Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Disney World Full Marathon Report – Marathon Weekend Recap 3

“I am no longer a runner, I am a Marathoner..."

Before we get started with the Disney World Full Marathon recap, here’s the first two installments of my WDW Marathon Weekend Report:

Marathon Recap Part 1 - Disney World Health & Fitness Expo
Marathon Recap Part 2 – Disney World Half Marathon from a Spectator Point of View!

Now, onto the Marathon!  (Warning…this recap is long with tons of pictures!)

The night before the race, we had reservations at Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club!  We took a bus to HS and as we walked towards the boats to the Yacht Club, I had a minor freak out.  I realized that the following morning, at the END of the race, I’d be running in this very same location.  Made me want to vomit. Seriously.  I really did freak out.  Anyway, we had a great dinner and made it back to the Wilderness Lodge around 9 p.m.  I had plans to be asleep by 9 p.m., but instead, I took a shower and set out all my stuff for the race the following morning.

Race morning came bright and early!  If you read my Half Marathon recap, you’ll see that I had a bad dream the morning of the Half about missing the race (& i witnessed two people who were running to get to the start line in time…yikes!), so I made sure I set three alarms!  My husbands phone, My phone, and a wake up call were all set for 3 a.m.


I woke Jason up and made him take a picture for me! :0)  All dressed and ready to go!


I met up with Heather and her husband Bobby at 3:45 a.m. in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge (we were all staying there).  Luckily, a bus was waiting for us (well not really FOR us but you know what I mean)!  We hopped on board and were off!

We made it to the Family Reunion area around 4:15 a.m. or so.


People were streaming off of buses and we were trying to hurry to a bloggers meet that Heather had set up!


We made it in time to the “B” tent (“B” for Bloggers!) and met up with Katye from Long Legs on the Loose and Kelly from Foodie Fresh.  We didn’t get to talk long though cause we were supposed to meet up at 4:30 a.m. at the “H” tent with fellow ROTErs for a pre-race prayer.  ROTE stands for Running of the Ears (you’ll see it on my Marathon shirt once my sweatshirt is gone!) :0)  Crystal, one of  the people who inspired me to run Marathons is also the one who introduced me to the ROTE community and I’m so glad she did! :0)  They were a HUGE support out on the race course!!


Heather, Me, and Jenn – We were supposed to pray…what happened to that prayer?  After we realized that we weren’t going to pray as a group, we decided to start walking to our corrals. 


This was rather amusing!  We were walking VERY slow because there were 18,000 people trying to get to their specific corrals.  Bobby kept “mooing” because we felt like herding cattle!  We also passed a sign that said “WRONG WAY!”  We got a kick out of that sign. What can I say? It was 4:30 a.m.!

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Heather and Bobby/Heather and I ready to run!!! :0)  We made it into our corral. I felt bad for the poor old people who were out in the cold having to check each and every race bib!  Luckily, Heather, Bobby, and I were all able to run together…thank goodness!


After the National Anthem, and with an official countdown, the fireworks went off and the race began.  Of course, we weren’t allowed to start running yet but that’s ok….our time was coming soon!

I hope you can see this video!  We are such nerds but this video cracks me up every time I see it! :0)
I was SO nervous while waiting in our corral that I started shaking.  Not just trembling….shaking.  I had to take deep breaths to calm myself down.  This was the biggest race of my life!  I couldn’t help but be nervous!

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....and finally it was our turn! Yay!


When Heather told Bobby he would eventually have to take off his sweatshirt so they could see his bib for pictures, he raised his shirt and said he’d run like this for the rest of the race!  Silly boy!
We began running and before we knew it, we had arrived at EPCOT!


I thought it was neat they had the Electric Light Parade floats out for us!  Very cute!


Running under the Monorail station at EPCOT, I started to cry.  We were only at Mile 2 and I was already tearing up!  What the heck?  People were screaming and cheering for us – I realized then that this is IT!  This is the race I’ve been training for!  It’s all come down to today and I’m doing it! 



After we passed the ball, we saw a CM standing on the side of the course apparently doing nothing….she cracked me up. I asked her to get a picture of us with the ball in the background.  She gave me a look and told me that I was going to make her get her hands cold.  Do you see this picture?  Do you know what I asked?  I asked if she could get the BALL in the background.  I see no ball.  We cracked up after we ran away and looked at the picture….so we made Bobby stop and take another one for us! Hah!  Guess she got her hands cold for nothing!



We ran through Future World and into part of World Showcase!


We passed Mexico and China, etc…this part is really fuzzy!  


These were the first characters we stopped for!  We only passed up a few at the beginning and after this, we pretty much stopped with every character! :0)


All throughout the race, we kept passing this girl.  I loved her sign!


