The alarm clock when off at some ridiculous time in the morning and I thought to myself really again. Then I realized it was Sunday otherwise known as Marathon Day. It would be the last day I would have to get up really early and go run (at least for a while). With the practice we had we had the routine down pretty good and were soon heading out the door. Leslie was not running, but she had plans to do lots of ChEaring so she had a backpack full of various supplies and 12 pounds of clementines. Of course I was dressed as Snow White (in honor of the Dopey) and had a backpack full of water, nut butter packets, nunn tablets (electrolyte replacement like Gatorade but without the sugars) and various other things I might need along the way.
We got over to EPCOT and met up with our friends. We managed to get a great group shot this morning before we started to wander off.
I went into the race retreat tent to use the facilities and also see what character was there. It was Mary Poppins, Bert and Penguins again. Since I was different – I decided to get another picture. I think I confused Bert – he told me I had a nice bow tie.
Since we had some additional time to kill I got a picture taken with a Green Army Man also.
It was time to head to the corals and Niki, Steve, Nichole and I started the long walk together. As we walked we chatted about a variety of things and were amazed as Niki found places to stash her food she was taking with her for the race. We got to the point where we split up going to our corals – we were all in separate ones and told each other to have a good race.
Now I was in the coral by myself – well not really by myself but not with anyone that I knew and it hit me. I have completed 3 of the 4 days of the challenge or 75%, however I also knew that over the last 3 days I ran 22.4 miles and when cross the start line I would have complete 26.2 miles. I knew that I could go the distance, but I was concerned about staying ahead of the balloon ladies if my knee should give me problems and make me walk. The time passed and started our slow walk up to the start line. I must have really been more stressed out about the marathon than I thought – I do not have a picture of the start line. I know I started – I have lots of pictures from the race.
This section inserted later – I started this blog Friday and got a little past this point. Earlier in the week Leslie and I signed up with Team in Training for the Seattle Half Marathon in June. Saturday was our first team training run in Seattle for 40 minutes, however since I am doing a half later in February I really needed to run more than 40 minutes today. I went out in the afternoon to run another 7 miles and the fact that I did not get a picture of the start line was bugging me. I remember the fireworks – there were more fireworks for the Marathon than the halves I have done with Disney. I could not believe that I did not get a picture – then I thought to look at the pictures in my phone and sure enough – I took them with my phone and not the camera I was carrying.
Since I was concerned about my knee I knew I would need to make sure I started slow to get it warmed up, so my plan was to walk the first mile. I stopped to take a picture of the mile marker (and got all of them except for one), and then started with my intervals. To force myself to not go to too fast I changed my intervals to have a longer walk segment. As I could hear the fireworks and knew the corals behind me were starting – it was hard not to run or speed up, but I knew that I needed to pace myself.
Things were going well I got the turn and started down World Drive, and was disappointed. On both of the halves I ran at Walt Disney World, Captain Jack and the pirate ship are in this section of the run – and they were not there. I was planning on stopping for a photo. Oh well it will allow me to continue on without stopping and get some more distance between me and the balloon ladies.
Continued down World Drive and went thru the gates to the Magic Kingdom parking area. I am not really sure where – but somewhere either before or soon after this I caught up with Nichole. Nichole was recovering from an injury and could not run much and was doing the Dopey walking. I knew that Leslie would be waiting at the Ticket and Transit Center and told Nichole I would walk with her until we got to Leslie. We had a good for about a mile and then saw the Castle – no not the Castle in the park – the one on Leslie’s head. We said a brief hi to Leslie and continued on – this was a little before mile 4 – there were still a lot of miles to go.
I said goodbye to Nichole and started my intervals again. This time when I got near the Contemporary Hotel, I actually went off to the side and stopped to get the picture. I kind of thought for a moment about waiting and getting a monorail in the shot and figured I should just keep swimming.
The guy with the big Mickey hands was on the water bridge, but I don’t remember what he was saying this time – it was not as funny, but given we had not yet gotten to mile 5 and they were telling us we could go the distance was, well a bit like the people that yell out at mile 5 of 26 saying your almost there. Sorry the picture is a bit blurred – I could not stop.
