Runs, Hits, and Errors: The Disney Marathon

I am a raging sportsfan. Taking me to dinner at a sports bar is a recipe for disaster - you won't be able to conduct an adult conversation with me because I'll spend the entire evening bouncing back and forth from TV to TV like a hyper puppy.

What do you mean, pass interference? There's no way that was PI!!!!
Yeesh, the green broke left to right a lot harder than I thought.
Come on, he was OUT! Are you BLIND?

So, since I use sports analogies for everything - even other sports - I found the appropriate title for this year's marathon report.

Runs, hits, and errors.

I had all three.

Without further adieu, I give you . . .

The Disney Marathon Race Report
THE WEATHER - because everyone wants to know about the weather

I'm a Florida native (sixth generation). I haven't seen a winter this cold since 1989, when there were sleet, a few flurries, and brownouts all around. The forecasts had everyone all hyped up this year, expecting the same thing. Now, I'm the last thing from a sensationalist, so I will tell you I PERSONALLY saw no sleet or snow between Sanford (NE Orlando) and Kissimmee (SW Orlando) on Saturday or Sunday, but I WILL tell you this.

How frosty was it?
  • Ice on the plants for the last 3 mornings.
  • Participants in the Disney Half on Saturday reported that it sleeted the entire race.
  • I made friends with someone on course because I noticed she had icicles in her hair.
  • Water dripping from cups at the aid stations froze on the ground instantly. It was still frozen around 10am, so they started covering it with sand so we wouldn't bust ass while hydrating.
  • I wore two layers of extra clothing to warm up before the race.
  • It took my muscles 16 miles to warm up.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE DISNEY, and all through the house . . .

I'm no stranger to cold marathons. My first race, Philly '07, was a sleet-fest. I was well-prepared with my nutrition, extra layers, strategy, etc. However, I was running behind and didn't get to packet pickup until around 2-3, and my running partners made it around 3-4. By the time we got done and checked in at the Yacht Club, it was 6. Then we discovered they'd given us one double bed instead of 2. We transferred everything to the new room and went down to Downtown Disney to eat, but we didn't get back until 8:30 or 9. We all laid out our gear, but we didn't get to bed until close to 11. With a 3am wakeup call, this was brutal.


We all had 7am down as our start time. Don't know why - we started at 6. But, thanks to our early wakeup, we drove our own car to the parking lot and strippped what we wanted to bag check, jumped into some garbage bags for disposable warmth, and heard the announcement, so we lined up just in time.

My only issue? I have what I like to call stage fright. I can't go #2 around people. I need to be in a secluded restroom with no chance of people walking in on me to go #2. This is crazy, considering that I can pee on a bike in a triathlon, I know. So I didn't get to um . . . take care of business before the race.

I felt really slow for the first mile or two. Then it dawned on me, around mile 3, that it was my asthma. Since I didn't know I had asthma until just this week, I JUST learned what it felt like to have an asthma attack. When I got to mile 2, though, I pinpointed the OTHER part of the problem: my watch read 2.2 - which meant it was calibrated wrong, which meant I've been training for weeks at shorter distances than I realized, and moving a lot slower. I just calibrated it after my last half marathon, but I also replaced the footpod battery after - that must have been the issue.

I had to choke back my dissapointment. I WASN'T going to PR by an hour. I WASN'T running 13:30 and faster for long runs. It was a mistake.


I tried not to be upset that I WASN'T going to PR by an hour, but I decided I could PR by ANYTHING if I stayed on plan. I did push a little more than I should have through mile 6, but otherwise paced myself well.

I did this mostly by picking people off to pass. HEY PURPLE! You're NEXT! or I'M COMING FOR YOU, YELLOW TRASH BAG!

he first 8 miles zipped by - my groin was grumbling a bit, but mostly because of the cold - and I tried to keep my pace more even through the half. Despite the slowness, I made it to the half in 3:09 - faster than my last half marathon.

Definitely going to PR.

Along the way, people were stopping to take pictures with Disney characters, which was cute. And more than a few times my eyes filled with tears because the spectator support was overwhelming. I had to fight my disappointment because no one's ever come to see me run a marathon. Just thinking to myself, there's no one here for MAJ, made me start crying.

