Saturday, January 14, 2012

Disney World Marathon Relay 2012 Race Report

I had decided to register for two back to back half marathons. The time from race one start to race two finish was only 32 hours. After coming off my first race and feeling horrendous, I knew that my second race was going to be a tough one. The truth is that the second race was my worse time ever (even in training).

The day began with an early start; 3:00 am wake-up call and 3:30 am departure. We were once again off to the same place as the day before; the starting line right outside Epcot. I was heading over to the start with my husband and my brother who were running the marathon. Once I left them so they could head over to the starting line, I met up with a group of runners who I met on an online facebook page (Bling Whores). It was great meeting so many people who I have conversed with regularly. After I met my relay partner face to face, she headed off to the start and I headed to the monorail to be transported to the relay exchange.

When I arrived at the exchange area, I was shocked. It was the complete opposite of the starting line. No water, no food, no shelter, no benches.... NOTHING but porta potties, a DJ, and two medical tents. The second leg runners sat from 5:00 am until their runners reached the 13.1 mark (mine was 8:30 am). It was cold and uncomfortable. This is where Disney dropped the ball. It would have been nice to have a tent (not even heated) and it got to a point where I would have paid to eat some breakfast and drink some water.

Before my partner made it to the transition point, I had decided to go to one of the medical tents and get my ankle wrapped since it was a little sore from the day before. This was a huge mistake, as you will hear about later. Once that was done, I headed over to my corral and waited for Stephanie to arrive.

Once Stephanie reached me, I was off. The starting point for the second relay wasn't actually the start of our time. We had to run almost half a mile before we reached the chip reader and have our time started. Besides the chip start location and the relay exchange accommodations, the race was amazing.

Even though this race had my worse chip time ever, it was the best race mentally. It made me realize exactly what my body was capable of accomplishing. The first few miles went pretty well, I felt well. The atmosphere of the marathon was so different from that of a half marathon. I can't quite describe it, but it has encouraged me to run one by the end of the year.

Back to the race, after the first few miles my ankle started to hurt and throb. It got to a point by my mile 4, marathon mile 17, that my ankle was so swollen that my toes were feeling stiff. I began to hobble. In my mind all I had to do was finish. By mile 18, I had enough. I had to take the bandage off my foot asap or I was going to give up right there. I couldn't feel anything below my ankle and the pain was causing a migraine I had never experienced before. Without a medical center in site, I pulled to the side of the road and sat down removing my shoe and sock. I began to tare away the bandage, but because my leg was so swollen and my bandage was so tight, it was taking everything in my willpower to pull off the tape. I finally asked a bystander for keys... no luck. She hollered to others, no one had anything sharp. A man ran over, seeing my foot said that he was going to call the medics to come and pick me up. "NO!" I shouted. I was not quitting, not until I say so. At that point a young women rushed over. She was a TNT coach. She looked at me and said, "raise your foot" and I did. She proceeded to tare off my tape with her teeth. "Listen, your foot is swollen because this damn thing is too tight and you have too many electrolytes in your body." I looked her in the eyes and with sincere gratitude I said "Thank You." She smiled and responded "No problem. Now finish." I got up and headed off. After that, there was no option but to finish even if it was dead last.

The following miles weren't as bad, as the swelling went down I began to feel better. But I didn't feel awesome and capable of running full out until mile 23ish. By this point, my time was already shot. I text messaged my husband to see how he was doing. He wasn't doing well. I knew I, once again, needed to stop. This time it was to wait for him. He needed me to help him through the remaining miles. So I paused at a medical station until I saw him. He was obviously upset that I had waited and didn't finish. But getting to the finish line and crossing it with him, together, was the most amazing experience.

The spectators of the race were by far the best of any race I had ran. They had amazing signs and one was even handing out Twizzlers (Awesome). Some of my favorite signs during the race included:
Giving away free high-fives (a child holding it)
Chuck Norris counted to infinity but he never ran a marathon
Billy if you are reading this you need to start running
And my #1 favorite sign.....
You trained longer for this moment than Kim Kardashian could keep a husband

Disney had an abudance of characters (Chip and Dale, UP, Woody and friends, Belle and Beast, Pirates, Mickey and gang, Alice, Cinderella, Jiminy Cricket, Incredibles, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Stitch, Pooh and friends, Scrooge, and Monsters Inc), as well as DJs and marching bands. Porta potties were numerous and rarely did I have to stand in a crazy line to get in one. Water stations were plenty, one every two miles. This actually caused me problems because I ended up over hydrating and that took a toll on my body as well. It was after my second race that I realized that I was bloated for the last two days because I had consumed way to many electrolytes. Disney also had two banana stations (highway), one Gu station (highway), and a chocolate and gummy station (Hollywood Studios).

Once again the finish line was a large distance from the transportation center. And after this race we really felt the distance. Bag check, medical, and postrace food were all great. I just would have wished that the race merchandise was more abundant. By the time I got to the tent the shelves were empty. With Disney race merchandise, if you don't buy it at expo or right after the race then you are SOL because Disney doesn't sale it online.

Overall it was an amazing experience which helped me realize that I was capable of an amazing task. I learned that I need to do cross training to become a stronger runner, and I also discovered that I truly love the feeling of running.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Run Strong!


  1. I so loved reading this blog Way to stay strong & finish with your hubby I agree there is a different feeling from the runners to the spectators with the Marathon can't wait to see you at another race Congrats on your double !!

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