2013 WDW Marathon and Goofy Challenge Recap

The goal of my 4th Goofy Challenge and 5thWalt Disney World Marathon was to finish.  My goal of any marathon is always to finish in the upright position without injury.  However, I had in my head & heart that I wanted to finish this marathon with a time less than 5 hours (because I had done it twice before – Goofy 2011, 2012).  Unfortunately, the weather called for race temps to be in the 80’s and being from the Northeast, I was not accustomed to running in such hot weather in January.  The last four Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends we had seen all types of weather from temps in the 70’s (2009) to 30’s with sleet and snow (miserable 2010) and then perfect running weather in 2011 & 2012.

We were beginning the Marathon journey with my running gals, Alison & Janice, and their daughters Becca and Dani – both running their very first marathons.  Janice was running her first Goofy and Alison and I were the Disney veterans.  You can tell from our faces that we knew it was going to be a tough day.
Our games plans were set.  Alison was going to stay and run with Dani and Janice with Becca.  I was going to ditch them at the start and focus on Goofy to finish with a time of under 5 hours.  I was going to follow Jeff Galloway’s run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds race plan, but I was going to slow my pace down by 30 seconds and run a 11:30 min/mile pace the first 10 miles of the race.  At the 5M Split I was a little over goal with a 11:36 min/mile pace and an Estimated Finish Time of 5:04:02.  This was good news and totally doable to knock off 4 minutes on my time with another 21.2 miles to go!
Apparently, I suffered from short-term memory loss and had learned NOTHING from the ½ marathon the day prior.  It was beginning to get hot and once I hit mile 10 and the sun was beginning to rise, I saw my 10M Split of 2:05:43 and a pace of 12:34 min/mile with an estimated finish time: 5:29:36 and threw “my race plan” out the window.  I decided that I was going to have fun.  Yes, that’s right – fun during a marathon.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but in the Magical World of Disney, yes, that actually can be a reality.
I had run 4 previous WDW Marathons and I had never stopped for photos with the characters.  I had never really experienced a Disney race the way it is supposed to be experienced!  What a shame.  As soon as I began standing in the lines for the characters is when I really began to have fun!  This was one of my personal worst finishes for a marathon (only 1 other was worst and at that one it was 90’s degrees and we were running up mountains), but it was the most enjoyable Marathon experiences that I’ve ever had!
Once I realized that I was not going to finish under 5-hrs I loosened up and lived in the moment!  I stood in lines of 10+ runners at the character stops – ALL THE CHARACTER STOPS!
I rode a roller-coaster during a marathon!!!  Expedition Everest was set to open in 5 minutes when I ran through Animal Kingdom.  Why not wait and ride it?!!  What’s another 5 minutes to your time when you can enjoy one of the best rides on property!
Adding all those stops slowed my time down, but then I caught back up with my friends Alison and Dani at mile 14!!  
So what I learned from 2013’s WDW Marathon and Goofy’s Challenge is that maybe you really shouldn’t think about earning a PR during a runDisney race.  Maybe you should just focus on the runDisney fun and save “racing” for a non-Disney event.
I will have to keep that in mind when I run the Princess Half Marathon February 24th!

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