So…on the bus on the way over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports I text Jenn to let her know I was on my way, she said she was on a bus too and would let me know when she got there. I checked my bag when I got there and shortly after met up with Jenn and her friend Keith. We decided, since we had plenty of time, to wait on the line to take a picture with Mickey Mouse and while we were in line we met up with Lisa of HealthyDisney.com!
I was really grateful that I had met Jenn on the Magical Express a couple of nights before otherwise I probably would have just been sitting out in the field by myself waiting for the race to start! We met up with a few more of Jenn’s friend, took a pre-race group photo, stopped at the porta-potties one last time and then headed over to our corrals for the start!
Because I had never run a race before I was way back in the last corral so I had to split off from everyone else. The fireworks started, we slowly made our way up towards the starting line and at about 10:20pm we were off! The race started off slow – it was pretty crowded through the first few miles and it was just a long stretch of highway until we got to Animal Kingdom.
Running through Animal Kingdom was VERY cool, but it did smell like…well, animals! Normally it probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much but in the middle of a 13 mile run it was nauseating, fortunately it didn’t last very long. One of the best parts about going through Animal Kingdom was the cast members along the course cheering – since this was my first race ever I’ve never run in a race that has spectators along the course, but it was definitely encouraging to see them and get high fives as we ran by! Once we got through Animal Kingdom we were back out on the highway on our way to Hollywood Studios. Running though Hollywood Studios was a bit disorienting since we weaved in and out of the backstage areas, but my favorite part was running through the set of Lights, Motor Action!
As we headed out of Hollywood Studios I knew we were close to the finish! We ran down the path from Hollywood Studios through the Yacht and Beach Club (where there were some more spectators cheering us on!) towards the International Gateway and then veered off through a backstage area of Epcot that led us to…the FINISH LINE! After months of training, I had completed a half marathon (and raised money for a great cause while I was doing it)!
From then everything happened so quickly – each finisher was given their medal and sent over to take their finisher photo and then we kept going to pick up post-run snacks. I picked up my bag at bag check and then went to meet up with my family. We spent a bit of time walking around the Epcot Food and Wine Post-Race Party, but the lines were long and I was exhausted (it was about 2am) so we didn’t stay very long.
The overall runDisney race experience was incredible. I met some great people and accomplished a goal I never would have though possible just a few months earlier. My finish time was 2:19:16, which was fine with me – I didn’t have a time goal in mind since this was my first race and I knew I would be stopping to take pictures with characters along the way. I can’t wait to head down to Florida for the Full Marathon in January!
Stop back tomorrow for my recap on the Meet Up & Eat Up I participated in!
Congratulations on officially becoming a half marathoner! If you’re like the throngs of people out there, this is the first of many to come. Though keep an open mind – not all races are as amazing as Disney races. I ran the relay component of this race this year and loved it. I’d definitely run the whole thing if given the opportunity. Here’s my recap: http://dansmarathon.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/florida-2011-disney-wine-n-dine-half-marathon-relay/
Hi Dan, thank you so much for your comment! I am just getting my blog up and “running” and it’s exciting to become a part of the running and blogging communities! There are so many unique and interesting stories out there that I’m learning about and I’m looking forward to following your journey! All the best! Danielle
Totally agree that the Studios was disorienting! I had NO idea where I was while running through there, which is sad since I can usually navigate the place blindfolded. So happy that your first runDisney experience was a great one….which can only mean that there will be a ton more on the way 🙂
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