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Well it has been too long since my last post but many things have happened since my last post. I have been writing these last few months on my experience of getting prepared for running in Disney’s Marathon Weekend. I had never run a race of any length longer 5 miles and so embarking upon a half marathon (13.1 miles) seemed to be a huge mountain to climb. I started training in early September and used the motivation of running in Walt Disney World and the accomplishment of finishing this race as my main motivating factors. I found that as I trained it is vitally important that you have motivation to run the race you are training for. If it is for health (great reason), fun, competition or even for a friend or family member I found that I needed that motivation to continue. The confidence in my abilities continued as I trained and as I gradually increased my distances during my training. Run Disney has provided wonderful training methods that you can use to get ready for your race. From beginners up to the very experienced, there is a plan you can used to accomplish whatever goal you have as a runner. My goal was to enjoy the experience and to finish the race. I was not too concerned about the time that I posted as long as it was not too slow (a 16 minute mile is required to stay on the course).
Disney’s Marathon Weekend this year was held on January 6 through 8, 2012. The weekend begins on Friday with the Family Fiesta 5K and Kid’s Races, as well as the expo opened up at the Wide World of Sports Complex. On Saturday the Half Marathon takes places as runners go through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Then the weekend culminates with the Marathon on Sunday as the runners get to run through all four of the theme parks. I arrived on Thursday evening at Walt Disney World and stayed at the All Star Sports resort. I made myself go to bed because I knew that rest would be hard to come by on Friday evening. On Friday morning I got up and headed out to the busses so I could pick up my race bib and goodie bag at the expo. This is when I got my first glimpse of how big an event this really was. The busses were packed and the traffic getting into the expo was very full. This event draws over 60,000 runners and that is not counting the numerous friends and family that travel down to help their runners complete their race. The expo is held in two of the large arenas at the Wide World of Sports complex. One arena holds all the race bibs, t-shirts and race registration booths, also in this arena is a shopping area that holds specialized gifts that is only sold during marathon weekend. I loved the merchandise and I ended up purchasing a limited edition Vinylmation for the half marathon and a Donald Duck pin that said “I did it!” based on the face that I was going to do it. The other arena of the expo was full with displays and retail merchandise you could purchase from multiple companies. I wandered the displays looking at the numerous products you could purchase from shoes and socks all the way to supplements you could use for your race the next day. I did not spend a great deal of time here as I was anxious to get to the parks but this was certainly a great way to see what other running aides are out there.
I spent the remainder of my day Friday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This park has quickly become one of my personal favorites and I was also really excited to see all the Christmas decorations that would still be up. I have never been able to be in the parks during Christmas time so that was a big plus for me. I did as many shows and rides as I could at a leisurely pace for sure. I did take more breaks than I normally would have but I still was able to enjoy to the park. I has Mama Melrose for lunch (had to carbo load) and I had a great dish of whole wheat spaghetti and meatballs at 50’s Prime Time Cafe for dinner. Let me say if you have not been able to enjoy the Osborne Lights that it is so worth it. I loved it and even felt that much more inspired for my run the next day. I did call it an early evening as I would need to get up at 2 a.m. the next day. I arrived back to my room at 9 p.m. and laid out my gear and forced myself to go to bed. Little did I know of the experience that would await me the next day. I will share that in my next post.