I don’t even remember what time we woke up for the Disney World Half Marathon. It was so horribly early that I’ve blocked it from my mind. We were on the shuttle bus to Epcot for the start by 3 a.m.
I was really nervous and it was also really cold out. Because I tend to overheat when I run I opted to go in short sleeves (basically my Zoo Run outfit again). One of my co-workers had given me a race bib holder, head bands and running socks for secret Santa, so Iwas armed with all of those goodies and my new iPod armband. I was ready to go. For once we even got into the proper corral.
We met up with more people and took a group picture with Anna’s Blackberry.
The start of the run was really exciting and after we counted down there were fireworks as the elites took off!
When our corral left I said goodbye to Dan (he’s much faster and wanted to run in under 2 hours). Kristen and I decided to stick together for as long as possible while Paul and Anna ran together. Eddie was in a much faster corral.
The race was dark for the most part, since it was so early. We ran through a lot of the backroads between the parks and at one point it was completely pitch black because there were no lights. I just prayed that I didn’t fall in a pot hole or trip and fall over someone’s gels (people were dropping things by accident). That part was scary. When we approached the park I was starting to feel better. In terms of running, I felt pretty good. No coughing and not even tired.
Running through The Magic Kingdom was awesome. I still couldn’t believe we were running there. There were also characters throughout the entire half marathon who you could line up and pose with. Because I was scared that once I stopped running I wouldn’t start again, and I didn’t see Stitch (I would only stop for Stitch), we kept running.
The rest of the race was fun too, though there wasn’t a lot to look at. Once again we were on some of the roads that Disney owns and because of that there weren’t too many spectators. After we hit 10 miles (16k) my left quad started to cramp horribly. Kristen said that if we kept the pace up we could beat 2:30 but I knew I couldn’t with my leg so I told her to go without me. I told her to go beat 2:30 for me! She did and I walked for a bit and ran for a bit etc. it was really painful and I kept thinking “If only I had run that 17k in training!” I also had it in my head that if people saw me struggling I would get picked up and taken off the course. Now that I’ve run more I know that I wasn’t struggling enough for that to happen (I wasn’t limping or anything and my splits were still not bad). Towards the end it was really hard for me because we had to run up an on ramp onto the freeway. That was difficult. The entire freeway was difficult. Then I heard the bell ringing, which usually means you’re close to the finish. We were actually still over a mile from the finish. I kept thinking “Where’s the finish?! Where’s the finish?!” I felt like I was panicking and then kept thinking about the Donald Duck medal around my neck. When I was getting close to the finish I ran around a giant Christmas tree and I kept thinking that after I got around the tree I’d see the finish line. It wasn’t there so I continued to run and when I finally saw the finish line I was ecstastic.
I lined up and got my official race picture taken.
I met up with Kristen and the others and we waited for the rest of our group. We were all excited and buzzing about the half. Kristen ran an impressive 2:29. I ran 2:36 (not bad considering it was my first half and I didn’t run for the month leading up to it), Dan finished in 2:08 (in the same training conditions as me). I was so excited and exhilarated by the experience that I started planning my next half. Maybe I would do Disneyland and get the Coast to Coast medal? The possibilities seemed endless.
After we all met up, we caught a shuttle bus back to our hotel and everybody showered and got dressed. I felt great! I didn’t even feel half as sore as I did at the Bay to Breakers (probably because we really trained this time). My feet just hurt and my legs were a little stiff. Dan had a really disgusting blister on his foot that was bigger than a quarter. I have pictures but I’ll save you from the horror.
We all met up downstairs and had a special Mickey Mouse breakfast!
After this, we headed over to Animal Kingdom. Dan, Kristen and I had never been because it didn’t exist when we were younger.
We also went on the Bugs Life 4-D ride, which was hilarious and fun but also a little bit terrifying. We wanted to go on the Expedition Everest ride and had fast pass tickets for it but it broke down and they didn’t know when it would be ready again. Instead of waiting for the ride (since at this point we had explored everything we wanted to explore at Animal Kingdom), we hopped on the bus and headed back to Hollywood Studios.
Trina really wanted to go on the Hollywood Backlots tour and I remembered as being a lot of fun when I was 13 so we went. We volunteered Josh and Trina to participate in the preshow movie.
After this we went to Downtown Disney to meet up with everybody else for dinner. We had dinner at Raglan Road where they had a live Irish band and live Irish dancers.
Feeling tired and full, we took the boat back across to our hotel. We all said our goodbyes (everybody was flying out at different times the next day) and promised to run another half marathon someday (though some people said it was their last half. It totally wasn’t).
This was one of my most memorable trips for a number of reasons. We had an amazing time with really great people and we came, we ran and we crushed it!
So was it the happiest race on earth? It was definitely one of the happier races, but I decided I’d need to run more before I could make that judgement.
Next up, race report on the Sporting Life 10k in Toronto, and a trip recap of our east coast adventure (Nova Scotia and Newfoundland)!