All Roads Lead to Epcot: WDW Marathon Recap

Let’s start with the marathon.

IMG_3083Usually with running, it’s a kingdom of isolation and I am the queen. Yes I’m alone but I’m alone and free-I’m too slow to run with anyone, so I don’t let them in, don’t let them see… Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know. WELL NOW THEY KNOW!

I’m sorry, that was all from Frozen but IT’S JUST SO RELEVANT TO EVERYTHING.

Basically, I was terrified because I met someone in my corral who who wanted to run with someone. She was hoping to go just under 5 hours, and I thought that was pretty manageable given how I was feeling at the start and how I’d been running over the weekend but at the same time I had a deep seated fear that my gloves would be removed to reveal the icy, frozen hands beneath that had almost killed my sister years ago when all we wanted to do was build a snowman.

I’ll try to stop, I promise, but Frozen really was just that relevant.

Anyway. You know it’s going to work out when the conversation starts with “I don’t mean to be all creepy stalker” and then transitions to Criminal Minds and singing “Let It Go” with the accompanying hand gestures (because that person had seen it TWICE). The weather was cooperating also, which was kind of a miracle given how unpredictable it was being over the last week. Low humidity, temps starting in the 50s and a great breeze throughout. I couldn’t have begged God for better weather or company.

Except by the time we hit the Transportation and Ticket Center I noticed my left knee was bothering me. My left knee never bothered me, it was always my right knee that bothered me. We walked through the water stops and I started to notice that starting back up again was getting harder. After the photo with Pluto, Dug, and Bolt, I was having a tough time. At Jimminy Cricket just before Animal Kingdom it was getting rough.

IMG_3066By the time I had to run after the water stop behind Expedition Everest I was getting ready to cry. She had an early check out to make, so when she tried to gently broach the subject of leaving me behind I told her to run free and I think more or less kept the tears to myself because she was indeed super fun and the first 13 miles had flown by, even with my slight hobble.

Alone, I figured I was past halfway so this was the easy part. Only after the next water stop, I couldn’t start running again. I pulled over and figured I would try stretching my leg out a little bit, maybe that would help. This was around mile 14/15, and I had originally started the race with grandiose plans of a negative split and at the time I was feeling it. Now I was on the side of Osceola Parkway trying to figure out if I was going to finish at all. Mark this as the first time I started crying.

The best I could manage was a hobble. So I started to kinda hobble/jog/limp. As one woman passed me, she said, “Don’t run–just power walk for a few minutes and then start back up, it’ll make it easier!” I don’t know who she was, I don’t know if I verbally thanked her or gave her a grimace of pain, but I took her advice because what the fuck else was I going to do?

IMG_3072And it worked. Once I got moving, I very slowly jogged (on the side of the road out of the way of all the fast people before anyone starts stoning me) and vowed that no matter what, I could not stop and walk again because it was very doubtful I would start moving again. So I kept moving and didn’t stop to walk at water stations–hence my inhalation of much water.

But there was one thing I needed to stop for, which I am calling the Nardi Challenge in honor of Danielle, who inspired me to do it in the first place. Let’s say I have limited upper body strength to begin with and at mile 21 I really don’t have any upper body strength. I managed 3 things that vaguely resembled push ups and a lot of foul language.

Oddly enough, once I got myself moving again, I was passing a lot of people and heading into Hollywood Studios. I think perhaps the weather helped–unlike last year, the miles between WWoS and Hollywood Studios didn’t feel as much like a death march. AND MY ARRIVAL WAS TIMED PERFECTLY TO HEAR LET IT GO.

So anyway. I’d say the highlight of my marathon was Hollywood Studios, where I just started yelling, “I’m almost done!” One woman with a Dopey bib was just repeating, “I really want off this ride now!” so I just started talking to her and saying, “You’re almost done! You’re almost there!” It was borderline super annoying/motivational, but she took it as motivational and decided to keep up with me because she “liked my attitude.” (<–Literally the first time anyone has ever said that to me.) As we passed that ABC Commissary, I sang the Laverne and Shirley theme song to her as it played, and then ran down Hollywood Boulevard yelling at a woman with a sign, “YES! YES! I DO WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN!”

IMG_3077I saw my sister outside the Boardwalk, and as has become family tradition, she wanted me to stop and I was all, “I’m almost done with a marathon, I’m not stopping now!” But then just outside the international gateway into Epcot I saw him… That damn dwarf. And he had no line because everyone else was “Fuck that shit, I’m finishing the marathon!” The people before me were hugging and kissing Dopey, so naturally my first instinct was to punch him. Right in the face. And I did. The CM who had my phone, though, messed up and gave Dopey enough time to react at which point the dwarf tried to turn it into a fist bump as opposed to an assault.

