Well the fun race that I have had on my bucket list is over. It was a crazy 4-day trip. Every morning I was up at 3 am and running at 5:30 am.
We (my wife and two adult sons) ran the 5k on Friday. Dressed in my Dopey hat, it was just a pre shake out run. I ran alongside my wife. It was a fun race. The times were not meant to be impressive, but you don’t run a Disney race for a PR, you run for fun.
After the 5k it was time to meet old friends for dinner. It was fun talking about old times and catching up on the last few years. Maybe we should not have had the few beers we had, but it was worth it.
On Saturday we all ran the half marathon. Up at 2:30 am, driving at 3 am, made parking easy with little traffic. We sat in the car till 4 am and then made the 1 mile walk to the starting corral. With 25,000 people doing the same race, it was a bit crowded. Again I ran along side my wife and two sons. This was the first half marathon for each of them, but for me it was #17 or something like that. They were my pace setters so I could run the marathon on Sunday without too much pain. We started in corral F, so the 5:30 start was really 6:10. And talk about crowded. There were a few spots on the course where it was just like a traffic jam. Going through the Magic Kingdom castle was the worst. Then it was not much better after the castle on the long stretch next to the speed way. Half the street was for runners, the other half for cars. Again too many people in one place and not enough space. A few runners tried to zig and zag their way to the next character photo spot and one of them stepped on my wife’s shoe, knocking it off. The woman who stopped on her heel didn’t even stop to say she was sorry. I would have understood if we were in the lead pack trying to win the race, but we were running a 14-minute pace and there was just no reason for people to try pass anyone. You have to expect some of the runners in any Disney race to not know how to run and be polite to other runners. (Note from Karla: I know how to run! I was all the way to the right with the other slow pokes and that woman was just rude!)
We all survived the race and were under the 16-minute pace limit (actually more like 14:30), so Donald Duck did not have to remove us from the course. After the race, the plan was to go to a park. We decided on the Magic Kingdom. But the 2:30 am walk up and running a half for the first time was enough fun for one day for my wife and two sons. So we took a nap and later went on a timeshare presentation to get some $$$ to buy Disney tickets and see what Marriott time share had to offer. (We didn’t buy.)
So Sunday morning, 2:30 am came fast. I hit the alarm and rolled over. My plan was to leave at 3 am, and this time I would be the only one going. I woke up again at 3:20 am and jumped out of bed, got my coffee and ran out the door. The traffic was crazy. I was not sure I would make it to the starting line by 5:00 am. The last 4 miles to the parking lot was bumper-to-bumper traffic. I arrived at 4:20 am and walked to the starting corral and was ready for the 5:30 am start. This time I was able to be in corral A, so 5:30 start was a 5:30 start. It was a bit warm, but not to bad since the sun was still a few hours away. I would guess it was ~68 degrees.
The Marathon took us from the start near Epcot to Magic Kingdom, through the castle and (basically the same course as the half so far). Then we ran to the Speedway and made a lap around the track. That was a first for me. Cars were lined all round the track with a few engines running and revving for effect. After the Speedway, we ran through the Animal Kingdom. By now the sun was up and it was starting to get warm. The bathroom stop in the Animal Kingdom was refreshing–the AC felt great. Then it was off to ESPN World Wide Sports complex. We ran all over this place, including running through the main baseball stadium with all of us runners displayed on the big screen TV. From ESPN we ran through Disney’s Hollywood Studio. A few more stops for photos and it was off to Epcot for the finish line. Last stop for a photo was the best one: Dopey just after mile 25.
I made about 15 stops during the marathon, 13 for photos with Disney characters and 2 for pit stops. The miles passed with ease. For sure, this was the easiest marathon I have run. I was waiting for the cramps and the pain in my legs, but they never came. Most marathons seem to go on forever, but this one had so much to see and do, and the Disney charactor support along the way, it was over before I knew it.