As I’ve mentioned in my past few blog entries, my goal for 2012 is to run a marathon during each calendar month of the year in order to generate awareness and donations for The Dream Team Project. Well I am happy to report that I survived marathon number two on Sunday, February 12th. I completed the “26.2 With Donna Marathon”, run in Jacksonville, Florida in a time of five hours and fourteen minutes. I’d like to briefly share with you the day’s experience, because it truly was amazing.
First off: this marathon weekend offers runners the choice of running the full marathon, a half marathon, or participate in a marathon relay. I chose the full marathon – but I can tell you that the half marathon distance was extremely popular! So let’s dive right in!
On Saturday morning I took a taxi right from Jacksonville International Airport to the marathon expo held in a convention center downtown. It was a very well organized, thorough event, as speaker such as Bart Yasso and Jeff Galloway graced the stage at different times during the day, spreading their running knowledge base among the masses. Mr. Galloway was particularly exceptional during his discussion of “how to stay motivated during the run”. That subject really made an impression on me, as I lose motivation early and often during a race. I become distracted and, as a result, I lose my rhythm. Then the wheels come off my tractor-trailer in a hurry, turning me into a sweaty mess in an awful hurry. After he spoke, I got to chat with him for a few minutes! That was pretty cool!! This marathon offers the kind of expo where conversations like this become possible. I left with a fantastic amount of “swag”, and a huge smile on my face.
As I walked out of the hotel on Sunday morning, which was wonderfully close to the start/finish line of the race alongside the Mayo Clinic campus, I realized that I may have bitten off a bit more than I could chew. As the doors swooshed open, cold air blasted me right in the face. Should have looked at the temperature before getting dressed….it was 28 degrees. With a strong wind. Which was currently whacking me in the face. I ran upstairs to my room and changed into long pants, 3 shirts and a sweatshirt (which represented approximately 85% of the clothes I brought on the trip). I never ran 26.2 miles in long pants before….but there’s a first time for everything I guess….
This marathon has grown substantially since it’s inception five years ago, and it’s growth can be primarily evidenced in the quality of the Runner’s Village. What a great setup. I cannot recall another marathon offering oranges, bananas, and freshly-baked chocolate chip muffins that immediately reminded me of the Boardwalk Bakery in Walt Disney World (a personal favorite of mine whenever I’m hanging out in La Casa de Walt). What a great way to kick off a really cold morning. The chocolaty goodness took my mind off the freezing temperatures, that’s for sure!
After I dropped off my bag (along with my sweatshirt – hello wind chill) and headed to the starting line, a couple of people asked me about the WDW Radio Running Team. So I gave them the quick explanation of The Dream Team Project, and why running for the team means so much to me. They, in turn, shared their own experiences running for another cancer charity…and it was wonderful to listen to the passion in their voices as they were so grateful to get an opportunity to do something to help a cause that was close to their hearts.
Before you knew it, the gun sounded and off we went!
The course is very flat until the last mile…then you are exposed to Jacksonville’s version of Heartbreak Hill. Since the hill is right near the end of the course, it truly is manageable. You get to run along the beach, through the wonderful little towns, and experience small yet boisterous crowds all along the course. It was an incredible feeling to have total strangers coming up to me as I waddled along the course, thanking ME for RUNNING. Are you kidding???? It’s me that should be thanking YOU for YOUR SUPPORT!!!
In my next installment, I’ll provide a detailed description of the race experience!! Tune in tomorrow!!!
If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website: www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for. It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Thanks!