Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Louisiana Marathon Expo

The Louisiana Half Marathon Race Recap


Congratulations, Karen! You just completed Goofy’s Challenge! What are you going to do next?

I’m going to Disney World….run another  Half Marathon!!

Wait, what?!

Yes, somewhere inside my crazy, Goofy brain, I told myself that running another half marathon the weekend after Goofy’s Challenge would be an “OK” idea.


You see, back in October at the Mandeville Half Marathon Expo, my friend Kelli and I stumbled upon a booth for the Louisiana Marathon. Knowing that both of us were running big important races the weekend before the Louisiana Marathon didn’t stop us from registering – you see, we were promised “In Training” shirts for signing up at the Expo. Did someone say SHIRT? We’re in!

…and just like that, I blinked my eyes and somehow I was registered to run the Louisiana Half Marathon. Whoops.

Fast-forward to Louisiana Marathon race weekend….

After meeting for breakfast at our usual Saturday morning establishment, we hit the road!

We had a very uneventful trip to Baton Rouge and were at the Expo in no time.




Ready to shop!


“I cannot believe I’m doing this!” 
Can’t tell you how many times I said that over the course of the weekend!

I saw two others wearing 2013 Disney Marathon gear at the expo and I told them that I was glad I wasn’t the only crazy one! See! I’m not the only crazy one! Right.


I was impressed by this Expo. For being a smaller race, the Expo was the perfect size and had just enough vendors to keep us busy for a while. I loved it!!


One of my favorite parts about the Expo was a booth promoted by The Advocate, the local Baton Rouge newspaper. They set up a green screen where runners posed for pictures….

The end result?


This craziness! SO much fun!!

Even better? They printed each of us a picture!  I was formulating a plan in my mind on how to scan the picture, print a 2nd one, etc when each of us were handed a photo! AWESOME!  Best part, this photo was free! Oh yes Louisiana Marathon, (and The Advocate) you ROCK!

After hanging around the Expo, we drove through downtown to find the start line and a parking area for the following morning. Gotta be prepared!


Our State Capitol and the start of the Louisiana Marathon and Half Marathon!

Since we had no dinner plans, a Twitter friend and fellow #runDisney partner in crime invited us to eat at Olive Garden with them!


We met up with Nicole, Stephen, Nick and his wife Becky, and…yeah…about 35 other area runners for a pre-race meal!

I really enjoyed dinner and I had a great time catching up with new/old friends!

Time flew by since we were having so much fun and before long, it was time to part ways! We said goodbye, then drove to Kelli’s cousin’s apartment which we called home for the night.


After laying out our clothes and double checking our necessary accessories, it was time for bed! We drifted off to sleep as dreams of the Louisiana Marathon danced in our heads. :0) Yep, true story – they really did!

Up next: Race Day!

Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 WDW Marathon–Goofy’s Challenge Part 2

2013 WDW Half Marathon-Goofy’s Challenge Part 1

WDW Marathon Weekend Expo


Race morning came bright and early…again. I set a wake up call, an alarm on my phone, and an alarm on my husbands phone just incase!


The alarms were set even earlier than for the Half (after the bus fiasco from the day before) and before I knew it, I was ready to go!

I arrived downstairs around 3:15 a.m. and had NO trouble at all! A bus recently pulled up to the resort so I was able to get right on! Yay!


Once I arrived at the Family Reunion/bag check area, I met up with Scott and we began the search for the #TeamRunDisney group!


We found them! Mission Accomplished!

After a quick group picture, we began the long walk to our corral. Originally, I was placed in Corral E and Scott was placed in Corral D. At the Expo, I showed proof of time so I could move up a corral (instead, they placed a Corral B sticker on my bib). When Melissa met up with us on the morning of the Full, we realized that she was in Corral E. We planned to run this race together, so Scott and I moved back to Corral E. Whew…did you follow that?


Melissa and I in Corral E, waiting on the race start. Unfortunately, Melissa had a 24 hour stomach bug on Thursday. It left her feeling so rotten, she wasn’t sure if she would even be able to run the Full.. Thankfully, she felt better by Sunday!


Waaaaay back in Corral E!

