Well, it looks like I made it. Plus, I saved the best race for last! In my quest for 13 13’s in ’13, I have finally finished 13 Half Marathons in the calendar year. While it was a long and difficult task, this post isn’t about that. I’ll save a recap for a later post. This post is an ode to the best of the 13 races.
I thought this about a thousand times as I was marching around the parks of Disney World before and after the race: “Nobody does ANYTHING like Disney does ANYTHING.” So, I knew this race would be great.
The only negative to a Disney race is how early the runners have to show up at the starting area. I was on site a full 3 hours before the race started. Normally, this would have been mind-numbingly boring. Thankfully, however, a couple that I went to high school with was also running the race. It was a good chance to catch up with them and find out about what they had been up to, and to learn about their family!
Not only did I arrive 3 hours early, but we had to be in our start corrals an hour ahead of time. After having filled up on water, even my last minute trip to the port-a-potty, that hour long wait really made me have to pee. Good thing there were more outhouses at Mile 1.
The race was set up well. Very efficient. The corral system worked well. The first wave went off at exactly 10:00 p.m. I was in corral B, so I got to go 2 minutes later, at 10:02.
I had decided ahead of time that I would take it easy during this race, enjoy it, and take plenty of pictures. I figured a finishing time of 2:30 would be reasonable. However, at the same time, I had a wife and niece meeting me at the post party in Epcot! So, I had to keep it moving forward as much as possible! But, I still got lots of good pics and had a great time!
The race starts out in the ESPN Wide World of Sports area of the park. This is where all of the sporting events at Disney take place.
From there it heads to Animal Kingdom, past the tree of life, past Expedition Everest, and out the back side of the park to the parking lot and through the main car entrance of the park. All of that happened in the first 6 miles.
From there, it winds through some main highways between the resorts before it cuts back into the backside of Hollywood Studios at Mile 9. Here’s the mile marker at mile 7:
Entering Hollywood Studios was pretty cool.
Hollywood Studios was the best park to run through. They had set up all kinds of things to motivate the runners. From the DJ in the hat, to the disco hallway, to the Osbourne Lights being up and going. It was definitely the best 3 miles of the course.
After having made it through the lights (I walked. Not because I was tired, but because I HAD to take it in.) I came upon a couple of my wife’s favorite characters. Apparently, getting a photo with these guys is difficult. I don’t know if it was because I started toward the front of the race, or if they had just come back from break, but when I got to them, there was NO LINE! I hopped in. Though, I must admit, I was afraid for my life!
After barely escaping, we headed out of HS and toward the Boardwalk and behind a couple of resorts. From Mile 11 on out, the crowds were ridiculous. Lining every sidewalk, boardwalk, and into Epcot and on the outside. They were screaming, cheering, high-five-ing, and all that bull-spit.
The race entered Epcot at about mile 12.5.
At about Mile 13 I heard my cheering section! My wife Joy and niece Alyssa whooped and hollered for me as loud as they could! I rewarded Joy with a sweaty, sloppy kiss! Alyssa did not get one. Poor kid.
The race wound through Epcot and out of it. To one of the cooler parts of the course: a fog machine and lasers shooting over the runners. It was like a ceiling of lasers that led to the finish line. I came around the last corner and there it was! The finish line! With one of the cutest girls in town to greet me!
I snapped one last picture, crossed the finish line just under 2:08, and jumped while screaming and pumping my fists like a mad man! All of my work paid off. For the thirteenth time. I couldn’t control my elation. It was primal. I then made my way to the medical tent for some ice. I felt as though I had torn every muscle up and down both sides of my lats. I survived.
They handed me my medal:
I headed to meet up with Joy and Alyssa at the post party. We got to ride some of the best rides. Multiple times. Then, we headed to the World Showcase, ate and drank til the wee hours!
Also, we got some pictures with some characters…
And, my favorite pic of all… yeah, I got a thing for Belle…
Overall… Best race of the year. Not even worried about my time. I don’t think one would do a Disney race if they were looking for a PR. It was warm and humid. The course was pretty flat. A few small rises and falls. But, nothing out of the normal difficult. It was a fun, fun race! On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it an 11. Unfortunately, I won’t be back next year. But, I will be doing another RunDisney race again, soon!
Here are the important pics! Great shirt, Great medal!!
Look for my 13 in 13 challenge recap coming soon!!