So, um...life has gotten away from me and we are now a month past Marathon Weekend?! Wow...I cannot believe my race was just over a month ago. It really seems like it was just yesterday. But, alas, here we are on the cusp of yet another Disney race weekend, with Princess Weekend and I have yet to talk about my experience on the blog! So, it is time to rectify that!
Let's go back...back to November of 2013. Before November 2013, I was not a runner. You couldn't get me out there to run. Running and I just didn't go together. All that changed in November 2013. How? It was because I was chosen to take part in the RunDisney Atlanta meetup! Here, I was tasked with running 2 miles as part of the meet. Whoops. I didn't run...guess I better get out there.
So, I did. I started with the couch to 5k method. I only had a few weeks to get to running two miles, so I knew this was an effective method. I thought I'd try it. It worked out well. I did the training runs, but the day of the race, I quickly realized I was not prepared. However, despite my not being prepared, I sort of caught that running bug people talk about.
Then, in January 2014, my hubby and I went down for Marathon Weekend to cheer on the runners. That was what we were supposed to be doing. Instead, a friend of mine contacted me and told me he had a bib if we wanted it. (Not a practice that can be done any longer, by the way.) So, Brian decided he was going to run the half with no training...just run it. He was the runner in the family...he was constantly going out there to run a few miles at a time. He could manage. And he did. He killed it. But this started him being a bit addicted.
We got to talking and he and I decided we were then going to participate in the 2015 Marathon weekend races. I knew I'd be able to manage a 5k easy by that time and I wanted to give myself a challenge, so I decided to go for the 10k. Brian went for the ultimate challenge for himself, the Full Marathon.
We both went out and trained over the course of the year, but I definitely didn't do a full training, I had felt. I had not gotten close to 6 miles by the time of Marathon Weekend. What really kept me from it is that I'm a slow runner and to run for 4 miles took me almost an hour. So, I only did a few runs near the end where I did the 4 mile runs. I figured that the last two miles were in Epcot and at the Epcot Resorts, so I could manage just based off of sheer will and distraction at that point.
We get to the trip weekend. We left on Wednesday evening late, as always and went to the ESPN Wide World of Sports to check in at the Expo the next day. (My race would be on Friday morning.) We were both super impressed by the complex. I'd been before but Brian hadn't. We wandered around a little bit, having fun, picking up our race packets, and doing a little shopping. I was disappointed that there was a ton of merchandise for all the other races, with the exception of the 5k and the 10k. To me, it felt like a slap in the face because those of us running those two races have been training hard for our races too and the fact that we couldn't really celebrate our achievements (even if they aren't as large as a Dopey is) is still important. But I digress.
Anyway, so we went to hang out at the parks for a little while, but knew that we needed to be back at the hotel early to head to bed early. Of course, that's much easier said than done. It feels so odd to go to sleep at 8:30 p.m. Or at least attempt to. Luckily, after some tossing and turning, I did manage to fall asleep for my 3:00 a.m. wake up call.
I woke up with relative ease and I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. I knew I could do it. I'd trained and I knew what my body was capable of by this point. I felt confident.
After getting dressed, we headed out. We were staying off property, so the best piece of advice I learned from Marathon Weekend is to follow the signs...don't go the way you think will be best. Disney has orange roadwork signs directing traffic so you don't have to wait in huge massive lines (you'll still have to wait in traffic, but it's much more manageable using their directions.)
I met up with my fantastic group of friends and then it was time to enter the corrals. Guests are asked to arrive early because roads are closed off, but that means you'll be waiting for a while before the race starts.
This is the part that is the hardest. The waiting. (Oh and make sure to use the porta potty before you get in your corral...just a heads up.) The waiting eeks on because you are excited to be there and you just want to start running. It takes a good half hour of waiting usually before the first corral is released. If you're like me and in the last corral, then you have to wait for every other corral to go before you...which means more waiting. It's a slow, agonizing process. (One done for good reason, but that doesn't mean it isn't agonizing.)
Finally, it was my turn to run! I took off over the start line and I immediately felt good. While I normally do the run a minute/walk a minute method, I actually was able to run the first mile with no problem! Thanks adrenaline!
The first few miles were pretty empty. We were running on the outside road of Epcot, so there wasn't much to see...nor were there many characters or anything else. I was just a touch disappointed.
The run went so smooth, but around mile 3, it got tough. (Usually where I start to hit a wall.) The good part was that we would be hitting Epcot soon. I started to see the backstage of Epcot near Test Track and knew I was home free! I could do this.
Once I entered World Showcase, I kept myself distracted by taking selfies in each country. This was easy! I meander through World Showcase all the time! By the time I made it through to the International Gateway, I didn't feel like time had passed at all. What's even more impressive is that I had so much fun running the Epcot Resort loop, that I don't even remember running it!
The next thing I knew, I was backstage again...where again, I felt the wall approaching. I was starting to feel tired and hurting a bit.Then got mile 6...the furthest I had ever run.
|Worst picture ever, but proof that I'd run the furthest I'd ever gone|
Once I made it past that, it was smooth sailing. I only had .2 miles to go. I started seeing my friends cheering me on. Then, there it was...the Finish line!
I sprinted to the line! I had done it. I had made it. I was so proud of myself. I had accomplished something I'd never thought I'd be able to do.
I went and got my medal, beaming from ear to ear. This was what I'd been running for. This moment. It was totally worth it.
Many ask me would I run longer distances. At this moment, I don't know that I would. I've debated running some 15ks here (because they are the only ones that give out medals and what's the point of running a race and not getting the medal?) but I'm just not sure I could do the extra 3 miles yet. So, I think that the 10k is a good length for me. It's enough for me to be able to go out and run 3 or 4 miles training runs and then be able to will myself through the last two.
I also get the question of, I don't run...but I'm thinking about it. If you're thinking about it, do it. Start slow. Go out and run for 5 minutes...then 6...then 7. Ease yourself into the process. You'll be impressed with how fast you can get those miles in. Easing into the process is what really made me love running. Back in high school, there was no real easing into it...you were just expected to run. But what that does is makes people like me hate running. Easing into it made all the difference in the world.
Trust me...if I can run 6 miles...me....you can do it too. Just take it one step at a time.
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