My alarm went off at 2am for race morning! I jumped in the shower to find there was no hot water. What a wake-up!! Our plan was to be out of the room around 3am to catch one of the first buses headed to Epcot, and we were right on time.
I had the Arnold Thin and PB I packed for race morning breakfast.
We were able to catch the very first bus out of Port Orleans at 3am, and we were only accompanied by 2 other runners. I guess everyone else wasn’t as scared as me about not being able to catch a bus.
When we were dropped off, it seemed like we were one of the first groups to get there. A DJ was already blasting some dance jams, and we were able to hit up the port-a-potties before the lines were 15 women deep.
It was super cold out! Mom and Brandy were bundled up, but thank goodness I trained in freezing temperatures. I was able to withstand the cold a little better.
We sat around until 4:30ish when we were all directed to the big white tent to make the final 20-minute trek to the corrals. But before that, I met up with Kate and Caroline. We had a great time chit-chatting about training, etc. When it came time to get into our corrals, Caroline decided to drop back to Corral E with me. Thank goodness she did! I would have been lonely. We were told to be in our corrals by 5:30, and Corral E’s start wasn’t until 6:28, so we were huddled all together with no room to stretch for almost an hour. This was NOT good for the muscles! I would learn the real effects of this around mile 7. Also, Corral E couldn’t hear any of the music or the Fairy Godmother. But.. we did get to watch the starting line fireworks for all of the corrals ahead of us.
And then it was time for our own fireworks!
Caroline and I ran the first three miles together, weaving in and out of the slower runners and walkers. It was a packed crowd! I was feeling awesome! I was in a good stride, and thoughts were going through my head like “I think I could run this WHOLE THING!” Once I got to the Magic Kingdom toll plaza and the 3 mile marker, I decided to follow my training more and start with the run/walk intervals (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking), which also meant I had to bid farewell to Caroline. However, it wasn’t long until I got to a water stop and had to walk and weave. So, the plan of doing intervals was shot in my mind even though it shouldn’t have been. I ran most of miles 4 and 5, which curved through the MK parking lot and on to the Contemporary.
The 5th mile marker was at the end of the incline, and then it was time to enter the Magic Kingdom!
I knew my mom and Brandy had plans of taking the monorail over to MK, so I was trying to look for them as I was running by the castle, and then all of a sudden, there was my mom… and Danielle! Danielle and I have been friends online for about 5 or 6 years, but this was the first time I met her. And by “met her”, I mean, I quickly hugged my mom, hugged Danielle, and zoomed right on off to run some more. Danielle, we need to meet up sometime when I move to Florida! She snapped some pictures of me.
Once we were past the castle, we ran in to Tomorrowland and through Fantasyland.. and then through Cinderella’s Castle!
Once we were out of Castle country, we headed in to Liberty Square and Frontierland and out of through the back lots of MK. This is where I let my mind play tricks on me. I knew that once I was out of MK, there was really nothing left to be excited about. It was just the road and a bunch of women (some who were not courteous at all when you said “excuse me” to get around them”).
Miles 7-9 were the beginning of a very unpleasant experience for me. My hips were now extremely stiff, a result of not being able to properly stretch prior to the start of the race. Nothing else was hurting though, but it was hard to move with such stiffness. I tried several times to stretch and do some yoga positions on the side of the road.
As I was approaching the 10 mile marker, I was really beating myself up for allowing myself to walk so much. I knew I wasn’t going to make my time goal of 2:30-2:40. I knew I needed some motivation, so seeing as I had my iPhone with me for music, I logged on to Facebook and asked all of my friends to send me encouraging words. The support was overwhelming, to say the least. They all had such wonderful things to say. I did find myself calling Jeff (the ex) for extra support because he’s been extremely supportive throughout my whole training process. I broke down in tears as soon as I heard his voice. I was very disappointed and so mad at the same time.
The 11th mile brought a slanted on-ramp situation, and by this time, I was walking mostly. But it was cool to go over the overpass and look down at the sea of runners below. So awesome!
The 12th mile was a rather boring straight shot, and even though I knew it was almost the end, I still couldn’t bring myself to run much.
Danielle saw me again in the last mile of the race as I was heading in to Epcot.
(sorry my finger is in the way in that video!)
The last mile through Epcot was lined with Epcot cast members and volunteers, including Meghann! Gotta love her sign (this is her picture I swiped)
When I saw her, I knew the finish line was close. This is the only picture I got of a mile marker. If you want to see all of them, check out this blog.
And the last video… the finish line!
After finishing, I stumbled upon my good friend Bethany! She and I worked together at Disney for a few years. I’ve missed her!
I chatted with her for a bit and ate a bagel and a banana before meeting up with my mom.
And here’s my time and my splits…
According to this my pace was 13:02/minute, but everyone with a Garmin said the race was 13.25 miles, so my pace would then be 12:54. I’m disappointed in my time, but hey, I finished. That’s what matters, right? Especially since it’s my first half-marathon!
Well, that’s my race recap without any of my opinions.. stay tuned for my pros and cons of this race!
Until then, I leave you with this…
“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham