… I had a rock in my shoe.
The second half of the marathon was hot. People of Florida were comparing it to a typical July day. It was 85 degrees with a lot of humidity! As the miles went on, I saw people dropping out. Finding shade next to medical tents and calling it quits. I felt for them. It broke my heart to see so many dreams shattered. I just had to keep going, smiling through the heat and remind myself that I could do it.
By mile 18, I started to hurt again. My knees were swelling up and my joints were getting stiff. All I wanted to see was that mile 20 marker. But first we had to run the bases at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Then my second wind hit…
I got a second wind
I put on my headphones and I cruised. I might have paused briefly for the mile 20 spectacular. The pause was more of my own excitement that…. WE MADE IT TO MILE 20! Only 6 more miles until I was done.
After the mile 20 spectacular, the route went down the highway and into Disney Hollywood Studios. Those miles were the most brutal miles… no shade, direct sun, and HOT temps. But I didn’t hit a wall. I just wanted it to be finished. I wanted that finish line more than anything. I was hurting, hot, and tired. I wasn’t even hungry; which for me is crazy because I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY when I run.
I wish I could tell you character stops and the miles they were at… but I can’t. I wish I could tell you what chocolate they were handing out at DHS… but I can’t (all I know is it was Hersey’s that taste sooooo good). So much of the concrete details of the race were a blur.
What I can tell you is that motivational signs at mile 22 of marathons that say “Everyone fails one day, but today is not your day” make me cry. People who scream, “You are amazing, Stranger!” make me cry. I think from mile 22 to 25 I spent most of my energy holding back tears. I knew I had done it. I was going to be a marathoner. Now it was just time to smile through the pain.
Smile through the pain
Then I saw it… my FAVORITE structure on Disney property. I was at the end of the race. It was only a matter of time before I had my medal.
The last mile was one of the most anticipated moments of my life; yes, ranking right up there with marriage and giving birth. Once I crossed the finish line I felt amazing, strong, and accomplished. I had achieved something I didn’t think possible… I ran 26.2 miles. And those miles were accomplished under very difficult conditions (sore muscles, hot temps, etc.).
One of my proudest moments!
The rest of the day was spent slowly walking around (keeping our muscles warm), followed by a much deserved nap. When I finally gathered up the energy to move again, we headed to the Magic Kingdom for extended hours, where we treated ourselves to much deserved Dole Whips.
Best thing in the world post marathon
The next day all I craved was fruit. So we found a place in the Animal Kingdom that sold amazing fruit plates.
Flame Tree Animal Kingdom
The rest of the Disney trip was spent sporting my beautiful new treasures.
Showing off my Donald medal
I would have fallen asleep wearing my marathon medal if it wasn’t so heavy!
My new treasures
20th Anniversary Disney Marathon Medal
The most interesting aspect about the whole race was the fact that going into it I didn’t think it would be such a life changing experience. Now that I am home, settled in, and back to my daily routine I do feel different. It’s a overwhelming sense of accomplishment; but not the kind that leaves you lazy. I have set higher goals for myself because I know that I can achieve them. Fear has left my vocabulary. I am a marathon runner.