Disney Marathon Race Report (Part 1)

Lets break this into 3 parts, pre-race, race, post-race since there's so much to go over.

We headed out Friday morning early for our flight, which was leaving at 6:30am. I was in a rush, even waking up at 3:30am. I didn't have time to make breakfast to bring with me, and after making a protein smoothie, I left it sitting on the coffee table. Thankfully I managed to get everything else I needed into my bags and the car, and we headed to the airport. 

I had a great Livingsocial coupon for airport parking (only $31 for a week), so we parked, then took the short shuttle ride to the airport, where we met up with my mom, sister, and her friend. I started with my choking problem here, managing to choke on my Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich (later the almonds made me choke uncontrollably).

The flight was uneventful, and we got to the airport and waited for my brother and his girlfriend to arrive so we could head over to the hotel. We were staying at Port Orleans French Quarter hotel, and took the magical express there. Unfortunately our room wasn't ready, but my mom's was. We dumped our bags in her room, then headed for the race expo.

It really started to set in as I picked up my bib. "I can't believe I'm running a marathon!" I told the woman who gave me my bib. Kevin and I made signs to cheer my mom, brother & me on during the race, then headed from bib pickup to the building for bag pickup.

Me & Mom at Bib Pickup!

Once we had our race bags it was official race merchandise time! I loved my sweatshirt I got for the half 2 years ago, and was really looking forward to getting one for the marathon. Unfortunately we found the merchandise to be a little lacking. The design on most of the items wasn't great, but I finally found a marathon jacket I love, and of course a wine glass. My brother was so upset because the Goofy merchandise was really lacking. He ended up with nothing.

my new marathon jacket
We made our way through the booths. My mom bought a stick after I told her how much I loved the one Kevin bought me for christmas. We got bananas, crasins, and even a picture of Tony Horton. Finally we hit the Nuun booth, where Nuun was 2 for $10 with a free waterbottle. score! My mom and I stocked up. We also grabbed my sister a couple new Bondi Bands.

After the Expo, we headed back to the hotel, only to find our room still was not ready. We were told that even though check in time is at 3pm, rooms are not guaranteed until 5pm. We finally got into our room at 4:30, only to find out that it was dirty (gross hair all over the sink). We left a message to complain, and headed to dinner at Portobellos at Downtown Disney.

We had made a reservation weeks ago for 12 of us. My Aunt, her husband, my cousin, and 2 others were joining us too. We were forced to wait over an hour past our reservation time to be seated, and the disappointment continued from there. The service was lacking, the prices high, and the food mediocre. Our eggplant fries came out cold and had to be sent back, the pizza was very bland and tasteless, and overall we were very disappointed. It was during dinner that my throat started hurting, but I guessed it was due to my frequent choking that day, and ignored it.

The next morning we had an early wake-up call to watch the Half Marathon to cheer my Mom & Brother on. I woke up feeling like death. My throat hurt so bad, I was convinced I had strep throat and would have to find a doctor later that day. I had to blow my nose constantly, and couldn't breathe. Luckily I had brought some Sudafed and Afrin, which I put to good use. Our plan was to get to the ticket & transportation center (around 4.5 miles), then take the monorail to the finish. My brother's girlfriend, Kevin & I staked out a good spot and settled in. It was freezing!! Soon the Wheelchair competitors were coming by. SO AMAZING. I love to watch the different kinds of chairs they have, watch the different techniques (crank vs. push-rim, seated vs laying), and cheer them on. Soon the elites were heading through, men then women. So fast.

We were trying to calculate how long it would take for my brother and mom. It was hard to find anything in the thick crowds. There were more people than I remembered from 2 years prior. We missed my brother, but caught my mom. I ran out onto the course and instantly started crying, telling her how proud I was of her, how much I loved her. She told me she was hurting, and I told her to push through it and pick it up a little, she needed to beat the time clock. Some woman nearby said I was going to make her cry too. I jumped up and down and cheered and yelled. I was so proud to see her out there.
Me & Mom on the course, ticket & transportation center.
After seeing her there, we got on a bus to get on the other side of the street to the monorail, then headed to Epcot. Remembering the course, I thought we should head to mile 12 just before they enter the park to give them that last little boost needed to get to the end.

We were really hoping to see my brother since we missed him at the 4.5 mile mark. We spent a lot of time near the Team in Training cheerleader, he was an awesome pick-me-up for many runners.

Finally we saw my brother! He looked great, like he was at an easy pace, having a great time. He ended up crushing the race with a great new PR for him at 2:23:50 (but I still beat him in half PR land haha).

My mom was about an hour behind him, so we cheered on the other runners as we waited. I saw some great things while we waited. Women and men of all sizes and shapes and abilities. People in incredible costumes. A man with his arm in a sling. A woman in a walking boot. Older runners running by themselves or with spouses, some with Goofy bibs on. Faces filled with pain, faces filled with joy, faces filled with determination. Spectating a race is so inspiring.

