Monday, January 13, 2014

Disney World Half Marathon

Thursday we decided to escape the frigid Pennsylvania weather and migrate south to Florida for a week. It just so happened to coincide with the Disney World marathon weekend. Well, while we're down here...

Actually, I have been looking forward to this race for about nine months now. Even more so because I was running the goofy challenge! Two races (a half and full marathon) in two days to get three medals! Of course I'm all in for some running bling. 

Also very excited to be doing the half portion with my husband. The non runner. 

Months ago I had the idea for a couples costume. We were going to be Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. 

Over the past few weeks I have gotten connected with a bunch of runners doing different races over the weekend, and we decided to finally meet up before the half. So, 3am on a Saturday morning, we made the trek to Epcot. 

After finally getting to meet everyone, we made our way to the start line. 

Since this was hubby's first half, and I was doing a full the next day, he was pacing. We were in corral O, the next to last corral. After having to pee in the woods because the line for the bathroom was horrible, it was time to go. It took FOREVER to get to the start line. 

If you have never ran a Disney race, please take these two simple pieces of advice: 

1. Lie about time if you don't have one 
2. Use every porta potty up to the start line 

Once we finally started, we could see the winners on the other side of the road finishing. What a shot to the ego. It took about a mile for us to find our first character stop. There was suddenly a giant pirate ship in the middle of the highway. It was a fun distraction from the task at hand. 

About a mile up the road from there was the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. By this time, the sun has come up and the humidity is suddenly at 100%. It was pretty awful. 

We were stuck with a lot of walkers. While I wasn't keeping the pace, I knew my husband was not having a great time. I tried to distract him until we got in the park. I knew he would get some energy from the people in the park. 

It was just about six years ago when we got engaged in Cinderella's Castle, so getting to run through it together was quite a special moment. We held hands and took our time. 

Once we passed through we hit another log jam of people, but did get to encounter a guy running while dribbling two basketballs. Quite impressive. 

As we made our way out of the park and back on the highway, the golf course was coming up. Hubby loves golf. Thought this would perk him up a little for the last few miles. We saw turkeys. It was very weird. There were tons of characters including Goofy in an adorable gold outfit. 

The lines for the characters were all so long that we decided we weren't going to stop at any and just keep going. 

After we left the golf community, we headed back on the highway and towards Epcot. I remember seeing mile 10 and couldn't believe how great I felt. We were at about a 13:10 pace and trucking along. We saw people puking and some cramping. I made sure we stopped at a lot of water stops and rotated between water and powerade. 

Up the ramp towards Epcot at around mile 11 was an awesome reflection, and it happened from a complete stranger. He was running with his mom. She was in a sparkly skirt, he had on wings. As we got off the ramp and on to the overpass he was pointing back on the highway saying to her "look at all the people you are a head of. They aren't getting taken off this course, so you aren't either!"

That was the swift kick in the butt we needed. 

At just about mile 12, we ended up catching one of my tweeps! Sarah and her boyfriend Matt were doing the Dopey and saving some for the marathon. It would be her first. It was so nice to see a familiar face! 

At the 12 mile marker there was a DJ and some cheerleaders and I decided I was going to dance with them. Epcot was in our sights. We are almost there!!  

I just wanted to help hubby finish. So I talked him through the final mile. Distracting him, essentially from how close we were from the end. 

With .1 left in the race, the hallelujah choir was waiting for us singing their hearts out. It was amazing!

Right after this, we made the turn and saw the finish line. We also saw Sarah and Matt again! Me and hubby grabbed hands and proceeded across the finish line. It was over! 3:04 and could not have been prouder!!

It was time to get on the bus and head back to the hotel. Tomorrow will bring a full marathon and I was so ready for it! 

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