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2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap Part 3

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The Recovery and Takeaways

If you missed my 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap Part 1 or Part 2 (geesh- is this a Star Wars trilogy or something?) you can go back and catch up on my mental issues HERE and my finish HERE.

While the first two posts cover how I felt during the race, this is what I observed, learned, and felt after the race.

Characters on the Course


Pictures!  The thing that makes a runDisney event different than all others.  I’ve put together a combination of my pictures and pictures donated by friends in my group of Firsties (First Time Marathoners at WDW).

I’ve known this for years based on internet observations, but runDisney brings out the unique and A-list characters for the Marathon.  There are good characters at the other races, sure, but if you want to see some that aren’t often found in the parks, run the Marathon.

Thanks to Jane, Christine, Katie, Rachel and JJ for all the help in putting these together!

These are not 100% in correct order, but they are in a general order of encounter on the course.

Light-up Mike Wazowski puppet

Hot Air Balloon

Stilt Walkers, Marching Bands

Chicken Little & the Ugly Duckling

chicken marathon

Jack and Sally

Wreck it Ralph and Vanelope

Stitch, Lilo

lilo marathon

Alice, White Rabbit

Sebastian, Little Mermaid


Cosworth, Lumiere

Lumiere marathon

Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff (and snow!)

Frozen marathon

Country Bears

Brer Fox and Brer Bear

brer marathon

Maleficent Dragon Float

dragon marathon

Walt Disney World Railroad

April Train marathon

Mary Poppins, Bert, Penguins

Golfing Donald

Haunted Mansion Grave Yard

marathon grave

Snow White Hag

Hag marathon



hades marathon

Shan Yu from Mulan

Animals from Animal Kingdom (donkey, rabbit, tortoise, pig, vulture, snake)

Vultures Marathon

Ha! Brilliant

Baloo, King Louie


Captain Jack and Barbosa

Soccer Mickey

Football Goofy

Football Goofy marathon

Referee Chip and Dale

Baseball Donald

Army Men

Sully & Mike

sully mike marathon

George or Boo



wdw marathon 26 Genie

Fairy Godmother


Snow White

Gospel Choir

Sporty Fab 5 at the Finish

Food, Drink & Medical


We did not need a water belt or hydration pack on this course.

Yes, even with the temps and humidity, I felt there was ample hydration offered.

I haven’t confirmed on the event guide, but my impression was hydration every 1.5-2 miles of the course.  Water and Powerade were offered.

water stop 13

The food was plentiful too.

Unofficially, friends and random strangers had you covered!  I ate throughout the course and never bonked or crashed due to poor fueling.  You had a banana waving at me?  I took it.

banana marathon

I probably over-ate due to nerves, but I didn’t have any negative side effects from it, so it turned out ok for me.

The oranges in Wide World of Sports were phenomenal. This was a spectator cheer stop, and I wanted to kiss her for it!

Officially there were two banana stops and a chocolate stop that I remember. I also had two Honey Stinger Waffles on me and picked up more from Bonnie at Animal Kingdom.  I didn’t need all of them thanks to everything else I found to eat.

chocolate marathon

Dove dark chocolate at mile 22.5 HEAVENLY

I stopped for Biofreeze a couple of times on the Osceola/Wide World of Sports stretch.

Medical tents were getting people in and out as fast and safely as they could.  I didn’t feel I was looking for one for long when I wanted to stop in.

A+ for runDisney on course support!



You guys were amazing.  We saw some at the start, but waaayyy across the other side of the highway.

The next big push was, of course, Main Street.  Which was louder and more packed than any race I’ve ever seen!  Every park had a great cheering section, and I loved seeing so many families out supporting their athletes.

How about those race signs?!  You brought some good ones with you!

Kylo marathon

You KNOW how I feel about a Hey Girl!

You KNOW how I feel about a Hey Girl!

THE most important sign EVER.

THE most important sign EVER.

You won the Marathon! Oh, wait... I apologize...

You won the Marathon! Oh, wait… I apologize…

Annnddd... tears. Nailed it.

Annnddd… tears. Nailed it.



I felt ok.  Not great, not awesome, but ok.  And I was oh so thankful for that!

Directly after the race, I had a spa appointment (um, thank you for the gift, friend!).  I soaked in a hot tub, I had my legs, back and feet massaged.  I was in heaven.

I left this marathon with very few issues.  Getting out of bed for the next three days was a challenge, but after I was up and moving my legs were good.  One small blister that didn’t bother me during the race (thank goodness!) and minimal chafing in parts I don’t need to mention here. #FamilyBlog

Protip: if you are prone to chafing or blistering, Rock Tape/KT Tape is your friend.  I taped places I’d never thought to tape before and made out pretty well overall. Winning!

From my Facebook post: I whined about hauling my 49.8 lb suitcase up the stairs. Said maybe I should make my oldest son do it for me. Wahhhhhh My 10-year-old daughter pipes up: "Girl, you just ran 26 miles. You can do ANYTHING." And that's why I ran on Sunday. #formykids #betheexample Ps- I need packing classes because 49.8 lbs for a 4 day trip? Redonkulousness.

From my Facebook post:I whined about hauling my 49.8 lb suitcase up the stairs. Said maybe I should make my oldest son do it for me. Wahhhhhh  My 10-year-old daughter pipes up: “Girl, you just ran 26 miles. You can do ANYTHING.” And that’s why I ran on Sunday. #formykids #betheexample Ps- I need packing classes because 49.8 lbs for a four-day trip? Redonkulousness.

