So I ran the Disney Marathon last weekend and what an amazing weekend it was!
On Friday, January 5th, I left -2 degrees in Toledo and flew to a balmy 38 degrees in Orlando, Florida! Well, ok, not exactly what I was hopping for, but I’ll take it.
I arrived, checked in to the Disney All Star Music Resort, then headed to the Expo, where I picked up my Marathon Bib & shirt and spent way too much money on running stuff!
At 5:00 pm, I met up with a bunch of my fellow Puppies! Oh, sorry, some of you may not know the back story on this race.
So my friend Amy Kentner, decided that for her 101st Marathon, yes that’s correct, I didn’t stutter, she’s ran 100 Marathons and Sunday’s Race was her 101st. With the assistance of another good friend, Bev Reinbrecht, they hatched a plan where she would dress up like Cruella de Vil and together, they would try to recruit 101 people to run with her dressed like Dalmatians! The plan worked, and at race time, 120 Dalmatians arrived to share this monumental occasion with her.
So, back to my story. We met up at Splitsville, one of the local pubs at Disney.
We each had white Tee shirts made up with Dalmatian spots, our name and our number. I was puppy 59! Back in December Amy mailed each of us our very own personalized Puppy License! So we were all legal and such! It was fun meeting some of our puppies from all over the states and two or three forgien countries.
After our puppy meeting, I drove into Orlando and met up with Lee Beem, her Husband William and their daughter Toby. I virtually met Lee about a year ago, through her blog The Carefree Runner. We shared running stories, the good, the bad and the ugly. We also talked blogging, almost daily on-line. About 8 months ago, when I committed to do the Disney race, we agreed to meet up, face-to-face.
Lee is an amazing runner. I’ve met many people that say “they love to run“, and I even say that regularly myself, but for a Lee, it really is a love. She runs 6 days a week, averages about 200 miles a week, all Solo miles, only runs a hand full of races a year and admits she really doesn’t like to run races. Oh yea, and she’s speedy fast. She will bust out 10 to 15 miles at a 7:00 minute pace then go to Boxing class. Sometimes she actually runs to the Boxing facility, takes the class, then runs home. It kinda freaks out her fellow classmates.
So we met for dinner, and from the time I sat down we didn’t stop talking, running, racing, training, blogging, oh yea, and our families as well. Before you knew it, it was nearly 9:00 pm. Me made plans to meet up again soon. Take a minute and follow her on Instagram at @lee_beem and check out her blog at www.thecarefreerunner.com. She is an amazing person.
Saturday, was mostly a rest day. My Sister, Brother in law and Mother drove up from the West Palm area and were camping in the Wilderness Camp Ground at Disney. I drove over and spent the day with them.
Sunday-Runday! On the bus to the start line at 2:45 am, yes, you read that right. With a 5:30 am Race start and 25,000+ runners to transport to the starting corrals, it has to be done in phases. I had a 3:00 am departure from my hotel.
A few pre-race pic’s with the characters.
So after the pre-race photos, I started to make my way to the Start Corrals. I really didn’t have to plan of who I would run with, but figured that I would meet up with someone.
Well, that “Someone” turned out to be these two lovely ladies. Laura and Libbie are both good friends from Toledo that I’ve had the pleasure of running with and Libbie and I trained together for the Glass City Marathon last year. Imagine in a sea of 25,000 runners, I met up this these two. It was meant to be.
Laura and I were in corral D, but Libbie was in corral E, so we had to sneak her into our corral. She’s a little bit of an outlaw anyway, so she reveled in it.
We agreed to try to stick together, at least for the first few miles, but with this many runners, we weren’t sure if that would work out.
At the start of each corral Mickey counted us down and they set off fire works!
Between mile 4 and 5 we actually got to run right through the Castle. Very cool
The miles started clicking by, we talked about everything, as runners do when they run side by side for hours on end. We always say, it’s like Vegas, “what we talk about on a run, stays on the run”.
We got Photo Bombed at mile 12 by Roblyn, a fellow runner from Toledo who was completing the Dopey Challenge, that is where you run a 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, 1/2 Marathon on Saturday and the Full Marathon on Sunday. 48.6 total miles. You Go Girl!
We stopped along the way to take selfies with many of the characters, and the beautiful scenery, and more than one Potty Break. LOL
“What did the 101 Dalmatians say after eating dinner … that Hit the Spot”. LOL Obviously we needed a pic of that!
At about mile 22 or 23, we came upon an Army Soldier and Libbie wanted a selfie with him, but he made her do Push-Up’s first. She busted them out!!!
Kathrine Switzer, famous for being the first female to run the Boston Marathon, once said, “If you are ever losing faith in the human spirit, go out and watch a marathon”. As a runner, I know this to be true. Every race I run, I am reminded of just how amazing running and the running community really is. This race was no exception. At different times throughout this race, each of us struggled, each of us became the cheerleader, each of us needed the other two to push us to keep going. It was an amazing testament to the Human Spirit.
It reminds of the quote, “to go Fast, Go Alone… to Go Far, Go Together. Together, we conquered a Marathon, that I am quite sure, Alone, none of us could have done.
When you reflect on the fact that this is a competitive event, in no other sport that I am aware of, is compassion for your fellow Competitor so strong.
Together, the three musketeers made it through all 26.2 miles (actually closer to 27 miles, who the hell measured this course), and we held hands as we crossed the finish line.
Thank you Laura and Lbbie for sharing your run with me! I am so blessed.
Lastly, but surely not the least important part of the race, was having my Mother Mary, Sister Chris and Brother-in-law Mark. at the finish line rooting me on. This was my 40th race, but the first time they were able to see me run. This was truly a very special moment. Something I will treasure forever.
Until Next time … Happy Running!
Have you ever run in a Disney Race?
Do you like running in costumes?
What do you think about the Dopey Challenge? (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, – 48.6 miles over 4 days).
Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.