I think we may have arrived at our Corrals a little too early. I say that because I stood to long and had too much time to think. You see, when I woke up that morning, my knee was bothering me a little bit. I knew it was because of the way we had to weave in and out of runners the previous day during the half….along with stopping and starting for character pictures. I foam rolled the heck out of my leg, but just standing in Corral E - I felt it ache. That small ache in my knee made my head go nuts. I started having crazy flashbacks to Houston the prior year when my IT band issues were at their worst. I also pictured myself NOT finishing the race – I just knew I would get picked up by a sweeper bus. Ah the crazy tricks our brains like to play on us!

Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper at that point in time and I later apologized to my running mates for my bad attitude. Eventually, I made myself realize that THIS was IT. THE race I had been training for was about to begin. I decided right then and there that I needed to get happy in the same pants (or skirt, really) I got mad in. It worked! All better! :0)

Before long, it was time for the race to begin!

….and Corral A is OFF!

Corral E made our way to the start line and before I knew it, we were off too!


Bye Mickey! Bye Goofy! See you at the finish!



Mile 1! What what!!


Same backdrop, different outfit. You get me, right?!


The first band!


In no time, we were at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom parking lot! As we approached, we heard “Caution runners…speed bumps ahead!” over and over again on the loudspeaker. After running through the sign, I pointed to Melissa and said, “Did you see those speed bumps back there?!” She was really confused…I don’t think she understood my humor that early in the morning! Oh well.

I kept an eye out for Jason on our way to the Ticket and Transportation Center. He was lucky – he didn’t have to stand all alone to cheer me on for the Full! Melissa’s husband Randy was off work and available to spectate with Jason! Yay!

Jason spotted Heather and Bobby…almost too late.


Not long after, Melissa, Scott, and I ran through!


We stopped for a picture, of course!


Mile 4 brought along a potty break at the Ticket and Transportation Center! I love running in Disney because at times, you can use the indoor potties if you know where to look! Two awesome cast members let us cut through their housekeeping closet to get to the “shorter line” side of the women’s restroom! SO nice of them!

Before our potty break, it dawned on me that we were at Mile 4 and I needed to take a gel, so I made a mental note to take one as soon as I left the restroom. I told Scott my gel plan and he showed his arm to me – I wish I had taken a picture! In sharpie, he had every single gel mile written on the inside of his arm! Clever!

After taking our gels, we continued our trek towards the Magic Kingdom.


But first…there’s “that hill” again! We made it down then up the hill, past the Contemporary, and around the loop to the Magic Kingdom!


Space Mountain at Mile 5


Again, I love the “behind the scenes” views we get to see! This is leading into the Cast Member parking lot behind Main Street!


Approaching Main Street USA


We rounded the corner and my oh my…the crowd was going nuts! It was amazing!! That moment of running down Main Street towards the castle makes all of the training and travelling worth it! It’s such a wonderful moment!


We stopped for a picture with the castle (of course), then continued on into Tomorrowland!


We saw several of the same characters from the Half. Since we already stopped with those characters the day before, we decided to keep on running. (Besides, the lines were WAY long for every character at this point!) The Herald Trumpeters were there to greet us again!

(This video is from the half, but it fits here anyway!) :0)


Scott’s wife was waiting just past the castle so we found her and stopped to say hi! She took this picture for me, too!


We found friends from our neck of the woods! Hey y’all!

The rest of the Magic Kingdom was uneventful. We passed the Mile 6 marker and a few other characters but didn’t stop for pictures.


After leaving the Magic Kingdom, we began running toward the Grand Floridian. I knew my husband was somewhere along the route, so I kept my eye out for him.


Before long, I spotted him!  We waved as we passed since we could not cross the road. They yelled Animal Kingdom to us and I knew that was their next destination.


These guys were in front of the Wedding Pavillion and they were hilarious!


I LOVED all of the motivational signs along the way!! Awesome!


Hello Mr. Sun! Speaking of the sun, this race was HOT – by far the hottest Marathon I’ve ever run. I trained in weather like this during the summer/Fall, but I felt SO awful for those who were used to running in cold/freezing temps. I thought about the northerners several times while I ran and I hoped they were fairing ok. Disney did such a good job of making sure runners stayed as cool as possible and didn’t dehydrate. Frequent water/Gatorade stops along the course, sponges at Mile 18 (those were AMAZING), pouring water on people’s heads if they asked, etc. We were VERY well taken care of!


Next stop, the Speedway! We were warned about the steep decline ahead, but no one say anything about the reaaaaally steep incline!


See what I mean?


We had to run/walk up with bent legs! We laughed because it was quite comical at the time!


