The Recovery and Takeaways
If you missed my 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap Part 1 or Part 2 (geesh- is this a Star Wars trilogy or something?) you can go back and catch up on my mental issues HERE and my finish HERE.
While the first two posts cover how I felt during the race, this is what I observed, learned, and felt after the race.
Characters on the Course
Pictures! The thing that makes a runDisney event different than all others. I’ve put together a combination of my pictures and pictures donated by friends in my group of Firsties (First Time Marathoners at WDW).
I’ve known this for years based on internet observations, but runDisney brings out the unique and A-list characters for the Marathon. There are good characters at the other races, sure, but if you want to see some that aren’t often found in the parks, run the Marathon.
Thanks to Jane, Christine, Katie, Rachel and JJ for all the help in putting these together!
These are not 100% in correct order, but they are in a general order of encounter on the course.
Light-up Mike Wazowski puppet
Hot Air Balloon
Stilt Walkers, Marching Bands
Chicken Little & the Ugly Duckling
Jack and Sally
Wreck it Ralph and Vanelope
Alice, White Rabbit
Sebastian, Little Mermaid
Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff (and snow!)
Brer Fox and Brer Bear
Maleficent Dragon Float
Walt Disney World Railroad
Mary Poppins, Bert, Penguins
Haunted Mansion Grave Yard
Snow White Hag
Shan Yu from Mulan
Animals from Animal Kingdom (donkey, rabbit, tortoise, pig, vulture, snake)
Baloo, King Louie
Captain Jack and Barbosa
Referee Chip and Dale
Sully & Mike
George or Boo
Sporty Fab 5 at the Finish
Food, Drink & Medical
We did not need a water belt or hydration pack on this course.
Yes, even with the temps and humidity, I felt there was ample hydration offered.
I haven’t confirmed on the event guide, but my impression was hydration every 1.5-2 miles of the course. Water and Powerade were offered.
The food was plentiful too.
Unofficially, friends and random strangers had you covered! I ate throughout the course and never bonked or crashed due to poor fueling. You had a banana waving at me? I took it.
I probably over-ate due to nerves, but I didn’t have any negative side effects from it, so it turned out ok for me.
The oranges in Wide World of Sports were phenomenal. This was a spectator cheer stop, and I wanted to kiss her for it!
Officially there were two banana stops and a chocolate stop that I remember. I also had two Honey Stinger Waffles on me and picked up more from Bonnie at Animal Kingdom. I didn’t need all of them thanks to everything else I found to eat.
I stopped for Biofreeze a couple of times on the Osceola/Wide World of Sports stretch.
Medical tents were getting people in and out as fast and safely as they could. I didn’t feel I was looking for one for long when I wanted to stop in.
A+ for runDisney on course support!
You guys were amazing. We saw some at the start, but waaayyy across the other side of the highway.
The next big push was, of course, Main Street. Which was louder and more packed than any race I’ve ever seen! Every park had a great cheering section, and I loved seeing so many families out supporting their athletes.
How about those race signs?! You brought some good ones with you!
I felt ok. Not great, not awesome, but ok. And I was oh so thankful for that!
Directly after the race, I had a spa appointment (um, thank you for the gift, friend!). I soaked in a hot tub, I had my legs, back and feet massaged. I was in heaven.
I left this marathon with very few issues. Getting out of bed for the next three days was a challenge, but after I was up and moving my legs were good. One small blister that didn’t bother me during the race (thank goodness!) and minimal chafing in parts I don’t need to mention here. #FamilyBlog
Protip: if you are prone to chafing or blistering, Rock Tape/KT Tape is your friend. I taped places I’d never thought to tape before and made out pretty well overall. Winning!
I did not have a problem navigating stairs after the race or even the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t LOVE them, but I wasn’t in major pain, and that was a lovely surprise.
When I got home, I even managed to haul my 49.8-pound suitcase up the stairs like a boss. After a reminder from my daughter that I ROCK.
I was, however, TIRED. So, so, soooo tired. I’m still tired. It’s an exhausting event to take on, and following Marathon with a trip to Disneyland for Star Wars was tough on me. I mentioned before how I need sleep, right? I learned that I needed LOTS of sleep after a marathon.
This is mental. You hear it from everyone, but for me, that’s the cold hard truth. While physically I was able and capable of completing the miles, my mental problems put me in jeopardy early on.
I hated running while I was running. For most of this race, I was trying to figure out how I could make plans to cancel the Star Wars Rebel Challenge (happening six days later), defer the Princess Half Marathon (in February) and forget about the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge (in April).
I was DONE with running and could not wrap my head around doing this again- even if it was “only” half the miles.
Physically I am thankful that I had few real issues. I was simply slower than I wanted to be, and think there were a few things that played into that slowdown.
Will I do another marathon?
Yeah. I’ll do another one. I’m not 100% sure when, but I will admit that I’ve got my eye on 2018 at Walt Disney World. And Yanni keeps reminding me that she has the screen shots of our conversation to prove it. Bahahahaha.
Right now I cannot fathom planning to run this in 2017, but who knows, that could change.
I said I wasn’t running THIS one, remember? lol
What will I do differently?
Can I say- everything? And nothing? Because the answer is a little of both.
I will do extra mental preparation. I winged it this time around, and while it sorta kinda worked out for me (not really- not really at all!), maybe it wasn’t the best plan. /sarcasm
I will plan to finish closer to the 7-hour mark. While I’m not exactly ashamed of my time, it’s not something I want emblazoned on my Twitter profile. Ha.
I hesitate using hard numbers when I talk about races because, hey, things happen. I know that’s not a typical runner mentality, but as I’ve shared, mentally I’m a different kind of runner. Things are changing though. I’m coming around, I think (more on that with Star Wars recap!).
I know the feeling of accomplishing these miles closer to 7-hours would be incredible. And I’d be down with shooting for that goal in the future.
I’ll cross train more and work on speed a bit. Don’t get crazy; I’m not hoping to shave off hours from this time. But if I train at closer to 15-minute miles, I’ll feel better going into this distance about the Balloon Ladies.
I’ll ride Everest.
I’ll skip cheering the day before. I think being on my feet for 3 hours may have added some unnecessary fatigue to my life.
I’ll beg Yanni and John to run with me again. Because I lurve them hard.
With friends like this by my side, I can do anything.
Do I think YOU should run a marathon?
How’s that for an answer?
Let’s put it this way: I believe it’s an achievable distance. Depending on your mental will to do this and physical ability to train, YES, you can do a marathon. And I highly recommend the Walt Disney World Marathon for a solid first time experience. The course is mostly flat and as I’ve mentioned comes with many amenities. I did mention the margarita at mile 26, right?
Do I think every runner “must do one” to prove they are legit? Nope.
Did it change my life? Mmmmm… sorta. But it doesn’t mean it will change yours.
Was it hard?
OMFGAAAAWWWDDDD yes. So I’ll leave you with that. 😉
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)