DisneyWorld Half Marathon Race Recap
I am still amazed that the Disney Half Marathon is over, and that PhillyBoy and I completed it. This was our second half marathon (first half marathon recap here), but it was such a different challenge from the first. Let me explain.
**Note: This is really long, but I want to have as many details as possible to remember this day forever. Highlights are in bold for the skim readers that I know are out there!
PB and I went out with Meghann, Derek, and Melissa for a pre-race dinner on Friday night. We went to Portobello in Downtown Disney. I still haven’t figured out what the best pre-race dinner is for me, but I thought pasta would be a good idea. I ordered the black fettuccine with shrimp (like Derek) and PB had the spaghetti bolognese. Both were ok, the service was horrible, but the company made up for it. Both Meghann (who I have known for a bit) and Melissa (who I met for the first time this weekend) are really fun- we could have kept talking for days. However, long story short, don’t expect greatness at Portobello.
Bloggers in action:
Unfortunately, since dinner took much longer than anticipated, PB and I did not go to bed until 10 PM. I am so thankful we had had the foresight to put out our race clothes before dinner! Lights were out at 10, and the alarms went off at 3 AM. We stayed at the All Star Music Resort (very cheap Disney resort, it was perfect for us), and unfortunately our room phone and internet weren’t working. We set both iPhone alarms and the old school alarm clock and luckily all three worked.
Once we were dressed and ready to go I forced myself to eat the nasty Sara Lee plain bagel with a little peanut butter and jelly we bought. Our hotel (should we call it a motel?) had a cafeteria open where we were able to also get hot tea (for me) and coffee (for him). I will definitely bring my own pre-race breakfast for our next travel race (the 10 mile DC Cherry Blossom Run in April).
What did I wear? I wore my running tights, a tank top, my Rally Foundation t-shirt, and my zip up jacket along with a throwaway poncho. I was also wearing a headband, baseball hat (to keep the sleet/rain out of my eyes- trust me I looked weird with a headband AND hat on, but I didn’t care), fleece gloves, and had kleenex, a package of Luna Moons, my iPhone, digital camera, and non working iPod Nano. I may have had a mini freakout on the bus about the Nano (especially since I had made an awesome playlist) but it is still not working so I know at least it wasn’t my fault!
OH! I also pinned a sheet to my jacket with my blog on it that I printed and laminated through Kinko’s!
Disney had a great system for getting hotel guests to the start. PB and I loaded a bus at 3:50 AM and made it to the start in just a few minutes. We walked to the Rally Foundation tent, the charity for whom we were running. Since we stopped at the port-a-potty on the way there, we only had a minute to say hello before walking to the far away race start. When we got there I had a sinking feeling all of a sudden.
We were in the last corral.
I am by no means a fast runner, but I am not a walker and definitely not meant to be in the last group. PB is an even faster runner. It didn’t make sense that we were in the last corral! I fully believe that PB and I would have had a much faster race time if we hadn’t had to run around so many people the entire race. I wish I had paid more attention when we picked up our race bibs at the Expo.
Anyway… the weather was COLD and RAINY! We weren’t really prepared but had purchased ponchos the evening before and were so happy to have them. They kept us dry while we were waiting for our start and the sleet was coming down. Each start had a burst of fireworks, and it was so exciting when it was finally our turn to go! We also had an awesome group in front of us from Brazil singing one of my favorite chants “Oleeee ole ole oleeeeee, oleeee, oleeee”. Please tell me you have all been witness to that/ participated in it before?
PB and I crossed the start line with smiles and started up our Garmins. My husband was so nice and didn’t turn on his music since my Nano wasn’t working.
From the start we had to navigate around walkers.
Begin rant: Why is it that some walkers thought it was ok to walk 7 or 8 in a row? Did they not realize they were blocking the entire path for anyone who wanted to pass them? This happened to us at least 6 or 7 times! It was ridiculous and annoying. I think it is so amazing that people are able to walk 13.1 miles, but that doesn’t meant they have the right to block the path off from the rest of us. /end rant
I am so happy that I have run on grass before because PB and I spent the majority of the time running around the walkers by stepping on to the grass. I, being my usual clumsy self, tripped over the piles of throwaway clothes many times in the first few miles, but it was still faster then trying to stay on the pavement.
We stopped for restroom breaks THREE times during the race. I didn’t mind though because as soon as we knew how cold and rainy it would be PB and I decided to not worry about time. We also walked through each water station after I spilled some on my face at the 2nd one (which was the first one we stopped at) and realized that feeling warm was more important than running through the stations.
The race was surprisingly… easy. The first 6 miles were kind of a blur of plain highway roads with some bands, cheerleaders, and Disney characters mixed in. PB and I didn’t talk much but instead kept focusing on passing the walkers and not tripping. I ditched my noisy poncho by mile 2 and PB ditched his a few minutes later, losing his headband and randomly one glove in the process. His hand must have been super cold during the rest of the race!
