2015 Walt Disney World half marathon recap

Fun fact: I’ve never run a Disney race twice.

disneymedals

I kicked it off in 2012, tackling Princess as my first half marathon and doing the 5k for funsies the day prior (and friends thought I was nuts). From there it’s been a whirlwind of the Castaway 5k, Tink, Wine and Dine, Disneyland 10k and half (again, with the nuts comments – they obviously don’t know many who have done Goofy/Dopey), and most recently the Walt Disney World half this past weekend.

Anyone who has run a Florida runDisney race knows about the dreaded early wake up time.

Anyone who has not run a Florida runDisney race but wants to… you may want to set your alarms now for 2:45am and practice that along with training. Because yes, that’s what time you get up for these races.

The struggle is real.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It's COLD outside.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It’s COLD outside.

Brooke and I decided that we would be Newsies. We also decided that we would wear cute little tanks and running skirts. And then Mother Nature decided that she was going to throw a curveball at all of northern Florida and make it fairly chilly. Warmth took precedence over cuteness.

Sleep nearly took precedence over the race, if I’m being quite honest. Have I mentioned how early it was?

We stayed at the All Star Movie Resort, which made our travel to the start very simple; buses are scheduled non-stop starting at 3am. We didn’t check bags so we gathered our SPIbelts, food (wheat flats, almond butter, and bananas), and braced ourselves for the cold weather.

cold

Donning our pajama pants and Brooke’s husband’s sweatshirts we found ourselves at the start village. Our dear friend, Ashley, was doing her first half marathon and our plan was to find her before the race. Attempts to track down Kristen and Suzanne were made, as I knew they were starting in our corral but to no avail.

The walk from the start village to the corrals is about a mile or so and while I found it daunting during the Princess half (remember, that was my first half ever), this wasn’t bad at all. The flow of traffic was smooth and we were able to get to the corrals with no issues. Our walk consisted of us geeking out over Universal’s Harry Potter world and books in general.

These are my people!

ashleystart

Ash, Brooke, and me

Soon we had to split off and go to our separate corrals, so we gave hugs and high fives to Ash and her friends before heading to corral J.

Thanks to social media, Brooke and I knew which skirts Kristen and Suzanne were wearing so we spent a good long while walking around the corral, peering at people’s legs. Yes, indeed. Sadly, we didn’t find them (but hey, it was a way to pass the time).

The earlier corrals began to cross the start line and we both shimmied out of our pajama pants, tossing them into the collection boxes. We listened to the announcers banter and watched the fireworks at the start of each corral.

Before long, it was our turn!

startline

Our plan for this race was to HAVE FUN and I would say we succeeded! We thanked volunteers left and right. We ran when we felt like it. We walked when we felt like it (or when the course narrowed and there wasn’t much of an option). We cheered for other runners.

magickingdom

We pulled to the side and took selfies.

spacemountain

This course is the exact same as Princess so we knew what to expect. But honestly, my feelings toward this race couldn’t have been more different. My first half, it was all about getting through it. This? This was just about having fun and spending time with my friend. I didn’t hurt. I didn’t push any limits. I just had fun with Brooke.

The park is always crowded, as you can see in this video. There are people cheering and there’s not much room to navigate if you want to go faster than the people in front of you. What’s a courteous runner to do? Just roll with it. Soak it up, enjoy the moment, and smile.

It was "snowing" as we ran into the castle.

It was “snowing” as we ran into the castle.

If you’re a middle to the back of the pack runner, realize that you probably won’t get that awesome running shot of you coming out of the castle. I know for me, it was slightly disappointing when I first ran a Disney race. However, there are photographers stationed right in front of the castle if you want to stop and grab pictures with the castle in the background.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Miles 7-11 are what I like to call “the boring miles.” You exit Magic Kingdom and it’s lackluster. I feel like Disney could do something MORE in these miles to make it less tedious. I said that 2 years ago during Princess and I’m saying it again.

That’s not to say that the boring miles only pertain to runDisney, it’s really true of any half marathon. They are just sort of ho-hum, are we done yet? miles. For the record, the answer is no. You’re not even close to being done.

Which is why when you run into Kristen and Suzanne, whom you’ve been looking for the entire time, you basically lose your ever-loving mind and make loud squealing noises!

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

We hung out with them for about a half mile (I’m guessing – my watch was set on kilometers so I wasn’t exactly knowledgeable of anything in the distance department) before I pulled to the side because I had something in my shoe. It was so wonderful to see them and it definitely made those “boring miles” way more exciting!

