In case you missed them, check out my recaps for the Meet Up and Warm Up Event, the Health and Fitness Expo and what I did the Day Before My First Full Marathon. This post is really long and full of pictures but I wanted to write everything that I remember, felt and experienced during my first marathon.
When I left off on the first part of my marathon recap, Mindy and I had just passed the Mile 14 Marker. We had just left the Animal Kingdom and were starting the second half of the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Miles 15 – 17:
- Mile 15: 19:24
- Mile 16: 16:42
- Mile 17: 14:29
As Mindy and I ran out onto Osceola Parkway, I knew that this part of the course was going to be brutal. The Osceola Parkway is part of both the Wine and Dine Course and the Tower of Terror Course so I was well aware of the lack of shade trees. With the sun shining directly down on us, I really tried to follow my run-walk-run intervals. I knew it was going to be hard to hit my goal time of 6 hours but I still had some hope.
Thankfully, Disney had a bunch of characters on this stretch of highway. It didn’t take much convincing from Mindy to stop at many them for pictures. When we saw the grave diggers, I wasn’t sure if it would be a great idea to lay on the ground but we couldn’t pass it up.
One of them even asked if we were “tired”. When I responded that of course I was tired, he asked if I was “dead tired”. Of course I said that we weren’t dead tired quite yet. He then said, “good! I don’t want to have to do any work today!” That conversation kept us quite amused as we continued along.
Me with Launchpad McQuack from Darkwing Duck (I love that show!!)
Eventually, we turned off of the Osceola Parkway and onto Victory Way. Once again, I became a little jealous of the people running in the opposite direction. There was an announcer telling them that they were less than 6 miles away from the finish line. Mindy and I were not amused by this since we still had a little over 9 miles left.
Miles 18 – 20: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- Mile 18: 16:03
- Mile 19: 17:25
- Mile 20: 16:19 –> Mile 20 Spectacular
As we turned down Victory Way, I could feel my mental resolve to finish this race starting to fail. I was hot, my legs hurt and every part of my body was telling me to quit. I didn’t want to give up though and the thought being a marathoner kept me going. I knew that my goal of finishing within 6 hours was out the window and that had a lot to do with my mental resolve failing. The run intervals starting to feel impossibly long and the walk breaks seemed far to short. I kept moving forward though.
The course wound through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex just like the Tower of Terror course did. Thankfully, we didn’t run on the dirt trail this time. I am not sure how my legs would have handled that type of course change. As came up to the track, my left calf started to cramp and I got really worried. I walked it out and Mindy suggested I grab some BioFreeze at the next medic tent.
I loved this guy’s shirt!
As we approached Champions Stadium, I knew that we were getting close to the Mile 20 Spectacular. runDisney had been promoting this part of the course so I was excited to see what it was going to be. I grabbed a banana from the food stop and continued towards the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.
First sign of the Mile 20 Spectacular!
I look like I am in a lot of pain … probably because I was!
When we exited the stadium, the course took us through some parking lots and then back out to Victory Way. Then we saw the Mile 20 Spectacular. To be quite honest, I was a little disappointed. I was expecting a little bit more flair. I am sure that the heat and humidity had a lot to do with it. The Spectacular was pretty amazing though.
The coolest part of the Mile 20 Spectacular was the arch way that was used as the Mile Marker. It showed all 19 previous marathon medals that lead up to this year’s anniversary medal. There were also a few of Disney’s Fab Five characters available for pictures.
Miles 21 and 22:
- Mile 21: 20:26
- Mile 22: 17:00
The course continued along Victory Way until we got back out to the Osceola Parkway. As Mindy and I passed the guy encouraging runners, we were actually thankful to hear that we had less than 6 miles to go. All the stories are true. The last 6.2 miles of a marathon are the hardest miles of the race. Your body wants to quit and your mind is telling you to give up. My heart was telling me that I could finish this race and I believed it!
Mindy was encouraging to keep running but my left calf was cramping again. I grabbed more BioFreeze hoping that it would help. Our walk breaks became longer and longer but I wasn’t going to give up and she wasn’t going to let me. The course turned onto a ramp going towards World Drive. Can I just say that I really don’t like this ramp?!? There was a green army man screaming encouragement to the runners as they attempted the overpass. It hurt a lot and we actually walked a lot of the ramp.
