So almost 10 years ago I started this journey, I am not sure any of you are interested at all. But over the next few days I will reprint all eight parts of my first race blog I originally posted in MySpace back in early 2008. It's long but I got a kick in re-visiting it. Part One: Now A Marathon My least favorite day of the year was Christmas Day, I know odd. This was for three reasons. The first was that it would be a full year before Christmas season again. The second was that I have always been a “journey not arrival” person. I loved the first sightings of lights, the yards with decorations, making Christmas lists, visiting Santa at the mall, when Christmas morning was over my family was ready for it all to come down. In escense I liked the buildup but not so much the pay-off. The third and final reason was the mystery was over. I knew what Santa brought me. I was always pleased but the speculation was over. Those same feelings are raining down on me as I type. So it is with that same pleased yet empty feeling that I recount what was truly one of the greatest days of my life. In order to tell you the whole story I have to start at the beginning. This whole odyssey began one day last April. We were still living in Russellville and I was on the internet at the house. Our family has always been big on Disney. Our hobby is getting our pictures made with as many characters as possible at the parks. Over our many trips we have collected almost 150 of them. This is a marathon blog so I will not bore you with how or why this started, it’s just something we love. Anyways, I was looking at some Disney Character picture collections when I ran into a picture of a guy with “Hades”. Now Hades is the villain from Disney’s Hercules movie. I thought “now that would be a cool one for our collection”. I saw where the picture was taken at the marathon last year. To understand the hobby you need to know that there are many others who do this as well. It is kind of a badge of honor when you find a really rare character like Hades. It’s a lot like having a rare baseball card or coin (although you can’t sell it on ebay). This picture sighting was coupled with a visit to the doctor that week. I weighed a little more than usual, about 10 pounds. This added fuel to the fire. I asked Amanda what she thought about me running a marathon at Disney. Amanda always supportive said “I think you should do it”. I have always a habitual exerciser, so this made since to me. I was excited but at the same time I could not believe I was going to do this. Amanda also decided to run the half marathon. We would run our first marathons at my favorite place in the world! Now let’s fast forward to 3:30 a.m. the 16th of January. I rose from my sleep to drive over to Disney (no small feat). The race did not start till 6:00 a.m. but everything I had read said to be there by 4:00 a.m. I waited nervously with 15,000 or so others who had registered (I am not sure how many were there). My race number was in the 12,000’s so I was set to start near the back of the race. When I registered back in April I had no knowledge of how long it would take me to finish a marathon. I knew I would be stopping a lot to get my picture made with characters so I assumed it would take me 6 hours and 30 minutes. My only barometer was that you have 7 hours to finish the marathon. I thought 6:30 was a good estimate for a first timer with a camera. I went to my starting position at about 5:15 a.m. and waited nervously for 45 minutes. I probably used the restroom 10 times in anticipation.