Afterwards, I couldn’t get myself to run. The med tent guys cheered me on, and the ladies at this water stop were amazing, so I hobbled a little and tried to get myself going for a good ending.

Around the end of Epcot, just before you turn the corner and see the finish line, I was indeed ready to cry again. I don’t know if it was just due to exhaustion or what, but I was ready to finish. I felt incredibly disappointed in my time and like a total failure. Oh, yeah, and I couldn’t bend my left knee. (FYI: the KT taped knee held up beautifully!) So there was a lot going on at the finish line, and for some reason Disney hands out the same food to the people who finish the 5k as they do to those finishing the marathon, so go figure. I actually took the fruit chews offered behind Hollywood Studios and kept them in a skirt pocket and ate those first. Love those fruit chews.

IMG_3082Overall, I took Swedish fish with me and offered a couple to people in my corral but ended up not really eating more than 4 while I was out running, so again I marathoned without much in the way of fuel aside from some water. I missed my sister heading back to the room and when I got there I realized I didn’t have a key and couldn’t quite make it back to the lobby so I just sort of collapsed outside the door. That was apparently what I looked like when she found me. A few people passed me in the hallway and looked at me like I was nuts, which I kinda am.


24 thoughts on “All Roads Lead to Epcot: WDW Marathon Recap

  1. You are totally nuts but I have a feeling that if I were to ever run a marathon, this would be very similar to how I’d fare (minus running three races prior). Hey and I like your attitude too!

  2. I can’t tell you how much I laughed at that picture of you sitting outside your hotel room door after the marathon, I’m sorry, but that is hysterical.

    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you got an army man pushup picture! And don’t worry, my pushups aren’t exactly pretty at that point either (and between you and me my arm strength is so pathetic I actually practice a few pushups the weeks leading up to a Disney race just to be ready!). Bring on the Nardi Challenge!

  3. You did amazing no matter what your time was! I love reading your recap and I also love your attitude. I’ve informed my sister-in-law that she has to have a sign asking if I want to build a snowman for the PHM next month. B/c Frozen is the best.

  4. “I think some company is overdo, I’ve started talking to the pictures on the wall.”

    I’ve been lurking for a little bit, but wanted to post. Great job finishing the race! I don’t know whether runners are crazy to do this or just plain stubborn.

  5. So … what you’re saying is … you’re doing Dopey again next year?

    I’m sure you shouldn’t be ashamed of your time, good lord. I didn’t even come close to PRing but there were so many people on the course and I was tired from the 10K and the park hopping I’d been doing. You had knee pain and like three races completed! You deserve ALL THE CONGRATULATIONS!

    I’m sad that I couldn’t run with your Frozen gang. Jealous! But I also yelled at the woman with the sign that asked if I wanted to build a snowman. Because yes, I did.

    • I’m still semi-sleep deprived from Dopey… I don’t think I’ll do it again, especially after remembering how much the registration was. If they’d cooperate and let me know what the deal is with a Paris race I’d commit to not doing marathon weekend in 2015.

      I think we’re just going to have to do another race and turn it into the magical Frozen sing along the marathon was supposed to be. I see no other option. (FYI one of my co-workers slipped today and revealed that he had seen and liked Frozen and before he knew it we were talking about what a douche Hans is and I was like, “DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?!” and everyone was embarrassed by me but I didn’t care.)

  6. Thank you for allowing me to run with you for the first half, it was too fun. I did the Let it Go hand movements and sang in honor of you! Although I was running next to this adorable couple dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine and they totally side-eyed me. Whatever, Elsa rules.

    Speaking of, thought you might enjoy this if you haven’t seen it already:

    Norwegian is the greatest.

      • Not any more than me coming to your blog and commenting because, for the love of God, I cannot comprehend how Twitter works. Either my @mentioning never goes through, or people hate me and never want to respond.

        …it could easily be the latter. C’est la vie.

        How’s the arctic tundra treating you? It’s supposed to get up to 10 degrees tomorrow, a freaking heat wave. I miss Port Orleans.

      • Oh what I wouldn’t give to be sitting at the ol’ man river pool with a six pack of beignets right now… FYI those people are fools and don’t realize the delightful person they’re missing out on. I’ve been thinking of those races in Kentucky you mentioned…

      • OMGZZ yes. is the best run ever, just get ready for hills.

        Email address: —. Twitter: @KKovac. Teach me your tweeting ways. I feel bad for stalking and then clogging your comments page. Also, giving my email to anyone else who is reading your comments page is probably not the smartest idea.

  7. Where to begin? First off, I’m so so sorry that your marathon was such an experience. That blows, but you finished! And lived! Woohoo! You even threw in some fake push-ups for good measure! You go girl! (Yes, I think I’m the first person to use “you go girl” in a decade). LOVE all the Frozen references. Of course I will now be singing “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” simultaneously, but I’m pretty ok with that.

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