Friday, January 18, 2013

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Last weekend I made the trip down to Florida with my boyfriend to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

The race was a blast, but it was even more special because it was Russell's first half. He's been my spectator many times, but as he likes to say, I tricked him into signing up for a half with me. I'm not quite sure how you "trick" someone into running a half marathon, but we did it together and he did great! His PR is 2:55:25! Not too bad for the first time.

Now to recap:

The expo: The expo was a bit overwhelming. It had everything you could think of, but honestly I felt that it was overly cramped, and waiting in line outside for 45 minutes just to get in seemed poorly planned. Don't get me wrong, there were TONS of people there on Friday getting bibs, shirts, and other swag, but I guess I expected different from Disney. We got great yellow long-sleeved tech shirts, but the women's shirts were all cut VERY large. The transportation to and from the expo was fantastic which made life much easier. We finished expo day off at Epcot, because why waste a day in the park.

The race: Because we didn't know what to expect in the morning, we took the first bus from our hotel (All-Star Sports) at 3am to the starting line. This was a bit too early. We got to the race and got ourselves organized. Took pictures together, stretched, warmed up and checked our bags. As we went to the waiting area, we chatted and got ourselves prepped. At 4:45am we were able to walk to the starting corrals. If you weren't aware ahead of time, please note, you walk about 10-20 minutes from the finish line (where the buses drop you) to the starting corrals. We got to our corral (Corral F) and waited. And waited some more. I ran to the bathroom one last time while waiting. Then we sat on the ground. I actually fell asleep waiting for the start of the race. Finally, at 6:10 our corral was able to start. Russell got to shake hands with Drew Carey and he was stoked!

Then we ran. The course was fantastic. We love running by all the characters. We personally didn't stop for pictures with characters because Russell was afraid he wouldn't finish, and the lines were a bit long (and I didn't want to wait). The course was lined with local high school marching bands which were all great. Spectators cheered us on and Russell made great time through mile 7. Somewhere between mile 7 and mile 8, he died though. We got to the Castle and the lights were beautiful. We stopped there for a photo and had a fantastic time.

Russell and I kept on plowing through, even though he wanted to walk the whole end. I kept encouraging him to keep moving forward because the faster you move, the sooner you're done. By now, the sun was up and it was hot. Much hotter than anyone expected for January.

We finished and I'm glad we ran it together. We have some great finish line photos that were taken of us crossing the finish line hand in hand. Lets not forget the fantastic Donald metals! Great addition to the collection!

Post Race: This was fantastic. Great food options, great photo options, plenty of self-care medical options for those that needed it. Signage to find the buses was lacking (or we didn't see it) but that's not the end of the world. I felt great and Russell was sore. We made sure we showered and hydrated and then we headed off to the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon.

Can't say more about this race and I'd definitely do another RunDisney event again in the future. I think I'd like to try a different race, just to experience the different races and atmospheres. My criticisms are just my opinion and weren't game killers for the race.

Until next time, keep on moving!

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