And Sunday morning came really quickly. I had to get up at 3 AM, because the gun went off at 5:30 and I was running the first leg. I tried to make coffee before discovering that I had no idea how to use the coffee maker, drank some water, grabbed half a bagel and banana, and ran out the door.
The traffic getting to Epcot was a bit frightening. It was so backed up at 3:45 you would have thought you were in Atlanta rush hour traffic. By the time I got there it was 4:15, and I needed to jump in the port o potty lines, walk the 20 minute walk to the starting corrals, and be there by 5:00. It all happened, but by the time I got in my corral there was only five or ten minutes before the first corral was off. It was a very long process. If you ever run a Disney race, they're not joking around when they tell you it takes 20 minutes to walk to the starting corrals. I would give myself more time.
At 5:43, my corral started, I ran across the starting line, said a little prayer, and hoped that my prior running and constant cross training would carry me through this. The first miles ticked by very quickly, and before I knew it I was crossing the five mile marker (I previously would have wanted to kick someone in the face if they had suggested this, but I assure you that they really didn't seem to take that long). I started feeling some blisters rubbing in my shoes, but I wasn't getting tired.
I was taking water and gatorade at every stop, I took a GU at mile 7, a Shot Block every 3 miles until I dropped them accidentally at mile 9, and I was feeling good. I had started at about a 10:20 pace to make sure that I was going to be able to run the whole way, and around mile 6 I decided I could pick it up. After a quick bathroom stop and telling a man eating the medical tent vaseline what he was ingesting (they hand out vaseline on popsicle sticks as you run in case you're rubbing anywhere), I knew I would make it through this race at a faster pace.
And I did!
We entered the Magic Kingdom around mile 9, and I grabbed a quick pic of the castle while I ran. It's blurry and slanted because I didn't stop running, but check out the signs if you can see them. The crowds were fantastic! They helped so much, as the Wine and Dine had no crowd support at all.
This race was just so much fun. I had the best time between the music I had, the crowds cheering us along, and the fact that I knew that when most people were going on to run 26.2, I did in fact get to stop at 13.1 (the relay was an inaugural event run during the marathon).
The last mile hurt like crazy, but I think that's to be expected. I held under a 10 minute/mile pace for the last 6-7 miles. When I turned off to the transition point, I was so glad to be finished. I saw Mike (my partner), said good luck, and he was off to the finish!
I got my picture made with Chip and Dale (who were the stars of the medal), and then made my way to the finish line to see Mike finish. Disney is good about loading you up with snacks and drinks when you finish, so I had a bagel, orange, banana, other treats, water, and powerade. Every other person asked me if I was okay, and finally I just asked someone if I was purple or something. They said they have to ask...
Once Mike finished we got our official photo made.
We were both happy.
My official time was 2:14.12, which was about 8 minutes slower than my PR at the Wine and Dine. All things considered, I am thrilled.
My medal, though, is absolutely my favorite part (possibly aside from telling the man he was eating vaseline). It's the cutest accessory I'm going to be getting this month!
I just love Disney races, and the medals spoil me. I'm running another half in February, but I'm going to train through a training plan with this one (if my legs ever recover).
Next year, though, I'll be running the full marathon (unless I get into NYC)! I'm telling you there's nothing that will get you more pumped to run a marathon than running the first half with a bunch of people that are running the full.
And if you made it through this post, thank you! I appreciate you reading it. And if you're wanting to start running, start with Couch to 5k! That's what I did March 2011! I couldn't run a full mile before that.
And if you're a runner, what are your next races coming up? Anything on your calendar this year you're really excited about?! I'm excited I entered the NYC lottery. I'm sure I won't get it, but it's fun to dream!
Oh, and of coure: Roll Tide! What a win!