Once Upon a Marathon!

My goodness, its been a week since the Disney Marathon!!

Sorry for the late recap. We were stranded in Orlando until Wednesday night and I started my internship at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday!! And so the New Year begins!!

Last Thursday we arrived in Orlando after an easy breezy 8 hour drive south! Great friends and good old fashion Disney anticipation makes the hours fly! We checked into our pirate themed room at the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort!!

I slept ohย so good in my pirate ship! ๐Ÿ™‚

This themed room has ruined all other hotel experiences for me. How can I go back to plain bed spreads and solid color curtains?? ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย Actually by the end of this Orlando adventure, I will have stayed in 3 different hotels!

We woke up bright and early to be at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure before the crowds!

We powered through the park to get to the Harry Potter section, stopping only breifly to take this picture. I was so glad to be in the company of fellow speed walkers!

It seemed like miles…we dodged slow walking families and first timers on a mission to make it to the Wizarding World. Then finally, in the distance…


Im not ashamed to admit that I regressed into an excited wide eyed kid as we entered Hogsmeade!

And fortunately I was in good and nonjudgmental company ๐Ÿ˜‰

Highlight of the day was the Butter Beer!! It came in this sweet mug (Is it too nerdy to bring this mug to work with me!?)

It reminded me of cream soda with whipped cream on top. It was pretty sweet so I didn’t drink that much, but it was well worth the experience!

After riding a few rides, we were off to the race expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports!

I LOVE expos! The excitement! The anticipation! The merchandise! ๐Ÿ™‚

The next morning was the Half Marathon that Lauren F. and Kelly were running in! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures. The journey to see the race could be a blog post all to itself! Short Version: we took a bus, boat, and taxi and were only able to get there in time to see the girls after they finished the race!

The rest of the day we relaxed, saw a movie, and met the parents for a fabulous carb-filled dinner!! We tried to go to bed early but 3 am comes early regardless of when you went to sleep!! I actually popped out of bed. I was super excited and ready!

We caught the 3:45 bus for Epcot. Got there in time to stretch and hit up the bathroom (aka port-o-pot) before heading to the start. It was early and it was cold!!! My teeth chattered while I waited in my corral. Within the first half mile though I was settling in and the temp was actually perfect!

I spotted my parents a miles 2, 12, and the finish. They were holding up these orange and blue straws that helped me spot them!! It was so nice to have them there! It is amazing how much a support crew lifts you up and carries you on!

The race itself was a blast! We started off running through Epcot in the dark, underneath the big Epcot ball. This was probably my favorite part of the race. It was so beautiful lit up and it was fun running in the dark.

My first mile was around 9:45 and then once I got settled in I averaged around a 8:50 min/mile pace. I felt good, really good! I told myself that I would hold onto that pace as long as I was not hurting too bad.

The sun came up as I was running into the Magic Kingdom! We came through the super secret back lots and out onto main street. Looping around the park and through Cinderella’s Castle!! Onward to Animal Kingdom where I ran past donkeys and the Tree of Life ๐Ÿ™‚ Our final trek was through Hollywood Studios (we ran through the building where they make the character costumes! So stinking cool!). At this point, it was around mile 22 and I was a little tired of the whole running thing. But I knew the end was getting so close!

Marathon running is a mind game. Yes you have to do the training but no matter how much training you do, you have to keep your mind in a place to continue on for 26.2 miles. When your body is tired and telling you that you have exceeded the amount of miles that is reasonable. I was flying high not a care in the world until mile 13. Then I start thinking about the finish. I had to get my mind back to where I currently was. Mile 20, my legs are screaming. At this point I know looking at my watch that if I run every mile under 10:00 I can finish sub 4:00. This is HUGE! I had been keeping a stead pace but while running my brain power is concentrated on keeping myself moving forward, adding times and calculating pace is not something I am capable of.

With this knowledge I push forward. Hurt muscles heal, but sub 4:00 marathon!!! That is something I dream of!

From Hollywood studios we ran around the Epcot resorts and back into the park. Mile 24, mile 25….where the heck is mile 26???? Did I miss it, why is this mile so much longer than the others?! Did they measure this out right?! Finally I turn a corner and I see the 26 mile marker, then the finish is in sight. There are grand stands set up, I feel like I am running down the fairway of the 18th hole in Augusta! I run past the crowds and catch a glimps of orange and blue! I see my parents up front yelling and waving!

I know I have sub 4:00, I am almost done, my mickey metal is within reach. With that I speed across the finish line. 3:54:26!!!!!

What a feeling!! I was handed my metal (talk about race bling!) a mylar wrap, bottle of water and directed to the runners meet up section where I find my parents. I am almost speechless. I so far exceeded my expectations and despite my broken down legs, I feel GOOD!! We headed over to the finish to watch my brother Charlie and his girlfriend Erica finish. Then we met Lauren at the runners meet up section! Way to go Charlie and Lauren on completing their first marathon!!!

Aftermath: Pretty much right away I was having sharp pains in my foot. I was rocking a pretty significant limp the first few days. My knee was in bad shape too. A week later the knee is better, the foot is getting there. A day or two more of rest and hopefully I should be almost back to working order. But it was worth it! ๐Ÿ™‚

We stayed that night at the hotel in Celebration. When ice covered the state of GA and all hopes of traveling back were postponed, we moved to the Embassy Suites until we were able to head back on Wednesday morning.

Thankfully they had a nice TV to watch the National Championship on!

Cheers and War Eagle!!! National Champs 2010-2011!!!

Finally we are back in GA, I started my internship and things are getting back to normal…

and now I get to begin planning for theย Paris marathon in April!

Au Revoir!

Amy K.