Leaving mile 15 behind and entering some of the hardest miles I’ve ever experienced. After we left the waste water treatment area, we saw another character meet and greet:

The famous villians of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.
As we approached Animal Kingdom we saw some of the characters that can be seen there.

One of my favorite princesses, Pocohantos, who once told my sexist son that “Not all princesses wear ballgowns and live in castles. I know how to use weapons!” I will always love her for that!!!

And finally Mile 16!
As we entered the backstage area of Animal Kingdom, some of the parks denizens came out to meet us:

Although I didn’t stop to meet the animals, I thought this was a really cool touch.

Jiminy Cricket is another one of my favorite Disney characters. I love that he’s Pinocchio’s conscience. So many of us could use a conscience that actually reasons with us!!!
As we entered Animal Kingdom proper, I encountered what was perhaps my most memorable part of the race. Indoor plumbing!!!! Yes, there was a women’s bathroom along the course. I probably lots 2-3 minutes waiting in line to use a toilet that flushes but it was totally worth it. The bathroom was air conditioned and I was starting to overheat. In fact, another runner told me to splash water on my face because I was turning quite red from the heat. The ability to splash my face and wash my hands was amazingly inspiring after 16+ miles of racing!!!!
Leaving the bathroom I took a few pictures of Animal Kingdom.

The icon of Animal Kingdom – The Tree of Life

The famous Mt. Everest (part of the roller coaster, Expedition Everest, which I have sadly never had the opportunity to experience!)

Mile 17. A welcome site!

Even Minnie took a break from her safari to come greet us.
Animal Kingdom has a reputation for being the hottest of the Disney Parks. What I experienced was that the miles after Animal Kingdom were starting to get uncomfortably hot. We ran near the parking lot of the park and there was no shade and lots of direct sunshine. In any other context this would be a welcome site in January. Not so much during a marathon….

Mile 18. You can see the blacktop on which we were running and all the sun.
During the 3 mile stretch on Osceola Parkway, we encountered some morbid sights….

The Grave diggers from Haunted Mansion were out.
Around this time I started to not feel well. I had a headache and just felt “off.” I had heard stories of dehydration during warmer weather marathons and started to drink more than one cup of water/Powerade at the water stops. I tried taking more gels and an extra salt tablet, too.

Mile 19.
I think this is probably when many people “hit the wall.” It was hot, we had run almost 20 miles, and we were on a long, boring stretch of road in direct sun. Not a good combo!

Mile 20. I had made it to the point of my furthest run. Every mile after this was uncharted water. I think it’s obviously in this picture that many “runners” are starting to lose steam and walk. It’s also a weird point in the race because at about mile 20.5 you do a 180 degree U-turn and go the other way on Osceola Parkway for about 1/2 a mile. We could see the runner just ahead of us coming in the other direction.

runDisney – Disney World Full Marathon:
AMANDA NORTH at 20M in 4:24:23.
Pace: 13:13 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 5:46:31.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 11:47:02.

Still holding on to my pace for 20 miles. And then things went downhill….