Finally my mom came through. We jumped up & down & cheered! She had made a new friend she was walking with. She told us she had even stopped to help a walker that had fallen. I told her to push it through to the end, she was almost done. She was limping, her recently injured hamstring was really getting bad, but I told her to keep going, she was almost there. 

We ran toward the finish, knowing we had about 16 minutes until she'd be there. We saw her heading down that last .1 miles into the chute to finish, so amazing! She finished in 3:34:25!

My mom, a half marathoner!!
hugging my brother

Mom is all done, and Jason is 1/3rd through his weekend mileage
After the race, we headed back to the hotel. I took care of my mom who wasn't feeling well. Her hamstring was developing a huge bruise and she was feeling nauseous. So like a good daughter, I got her ice for her hamstring and her aching Glute, made her a cold glass of Nuun and got her graham crackers to eat. Then of course we brought her Coors Light from the gift shop for once she was feeling better. I was starting to not feel well, so I laid down for a nap. Only an hour or 2, but it felt great to sleep. I woke up unable to breathe, my cold was getting worse. I stuffed kleenex into my purse and Kevin and I went to Downtown Disney to shop before dinner at Wolfgang Pucks with everyone.

I started feeling worse. Hazy, stuffy, sore throat, runny nose. I could barely eat any dinner, but drank some hot tea which was amazing. Finally, I just couldn't stand being out anymore, so Kevin took me back to the hotel early so i could get some rest before the morning's marathon. Unfortunately we had the longest bus ride back to the hotel, and I headed to bed ASAP after taking more medicine.

all my gear!
I called for a 3am wakeup call, then jumped in bed. I tossed and turned. I blew my nose constantly. I couldn't sleep. I'm not sure if it was a side effect of the medicine I took, but I couldn't sleep. I was exhausted, but just couldn't fall asleep. Kevin tried anything I asked to help, but it was impossible. I just kept staring at the clock. I finally got 20 minutes in between 2-3am. Not a good way to start off the most important day of my life.

Race Day will be included in part 2!


Aimee said...

Oh my goodness Stephanie. I went to bed the night before our flight with a raging headache and sore throat. It got a little worse once in Florida, but fortunately things improved by marathon day. I have a feeling they didn't for you. You poor thing. That's horrible.

Congratulations to your mom and brother. I had tears in my eyes reading your mom's story. I hope she is feeling better.

I look forward to reading the rest of your recap.

Wells L said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this. LOVE the photo of you and your mom on the course and am crying seeing the photo of her hugging your brother. AWESOME experience for all of you.
SOOO sorry to hear you were sick . . hoping in part 2 it just magically disappears (you are in the Magic Kingdom so . . . it's possible).

Nicole said...

Your mom is awesome!! I'm so sorry you were so sick before your race, what a crappy start to your first marathon! I can't wait to read how it went. And how your brother's Goffy adventure went.

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

I hope the race gets better than the prerace!!! That's awful.

Holy proud of your mother (and brother)! You could feel the excitement in that picture. Congrats...looking foward to reading on!

My Daily Journey to Share said...

I love your new jacket! Yiks...I want to keep reading more so I cant wait for your updates. Sounds like everything even before the run was stressful enough!! Erica

Nicole said...

I had tears in my eyes reading about how proud and excited you were for you mom. Congrats to your mom and brother. Can't wait to read more.

Penny said...

Congrats to your mom and brother. What an amazing half for the both of them.

That feel so bad that you had that alwful cold.

Patiencely waiting for more recap.

H Love said...

Ouch on the hamstring! Huge CONGRATS to your Mama!

kimert said...

Congrats to your mom!!! I can't wait to read about your marathon!

Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane said...

Awww I can't believe you started getting sick the night before your big day!! That sucks!! :(

Christina said...

So I cheated, I read part 2 before 1. :)

I think your mom is COOL! How wonderful that she ran a half marathon!? And what's even better is that the whole family is out there running and spending time together. This is such a great experience. And you are making jealous because my parents will never do it. :)

By the way, I FINALLY got to use the Nathan LED light you sent me for Christmas. It was wonderful! Thank you so much. It kept me safe on my first long run for this training season. I also had a chocolate peppermint GU gel. Delicious!! Thanks! You will be "accompanying" me for my long runs until March!
Just want to let you know that I am very appreciative of your thoughtful gifts.

Sara said...

I'm sorry to hear your start to Disney was so disappointing! That is not good at all. We also had to wait for our room to be ready.

That is so wonderful that your Mom ran the half. I loved seeing the pictures of all of you guys. Congrats to your Mom and brother on the half!

I am still in awe over what your brother did - can't wait to read the rest of your recap!! :)