In Which I Did Everything Wrong And Still Turned Out Fine: The Walt Disney World Marathon

So, I owe you guys a bit of an update after going MIA for so long.

Back in October I started rehearsals for a show in London. My very first week of rehearsals, between the running and dancing, I lost 8 pounds. In five days. On an already small frame. I immediately came down with a cold that I’m convinced had everything to do with how much sweating I was doing.
So, I decided to forgo the long miles while we were in rehearsals. Doing the Fezziwig Jig sixteen times in a row in a stuffy rehearsal space would maintain my endurance until we started the run.

But then we started the run. The show was a tour of the UK, ending in a three week run in London’s West End. Because it was a Christmas show, and only playing for two and a half months, we didn’t have the luxury of spending a week in each venue. We might spend the whole day in the tour bus, arrive just in time to get ready for the show, go to bed, and get up first thing in the morning in time to drive to the next venue. When I did have more than one night in a venue, I chose to relax and enjoy a lie in. I felt guilty, but did it all the same. All-in-all, on tour I only did one run (on the beach, in Whitley Bay, which felt great), swearing to myself that I’d get back in the swing of things once we were settled back in London.

Did I? Fuck. Once back in London, I had until Christmas Eve to move out of my flat and plan to host Christmas dinner for the first time with my boyfriend. All whilst still doing the show every night, as well as most afternoons, as there were added matinees and a Christmas Eve concert in the days leading up to Christmas Day. After Christmas had passed and I had moved out of my flat, I could have gone for a run, but I had already built up a two month routine of sleeping in and being lazy with my partner instead of getting up and doing work, so, of course, I did nothing of the sort.

I moved back to the US a week before my race. Surely I would try to fit in a few laps around the block then? Nope.

A mere three or four days before my race, I decided I wanted to practice running in the (new) leggings and sports bra I’d bought to run in. The tutu and skirt were still yet to be constructed, so I’d have to run the marathon in a costume I’d never run in before.

I searched every box and suitcase I’d brought from the UK and my running shoes were nowhere to be seen. Then I remembered. I knew exactly where they were. They were sitting by my boyfriend’s bed in his house in London. I had left them out of the boxes, intending to put them in my carryon, and I must have forgotten to do so.

Panicked, I drove to the running store and asked if they had my shoes. They didn’t, but they sold me the nearest thing. Did I take them home and break them in and practice running in them? Of course not!

The day before the race, I wore flip flops. We got to Walt Disney World at mid-day and walked around for about eight hours. My feet and calves were aching. I had blisters from the rubber straps on my flip flops. I knew that none of this would not bode well for the next day, but I wanted to tour and have fun.

The morning of the race, I woke up at 3:00 am. I went to the bathroom and had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why did I sign up to this? What was I thinking? Was I going to finish? Would they sweep me because I’m too slow from not training for months? Would I give up?

I ran a marathon on almost no training, in a costume I’d never worn, in shoes I’ve never worn, on tired feet… And I finished in exactly 6:30 hrs… And I never stopped smiling the entire time.

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First thing in the morning, before the race. You can see how apprehensive I am.

The Walt Disney World Marathon was an amazing experience. In spite of all of the odds stacked against me, I enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t say for sure if I would have had the same success in another marathon. I think the magic of Disney kept me going!

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Disney pose!

I had decided even before I signed up last April that, being that this was my first race, and it was a DISNEY race, I was not going to run it for time. I was going to stop and take lots of pictures and enjoy the en route entertainment. Which is exactly what I did.

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Slowing down to take some of my many pictures and videos…

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Just coming up to the halfway mark, I was exiting Animal Kingdom as the park was opening when I hear “Amanda!” I turned to see my parents! Apparently, when making up their minds on which park they’d do first, they just decided to get on the first bus that stopped by their resort bus stop, which happened to be Animal Kingdom! They arrived at the entrance, just as I was running through!

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Waving at my parents

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At mile 20, I was thinking “This is fun, but I think I’m more of a Half girl. I don’t think I’ll do a Full Marathon again…” An hour after the race I was trying to figure out how I’m going to afford running both the 2015 Marathon and Princess Half a month later! (And what year should I dedicate to trying the Dopey?!) The whole experience was phenomenal. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a Disney vacation!

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When you finish a Disney race, and walk around the parks wearing your medal(s), the Disney Cast Members make you feel like a friggin boss. Everyone congratulates you everywhere you go. You get into conversations with other runners on the Disney buses and swap war stories (one guy saw a girl pass out at the 26 mile marker! Out cold .2 miles before the finish!!) and well wishes. It’s such an awesome feeling that I can’t imagine getting from any other race!

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Now I’m addicted to Disney running. See you in 2015!

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You can still donate to my cause until April! Just follow this link.

Xx

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