As we entered Animal Kingdom our group had one goal – ride Expedition Everest! But before we got to the roller coaster, I needed to get the black stuff off my hands that I acquired while posing dramatically on the train tracks. I have fond memories of indoor plumbing in the bathrooms at Animal Kingdom.  When I ran my first marathon (2 years ago), I overheated and splashing cold water on my face in the bathroom at Animal Kingdom went a long way to helping me get to the finish line. So when the opportunity arose to use running water to wash the tar off my hands, I took it.

The group met up at the Fast Pass Entrance to Expedition Everest.  The Cast Members let us use the Fast Pass line and we were soon boarding the roller coaster.

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We had one interesting moment when the ride stopped for a while. I was a little worried that we were going to get stuck on the ride and be unable to finish the race! Fortunately it was only a brief pause and we were back on course again.

In my opinion one of the best parts of the newer marathon course is having Animal Kingdom earlier in the race.  Animal Kingdom can be hotter than Hades on a good day and running there in full sun can be brutal, especially during heat wave years.

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Halfway done!!!

At the far side of Animal Kingdom we met up with the wife of one of my co-runners who had all sorts of goodies for us. I was happy to have a cool wet towel which I kept for the rest of the race.  Even though it never got super hot, the wet towel was greatly appreciated.

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Heading to the next Cone Alley on the way to Wide World of Sports.

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For those at a “dead” run, the grave-diggers were willing to help.

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Because it’s always better to be buried in a mass grave….

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My 5 year old wants to marry Ariel. I’m always happy to pose with my future daughter-in-law!

I do remember last year that this was a spot where some people decided to cut the course.  There were cones separated those of us running into ESPN Wide World of Sports from those leaving it. Some people decided to skip the whole Sports Complex and cut the marathon a few miles short. There was a timing mat at mile 20 to try to prevent this but I’m sure it happened again this year. Not to get on my soapbox but I really can’t understand cheating in this way. Unless you’re an elite runner, nobody cares about your finish time except you. If you run fewer than 26.2 miles, you haven’t finished a marathon. Period. Why cheat yourself?

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I had made it to ESPN without taking a single bathroom break but at this point in the race I was starting to have to go. We saw “real” bathrooms with indoor plumbing in the Sports Complex. The line for the women’s bathroom was quite long but there was no line for the men’s room. Guess which bathroom we used? I don’t think it helped that I announced that I was a urologist when we walked by the urinals…

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It was shortly after this point that another runner starting talking to one of the guys in our little group. It only took a minute or so for me to realize that she and I follow each other on Twitter. We spent the next several miles catching up and getting to know each other. Since Mary Jo is a pharmacist and I’m a doctor, we have a lot in common. Plus we both love running and Disney! It was so fun to randomly meet up with a virtual friend and it really made some of the tougher miles much, much easier.

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Part of the journey through ESPN Wide World of Sports involves running around the warning track of the baseball stadium. The field was off-limits.

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Unless you climbed under the rope…. Did I mention that I’m usually an extreme rule follower???

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No Mile 20 Spectacular (which was less than spectacular last year) but at least Mile 20 was Frozen. And then we were leaving ESPN Wide World of Sports and heading into the final 10k….

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