|Mickey and me at Marathon mile 18|
(Relay mile 5)
Lo and behold, for 2012 Disney introduced the Disney Marathon Relay! It is a two person relay for the full marathon, and Todd and I registered right away. While the Marathon has Mickey as its mascot, and the Goofy Challenge has Goofy as its mascot, and the Half marathon has Donald Duck as its mascot, the Relay's mascot is Chip and Dale! Hooray!
We left for Florida on Thursday the 5th. We basically followed the same schedule we've followed for our four previous marathon weekends, and got to our hotel in the evening. We were staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge this time. Our room was in the Kidani Village, which is the new building specifically for Disney Vacation Club members. While very nice, it was very spread out, and our room was as far as possible from the lobby. We timed our walk and found that it took over 10 minutes of constant walking to get from our room to the lobby. That's a lot. Still, it's an awesome resort. We had a savanna view room, so we could see the giraffes, zebras and other animals wandering around the property from our balcony.
|From our balcony, you could see giraffes and zebras|
Kitzzy, who was volunteering. We had plans to purchase new sunglasses, and some race merchandise. I was disappointed to find that the merchandise for the relay was limited to a single long sleeve cotton t-shirt. Seriously? When we asked, they told us that it was because there were so few people registered for the relay (and indeed, when I saw the results, there were only 416 finishing teams).
After the expo, we met Kitzzy and her SO for a late lunch at Downtown Disney. It's the first time I've met up with a fellow blogger, so very cool! (actually, that's kind of not true, once I thought about it, but the other one I met with happened to be someone who turned out to live in Baltimore and also ran at Fleet Feet, so I don't think that really counts). After lunch, we headed back to the resort to relax for a while.
|Todd with ports and Grand Marnier|
Saturday morning, our nephew Josh came by to hang with us for the day. I wanted to do nothing, and that's what I did. We hung out at the pool at the hotel for most of the day, relaxing and having a great time. For dinner, Todd and I had pizza and then went to bed early in preparation for the relay the next morning.
Disney races are notoriously early, and our alarm went off at 3am so that we could get ready. I was trying to eat a lot because I was nervous about having a race experience similar to New York where I was hungry the whole race. I ate two pieces of wheat toast with honey and jam, and a small bowl of raisin bran. I packed a cereal bar in my jacket pocket to eat at the transition point.
|Jeff Galloway and me at the race start|
In the meantime, I hung out in the race village, watching the starting line from the jumbotrons. I don't know what went on last year because I wasn't there, but this was the first year I'd seen a wave start at Disney. I don't know how well it went (I have a feeling that there wasn't enough time between waves), but there were 8 waves and each had their own fireworks, which I could see above the trees from where I was. Once everyone had started, I stood up and that is when I realized how cold I was. I was wearing a singlet and shorts for the race, and my NYC marathon jacket. The asphalt where I was sitting was COLD and I was shivering uncontrollably. Temps were about 50 degrees. I wished I was running! I headed back to the Galloway tent, to find it empty, the heaters turned off, and headed towards the relay buses.
|Todd and me before the race|
There was about an hour and a half wait at the transition point, and then along came Todd! I gave him my jacket and headed out, still cold and shivering like crazy. My ankle was hurting from sitting on the cold ground, and I almost wiped out before I even made it out on to the course.
I had set my watch for 1:15 and 1 intervals, the same as I'd used for the Indianapolis half back in May. I hadn't given a lot of thought to what I was going to do for this race - if I was going to really race it or not. I was trained and ready for anything, including a PR, but I wasn't sure how the results would eventually be posted and if the results would show as a real half marathon or not. Plus, while I was freezing cold when I started running, I knew that the high temperature for the day was supposed to be 77 degrees, which is too warm for me to PR. I decided to just keep up a good clip and see how I did. I chose not to set my chrono on my watch, so I was unaware of how fast I was running during the race.
I had to pee right away, which was annoying. I hate stopping for potty breaks during a race. I decided that I would try and make it as long as possible, since maybe I was just feeling that way from sitting on the cold ground. I felt like a big cheater coming into a marathon halfway through. The first 3 miles of my race are some of the most boring of the entire marathon, and those doing the full were clearly starting to wear out. Here I was, fresh!
|Peter Pan, Me and Wendy, at Marathon Mile 15 (Relay Mile 2)|
Into Animal Kingdom we went, and I was having a great time. Usually, at this point in the marathon, I'm filled with dread about the out and back on Osceola Parkway that I know is coming. Not this time! We passed into Asia, and I started asking myself the question I'd been asking all weekend - should I ride Expedition: Everest? You see, I'd always seen people jumping on the roller coaster during the marathon, but I'd never done it because I was so focused on my time. I slowed and then stopped in front of the entrance, and a (non-racer) woman standing there said, "Go for it!!" and so I did. My and some other guy who was doing the relay or Goofy or something ran in, got in line and rode the roller coaster. It. was. awesome.
I was disappointed that the ride photos weren't working. They took them, and a cast member would look for them for you, but I didn't want to take all of that time, so I left. I wish I had taken a self portrait with my cell phone, but I didn't.
|Me and Rafiki in Animal Kingdom (Marathon Mile 16, Relay Mile 3)|
|With The Incredibles, Marathon Mile 23, Relay Mile 10)|
|Dug, Randall and Me, Marathon Mile 23, Relay Mile 10|
If you've run Disney before, perhaps you've seen the gospel choir that is the very last band on the course, at mile 26, right before heading down the home stretch to the finish. Usually, this choir makes me burst into tears. This year, I was so happy to see them that I ran down the line, slapping the hands of every single choir member in the front row. To the choir: I love you guys, you are AWESOME and one of my very favorite parts of the Disney marathon.
I crossed the finish line, saw Kitzzy handing out blankets, and managed to find the relay medals. Todd found me outside of the bag exchange and we had our photo taken together in front of the relay backdrop. I was on cloud 9, this was a great race.
Todd did his leg in 2:37:35, I did my leg in 2:54:26. Our transition time was 3:40, so our final time was 5:35:40. My time confirmed what I knew - when I was running, I was running FAST, possibly on PR pace, but I had stopped so many times that I actually clocked my worst half marathon time. I could care less.
Todd and I spent the afternoon at the pool, then had dinner at The Wave. We fell asleep early and then woke up to breakfast at Boma, one of my favorite breakfast buffets in Disney. Then, it was time to head home. We headed to the airport and made it in to Baltimore just in time for rush hour traffic.
This was an AWESOME race. I had so much fun, more fun than any other race I've ever run. And, boy, I needed a really fun race. We are making plans to return next year to do the relay again, but this time Todd will run the second leg and I will run the first. He's already pledged to ride Expedition: Everest during his leg. LOL.
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