This is where I made my first mistake. I booked my trip through the Walt Disney website... but evidently you're suppose to register through Disney Sports in order to receive a race discount, the gift item (a cool rolling suitcase) and proper placement at host hotels. We had booked the new Art of Animation resort, which was nice, but had no transportation to the race expo, kids race or the half marathon start/finish lines. So we spent a good deal of extra money on taxis, which was the only other option. I was rather disappointed with how complicated Disney accommodations were. Pretty sure just renting a car would have been easier during our stay in Orlando.
Our Disney vacation was busy and quite frankly, exhausting. I can only be on top of my game for so many days in a row. That was evident on Saturday morning when we showed up for the Disney Kids Races... without my kids race bibs. Ugh! Thankfully, my hubby taxi-ed back to the hotel and returned in time for the start. My kids had a blast dancing with the warmup DJ. The race was over in a flash (They only ran 200 meters). Everyone was a winner. The girls got a big Mickey Mouse medal and that was that.
|Hey parents, if you insist on running side by side your kid, line up in the back, ok? Little kids can't see around you. It's kinda like an adult with a double jogging stroller lining up at the start of a 5K.|
After the kids' race, we went straight to Hollywood Studios to spend the day. I failed to squeeze in an afternoon nap before my race. (mistake #? I've lost count...) By time Saturday evening arrived, I had been on my feet walking the Disney properties and standing in lines for four full days. This is not proper pre-race prep. Do as I say, not as I do. I was mortified at how tired and sore my body was from this vacation (Really? I run 35 miles a week and all this walking is kicking my butt?!?!)
|Look who I found in corral A...|
It's Dave Mari!
Finally, the call to corrals was made. I lined up in corral A, where everyone was sitting down on the road. Can you feel the excitement? Thankfully, once the race started, I woke up. With a countdown and bang of fireworks at 10 pm sharp, we were finally off and running!
|Starting Gun Fireworks - again stealing your photo Dave!|
I was extremely happy with how smooth our corral started off. There was little to no crowding; everyone around me seemed to be running a similar pace down the wide highway. (Although one woman did soar pass me cursing other runners for their placement in corral A. WTH?) We turned the first corner and headed to Animal Kingdom.
By time I hit the mile 2 marker, I had already stopped twice. One for a photo with Goofy. One for the porta-potty. First bathroom stop in a race ever. I repeatedly told myself to slow down and run a comfortable pace. This race was meant to be training run, the taper before my full marathon. I certainly didn't want to blow up and cause need for recovery.
I enjoyed miles 3-5 in Animal Kingdom. My family had spent a full day there and in hindsight, it was probably my favorite day of Disney. I thoroughly enjoyed running through the nature setting at night. Throughout the course, there weren't many spectators, but the abundance of lights, floats, characters and music were a real treat. I stopped whenever I felt the urge and just forgot about the clock.
Miles 6-8 were a lonely stretch along the highway as we made our way to Hollywood Studios. While somewhat quiet, I enjoyed this time too. Shortly before mile 9, we entered Hollywood Studios. This theme park was lit up so lovely in the evening. My favorite was running down Sunset Boulevard and the Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I almost stopped in awe of this section. As I came through, some street sweeper yelled out to me, "Welcome to New York!"
By mile 11, we were headed to Epcot Center via a boardwalk area along water. I felt myself slowing down and didn't really care much. I was tired and just about done. I don't remember a whole lot of the last few miles except Epcot was busy with spectators. I got a lot of "Go Minnie!" cheers, which were much appreciated. In the final stretch, we ran through a cool laser beam section, zig zagging over our heads. As I approached the finish line, I even got a high five from Mickey Mouse himself.
Official Chip Time 2:10:11
Overall #2184 out of 11,599
Sex #975 out of 7666
F35-39 #177 out of 1283
I purposely did not wear a watch for this race, so no splits.
Overall, I enjoyed my Disney run. The course was extremely neat and different, although I can do without all the frills and fuss before/after a race. It's just not my style. At 12:20 in the morning, I glanced at the lines to enter the post party (we had to re-enter Epcot and pass through a bag check) I said, "Screw it." Instead, I hailed a cab to take me to a hot shower and a warm bed. The next morning, I was back up touring Magical Kingdom with the family...