Alright people, get ready for photo overload because this post got away from me a little bit – I just had so many great pictures from this race and I couldn’t decide which to not include!
If you’ve been reading Live, Run, Grow for awhile first of all – THANK YOU! Second of all, you probably know that the Walt Disney World Marathon was my first marathon 3 years ago and I’ve done it each year since. That should give you a pretty good idea of just how much I LOVE this race – honestly, I look forward to it all year!
So, here it goes…
2:45am – Alarm
3:15am – Toast & Peanut Butter
3:30am – Bus to Start Area!
At around 5am we started the trek to the starting corrals (if you haven’t done a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend half or full marathon it’s about a 20 minute walk!). Fortunately I had brought a throw away shirt and snagged some trash bags from the hotel room to stay warm at the start – I really think I upped my pre race trash bag chic with the skirt and infinity scarf (does anyone else pride themselves on fashioning trash bags into pre-race outfits?? No, just me?).
The good news was other than the chill in the air at the start, the weather was looking pretty good for the race!
The first corral started and my trusty running partner in crime Daniel and I began to move up as each corral went off (I think there was about 3 minutes between corrals). When corral F was up we moved towards the starting line and I threw on the brakes.
Yup, you read that right. You may recall that Daniel and I have a bit of a friendly rivalry when it comes to races – last year when we ran the Dopey Challenge we ran all 4 races together and he beat me by ONE SECOND in 3 out of the 4 races! (Not that we were actually “racing”…)
Well, I finally figured it out. Sneaky Daniel would hang back and cross the starting line just a few seconds after me so even though we’d cross the finish line at the same time he’d have a few seconds “in the bank” from his delayed start!
Not this time my friend! I threw on the brakes right on the starting line and turned and looked at him. Pretty sure we spent a second or two trying to shove each other across the starting line first before we settled it like mature adults and crossed together – may the best man (or woman) win!
Since I struggled with my fueling a little (or a lot…) during my last full marathon our plan was to walk through each of the water stops so I’d be reminded to take the time to fuel and hydrate.
We passed by the first few character stops because of long lines, but shortly before we got to the Transportation and Ticket Center I spotted Huey, Dewey and Louie! (Otherwise known as my friends Krissy, Carlee and Megan!)
Just past mile 5 we enter the Magic Kingdom and ran down Main Street towards the castle – no matter how many times I’ve done this it’s still amazing every time!
As we entered Fantasyland we veered off to take advantage of the in-park bathrooms. Unfortunately there was a bit of a line in the women’s room so I text Daniel and told him I was going to keep going and to meet me at the Fronteirland bathrooms (quickly becoming my go to mid-race bathroom!).
On the way I found the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Ulf the mime from Tangled and Louie from The Princess and the Frog!
I re-joined Daniel and we headed out of the Magic Kingdom – but not before a close encounter with the Walt Disney Railroad train!
Just past the 10k mark we found Mary Poppins and Bert…
…and then Donald and Goofy!
We took a quick lap around the Walt Disney World Speedway and were on our way to Animal Kingdom!
Along the way we saw Little John, Friar Tuck and Robin Hood…
…the Country Bears, Jiminy Cricket and some residents of Conservation Station! (Notice the pig has a race bib on and the donkey’s coat says “Welcome Marathoners!” – love it!)
We ran through Animal Kingdom just as the sun was rising over Everest!
And right outside Animal Kingdom (and just past the halfway point if I remember correctly!) we found my husband Jason and our friend Jenn! Jason had fuel for me – Cape Cod potato chips! – and we took a few quick pictures and Daniel and I were back on our way!
But not before a quick photo stop with the mouse that started it all!
On the way from Animal Kingdom to ESPN Wide World of Sports we came across some of the gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion who seemed to be ready and waiting for any runners who needed a rest…
…clearly Daniel and I had two very different creative visions for this photo…and honestly I think his wins.
At this point I’d like to give runDisney a virtual high five for adding some new characters to the course for this race! I’ve mentioned in other runDisney race recaps that they tend to put the same characters in the same place year after year, and there were a lot of repeats this year, but overall I think there was a good number of different characters out for the full this year – like Chip & Dale in their referee uniforms!
We weaved around the Wide World of Sports for 3 miles – we ran around the track, through the fields and ran the bases in the stadium before heading out just past the mile 20 marker!
A hill at mile 21 and you know what that means – PUSH UPS WITH THE GREEN ARMY MAN!
We’d been fairly lucky as far as weather goes so far, it wasn’t too hot (at least compared to past years!), and there had been a nice cloud cover so it wasn’t too bright.
But, with clouds comes rain and as we entered Hollywood Studios it began to sprinkle a little. It was funny because when Daniel and I entered the dreaded costume tunnel (dreaded for me because they fill it with strobe lights which trigger my migraines, I literally walk this part with my eyes pretty much closed – *runDisney PLEASE get rid of the strobe lights!!) it was just misting, but when we came out the other end it was full on raining! I have to admit the rain actually felt really good!
We made three character stops in Hollywood Studios – Mike Wazowski and Sully from Monsters Inc. and the Incredibles…
…and the Wandermans!
Ok, so not so much a character stop as Daniel’s family!
(Hi Mr. Wanderman!)
Daniel’s girlfriend Tana re-fueled us with more potato chips and some orange juice (yup, I LOVE orange juice mid-race…I know, weird.) and we were on our way to Epcot!
Surprisingly at mile 23 my legs were feeling great and I was cruising towards the Boardwalk area, past the Yacht & Beach Club and entered Epcot at mile 25 ready for that victory lap around the World Showcase!
As we made our way around the world we found Belle, Jasmine, Mulan & Mushu and Duffy! (No points for new characters here – it’s the same 4 I took pictures with in World Showcase last year!)
And if you still aren’t sure how much fun I was having I think this picture of me cruising in for a high five with this awesome volunteer pretty much sums it up…
Just past my epic high five we saw Jason and Jenn again! We only stopped for a quick hello – we had a finish line to get to!
Oh wait…one more epic high five – with the ENTIRE mile 26 choir!
Followed by an epic finish line selfie!
So remember that friendly competition I mentioned earlier?
Well mid-selfie with Mickey I realized Dan was just a little closer to the finish line than I was…SO I MADE A BREAK FOR IT!
26.2 miles, 19 character photo stops, 5 push-ups, 2 bags of potato chips and a picture with a pig later and it all came down to some quick thinking to outsmart Daniel at his own game and cross the finish line in 4:53:30, giving me a 3 second victory! (We’ll just call that even for his 3 one second wins last year…)
And with that, the 2015 Goofy Challenge was complete!
(And if you made it all the way to the end of this post CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU!)