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My First Marathon

Back in 2015 I ran my first marathon. It was also the Goody Challenge. This experiment was filled with so much anticipation, excitementp, stress, and pure joy. This was long before we formed Joyful Miles but the first race weekend I spent with Laura and became fast friends.

After the race I wanted to document my experience so I can look back on it someday. I wrote my own person blog/diary of the whole trip. From time to time I will still read it and laugh and relive those memories again. While the week was full of so many memorable moments I wrote about, I thought I’d share what I wrote about on the day of the actual marathon. My first marathon.


Day 4 THE BIG DAY!!! Marathon day!!! Prerace

Bringgggg bringgggg! There goes that alarm again. Time to get ready. I woke up very calm and confident (no clue why) but it works.
One thing I learned talking with many friends doing the marathon… First I will say most of my friends are somewhat amateurs, some are pretty fast don’t get me wrong but we’re not hard core runners. We don’t try and place or get PRs (personal records) at Disney. While some may be much faster than others we all are doing for fun, for accomplishment or for bling.

Anyways back to one of the interesting things I learned is how people prepared for race day. I’m not talking about training, I’m talking about what they pack. Some of us are extremely prepared, have the Girl Scout mentality. I’m not one of those people. Laura was. Again I was a ying to her yang. I talked her out of bringing excessive stuff in her belt while she encouraged me to bring certain things. (Like lipstick) another reason I love this girl.
I swear some people had fricken groceries in their pockets, (im just teasing Lynn Murray πŸ’›) maybe it’s my laidback nature. I packed in my race pouch a pack of sports beans, 2 blister bandaids, a cliff bar, back up phone battery (most important item of all πŸ˜‰).
It was still cool but would warm up by 10:00 so I went with the tank top and shorts.
Quick note about race shirt selection. I had no clue what to wear for the full. I knew comfort was key. So I wore my lucky race shorts I’ve worn for years. The day before I left I went to the mall and saw a shirt at Victoria’s Secret Pink store that said “I hate running”. I posted on my group and some friends encouraged me to get. This ended up being a major bonus throughout my run. I’ll explain later.
I froze in my corral but was worth it in the end. Here is a pic of Laura and I before heading to race. This time my mom didn’t budge to wish us luck. She slept away.


Seriously who can drink coffee before a race?!?! I did eat a nature valley granola bar.
So what were my major concerns about race.

1.) I will die

2.) I will get really injured

3.) I will poop my pants (I’ve heard stories)

4.) I will get swept

5.) I wanted to be able to ride Expediton Everest
I’m torn between 3&4. If I poop my pants I’ll get swept anyways but I guess I’d rather just get swept without the poop so I made it 4.
Pooping pants was a big discussion all weekend. It worried me. I know it’s gross but it’s a fact of life and the fact I could take about it with laura I knew we’d get along great. And the fact we both put a full face of makeup on before the race. πŸ’„
So we head to the corrals bright and early because she wanted to see if they had the preorder race jackets for sale (she didn’t order) we went to a merchandise tent near the bag check. Who knew they had these race day? Laura knew πŸ™‚

We shopped around and I didn’t plan on buying anything til I saw they were selling race banners from the day before. My son is a huge Donald Duck fan and I got this huge banner for 40.00

I was super excited about this cool unique momento!
So we chatted with friends again and wished everyone luck before we headed to corrals!

I walked alone to corral O. Everyone else I knew was ahead of me and I waited. I have to say the vibe today wasn’t as fun. People seemed more hardcore and not as chatty. Blah! Oh well. Pretty soon I’d be off and I waited and waited and waited.


Luckily a friend of mine actually had texted while back before bag check and we were texting a bit before race which helped make time pass and keep my mind off freezing and the possibility I may die or poop my pants in the near future.
We slowly movies up toward the starting line. It was almost time to go!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It’s Time to Run a Marathon!!!

So the race has now begun and we are off!!! Before the race began I decided to look at it a bit differently. Instead of 26 miles (somewhat overwhelming) I looked at it as 5 different obstacles.

1.) getting to the Magic Kingdom

2.) making it through the Richard Petty Speedway

3.) get to Animal Kingdom and ride Expedition Everest

4.) survive the highway to hell (long stretch of inclined boring highway

5.) get through Disney’s Wide World of Sports
So I cross the starting line, and begin my journey through Walt Disney World. It’s still dark out as I make my way through miles 1-3. I intended to do a 1 minute walk 1 minute run, But I’m feeling good. I try to run as much as possible. I also realize with wanting Expedition Everest as a goal I needed to gain time ahead of the balloon ladies. My typical jog mile is 12-13 minutes, but with characters, bottle necking, and potential injury on this long long run I knew I needed to make up time early on to stay ahead.
Since I’m alone I take lots of selfies, here are a few

It’s kindof weird running the exact same route as day before, I kind of wished it was different but at same time I prefer the new parts at later half of race.
So right after mile 3 I’m reaching th TTC (Ticket and Trasportation Center) the sun is up and there are lots of people there cheering the runners on. That’s when I notice lots of people pointing smiling at yelling things at me. I turn down my headphones and realize they are noticing my “I Hate Running” shirt and they are yelling I hate running too, they’re laughing and cheering me on.

