|Christmas tree was still out|
|Sunrise from the monorail|
Sunday morning. Sunday morning was the morning I was dreading and anticipating. We made it to Epcot with plenty of time to spare. E decided he would start with me since he was still nursing his IT Band injury. I agreed to run intervals with him which would be the first time I had tried them during a race. Shortly after 6am, my corral crossed the start line. It was a beautiful sight.
Our intervals were working well except E took the lead and we were running slightly faster than what was comfortable for me. I knew we would need to slow down during the run interval if I was going to make it. He told me to take the lead so I could set the pace. The first few miles flew by, and we were having. For real. We were having fun. We made it to Magic Kingdom in great spirits. It was pretty crowded in places which was frustrating, but we knew there would be some bottlenecks. We made up our time during the open areas. We finally made it out to the Speedway and on our way to Animal Kingdom.
I was starting to get tired, but that is not unusual. I was 13 miles in so I knew fatigue would start to set in. Animal Kingdom was fun. They had some animals out and the animals had race bibs on. It was great! We were there before the park opened so no one was riding Expedition Everest. As we exited Animal Kingdom to head to Wide World of Sports, there was a huge crowd of people. It was just the boost I needed to get through the next few miles. I seem to start to break down mentally around mile 15, but this crowd helped me so much. I tried to make it to every kid to give them a high five.
The trek to Wide World of Sports was brutal. I was starting to lose it. I had that heavy feeling in my chest again which was telling me I was in my head too much. At some point along this stretch, there was a lovely woman handing out M&Ms. They were the best tasting thing in the world. I think I told her she was the best, and thoroughly enjoyed my handful of candy. Wide World of Sports takes up almost 5 miles of the course. As you approach it, runners are heading toward you on the other side of the road. Their mile marker says 21 while yours says 16. It is very tough to handle mentally. It was so tempting to cross the median and join those runners.
Wide World of Sports is a huge complex with many different types of fields. We wind our way through this complex for a few miles, and it is tough, It is tough to see people ahead of you, and they are so close, but you have to take a billion turns before you get to them. The crowd support was better than I thought it would be and that helped so much. You do run on the warning track of the Atlanta Braves' spring training field which is pretty cool.
As you exit Wide World of Sports, you cross mile 20 or The Wall. I was tired, but physically okay. Mentally I was bat crap crazy. Unfortunately, E's ITBS flared and he was in pain. He tried to run the next interval and he couldn't. He told me to go on ahead, but I said we started together and we would finish together. So we walked the last 5 miles. It was painful and long. Oh so long. We were both pretty quiet for a mile or so. I think we both needed to process that we weren't going to end the race like we wanted. I knew I could go ahead, but I wasn't sure if my mental state would have hindered me. We walked our way through Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk, and then Epcot. We decided to run the last 0.2. It was very painful for him, but we wanted finish line pictures of us running. Despite the pain, the rain (oh did I mentioned that it rained?), and the disappointment we still finished. I vowed the entire time I would never do another marathon, but here I am contemplating the NYC lottery.
For my first marathon, I think Disney was a great choice. So many aid stations, so many spectators, and the parks are awesome to run through. I am so glad I chose to do this. It may not be what I was hoping for time wise, but I can say that I was happy. I am usually not an outwardly emotional runner, but I started crying the minute the medal was placed around my neck. Luckily, it was raining so most people didn't notice, but I was a wreck. There were so many emotions to process, and they all spilled out in the form of tears. I proudly wore that medal the rest of the day.