After running through EPCOT, we ended up right back where we STARTED!  We pretty much ran in a huge circle!  We were at Mile 4 at this point!


Obviously nothing exciting happened between mile 4 and 5!  I do remember reading signs that the spectators were holding up and a lot of those were cute/fun! :0)


As we continued on our run towards the TTC, the sun began to rise!  What a gorgeous view! I love running in the mornings and watching the sun rise! :0)  A little reminder of God’s mercy and grace…it’s new every morning! :0)


Made it to Mile 7 and feeling good!!! :0)

A random DJ keeping us pumped and excited!


I thought this was funny….we were running to the TTC and the sign said “Do Not Enter”!  Whoops!


I had my phone and was texting my husband back and forth trying to find him! I knew he would be at the TTC by the Mile 9 sign.  As we ran through, I kept looking and looking and looking…I couldn’t find him anywhere!  After we passed through, I heard my name being shouted!  I turned around and sure enough, I had passed right by him!


So I turned around and gave him a kiss! :0)  I was happy to see him!


After we left the TTC, we made our way towards the Contemporary and onto the MK!


This guy was fun!  I’m sure he was trying to keep us excited because we were about to run up
I had to walk about halfway up because it was rough.


Yes this is the hill.  I realize for most of you, hills aren’t a huge deal but for a southerner used to nothing but FLAT, this is HUGE. 


We made it though and before we knew it, we were almost inside the MK!

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This has to be my FAVORITE part of the Disney races….running behind the MK and onto Main Street. 

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A completely magical and wonderful feeling.  I teared up once again because someone was holding a sign that said, “If you can Dream it, you can Do it!” –Walt Disney   This is totally like “my saying” so of course, I started to cry.  Running down Main Street with the crowds cheering you on is like no other feeling in this world.  It’s incredible.  I LOVED all the ROTE support on Main Street!  They were AWESOME!  Thanks so much, guys!!! :0)

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We stopped for a few castle photos and continued our run.

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Into Tomorrowland!


Our first potty stop.  Yes I took a picture of Heather running into the bathroom.  :0) 


We found these guys right in front of the teacups!  Yay!


We also found Rapunzel and her man!  This is Bobby doing his best impression of Flynn Ryder.  Hilarious!

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They had Herald Trumpeters playing as we ran through the castle.  Last year, they weren’t playing when I ran by but this year they were!  AWESOME!  It was so cool running through the castle being announced like royalty!  Loved it! :0)  (You can see the trumpeters above me on the castle!)


You have to understand our run.  We decided ahead of time that we were going to have FUN with this race.  We didn’t care about our time, we just wanted to finish.  We made plans to stop for characters and really enjoy ourselves!  It took us FIFTEEN minutes to make it through the Magic Kingdom.  When I say we acted like straight fools while running through the MK, I mean it.  We had a BLAST!  I loved every minute!! :0)


Running through the Castle!


Mile 11 happened in Frontierland and before long, we were out of the Magic Kingdom!

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We didn’t stop for the Pirates Characters.  Their line was WAY too long!


We passed the Fire station and a WHOLE lot of Sharpie signs.  I took pictures of most of them but I’ll spare you….

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The Sharpie signs kept us entertained and before we knew it, we were at Mile 12!


We passed the Grand and the Wedding Pavilion…

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My husband told me that he was waiting for us at the Golf Course.  Then he proceeded to tell me that he was by a lake.  If you’ve seen the Golf course, there’s a lake pretty much across the entire thing.  We did find him this time, and he took quite a few pictures! :0)


Before we saw him though, we stood in line for a picture with Mickey and Minnie!  As we got to the front of the line, we saw that they were trading Mickey and Minnie out with Donald and Goofy.  Guess who jumped in my picture?  Goofy!  Heather and Bobby were the lucky ones…they got a picture with all four characters!  After their picture, Mickey and Minnie left!


After we finished our pictures, we continued running and found Jason once again!




Hey Bobby!  Smile for the camera! :0)


Past the Polynesian, we continued running one of the longest treks of nothingness on our way to the Animal Kingdom.


Along the way, I ran into Chris from Team 413!  I stopped and talked to him for a few minutes (and it was really awesome running into him out of all the thousands of runners running this race)!


These ladies were dressed as tourists and were SO FUNNY!  They kept asking why everyone was running…it was hilarious!  “Is this what they mean when they say FAST pass?  You RUN?!” 


