Last Day Disney Marathon
2:50am and the alarm sounded. I rose out of bed and started getting ready, feeling like a zombie. I’ve decided they need to rename this the Sleepy Challenge as the hardest part is getting up so early for 4 days in a row. Anyways, we piled all our luggage in Damaris’ car and drove to the lobby where I left my bags with the bell hop. There was a bus waiting so we quickly boarded and were on our way to the race. Security line was more efficient today so we were through quickly and into the waiting area.
The weather today was humid and warm. I felt sticky before I even started running. We decided to dress as Mrs. Incredible today so we weren’t in our normal, high quality Ink N Burn clothes and I could tell. Oh well, it’s only a full marathon, right?
We get to our starting corral and make our way up front. The air is filled with exciting as this is the big race! The announcers have Mickey and Goofy and Donald all up on stage to send off the runners with a blast of fireworks. Each corral gets it’s own blast so that’s nice. Soon, it was our turn to start. We start running and my legs are feeling pretty good, considering. The first few miles go by quickly. Again, no Capt Jack at mile 2. We get closer to MK and see Nightmare Before Christmas and Wreak it Ralph again so we skip. We enter MK in the same side entrance and run down Main Street again. The spectators are terrific, cheering everyone on. We stop for a few pictures and enter Tomorrowland, then on to Fantasyland. I see Alice in front of the Mad Tea Cups ride and stop for a picture. The lines are going very quickly, it’s like everyone wants the quick pic and move on. Next we veer off into the new area of Fantasyland and I’m excited to see Ariel and Sebastian in front of The Little Mermaid ride. I’ve never gotten my picture with her so I’m pretty happy. The castle is up next so we run through and get our pics taken. We entered Liberty Square and there was Princess Tiana and Prince Navin. Ok, I’m already much happier with the characters today! We run past the Country Bears and then loop around Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Briar Rabbit was here but he had a big line so we skipped. Then, all of a sudden, we were out of MK. Sigh.
The humidity was high and I was completely drenched in sweat. My shirt was heavy and actually pulling down over my bib number due to the weight. Ugh. The sun was rising and I was afraid that it would just get hotter but it seemed like the sun burned off the humidity and it stayed overcast so really, it wasn’t too bad then.
The route is the same as yesterday, past Grand Floridian and Mary Poppins. Then we saw Donald in front of the golf cart so we stopped for him. Past the Polynesian and on to the back, back roads towards Animal Kingdom. These miles were pretty uneventful but Disney did a good job with giving us some good villains for pictures. The Evil Queen, the main bad guy from Mulan (skipped), Jafar, and CAPTAIN JACK! Finally we found him!
We start to enter AK and the cast members had brought out so many animals from the petting zoo area. There were donkeys, turtles, birds and other animals. We didn’t stop for these pictures but many people were. We entered AK a little before 9:00. Saw Baloo and Louie so got a pic there (Baloo’s hands were soggy from sweat, he had been hi-fiving a lot of sweaty runners). We run into the Asia area and past Expedition Everest. Damaris notices that a short line is forming and we stop to ask the cast member if the ride was opening soon. They were running their last safety checks and were opening the ride a few minutes early for the runners!So we got into line! It felt so weird to be waiting for a ride during a race but it was worth it! We were on the second cart to go and it was so fun!!! We both yelled and kept our hands up the whole time. When we got off, we noticed that our Garmins were now a mile ahead, lol! We laughed and ran along. Soon we were out of the park, running along the entrance area. Damaris had friends here, waiting for us and some other runners. I heard my name being shouted out and was so happy to see them off to the side, with goodies!! I chugged a Coke and ate a donut while Damaris ate too. Lisa stuffed Swedish Fish and Goldfish crackers in my hand as we took off, feeling refueled. Then, about 100 yards away, we see another friend, Kristen, and stop for a quick picture. Then, on to some more boring side roads……
These miles weren’t fun. Just more highways and roads. We decided yesterday to run as much as possible and walk a minute at the water stops to recover. I think this really helped. My legs were tired but not nearly as bad as I thought they would be. We entered ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at mile 17 and run all through that area, including around the baseball field. It gets pretty narrow in this area and lots of people are walking but we did our best to get around slower people. Donald and Goofy are here but we don’t stop. Then, we exit this part and get back onto the highway for mile 20.
Mile 21 comes and that’s up an on-ramp with the Toy Story army guys yelling at the runners. He sees Damaris and I dressed as Mrs. Incredible and tells us to run like Dash so I powered up the hill the best that I could. It actually felt kinda good so I run ahead to stretch out my legs some. They are feeling surprisingly good. Instead of the usual Wall, I’m feeling pretty refreshed. I can’t say how Damaris was feeling but she kept up with me just fine so I think she was doing good too. Soon, we enter Hollywood Studios. They had lots of characters out so we stopped for pictures. I was hoping for someone from Star Wars but nope. Instead, we were thrilled to see the Incredibles again, finally a picture with our matching outfits! The park is open to the public but the cast members are experts at moving the crowd around for the runners so you didn’t really notice the extra people. I cheesed it up for the photographer as I ran down Hollywood Blvd and out of the park.
Next we’re on the sidewalk area that takes us to the Boardwalk. Damaris has another friend here that we find and chat with for a minute. There are lots of people along this area with signs, cheering us all on. Then, suddenly, we were entering Epcot. We entered in England and ran around the World Showcase. I see Belle with no line! I think most runners were just concentrating on finishing now as we only had a mile left. I stop for her and Snow White and Mulan.
We go through the finishers chute, collecting our medals, drinks and bananas. Then we stop in the Dopey Challenge area where they check our finishing pictures from the previous races to verify that we did finish each race before giving us our Dopey and Goofy medals. I’m so happy to have those hunks of metal around my neck! They clank as I walk around to gather my gear. It’s at this point that Damaris and I say goodbye. She was heading to the hotel to get her car and I was getting on the monorail to go to the Magic Kingdom. We give each other a hug, thanking each other for a wonderful time together. She went left and I went right. Sigh.
I get on the monorail and arrive in MK by noon. I know that I don’t have a lot of time there but I really just wanted to experience that park and revel in the sense of accomplishment that I had. I cleaned up and changed in the bathroom. Then I rode Pirates of the Caribbean, got my picture taken with all my medals under the castle, talked to Goofy and Donald (who made me show him his medal), went to Stitch’s Great Escape, ate an amazing meal of mac n cheese with pulled pork and coleslaw. And then I took the train to the front of the park and sadly, walked to the bus stop. A quick ride back to the hotel and I was on the Magical Express, back to the airport, ending my amazing trip.
You know how sometimes when you’re really looking forward to something and build it up in your mind but then it doesn’t meet your expectations and you’re left feeling disappointed? This wasn’t that feeling. I had really high hopes for my trip and it really exceeded them. Damaris and I got along really, really well. The hotel was good. The food was great. The drinks were yummy. The friends we met were special. And the races were magical. I really hope to do it again but not until I sleep!