As is tradition for runDisney events, my alarm went off just a little too early on race morning, but at least I had managed to get a solid 5-ish hours of sleep. I had assembled my running supplies the night before, so my roctane powder was already all mixed up into some water and my outfit was folded up in the bathroom, that way I could get up and get dressed without waking up Dennis - we were staying in the beach club, and our hotel room was setup so that the bathroom was around the corner from the bed, so even with me scuttling about to get ready, he didn’t seem to wake up. And if you know me, you know this is nothing short of a miracle, because try as I might I am just not a quiet person when I get ready.
My alarm went off at 3:25, and I was out the door by 3:40. I met another runner on my way down to the bus, who introduced himself as Jonathan, and we chatted as we walked to the bus and waited. He told me about his podcast, about a mouse, and it was nice to have someone to chat with as we rode the bus to the start area.
I was flying solo when I got to the start area, and wandered around to check out the characters that were out for meet and greets (lumiere, chef Mickey and goofy), and listened to the DJ for a few before heading towards the corral.
Weather was mild on race morning, but being a chicken I had pulled on my long sleeve race shirt and rain coat because I was cold when I woke up- but I didn’t intend to run in these things, so I had to give them up when I checked my bag. Luckily I had saved the heat sheet that they gave me at the wineglass marathon, so I pulled that on and headed to the corrals, armed with my muffin and other assorted pre-race fuels. I considered a porter potty stop on the way, but ultimately I just found a spot to sit in the corral, hoping I wouldn’t later regret that choice.
As I sat in the corral I thought about what I wanted out of this 10k. In the back of my mind I thought about really racing it - if I managed to PR it was possible that I could place in my age group, but it would be a stretch, as I really wasn’t in shape to PR at this point- my workouts had been lacking in October because of the craziness that was getting married. So I left my long term goal of placing in my age group at a rundisney race in my back pocket, and figured I would just play it by ear, and aim to have a good time on course. A cop out, perhaps. But I was worried that I would pass up a fun RunDisney experience for a PR that may not come.
Eventually I did decide to go pee before the race, and of course as I headed back into the corral I saw they had started collapsing the corral and sending runners towards the start line. Timing, not my strong point.
As the race started I struggled to hit a good pace, as the start line was crowded with runners and walkers. I’m all for running your own race, but it was a little bit frustrating that there were walked mixed into the first wave of corral A, which, in theory, should consist mostly of people who are running. I’m not trying to pace shame anyone- it was just frustrating to have to weave so much just to be able to keep running.
The first mile of the race was all highway, with the big attraction being a screen attached to a overpass, playing clips of monsters inc. I hit the first mile in 8:09, feeling strong now that the crowd was thinning out a bit.
In mile two there were some character stops- first lightning McQueen and to-Mater and then captain jack sparrow with his pirate ship. I’m not a huge fan of either of these, so I opted to run by these stops. The first water station was also in mile two. Pace for mile 2 was 8:18, and I was still feeling good.
There were more “hills” than I’m accustomed to in Florida races, and they slowed me down a bit in mile three, with highway ramps becoming a part of the race. During mile three a green army man cheered us up the on ramp, commending us for our pace and encouraging us to keep it up- I lost a little time on this mile regardless, which came in at an 8:26.
At this point, I knew we were approaching Epcot, and I stowed my phone in my pocket. So forgive me if I mess up some of the location details as we go on, as I don’t have any photos to reference.
Mile 4 brought us backstage, and into Epcot through future world. Just before entering the park chip and dale were hanging out with a DJ and there was no line for photos..... I couldn’t resist. I ran in and got a quick picture before heading onward. We got our first glimpse of spaceship earth just before entering the park, which was alive with music, as they had a mix of pump up and Disney music playing through out Epcot. From future world we headed into world showcase, and then around England we headed backstage and got an up-close look at the gondola construction. 8:31, not too shabby.
We hit mile 5 right as we headed back into Epcot, and right around there Oswald was hanging out in front of a tiny barn, again with no line! So I hopped off course for another character photo, and then began my last lap around world showcase before the finish line. There were plenty of photographers around world showcase, which was all lit up with lights on the buildings. When I spotted Jimminy cricket in one of the countries, I stopped for another quick photo before beginning my descent to the finish line. With two character stops, mile 6 came in at 8:36, and dad texted me asking if I had finished the race yet just before the mile marker.
The last 0.2 miles of the course took me through the end of future world, and I attempted a jump shot before leaving the parks- we will find out soon enough if I was successful! The photographer said something to me as I ran by, but honestly I have no idea what he said. (good news- he got the shot!)
Just before rounding the corner to the finish line we went by a drum line, and then things went downhill fast- I let my competitive nature get the best of me. Just as we went by the last fence and the finish line came into sight, a runner that had been on my tail for the last mile or so shouted to me - “come on, don’t let me beat you now!”
A phrase which is basically my kryptonite.
As he ramped up his speed trying to pass me, I picked mine up as well. He goaded me more, rooting me on to push for the finish line - and for the record, I in no way see this as a bad thing! I love a little friendly competition, and have raced to more than one finish line in the past.
As we pushed each other to go faster, he started to pass me, and called out for me to help going, to which I responded, “if I puke I’m blaming you!” More jokingly than anything else. The finish line was less than 200m away, what could go wrong in that distance?
And I was fine.... until I wasn’t. Suddenly my stomach seized, and I had to ease off the pace as a sudden wave of nausea hit me, and I started gagging. The finish line grew closer, it was less than 100m to go.... but I had to pull to the side of the race to puke. So sorry to anyone whose finish line photos may have me puking in the background, my bad. It was not something that I thought was in the realm of possibility for this race.
But after a minute or so I was able to compose myself, and get over the finish line, with a time of 54:18- about three minutes slower than my PR, but I was pretty pleased with it.
I made my way through the finish like chute, collecting my medal, poweraide, water, and the famous rundisney snack boxes, then grabbed the bag I had checked earlier that morning. I always pack a drawstring backpack into my checked bag so that it is easier to carry everything after the race.
Once I had all my stuff together, I got a few character photos- Sebastian, Lumiere, and chefs Donald and goofy- before heading to the bus which would take me back to the beach club resort.
It was a good morning all in all, and after a quick shower I proceeded to sleep for another two hours before heading to magic kingdom for a day of fastpasses and making Dennis take pictures of me with my new medal. It was a great day in the parks, made even better by family! That night I met up with a bunch of my cousins for dinner, who happened to have an overlapping vacation. We grabbed food at the brewery that is on the boardwalk, and it was hard to resist the margaritas - but I somehow managed, knowing that I had another early morning ahead of me.