Early morning number two. The hardest part is waking up, and the majority of that was now behind me. I laid in bed for 10 minutes after my alarm went off, eventually mustering up the will to get moving. I had packed my bag the night before, so I really just had to get dressed and get out the door. It was cold in the hotel room, so just before leaving I decided to grab a sweatshirt- something I learned would not be necessary the second that I stepped outside.
The morning greeted me with a wall of humidity, and it was clear this race was going to be a hot one.
The bus was waiting when I got to the loading area, and I hopped on and snagged a seat next to another runner. We didn’t have a wait like the previous morning, and instead we were quickly on our way to the start area. I was so sleepy on the second morning that I was tempted to close my eyes on the bus. We got to the start area in about 15 minutes, and walked through the Epcot parking lot to get to the security check. No line again today, just a walk up to the table where they checked my bag.
I was flying solo for this race, so I walked into the start area and found a space to go through my bag, sorting out the stuff I wanted to bring with me and the stuff that I would check during the race. They once again changed the bag check situation - this race instead of checking the bag based off the first letter of your last name, runners could go up to any truck and were given a sticker to put on the back of my race bib to remind me which truck I had used.
Once my bag was checked I headed right into the corrals, and found a spot to sit towards the front of corral A. We had waited almost 40 minutes to start the 5k the day before, and I was just ready to get moving on day 2. The humidity was already heavy on my lungs, and I wondered just how rough this run was gonna be.
Around 5:15 they started moving us toward the start line, and I was just a few rows of people back from the start of the corral, which was exciting. We watched as the announcers went through the pre race show, and I even got picked to answer a trivia question by one of the announcers (did you know that Mulan is the only Disney Princess who wasn’t born into royalty or married to a prince?).
Eventually it was time for the race to start. The wheelchair athletes went off first, then the elite runners, followed by all of us in corral A. I was able to settle into a sub-9 minute mile, which was all I was hoping for during this race. The first mile flew by, and the only character sighting in that stretch was Pocahontas, who was stationed on top of an overpass, posing above as the runners went by below. Shortly after the first mile marker there was a LONG line for a character - I wondered how a line could already be that long this early in the race, but then I saw it was belle and beast posing with a stained glass rose window, and understood the long line. I snapped a photo as I ran by, but didn’t want to wait in such a long line that early in the race.
There was a slight uphill during the second mile, as we ran onto the next stretch of highway. I heard Hawaiian roller coaster ride playing as we approached the second character stop, and sure enough stitch was there taking photos with runners, all dressed up in his Elvis costume. The second mile marker featured belle, and it was still dark as night as I ran into the third mile.
There was a Donald Duck character stop that I believe was in mile 3 - he was just on the side of the highway without any backdrop, but I decided to run in for a photo as there was no line. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat by this point in the race, and was struggling to keep the pace I wanted at this point. It gets humid in NY in the summer, but I wasn’t accustomed to this kind of weather at this point in the year, so struggled as the race went on.
After passing the third mile marker we passed the waste treatment plant behind Epcot, which is easily identified by its smell, and ran under test track. Joy and Sadness were on the side of the rode, and I regretted not getting a photo with them during marathon weekend, so I stopped for one. Disgust would not have been pleased with how sweaty I looked in the photo.
Finally, we entered Epcot for the first time and started making our way around world showcase. I spotted Pinocchio hanging out in Italy, and ran right in for a photo. The countries were all lit up, and while I was struggling and feeling like I wanted the race to be over already, I tried to stay with a sub-9 pace while running, and reminded myself that if I was going to be running in weather that was hotter than preferred, I may as well be doing it in Disney.
As I approached the France pavilion I spotted Marie, who I had never managed to catch during a race before, and was super excited to get a chance photo with her. So excited in fact, that I forgot to pause my garmin, but it was a super quick stop, so it didn’t mess up my moving pace too much.
We exited Epcot after the France pavilion through the exit that leads to the board walk, and did a lap around the resorts before heading back into the park. The boardwalk loop was a huge struggle for me, knowing that I was going to have to deal with a few little hills within the next mile. The first was as soon as we left Epcot, and boy did I feel exhausted climbing that one. I had to back off the pace a little, as I started to feel nauseous as I climbed. Bleh. I do not miss summer running. As I made my way around the boardwalk Goofy was out, dressed as a baseball player. I thought about stopping since he had no line, but really just wanted to get to the finish line at that point. One more hill to leave the board walk, then into the construction area behind Epcot, where they are building the gondola system. It has been cool to see the construction progress over the last year, as many of the rundisney events have gone through that area. They had smart talking “construction workers” stationed in that area, joking around and rooting runners on.
We headed into Epcot a second time, and made our way towards future world. Mickey was stationed just before we turned towards spaceship earth with only 3-4 runners waiting, so I decided to do one more character stop. Our outfits did coordinate, after all, even if I was dressed as a villain.
I pushed hard to get back to a good pace after leaving Mickey, knowing that I had less than a half mile between me and the finish line. I ran towards spaceship earth, stopping for a jump shot along the way, then out of the park and towards the finish line. I didn’t make the same mistake I had during the wine and dine 10k and start sprinting towards the finish despite the heat, but instead just tried to hold a consistent pace. As I approached the finish line the runner next to me shouted “hi queen of hearts, this is good timing!” I turned to look, and she was dressed as Alice! Good timing indeed, as we did wind up in the same finish line photos.
I was very relieved to be done running, and happily accepted my medal, which featured Mulan. Then it was on to snack boxes and bag check. As usual, I checked a drawstring backpack to carry all of the goodies they give you at the finish line. There weren’t too many runners in the post race area so I headed over to the characters to check out the lines. They had aurora, Princess Minnie, and Elena out. I decided to hop on line for princess Minnie, which took about five minutes. Then noticed that the line for aurora was also labelled for Mulan. The cast member at the end of the line told me Mulan was due out in about 15 minutes, so I decided to wait there, but the line moved quickly and I got a photo with aurora. So, I hopped on the back of the line again, and was able to get a photo with Mulan the second time around. It was her race after all!
When the character photos were complete I made my way over to the buses and back to the hotel. We had breakfast reservations at be our guest, so I had time for a decent nap before heading to the parks for a day of fun.