There weren't quite as many buses lined up this morning. We made our way over to security and we got through bag check pretty quickly and made our way over to the Race Retreat tent. We used the private porta potties and left our bag in the Runners World Challenge area as our group walked together (hanging on to a rope again but this time it went much faster) for the VIP walk out to the start corrals. As we got to corral M, I stopped on a whim just to ask the cast members if it was ok for us to "hop" the fence into corral M because of the way we were walked over (rather than having to walk all the way down to corral P and then back up to corral M again). The female cast member was very nice and understood what I explaining to her and unlatched the barrier for us to walk past. This saved us a bunch of walking so the take-home message is that it never hurts to ask (politely)!
When we had left the Race Retreat, we had each grabbed a RunDisney sign that were on the tables so that we would have something to sit on in the corral (the ground was still damp from the rain the night before). We found ourselves a place to sit and just relaxed until close to the start of the race. At about 5:20 am, we made one more porta potty run and then returned to our corral for the start. They saved the biggest fireworks for the marathon start, of course. This morning, instead of bringing a long-sleeved race shirt, I had brought along a really old and stained Tulsa Runner long sleeved tech shirt that I stripped off and left in the corral before we got started.
From Magic Kingdom, we headed back towards EPCOT but instead of that banking on-ramp to the overpass, we headed off a different road towards Animal Kingdom. Seth commented on how quiet it was for a good part of the way to AK. I had brought my Garmin watch to keep track of pace and had my iphone on low battery mode with all the apps closed just to get our text messages and use my Nike app later if my Garmin watch died.
By the time we had settled into our 2:4 run/walk interval, we were pretty much right on pace. We reached AK and the half way mark - I was feeling pretty good and confident. We had passed at least one sweep area where there was a bus parked and the course had some yellow cones that, I assume, would be removed and the sweepers would direct those participants onto the bus at the unfortunate time. We entered AK from the back.
We had already discussed the option of riding Expedition Everest before the race started. Seth really didn't want to ride it so we went ahead and ran right past it. We saw more than a few runners detour off to the single rider line to ride it. Maybe someday I'll come back and do it all. This was the first park we hit that was fully open so there were people all over the place watching and cheering us on - it was really fun. We both cracked up because this was the first time we saw runners ducking into concession stands and emerging with something to drink. You'd think running a marathon, you wouldn't see a bunch of people bothering with Diet Cokes but, alas, that was what most of the women were coming out with. Go figure.
After we left AK, we headed off to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I guess I had no idea how huge the ESPN center was. It seemed like we kept going and going and going through it - it never seemed to end. We made another potty stop and got to run through one of the baseball fields, on a track, and finally made our way out of the complex on our way to Hollywood Studios.
We got to run up the Streets of America, Hollywood Boulevard, and right out the front of the park all to the cheering of the crowds. It didn't take us long to get from Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk - we took the path that we had walked many times before and it felt like we were speeding up from the excitement of getting done. We hit mile 20 just as we left Hollywood Studios.
My Garmin watch pretty much died at this point so I switched over to using my Nike+ app on my iPhone. It was a little strange listening to my Nike+ app start the count down over again....."One mile completed.....Two miles completed...." and the cheering when someone "likes" my run on Facebook. We didn't quite go all the way around the boardwalk this time and re-entered EPCOT but this time going to the right to run from the International Gateway all the way around from the UK to Mexico. I was glad to see that the area they blocked off for runners in the world showcase was well over 2/3 of the space instead of cramming us in to a smaller space. We're sooooo close at this point - I think this was one of the few marathon pictures with Seth actually smiling.
We had just a few more intervals to go and made one last stop in front of Spaceship Earth for our 4th picture.
It was all adrenaline from here forward. Because there were so many tempting places to stop for pictures and we ran right by them because of a fear of being swept, I knew we were well past the sweepers and so we did stop for one picture on the course as nobody was in line in front of the LAST mile marker. A Cast Member was there to take our picture for us.
I had to use the bathroom really bad - having tried to minimize the number of bathroom stops during the full so I headed right off, medals clanking together, to use the first porta potty I got to. Big. Mistake. Now I'll always fondly remember how people who complete a full marathon are tired people. Tired people apparently don't aim well in the porta potties. That was possibly the most disgusting porta potty I've ever been in.
So I shook off my porta potty experience with my bladder nicely relieved and we slowly made our way over to the Race Retreat tent for the last time. I was just past 1 pm. We picked up some food - a sandwich this time. They had the same egg and potatoes from yesterday but the food looked a little sad. We sat down and started peeling off our shoes and socks. It felt so good to get those shoes off. Coach Budd came by to congratulate us and took a picture for us.
As we were eating our food, a Runners World Challenge coordinator came by and reminded us that resort bus service only ran until 2 pm and it was already past 1:30 pm. We finished up our food, packed up our bag, and caught the last bus to SSRS. It was funny watching people limping around - I pointed them out to Seth and commented on how everyone looked like the Walking Dead. As we walked out to catch the bus, we walked right past the balloon ladies. It took people a little longer than usual to get on and off the bus - people were getting off at the first stop and hobbling off to their villas but my legs felt really good and I didn't have any trouble getting on and off the bus except for that bothersome R heel/ankle.
We took turns taking an ice bath again, cleaned up and did one final load of laundry. We took a short nap and then headed out for Disney Springs to attend the After Party. We really needed to keep moving and even after just a couple of hours off my feet, my right foot was already feeling better - no longer throbbing. The boat had just started leaving when we arrived at the dock but the cast member was so sweet that he actually brought the boat BACK to the dock and let us on. Maybe it was the medals. I checked online for available reservations at any of the Disney Springs restaurants. We decided to try Gloria Estefan's Bongos Cuban Cafe and got a reservation immediately.
The restaurant hostess led us up the stairs (we were wearing our Dopey medals and I was thinking, really? Upstairs? LOL) to be seated. We sat overlooking the band - they were pretty loud and energetic - singing and dancing and starting a conga line. The atmosphere in the restaurant was definitely lively. We ordered mojitos, an appetizer sampler (the Estefan Cuban Combo - breaded stuffed potatoes with an olive in the center, crispy port bites, bacon wrapped maduros, ham croquettes, and black bean hummus with plantain chips) and I ordered the BBQ Guava ribs. The food was REALLY good. I especially enjoyed the fried plantains with the black bean hummus and my ribs were tender and delicious. There was a huge amount of food so I had enough to take back with us and eat the next day for breakfast.
|Estefan Cuban Combo appetizer|
|BBQ Guava ribs|
***Edited to add that someone actually compiled the whole Dopey Challenge to figure out rankings. LOL. http://www.shapenoise.com/dopey/Dopey-2016-Ranked-Results.pdf