I never expected this but it made it so fun. I loved interacting this way. This would continue the entire race. I almost felt like I had so many people cheering me on just because they liked my shirt and it made them laugh.
I made my way past the contemporary and down the tunnel with dancing guy on top.

As I completed this section I could tell my feet had a couple blisters forming and planned on making a stop at the ladies room while at the Magic Kingdom.
Just as I was about to get there I ran into two of my Facebook friends from our running group Sage & Jennifer. This is so cool to me to be running with 20,000 people and that moment you see someone you know makes you ecstatic!
As we rounded the corner at Main Street USA we got this pic together

I made sure I stopped in front of castle again as well. Let me note throughout the race at this point I had been taking pictures, tweeting, posting on Instagram and on Facebook. I’m sure many serious runners would disapprove of this, and frown upon it. I’m careful I make sure I use race etiquette when I take walk breaks and I have mad texting and running skills. Just saying. Anyways here’s my Facebook post since I found it funny to be taking a pic in same spot as day before

I had planned to stop at the Tomorrowland Restroom but they wouldn’t let people run over there so I waited to the one at Pinnochio Haus. I used this moment to regroup a bit. I went to the bathroom then sat on the bench outside and decided to take off sneakers and apply the 2 blister bandaids I brought. First time I’ve used items from my running belt. I also realized I could’ve used 1 or 2 more than I brought with me.
After this I put shoes on and headed back to run through the castle. I waved hi to Anna & Elsa on the way


After this I made my way to Frontierland. I had to take a pic that I thought my friends I ran with in Philadelphia last year might like.
Side story- so last May I ran the Philly Broad street 10miler. While visiting the Liberty Bell, I saw the picture of the Dhali Lama with the Liberty Bell

So I of course had to pose this way

And while I’m running Disney marathon I spot the Libery Bell in Libery Square so how could I resist. Luckily a nice cast member took this pic

End Sidenote πŸ™‚
I make my way through Frontierland. I’m disappointed the Country Bears are not there so I just keep running.
I make my way out of park and reach the 6 miles point where they play the theme song. I was all set for my jam “shake it off” but it was this instead. I rolled with it. I still would’ve preferred Taylor Swift

And yes I had to make a video and posted this on Facebook.

​​We passed Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort and were about to hit obstacle #2 the Richard Petty Speedway.
This portion scared me because I knew it was big, very open and no shade and we would be running on a slant. I just had to get through it and as it ended I posted this on Facebook. The Mile 9 marker

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The portion of the race after this I was unfamilar with. No clue where I was, it started getting cloudy and felt kindof wildernessy. Seemed fitting for some of my favorite characters which I was excited to stop (short line) and get a pic with.


After that we seemed to hit the sewage treatment stinky portion of race. Didn’t realize we ran through this. Kindof funny when in Disney World. And I was making my way to obstacle #3 Animal Kingdom!!!

I was feeling really good still at this point. I ate a cliffbar to keep my energy up though I swear someone sprinkled pixie dust in my shoes.
Just as we were entering Animal Kingdom there was banana stop. I also have to say Run Disney did an amazing job with water & powerade stops as well as medic tents which were much more full than I expected when I passed.
So I’m running through Animal Kingdom wondering, do I have enough time to ride Everest? I had been texting friends throughout and trying to see if anyone has heard via social media where balloon ladies were. As I ran near Expedition Everest I see other runners going to the line. I had heard that runners can go to fast pass but I was directed to regular line. I was super nervous but more and more runners were getting in line after so I felt a little better about it.
Here I am about to ride Everest


I reached one of my race goals

Here’s a video of me on the ride
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I was worried after I rode this it would be hard to get started back up running again but I felt a bit of adrenaline kick in and was on my way to the 13 mile marker.

Half way there!!!!!!

So as im passing the halfway point I run into 2 more friends Danny and Karyn and we pose for a quick photo.


I can’t stress how rejuvinating it feels when you see someone you know. I think this has made the race so much better than if I was completely alone.

Also the texts are still coming throughout. At one point around mile 13 I get a text telling me the Buffalo Bills got a new coach. Because this is very important info and I appreciate my friends knowing i would want to know right away. While you may not know me, I’m a huge Buffalo Bills fan. I also got a phone call from my friend Pam wishing me luck! I found this humorous, fun and added to my experience. Go ahead hardcore runners and hate πŸ˜‰
And just as I’m running with Danny and Karyn, I run back into Sage and Jennifer and Bill. This is freakin fantastic. Like a reunion at mile 14.

