Doing The Disney
Morning comes early on this day of truth and challenge. The amateur racer wakes to the alarm, but stays in bed a few more minutes, pondering what lies ahead. This day has been a long time coming, beginning several years and many pounds ago. The starting hour of the marathon nears. Fear and self doubt have been replaced with the courage that accompanies determination. Where does one go to celebrate such accomplishments, Disney World of course.
A bagel filled with sliced chicken awaits in the hotel room's fridge. The calories will be needed for up to seven hours on the road. Clothes are laid out on the bed, so nothing will be forgotten. The race number is already pinned to the front of the T-Shirt. Now a hot shower to wake the rest of the way up and smooth out any lingering soreness from those many days and miles training. This kind of preparation is vital for a good race. These next few hours, before the start, should be stress free.
Many thousands of amateur athletes come to the House of Mouse every January to challenge the distance and to enjoy the warm Florida winter weather. Buses bring all the competitors to a staging area by 4am. The racers then walk about a mile to the actual race start. Once arriving at the start, everyone goes to their prearranged corrals, assigned by predicted finishing time. The fastest runners will be in corrals A and B, while the slower walkers are all the way back in G or H. At 6:15am, fireworks announce the start. Wheelchair athletes will begin first, followed fifteen minutes later by corral A. The rest of the corrals will start at five minute intervals.
The first leg of the course begins at Epcot and follows the road to the Magic Kingdom. The racers make a complete tour of the Kingdom, even getting to go through the world famous castle before exiting out onto the road to Animal Kingdom. Before the race is over, they will travel through all the parks and the Wide World of Sports Complex. A special treat is the race car track lined with vintage muscle cars. The final stage is at Epcot with a lap around the World Showcase. Just as the finish line comes into view, there is a choir of ladies singing gospel.
Disney has themed races throughout the year, ranging from a Princess race for ladies, to a Star Wars, dark Side, challenge. They are a wonderful way to celebrate hard earned fitness, and a nice family vacation as well. The January marathon is also a great break from the more northern winter weather and my favorite time to go.
It's not just a step, it's a start.