Right as we rounded the turn off World Drive onto the road that would take us backstage at the Magic Kingdom I stopped to get a picture of the mile 5 marker. It was also a great place to get a shot of Space Mountain.
Then thru the backstage area and onto Main Street. Even though I was just running thru the Magic Kingdom 24 hours earlier, it was still so very cool to run thru the park. Perhaps someday I will tire of it – but it will take a lot of runs thru the park before I can imagine it.
Like the day before it was on to Tomorrowland – but today I got pictures.
As I crossed into Tommorowland I was on the far right hand side of the path. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cast member on the left with pins. I stopped and had to wait a moment and then dodge back and forth across the runners to get the other side of the road. When asked why Bill crosses the path – clearly it is for a pin trade. I traded for a villains bowling pin and was on my way to the line for pictures with Buzz.
Everyone gets there picture taken in front of the castle, however there were a group of maintenance men hanging out cheering on the runners – They got a kick out of my costume, so I asked if they could snap my picture. I started to concern me when guy got down low to take a picture (good thing there are shorts under the sparkle skirts). I also decided to get a picture of the back of the castle, since I knew the pictures of the front would be on my MarathonPhoto disk.
On to Liberty Square. Louis from the Princess and the Frog was there again. I know Leslie really wanted a picture with him, so I did not stop when we did the half. I decided to stop and get the picture during the Marathon. And of course I had to stop and get another picture with the train – being careful not to get any grease on my hand this time.
Rapunzel and Flynn were out at the float behind stage and I was tempted – but the line was long. As I got to mile 7 I saw that Golfer Donald was out, or course Royal Mickey and Minnie were by the castle.
The course for the first 8 or so miles of the marathon is the same as half, actually both halves I ran there. Shortly after mile 8 the course differs – instead of running past the Speedway – we run into it.
Our friend Mellisa ran the Goofy last year and said the ramp down under the track and then back up was murder on her knees. I could see why – there is no other way of putting it – it sucked. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed with the inside of the Speedway. I believe last year they had Lightning there – he was not there this year. They did have a mini car show – but it really paled in comparison to the miles of cars at the Disneyland half
Most people that read this know that we have spent a few winters hanging out in the Orlando area and of course spent a lot of time at Disney. Our GPS always showed what appeared to be a Mickey head shaped lake in the middle of the track, and it also shows up on Google maps. I was really disappointed that I did not see it, perhaps if I climbed to the top of the track I might have – but that seemed like a lot of work and since mile 9 was in the track – I still had 17 to go and did not want to expend the energy that would have been required.
We headed out of the track and instead of going back up World Drive towards EPCOT, we went off on Bear Island Road – one that I have never been on before (even driving around the parks). Between mile 9 and 10 there was a photo stop with Millicent and the Shadow Man. I was feeling pretty good about stopping and being able to maintain a good pace – but I did not stop.
It was obvious that this was not a road within Disney World that is not one that guests would travel, the landscaping was nothing like the guest areas of the complex. I am now somewhere between mile 10 and 11 and off to the side of the road ahead I see a large alligator. For a moment this concerned me, but I realized it did not move and the runners nearer to it were not at all concerned. In the picture below you will see a road going off to the right – down the road was a gate and fences – that had a sign that said high security area – I wonder if that is the area where they relocate the alligators to.
There were little signs along the side of the road asking “Are your Dogs Barking Yet?” – I did not get a picture, but then it became clear. There were 3 famous Disney Dogs available for pictures, Pluto, Bolt and Doug. Since Doug was there I had to stop for a picture.
As I approached mile 11 I knew this area was not on the normal tour. There was a sign to the Recycle Transfer Station and the parking area for the garbage trucks – they could have painted them a bit nicer.
As we continued on we passed Captain Hook and Smee on the side of the road and down the road a little is the horticulture area. I did not see any topiaries, just lots of green houses and shrubs.
