year to complete the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge – and not just complete it, but to do the Disney Marathon Weekend and Tinkerbell, running both coasts in one week.
And, because I’m a little crazy, I thought why run just one marathon when I could run a crazy-lady challenge. It was settled. I was going to run Goofy. Side note – a lot of people have asked me why I didn’t run the inaugural Dopey Challenge. I didn’t want to get up at 2:45am four days in a row and Epcot is my least favorite park. The idea of getting up crazy early to run around Wide World of Sports and Epcot didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to spend more time with my family, and, honestly, sleeping.
Once I started talking about my intention to run Disney like a crazy person, more crazy things started happening. My two sisters-in-law and my brother decided Disney would be their first half marathon. Suddenly, we had a team of five people, all running the half marathon. We were all training for races and sharing the experience – it was so exciting.
I had a great time running the Disney Marathon in 2013, but I did it injured. I was hoping 2014 would be my year. I got to Florida well ahead of the races, ready to finish my taper and relax with family. Sadly, as soon as I got to Florida, I felt the first symptoms of impending illness. Wednesday my mom and I went to the expo and Thursday my California friend arrived. By Friday, I was sick and my family was arriving from out of town. I wouldn’t let a little sickness slow me down. We were all staying at the new Art of Animation. It was wonderful. Being true Disney lovers, we were thrilled with our Little Mermaid themed room.
Friday evening we held a team meeting and set the plan for the half marathon on Saturday. My brother and his wife would start together, with him planning to speed up after the first few miles. My other sister in law and I would run together. She had an ambitious time goal and wanted me to help pace her to achieve that goal. My friend, having suffered several mishaps during training, would take her time and have fun along the way. We were ready.
Race morning dawned dark and early. We all got up, got into costumes, and took lots and lots of pictures.
The bus ride to the start was quick and easy. We visited the port-a-potties and before we knew it, it was time to head to the start. I had warned my family about the long walk through the woods, so we quickly made our way to the starting corrals. It was cool, about 68 degrees, cloudy, and humid. Nearly perfect running weather. The race started with a flourish and we were off!
My parents were waiting for us at Cinderella’s Castle and we made it to them right on pace. My sister-in-law was running well and feeling strong. I, on the other hand, was fading fast. My fever, headache, and general malaise were starting to get the best of me. I was determined to be a good pacer, so she and I ran on, through Magic Kingdom, and back out the gates.
The day stayed pleasantly overcast and the race course was the usual Disney fun. I enjoyed the on-course entertainment and loved seeing the characters out and about. We kept a strong pace right through mile 10, when things started to go downhill for me. I suppose, in retrospect, running with some sort of horrible cold/flu wasn’t my most brilliant idea, but I was at Disney. My sister-in-law was holding a strong pace and feeling confident. I was seeing black spots and feeling nauseous. Around mile 11 we passed my friend and I let my sister go. I fell in pace with my friend and we hobbled along together – her with sore ankles and me just trying to stay upright.
Before I knew it, we were in Epcot and closing in on the finish line. It was a great feeling. We hustled across the finish line, though the self-treatment medical area for some ice for her legs, and over to the official meeting place to wait for my siblings. One after the other they came in sight, and finished triumphantly. Everyone had achieved their goals for the race. We were a happy group.
After sharing stories, we headed back to the hotel. I suggested a rest by the pool and we all settled in for some well-deserved relaxation.
And, for those of you who were wondering – yes. I ran with my hair and my Pascal for 13.1 miles. I wouldn’t do it any other way.