Race Recap – 2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Wow these recaps have taken me awhile to write!  

We stayed in Florida until Wednesday after the races, then when I got home my sister ended up in the hospital for a few days (she’s doing fine now!) and then of course I go and get sick myself (I always do after a marathon!), so I’m finally getting around to my Goofy Challenge Recaps!

Going into these races I was really worried about my recent knee pain.  My last run before heading to Florida had me limping and on the verge of tears by mile 2.  I had thought a lot about what to do and finally decided that since I had no pain when walking I would try the half marathon using a slow run/walk and see how it went.  The minute the pain got too bad though I’d stop and walk.  I knew I could walk 13 miles if I had to (it was the sheer boredom of walking 26.2 miles I was worried about!), so in a way, the half marathon was really a “test” to see what to expect on Sunday for the full marathon.

Going into the half I was doing everything I could to set my knee up for success – it was RockTaped, I was wearing my favorite compression pants AND for good measure I even threw on an IT band strap my friend Jenn had dropped off to me the night before (since I suspect my pain is IT band related).  Hopefully SOMETHING would help and I’d be able to make it to the finish line!

My friend Cyanne and I had been planning on running the half together, we figured it would be a good match since I was nursing this knee pain and she hadn’t trained as much as she’d have liked.  Come race morning though I was so convinced that I’d be walking most of the 13.1 miles that I almost opted to not start with her so that she wouldn’t feel obligated walk with me if/ when it got to that point, but at the last minute I figured if I made it run/ walking with her for a few miles it would be worth the company for that time before I was on my own walking!

We met up with another friend, Devin, and in the corrals quickly went over our plan – Cyanne had been training using 5 minute run/ 30 second walk intervals, so we decided to use that and I made them promise that if I had to stop and walk the rest of the race that they would continue without me.

Half Corral Selfie

Cyanne, Devin and I ready to go!

So, with our plan in place and the fireworks blasting, we were off!


My knee didn’t feel too bad for the first few miles.  It was great to have some company and the run/ walk intervals were a welcome rest for my knee.

The temperature was mild (maybe 60?), but boy was the humidity brutal!  I think it said 98% humidity when I checked the start of the race, it was actually so humid it was borderline misting – you can actually SEE it in the picture below, the one on the left was taken with a flash and you can see the moisture in the air, the one of the right taken right afterwards was without a flash!

MK Entrance

Just outside the Ticket & Transportation Center we saw Jason for the first time (I’m just now realizing we didn’t take any pictures when we saw him spectating, oops!).

I was cautiously optimistic about my knee as we made it to mile 5 outside the Magic Kingdom – it hurt, but in more of an “I can feel it” hurt, rather than the unbearable limp and tear inducing pain I had experienced on my previous few runs.

We were sticking to our run/ walk intervals, with a few extra walks thrown in when the terrain bothered my knee (downhill and any of those slanted/ pitched parts of the road).

We ran down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom towards the lighted castle (always amazing!)…


…stopped for a quick bathroom break in Fronteirland (*TIP – skip the Fantasyland bathrooms, they’re the first “in-park”, aka non-portapotty bathrooms, you come to so there’s always a line!) and when we came out we saw Clarabelle Cow!  A totally unique character photo so we decided to stop!  (Devin didn’t want to stop for pictures, so she kept going at this point.)


Cyanne and I continued on out of the Magic Kingdom and past the Grand Floridian where we saw Mary Poppins, Bert and some of their penguins – the line was long, but this penguin popped out for some photos on his own!


Just past the Polynesian we saw Stitch…


…and Jason again, this time with my friend Pat! And a bit farther down we found Pam and Megan who were both running the full marathon the next day (again, totally dropped the ball on getting pictures!).

Cyanne and I kept plugging along and honestly, I was shocked I was still able to use the run/ walk intervals, going into the race I was SURE I’d just be walking by this point!  I tried not to think too much about it because I knew at any minute the pain could switch from the nagging ache to the sharp, stabbing pain that I couldn’t run with.  I tried to focus on just enjoying each mile.

Of course when we got to the Green Army Man I had to do my traditional mid-race pushups!

push ups

I was so grateful to have Cyanne’s company for this race and that’s all we really talked about for the last couple of miles.

She hadn’t trained as much as she would have liked, so she didn’t mind taking it slow with me and had no problem walking the areas that were a steep downhill or slant and I think I really needed the company and distraction to keep the focus off of my knee.  It honestly worked out perfectly and we had such a good time!

We stopped for one more picture in Epcot…


…before crossing the finish line!

Considering I wasn’t sure I’d see a finish line this race weekend I can’t tell you how happy I was!  I couldn’t believe that my knee, that had only 3 days earlier caused me to cut a 3 mile run short, held up enough for me to run/ walk 13.1 miles.

I got so many texts from friends who had been tracking my race congratulating me on finishing when I really wasn’t sure I would.  I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel and how thankful I am for all of the amazing friends I have made through running, and for this race in particular a HUGE thank you and hug to Cyanne – we were the perfect team for this race!

Danielle and Cyanne Medal

I had made through 1/3 of the Goofy Challenge and with 13.1 miles on my knee, I wasn’t sure how it would hold up the next day for the full marathon.  I took some Tylenol, iced and foam rolled.

The good news was that I was more confident about at least going to the starting line of the full marathon, that being said, I was definitely planning on where the best places to drop out of the race would be if I couldn’t finish…

I’ll be back tomorrow with the full marathon recap!

Do you prefer running solo or with friends?
Character stops or not at runDisney races?

9 thoughts on “Race Recap – 2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

  1. I think we may have stopped in just 3 or 4 runDisney races for photo pics. I love that you always do and still manage to get a good finish time.

    • I have to be honest going into race weekend I was so frustrated that I may not be able to run that I wasn’t really too into the whole “runDisney race weekend” spirit and did a terrible job of staying in touch and meeting up with people!

      Hopefully out paths will cross at a race soon!

  2. YAY FRIENDS! I love seeing these cute photos of you two! So glad you had each other for all the reasons you stated. I had a ton of fun at Princess Half last year when I felt like garbage and decided to bag a good time and take photos. I do like playing on the race courses, within reason of course.

  3. I had SO much fun with you during that race. It was definitely not the race either of us expected when we signed up, but having someone to chat and take pictures with was SO worth it!

    Looking forward to our next adventure 🙂

  4. Hahaha, all my flash pictures looked like that, too! It could NOT be more humid…so gross. But looks like you had an awesome time, and glad your knee held up! It’s great that you had someone to run with! Congrats!! 🙂

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