We passed by the Waste treatment plant. I was warned ahead of time that if the wind is blowing in your direction, you’ll get a whiff.  We of course did catch that whiff and we felt sorry for the volunteers who had to stand in this area to hand out water.  We definitely appreciated their service! :0)

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This Buzz Lightyear was HILARIOUS!  He kept cracking us up most of the race.  When he stopped to pee in the woods, I just had to get a picture.  Of course he’s not an official Disney Buzz Lightyear but still….it’s pretty funny!


The whole gang!  Captain Hook pushed Heather!  Haha!  She told on him to Peter, then Peter fussed at Captain Hook! It was amusing!

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This was pretty much our run for a few miles with water stops and characters sporadically placed throughout.


On all my previous long runs, my body started hurting at mile 14.  I’m not sure why, but for the Full, I didn’t actually start to feel any pain until Mile 16!


We finally made it to Animal Kingdom!  We ran through the back of the AK which was really neat to see!  By this point, the parks were open so there were people inside cheering us on!

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As we came into AK, we saw various parade floats and CM’s with some of the tame animals out for meet and greets!  We didn’t stop for any of those because we had friends waiting inside of AK to cheer us on!


We’re scuuuuuured of the Yeti!  Aaaaah! Hehe! :0)


Delirium started to set in, people.


We were SO excited to see JoDee and Pat!  We jumped up and down like crazy people and gave them huge hugs!  It was FUN having supporters there waiting to cheer us on!  So nice of them to do that for us! :0)


Our run through AK was very short to me. I thought we’d circle back by the Tree of Life but we didn’t…so I have no photos in front of the tree. Oh well! 


Funny joke….we stopped at pretty much every BioFreeze station they had.  Bobby would pull his pants down to rub it on his legs and he would announce every time “YES I have shorts on, people!”  Hahah!


The back of Expedition Everest!  Pretty cool!  We ran this route for Wine and Dine but it was dark so I don’t remember much! :0)

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We found Mickey again!  Wow he changed outfits fast! :0)


They had bands and cheerleaders everywhere cheering us on!  So much fun!!!


I gave almost every cheerleader in this line a high five!

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Appropriately located at Mile 18 were grave diggers.  Somehow, Bobby managed to get down on the ground…I’m not sure I could have gotten back up!  Made for a funny picture, though! :0)

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I thought this was cool!  He carried the American Flag the entire race! :0)


After running out of the Animal Kingdom, we had a fairly long stretch before we hit Hollywood Studios.  I was SO glad at this point that I had people to run with!  We started talking to random strangers, weaving in and out of cones, running down inclines with our arms stretched out as if we were flying, shouting Heather’s name using a cone as a megaphone (ok maybe just Bobby did that)…..I honestly felt delirious but I was laughing and having a grand old time.  That’s all that matters I guess. 

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Loved the backs of their shirts! :0)


I almost busted it on a banana peel so we had to reenact the scene! Craziness!


Bobby asked if he could get on the trampoline and tumble!  They didn’t let him, of course!


The line of cars trying to get into Hollywood Studios!  They were probably all mad at us, too!


Just 6.2 to go!!!!


We passed the Jumbo tron (you can see me all the way to the right of the screen – I’m half on the screen taking a picture)!


Someone was handing out free candy so we took some!!! :0)

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Finally made it to Hollywood Studios!  We ran through the back entrance and they had red ropes leading the way in!  Nice touch!


These guys were too funny!!!

I don’t have very many pictures from inside HS because my batteries for my camera decided to die.  I can’t imagine why.  It’s not as if I hadn’t already taken hundreds of pictures or anything. Oh well! :0)

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We did stop for these characters for a few quick iPhone photos! :0)


As we left Hollywood Studios, we came up IT…the point of inspiration.  This my friends, is where Heather and I stood the day of the WDW Marathon in January of 2009 waiting on our friends Crystal and Jen to pass.  It was on this day that we both decided to run the Half Marathon the following year.  Now we have both come full circle and run not only our first Half Marathon in Disney but also our first Full Marathon in Disney!  Now I’m trying to convince her to do Goofy with me! :0)
Bobby started hurting and having this funky stuff happen with his muscles in his legs contracting and he was in a TON of pain.  We walked a lot of the last three miles so our time was off a lot but again, we ran this race to finish, not for a time!


It was at this point that I asked Heather if she was up for Goofy in the upcoming years. She gave me a “No way you crazy person!” look and told me to ask her again later!  Hehehe…


Almost to EPCOT!


I remember I had to potty BAD at this point so I ran in a bathroom in Germany if I remember right?  Things were starting to get fuzzy!


Quick photo with Belle!


We ran through EPCOT and Jason told me he was right past the Gospel Choir.


I love it that Disney has these guys here every year!  They were standing right past the 26 mile sign singing us on in home!  LOVE it!


We found him! Yay!