I did not have a problem navigating stairs after the race or even the next day.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t LOVE them, but I wasn’t in major pain, and that was a lovely surprise.

When I got home, I even managed to haul my 49.8-pound suitcase up the stairs like a boss. After a reminder from my daughter that I ROCK.

I was, however, TIRED.  So, so, soooo tired.  I’m still tired.  It’s an exhausting event to take on, and following Marathon with a trip to Disneyland for Star Wars was tough on me.  I mentioned before how I need sleep, right?  I learned that I needed LOTS of sleep after a marathon.



This is mental.  You hear it from everyone, but for me, that’s the cold hard truth.  While physically I was able and capable of completing the miles, my mental problems put me in jeopardy early on.

I hated running while I was running.  For most of this race, I was trying to figure out how I could make plans to cancel the Star Wars Rebel Challenge (happening six days later), defer the Princess Half Marathon (in February) and forget about the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge (in April).

I was DONE with running and could not wrap my head around doing this again- even if it was “only” half the miles.

Physically I am thankful that I had few real issues.  I was simply slower than I wanted to be, and think there were a few things that played into that slowdown.

Will I do another marathon?  


Yeah.  I’ll do another one.  I’m not 100% sure when, but I will admit that I’ve got my eye on 2018 at Walt Disney World.  And Yanni keeps reminding me that she has the screen shots of our conversation to prove it. Bahahahaha.

Right now I cannot fathom planning to run this in 2017, but who knows, that could change.

I said I wasn’t running THIS one, remember?  lol

What will I do differently?  

Can I say- everything?  And nothing?  Because the answer is a little of both.

I will do extra mental preparation. I winged it this time around, and while it sorta kinda worked out for me (not really- not really at all!), maybe it wasn’t the best plan. /sarcasm

I will plan to finish closer to the 7-hour mark. While I’m not exactly ashamed of my time, it’s not something I want emblazoned on my Twitter profile. Ha.

I hesitate using hard numbers when I talk about races because, hey, things happen.  I know that’s not a typical runner mentality, but as I’ve shared, mentally I’m a different kind of runner.  Things are changing though.  I’m coming around, I think (more on that with Star Wars recap!).

I know the feeling of accomplishing these miles closer to 7-hours would be incredible.  And I’d be down with shooting for that goal in the future.

I’ll cross train more and work on speed a bit.  Don’t get crazy; I’m not hoping to shave off hours from this time.  But if I train at closer to 15-minute miles, I’ll feel better going into this distance about the Balloon Ladies.

I’ll ride Everest.

I’ll skip cheering the day before.  I think being on my feet for 3 hours may have added some unnecessary fatigue to my life.

I’ll beg Yanni and John to run with me again.  Because I lurve them hard.

Yanni John

With friends like this by my side, I can do anything.

Do I think YOU should run a marathon?




How’s that for an answer?

Let’s put it this way: I believe it’s an achievable distance.  Depending on your mental will to do this and physical ability to train, YES, you can do a marathon.  And I highly recommend the Walt Disney World Marathon for a solid first time experience.  The course is mostly flat and as I’ve mentioned comes with many amenities.  I did mention the margarita at mile 26, right?

Do I think every runner “must do one” to prove they are legit?  Nope.

Did it change my life?  Mmmmm… sorta.  But it doesn’t mean it will change yours.

Was it hard?

OMFGAAAAWWWDDDD yes.  So I’ll leave you with that.  😉

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Sunday 7th of February 2016

I've been waiting for this recap and it was sooooo worth it! Congratulations!!! Your time is amazing and something you should be proud of - there aren't many athletes who can push themselves at their personal limit for over 7 hours. And the distance is an incredible achievement, regardless of how long it takes. I've run 2 half marathons and can't imagine running a full - the only thing I wanted to do after 21.1km was have a nap, not run another 21.1!!!

I hope you're still smiling every time you pass your medal and sharing the story as far and wide as possible. Well done :)


Sunday 7th of February 2016

Thank you for the kind words! I am so in love with that medal and what it symbolizes. It was a challenge to say the least!


Wednesday 27th of January 2016

I loved your race report! Congratulations on your very first marathon. I did my first marathon at Disney as part of the Goofy challenge back in 2008. My legs were trashed by the half way point so I wound up walking the second half. Thanks to all of the characters and the amazing volunteers it was possible to still have fun even though it was incredibly hard.

You earned that bling and that margarita must have tasted amazing!!


Wednesday 27th of January 2016

Thank you Leana! I am in awe of you Goofy and the Dopey runners. The full on it's own was tough enough. Major props to you as well!


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

<3 <3 <3

You're a rockstar and an inspiration!


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

Big congrats on the marathon! I'm one of those in that nope nope nope camp, until I can fix everything in my legs and come back stronger. I always love seeing the marathoners finishing with adult beverage from World Showcase. I'd pick up an orange slushie from France.


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

That was my second choice! :)


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

Congratulations! I've been reading tons of marathon recaps the past few days and this has been my favorite. I volunteered this year and I'm about 95% sure I'm going to sign up for 2018 for my first. I'm a mid-to-back of the packer and I could so relate to your feelings and thoughts during this race. Thank you for your honesty. Even though I know it's going to be hard, I'm kind of excited to take on the challenge. And I'm totally going to get a margarita on my victory lap :)


Tuesday 26th of January 2016

It's a huge challenge and so worth it! Even though I was a mess I don't regret this experience in any way! Good luck- and thank you for volunteering!