Miles 23 and 24: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Mile 23: 17:09
- Mile 24: 15:10
Eventually, we turned onto Buena Vista Drive and started heading towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As we were running along, I saw Tricia from Running of the Ears. She ran the half marathon the day before and was really hurting too. The three of us stuck together for a while and Tricia told us about riding Expedition Everest. Mindy and I were disappointed that we passed up that opportunity but we also knew that our legs would not have wanted to move afterwards.
We entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios right near the Tower of Terror attraction. We turned the corner and spotted the food stop that I was most looking forward to: the chocolate bar stop! I think the thought of eating chocolate had kept me moving forward. We each grabbed a few bars and continued running (as much as possible).
The course headed through the Backstage Lot area and turned up the Streets of America. I saw the Mile 23 Marker and realized that we had a little more than a 5k left. I kept telling myself to fight through the pain. I was going to be a marathoner today and nothing was going to stop me. Outwardly, I kept saying how much I hurt. Mindy reassured me that she was hurting just as much as I was.
As we exited Hollywood Studios, the course continued towards Disney’s Boardwalk. We followed the water way that connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The people on the boats were cheering for the runners.
Miles 25 – 26.2: Epcot
- Mile 25: 16:43
- Mile 26: 15:24
- Mile 26.98: 16:03 –> oops! I think I stopped for too many photos!
The course continued past the Boardwalk Inn and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. As it turned towards the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, I saw several finishers with the medal I was running for. I looked over at Mindy and told her that I needed that medal. We were so close that I could almost taste it.
We ran past the International Gateway and into Epcot through a side entrance near the United Kingdom Pavilion. That was when I saw him again. I didn’t expect to see him again until the finish line but there he was waiting for me. I screamed and ran right up to him and gave him a kiss. My boyfriend was waiting with two beer in his hand just in case I wanted them. I didn’t know how they would make my stomach feel so I turned them down. I held back tears as I told him how much my entire body was hurting. He reassured me that I could finish what I started and that he would see me again at the finish line.
I didn’t want to leave him but I wanted to finish this race. MIndy and I were less than 2 mile from the finish line. We continued around the World Showcase. The Mile 25 Marker was right by the France Pavilion. We were getting so close. As we passed by Germany, I spotted Snow White and Dopey. The two characters that I absolutely had to have a picture with. Since Mindy was dressed as Snow White, we were not going to miss this picture.
As we left the World Showcase and headed into Future World, I spotted my boyfriend again as he was making his way to the finish line area. I was still smiling from knowing that we were so close to the finish. I almost couldn’t feel how much my body hurt anymore. I kept thinking to myself that I was about to cross the finish line of my first marathon. I was about to become a marathoner.
When we exited Epcot, we could hear the gospel choir singing. We were so close. Then we spotted the Mile 26 Marker. We only had 0.2 miles left to run! I couldn’t believe it!
Photo from Mindy
We walked for a little bit so that we could run the entire finish chute. I have never walked across the finish line before and I wasn’t about to start today! As we approached the finish line, a huge wave of emotions swept across me. Everything I had been working towards was about to come true. I was about to accomplish something I thought was impossible for me two years. I was yards away from becoming a marathoner!
Mindy grabbed my hand and we crossed the finish line with our arms raised high and tears in our eyes. It was the hardest thing I have ever attempted and I am thrilled to say that I finished. I RAN A MARATHON!!!
Photos from Mindy
After I crossed the finish line, Mindy and I made our way through the food line. She was meeting her friends over at one of the reunion tents. We said farewell knowing that we had made a new friend today. It is a rare person who will help you get across the finish line of a marathon. I can’t thank her enough for everything she did for me during the race.
I found my boyfriend over at the medal engraver’s tent. While my medal was being engraved, I hobbled around trying to keep my legs moving. My only goal now was to make it back to the hotel room. Even though I hurt more than I had ever hurt before, I knew that I would be back next year. I didn’t reach my time goal. I know that I have a much better marathon in me and I will train harder for next year’s Walt Disney World Marathon!
Official Split Times:
- 5 Mile – 1:06:27 (13:17 avg. pace)
- 10 Mile – 2:18:02 (13:48 avg. pace)
- Half Marathon – 3:07:47 (14:19 avg. pace)
- 20 Mile – 5:08:50 (15:26 avg. pace)
- Finish – 6:52:26 (15:44 avg. pace)