2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap - Part 1

It’s taken a little while, but I’ve finally gotten around to finishing up my race report over the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. There’s a lot to write!

I had run the WDW Marathon the previous year (my first marathon ever, actually), but this year was to be my first year doing the Goofy Challenge. This weekend had firsts for my wife as she was running
her first marathon, so there was a lot of anticipation.

Part 1

Prep Before the Trip
As with any runner, the anticipation for a race is not unlike a child asking if it’s Christmas yet on December 1st.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into training and when it’s time to pack, things get very real very fast.  I felt like I had a good amount of training going in, but life, as it does, had gotten in the way. Here’s the part in every running blog where people say, “I should have done more training, but yada yada yada, blah blah blah…” At any rate, it was time to head down to Florida and I was feeling good.

I particularly felt like a good husband as this being my wife’s first marathon, I thought I would surprise her by getting her friends and family to record messages of encouragement for her and then secretly putting them on her marathon playlist. That way, when she ran she would hear loved ones telling her what an awesome job she was doing. Needless to say it worked like a charm and she was completely surprised on her run. Success!

I was leaving a few days early as I was selected to participate in the WDW Marathon Meetup on Friday morning at Disney/MGM (I’m old school) Studios and couldn’t wait for the experience.

Marathon Meetup
Friday morning came and I headed out to the Studios. Going there is always a little bittersweet for me since I spent the majority of my Disney tenure at the Great Movie Ride, so it’s always nice to come home. 

This was my second meetup, the first being the Wine & Dine Half Meetup in November, so I saw some familiar faces and friends like Jenn (eatsleeprundisney.com) and Stephanie (fundulidae.blogspot.com) as well as some of the ROTE gang (runningoftheears.com). It was early, but more unsetting-ly, it was warm (a precursor to the weekend).

This time around, instead of nice RunDisney tech shirts, we received white cotton (cotton?) 20th Anniversary tees. I guess it makes sense since there were about 80 participants this time (more than usual). 


As we got settled, RunDisney’s Bob Hitchcock told us there were going to be some surprises in store during the morning (and they were awesome), but first we were going to go on a quick 2.5 mile run around the park. We could go with 7-time Marathon winner, Adriano Bastos and Bob, or opt for the run/walk with Jeff Galloway.  I opted to run with Adriano and Bob as I wanted to get a good run in my new custom made Adidas Adios, labeled  with “Goofy ‘13” and in the Goofy Challenge colors. Yes, they are quite badass.

Don't hate.

That blur of awesome on the right of Adriano is me.

Quick stop to meet Buzz & Woody.
A handful of us ran at a pretty good clip (Steph and I hung in there with Adriano), but still at a conversational pace. We ran all through the Studios, which made it feel like I was back in my Production Coordinator days racing around the park during SuperSoap weekend. We ended up in the Lights, Motor, Action Theatre where they had breakfast for us which was a nice touch.

I took my seat in the stands and started a conversation with the folks next to me who turned out to be the sisters from TwinsRun on Twitter, which was funny since we all followed each other on Twitter (small world!).

After the Galloway team arrived, we all took our seats and Bob introduced us to a treasure trove of running legends, and if you are any bit of a runner, you knew this was running nirvana. Of course, we all knew runDisney ambassador, Jeff Galloway, but then Disney took it up a notch:  The first women’s Olympic marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson, New York and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, Dick Beardsley, Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso and Olympian Desi Davila. Wow, what a group! We had a great Q&A with me asking Bart Yasso about Yasso 800’s. His reply, “Don’t ever have a workout named after you.”

Quite a group

Jeff Galloway
The group session was rounded out by Joey Fatone from N’SNYC, which wasn’t really a big deal (since we were in performing arts together in high school); football MVP Eddie Mason; and actor/comedian Drew Carey. Drew was pretty inspirational about how he chose running to lose weight (as well as some tricks if we ever make it on the The Price is Right).
Drew Carey
If you play Plinko start in the middle

Eddie Mason

Joey Fatone

We also heard from the marketing folks at New Balance as this year announced their strategic partnership with Disney and they had developed runDisney-specific 890 series shoes. They sold 1,000 pairs in 4 hours so there’s something to be said about that.
RunDisney New Balance

New Shoes!

After a few pictures with the running legends, characters and friends I headed out to the airport to pick up my wife and check into our favorite resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and then head out to the expo.

Bart Yasso and Dick Beardsley
Joanie Benoit-Samuelson
You seen my shoes, man?

I love the Wilderness Lodge! Wilderness Lodge is our go-to when not staying with family in Orlando.
I love how it’s so close to the Magic Kingdom, but really tucked away making you feel like you are out in the wilderness. We were upgraded to a Courtyard view (I usually pick the Woods view as it’s quieter, but it was pretty quiet in our room so no worries.) But, the one caveat to the upgrade, we had bunk beds! Granted, there was also a queen-sized bed,  I did take a nap in the top bunk and it was surprisingly comfortable. My wife’s folks set up their 5th wheel at Fort Wilderness for the week, so we were just a quick boat ride away, which was nice. 

Bunk Beds? Cool!
Can't go wrong with this place
So, with all family members together we ate a hearty dinner and I slipped away to get to bed as tomorrow would start my agonizing 39.3 mile weekend.

End of Part 1