So -- after months and hundreds of miles of training, the race is finally here!! The start was at 5:30 am but with all of the roads being shut down and so many people trying to get to the starting area, we were nervous that we would be stuck in traffic so we took the 3:30 am shuttle like they recommended. We got up at 2:30, showered, had a little to eat and drink, got dressed and headed out from the hotel. There were lots of other people on our same timeline so once we left the hotel room it didn't seem so crazy to be up so early!
We got to the Epcot parking lot with plenty of time spare - hours in fact since it only took us about 20 minutes to get there! It was pretty cold - I would definitely bring old sweatpants and sweatshirt to ditch next time. Thank goodness we had long sleeved shirts at least!!
We got into our corral at about 5:00 and waited for the start at 5:30. Since we were in the very last corral, it took us an HOUR to cross the starting line. Once we got up there it got more fun and once that gun went off it was ON!!
Brendan ran with me for about 20 feet before saying goodbye and speeding on ahead! I was pretty sure my IT band wasn't going to be able to hold up for 26 miles so I was going to try to go slow and extend the life of my IT band. The first few miles felt pretty great! The sun came up - evidently - sometime before I hit the Magic Kingdom at mile 5. I wasn't really paying attention - there was so much to look at! Lots of bands, music and characters along the side of the road.
Running through the Magic Kingdom was fantastic! Running back through the castle was great - Anna, Elsa and Kristophe were waving from the balcony and it was snowing inside the tunnel!!! It was nice to get a fun little boost even that early on! I took another picture at mile 7 - that was farther than I had been able to run since November so I thought I would get a picture! Any distance of running beyond that was a bonus!!
I wasn't too surprised when my IT band started hurting right at mile 8 - I wonder if I would have been able to go a little farther without pain if we hadn't had a really steep downhill and then uphill into the car racing track. At any rate - that was when I started walking - probably about 1 hour and 50 minutes in. Up until that point I wasn't making great time but as well as I had expected with the knee issues. The next 18 miles were not going to be a picnic.
From 10 miles to about 20 is kind of a blur - I wasn't in any pain with my knee when I walked which was good but I couldn't run without excruciating pain - which was bad. I hit mile 20 at 5 hour and 15 minutes. It was very convenient to start 1 hour behind the clock - it made calculating my times a breeze!! Mile 23 was 45 minutes later but it took me an hour to go the last 3 miles. We ran by our hotel and Brendan was waiting for me - he had already finished, showered, and eaten something. I was starving and couldn't stand the idea of another gel. It was so nice to see him and get a hug - it made a big difference in the last few miles!! By mile 24, my other knee was really starting to bother me and at mile 25 - just heading back into Epcot, I could barely put any weight on it. That last mile took me 20 minutes - no wonder it felt like forever!! I did manage to run the last 100 yards across the finish line - it was so incredibly painful but worth every step! I finished under 7 hours which was my goal! After months of not being able to train and having my longest run be 15 miles - 4 months before the marathon - I was happy to just finish. Hopefully next time, I'll be able to train correctly and set another PR!
Thank goodness the med tent was right after the finish line. I hobbled over and a lovely woman wrapped ice packs on both of my knees! I got my medal, some food and limped over to the bus to head back to the hotel.
A shower, a little bit of rest and a new pair of compression socks and we were on our way to dinner. We were both starving!!!!
Waiting to head to the corrals!