Well hello again friends...what a whirlwind the last few days have been. As ya'll know we just returned home last night from our RunDisney weekend...so buckle up and let the recaps begin!
Any good 1/2 marathon starts with a very yummy pre-race carb load, and Friday night's dinner didn't disappoint - since we had to be in bed by 8pm...we made like seniors and headed to dinner at 4:50pm ;) We lucked out, and there was a Carabba's in the parking lot of our hotel - so we just walked on over. I'm not gonna lie...we had checked out the menu online before we went, and I knew they had their 3 course meal deal on, and I was super stoked when I read what one of their entrees was: Lobster Mac & Cheese
....and yes it was just as delish as it sounds and looks!!!
And yes you read the above bed time correctly...the plan was to go to bed at 8pm. We had a v.e.r.y early wake-up call...3am...when we headed back to the hotel we prepped for the next day by getting everything all laid out and our bibs pinned to our shirts - then we headed to bed at 8pm...watched a movie for a bit and lights were out by 9pm
3am and 3 alarms started going off (and we all had different "alarm ring tones" set) we had all slept surprising well for (a) sleeping in a hotel (b) sleeping on pillows that were literally pocket sized (#bloggerfailiforgottotakeapicture) (c) for it being the night before a race - we got changed - took a few obligatory race day morning pics
ate our bananas - and we were off to the races...literally. We arrived at Epcot around 4am, and were able to get parked no problem - we decided on where we were going to meet after the race, did bag check and then headed out on our pre-race trek to the corrals (RunDisney's brochure estimated that it was approx. a 20min walk to the start line...it didn't seem quite that long to me, but it was definitely a trek)...apparently it was such a loooong walk for some of us - it even required a pit stop
Once we reached our corral areas - Mike and I parted ways with Rhoda (she was in corral A), then Mike and I hit up the port-a-potties for one last pre-race pit stop before we headed into corral H. (This race had 25,000 runners with corrals up to the letter P)
The race started right on time at 5:30am for the wheelchair division and then 5:35am for corral A. Each additional corral started 2min after each other. I think race directors should take a hint from Disney, and countdown each corral and start them with a bang...literally
It was supppper hot and muggy for about the first hour of the race - thank goodness for all the water stations...at all except for 2 I think I showered myself more than I actually drank just to cool myself down.
We started the race at Epcot and headed out onto World drive to make our way to the ticket and transportation station, under water and then into and through the Magic Kingdom. The characters started at about mile 2...and as I promised (and warned Mike ahead of time)...I was stopping for each and everyone!
Get ready for a photo dump 'cause there's a lot
I didn't get a real good shot of this guy...but here's the best one I got...he ran the Dopey Challenge this year: 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, 1/2 marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday...he was dressed like this for all 4 races...and that is an actual real tuba that he ran with and would also play along the way
And just to show you how humid it was that morning...you could actually see it in the air once it started it get a bit brighter out
Main St USA was lined with people to cheer us on - it was such a cool experience
We headed off to Tomorrowland, and continued on with our photo ops
We looped back around and got to run through the castle for more cheers on Main St before taking the bridge over to Frontierland
We exited the park right beside Splash Mountain and headed out to start making our way back to Epcot. As we were waiting in line for a pic with Mickey...the infamous "balloon ladies" aka the sag line actually passed us...what does that mean?!? If you are not in front of them at mile 8 they have a whole fleet of coach buses that pick everyone up who are behind them - and you can't finish the race - to give you an idea of just how "serious" this is...of the 25,000 people that toed the start line...there were 20,242 finishers...that's a lot of people that get picked up. At this point we were 2nd to next in line for our pic - so we got the shot...and then had to sprint about 1/2 mile to get to mile 8 and get back in front of the balloons....and we made it which meant that we got to keep on trucking.
The only "bad" thing about stopping for all the photo ops was that it meant to we ended up back with all the walkers, so it made it impossible at a few points to run 'cause there was nowhere to go. (The price you pay to have fun on this race)...but it also meant to we got to see lots of fellow runners dressed in costume
Heading back to Epcot meant running back on their highway...and what seemed like endless highway ramps...those r.e.a.l.l.y suck big time...so at that point my knee was not happy with me - so the few forced walking breaks were actually much appreciated...but we finally made it into Epcot and Mike was even nice enough to get some action shots of me
There were a few more characters that you could stop for in Epcot...and we did just that
Then we looped back around to the front of Epcot for the finish out in the parking lot.
We did it and crossed the finish line together...with an official finishing time of 4:06:59 I actually stopped my watch at each character we stopped for and then would start it again when we would commence running, and my watch time was 2:45:24
The race was a blast, and it was such a great experience to be able to run it with for once non-competitive-Mike! There was never a dull moment along the race course as in addition to all the characters there were also DJ's set up, marching bands, cheer leader squads...and just before the finish line a full-on Gospel Choir.
Disney definitely has mastered the art of hosting a very efficient and well organized race, and in my opinion is worth the hefty price you pay for registration. The course is very clearly marked, there are thousands of volunteers, numerous water stations, multiple medic tents that also provides Vaseline (for all your chaffing needs) and bio-freeze (for all your painful joint needs).
...and the real reason we run these races...for the bling...and Disney's got you covered here as well!
Longest race ever = longest post ever. You're welcome :)
What's your favourite race you've ever done?
Anyone want to join me next year at the Disney 1/2 marathon...maybe then I'll try and break 4 hours....maybe