BEST DAY EVER: The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Recap!!

After various travelย debacles, on my way down to Orlando, it felt almost surreal when I finally made it to the Beach Club Villas, my resort for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Still, no matter my level of suspended disbelief, the truth remained: in just 6 and a half hours, I’d be waking up to head to the start line of my sixth full marathon!

GET READY! MANY PICS AHEAD!

Thanks, Rachel!

Thanks, Rachel!

Fortunately for me, my awesome race-roomie Rachel and her fiance Tavis had oh-so-meticulously set out all my race items from the expo: the bib, bag and even the fantastic Dooney purse we’d both pre-ordered (so worth it, BTW). So after some chatting (it was Rachel’s FIRST full!) we all attempted to get a few winks before the 2:30 AM alarm!

Since I had read all about the heat advisories, I made the decisions early on that this would not be a race for TIME – it would be a race for GOOD TIMES ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, I threw my expectations out the window and prepared for a morning of FUN.

Me and Rachel.

Me and Rachel.

We met up with a few of our teammates from some of our Facebook running groups (Team #runDisney and Pacebook) which was really fun! It was great matching names and faces and really getting stoked for the race ahead!

Yay pals!

Yay pals!

Before long, it was time to head to the corrals and I marched along, bidding Rachel a great race and I made my way toward Corral A, where Ben recognized me and we got a pic ๐Ÿ˜€ Wish my eyes were open! Hahah!

Me and Ben!

Me and Ben!

It was great having someone to chat with until it got closer to race time! We talked about different races, time goals (he got really close to his PR that day, BTW, spoiler alert) and Disney, of course! But once it was game time – 5:35 AM, we parted ways and got down to running ๐Ÿ˜€

Running through the castle...NBD! ;)

Running through the castle…NBD! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, so I skipped a little, but really, the beginning of the race is kind of a dark blur anyway – well, except seeing Christine, chEAR squad extraordinaire around the TTC, that was a highlight! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, alright, I’ll back up and be more logical…we reached Magic Kingdom quite early (Mile 5-6ish) so it was still dark, but it was still really cool, of course! I love running through Tomorrowland all lit up ๐Ÿ™‚

To infinity...and beyond!

To infinity…and beyond!

I am getting ahead of myself again! Whoops! Soooo, the course winds through in a counterclockwise pattern…down Main Street (where I was SOOO excited to get an energy boost from the WDW Running Team chEAR squad), then up to the HUB, to the right into Tomorrowland, past the Speedway, into Fantasyland, back through the Castle, across and in to Liberty Square, Frontierland and then offstage to the Parade Float area. WHEW!

Why yes, I am mad!

Why yes, I am mad!

With Ariel!

With Ariel!

With Belle!

With Belle!

Royal Mickey and Minnie :D

Royal Mickey and Minnie ๐Ÿ˜€

At this point in the race, it was VERY HUMID – as if you could not tell from the pictures, hah! Oddly, it was feeling colder as well so without sun, it was a strange feeling of being soaked with sweat but almost chilly.

"We're ALMOST THERE!" ;) With Tiana and Naveen.

“We’re ALMOST THERE!” ๐Ÿ˜‰ With Tiana and Naveen.

With Jessie in Frontierland!

With Jessie in Frontierland!

I was feeling really lucky at this point that the lines to take photos with the characters were very short – often 2-3 people only (with the exception of Mickey and Minnie, that was about 8-10).

Aurora and Prince Phillip!

Aurora and Prince Phillip!

Leaving the Magic Kingdom, it was time to head out onto the roads past the Grand Floridian (more cheers, yay) and onto the speedway. This was a new addition for the 20th anniversary and it was kind of long, but neat.

"I AM Speed!" with Lightning McQueen!

“I AM Speed!” with Lightning McQueen!

I think the best part about the speedway was the fact that there were lots of neat things to look at – classic cars and spectators! Fun times….now, it was time to head on the long road to Animal Kingdom!

Villains!

Villains!

Wow, I look extra short next to all those evil doers, no?

Random Christmassy Characters!

Random Christmassy Characters!

This is the part of the course that many find unappealing (could be hot and boring, depending on when you arrive here) but it actually wasn’t too bad – aside from the SMELL! You run right by a water / waste treatment center. Ick! BREATHE OUT! THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS!

