After our epic drive from Toronto to Orlando, before we knew it, it was time to run. Never mind that we’d been cramped in a car for two days, never mind that my diet had consisted of Cracker Barrel and Smuckers Uncrustables. Never mind that we were pretty sleep deprived, when that alarm went off at 3AM, it was time to roll!
We all dressed, shoved some breakfast-like materials in our face-holes, and made our way to the porte-cochere (ooh, fancy!) for race transportation from Wilderness Lodge to Epcot. We aimed to hit one of the later buses to avoid standing around in the morning chill any longer than we had to, and the timing worked out pretty well. By the time we got to the Epcot parking lot, we had enough time to use the ample supply of portopotties, and find some friendly faces – we were thrilled to run into Deb (of Urban Running Girl fame) and her husband Kari dressed as Minnie and Peter Pan respectively. Adorable! We had a quick chat before making our way to the holding corrals.
We also ran into Jim and Pat Stone of Acclaim Travel, the geniuses behind my acquiring a Glass Slipper Challenge bib last month – my Fairy God-racers! They were so warm and friendly – big pre-race hugs on first meeting. Does your travel agent do that? Love them, and i look forward to working with them in future.
We may have forgotten to take photos of these meet-ups, but we managed to catch the attention of a MarathonFoto photographer.
We had loosely chatted about race strategy, but in all the kerfuffle we didn’t really firm things up. I had my Garmin set to 2/1 intervals as a jumping off point. We had a loose plan of “take it easy”, especially for those of us running additional races over the weekend.
Before we knew it, the Wheelchair athletes were off, then corrals A – D, and then it was our turn!
We started flying, out of the parking lot and towards the road. On our way, we were pumped up by a DJ up on the overpass.
Before we knew it, we were coming up on Mile One, quite possibly we were coming in ‘a little hot’, but we finished Mile One in 13:41 – our fastest mile.
As soon as we passed Mile One, we were suddenly headed up an overpass which took it’s toll on our pace. Let’s be honest, the overpass after Mile One was a bit of a head game. If you’re new to running, and this is your first 10K, suddenly going up a ‘hill’ can take a toll on your confidence. We slowed down a bit, took an extra walk break or two and all caught our breath.
We passed by Hook and Smee on our way to Mile Two, but stayed out of their clutches.
After we crested the overpass everything looked a little brighter, and we returned to our 2/1 intervals, but I tried to hold back. When I’m in race mode, it’s very hard for me to not push harder than my brain knows I should. I just want to pass people. It’s stupidly competitive, but it’s what I do… Like a goof.
We had all agreed that if we got split up, we’d always meet at the next mile marker. Greg and his sister branched off for a bio break, and Rachael and I pushed on ahead, but we had to stop here, which seems like as good a place as any to wait for Greg and Kathryn:
Sure enough, as soon as we were done taking photos, here came Greg and Kathryn:
And of course, here came Mile Three!
Once we were inside the World Showcase, we slowed down even more to enjoy the view and snap a few photos.
It only made sense to slow down, frankly. That seemed to be what everyone else was doing. Even so, it wasn’t as crowded as the first couple of miles.
Shortly after we came into Epcot, we came across Mile 4. Just over two short miles and our journey would be over? Well, what better time to slow down a little bit more. This plan was graciously facilitated by the path beyond the International Gateway being where we caught up with the crowd again. Not a terrible choke point, but you definitely noticed the other runners. Who could blame people for slowing up, though. The view was beautiful.
Rachael had been slowing up a bit more than planned due to some aches and pains brought on by the drive down, and since she wanted to save her legs from the impending cramps she was feeling, she and I decided to let Greg and Kathryn go on ahead to finish strong. It being Kathryn’s first race, she deserved that heart-pounding rush you get from approaching the finish line pushing hard.
So once we passed the world’s biggest boom box, aka the mini-Cooper of my nightmares, I handed over my camera to Greg and they pushed on ahead.
Rachael and I took a stroll with spurts of running.
We took time out of our busy run to line up for exactly ONE photo:
And eventually came across Mile Six.
Greg and Kathryn also stopped for a quick photo-op.
Rachael and I crossed the finish line together and I put my hand up for a high five – she immediately looked in the direction I appeared to be waving. I said, “No, LOOK” and put my hand up again. Again she turned and looked. In case you’re keeping track, that’s two missed high fives in a row. This is, of course, only fair considering the significant high five miss on my part at the Niagara Falls Half Marathon. But still. Don’t leave me hangin’, yo!
Greg and Kathryn were waiting up by the medals and we all received our hardware together. Rachael and I demonstrated the High Five Fiasco.
Greg and Kathryn gave it a try.
Um, better luck next time.
We excitedly compared notes, took shots with our medals and made our way back to the resort buses.
We got back to the resort, had a snack, and SLEPT. Slept so HARD. It felt so wonderful to be sleeping. Oh. The bed. So sleepiful. Sure we were at Walt Disney World, sure the parks were mere minutes away, but… SLEEP!
After all, Greg and I had to do it all again the next morning.
But not before we hustled our way over to the Magic Kingdom for dinner at Be Our Guest – which was delicious!
But after that, more sleeping.
Final thoughts about the 10K
Overall, I enjoyed it. The course was simple, and I didn’t notice much in the way of characters, especially in the first three miles. Frankly, the first three miles were kind of dull, which may have been the point – to get people moving off the road as fast as possible. I didn’t really mind, I’m not one to stop for character photos, but I do appreciate distraction.
(Wait, am I crazy, or was there a giant projection screen with Disney cartoon music videos playing before you headed in to the park? I may have been delirious, but it’s such a strong image in my head.)
So, Minnie 10K. Poor Minnie, she finally gets invited to Marathon Weekend, and gets the most “boring” course, and a shorter distance than her big buddies, but she’s still a welcome addition. I respect the fact that runDisney is adding this challenging distance to their race weekends, giving another entry-point for runners who might be intimidated by a half or a full marathon, or who just plain prefer a 10K. I truly hope runners will take it as a stepping stone to lead them to achieve even bigger goals – it worked for my sister-in-law. She’s already talking about a half marathon. With runDisney, of course!
For giggles, here are our splits: