Like the 5k, a chunk of these pics came from Daniel! Go stalk him on twitter @DanielWanderman ....Oh..and he must have heard my complaining in the 5k recap. He finally posted the full marathon pics so I've already started writing that recap too! hehehehe
Our alarms started going off I think at 2:30am and we all started getting ready. Had some breakfast, bundled up and headed towards the buses around 3:30. The line for the buses was long but we didn't think anything of it. Usually the buses have been crazy efficient....but not today. :( We waited...and waited...and waited. People in line started getting antsy and impatient. One bus finally came but could only take 20 or 40 people since there were already runners on it. And so we continued waiting and waiting.
|Still waiting.... Pic thanks to Daniel|
Race time was at 5:30, not to mention a 20 minute walk to the corrals, so when there was STILL no bus by 4:50am (yes, I checked my tweets...) I swear there was going to be a riot at the Boardwalk. The poor Mears employee had NO walkie and was getting bombarded by angry runners.
Finally at 4:55 a Disney bus came. We got on and honestly had the most entertaining bus driver in the world. I wish I remembered his name so I can send a letter to Disney. He told us along the way that he had just punched out from the late shift and transport called and said they were desperate for someone to get to the Boardwalk for runners. He was awesome and knew everyone was antsy. Also, since he was an official Disney bus and not a Mears bus, he knew all the back roads and shortcuts.
This driver sped through Disney property joking the whole time. He kept yelling at other cars and honking his horn to move out of the way because he had runners on the bus. It was a nice laugh even though we were all freaking the hell out.
Everyone leaped off the bus at 5:08 and started hoofing it towards the runners area. We quickly met up with our cheering squad from my gym back home (there were a TON of us that flew down for the race!) and handed over our friend Courtney, who was also there to just cheer us on. :) Ran through bag check, and then started on our cattle herd crawl to the corrals.
|We look so happy for being late!|
We realized there was NO way we were going to make it to Corral B in time for the start. I started shedding my clothes as we were walking. When we got to the corral area, we knew that Corral B was completely on the other side of the chaos. And just at that moment, the fireworks went off and Corral A was off! Damn it!
|Still by the portapotties! (Pic thanks to Dan)|
|Pic thanks to Daniel|
As for our strategy for the race, we decided to do the Run 1 Mile, Walk 1 Minute routine. It's worked for me in my past full marathons, and we wanted to save our legs for the full marathon the next day. We also agreed to take it slow. Completely prepared to make this our slowest half marathon ever...which it was!
Around mile 3 or 4 we passed under the Magic Kingdom toll booths and I started getting excited. I knew my dad and stepmom, as well as my gym cheering crew, were right by the Transportation Ticket Center. Using my new best friend on my iPhone, Siri, I texted my dad and Courtney to tell both groups that I was getting close. Plus to ask my dad for tissues because apparently Dan and I forgot them in our mad dash to the start line. Snorting snot was not fun!
When we got near the Walt Disney World Speedway, we saw some awesome characters that I haven't seen in years! Launchpad McQuack and Darkwing Duck! Yes, my 80's childhood upbringing and love of Disney cartoons is showing. I SOOOO wanted photos with them but the lines were already long so we just snapped photos as we ran by.
|Looking for pops! Pic thanks to Daniel|
We found my dad and stepmom, snapped a few photos, got some hugs, and continued down a few yards until we found our other cheering crew! Got a few more waves and hellos in and chugged along.
|Yay for the cheering squad! Pic thanks to Dan|
We rounded the corner to enter Magic Kingdom and I realized the race was already almost half over! We were both completely taking our time and trying to save our legs but it felt like time was flying by.
Now, not sure if any of you remember past trip reports, tweets, or have seen other photos I've posted from Main Street, but I love the Mayor. He's the nicest guy and I think I fell for him when he serenaded me in front of everyone around us on my birthday a few years back. Yup, I'm smitten for the Mayor! So as we ran down Main Street, I saw him standing on the corner all by his lonesome!! That's just WRONG! He was standing there cheering everyone on and welcoming them to the Magic Kingdom. I quickly yelled to Dan that we needed to go say hi and sprinted across the course to get to him...unfortunately I think I cut someone off, so I apologize!
My day was complete after I got my photo taken with him.... :)
|With the Mayor! Pic thanks to Daniel|
We made our way to the end of Main Street and turned towards Tomorrowland. Rounded our way through Fantasyland and headed towards the castle....
I think Dan is getting quite talented at taking action shots, no?
|Behind the castle... Pic thanks to Daniel|
The sun finally started to come up as we were heading down the road and it made for some pretty photos and sight seeing. As we made our way past the Grand Floridian, I knew my dad, stepmom, and Courtney were around by the Polynesian. Another quick text thanks to Siri and I started keeping an eye out for them. Luckily my dad is almost as crazy about Disney as I am, and knows the property like the back of his hand too, so they were exactly where we agreed on. A quick hug, hello, and good luck and then we were on our way again. The next time I'd see them was at the family reunion tent at the end.
The rest of the way to Epcot was also slightly uneventful. We ran into a few ROTErs and said hi but kept on chugging along.
|Say Cheese!! Pic thanks to Daniel|
Finally Spaceship Earth came into view and you can see everyone slowly picking up the pace and getting excited. When we made the turn to head into Epcot, the excitement grew a little more. I always love running through Epcot since all of the cast members are so enthusiastic...plus we're almost done!!
|Pic thanks to Daniel|
|Home stretch! Pic thanks to Daniel|
|If only I didn't look so weird....|
We rounded the corner heading out of Epcot, were greeted with the usual gospel choir, and then turned one last corner to make the home stretch to the finish line. I FINALLY was able to get a photo of me high fiving a character at the end (yay Goofy!) without someone sprinting in front of me.
After we crossed the finish line, we quickly congratulated each other but knew we still had more than half the adventure to go! We made our way through the finish chute, collecting our medals and mylar sheets. After getting our race photos we grabbed some food and tried making our way to the family reunion area. The food was the normal bananas, Powerade, water, oranges, bagels, muffins, etc.
|Done for the day! Pic thanks to Daniel|
It was awesome waiting for everyone at the reunion area. Like I mentioned earlier, there were about 7 members of my gym that all came down to run the race...plus their family & friends. For most of them, it was their first half marathon and it was great sharing that with them! After all of us finished and met up, we took the group photos and everyone went on their way to relax and enjoy the parks.
Plus, this was also the first time my dad and stepmom made it out for a race and I loved having them there. Daniel kept joking all weekend that every time I knew they were ahead cheering, I would pick up the pace a little bit. Too bad I can't figure out how to have them move up a few miles every time so I keep up that pace! :)
So other than our little transportation mishap in the morning, we had a great race! It was a beautiful day and we couldn't have asked for better weather (although I wouldn't have minded it like 5 degrees cooler). We slowly hobbled from the reunion area through Epcot and out to the Boardwalk. After quick showers and a little relaxing, we headed back out into Epcot to get through a few rides and then dinner in Japan at Teppan Edo. Pretty sure we were back in the room by 7:15pm. Got all of our things together for the next day and attempted to get to bed early.
Two of the three races are officially done! 16.2 miles done... 26.2 more to go! Next up...the full marathon!