OFF to Neverland!

OFF to Neverland!

Quite literally before I knew it, it was time to head backstage into Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was really looking forward to this part of the race ever since the Wine and Dine half – I don’t know what it is, but running though this park just seems so…adventurous?! YES! We ran down backstage roads andย encounteredย animal handlers and cool birds, goats and even some of these pals…

Pocahontas, John Smith and MEEKO!

Pocahontas, John Smith and MEEKO!

JIMINY!

JIMINY!

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RAFIKI! One of my very fave pics!

With Minnie and Daisy in Dinoland, USA!

With Minnie and Daisy in Dinoland, USA!

So at this point, you might be wondering….was any running actually going on? Well, yes…running from character to character! ๐Ÿ˜‰ See???

Running past Everest!

Running past Everest!

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Running past Dinos!

Oh, I really loved that Animal Kingdom portion! Alas, it ended right after Dinoland and it was back on the road…this time, over to the Wide World of Sports! But wait…one more pic!

Jammin with Mickey and Pluto!

Jammin with Mickey and Pluto! Fell off the road I was so excited haha!

Back on the roads, it was getting warmer as the sun rose higher into the sky….KILLER.

Get it? ;)

Get it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Haha I was so excited to get that pic…but moving on…with a little help from my friends…

Chip and Dale!

Chip and Dale!

It did get a LITTLE DANGEROUS…

DARKWING DUCK!

DARKWING DUCK!

…oh and about that 20th mile spectacular?

FEELING STRONG!

FEELING STRONG!

It was interesting, but I really had no idea what to expect! I was just glad I didn’t hit the wall (it’s happened to me once, at the Shamrock Marathon, and it AIN’T PRETTY).

So I kept running! Only a 10K left to go! Hey look, we made it to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Oh, and HEY Danielle and Andy!

Time to get cool down with FRO-ZONE!

Time to get cool down with FRO-ZONE!

The miles were clicking away!

Only 4 miles to go? I'm GONNA WRECK EM!

Only 4 miles to go? I’m GONNA WRECK EM!

It was scary how close I was to finishing…I started to get a little teary that it was almost over!

My attempt at showing I am at Mile '23.'

My attempt at showing I am at Mile ’23.’

I was dance running through this park and was pretty stoked about this fabulous picture running down Hollywood Blvd…

Struttin!

Struttin!

Then it was out of that park, onto the walkway over to Epcot, the final park in the marathon! But not before hitting the Mile 24 spot for the Run Disney so I can Eat Disneyย Three Little Pigs BACON Challenge ย – you had to eat three pieces of bacon at the VIP tent to earn the medal! Iย haven’tย found the pic of me actually eating the bacon, but here’s a pic of the medal (taken later).

YEAH! Bacon Bling!

YEAH! Bacon Bling!

Yup, at Mile 24 of the marathon I had bacon. And Diet Coke…and then, I was off to conquer the last leg of the race!

Entering behind the UK.

Entering behind the UK.

As we came into Epcot, I had a thought as I looked down at my watch…even with the picture spots, slower pace and well, BACON, I was still under 5 hours! I decided that I’d run the rest of the race without stopping…well, until I saw Jasmine.

Jasmine in Morocco.

Jasmine in Morocco.

…okay….gonna run, keep running and nothing will distract me…oh look!

DUFFY!

DUFFY!

Okay, now I am really serious! It is the home stretch! LET’S GO! Past Future World, Guest Relations, the Gospel Choir…

Made it out of Epcot...

Made it out of Epcot…

And....DONE!

And….DONE!

This was the first marathon I ever reached the end of with lots of’ gas left in the tank’ – I suppose there is something to be said about drastically slowing down your pace. And as soon as I retrieved my phone, I was pleasantly surprised to STILL see a sub-5 result (official: 4:59:49) – 1 hour and 16 minutes slower than my current Baltimore PR, but I was just as proud!

Over the moon! 2013 WDW Marathon Finisher!

Over the moon! 2013 WDW Marathon Finisher!

