All night I dreamed about flying through Disney World, so I woke up ready to go at 3:15 am. Side note: those ears are the only thing that has ever made my head look small. I think I am going to wear them more often.
We stayed at a Disney hotel, so I could ride a bus to the race. By 4 am I was in a line of women in tutus and tiaras. After riding the bus and walking about a mile, I reached the starting line for my corral by 5 am. Somewhere in there I ate my Power Bar.
I don't know how, but I was luckily placed in the middle corral - D out of A through H. (When registering for the race, you have to provide a qualifying time to be placed in any corral but the last, and this was my first half, so I didn't have a qualifying time.)
Disney provided great entertainment while we were waiting for the race to start, playing music, showing video of really good costumes, and interviewing runners.
The race was started by a countdown from Fairy Godmother and fireworks, which really amped me up. After waiting 20 more minutes for my corral to start, I was off!
For the first 5 miles I was riding the fireworks and tutus high. I kept a steady pace, but tried to not go too fast and wear out. I passed a high school band playing the song that the Chiefs play after they score a touchdown (pumped me up), a group of princes while the "What a man song" was playing, a pirate ship, a drum line, and multiple other sets of characters.
There were lines to get your picture taken at each spot. I wanted to get my picture taken with the characters, but I also wanted to run. So I ran. I tried to take pictures with my phone, but it doesn't have the "motion" setting, so they all turned out like this:
I stopped once to take a picture - right after I passed through Cinderella's castle.
Before I knew it I was at the half way point and still feeling great.
At the middle of the 8th mile I accepted a Cliff gel shot that was being passed out. It was like a burst of energy, which I desperately needed, because miles 8 through 11 weren't all that great. But even at my worst, I never once thought it was so hard that I wanted to stop. I guess Disney really is the place where magic happens.
Around mile 12 we were entering Epcot again, and the streets were surround with people trying to catch a glimpse of their mom, daughter, or wife, running. Then I saw a little boy find his mom in the crowd of women. The look of awe and excitement on his face was priceless. It was about that time that I started to cry. And not just a little water in my eyes. More like hysterical weeping, which, when combined with a previous 2 hours of running, sounds more like hysterical wheezing. I think the girl next to me tried to offer me an inhaler.
I never thought I would be so emotional about a race. But it wasn't just a race to so many of those women. It was something they had trained for, hoped for, thought about for months, maybe even years.
After that, the last mile was as easy as my first. Right before the 13th mile mark there was a gospel choir singing us to the finish line. Perfect.
My chip time said 2 hours 7 minutes and 35 seconds. Not world recording breaking, but better than I thought I would do.
Stay tuned for race pics from the professional photographer. I can't wait to see how cool I look with a face of exhaustion and floppy Minnie Mouse ears. Edit: here are a few of the professional photography pics:
Poor Dan tried to find me throughout the race, but couldn't. Finally, he found me afterwards, at our pre-planned meeting spot.
Hot. [Edit: After several questions - I need to clarify that I am not vomiting in that picture. I am just sorely bending down to pick something up :)Hahaha.]
Of course, there were lots of hand outs afterwards. I downed the water and Powerade, but wasn't hungry after the race.
We hung around for the awards ceremony and I had the rare chance to meet the girl who won the race (and won the race last year), Rachel Booth. That is the Rachel you should be running with.
She finished in 1 hour and 18 minutes. Wow.
After the race we headed back to the hotel where I was hit the fatigue wall. I was so tired that I sat down to dry my hair. Dan thought that was picture worthy.
After some rest, we headed back to downtown Disney to walk around and eat.
We ate lunch at Paradiso 37. The jalapeno infused tequila was good medicine for my tired muscles.
Our hotel gave us a "complimentary" round of mini golf, and despite my tired legs I wasn't about to give up a free round of fun.
Dan thinks he beat me. I think he lost track of the score.
We headed to Animal Kingdom for dinner. This was the coolest hotel we saw, equipped with live giraffes, zebras, and a fire pit.
We ate dinner at Sanaa, which was hands down the best meal we had all weekend. It was a fusion of African and Indian food. Yum.
All in all, a great race weekend. Can't wait for another race getaway!