Since the race is mostly on access roads, it’s hard for spectators to get out to the more remote areas. That’s why I totally have to give kudos to this guy! This was mile 10, just before going up the access ramp.

disneysigns

Brooke and I kept chugging along although we were straight up speed walking at this point with the hopes of finishing up faster. Right outside of Epcot there were people cheering and it was wonderful to hear my name being called. Only LATER did I realize it was Bonnie! OH MY GOODNESS, I love that girl!

EPCOT

When you hit Epcot, you hear the same thing over and over. “The finish is just around the corner.” But we knew the course and we knew that it was NOT. You have to wind your way through Epcot a little before that corner finally comes. However, this is how you know the corner is really the actual corner and not a fictional one.

That’s right! There’s a gospel choir! You can hear Brooke WOOing them, like a good Woo Girl should.

Then, and only then, can you expect to see the finish line around the corner.

finish

This is the moment that you’ve been waiting for for 13.1 miles. You take it in. The crowds cheering. The people in front of you holding hands. The far off sound of medals clanking.

The sound of Brooke as she exclaims, “WAIT! Is that Minnie Mouse?”

Well worth it!

Why, yes. Yes, it is.

The finish was wonderful. Filled with great medals and snacks because runger is a real thing. Oh, and banana phones.

bananaphone

W stayed at the finish area, snacking and stretching, so we could meet up with Ashley after she finished her very first half marathon. Mark my words, next time we are running TOGETHER.

Different races have meant different things in my life. Some are for PRs, others are for fun with friends. This one, and this weekend in general, was therapeutic. It was good for the soul and exactly what I needed.

theafter

Do different races hold different meanings in your life? When is your next race? Anyone entering the Broad Street 10 Miler Lottery? The next 5k I’m registered for is the Adrenaline Run 5k. After that it’s the Atlantic City April Fools Half. Will I see you at either of those?

10 thoughts on “2015 Walt Disney World half marathon recap

    • I wrote a post tomorrow about seeing you at the marathon and the SCREECHING NOISE that occurred! Haha! It was amazing. Honestly, seeing you both days was the best ever. I only wish it were for a longer amount of time! xo #HappyMeri

  1. Yay! So glad I saw you on Saturday! We had so much fun cheering. Congrats to you ladies! I will definitely see you at the AC April Fools Half!!!

    • Oh my gosh, Bonnie. I would have totally stopped had I not been in the total HAZE that I was apparently in! Honestly though, your cheering meant the world and I wish Iā€™d seen you on Sunday while you were running to return the favor. CANNOT WAIT until the AC April Fools Half!

  2. It sounds like you and Brooke had a blast! I couldn’t agree with you more about the course and will take it one step further. The WDW course is my lease favorite course ever, I’ve run it twice and Tony and I will be hard pressed to run it again unless it was a reason to take a week vacation out there to see friends.

    As far as having different goals for different races the answer is yes. I’m not a speed demon (my 1/2 PR still stands at 2:41) so I have a general goal of finishing every half I run sub 3 hours. runDisney 10k’s are my have fun and take as many pictures as I can fun runs. Tony and I did that during the Tinkerbell 10k last year and had the best time so we did it for the Princess 10k last year too.

    Next race, Sunday, Star Wars Half and as always I’m shooting for a sub 3.

    • We definitely had a good time down there! Brooke is always a great person to run a race with because she’s got a great attitude and lots of fun stories to tell.

      I’m not a speed demon either, Heather, so we surely have that in common! Although I do think that I can PR soon, based on my training and also what races I have in mind for this year. (And a pep talk from Brooke, which I got this weekend!).

      Have the BEST time this coming weekend! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • We love you, Ash! I’m so very glad that we got the chance to finally connect. NEXT TIME? So that means that there will be more races together? Because I vote YES. xo

  3. Oh man I was almost in tears! I just love runDisney!

    As of this moment I only have one race on my radar… Wine and Dine! It will be my first major race since 2012 when I ran the Tower of Terror 10 Miler!

    • I hear you! The camaraderie and spirit of people that run is unparalleled!

      Wine and Dine is a great race – Brooke and I were talking about how much we enjoyed the 2013 race. Night racing is a lot of fun (and as a bonus, you don’t have to wake up at 2:45!). I only wish I were able to party through the night at Epcot (I got sleepy). šŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *