This may be a mistake for all my future Disney trips. I probably should not have stayed at the Contemporary. It made getting around TOO EASY. I think I've spoiled myself. But it was too good of a deal to pass up thanks to the group rate that I got with A-T Children's Project.
So as I'm making my was off of the monorail, and through the parking lots to the runners area, I see Jason and Beth in front of me. They kept me company for about 30 minutes or so before I decided I'd head to my corral. Being as this was my first half, and I had no qualifying time to submit, I was stuck in the very last corral. After about a 15 minute walk, I was finally at the corrals. I gradually made my way to the front of corral P and took a seat on the asphalt as we waited. And waited... AAAAAAAnd waited. We were so far back, the national anthem was about half over before most of the people realized it was being performed. And then, Donald Duck himself showed up to countdown the first corral. The half had officially begun!
After about 30 minutes, P made the trip to the other side of the street and lined up with the starting line. I must say that Rudy and the other announcers did their best to make sure we were entertained the whole hour we were waiting. It was actually an hour and 5 minutes before Donald counted us down.But he did, and we were off! I've been training on the Galloway method with a 1:1 ratio. But when my first cue went off to walk, I kept going. I probably ran at least the first ten minutes of the half without stopping. Finally, I told myself that if I was going to finish, I had to slow it down, or I'd have nothing left for the last few miles.
So I settled in to my pace, and passed the first water stop. It was very humid that day. Much more so than when I had been training, so I decided to take both powerade and water at the stops. First character stop was Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa. I kept going though. At some point in there, there was a marching band playing the theme from Rocky. That was pretty uplifting, I just wish it had been towards the end, rather than the beginning.
Since I was in the last corral, I had to pass a lot of people all throughout the run. I had read, or heard, that race etiquette was that the slower people and walkers were supposed to stick to the sides of the road to let the faster people through. This wasn't happening and the course began to narrow as we entered the parking lots for the Magic Kingdom. I had also read that the crowd would start to thin out some here, so I wasn't too worried. Coming up on or just after mile 4, I made my first character stop. it worked out good for me, since my right foot was starting to go numb. No clue why it does that though.
I later found out that Darkwing Duck was there earlier, but not when I stopped. Bummer, but I was super pumped to get this picture with Launchpad McQuack! Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas were down the road! I High fived a bunch of people as we ran through the various parking lots and in to the Magic Kingdom.
Honestly, since I was in the last corral, I really didn't expect much of a crowd to still be there cheering. But I was very happy to be wrong. As we entered MK from behind Tony's Town Square restaurant, the cheers were LOUD. A bit further down Main Street USA, I saw some familiar faces, who told me to keep running as I slowed down to say "hi".
As I continued through MK, I noticed it was getting a bit more congested. I kept to my intervals though, and in what seemed like a blink of an eye, we were on the road behind the resorts. A two lane road. With only one lane blocked off for the runners. This was the slowest and most boring part of the half, in my opinion. I was contstantly having to weave through walkers during my run interval. It was so bad at points, I had to run down the shoulder of the road, to a level part of the grass, to keep my intervals. Finally, I decided it wasn't worth the extra effort and just kept a brisk walking pace. I reasoned to myself, that it didn't matter, since I needed to conserve energy for the full.
So, we wound our way back toward Epcot and up the overpass. Once we headed back down, we were met with more cheering fans. If I remember correctly, this is where I saw Rikki and others from the Be Our Guest Podcast supporting the new "lizards" running crew, which Jason and I are proudly a part of.
We ran through Epcot, and around Space Ship Earth. As I passed the gospel choir, and mile marker 13, I decided that I was going to run as fast as I could to the finish line. Right as I rounded the corner, with the finish line in sight, both of my calf muscles got cramps in them so bad, I almost fell over. The people who saw cheered for me even harder at that sight. I laughed at myself, and made my way to the finish line.
I grabbed a bottle of water, and a bottle of powerade, and downed them pretty quickly, since it was so humid. I needed to stay hydrated for the race the next day. I got my medal and bracelet to show that I finished, and met the qualifications for the next part of the Goofy Challenge.
Then, it was back to the hotel for a quick shower, and then we headed to Epcot. Check back on Friday for the rest of the marathon weekend recap!