Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Goofy Challenge Part 2: Race Report - Disney World Half Marathon

After only 4 hours of sleep, the alarm went off at 3am. This is definitely the earliest I have ever gotten up for a run. Usually, if I see 3am it's because I stayed up that late, not because I was getting up that early.

We got ready and headed to get on a shuttle. Since we stayed at a Disney resort, all we had to do was hop on a bus and ride to Epcot. It definitely made things easy logistically. There were plenty of buses, and we never had to stress over that part. Well done, runDisney, well done.

Here we are on the bus around 4am... you can tell we still have our sleepy eyes.

We got to the race and got our bearings. It was definitely a little chilly, and we used the little space blankets from previous races (I had the foresight to pack a few) to try to stay warm. We wandered around for a bit, and we ran into a guy that we had talked to in line the day before. What are the odds!? We wished him well on his race and started walking to the start line.

It's probably a half mile walk from the main area to the race start... it felt like it took us forever to get there, and the group was moving together like cattle. I figured that since I had walked all over the parks for two days that a little extra time on my feet wasn't going to kill me, but at the same time it was less than ideal.

Before long, we made it to the start corrals. I had been assigned B, but Meredith was in H so I decided that I'd go to her corral so that we could run the race together as planned. We also found Alisa there, so it was fun to get to see her again and have someone else to chat with at the race start.

And it's a good thing we had company, because it was a LONG time before we started. Our corral was one of the last ones to start, and I'm pretty sure both Meredith and Alisa were put in the wrong corral. When we started, we were surrounded by walkers... and both of them run faster than that. It was definitely annoying that we ended up having to weave in and out of so many people. I realize I could have started much closer to the front, but I had promised Meredith we'd run together and at her pace. Plus, I wanted to take it easy since I had the full the next day.

Alisa was also doing Goofy, so it was awesome to be able to chat about our thoughts and nerves for the next day.

Some other thoughts from the start? The fireworks were tiny. I expected more from Disney in terms of this. However, they had these giant flames shooting from the start banner - and these totally gave us a lot of heat as we got moving. Very helpful.

We had all agreed we needed to take it easy. With Alisa and I both doing the full the next day and Meredith having run maybe 3 miles in the past 2 months, we didn't want to be overzealous. We also agreed that we were stopping for photos with the characters unless it was ones we didn't recognize. The new characters are not on my radar.

The first one we found was Pooh and Piglet!

We also saw this really cool hot air balloon.

We had to make a porta-potty stop early on... like mile 3. This may have had something to do with the fact that we hung out at the start for like 2 hours between the time we got off the bus and when we actually started the race. This pit stop took about 10 minutes, but we weren't too concerned with time.

It wasn't long before we turned into the Magic Kingdom and ran down Main Street!

In Tomorrowland, we found Buzz Lightyear.

Then, it was Alice and the Mad Hatter by the tea cups.

As we got back to the castle, we saw the evil stepsisters, the fairy godmother and Prince Charming. I'm not sure why Cinderella wasn't out there... maybe she was on break.

Before leaving the Magic Kingdom, we also stopped for a photo with the Pirates of the Caribbean. One of them looked just like Johnny Depp!

The course definitely got a little boring at this point, but Disney did a good job of keeping it interesting. You were always coming up on a water stop, a character or music whether a band or dj. We never even turned on our iPods.

Somewhere around mile 9 or 10, we heard people talking about the sweepers. If you got behind them, you weren't going to finish in the required time. AND THEY WERE RIGHT THERE.

This is the first time in my life I have ever been that close to the back. I think it made my sister a little nervous, so we tried to pick it up a bit more. Alisa decided to go her own pace, so we all wished each other well and made plans to meet up tomorrow at the start again.

I'm not going to lie, my feet were starting to hurt. I knew this was a result of being on my feet in the parks for two days and now running a half marathon on 4 hours of sleep. I started to feel a little nervous about the next day's full marathon, but I pushed the thought out of my head.

If there's one thing I can say for sure, it's that I had fun. Even though we were out there way longer than I ever am for a half, the time flew by!

We crossed the line in 3:13:04.

I like some of the photos the race got of us, too.

We got our Donald Duck medals and hit up the food area... where we could have a banana, an orange and a teeny tiny granola bar. FAIL runDisney. FAIL. This race is expensive, and I expected a little more.

We hopped on a bus back to our hotel and grabbed some breakfast before quick showers and a 1.5 hour nap. Then we were off to the Magic Kingdom for about 7 hours. I felt tired, but I figured I was there to have fun more than anything.

When I got to the park, the security guy congratulated me and asked if I would be running again tomorrow. When I said yes, this other employee was like, "Then what are you doing here?!" I grinned and said I came to have fun and wasn't about to miss a minute of the Disney experience.

We caught the afternoon parade.

We snapped some post-race photos with our medals. (You know I wore mine all day!)

We indulged in some ice cream (the weather was sunny and warm).

We rode Space Mountain a few times, Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion and some other of the smaller rides. It was definitely a good day.

I had bought this cute shirt at the expo that says "Race You To the Castle" and "26.2" and has the castle on it... so I figured it would be fun to get a photo in front of it, especially since I'd be running 26.2 in a few short hours.

My mom and I rode the bus back to the hotel since we thought it'd be the fastest way back. On the bus, there was this sweet family next to us of a couple and 3 small girls. Somehow we got to talking, and the dad had done the half. When I mentioned they were doing both, the mom told the girls, "See, that means that girls can do anything that boys can do!" and the dad added, "And sometimes more!" It was really cute.

We got back to the hotel and I got ready for the next day. Once again, I couldn't get myself to sleep until 11 or so. The full marathon would definitely be an experience after the past 3 days of exploring Disney and running a half marathon!


Jackie said...

dang, girl! you are like the energizer bunny! glad you had lots of fun though :)

Alisa said...

Wooo hooo loved doing most of the half with you guys totally FUN!

Great pictures!

I totally wore my medal around after the half the rest of the day and definitely after Goofy!

Nicole said...

Gahhhhhh looks like SO much fun!!!! :) I love all the pictures! amazing amazing job!