A little before the mile 12 marker, we enter the back stage area of Animal Kingdom. I did spot a cast member with pins, but decided to wait until I got in the park (mistake – I did not get a trade done in the park). However there was a resting area for the cast members that walk on the stilts.
And I got my picture taken with a bird – I need to send this our friends Char and Forest to identify the bird for me. And Dottie with her Marathon bib – I don’t think she ran the whole thing.
After mile 12 we got into the actual guest area of the park and I stopped for a picture with Jiminy Cricket and also Minnie and Daisy. Although I did not stop with Baloo.
When I went by Expedition Everest – I was tempted. I was pleased with the pace I was keeping given how many stops I was making for mile marker sign and standing in lines for characters, but the area was a mess with a couple of tour groups, so I just carried on.
Mile 13 was in a back stage area of Animal Kingdom and the cast members and volunteers in the area making a big deal about being half way done. I yelled back at them that us Dopeys hit our half way point around mile 2 and we are now way beyond half. This got great responses from the other Dopeys in the area. I was surprised to see Mickey and his safari trucks in the parking lot of Animal Kingdom, but realized that the Magic Kingdom was open, so Royal Mickey and Minnie no longer needed to be by the Castle.
I knew there were going to be a few miles of road again until we got to ESPN.
It is good that they got some of the grave diggers working overtime to get rid of the bodies of the runners that could not go on and were scattered along the sides of the road.
When I got to the marker for mile 16 I had to stop and get a picture – Snow White was on the marker. As I was standing there taking my picture a woman ran up to me and asked if she could get my picture by the sign, and also offered to get a picture of me with the marker with my camera for me
Around mile 16.5 or so we turn off of Osceola Parkway and onto S. Victory Way by the ESPN sign. There are miles and miles of running within ESPN – but I also knew that Leslie was waiting for me with a clementine in Champions Stadium.
There is a lot of running in the ESPN complex – close to 3 miles. Each time it looked like we were running to the Stadium we would turn and run away from it again. It was nice running on the track – they should really make a whole separate 26 mile long path made of that cushy stuff for the marathon.
At various times during the race my confidence of finishing got stronger. When I made it thru the Magic Kingdom with a good average pace that was increasing my lead on the balloon ladies even though I walked a good bit and stopped for lots of pictures it made me feel good. When I got to Animal Kingdom and was still maintaining a good pace and felt great I really started to believe that even if my knee gave me problems I would be able to finish. Well by the time I got to Champions Stadium, which is right before mile 20 and I was not feeling like I have gone 20 miles and I was convinced that I would complete the run without my knee hurting.
I entered the stadium and went over to the side to take a picture, and then I started to run the course around keeping my eyes open for the castle hat.
I found Leslie and collected my clementine. Leslie purchased a Dopey hat from Disneyland Paris and was going to surprise me with it after I earned my Dopey. I ruined her surprise when I found the hat about a week before we left. She had the hat and swapped out my Dumbo hat with the bow for the Dopey hat for the last 6 miles of the run. I stood and ate my clementine, changed my hat and chatted with Leslie for a couple of minutes before continuing the run.
After leaving stadium we had a little more running to do in the ESPN center before we went back on the roads heading to Hollywood Studios. As I was running on Osceola Parkway towards ESPN there was a steady stream of running going the other direction, but by the time I got back on the Parkway they were cleaning up the other direction. In the 20th mile were some signs with Disney quotes on them. I started to tear up a bit when thought to myself a year ago I dreamed of doing the Goofy and today was doing the Dopey.
Somewhere in the 21st mile I managed to get a pebble in my shoe, sometimes it will work itself into a place where you can just ignore it, but that was not the case. I went the side and sat on a guard rail and took my shoe off – as soon as I did this other runners would ask if I was OK. It was not long before a medic on a bicycle rode by and also checked on me. Pebble out of shoe and I continued on to get my second picture with a Green Army Man today.
As I started to climb the overpass that goes over the entrance to Hollywood Studios Parking I thought that I was soon going to enter the park – I did not realize that we were headed another mile down World Drive and would enter the Park at the other end.
