Saturday, April 20, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Overview Part 2 + Tips someone told me!

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013
Marathon Day: Part 2

 I'm really, really OCD about getting to races early (because of the LA marathon)...I read on lots of blogs to head to the bus around 3:15-3:30...they say "you must be in your line up corral  by 5:45 "..blah blah blah." both times people were still in line for the port-a-poties at 5:50.  If you're lucky and you do have transportation for you..(which is AMAZING) can zombie like walk to the bus...take a 15-20 minute cat nap.. walk to the lot and just chill until they call your corral to head to the line up. If you are driving leave early. This past year there were over 27,000 not including families trying to get to the start to take transportation to the race. This race is very well organized, I just would hate for you to leave and be stuck in traffic.

 TIP#3- It's chilly...Both the princess half and the marathon were warm during the day but in Florida (when the sun's not out) it's chilly (esp. in January and February) SO..if you don't know this already, A LOT of big races have bins where you can donate clothes. Go to Goodwill (or find layers you don't like)...I ended up getting a 1.99 sweatshirt and 1.99 pants and wore them over my running clothes and put them in designated donation bins scattered around the parking lot. Keeps you warm, helps someone :)

TIP# 4 (THIS ONE I WISH I KNEW)!! when your letter is called you go behind a set of white tents where you can drop off a bag, There are about 30-40 port-a-potties that you LITERALLY can spend 20 minutes waiting on... KEEP WALKING...people then resort to just pieing in the trees/woods...KEEP WALKING.. to your left (beside the corrals ) are usually 5-10 port-a-potties with only 5-6 people in line for. The walk from the parking lot to the corrals usually takes 10-15 minutes So..instead of waiting FOREVER and then running to the corral, just find your corral and then take 5 minutes and do your business...

It was VERY early...but...super excited!

TIP #5- BRING A CAMERA...check. Small point and shoot. EVEN if you don't have anyone running with you. At the princess 1/2 I made some pretty awesome friends because we ran a similar pace and would take turns taking pictures of eachother at the mile markers.

TIP # 6- By this point're in the magic kingdom and have been running for an hour or a little over...Well.. just FYI..this is a really good opportunity for a bathroom break ..There are 3 really close to Cinderellas Castle that are open during the race (if you have a fear of port-a-potties.) 1. in tomorrow land, 2 in Fantasy land (before the Castle) and then one in frontier land. Don't miss Jessie, Tiana, and Buzz Light Year, they all normally hangout around there. PICTURE OP!

Mile 1-5 Were pretty similar to the 1/2 . I kept a slow pace just because I knew slow and steady would give me a chance to have more to give at 13-15 (and I WAS GLAD I did )

Mile 5.5-6...UGH favorite..

(don't mind the corral started almost an hour after the clock started)...The let the corrals go in waves..helps with the traffic

I love that they have characters along the route that you can take pictures with...NOW..just remember..the more famous ones (cinderella..mickey and minnie) have lots of long lines. They are usually fairly quick, but if you're trying to get a decent might try just photo bombing to the side with them behind you (that's what i did sometimes...Not in anyones picture..but..they were in my picture...EX

The line for them was extremely long... but I got a pic without ruining someone else's  or waiting forever in line.

SO...Tip #7- Know what you need and BRING IT
  Ok Ok, I should have learned my lesson after the Princess half, but still didn't. I have an extremely fast metabolism and I usually start loosing energy around mile 8-10 (depending on how fast I'm going )...I took advantage of EVERY water/gatorade stop (which I encourage you to do as well..even if you're not thirsty..I'd rather be looking for a bathroom, tip 7, rather than a first aid tent because i'm dehydrated. I can't remember where every water stop is but they are REALLY good about spreading them out about every 2-4 miles. They also have a choice between Gatorade and around with both before the race so you know WHAT works best for your body. Here is one point I REALLY want to make...They have lots of water stops...but NO food stops..ever. They provide Cliff gel energy shots around Mile 10..or 11. By then..I was about to conk out and grabbed a hand full to keep on my person for the rest of the race. Afterwards I think they had 1 more station but that was it. The shots are amazing and REALLY helped my stamina. I learned that I will now carry one a zipper compartment or zip-lock bag somewhere on me (I hate running with belts..water containers..etc) SO... just forewarning you, If you want something to eat (granola..gel...candy) doesn't come until later on in the race so.. Bring it with you.

HALF MARATHON..yay (after this is when it got rough)... I had trained as far as 20 miles before but it was mile 14 and 15 that were probably the hardest! ...By then.. we were out of the parks and running on the freeway to the entrance of the ESPN Wide World of Sports. This was one of the longest spans of road  ( i felt) that had nothing but long stretches of pavement...not a lot of entertainment...nothing...This was the farthest I've also ran in a race and began hitting the wall. For the first time in the race.. I walked.....I was So worried with hitting the wall now and still having 10+ miles to run...

