So my dream to run a marathon started 20+ years ago. Before I had kids I used to run and loved it… But honestly I really wasn’t a good runner back then. I always seemed to get injured after running a few months so I really didn’t think I had what it took to run 26.2 miles. As the years went on the dream didn’t die but became more and more distant. Had to face the fact that I was packing around an extra 50 pounds that had to go before I could hope to check the box on my marathon dream.
When I crossed that finish line on January 9th at Walt Disney World, I realized my dream. I had accomplished what seemed unattainable for so many years. I’m not one to push myself…I like my comfort zone… but I discovered with the right training and a solid running base 26.2 miles was not that difficult to run. I conquered the fear of failure and fear of injury and accomplished what few attempt to do. I am a Marathoner!
5,943 overall out of 13,529
320/951 in division (40-44)
I started with the 4:30 pace group at the very front of wave 4. The start was neat because each wave got to walk to the start line and got their own send off with fireworks. I wore my Hood to coast singlet, capris and pink compression socks.
The pace leader chattered constantly the whole time I ran with her. I liked it. It kept me focused and the early miles in the dark clicked off rather quickly. We dedicated each mile to someone and thought of them for that mile we ran. I lost the group around mile 9 as we were running through the Magic Kingdom; there was a lot of congestion in the narrow lanes but I still kept up that steady pace however, until about mile 16. I slowed down after that but still felt really good. The entertainment along the course when running outside the parks is constant and is good distraction. There were lots of opportunities to stop and take pictures with the Disney characters…I did a few, but mostly didn’t want to get out of the running groove. I started getting a little shaky at mile 24 but it didn’t last long. The crowd support the last 2 miles running through Epcot was great - strangers calling your name, encouraging you to keep going, friendly touches.
At the 25 mile mark I caught up to a woman (Kelly) who had started the pace group with me. We had been passing each other the whole race. She asked if I wanted to run the last mile with her…it was a good focus at the end and I appreciated her friendship at that time. I couldn’t quite keep up with her but it helped me push through that final mile.
Mentally I felt great…Physically I was amazed I had no calf cramps, no blisters, no pains anywhere except my left lower leg right above my ankle. By the time I got back to the hotel it was swollen and red and it is still a little sore a week after the race.
I am certain I could have run a faster race than I did. But I met my own expectations and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This was Disney and I had traveled 3,000 miles…I wanted to enjoy every bit of it…and I did!
I also enjoyed getting to know fellow Sparker Suezette and her husband Phil. My DH and I weren’t in Orlando very long and unfortunately didn’t have the chance to meet up with any other Sparkers except Molly who ran both the half and full marathons (truly Goofy!)
Will I run another marathon? I don’t know – it’s going to be hard to beat the Disney experience. My family supported me 100% in my efforts and I hope that my children learned they can do anything they set out to do, no matter how impossible it seems.
Here are a few pictures. The link to view the official ones is: http://www.asiorders.com/view_
Suezette and I before the race
Me with 2 of my kiddos - they were so proud of the shirts!