The 22nd mile was fun – we entered the Hollywood Studios backstage area near The Hollywood Tower of Terror. I then spotted Wreck-It-Ralph and got a quick picture with him before following the path along where the backstage tour travels. We actually ran thru the tunnel area where the tour shows the costuming area.
I must have really gotten into absorbing the experience of running thru Hollywood Studios – I did not get a picture of the Mile 23 sign. I think this was the only sign I missed on all 4 runs. As I ran down New York Street in the Studios – I saw a cast member with pins on. I ran over and at first he looked a little confused. I scored a “Wanna Trade?” pin as my second trade of the race.
We then exited the park and I had to stop to take a picture of Sorcerer Mickey and the Brooms at the front of the park. I asked a woman who was watching the runners go by if she would take a picture for me.
There is a path that goes from the entrance of Hollywood Studios along the waterway to the Boardwalk area and then to the International Gate of EPCOT. I know this well back in October we went to Orlando for a conference and spent a day and half at Disney before we flew back to Seattle. We stayed in the Boardwalk and since I had to do a 10K training run – I ran the path back and forth a number of times to get my 6.2 miles. I think I was starting to annoy a number of the others on the path. I was continuing to do my intervals and I could see there were people in pain just walking.
I approached the International Gate and did not realize that we were going to go to the right and backstage for a bit before entering the World Showcase. However the man, or should I say Dwarf of the hour was there to great his fellow Dopeys. Of course I stopped for a picture.
We went backstage and entered the World Showcase on the side of the UK. Of course we had to get the entrance by the long route around – but after almost 25 miles what is a couple of more steps. I was on top of the world as I started my walk around the world. I got a few pictures here and there along the way.
And then I got to Germany. On the side of Germany is a spot with Snow White hangs out and greets guests. As I got near I saw there was a line and then I saw she was there. I also noted the cast member standing at the end of the line and my heart sank. I left the course and ran over to the cast member who told me the line was closed and that Snow would be back in about 40 minutes. I begged but of course she could not let me in the line. I actually considered waiting – I mean how often do you run a marathon thru EPCOT dressed as Snow White with a Dopey Hat on and can get a picture with the real Snow White? I have heard that once you get into Hollywood Studios if you are still moving they will let you finish no matter how long it takes. If I am standing in line for a character picture – but pacing back and forth does that count as moving?
I thought about it all and figured it was just not too be and was slowly making my way back to the course, when a woman with a couple of small kids yelled over that I could take her spot. I asked her if she was really sure and she said they were going to be in the park all day and still at Disney for a number of day and I could really take her spot. I wish I got her name and information – so I could send her a thank you card. I had a great little chat with Snow and then continued on my way towards the finish line.
I continued on and got my last character picture with Mushu.
As I passed Mexico – I really thought about stopping and getting a Margarita until I realized I had no form of payment on me. I will have to rectify that for my next Walt Disney World Marathon. As I started up the path in Future World towards the EPCOT ball, I remember looking at the ball from the other side 4 mornings earlier and could not believe I was almost done. There was a guy that was not a cast member that was taking pictures for some of the runners – so I asked him for one also.
I stopped at the pin trading booth in EPCOT and made a trade for a Figment pin, and since I had a pin that did not get traded in Animal Kingdom I also traded for the Mickey thumbs up pin.
It was then onto the backstage area where the marker for mile 26 was.
And there is the finish line. I ran over and got a high five from Goofy before crossing the finish line.
I got my marathon medal and then went towards the area for the special medals. They checked my wrist bands and put the Goofy Medal around my neck – the last medal to go around my neck was the Dopey. I did it.
I went into the race retreat tent for some breakfast (or lunch?) and to re-connect with Leslie. I then headed back to the resort to take an ice bath and change while Leslie hung out with some friends and then went into EPCOT.
When I got back to EPCOT – we took pictures with our medals, and in true Dopey fashion – I walked the World Showcase again since 26 plus miles in one day is just not enough (and dinner was in Japan at the other end of the Showcase).
I am proud to say that I am indeed Dopey.