In Which Jenn Is Determined To Embrace The Suck

Gospel choir at WDW Marathon

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last Marine Corps Marathon vs. my last WDW Marathon. In both races I felt my energy flagging the middle. The difference? In MCM, it was a downward slope – but in WDW, I rallied in a big way.

Any number of factors can be influential when it comes to race performance – training, weather, injuries, hydration, fuel, the works – but in this case, I think the deciding factor may have come down to one thing: attitude.

Everyone knows the WDW Marathon is full of joy and fun – how can running through the parks be anything but? Sure, the bare stretches of road in between can be rough, but I never fail to be bolstered considerably by the incredible spectators and energy of the Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk area, and World Showcase finish.

Alas and alack, they can’t all be runDisney races. But having thought back on my last Marine Corps Marathon experience, I think maybe I’m giving that race’s own vibe too little credit.

Specifically I think back to the last couple miles of the race, in Crystal City, after you’ve conquered the dread 14th Street Bridge but still have a bit of a slog to the finish line. This is exactly where you need to pick up your chin and fight for your finish, but I must admit I sagged a little without that Disney boost.

And yet now that I’m not actively in the moment I remember so much good energy – the little kids holding out their hands for high fives and the spectators and their signs and their candy and, oh yes, their booze. The Fireball people and the very nice men who were carefully portioning out tiny cups of light beer which I gratefully took because COLD BUBBLES YES. 

Why not take selfies with these incredible helpers like you might a runDisney photo stop? Why not collect all the high fives you can from streets lined as thick as the Boardwalk? Why not, as a self-same spectator sign suggested, embrace the suck?

Much easier, of course, to paint this happy picture after the race is over. But perhaps if I remind myself before my next non-Disney marathon to look for the little joyful touches, I can port some of that same spirit into plain normal boring real life and charge for the finish.

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