We could see the finish line and oh my gosh the taste of glory was so sweet!  We crossed the finish line with our arms in the air!  What an amazing feeling!  After I crossed, I started crying (like I knew I would!)  I could not believe I had just trained, run, and completed a MARATHON!  Wow.  Heather and I shared a hug, then we got our medals.


The taste of victory is oh so sweet! :0)


We walked out to the baggage claim area, got our free food and our picture taken in front of the backdrop, then met up with Jason at the “H” tent!  A few ROTErs were still around and it was nice to see them after the race!


I had to take a picture posed in front of the Marathon stage!  I give Disney a A++ for this race!  I know I’ve never run a Marathon before but they really did a great job in keeping us excited through most of the course and keeping the energy up!  It was a GREAT first Marathon for me!  I definitely have the desire to run another Marathon so that makes it an AWESOME first Marathon in my book! :0)

I could not believe I had done this….I am a Marathoner!  I know for a fact that I would not have had near as much fun had it not been for Heather and Bobby so THANK YOU for entertaining me along the course! :0)  I also appreciate my husband and his support during the race.  He woke up before the crack of dawn to get in place and see me run.  He is such a good supporter and I love him for that!
Our official time was 6 hours and 45 minutes or something like that.  Heather stopped her watch every time we stopped for characters and I think she said we spent 32 minutes taking photos with characters! Pretty funny!

If you’ve made it all the way through this super long report, thanks for reading and following along in my journey!  I had a BLAST and I would do it again in a heart beat!!!! :0)  Can’t wait for GOOFY (probably not next year but definitely soon!)!!


  1. Awesome recap Karen, and congrats again! Reading this made me tear up a few times. :) You're much nicer than I am with the CM that said she's gonna get her hands cold! At 6am I'm not that friendly and would have probably pointed out that she just has to stand there while I actually have to run 26.2 miles. :) Your hubby totally was standing in the same spot my friend was, RIGHT at the Mile 9 sign! You got some awesome photos! The grave digger line was way too long when I ran by but would have loved to try laying down. Def wouldn't have gotten back up though. And is it crazy that I totally want to do Goofy too? :)

  2. WONDERFUL race, fantastic race report! Congrats on being a marathoner! YOU ROCK! Thank you so much for sharing this review - it was funny, and heartful, and just great to read! Love!

  3. Loved the recap and all the pictures! You never know, whenever you do Goofy, I may do the Disney half. haha

  4. LOVE it karen, love reliving it! I had a blast running with you, so glad you stuck with us! I will always have great memories of it! I will make a deal with you...in 2013 if I am not dead or pregnant or broke I will run goofy!

  5. Awesome job! Love all your pictures! They, along with detailed report made me feel like I was really there, running with you (only less tired...).

  6. wow...make me cry!! I so want to do this! love the video! the whole experience looks amazing!

  7. Oh my gosh, roller coaster of emotions in 10 minutes! I was cracking up at your video, in tears reading about Inspiration Point, and giddy with excitement for you at the end! You are totally amazing!

  8. Such an awesome recap! LOVE IT! I'm super excited for the princess half now!!

  9. Sooo awesome!! Congrats & it seems like you had an amazing time! I can't wait to do it next year!!

  10. Wow that sounds amazing! I'm so jealous! Congrats!

  11. OMG I LOOOOOOOOOOVE your recap (and Heather's). Seriously, this is how a marathon should be run! I so regret not running my Disney marathon like this 2 years ago. My new goal is to run Goofy one day: half all out and then the marathon Karen and Heather style, meaning having fun and stopping for pictures with characters!

    Congrats Karen! Not many people can say they've run a marathon, and even fewer can say they had a good experience. Be proud girl :)

  12. Great recap!! Congratulations on being a marathoner!! What an amazing accomplishment.

  13. Great recap, and brings back a lot of memories! You mention the prayer session, which *did* happen - Goofychaplain had to start it early (at about 4.10am) because they were trying to herd everyone into the corrals from 4am onwards and people were starting to move away. Just wanted you to know that it did happen.

  14. congrats again! love all of your Disney character shots and what a lovely vision to see the sunrise - God is wonderful! glad it went so well for you!

  15. I love that you got so many pics!
    You're in one of my official photos! haha

  16. Awesome recap and congrats on your first marathon! Read the entire post! =)

  17. Hi! Just found your blog through a series of blogs I was reading and AWESOME on your first marathon! I was there in Orlando for my first HALF and I, too, am a big Disney fan!

    I am now training for my first FULL, but will also be running the Disneyland Half in Sept (whoo!)

    Glad to "meet" you!! =)

    Krissy (shiawaselife.wordpress.com)

  18. Love all these pictures. Congrats again on becoming a Marathoner!


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