I was SO excited to see mile 16, I've ran 10 miles before..which mean it's possible to finish..right?! LOL. FYI this complex is HUGE.. we were running around in here until about mile 20-21. CRAZINESS.

This was a turning point for me. In Hawaii we had ran with the running group MANY times on Sunday mornings. Our route was pretty well known and it had a well known turn around that could make it 8.. or 10 miles. I had this route well memorized and every mile we passed we laughed and shouted out where we would be on our route back "home". It was nice to become mentally focused on something rather than "am I done yet? am I done yet?" I thought about the ocean I would be passing.. the trees, kids jumping into the ponds, the sea turtles..etc etc It's a well worn route that I easily can remember each mile.

It was really interesting to run on the baseball field!

After this we turned a corner and came down the mile stone stretch of the 20 Mile Spectacular for the 20th anniversary!

It was pretty awesome!...Ok. only 6.2 Miles to go!!

 We turned a corner and came around to the backside of Disney's Hollywood Studios, the end is in sight!

 He was too cute!
 5k TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Down the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios

 I saw a few of these signs and LOVED THEM :) made me smile!

 Crossing the Disney Boardwalk

 1 more, 1 more!!!!
 Entering EPCOT, Our last park!

 The light is at the end of the tunnel!


OK.. .so...It was done, I had finished my FIRST Full Marathon!!! I was SUPER excited. Total time 5 hours and 45 minutes....honestly, just happy to be done. I walked only 3-4 times for only 5-6 minutes...and kept a steady running pace for the majority of the race. The next part I will never forgot shuttle...
You would think after doing 26.2 miles ... a 1/2 mile walk to the bus would be easy...but my legs were SUPER, SUPER stiff. By the time I made it to the shuttle I was almost in tears, Along with the rest of the people we slowly climbed up the steps and found a seat...we got off at our hotel. Plan of attack, change, shower, eat, relax....sadly we had to be out in 2 hours to catch a bus, to the airport, to catch a shuttle to the greyhound to Jacksonville to visit family that night, like I said..WHIRLWIND of a trip.

 Post Race meal, again.. best thing about the resort, took a shower... had food and a pool ready and waiting.

So..that was pretty much my experience in a nutshell (and a few pictures). It was an amazing experience. VERY, VERY stress free, due to the fact we stayed on the resort and they did everything they could to make it amazing and low key. It was one of the most stress free races I've ever been a part of .

So..TIP #8 Train for your race
One word..... weather. One advantage we had was where we came from. That was a really odd week in Florida. The temperature reached a high of 70-75 during the race and a LOT of people were having problems with the heat. Of course, the last 6 months of my training was in a similar condition where by mile 5-6 into a run it was already 70 degrees and you just learned to deal with it. We met some runners from Delaware and other New England states that had a HORRIBLE time with the weather. They were used to training inside or with 30-40 degree temperatures.My suggestion (IF YOU CAN)...get there a few days early (possibly Tuesday/Wed) and run around in the area. Florida is VERY humid ( a storm can pop up and leave in about 15-20 minutes) the weather can be unpredictable. The race did have a sponge/water station that a LOT of people were using so..they are aware of the weather and will help accordingly.

ALSO...Since I ran the Princess half the year before, I knew the terrain was pretty flat (there were 2-3 inclines the whole race) so, during my training I didn't shy away from hills. It made the course seem very, very easy...again..if you can, spice up your training with some hills, it'll make you appreciate the flat course.

   When you register for the race you are asked to put down the pace you intend to keep through out the race. They have a stipulation where you are subject to be pulled from the race if you run slower than a 16:00 minute pace. I've actually never seen anyone be pulled but, I've also never been in the very back So? I'm not 100% sure how much they keep to that threat...ANYWAYS. I registered with a time of 13:30 and was labeled in Corral G (out of H). At the beginning of the race I realized how bad of an estimate I gave. By the time the race came I had quickened by pace up to a 12 minute pace ( the extra minute was added due to 3-4 bathroom breaks and the picture stops) ..The first hour of the race was spent running around walkers..It was crazy! It was really hard not to run into anyone or trip over anyone...So.. be mindful of your pace when registering. I ended up finishing with a lot of people from corral D and E.

   AGAIN ....this is a FUN RACE...SO many people dress up! I saw Tinkerbell, Tutu's, Buzz Light Year and many, many more costumes. This day is your day to be a runner and a kid all at the same time! When I hit the wall I started shouting each mile number we passed.. "MILE 16!!!!...MILE 17!!"..I got some dirty looks..but I didn't care, it helped me get passed that bad moment and laugh at myself.

