Saturday morning I headed to the expo courtesy of a million (or 3) shuttle buses. On the way there we could see the 1/2 marathoners running toward the finish line and my stomach dropped to my knees. The expo was held at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports and it was huge! I got inside, was able to print my waiver (I forgot mine in the hotel) and was on my way to pick up my packet.
Packet pick up was fairly quick – if you don’t want to look through anything else. With transportation each way and a few minutes perusing the expo it took me about 2 hours. I also took some time to grab some Mouse gear – a cutie hoodie, shirt with a list of where we would be running on the back and then a visor since I forgot mine. I also signed up for fb alerts and for my sis to get texts at mile markers.
Saturday night I went to sleep at about 10 pm. I had leftover pizza for dinner (my pre-race meal of choice) and set my alarm for 2:15 am! Luckily, I laid out all of my clothes and got my bag ready for my fam to bring with them the next day before sleeping. In the “morning” I showered and finished getting ready. I wore my sparkle skirt and this feeling of, “I’m a runner” came over me. My good friend picked me up at 3:20 and we were off. He was staying at a Disney hotel so we went there and I got in line for the shuttle bus to the start. Get this, I didn’t arrive to bag check area until 4:35 am! From here, it was quick – bag check, horrifying experience with the porta-potty, a search for a band-aid and a walk to corral D.
Then we were off! It was humid already and everyone was sweating in the pre-dawn hours. Oh and it got to be 80* and 90% humidity. Lots of people had costumes on, there were fireworks and TONS of enthusiasm. My pace was slow and steady – around 12:34 per mile. I felt okay but I could also tell I was tired. If a marathon was 8 miles, I would have been golden!
Oh! I don’t remember the mile marker but running through the Cinderella castle was fabulous – seriously. We approached it from off to the side in a parking lot and it just sort of glowed in the early morn. They have it covered with lights to mimic snow (seriously, it was bloody hot at this point in time so I found it ironic) and it was so beautiful, I almost stopped to simply stare. I loved running through it!!
After mile 8 I had to start talking myself down from quitting at the half. All I could think about were the miles that were ahead of me and it was wearing me down. I got to the 1/2 way point and I swear, just getting there seemed to take a monumental effort! Mile 15-ish a bystander had some ice-cold Coke and I got a dixie cup of it – oh my gosh, most incredible Coke ever! I also ate a mini Luna bar since I was pretty hungry at this point. There was a Clif GU station somewhere around here too where I tried Vanilla flavored – pretty good!
The Coke and Luna bar gave me a boost and then we ended up around the Wide World of Sports. We zig-zagged through here for 4 miles. I lost part of my will to live at this point! We got sponges soaked in water at mile 17 (which I wore on my head for a bit) and bananas. As we ran over the marker for the last 10k, we were in a professional baseball stadium, which looking back on it was totally neato. I took my last good race photo and then wanted to curl in the fetal position and cry.
The last 6.2 cooked me – literally and figuratively. I got a bit of heat stroke (the chills set in) along this and it was a boring part of the course. We didn’t get back to the parks until mile 23 if I remember correctly. I also walked more than I ran, which is ego-busting. Crowd support was amazing though and people cheered for me no matter how pathetic I looked! When I saw my fam, I almost went over to them and just quit! They were cheering so loudly though and looked so proud so I kept going.
Finally, I made it. Oh man… it took forever! 6:14 to be exact. I crossed the finish line (actually running), got my kick ass medal and then meandered through the chute toward the food/bag check. I was stopped by a medic who encouraged me to drink the Powerade that had been given to me. I think I moaned out something about not being able to open it! He opened it for me and then chatted me up for a while. I tried to leave 2 times before he finally let me go on the third try. Apparently, I looked as bad as I felt! Then I hit up the fans that were spraying water – best things ever, a bag of ice that I plunked on my head and made my way toward my fam. They actually hugged me! I was disgusting!
I hit up both banana stops, the medic tents x3 (vaseline and sun screen) and every single water station. I think there were stations at every other mile – thank goodness! Fan support was fantastic and Disney went out of their way to make ALL of us feel special for running. The race was fiercely organized and the volunteers were a plenty and super helpful. There were two GU stations and one Tylenol station – yay!
The cons would be: 1) the expense. This race isn’t cheap and it doesn’t include a park ticket. It would have been awesome if it even included a base ticket that you could upgrade. 2) If you don’t stay in a Disney hotel, it IS more difficult to get to the race and creates some anxiety. 3) There are A LOT of people and someone said it was kind of cheesy. I didn’t feel this way but I understand how this type of race isn’t for everyone.
All that being said, a couple of us are seriously considering soldiering on for a rematch next year! And we want to kick it up a notch – the Goofy Challenge! Wahoo! Again, it’s pricey – about $300 for both (kind of ridiculous) but I would love to say I was able to do it. I’m incredibly proud of myself and do feel I “kicked some Disney butt!”