So now I have three obstacles down. Here’s the thing, I thought it was Wide World of Sports THEN highway to hell. But highway to hell came first. So the whole time I’m on it I didn’t realize I was. I kept wondering where Wide World of Sports was. I really should’ve known. This by far was hardest stretch of race. I was running with Sage and Jennifer and such a good friend that Sage is, she was trying to keep my mind in a good place but for the first time I was hurting. I felt a little uncomfortable and was worried crabby Jackey may erupt. I knew I needed to just get through and focus like Daniel San (Karate Kid Style) I told them I was gonna go ahead.
It began to rain at this point and I was getting worried it would lead to more blisters but just kept going. For the first time in my life my shins REALLY hurt. I started wondering “Do I have a stress fracture?” Because why not jump to a conclusion my bones are breaking.

It actually felt better attempting to run vs walk, though I know under the sound of music that I could hear with my headphones, there were moments I was groaning in pain. Oooohhhh. Oowwww. Sorry if I scared any runners nearby. Then came the medical tent. And the wonderful product BioFreeze! I applied this to my shins and took a Tylenol. And shuffled on probably looking like a little granny. Curse you highway to hell I didn’t even know I was on. I will still say despite this painful half hour or so, mentally I was still happy. Having the time of my life. This was probably the lowest point but I felt happy. 

Then I saw this wonderful sight. 
I think i did the math at this point and somewhat realized I completed obstacle #4. And was excited to be on to #5 When you are running into Wide World of Sports you are passing the runners, running out on the other side of the road. Two girls pulled me aside and asked to take a pic with me because they worked at Victoria’s Secret and wanted to their boss a pic with me in my VS shirt. Sure why not?

I remember my brother texting me at mile 17 asking if I’m still running. Yeah im still plugging away

This was a milestone mile for me. 17 miles was the most I have ever run before. Using the Jeff Galloway run/walk. Anything more would be a new record for me. We entered Wide World of Sports and ran through the soccer fields, and track.

After this around mile 18 was another banana station. I ate half of one. At this point in case you’re curious what I’ve consumed, I’ve had about 4 sports beans, a cliff bar and a banana and a half. I have to be very careful to make sure I’m hydrated due to the fact I have kidney stones so I always take powerade at every stop. I started with small sips but had lower back pain so drink more as race went on.
I carried on through the baseball diamond and was so excited to see all the people cheering from the stands there. It was an amazing moment. Then even better I see two of my friends cheering from the stands. My friends Leslie and Nicole.


They were cheering me on. And it felt so good! I made may way out of stadium and ran into sporty Chip and Dale. What a cool surprise! No line either. I HAD to stop.

So now we’re leaving Wide World of sports and I’m elated to realize all my obstacles have been completed. I have 6 miles left. Seems like a bit. A 10k but I know it’s the fun part.

Im also realizing not too much stands out in the next few miles. I think I was just trying to get to Hollywood Studios!


Can’t believe I missed mile 20!


At this point I’m just so estatic. This is the part of the race I was so excited for. I had friends texting asking where I was and I knew I was gonna make. Nothing could stop me. I actually had friends that saw me at this point and yelled my name but I never heard them. I was moving like Forrest! (Maybe a bit slower)


I was about to head out of Hollywood studios toward the Epcot Resorts (Boardwalk, Beachclub and Yacht Club)

I love this area of Disney and knew my mom would be cheering me on soon. As I ran past my resort I snapped this quick pic of one of my favorite places in Disney World. (The American Dance Hall) If you like dancing you should check it out if you’re doing an adult Disney trip.


As I made my way over a hill outside the Beach Club resort I could see my mom in the distance cheering. I started waving and jumping (yes jumping at mile 24) but she didn’t spot me yet. Finally she saw me and she was so excited taking pics and jumping and telling all her new friends “that’s her!!!” As if they couldn’t tell. I didn’t cry or get emotional, I just felt so darn happy as I had been the entire race. My very proud mom and I:

So now I make my way to Epcot. The final and home stretch. It was crowded and full of tons of people hanging around world showcase and other runners that have finished. I making my way with all these people on sidelines cheering.

When in the distance I spot another friend from our group. My friend Chad. This story makes me laugh. I see him in this really nice Nike track suit, all clean and spiffy and he spots me and I start thinking, oh no I’m all sweaty. If he hugs me I’m gonna get his clothes yucky. I tell him “you don’t have to hug me.” He gives me this big bear hug and says “I’m so proud of you.” It really was a heartwarming moment and another reminder how lucky I am to find this group of amazing Disney fans that enjoy these races. Here’s Chad and I:

So I’m at mile 25 and making my way to the end. I take a quick pic in front of spaceship earth.


Now this is it. The moment I pushed myself for and I actually somewhat took my time from here to the finish. I had energy but wanted to take it all in. So many people were cheering from everywhere. I finally see mile marker 26. My favorite race photo


I was just about there. I see the finish in my view. But stopped for a quick pic with Minnie before crossing.

About the author: Jackey is a 39 (omg almost 40) year old mom of three boys from Buffalo, NY. She loves anything 80’s and believes she was born ten years later than her soul. She love to sing, dance and make music videos and she’s a huge Buffalo Bills fan! After being a stay at home mom for 10 years, Jackey has recently re-entered the work force as a customer service agent for Southwest Airlines, which is perfect for her love of traveling (free flights) and traveling to run races.

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