The Speedway was my favorite new addition to the course! Loved running through here and I’m not a huge “car” person.


Cars were set up all along the course! It was awesome to see! I text my husband a picture of a really nice Mustang that was out on display. He was kind of jealous….

A few of friends from Radiator Springs came out to cheer us on, too!



Waiting in line…


…to see Lightning McQueen!


I absolutely loved running through the Speedway! SO much fun!


After the Speedway, we approached Mile 9 and a small stretch of nothingness before Animal Kingdom.

However, we were kept entertained for sure!


The Accordion Club was out to cheer us on!


Saying hi to the Country Bears was fun!


I loved these guys! They were hilarious!


Aaah! The Gator got me!


Toy Solders are my favorite!


We passed the Waste Treatment Plant and thankfully the wind wasn’t blowing – I didn’t smell anything too terrible!


As we approached the back gates of Animal Kingdom, we spotted this bus and I loved the sign on the front – Parade! That’s not any kind of parade I want to take part in, thank you!


Volunteers were there to cheer us on inside!


Mile 12, my usual picture!

Several characters were out to join in the fun!







After making our way inside Animal Kingdom, we took a short break. I stayed out and took pictures of the tree of life while Melissa “powdered her nose” and Scott took a ride on Everest!


The park just opened so the line for Everest wasn’t long at all – I think he told me he was able to walk right on! At that point, if I sat down, I wasn’t sure I would get back up!


After meeting up with Scott again, we jumped in line to see a few favorites!


Daisy and Minnie! Hi friends!

After leaving Animal Kingdom, we ran out to the front in the parking lot. I knew Jason and Randy were around, just didn’t know where.


I spotted the guys WAY before they spotted me. I even made eye contact with both of them as I waved my hands in the air like a maniac…and still, they didn’t see me. I was still waving as I PASSED them by and finally, it dawned on them that we were right there! Hilarious! I think I even hit some girl on the head because I was waving so crazy. Sorry, girl…


This is my “I can’t believe I was waving like that for so long and you still didn’t see us” face….


I understand though…there’s a TON of people out there and it’s hard to spot those you know.


Our awesome spectators! They spent all morning following us around!


We said goodbye to our husbands then journeyed on. Before long, we spotted Pluto and Mickey! Couldn’t pass them up!

After another long stretch, we approached what I think is the funniest part of the entire race…the Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers!


Some runners were laying on the ground, I wasn’t that brave.


What’s with this guy??


These signs were along the side of the road – love both of these quotes!

This part of the stretch is one of the hardest in my opinion. After leaving Animal Kingdom, the next “big thing” usually isn’t until Hollywood Studios. With the new course, we had only a few miles to run until we approached Wide World of Sports so that helped break up the long stretch!


I was glad to see a few characters out and about, too – especially characters that you don’t see on a daily basis! Take Darkwing Duck for instance….when there’s trouble you call…. Let’s get dangerous!  Oh yes, I even remember the theme song.


Note to self, NEVER arrive in Disney the morning of the Marathon! Just sayin.

I still can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of this…but around Mile 16, we approached a woman running in front of us with spiked short hair. She was decked out in pink and the sign on her back included a breast cancer ribbon and read "Breast cancer didn’t kill me and neither will 26.2 miles!”

I was so overcome with emotion at that moment, I couldn't speak. As we passed her, I shouted "Woohoo Survivor you are AMAZING!!" She gave me two thumbs up and said thanks. This cancer survivor was running a FULL marathon - 26.2 miles! She had overcome all obstacles and was out there, showing that she is a fighter!  What an inspiration!!! I have to admit, I got a little choked up….but I also continued to run the race with a lighter heart. That survivor will never know what she did for me. I wanted to give her a hug!

Somewhere after Animal Kingdom, the song “Sweet Caroline” was playing!

I remember this moment from the last time I ran the full – and I remember runners singing along at the top of their lungs. It was rather amusing, actually. I decided to see if we’d have the same reaction this go-round and video it! Not quite the same, but still funny after all (it WAS quite warm that day)!! :0)  Sorry for the shakiness of the video!


Anyway, we made it to Wide World of Sports! Yay!


I loved this guy’s sign! This saying is where my Yorkie Pixie’s name came from!

After running through the complex, we approached a Track and actually got to run ON the track!


I thought it was neat that this complex was still completely functioning even though a race was taking place. As a matter of fact, track teams were practicing in the middle of the track as was a baseball team on one of the fields!

