I can. I will. I am a marathoner.
As cheezey as that sounds, it was my mantra during training when my I was having trouble. When I needed to zone out and forget my self-doubt, I repeated that over and over. When I saw that I had 3 miles left to go, I couldn’t believe it was going to come true.
We had done a lot of running on empty boring roads, but Disney folks made it so that the final 3 miles were very densely packed with spectators – going through Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk, and finally Epcot. Also, my favorite part was running through the fake New York City studio backlot of Hollywood Studios. Hearing the continuous lines of spectators during the final miles really helped boost my spirits. I also want to say that I am so grateful for my 6-hour friendship with the people around me. Whereas I could not get any words out of my mouth, these people were very kind to each other, chatting everyone up and offering encouragement to anyone that needed it. They were also looking around or looking back to make sure I was still there. I hope I can one day be relaxed and not so focused on myself that I can do the same for someone else.
According to my data, my final mile was my fastest so I was happy after knowing that. I can’t remember much else about the final miles. I don’t remember anything in Epcot, except quickly seeing Mulan and Jasmine and giving them a quick wave. Oh, and I remember that my hands were very swollen and it felt weird to make a first.
Finally, I was running into the chute and it felt like the shortest chute I had ever been in. My sister and niece were in the bleachers (I was surprised they got in there without buying a “chear” package) but they didn’t see me. I high-fived Donald Duck and and BAM. IT WAS OVER.
I completed the course in 6:01, just past my goal time of 6:00 and way past my “reach” time of 5:45.
(It took me a minute to stop the clock)
But guess what? All of my zig-zagging and weaving through the intensely thick crowds added an entire mile to my distance:
So in reality:
Yeah! I’ll take it!
After I finished, I was totally disoriented and discombobulated. I wandered a little bit, not knowing what to do with myself except gulp down as much water as I could, while trying to juggle the space blanket, two bottles, my phone, and a bag of ice. At one point I considered asking a med person to take my blood pressure because I have a history of it dropping too low and I didn’t want to pass out. Thinking back on it I truly think my brain was too fuzzy to even have enough common sense to do seek help. My husband and friends who had signed up for live runner tracking were texting me congrats but I couldn’t function enough to respond. It truly took me a good 15-20 minutes before I had half a brain. I’m glad that my sister texted me “Meet me at the info booth” because I didn’t have the capacity to say “I am at X, meet me there.” That’s something I didn’t consider!
The day before, I mentioned that I needed to eat as soon as I finished and I would rather have real food than consuming the entire snack box. She met me with some pizza! It nice to eat something chewy and salty after having only sweet things while running. What a sis.
After I met up with them, I ate one slice of pizza and that was all I wanted. There seemed to be a fun after party scene with food trucks, music on stage, beer and champagne. Looking back, I wish I had the energy to stay and bask in the glory a little but I think I was really mentally drained. We went back to the hotel and I decided I would attempt an ice bath, which I never did before. I could only manage to get my feet in, and I think it helped the swelling in my feet go down faster. After some of the the ice melted, I finally got my legs in but I don’t think it made me any less sore the next day. After the best shower in the world, I laid by the pool and dozed.
I am incredibly amazed that I completed a marathon even if it was very slow. I never thought my body could do it.
The big question everyone asks me is: Will you do another marathon?
I’m not saying never! I’m not rushing to sign up for another one. I don’t even want to think about it right now. But on the other hand, I feel like I could have done better! I know that I am capable of better! If I go by what the Nike app and Garmin told me, it would say that I completed 26.2 miles in 5:50 ish, which I would be very happy about considering my half marathon PR was 2:49. A part of me wants to prove that I could have done better with fewer people but… the only person I’m proving it to is myself so there’s no rush.