Back to the races! On Saturday morning, my husband and I were up early ready for the 10K. For this one, the villains took over. Cruella de Vil was at the starting line. The best part for me? My favorite character, the Queen of Hearts, was stationed in front of It’s a Small World along with the Evil Queen. She’s not a character one sees often around the parks so it was a real treat. At the finish, Cruella was waiting, but so were our “magic mirror” medals!
That night, there was a Pasta in the Park party. Ordinarily, we go to that, but this trip for various reasons, we decided to finish our carb-loading at Wine Country Trattoria, which was fabulous as always. Even though we didn’t go, I do highly recommend Pasta in the Park. The camaraderie with the other runners alone is worth it. In my experience, runDisney attracts really great people and it’s great to hang out with them. Of course, in pure Disney fashion, the food is amazing, too!
Sunday morning and it was finally time for my first-ever Half Marathon. I was nervous. The longest race I’d ever done was 10 miles and this was going to be 3.1 miles longer. On top of it, I woke up extra early feeling a bit under the weather, not sure if I caught something, ate something that disagreed with me, had a case of the nerves, or all three, but I wasn’t at my best. Then, we arrived at the starting corrals and I had my first-ever issue with a runDisney event. We were walking into our corral, corral D, and about 20 people ahead of us, the corral was closed because it was full. We were sent to corral E. It was also full before we arrived. We ended up trapped on the sidewalk next to the corrals. I say trapped because after we (as in my husband and me as well as several hundred other people) got on the sidewalk, the area we had crossed to get there was double-barricaded with metal barricades. Meanwhile, the area between us and the corrals was also fenced off so we couldn’t go forward due to the fence and we couldn’t go backward due to the barricade. Meanwhile, corral B had already started the race and we had no idea how or when we would be allowed to start. After corral C had started, corral D was moving forward to the starting line. We could see it, but there was nothing we could do about it. Some racers took matters into their own hands, however. The fence between us and the corral was plastic. They took it down. I do not condone this. I was frustrated like everyone else, but even organized chaos is better than chaos. We ended up going with the crowd and starting with corral D along with the others from the sidewalk, many of whom were supposed to be in corral D, but many should have been corral E or F and I even saw a few G. That meant that an already very crowded corral became even more crowded, which was very noticeable in the early part of the race whenever we hit a narrow stretch. Anyway, I’m sure runDisney has taken steps to correct the issue for future events.
Over the course of the 13.1 miles, there was so much to see and do, it really wasn’t so bad. I had learned on the 10-miler that I just needed to focus on getting to the next mile marker. By doing that, just going one mile at a time, I knew that mentally I could do it. While there is some physical prep necessary for these longer runs, so much of it is mental. Anyway, I have to mention how many people there were along the way! Local schools had come out with their bands and cheerleaders. At one point, there was a Mexican dance troupe. In another location, there was a car show with everything from classic cars to the Batmobile to a Corvette that looked like Lightning McQueen. At about the time I was going to hit a slump, Mouseplanet.com was there with Redvines and orange wedges. I’ll have to remember to bring orange wedges on all my future runs. It was really refreshing. I was also very grateful for the Clif company handing out gel packets a little after 9 miles. Again, it was a great pick-me-up. Another volunteer group handed me a little cup of pretzels. In addition to that, there were tons of people as we ran through Angels Stadium. Getting closer to the end, New Balance was on hand cheering us on and playing some great music. There was so much positive energy all along the course that I was able to soak it all in and keep going. My thank you to all the people who came out to cheer and especially all the people who volunteered their time to work water stations, medical, and everything else that it takes to put on an event like this.
For the last 3 miles, I was tired. I had had surgery just six weeks before that had taken longer to recover from than I had anticipated and it was catching up to me. About that time, though, my husband had completed the race and was texting me cheering me on. I had also texted a friend who had completed the 10-miler with me and she cheered me on.
Finally, I made it to the finish line and there’s nothing like it. Having only done 10 miles or less before, completing my first half marathon was something to be proud of. On top of that, I had gone 3.1 miles two days earlier and 6.2 miles the previous day for a total of 22.4 miles over the weekend.
All this from someone who couldn’t even have imagined doing a 5K just three years ago. I’m not a little skinny girl (size 14/16), am not young (mid-40s) and was really not in good shape, but I became hooked on runDisney races. I can’t explain how fun they are. Now I just want to do every single one and it has translated into benefits in my life. I just chose to walk/run 1.8 miles to a store instead of drive. I take the stairs. My clothes are getting looser. I can walk the Disney Parks all day without getting tired. It’s wonderful!
If you’ve never done an organized race before, I highly recommend taking the first step… literally. If you can’t get to a runDisney event, then find a local 5K “fun” run. Generally, those can be walked. You don’t have to run. Even better, do it with a friend. You can chat as you go. That’s how I did my first 5K and even that 10-miler a couple of years ago. Chatting makes the time go by more quickly and you’ve brought your own cheerleader. Truly, if I can do it, so can you. All it takes is the first step.
Missed Part 1? See it here.