Past Mile 20, we’re heading to Hollywood. Move over Meryl Streep, step back Bradley Cooper — we’re the stars today!
The Disney Marathon is known to be a fairly flat course. Oooh flat, I like flat! But running on the roadways connecting the parks, well….you get a few hills. And because of Murphy’s Law — they have to come past the 20 mile mark, well……because… That’s. When. They. Will. Hurt. The. Most!
I’m not good with directions, roads or their names, [fair warning if we ever drive together!], so I’ll just say there was this particular overpass we had to climb to get to Hollywood Studios at around mile 21 or 22. It was all becoming a blur by then. It was a short, but steep overpass. So what does Disney do to get us up the hill? The assign the hill to the soldiers. You know the ones. The green men from Toy Story! They OWN the hill. LMAO. There they are on the road, marching back and forth with a microphone — shouting at us. “Lets move it soldier. Life those legs. Get up that Hill. What is this? You’re actin’ like 22 miles is hard or something! If you are going to walk soldier, I wanna see a power walk. Move those arms, lift those legs….” Annnnnd, soooo it goes. Looking back, it’s funny. In the moment — they did their job. But I was hurting, and I wanted them to shut up. 🙂
At the next medical tent, I stopped and took a shot of biofreeze. Ohhh, I smeared this magic elixir all over my knees and lower legs — and the cool, cold menthol unlocked my knees. Long enough to get to my next shot of biofreeze, if necessary. I also grabbed two Tylenol. I felt a head ache brewing in the back of my head, and wanted to tamp that down.
The stretch of road up into Hollywood Studios was a gradual incline. By now, I was power walking. Working very hard to keep my pace above 16 minute mile during my walking spurts. In my third eye on the back of my head, I could imagine the sweepers coming up behind me. My pace up to this point had built up about a 60 minute cushion. For all practical purposes, I was safe. But I has 4 miles left — so it was still anyone’s game. Diligence. Diligence is what was needed. No letting up. Relentless pursuit of forward momentum. Relentless!
My pace up the incline caused an awful muscle spasm in the hamstring of my right leg. Panic. OMG, if this doesn’t let up, I will be limping the rest of the way. Oh My God, how will I limp the next 4 miles? As I kept pressing forward, I remembered my banana. Grabbing it from my fuel belt pocket, I choked it down. By the time the road leveled off, and we entered the back gate of Hollywood Studios, my hamstring had relaxed and went back to normal. Potassium is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Bananas are the magic fruit!
Just past the Hollywood Studios gate were these Cast Members dressed like old-fashioned Hollywood stars of the 40’s. In funny Greta Garbo fashion, they said, “welcome to Hollywood. I’d suggest you run yourself straight to the closest adult beverage’! Oh lady. Ur not kidding. If only!
The other Cast Members began to say something that was music to my ears. The message of Hollywood Studios was simple. and Perfect. “You’re going to Finish. You’re going to make it”. In one form or another, this was the message the HS Cast Members were meant to deliver. My mood picked up. My energy level inflated like a hot air balloon. I was going to make it. Only 3-ish miles left. Wow. This is amazing.
Looking back, I believe the Disney Cast Members in each park were given a job to do in terms of messaging for the runners. In Magic Kingdom, it was easy. It was pure joy. We were happy. We didn’t need much. We were self-propelled J.O.Y. R.i.S.i.n.g! By Animal Kingdom, it was Temperance. The Half way mark was just ahead, but there was alot of race left. Keep going. But save some. At the WWoS, it was meant to be a Pick Me Up. They set up the ball stadium so we would see ourselves up on the big screen, and some of our family was sitting in the stadium, and Disney Balloon characters were flying in the wind. I’m sorry to say — the 20 mile “Big Surprise” was a bit of a bust. Which was unfortunate, because I really needed a Pick-Me-Up in those miles. Seeing Peter ended up being my Pick-Me-Up, and that was wonderful. Made me smile. Gave me strength. Anyway…..by Hollywood Studios — the message was — This Is In The Bag. You will Make it.
Here’s the thing I didn’t realize. Cuz this was my first Marathon. The Hollywood Studios Cast Members were telling us we were going to finish……because our minds were about to start to tell us we weren’t. Huh?
Yea. The next two miles were about to become what the whole training process was about. Exiting HS, and nearing Epcot, I found myself asking “Was is possible that the last 2 miles could be harder than the first 24?”
The answer was a booming Yes — because of a little thing called “The Wall”.
Ciao for now…..Diane