Around the halfway point we ran to and then through Cinderella’s castle, which was fun!!! PB and I stopped quickly and a nice man took a photo for us. Don’t we look… cold????
I started to get tired around this point (even though I usually don’t feel too different until mile 10) and ate 2 Luna moons. They were frozen hard though so after almost choking on one I decided two were enough for then! Up until this point every time I looked down at the Garmin it said 8:57, 9:21, 9:31, 9:12… nothing above the 9:30′s (although some splits were higher due to the bathroom breaks). I was so excited!
At mile 10 I was OVER IT. My legs began to feel like lead and I just wanted it to be over. I also knew in my head that we would be running way more than the 13.1 miles our Garmins would soon read because we were weaving so much. I was discouraged, but right around that point I saw another Rally Foundation runner, yelled out “Great job, Rally! Keep it up!” and she yelled back the same. I am not sure of your name, but thank you for the motivation in the moment I needed it.
The last few miles were a mental struggle, but I knew I could do it. I looked over at my amazing husband and he was smiling. I smiled too, and we kept going. When we had 0.5 miles left (already 13.1 on our Garmins) I gave it everything I had.
PB was encouraging me, and although my face was reading PAIN my heart was full and I was happy. We fought hard and crossed the finish line together, smiling. I immediately burst into tears (and am tearing up all over again now) and kept saying over and over again “We did it. We DID it!!!”
We grabbed our Mylar blankets, got our medals, each ate a banana and chatted all about the race as we made our way over to the Rally tent.
After a quick hello to everyone and a stop at the concession stand for a hot chocolate for me and a coffee for PB, we hobbled over to the bus line. I am so sorry if anyone saw us cut the line on Saturday morning, but we did. We were both semi disoriented and physically exhausted and some nice Goofy challenge participants were so nice they let us sneak in ahead of them.
Back at the hotel we made a major rookie mistake. We were so cold we took super hot showers. We also never properly stretched. I didn’t feel so bad before the shower, but after that (and a quick nap) I did not feel so good. My legs (and oddly abs) felt and still feel really tight. PB too. For the rest of the weekend at the parks Grandma RhodeyGirl and Grandpa PhillyBoy walked like we were wearing diapers. In fact we are still walking that way! We need to STRETCH tonight!
Here are our splits:
Mile 1: 10:07 (bathroom break)
Mile 2: 9:36
Mile 3: 9:18
mile 4: 9:32
Mile 5: 9:22
Mile 6: 9:52
Mile 7: 10:07 (bathroom break)
Mile 8: 9:35
Mile 9: 9:14
Mile 10: 9:37 (bathroom break)
Mile 11: 9:48
Mile 12: 9:44
Mile 13: 9:31
Mile 13-13.6: ?
Final official time: 2:13:38
*I was so happy to see how NICE all the other runners and walkers were. We heard so many people encouraging each other and chatting and we tried to do the same.
*Sharpie ROCKS! They had some great signage with funny phrases and interesting facts that kept us distracted during a particularly narrow and boring part of the run.
*Being in the last corral is really awful if you care about your time. Next time we will pay more attention to our corral BEFORE the race.
*For a cold race, throwaway clothes are key. We were physically shivering before the race started, and an extra fleece and hat would have been very helpful in keeping us warm.
*The spectators and volunteers were so incredible. Not only did they brave the elements for us, they were great support throughout the race.
*I can’t wait for the official photos! PB and I held our hands while running in front of one of the cameras and I am sure the man took a photo of us! I hope it is awesome!
*I am disappointed about our time. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t. However, I can separate that feeling entirely from the sense of accomplishment we have from running in such cold, rainy weather and weaving around so many people.
While we missed our running friends (with whom we ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon and who joined us on our long runs training for this race), it was so nice to run with PhillyBoy. We stayed together the entire time, and it was an accomplishment to run 13.1(actually 13.6) miles together. I am so lucky to have a husband who not only loves to run but was willing to run alongside me for the entirety of the race. It also made me realize what an incredible challenge 26.2 miles must be. I am in awe of those who run marathons. Will we run more races? OF COURSE! This race only fueled my passion and his to train harder and run faster. On the schedule?
April: 10 mile DC Cherry Blossom Run in Washington D.C.
May: 10 mile Broad Street Run in Philadelphia
July, for our one year anniversary: NJ Sprint Triathlon
…and then who knows what will come next!
I would also like to thank all of our friends and family who generously donated to the Rally Foundation on our behalf, and to all of the amazing marathoners this weekend, especially Katy (half marathon like us), Caitlin, Lauren, Meghann, Ashley, Lori, Michelle, and more!!
P.S. I have a secret! I can’t share just yet.. but hopefully I will tell you this week… if you’re lucky.
Thanks for taking this training journey with me, and I can’t wait to share even more with you.