If you can possibly believe it, I didn’t even share ALL the pics that were captured of me…there were 63 total! That’s gotta be some kind of record! Haha ๐Ÿ˜€ I bought them all and cannot wait to start on my racecation scrapbook (it’ll include this, the time spent at WDW, then Disneyland, then the Tinkerbell Half – recap coming soon).

Just thinking about that day makes me smile SO big. I never would have imagined when I started running in 2010 that I’d have such incredible running accomplishments under my belt but I am SO thankful that I have had these opportunities – from staying healthy and injury free, to the incredible friendships I’ve made, I want to thank EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has ever offered words of encouragement, support, read or commented on this blog, emailed me a question – EVERYTHING! I love the running community and January 13, 2013, it all came together in a day I will not soon forget.

73 thoughts on “BEST DAY EVER: The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Recap!!

    • Hooooooray! cannot wait to virtually chEAR you on at Princess and DDD is gonna ROCK ROCK ROCK!!!!!!!!!

  1. LOVE your recap. Your three little piggies medal is so cute. The bacon challenge sounds like such a fun thing to do and I hope they offer that at Dumbo….bacon is one of my favorite food groups!

    • OMG the bacon challenge was soo cool! Wearing the medal around property, I got SO many questions and told people all about it ๐Ÿ˜€ Great convo starter!!!

    • Yes, we must meet! I didn’t get to the start area early enough to get in the WDW Radio Running Team shot!

  2. Krissy– absolutely fantastic post! I loved seeing all your pictures. I’ve been too scared I’d be swept for the Disney 5Ks I’ve done so far, so I’ve never stopped for pictures. You look so happy in all of them!

    • Thanks, Denise!! I had a great time and so glad I was able to have it captured forever in these crazy pics, lol! Believe me, in my first few races I did not stop for ANYTHING! But once you get comfortable, you can decide how you want your races to go ๐Ÿ™‚ I know you will reach that point soon because you are working so hard โค

  3. Woohoo!! You go girl! Awesome race and awesome recap! Love all of your pictures! I cannot believe we were near each other in the Team RunDisney picture and I didn’t even see you! Hah!

    • Hey Becca! It was a active.com registration link – the negative was that you couldn’t get discounts on it – but it was guaranteed, while if you waited til the expo it would have been first come, first served ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Amazing recap, and congratulations! I’m running the Princess Half next month — it’ll be my first half, and my first RunDisney experience! I also (a bit impulsively) registered for the Dumbo Double Challenge, so I’ll be headed to DL for the first time. I hope to collect as many awesome pictures as you, and have as much of a blast! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Hi Jennifer! Thank you & SOOOO excited for you!!!!! Princess is such a blast, I did it last year and it was awesome! I am so excited you’ll be at Dumbo as well! Disneyland is incredible. I should have my Disneyland recaps up soon but in the meantime let me know if you should have any questions ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thank you, heather!!!!!! I am so glad that I ran into you (HAHA) again! I cannot wait to see your marathon recap!!!! Congrats on Goofy!!!!!

    • Becca – yes, it was in a link from runDisney emails, but I also saw it floating around my FB groups…are you doing a future runDisney race?

  5. I deliberately waited until I got home tonight to read this. Your photos are fabulous and your captions are very punny har-har…I crack myself up lol! ๐Ÿ™‚ So impressed with your crazy running abilities – you are amazing! And struttin, DEFINITELY!

    • Thanks, Christine! I am surprised I didn’t crash the computer with all the pics, loL!!!! Cannot wait to see you again soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Great race recap! I was there as well, ran my first full! Hit the wall by mile 17-18. But still had an awesome time despite te heat and humidity. The medal was soooo worth it!

    • Glad you still had fun! Hitting the wall is never fun, but sounds like you powered thru!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Great photos and recap! To take as many photos as you did and still finish under 5 hours is pretty awesome. I had some pretty long lines for photos, so I didn’t get some that I wanted, but this event is definitely worth the personal worst. There just needs to be SOMETHING between Animal Kingdom and ESPN besides Chip an’ Dale. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, David! I was surprised they didn’t have more live music! There is a cool band that plays at Hollywood Studios that would have been perfect during those lone miles….

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  9. Oh my gosh!! You got some great pics!! I love that Darkwing Duck was on the course!! Sounds like it was a great race!! Congrats!!

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