(By the way, I was VERY grateful for Scott’s outfit – the bright yellow shirt and Mickey ears were really easy to spot in the sea of runners!)


Getting there…


Not long after the bananas came a table with COLD wet sponges. Those sponges were a God send and felt incredibly amazing! I held onto mine the rest of the race and was able to re-wet it at other water stops.


That’s us!


I was excited to run around the warning track baseball field, even if it IS the Spring Training home of the Atlanta Braves. Yeah yeah…I grew up an Astro’s fan what can I say? We saw ourselves on the big screen and waved and before long, we were out of the Complex and back on the road!

I’m not going to lie, as soon as we exited the park, we all looked at each other like, “Was THAT it?” The big Mile 20 surprise?!

We had no reason to dismay! Just a few short steps later and THIS came into view!!


Both sides of the road were filled with amazing puppet characters I had never seen before!


We asked the Sebastian guy where these puppets came from and he said Disneyland! I’m still intrigued to find out more! They were REALLY cool!


Characters were out too! We did not stop for this line…it was beyond ridiculously long!


Mile 20! Yay!

It wasn’t long before we made it to Hollywood Studios. After Wide World of Sports, the rest of the race flew by!


My favorite part of the race…


CHOCOLATE!!!! I was becoming delirious by this point! Teehee!


We HAD to stop with Wreck it Ralph, of course!! My husband and I LOVED this movie! If you haven’t seen it yet you need it! It’s so cute!




We ran out past the Backlot Tour, Lights Motors Action, and up around the Sorcerers Hat!

The run through Hollywood Studios is never long enough!


Anyone remember this? Inspiration point! The very spot Heather and I stood to watch friends run the 2009 Full Marathon – we said here that we would come back the following year and run the Half and we DID!


His sign reminded me of the “Parade” Sweeper bus!


After leaving Hollywood Studios, we ran down by the lake towards Epcot.


At the next water stop, I heard my name! I turned around to see a different  Heather who randomly found me during the race! It was great seeing her!!


At Mile 24, I saw this tent but had no idea what was going on!  I found out later that this booth was the location of the Three Little Pigs Challenge. Runners signed up ahead of time, then stopped at the booth to eat three pieces of bacon. If you were able to complete the challenge, you received a medal! Super fun! Just wait…it’s ON at Disneyland!!


As we ran by the Yacht/Beach Club, we spotted Dennis Marsico of runDisney TV! Too cool!


We hit Mile 25 not long after we entered EPCOT.


We made it through World Showcase…..


….then out past the Gospel Choir (who always gives a little boost at the perfect time!)


Jason and Randy were waiting to cheer us on through the home stretch! They saw this this time! :0)


We approached the finish line, then put our hands in the air and crossed triumphantly!


We made it, and the best part, we did it together!! This was not a fast race for me and I didn’t care!  Another “FR” (Fun Record)? YES! We had a BLAST and that was our goal! Mission, accomplished!

Remember that knee pain I had while waiting for the race to start? It NEVER bothered me during the race! I think my brain was trying to play tricks on me!

As soon as we crossed the finish line, we received our Full Marathon medals. It felt so good to have the beautiful shinny spinner medal around my neck!


I grabbed a bag of ice right after I received my medal and stuck it on my head. BEST bag of ice, EVER!

Not far away was the Goofy Challenge tent. They had an area for those who were “perfectly Goofy” and an area for those regular Goofy runners. Several volunteers were standing outside of the tent and one of them placed the Goofy medal around my neck. Sweet victory!!


Fun times!

After a few photos, hugs, and congratulations, Melissa and I parted ways with Scott and went on to find our husbands.

DSC_0275 DSC_0282

A few final pictures were taken, then we all said goodbye and left….with visions of bread pudding dancing in our heads! (Ohana dinner reservation that night! YAY!)


39.3 miles, two days. I’m still having a hard time grasping the accomplishment!

This race was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. The months of training, the uncertainty of my knee, the race itself…after they put the Goofy medal around my neck, I still had a hard time believing it was really mine! I worked so hard for so long, and I did it! Am I chomping at the bit to run another Goofy Challenge? Not at this moment! I do however have another Full Marathon planned (Rock and Roll NOLA) along with a certain Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland…and maybe a few Half Marathons thrown in here and there!

Where will my next running adventure take me? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Thanks for following along with my journey!

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