Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 Disney Marathon Race Report

Tardy on this race report, but friends and family on an Orlando vacation trump the recap any day. So here it is...

Among runners, I wonder sometimes if I'm abnormal in that I don't enjoy running multiple marathons per year. In 2009, it was NJ and NYC. This past year, even though the Disney is in 2011, I consider it in the same year I did Boston since almost all the training was in 2010. This is an important consideration for me because I've realized that in doing two marathons per year the last two years, I've never performed well and consequently never fully enjoyed the second race. My Disney finish time was 3:18:52.

Training for this marathon was not quite as minimal as last year's NYC. I was just hoping to continue my string of PR's on minimal training. It's in my blood to be optimistic.

The race had an announced 17000 participants, but didn't felt like it was more than that. Race morning was nice and cold. I gave my wife my one long sleeve to help keep me warm, so thank goodness for the crowd to provide general warmth during the half-mile walk to the starting corrals from the check-in area.

After a few interviews of runners doing the Goofy challenge and other runners dressed in their favorite characters, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy sent us on our way at around 5:38 AM. I positioned myself all the way in the back of corral A to ensure a slower start. My wife, by the way, was dressed as Minnie Mouse, and being the actress that she is, she was true to her character throughout the race.

The best part about the course was running through the parks, particularly Magic Kingdom. I approached the Cinderella castle just before dawn, and the combination of the sunrise and the castle lighting was, dare I say, "magical." Besides that, the course itself was flat and rather uninteresting. Lots of highway and backroad running, including running by a sewer processing area. I'm thankful for the many Disney characters interspersed along the way between the parks to keep us entertained. I saw a couple of runners pull over to take pictures with some of the belles. The longest empty stretch was between the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, so I chatted with a few other runners.

Strategy wise, mine was pretty straightforward. Go out slow the first few miles, make up the time in the middle, and give whatever I had left the remaining 10k. My finish time was reflective of the training I put into it. I was hoping for a 3:15, but I think not enough training, over-indulgent holiday season and the all-day amusement park outing the day before the race ultimately did me in. All along, I saw this marathon as something fun to do in support of my wife and my best friend doing his first marathon. They both smashed their race goals. In the end, with the usual body pains of a marathon, I lamented that I didn't give the event more respect.

There are lessons to be learned in every race, and I believe I was due mine. I've been spoiled this past year with less mileage yielding better results. It was good to be humbled and reminded that I need to work to get better. And that sets me up for this year nicely. The race was less than a week ago, but I definitely feel more motivated now than I have since Boston training last year. I feel like it's safe for me to wave goodbye to my lack of motivation and say hello to a new season. And I will go on record to challenge for a new PR at the NYC marathon in November, my only marathon this coming training season.

Some photos
Happiness at around mile 11, out of the Magic Kingdom.

Still feeling alright going the Animal Kingdom with a Mt. Everest model in the background. I wish this part of the race was longer. It's on my bucket list to at least hike up to base camp on Mount Everest.

Worst. Race photo. Ever!

Obviously caught immediately at the moment that I'm springing up and everything else is still going down.


baker said...

nice report allen! i totally agree with the course being boring. the sewage plant was so nauseating too!

Samantha said...

Kind of ironic almost that it's a boring race huh? Never would have guessed! Congrats on another marathon in the books!

The Laminator said...

Interesting, very interesting. Way to gut it out there and get another one under the books. Good job =)

RoadBunner said...


I have a totally different outlook on this race since I never run it for time and always carry a camera and take photos with all the characters. Sorry we didn't get to meet up.