Yesterday, January 13, 2013, I participated in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. This race was the coolest race that I have been a part of to date.
My husband and I dropped the kiddos off at my parent’s house on Tuesday night. This was the first time my husband has been away from the kids ever (my son is 5 and my daughter is almost 3). It was also the first time that we have both been away from the kids. Luckily, the kids were great at my parent’s house.
On Wednesday, we were supposed to leave Dallas at 745 and head straight to Orlando, but mechanical issues caused us to not leave until after 12. But we did finally get there. We checked into the resort (we stayed at the All Star Music) and then went to Epcot. My husband wanted to get drinks at the Mexico pavilion but I told him that I had to be super careful with what I ate and drank prior to the race. I didn’t want the alcohol to dehydrate me (which he was fine with).
On Thursday, we went to Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. In between those 2 places I went to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex for the Expo (aka packet pickup). All I can say is WOW! The Expo was HUGE! They had 2 separate buildings dedicated to just the Expo. One building you picked up your race number (the building contained race numbers for all the races going on this weekend), cheer squad shirt (you can sign family up to be in the cheer squad and depending on which package you buy they get a shirt), and buy official merchandise. The second building is where you picked up your gear bag and shirt. That is also the building with all the vendors. There was so much to look at! I had a blast. I think my husband got bored with it (especially since he isn’t a runner) but he was a real trooper. I kind of overdid the walking on Thursday. My fitbit said that I did almost a half marathon in walking throughout the day. My body felt like I had done a half. That kind of made me nervous. I was already nervous about the race but it kind of freaked me out with how tired my muscles were.
On Friday, we slept in and then went back to the Magic Kingdom. We only stayed for several hours and then went back to the hotel. I wanted to make sure that my muscles got some rest prior to the race.
Saturday was race day!!!! My alarm went off at 2 am!!! I practically jumped out of bed, though. I was so excited. What surprised me the most was that I was not nervous. I have been nervous for about a month or so before this race. But the past week I have actually been feeling relatively calm. This was my 6th half marathon and I had no reason to be nervous. I got on the special shuttle bus just after 3am. I ate my breakfast (bagel, PB, banana, granola bar, and water) after we got to Epcot and near the family reunion area. I didn’t want to eat too early. We got told to start heading back to the corrals at 4 but they didn’t actually let us back until 4:30. We (the thousands of half marathon runners) walked back and got into our corrals. I was in Corral E and was supposed to start my portion of the race at exactly 6:03 am. The race itself began at 5:30 am. I made sure to get in the very front of my corral so that in the event something bad were to happen that I wouldn’t get picked up by the Sag wagon (they had a 3:30 time limit even though when I look thru the official results there were those who finished around the 4 hr mark). When I was waiting to being, I got to meet Drew Carrey. I didn’t have enough time to have a picture taken with him but it was cool shaking his hand (he wasn’t running the race).
So we were off. Ever quarter to half mile there was some photo opportunity, high school band, DJ, performer, etc… It was so cool. I didn’t stop for any of the road side photo ops but a lot of runners did. We started at Epcot and ran to the Magic Kingdom. I ran past the Ticket and Transportation center, the Contemporary hotel, down a side road into the Magic Kingdom. In the Magic Kingdom, I ran down Main Street USA, thru Tomorrow land, thru Fantasy land, walked thru the castle (there were way to many people to attempt to run thru the castle), stopped and had my picture taken in front of the castle, thru Frontier land and then out of the Magic Kingdom via a side street. We then ran past the Grand Floridian hotel & golf course, the Polynesian hotel, and the Race Track. About half the race was spent around the Magic Kingdom. For the most part the race was pretty flat. There were some inclines and off ramps that we had to go up but they weren’t too bad.
I think the worst part of the race was the humidity!!!! It was super high. It did get better as the race progressed but was really sticky at the beginning. Luckily, I was properly hydrated. I made sure to drink lots of water and sports drinks for days before the race.
I had a great first 9 miles of the race. I then looked at my Garmin and realized that I was making great time and could take it easy the last 4 miles. So that is what I did. I wasn’t real concerned at that point about any sag wagon. I wasn’t really concerned even with my time. After all, as my friend Marcy told me, this race is a fun race and I shouldn’t worry about timing but enjoy the experience. So, that is what I did. I finished in 3:32. I walked the last 4 miles. I would have finished in around 3 even if I had not walked the last 4 miles. I was fine with finishing! It was an awesome experience. I loved every minute!!!
Here are all of the pictures I took:
The building where you got your race number (on the far left is where the Half Marathon pickup was):
The building where you got your gear bag and main Expo place:
After picking up my race number and gear bag:
Before heading over to the corrals:
The starting line:
Entering the Magic Kingdom:
About to go down Main Street USA:
About to go thru the castle:
Just went thru the castle:
Done with the Magic Kingdom and almost back to Epcot:
Back in Epcot and next to Spaceship Earth. ALMOST DONE!!!
DONE!!!! WOOHOO!!!! So glad there were benches at the family reunion area!
My post race margarita (Yummmmmm):