Nutrition and Fueling For a Race at Disney

By Alexandra Raymond, Stephanie Dorfman and Shelby Santin

Race inspiration and nutrition from our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Interns as they report on how they fueled for the Disney marathon.

“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind that says anything is possible.” –John Hanc

We finally did it! All three of us completed the Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014, and it was an amazing experience to say the least.

We all learned a lot about marathon racing from this experience and we want to share it with you all! Continue reading to see what what have to say!

January 11, 2014: The Day Before the Race

We got up at 6:30am this day for two reasons–we wanted to practice getting up early and we also wanted to watch Shelby’s friend run in the ½ marathon! Then went to the Expo afterwards, got our bibs, and walked around to look at all the cool gear (and to also get some free samples!) Good rule of thumb, plan to spend at least 2 hours at the expo and if you have any questions about the race, be sure to ask them there!


We learned the runners were put into different corrals that started at different times. Our corral began running at 5:52am. Since we needed to get up at 3:00am, this meant that we needed to pack our breakfast with us to eat on the way–otherwise we would be hungry by the time the race started! Be sure to ask about this at the expo. The races we ran in the past did not have this, and we only knew about it because Shelby’s friend informed us.


Throughout the day, we ate foods that were lower in fiber, higher in carbohydrates and proteins, and foods we knew wouldn’t upset our stomachs. For example, Alex at a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, an egg white Subway sandwich with veggies for lunch, and white pasta and salmon for dinner. Make sure to hydrate!!!! Florida was definitely warmer than we were used to, so it was important that we drank enough fluids during the day. We each carried water bottles with us and filled them whenever possible.


Nighttime Prep:

Now, we needed to wake up at 3:00am. Yes, 3:00am. We decided we should be in bed by 9:00pm and also pack all our race day supplies the night before, which is exactly what we did! Each of us laid out our running apparel, filled our water bottles, and packed our breakfast and during-the-race snacks. We saved at least a half hour, so this is definitely something we would recommend. We also looked up the course map for the race so we knew how many water stops and bathrooms there would be. We were lucky because Disney had a lot of water stops!

January 12, 2014: Race Day

The alarm went off at 3:00, and we had never gotten ready so quickly! By 3:30, we were on the bus heading to the start line (and it was pitch black outside). But, we were so energized and excited! The atmosphere with all the other runners really got our adrenaline pumping. Plus, the DJ at the start line definitely kept us awake.

start line

At 5:52, we were off! Check out our individual reports:

Alex: I absolutely loved this race! The first 10 miles were so awesome and fun. We ran through Magic Kingdom (my favorite part) and through Cinderella’s Castle!! It was so amazing, I had to stop and take a picture 🙂 Miles 10-20 were tough for me though. My stomach started to hurt, which occasionally happens when I run long and there is nothing I can really do to prevent it.

At mile 22, I sadly had to stop to go to the bathroom 🙁 I only had 4 miles left, but there is no way I would have made it to the end! If you remember, from our first Race Report Blog, I said I wanted to finish the race in under 4 hours. What was my time? 4 hours 10 minutes and 42 seconds. Pretty close, but I didn’t quite make it, but I am so happy with my time! Especially considering I was distracted by the Disney sites and stopped twice! I guess I’ll just have to run another marathon to reach my goal!

alex and dad

Memorable Moments:


Steph: I had a great time running this race! I was surprised how awake I actually was given the fact that we woke up at 3am! It was so much fun seeing all the different costumes (we received so many compliments on our shirts!!!). Luckily, I felt pretty good throughout the whole race, I think the constant appearance of characters and music kept me going. So happy, I finished the race in 4 hours and 29 minutes!! (That was about 20 minutes faster than my first marathon). I wore my running watch during the race and the final distance on my watch actually said 26.6, I guess it was from weaving in and out of people or running off the course for a second to go to the bathroom. But, overall I thought it was a great race and I would definitely do it again!


Shelby: I had so much fun running the the disney marathon! The first half went really well and I really enjoyed running through magic kingdom and the castle because I haven’t been to Disney since I was in the 4th grade! During the second half my knee that I hurt during our last long run started to bother me but it wasn’t bad enough to stop so I kept going at a slower pace. Miles 18-23 are definitely the miles where you need the most mental toughness to continue. This is when the adrenaline has worn off and your legs starts to hurt.

During mile 23 I twisted my knee that was bothering me! I walked for a few steps and decided that since I only had 3 more miles I was going to continue running and I finished! (I had to limp for the next couple days though :() This time, I ran 45 minutes slower than my time from the Baltimore marathon with 5 hours and 15 minutes. I am happy with my time though because of my knee issues and because it’s an accomplishment just to finish a marathon!

After the race was definitely the best part. It was time to celebrate! We went to brunch with Steph’s family and Alex’s dad. Alex ate a delicious portobello mushroom omelette, Steph had banana granola pancakes, and Shelby ate a grilled cheese. Once we got back to the hotel, Alex and Shelby relaxed with a Mojito by the pool! We then headed off the Downtown Disney where we enjoyed our dinner at the Raglan Road Irish Pub–we even got a 10% discount for running the race!


Lessons Learned and Memorable Moments:

1) Making friends with Robin after the race
2) Even if you don’t make your goal, remember that training to run 26.2 miles is a HUGE accomplishment.
3) “Meeting my dad at the finish line. Oh! And taking a Castle pic” -Alex
4) Running through Magic Kingdom
5) “When eating a pretzel during mile 19 I almost choked! It was a scary moment.” -Shelby
6) It was chilly in the morning so we wore old long sleeved shirts. We threw them off during the race when we started to warm up (they donate the clothes to charity!)
7) Seeing all the costumes. So many people wore Goofy costumes, tutus, or dressed up as their favorite character!
8) “Seeing my family throughout the race” – Steph
9) Running through all of the parks!
10) Listening to all of the people cheering you on throughout the course
11) Breakfast after the race!!!!!! – yummm pancakes!
12) Feeling so accomplished after we finished 🙂
13) A Medal is a great accessory to any outfit
14) “Being able to cheer on Kristin for her first half marathon” -Shelby


Forget the glass slipper, these princesses wear running shoes. Until next marathon.

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