And then I thought to myself, HTFU.


I trained with an awesome partner who's also a coworker. She's my reason for returning to the sport, and this was her first marathon. I affectionately nicknamed her Size Zero.

At all of our races, she's been anywhere from 2-7 minutes faster than me. Part of this is because she's 5'5" and a size zero or XS or sometimes a two (hence the moniker), while I'm under 5' and a size 12 or XL or some times a 14. Part of this is because she works out every week, even when she's not training. (I've been known to slack on that front.) But, along the way to the marathon, a couple things happened - I trained harder, and her knee started bothering her.

She started out the race way ahead of me. But around mile 12, something crazy happened.

I caught her walking.

Then I passed her.

Unfortunately, I was delayed several minutes at a porta potty around mile 14. I snatched the opportunity to go in a quiet, uncrowded, secluded place. The minutes I lost were worth the comfort I gained.

I wasn't sure if she passed me again.


Around mile 16, I met an older gentlemen running to catch up with his son. At one point, he asked me: How we doin'? We gonna make it?

Of course we are! I answered. We got this!

He asked if I walked a bit to save energy. I told him I did walk, but only through aid stations. I'm just slow, I told him. Then he asked me how many marathons I'd done. I told him this was my 3rd start - that I hadn't finished my last one.

Well, you haven't finished this one, either, he said. We still have almost 11 miles.

I thought, Don't steal my thunder, dude. And I let him go his way. (He was 6'4" - his walk was my run, so it was inevitable.)

I started picking people off again.


About this time, I started getting texts from people checking on me. I've never carried a phone on a course, but I was hurting around mile 18, so I had checked my phone during my potty break. But now, while I was fading, I did again at aid stations. Good thing, too - some of those texts got me through to mile 20.

Mile 20 - this is where I started to fade really bad. (How I know this beat Philly? I felt that way at mile 16-18 at Philly.) But I reminded myself that this was the time to give it all I had, because there was less than 10k left in the entire race. Glancing down at my watch, I knew that I had a PR - no matter what I did at this point. So why not make it a good PR?

The pain disagreed.

I also mentioned that I made a pal on course because I spotted icicles in her hair. We ran about the same pace but I lost her several times. When I reached mile 21, I saw her at a turnaround. She waved at me. My competitive streak kicked in a bit.

Man, Icicle Dreds is beating me!

But, again, the pain won. I kept plodding along, and even stopped to walk AFTER the aid station.


And then I saw Size Zero on the other side of the cones.

She was walking.

HEY, MEGGAN! she said.

And my brain said, You got less than 6 miles left. It's almost mile 21.

And my pain said, Stop being competitive. She may start running again, and then you have no chance - she's 5'5" and a size zero, remember?

And my brain said, Kick ass for one more hour. You may just pass her. If you don't, you increase your P.R.

I didn't listen to the pain.


I caught up with Size Zero for a while. We ran/walked together. And then, just around mile 23, I saw Icicle Dreds ahead of me, and I left Size Zero behind. Tthen Icicle Dreds and I hung out and shot the breeze for about 2 miles. She was REALLY cool.

And then I left her behind, too.

As I came around the corner of the last .2, I had a giant grin on my face. I had finished my next marathon with a SIX minute PR - not much faster than my first, but with a lot LESS pain than I expected. I had made some friends along the way. I outran someone who was a size zero. I didn't let my asthma beat me.

I crossed the finish line and promptly did what I do after every grueling race of longer than 4 hours - burst into tears.

The boyfriend had his reasons for not coming. Because people we know may read this, I can't divulge those reasons. Let's just say I didn't really agree with them. But, glancing down at my phone, I saw that not only had my texting friend continued to cheer me on for the last 2 hour while I wasn't answering, my BF had planned a surprise for me, and another friend had made it to at least help me hobble to my car after I crossed the finish line.

So there WAS someone here for MAJ, after all.

Despite the errors, this run was a hit.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

RBR said...

Oh and we need pics!!