The night before the race, I definitely didn’t have a lot of sleep. I’m unsure if it was because I was excited or because I was sharing a room with a bunch of snoring roommates (aka my niece) I was for sure afraid of being late so I had set my alarm for 2am to ensure I was there by 3:45am. (Crazy)
It was dark when I arrived and there was music just blasting. The next thing I know, a group of Stormtroopers were busting moves on stage and runners, dressed as every character you could think of, were getting their party on before heading to the corrals.. I felt like it was the ultimate nerd fest but at a race… *having a nerd girl moment*
While the race started at 4:30am, my corral didn’t take off until 5am. This gave me plenty of time to hydrate, stretch and reminisce over the random scenes from the old school episodes on screen. Hyping myself up time! The moment the fireworks went off for our corral to take off, everyone ran into the night cheering! Passing the Epcot ball all lit up, running thru the world showcase with Darth Vader’s theme song playing… Everything in that moment brought a smile to my face. It was amazing to see a lot of the spectators cheering so early in the morning and the volunteers were fantastic.
I didn’t realize that if you wanted to take photos with the characters, you would have to wait in line during the route. Although I wasn’t focusing too much on my time, I really didn’t want to wait to take photos..
I managed to stop about three times to take pics with the Stormtroopers and a shot of Kylo Ren (which was an epic fail because it turned out all blurry… sad) The run took us through Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and finally ended in ESPN. Running through Animal Kingdom the sun was starting to rise and you could feel it warming up. The humidity started to cause my inner thighs to sweat and chafe, which felt awful. The chafing had required a necessary stop at the med tent for vaseline which was very classy when I had to apply it on at the side of the road.
I managed to keep my pace and had to remind myself every time, I am in the US therefore, everything is in miles.. @_@; except for the 15km mark. Calculating miles to km at least kept my mind occupied for a bit since I didn’t bring any music.
The final mile in ESPN was the hardest. I was so exhausted, tired and while my legs wanted to stop, I just kept pushing myself to go. I kept the run at an easy pace and it was the first time I had finished a half marathon without my knee giving or aching. Off and on there would be an aching pain below my knee cap, which has never happened before, but that was something I could tolerate.
I am always shy at posting my time for my runs but this time around, I was so proud of myself. My best time so far for 21km was 3hrs and 8min at the Seattle Marathon in 2014. When I searched my official time, I was so happy that I had completed the run at 2hrs and 51min (official time). I think what surprised me the most is that I was able to achieve this time even after stopping three times for photos. I was so proud of myself at that moment, I couldn’t believe it and then.. the dreaded after race events.. *sigh*
I didn’t realize that the runner pick up was at Epcot which was not good because I had informed my Fam to meet at ESPN after the race. I had no clue that the whole area was actually closed off. After walking back and forth to get free wifi, I was able to get a hold of my sister to meet at Epcot. For whatever reason, my phone wasn’t able to connect to a mobile network.
I waited an 1hr and 20 min in the sun for the shuttle. The volunteers were awesome at keeping us runners hydrated in the heat and providing ice packs for any one tensing up or injured. Keep in mind.. my race finished at 8:30am, I arrived at Epcot at 10:45am. I still couldn’t find my family and after pacing the parking lots between the shuttles, bus stops and main entrance of Epcot, I began to feel so exhausted… Yea.. I may have had a bit of a breakdown. I was tired and it was now 1230 and I still couldn’t find my family. A worker finally asked if he could give me a ride across the parking lot back to the runners pick up to check again and sure enough, I finally found my family.. @_@;;; When I saw my Mom, she had mentioned how she was sitting in the shade of the med tent and was on the lookout for my Tiux socks. Oh Mom…. I was just thankful to finally find her and ready to pass out!! At the time, that whole situation was just awful, however; thinking back on it all, it made the experience that more memorable and funny. This was ultimately one of my favourite races I have ever done and will never forget. It really does make me want to explore new places and race in different countries. Makes me wonder where to run next!