  Ok,'s not like the Marine Corps Marathon ( I had the pleasure of having a count down alarm to register for that race. It sold out in 2 hours in 27 minutes..I GOT IN!) It doesn't sell out extremely quick. However, the prices only increase. It's not a cheap race so I would go ahead, make the commitment and register. I believe they've already released the info for the 2014 race (and added yet ANOTHER RACE!)

Overview of the race....2 thumbs up. If you're a novice marathoner..or ran only 1 or 2 other marathons, this one will be PERFECT...I'm not very fast ( I run about 11-12 minute mile pace in Marathons) This is really more a fun run. If you're a Disney Fanatic (like me) this is a great race

- Fun course
- Lots of entertainment
         - Music, Disney Characters, Local companies entertainers, crowds
- Great Disney Medal
- Easy course
- Feels like your a kid again
 - You are treated like a star
- Warm weather

- Entry fee
- Travel expenses
- crowd of runners (there were over 50,000 runners that weekend (5K, Half, and Full).. After spending a full day in a park and half a day elbow to elbow with runners.. I was ready for a break.

If you have any questions feel free to post, I will comment as quickly as I can!


  1. Do you recommend staying at a Disney resort? Or staying at a nearby hotel?

    1. Caitlin,
      Thanks for reading!

      YES, YES, and YES. I am extremely OCD about getting to races on time. Our first marathon was a disaster because there were so many people trying to get to the race, many people had to run 1-2 miles to get to the starting point of the race. (not disney)

      ANYWAY, I did LOTS of research. My siuation was that I was in the middle of moving back from Hawaii and I was flying to Orlando without my car. SO... I was going to have to add a rental car price on TOP of staying at a hotel ( I usually stay at very low budget hotels). I think with those two items total, staying at a low budget Disney resort was going to be a little cheaper, hence why I went with them.

      The all star music, sports, and movie resorts are considered their "Low budget" resorts but.. are just as good quality as the others. THE BEST thing about staying at the resort was that they provided FREE shuttle to and from the airport as well as to the race expo and race day starting line. My resort's cafe had a spaghetti dinner the day before the race as well as a breakfast that started at 3 that morning ( you want to start leaving for the starting line around 3:30-4 am. )

      Normally getting to and from the race stresses me out more than the race itself. Because I stayed at the resort I had an extremely stress free weekend!.. not to mention I had a pool to cool my legs in after I finished.

      I would HIGHLY recommend it! early...

      good luck!

    2. Good to know! My boyfriend and I actually just signed up for the full marathon today! I am happy to say it's official and I will be running my first ever full marathon at Disney :) Did you do any of the parks when you went? If so, do you recommend going to the parks before or after race day?

  2. Caitlin,
    CONGRATS!! It's an AMAZING RACE! We weren't originally planning on going because we flew around 22 hours just to get to Orlando...but then a friend of mine who works at WDW gets comp tickets and gave us 2 ...I think you can go..but If you' going to be there Fri-sat-sun, you should plan to go Fri...hang around the resort on Saturday, go to Downtown disney for a while, and then go back and rest. We actually did everything you SHOULDNT do before race day LOL..we arrived Friday morning ..slept, did downtown disney.. then did the parks on saturday. We didn't get back to our hotel and in bed till Midnight and then was up 2 hours later getting ready for the race..(BAD IDEA) but adrenaline carried us through. Just to be warn, it's a long day at the parks BUT if you're wanting to go, even with all the people there for the race the parks are extremely empty. We only waited about 25-45 min for each ride and got to see tons f characters. My friend said Jan-Feb is one of their slowest times of the year even with the races.. so..Go friday if you can

    good luck!

  3. I'm so glad I found this blog. Do you have any other links for tips or advice about teh race? I'm signed up to do the marathon (my first full). I've done 3 half marathons in Ohio (where I'm from). I'm really nervous aobut the pacing thing...I really want to finish and I'm afraid they'll kick me off! My time is usually around 14 for the last 2 halfs I did. Any tips or advice you can give would be hefpful...Thanks!

    1. Hey there! So sorry I didn't respond very quick. OH WOW, i'm So glad you decided to do this race, it was SO MUCH FUN! It's THE BEST marathon to do for an introduction to marathons. Honestly I think you should be fine. There was a lady who speed walked the whole thing. I was worried about the "sweepers" and I never saw them. Apperently they are ladies who wear balloons in the very back. The only thing is you can't get caught up and try to stand in line with every character. One thing I learned to do is just stand to the side of the busy ones and take a selfie. Of course the main ones are going to be extremely busy, so just pick 1 or 2 you want to take real pics with.

      I recently posted a ton of info on training plans, feel free to check that out and thanks for reading/commenting on my blog!

      if you an any other questions, feel free to ask!