Monday, November 4, 2013

Blood, Sweat, and Villains

It started with Jared and myself talking about doing a runDisney event. It ended with me crossing the finish line of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

We arrived to Walt Disney World late Thursday night, where we checked into All Star Sports. We were lucky enough to have had gotten the Magic Bands on our last trip in September, so we were able to carry them over, and be one of the only people in the resort to actually have them.

Friday morning we headed out to Epcot, to meet the Be Our Guest Podcast crew. They were hosting a meet called Epic October this weekend. We made it to rope drop, and quickly headed over to Soarin' to get fastpass, and go ahead with a quick ride (this is Beth and mine favorite ride in Epcot). Once getting off the ride, we sat down with the rest of the people at the meet and ordered breakfast at The Seasons. Nothing too special. This is a quick service restaurant in the Land pavilion right outside of Soarin'.  The BOGP crew were amazing hosts, and this is something we would like to look at doing, once we start our podcast. We got on Soarin' one last time, and then said our goodbyes to the new friends we had made.

The first big event for the weekend was the Health and Fitness Expo. If you are running any event that is hosted by runDisney, you have to make your way over here at some point to sign in and get your shirt and bib for the race. This is very clever of Disney, because the first thing you see when you come into the expo is the official merchandise booth. This booth had shirts, jackets, shorts, cups, pins, and much, much more, all with the logo for the weekend.  Other vendors were New Balance (Official Running Shoes of runDisney), Champion, Under Armor, Raw Threads, Full Sail, Lasting Commemoratives, and more.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party was the next event on our plates, did you think I could go to WDW at Halloween without seeing this event? This was actually our second time going to this hard ticket event. We went last year on an anniversary trip. We did so much more than the past trip. We made our way around the Magic Kingdom, seeking out different character greets (pictures below), and trying to get what candy we could.  The big musts of the night are the Villain's Mix and Mingle (the villains come out with some singing and dancing, then come out for pictures), The Boo to You parade (the song is just so addicting), and Happy HalloWISHES (the firework show of the night with a villain twist).

We decided to spend another day in the Magic Kingdom. I didn't want to do too much, because of the run that night. So we chose the easy attractions, and more meet and greets. 

I was suppose to be in the corral by 9:15 p.m. So we made our way back to All Star Sports at about 5 so that we could rest for what would be a long night. The buses started to run at 7 p.m. and because I had no earthly idea what to expect, I wanted to get to out there as soon as possible. 

If you have been on Disney Transportation, you know that the buses are like city buses, and they fit as many bodies in them as they possibly can. You could imagine my surprise to find out that they had gotten Charter buses to take the runners and families to and from the rac, and Villain Bash afterward.

We pulled up to what I called the most exciting stretching event on the face of the earth. They had brought a few DJs in to entertain before, during, and after the race, which helped the time go by pretty fast. Walking around, I saw that it was still a very typical Disney event, lines for everything. Wether it was pictures in front of a backdrop, or a little bite to eat, or using the bathroom (honestly 100s of port a potties and the lines were 40 minute waits).

The race officially started at 10:00pm, but I was in corral J, so we were the last corral to leave at 10:27. DJs were at the start lines counting down each group leaving and fireworks signaled the start.

The first mile was pretty intimidating, while there were a lot of walkers, I just had the urge to run. Lasers, music, fog, and sound effects filled the air for the first half of the mile. We made it out of the park and made the turn on the most terrifying part of the run for me, the on ramp to the main road. Off to the right they had an effect of a fireball shooting up in the air every 30 seconds. The ramp wasn't as hard as it looked, but it was a tough run.

I walked the majority of the course, but I kept a 15:11 mile most of the race. Villains showed their faces every mile or so, The Queen of Hearts, Hitchhiking ghost, gravediggers, Stitch and many more greeted us and helped cheer us on as we passed.

Speaking of cheering, if it hadn't of been for all the volunteers on the course, I don't think that I would have been able to make it all the way. Everyone of them had and encouraging word, sign, or just clapping for us. Even with the spectator areas, you had people that you didn't even know cheering for you.

The last mile was all through the back part of Hollywood Studios. We ran through Lights, Motor, Action, where they had a camera pointed at the runners so that we could be on the big screen as we ran by. The streets of America was the next big attraction leading to the Eyesore Hat (Sorcerer's Hat). With the final leg going through Pixar Place, and backstage areas leading to the Tower of Terror.

I had gotten a text from a good friend that told me to run hard as soon as I saw the finish line, and not 5 minutes later, I saw it, and like Forrest Gump, I just ran. I crossed the finish line at 2 hour 40 mins. and place 8,270 out of 9,475 people that finished (nearly 14,000 people started).

I met Beth in Hollywood Studios for the Villain Bash, and while we had an awesome time, lines for the 3 of the 4 attractions that were open were long. We went on the hunt for villains to take pictures with and were not that successful, only getting 3.

Overall the race, and the party were a great experience, and something I will continue to look forward doing in the future.

I had a blast training, and running this event, and look forward to running in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January for Noah's light with Jared (who's doing the Goofy Challenge).  If you feel like helping out with this great cause and getting us to the run, click the links below. We thank you in advance for the help.

Jason's Noah's Light 
Jared's Noah's Light

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