Tag Archives: boardwalk

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2017

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Well.  It’s almost been a month since the WDW Marathon Weekend…about time I do a little recap I think!  I could do a really, really long one and go on into great detail….but I am going to try and spare you all from that.  I’m going to try…TRY…and keep it condensed!

I arrived in WDW on Tuesday, January 3rd.  This allowed me to enjoy the days leading up to the events, which would be on the Saturday and Sunday.  My mom had arrived earlier that morning and I met her at the hotel.  My best friend Ali was arriving the following day, and she got there without a hitch….well, her Magical Express bus from the airport almost needed to be hitched by a trailer and towed away because it broke down a few miles away from the hotel.  But she got there safe and sound!

Even though these are from different days, here are some “enjoying WDW” pictures that aren’t race related!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

My mom and I went to the expo on Wednesday, January 4th.  I would go back to the expo the next day with Ali so she could get her race bib, but I knew I wanted to make sure I got some certain race merchandise items.  So arriving at expo open was key.  I did not like that the expo didn’t open until noon.  It was an upcharge by Disney if you wanted to get into the expo and hour or two (can’t remember which one) earlier than general opening.  Money grab if you ask me.  But since we arrived at Wide World of Sports at 11:30, we queued up and were let into the expo floor by around 11:45.  Straight the the merchandise, we had no problem getting the items I wanted.  I also bought Ali what she was requesting.  We did a little tour of the expo floor where I bought quite a few other items.  In retrospect, I should have gone to the other building where packet pickup was…that line was never a stand-still, but when I eventually made my way up there I had to go back and forth and back and forth until I got into the building.  Thankfully, my race shirts were in that same building to pickup…otherwise I would have to go BACK into the expo hall…and that line was ridiculous.  I don’t know if it was just that every person in an event that weekend (5km, 10km, half, full, goofy, dopey, kids races) showed up, but the crowd was crazy compared to what I remember in 2014.

 

 

 


Day before the half marathon, the weather didn’t look great.  RunDisney started issuing updates early afternoon, telling us runners to stay tuned for up to date info.  At around 7 pm on Friday night, they cancelled the half marathon.  This was due to a huge storm coming through in the evening, that called for thunder and lightning.  At first, it was a huge let down that the race wouldn’t be run.  But, RunDisney did the right thing.  I did, however, mention to my mom and Ali that “It better fucking STORM!” because otherwise you know people on social media were going to lose their minds even more…and for the record, and it storm.  All night, and then at 7:45 AM we heard a huge CRACK.  It would have been chaos if 20,000 + runners were out there on property running and this happened.

 

 

(For the record, RunDisney offered four different “reimbursement” options since they cancelled the event.  This information came out later Friday evening.  And, they didn’t have to do this.  That’s what it says in the fine print whenever you sign a race waiver.  It was great of them to do this.  I opted for the reimbursement of the cost of the half registration in form of Disney Gift Card…which I gave to my mom.  She paid for my registration to begin with.  Now, she has $185 to spend on her Disney Cruise this June!)

So, Saturday came.  Race was cancelled.  I had already heard of people talking about getting the miles in somehow that day, be it treadmill or waiting until weather cleared.  RunDisney was still giving everyone their half marathon medal, so it wouldn’t really feel right to take the medal (and then my Goofy Challenge medal the next day) and not really “earn it.”  My mom, Ali and I were taking the boat to the Studios for 9 am park open, and the weather was already starting to clear.  We saw runners on the Boardwalk, on the promenade in front of Yacht & Beach, on the walkway to the Studios….tons of runners were out there, wearing their race bibs…some in their costumes too….getting in the miles.  I immediately knew I had to get my 13.1 in.  I messaged Alyssa & Drew, who had mentioned they were planning on getting the 13.1 miles in that day.  They ended up meeting my at the Studios at 11:45 am and we did our “Unofficial WDW Half Marathon.” We got the 13.1 miles in, and honestly had a blast doing it!  At around mile 11, when we had looped back by the Studios, we even went in and were able to get a photo with Donald….which was appropriate since he is the ‘mascot’ for the half marathon.  It may not have been the way I imagined Saturday would be, but I am always going to remember that “race.”

 

 


So then the weather went from one extreme to the other by Sunday.  It was cold.  Wehn Ali and I left the room at 3 am to go to the busses, it was around 40 degrees fahrenheit.  I was grateful my body was conditioned and used to cold weather, as the poor Floridians were freezing……hahaha!  Neither Ali or I packed much for layers…I had packed a throwaway long sleeved shirt, but didn’t think about sweats or hats.  I fashioned us some gorgeous garbage bag ponchos (which for some reason I thought to pack) and then got creative with Disney towels.  I figured using Disney hotel towels and dumping them before a race on Disney property would be OK….I mean, they’d get them back if they wanted them?

 


After the long wait that is the start of a RunDisney race, Ali and I were off at around 6 am.  The official race start was 5:30 am, so with us starting in Corral I, that’s not to bad.  I did only remind Ali once or twice that I could have already been to the Magic Kingdom (I was able to start in B).  I don’t know if she cared for my sarcasm.

Race began and we kept moving with the pack the best we could.  I kept reminding her we needed to just try to stay with the pack and not get stuck with all the other people behind us, as it would make Magic Kingdom even more crowded.  I made it my mission to take a photo of each mile marker (which I did) but I won’t post those all because, well…it’s boring.  I kept texting my mom, who was at Magic Kingdom on Main Street.  When we got into Magic Kingdom, we stopped quickly to talk to her, get a photo, and on we went.  That was at mile 5.

 

 

The next stretch to the half marathon mark was a bit of a challenge.  Lots of people, narrow part of the course.  Kept having to remind Ali we were almost to Animal Kingdom, and then we’d have more to see.  We even stopped quickly for a photo with Meeko, from Pocahontas, before we entered Animal Kingdom.  It was fun seeing people jumping in line for Expedition Everest, as it had just opened.  We weren’t in the park all that long, or at least not long enough for Ali….because before we knew it we were in the back lot and heading towards the parking lot.  I knew she was dreading the next stretch of open road, as we’d be logging in the miles 16-21 before getting back into the parks.

 

 



I’m happy to say we are still best friends after that stretch, because man….our friendship ending was a possibility.  Ok, not really….but I think Ali wanted to beat the shit out of me during Wide World of Sports.  I forgot how much turning and winding you do during that part!  I tried to distract her by talking her ear off, and I do think it helped when we got to mile 20!  Mile 20 was right on the ball diamond, so I made Ali stop for a picture there.  I reminded her now we just had a 10km to go!  It also helped motivate her when we were heading down the road away from WWOS that we saw the “Balloon Ladies” (the sweepers) who runners must keep ahead.  We were definitely going to stay ahead of them, so it eased our minds going in the final stretch.

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20 miles!

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While the morning started off cold, the sun had came out and was hitting your body pretty good. I knew I would have an epic racerback tanline after this was all said and done.  As we made it up the hill with the Green Army Men yelling at us, down a final descent of non-descriptive WDW resort road way, we finally made it into the back entrance of the Studios.  There were people everywhere, as by now it was late morning and thegeneral public were all going about their days at the parks!  It was awesome to have people around us in the park, cheering us on, encouraging us.  We exited the Studios (after our fourth bathroom break of the day) and took the walkway to Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Club, and then the back entrance of EPCOT.  I think Ali thought we would have a lot of backstage running to do before entering the park, but before we knew it, we were entering World Showcase at the United Kingdom pavilion!  And then over the first bridge we hit the mile 25 sign!  Only one mile was between us and the finish line…well, and a Grand Marnier Orange Slush in the France pavilion for Ali!



The last mile was a lot of fun.  Ali got her drink (I think the alcohol hit her immediately), which an older lady with a solid Boston accent bought for her, and we saw other runners enjoying beverages from World Showcase.  I got a picture with Jasmine, we took a selfie by Spaceship Earth, saw the gospel choir at mile 26.  Then it was the final stretch!


Ali had some fire saved up in her, as she started sprinting down to the finish line.  We finished!  Ali had finished her first ever full marathon!  I finished my 10th official* RunDisney race! (11 if you count the unofficial half from the day before!)  This is going to be a memorable race weekend for years and years to come, and I will cherish those memories!

