Hello? Is this thing on?
I swore, I was going to get back on the blogging bandwagon this month, but then, as usual, life got in the way. That’s what happens when the whole Jovi family suddenly turns into runners.
Last year, at the age of 4, E. amazed us when she ran a 11ish minute mile during Disney’s Marathon Weekend. She then quickly went on to rock two 5Ks in the spring. Lately, though, we haven’t been running with her very much, but she still really wanted to do the Mickey Mile again.
One thing that she has gotten better about in the last year is strategy. This year, we had to let the kids go by themselves into a chute to the start line (you could stay with them if you wanted, but clearly E. wanted nothing to do with that idea). We lost her during the first wave of the race, but then quickly found her as wave 2 approached the starting line.
Later she told us, “I saw the sidewalk was empty, so I ran up it and then got into the crowd right at the front. Did I do good?” Yes, indeed.
The funniest part of Run Disney kids races is watching the other parents as soon as it starts. The kids go off running in one direction and the parents do a combination of run/walk/stumble toward the finish line.
And since E. is clearly being raised by two parents with issues, we started the timer on my phone when she started. They actually time the race but by the time we registered her, only Friday slots were left. So we signed her up for that but ran on Saturday. Don’t tell Coach Mickey.
I made my way to the finish line on the track to wait for her. And wait. And wait. 11 minutes came and went. 12 minutes came and wait. I finally spotted her sprinting down the track toward Mickey.
And of course I missed the money shot of her high-fiving Mickey. I stopped the timer when she crossed the finish and it said 12:30. Not bad at all. I wondered why it was so much slower than last year, especially since she started out front, but there was no good way of asking her without making her think I thought she could have been faster. But she answered the unasked question for me.
“Mommy, this year we got to run on the baseball field! And they were playing really funny cartoons. So I stopped to watch them for awhile.”
That’s the eye of the tiger! And how did she crack my secret Princess Half strategy — take advantage of all the entertainment as an excuse to stop running.
I think the only thing she liked better than the cartoons or seeing Mickey was the finish line refreshments. I lost her in the crowd of kid finishers but finally found her checking out her food options.
A child after my own heart.
I love that she loves running and hasn’t yet developed my grumbling attitude toward it. And she’s certainly a more naturally gifted athlete than me.
Her race was the warm-up for the weekend’s main event — DadJovi’s third Disney marathon!
If you’ve never read the recaps of his first two in 2011 and 2012, they are worth the read (if I do say so myself). This year, he was in great shape and sticking to his training more than ever, but then, about a month before the race, he injured his calf. He tried resting it, stretching it, going on shorter runs, etc., but it was really bothering him. He wasn’t able to do his final long runs and then to cap it all off, he traveled to Vegas/California the weekend before the marathon for a last-minute, chance-of-a-lifetime trip to the National Championship game.
By the time race morning rolled around, he hadn’t been on a run in about three weeks. His goal? Finish. And try to have as much fun as possible.
Unlike past years when we’ve found him along the course, he urged me to just find him near the finish at Epcot. Last year, we watched our friend Jeannie finish her first marathon in the World Showcase, and it was a great spot to see runners.
My plan was to leave the house by 8 and head into Epcot when it opened at 9. But then I started getting text alerts and he was running MUCH faster than he or I had anticipated. He hit the half-marathon mark at 2:01, which meant he was running at a 9:17 pace. It’s definitely slower than his usual pace but much faster than we thought it’d be for someone who hadn’t run in a month. And much faster than I could ever dream of running. Bastard.
So we hustled and got to Epcot as quickly as we could. I was also tracking a couple other friends and realized I would see my friend near the back entrance of Epcot (we parked at Boardwalk and walked over since all the traffic was rerouted from the race). As I approached the back entrance, I noticed someone waiting for the runners — Dopey! And guess what my friend was doing — the Dopey Challenge! For those of you not local to Orlando/obsessed with all things RunDisney, this was the first year for the Dopey Challenge and it consisted of a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. Dopey indeed.
We stayed by Dopey until we got the picture, then headed into Epcot.
My biggest pet peeve with the RunDisney text alerts is you get one at 13 miles, then you don’t get another until the 20 mile mark. When I wasn’t getting one for my husband, I knew he must be slowing down. E. and I entered at the World Showcase between the UK and France, which is just before the 25-mile marker. Since we hadn’t received an update yet, I figured we were safe to do a ride while we waited. So we met up with Meghann, who was there to cheer on the runners (what a great fan!), and the three of us hit Test Track. Don’t let E’s face fool you, it’s actually one of her favorite Disney rides, second only to Space Mountain.
Right as we were getting on the ride, I got the alert that my husband had passed mile 20. After the ride, we made a beeline for the World Showcase and settled on a spot in Norway. E was hoping to finally meet Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” but the lines for 11 and noon greeting times were booked and people were lining up for the 1 p.m. one — THREE HOURS EARLY. Sorry, kid.
As we waited for my husband, we cheered on the runners with Meghann’s cute sign.
The runners LOVED the sign and they kept asking if it was true — it was!
Finally, we saw DadJovi approaching. I’m pretty sure he was even happier to see us.
It was mile 25.5 and he was DONE. He told us how he’d felt great the first half but then started hitting the wall, even with frequent stops at the medical tents for BioFreeze for his calf and Gatorade.
Since he was so far off his normal pace, he decided to hang with us for a few minutes. Not everyone was impressed.
Actually, she was very excited and she wouldn’t stop looking at her iPod because she was trying to open up the camera to take her own pictures of her daddy. See …
He also gave her some candy he’d snagged from the volunteers for her. Before she took off to start unwrapping tiny candy bars, she gave him a kiss for good luck.
I have no idea how he had the strength to pick her up that close to the finish.
We weren’t there for the finish, but a few minutes later, he crossed the finish line on 26.2 miles with a smile and his arms raised high. It may have been about an hour slower than his last marathon but by that point and given the weeks leading up to it, he was glad just to finish.
A bit later, he met us inside the park for our celebration lunch at Teppan Edo in Japan. It’s basically a much nicer and tastier Kobe, which is pretty much my husband’s favorite restaurant on Earth (behind In-N-Out Burger).
The entire staff and the rest of our table made a big deal out of his marathon. The chef was wonderful and went out of his way to make sure E was having a great time … and to keep even a hint of sauce off of all her food. When does picky eating end? As for me, bring on ALL the white sauce. It’s liquid gold I tell you.
As we were eating, I got the final text I’d been waiting for from my friend Jeannie, who was nearing the end of her Dopey Challenge, too! I went running down the huge steps at Japan and started yelling toward the kiosk, “Pour me a beer!”
After about 47.5 miles, she more than earned a beer!
So proud of all those runners, but especially our special ones. And no, it did not inspire me to sign up for anything more than my upcoming half. I may enjoy races, but I’m not crazy!
I did discover one thing at the Disney Marathon. I now know how Santa works off all those Christmas cookies.
Up next, my half marathon at Disney in February. Gulp. Shit’s starting to get real.
What’s the craziest/best/funniest costume you’ve ever seen at a race? Would you ever sign up for something like the Dopey Challenge?