In just a few days, I’ll be heading to Walt Disney World to run my first marathon. I’ve been training for months, and I’ve talked a lot about it – from why I’m running to my training plan, my safety precautions while running at night – I’ve even interviewed my elite marathon-runner friend for advice. And even after all this time, I feel like it has snuck up on me!
My biggest concern is the sheer NUMBER of miles. My longest training run was a 15.5 mile trail run, which took me 3 hours (trail running is slower than road running), and this race is still 10 miles longer than that! To be clear, my training plan topped out at 3 hours, and most first time marathon runners wont have a run longer than 20ish miles MAX before the big day. So, I’m not alone. I’ve felt strong, both physically and mentally, on all of my long runs, and I think that’s a good sign.
The weather is another weird variable. Right now the forecast is for 70+ degrees and rain. It’s crucial that I pick the right outfit, not because I want to look cute in my finish line pictures (well, I do), but because I need to be comfortable for about 5 hours of running! That’s a really long time for shorts with an itchy seam or a sports bra that digs in. So I’ll need to pack some options of things I KNOW are comfortable, and will also work with the weather – or potentially a change in the forecast!
My other issue is that, despite having a group of friends running, I’ll be on my own for the race. We don’t all run at the same pace, so it’s better not to stick together, but it’s also always nice to have a friend to chat with and push each other through the tough parts. Mike, my go-to expert marathoner, advised not wearing headphones during the race, but I’ll be carrying my phone to take pictures so I think I’ll have a motivational playlist ready in case of emergency. I’ve done most of my training solo, and it’s easy to make new friends when you’re both sweating it out side by side, so I’ll probably be fine.
Overall, I feel positive. I’m excited for Disney, excited to know what it feels like to run a marathon, and really proud that I’m supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Running in honor of my little bestie Summer – the strongest little bug I know – makes whatever difficulties I have getting to the finish line seem so silly. If you can, please donate to our team here.
Wish me luck!