 

 

Photo Recaps on Dopey Challenge Events…Pros, Cons & Highlights…& a Teaser for the Next Chapter…

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Hi everyone! I know I posted a bit during the event, and I did my post about the full marathon, but now that I have access to the professional photos shot by the people at Marathon Foto, I thought I would do a mini-photo montage/review of each event that was part of the Dopey Challenge. For each event, I will list some pros (the volunteers were AMAZING every race!), cons, and my personal highlights I experienced. I will also include some of my favorite snapshots from the events!

Family 5km Fun Run-Thursday, January 9, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 6:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, through a backstage area, into World Showcase, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Fun short distance anyone could enjoy, no “sweepers” or “balloon ladies” to worry about on the course if you couldn’t keep the minimum pace, walker friendly

Cons Very crowded corrals, starting in last corral with my mom meant we had to wait about 40 minutes until we started, very crowded at times especially at narrow points, not as much entertainment or characters as I expected for a “family” fun run, found out I really didn’t need to keep the minimum 16 min/mi pace even though it was timed for us in the Dopey Challenge (would have stayed with my mom and husband)

Personal Highlights My mom ran her first 5km!

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Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10km-Friday, January 10, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 5:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, out through the front gates out onto the roadway, then through a backstage area, into World Showcase, out onto the Boardwalk and past Yacht & Beach Club Resort, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Longer route allowed for spreading out on the course, route past Boardwalk Resort area was awesome, more characters, started in Corral A with Dan so had no issues with crowding ourselves

Cons First two miles were uneventfully boring with little entertainment on the roads, corrals still crowded

Personal Highlights Running a 10km in Disney with my unsure-about-Disney husband, seeing him sweat his shirt off because he didn’t understand the power of Florida humidity (made me laugh!), running around the Boardwalk while it was still dark and all the hanging outdoor lights were on! AND got Dan to take a photo with a Disney character! Something he swore he would not do!

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon-Saturday, January 11, 2014
This event began with the first of 16 corrals being let off at 5:35 am. The course went from Epcot out onto the highway through the Magic Kingdom gates, past the Ticket & Transportation Center, into the Magic Kingdom and down Main Street USA. Headed through Cinderella’s castle, through Frontierland, back on service roads past Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, and back on the roads to EPCOT.

Pros Short corral wait for me since I was in B, short to no lines for any characters too. The characters that were out were very rare too! Goofy in golfing gear, Darkwing Dark and Launchpad McQuack to name a few!

Cons HUMIDITY! (I know this was beyond anyone’s control), no Mary Poppins photo op at Grand Floridian like past years!

Personal HighlightsRunning down Main Street USA for the first time in a Disney race! (there were tears!), and also seeing my mom and husband twice in the Magic Kingdom for photos. Really took my time running in the humidity with a friend from our Facebook group (#wangnation) and we stopped at tons of photo stops!

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Walt Disney World Full Marathon-Sunday January 12, 2014
This course followed the same route as the half marathon for about the first 7 or 8 miles, then went down onto the Disney Speedway, on back roads to and through Animal Kingdom, down the highway to ESPN Wide World of Sports, back on the roads to Hollywood Studios, through the park, on the route to the Boardwalk Resort area, behind World Showcase, through Future World, and ending in the parking lot outside of the main gates.

Pros. Get to run through all four parks! Plentiful water and medical stops! Lots of characters in the parks. Fast and flat course. COOL FLORIDA BREEZE! (thank you weather God!).

Cons. Not much to see on the long stretches of roads between parks

Personal Highlights. Castle lights were lit up today and it was gorgeous in the dark morning! Getting a photo with Buzz Lightyear dressed as Buzz Lightyear! (Had to do this for Dad!), Running through Hollywood Studios right when the park was about to open to public was energizing, as were the crowds of people cheering near the Boardwalk resorts and in EPCOT. Ran a marathon personal best of 3:50:52, even after eating like junk, getting no sleep, and running three races the three days prior!

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The Dopey Challenge was an experience of a lifetime! I am so grateful I was able to take part! This years’ journey was about finding myself and running for Dad. But it is not going to stop now. Never! Stay tuned in the next couple days when I talk about what is next for me!

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