Oh my gosh. I still can’t believe this past weekend flew by so quickly. Well, every part flew by but the race itself ;)
The race expo was pretty nice- some great vendors, and a huge official merchandise area. At the entrance we were greeted by two of Cinderella’s… guards? Nobles? I’m not sure, but they were snazzy. I went in, picked up my race packet and number, and grabbed myself a few Bondi Bands: an official race one, a 13.1, and one that says “I LOVE RUNNING I HATE RUNNING” :)
My parents and I spent the next day walking around Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. I’ll post a few of those photos in a later update… this one will just be race-centric :)
A huuuuge buffet dinner awaited us at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, where I ate a full two plates of food. That never ever happens. I was determined to be fueled enough for the next morning.
my dad and I are weird
I went to bed a little before 9pm, anticipating my 3am wake-up call the next morning. We had three alarms set to play it safe. Unsurprisingly, I woke up around midnight and had some trouble getting back to sleep. Finally 3am arrived and I geared up, threw together a mug of oatmeal, and chugged some more water. We got to Epcot by around 4am and made our way over to the tent area. There was a DJ and merchandise tents, but no one was shopping… most people just huddled inside for warmth. Even though we were in Florida, it was still in the mid-40s.
my dad has a horrible camera
I planned on meeting up with Jamie, Katye, Libby, Nicole, and Tonia, but I couldn’t find them then got sidetracked in the portalet line. Maybe next time :(
The walk over to the start corrals seemed to take forever, and I had no idea where I really was in relation to the parks at the time. There was more music (and more portalets!) near the corrals, so I tried to warm up a bit by moving to the music. Yeah, no go. There were over 13,000 runners and five corrals. I was in Corral B (!! I seriously thought I’d be in the last one since I didn’t submit a time), and it was pretty packed with people who wanted to be as far up as possible. At this point, residual body heat was the only “warm-up” we’d get.
6:00am: Corral A heads out.
6:08am: Corral B starts, and I cross the starting line.
The first few miles were a bit rough… I was still adjusting to the cold air and weaving between people. I grabbed a nice clear spot in the grassy shoulder of the road and found a decent pace. Since I had to skip my last long run, I actively tried to keep my pace at 10:00 or above so I wouldn’t burn out, and I allowed myself to walk through water stations. Other than that, no walking allowed. That was my plan.
The sun started to rise about half an hour in, which made for some gorgeous visuals along the way.
Subtract a little over 8 minutes for my actual time ;)
Just after mile 5 came just about everyone’s favorite part: running up Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, through the park, through Cinderella’s Castle, then back towards Epcot. I didn’t plan on stopping for character pictures, but when I saw Chip and Dale in Tomorrowland without anyone in line, I had to stop for a photo.
Backstory: When my parents and I came to Disney when I was 12, I was taking a picture with Chip and Dale, and they started to fight over me and one started to walk away with me. I’m not sure how old the people in the costumes were at the time, but I prefer not to think about that. My dad had made a comment the day before about wanting a “before and after” photo with them, but I’m not all in to waiting in line for character pictures. When I saw them on the race route, though, I knew I had to get a photo as a surprise.
There were guards on the castle that started playing trumpets as my part of the crowd ran through, which definitely added to the experience. No pictures of that yet… again, my dad has a horrible camera. Or he’s just bad at photos.
I was feeling really strong at the 10K point, and my split time was 1:05:06. Heck yeah, I was on target to finish around 2:15! I also made it past mile 7.16 strong, which was my breaking point on another run. Apparently that breaking point just bumped itself further down the path because I felt the first sign of a twinge at 7.65. No. Nonononono. I grabbed another Margarita Shot Blok out of my fuel pack, stretched for a second, and hoped for the best.
The best didn’t happen. Unfortunately, the pain only worsened, and at mile 10 I was wondering if I could even finish. My splits say it all: before mile 8, I was averaging around 10:30. After mile 8, my splits went into the 11:00s, and for miles 11 and 12… into a 12:00 pace. Just about every 2 minutes or so I had to stop along the side of the road and stretch my calves. The cramps had made their way from my feet into my calves, and it started to creep up into my right knee (my left knee was protected by the knee brace of splendor and magic).
Jack Sparrow helped a bit, though.
wait this isn't Johnny Depp I want my money back
I had to finish. I had to. At every medical tent I passed, I poured a glob of Biofreeze into my hand and slathered it all over my legs. I took Powerade at every chance I got. I stretched for a few seconds and kept running. I was not about to finish this thing walking.
The last mile was the hardest. I wanted to push all the way through Epcot… but even then I had to stop and stretch twice. Even so, my last mile time was 10:54… pretty nice considering the 12 minute pace of the two prior miles.
Fun fact: the course is really 13.3 miles, not 13.1. My legs did not enjoy that extra 0.2.
Final chip time: 2:25:50. I added on an extra 10 minutes or so from the stretching and slowed pace. But I look at it this way: it’ll be easy to PR the next time around ;)
Overall, I loved this race. It was entertaining, pretty easy, and just a great starter race. And where else will you see a guy (there were 422 men that ran!) running a half marathon in a full-length Belle dress? Or run through Cinderella’s Castle?
Will I do another half? Probably. But no time in the next few months. Heck, I’m still one more night of sleep away from having functioning muscles. I definitely need to build a better base and train more before attempting again. I have a 5 miler in my sights, which will be a breeze after this.
In the meantime, I’m going to go on feeling like I can conquer just about anything :)