Hi there! How’s your Wednesday? I am still recovering from my vacation…it’s always tough to get back to reality! I don’t want to leave you hanging so here is a recap of my actual race day experience!
We got up at the ungodly hour of 2:45am! I’m not sure if we had adjusted to eastern time yet so our bodies might have even thought it was 1:45am!!! We had decided that our goal would be to leave the condo at 3:30am but after hearing a lot of other racers say that was their plan we decided to get a jump start and leave at 3:15am. Ryan, Amy’s husband, had been with his mom last year when she raced so he knew right where to park and led the crowd of supporters to the perfect spectator spots. I was so grateful that Ryan had previous experience with the race because we would have had a tough time knowing where to go or how to get there. Ryan’s previous experience made for a very stress free race morning. We got to the parking lot nice and early. John and I made our way to the runner’s only area and immediately got in line for the port a potty. Just look at the crowd!
We then started the 20 minute walk to the corrals. There were 8 in all. Some how I got assigned to the last corral, John was assigned to the corral ahead of me but no one was checking so he just stayed with me. We had to wait about a half an hour before our corral left. We were glad we had the extra layers as it was quite chilly! As each corral started there was lots of cheering and even fireworks for the first few corrals.
Finally our corral was led to the starting line. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy were all there to cheer us on. Now, you have to understand that I am a HUGE Disney fan. My family had been to Disney World and Disney Land a total of 10 times combined. Not going to lie, I got a little teary eyed thinking about how cool it was that I was doing this event in such a magical place that holds so many good memories for me!
Before you knew if we were off! Now, the actual race, the running part, was not the best. I was assigned to the last corral so I expected there to be A LOT of walkers but I guess that’s not how the corrals were divided because there seemed to be a lot of serious runners in our corral too. There was A LOT of congestion! John and I spent most of our time dodging people and weaving in and out of the crowd trying to pass people. Once we finally got past a bunch of people we would run into the walkers from the previous corral! I didn’t have my Garmin (batteries died right at the start) but I knew I was not keeping my regular pace. I didn’t really care though, I wasn’t in it to break any records I was just there for the experience. There was so much to see on the race course. Other runners dressed in costume, characters from the Disney movies, marching bands. The miles seemed to fly by and before you knew it we were entering the Magic Kingdom.
Before entering the park, at about mile 4, our fans were there to cheer us on and snap a picture. Can you see us? We are on the left, I’m in black and John is in light blue.
We entered what looked like a behind the scenes part of the Magic Kingdom, turned a corner and were running down Main Street towards Cinderella’s Castle!
Again, I got a little teary eyed! So many fond memories. I just couldn’t believe I was doing this! A lot of the Disney Cast members cheered us on before they started their work day at the park. We looped around through Tomorrowland and back through the castle. John grabbed my camera and ran ahead of me so he could get a shot of me coming through the castle. It’s a little blurry but I’m there on the right in the purple waving!
Running through the park was the coolest part! I just kept saying, “This is so AWESOME!” and I’m sure I had a huge goofy smile on my face the whole time.
We exited the park through another backstage area that took us to some back roads and eventually back to the highway. We saw our fans again at about mile 8! We’re a little hard to see and I’m not looking at the camera. I drew an arrow above our heads but I also wanted to show you how many runners it was and how congested it was, not to mentioned the cute Minnie Mouse costume!
As you know from my training 8 miles was pretty much my favorite distance to run. After mile 8 I began to feel it in my feet but other than that I wasn’t really tired due to the slow pace. Mile 9 just seemed to fly by. John and I separated at mile 10 and I really began to pick up steam and passed a ton of people.
We climbed up a small hill (an exit ramp) and I could see our final destination…Epcot!
Mile 11 was just around the corner. I pushed ahead. As we entered the park I saw the sign for mile 12, just one more to go. I really picked up my pace and tried to pass as many people as I could. I could hear the crowd cheering and a live choir singing “We Are the Champions!” there was the finish! I had done it! It was a good race and an even more amazing experience. They gave us a cool metallic blanket and our medal. I saw Amy waiting in the crowd and she snapped my photo. I think you can really tell how happy I was from these photos.
I stopped to get a professional photo taken and grab some snacks. I easily found my friends and met up with John who had only come in a few minutes later that me.
Here’s John and I proudly wearing our medals!
And here’s the whole crew who came out to support us!
From left to right we have, Amy, Becky, Kurt, Brian, Ryan, and Marianne. Marianne had the cutest shirts made up and all our fans wore them on race day.
My time was 2:23:50 almost 15 minutes slower than the Maple Leaf Half but honestly I could care less. I felt great the entire race, I had a wonderful time, and got to have a once in a life time experience! I have to say that none of it would have been possible without the help, support, and encouragement of my friends and husband. It probably never would have happened if it wasn’t for them. Because of them I got to have a very magical experience that I will remember for a lifetime! So thank you all! You know I love you dearly!
With that, I must go and get caught up on the rest of my life! Stay tuned for more adventures from Disney World!