The day started off way too early at around 2:30 am when we got a wakeup call from Olaf from Frozen. Despite probably only getting a couple hours sleep both my wife and I got up and had a quick bagel and peanut butter and headed out to the buses to take us from the Pop Century resort to Epcot and the starting line.
Somehow I had convinced myself to put on a bit of a costume – not much – a cape draped over my shoulder, a shield and a sword. Kind of an odd set of things to do a half marathon in but being a father I have carried stranger things for a much longer time.
Don’t have a pic of the full outfit (hopefully get one in the race pics) but here is a partial:
We got to staging area without any hassle – there didn’t appear to be traffic issues and the bus transportation went clean and smooth. They did have a new feature for the marathon with a bag check by security – I was worried that might be a bit of a hassle but Disney had several security stations and seemed to be ensuring that the checks went quickly.
The staging area was pretty standard and didn’t seem too different from previous years although I did notice a champagne and beer station that I had never seen before at the Walt Disney World Marathon – something to partake in tomorrow after the full is complete I think.
We did a bit of a wander around to look at costumes and to people watch a bit before heading through the bag check area and wandering to the corrals.
One thing I did notice different was how they released people out to the corrals after going through the bag check areas. They seemed to open up the gates earlier in the morning to allow runners to get out to the corrals without quite as bad a backup as last year’s Donald half marathon. (link to last year’s race recap) and because of that the walk out to the highway and the corrals didn’t seem as crowded either. This was a very welcome change from last year!
I was assigned to corral C and my wife to corral N – we had decided a while back that I would run the half portion with her (which would be the first time we have done that) and then we would go to our individual corrals for the full. When she had gotten me the early anniversary gift of the Goofy Challenge registration she had decided she was going to the half marathon as well but the half was sold out at that point. So Heather signed herself up for the Goofy as well at the same time figuring she would at least get to do the half and if all went well with training, etc she would do the full as well. This would make the full her first full and her first Goofy Challenge.
That leads to the question as to why I am not running the full with her as well as encouragement along the journey. Basically it comes down to initially she didn’t think she would try the full and I have been training to try to break my PR on a full that has stood since 2005 – with the work I have put in to run that race as best I can backing off to walking most of it would be pretty frustrating at this point.
So we came up with a compromise – I would go out with my corral and run my race – she would go out with her corral and do her race. As soon as I was done I would get my medals, etc and head into Epcot and back out towards the Boardwalk area and wait for her to hit about mile 24. At that point I would shadow her and give her encouragement until she took the cut off into Epcot and I would then enter through the World Gateway and try to catch up and encourage her at least a few points along her path towards the finish. After she took the cut off toward the finish line I would go through the main Epcot gates and meet up with her in the family meet up area. That is still the plan now that the half is done.
I thought the corral release timing was pretty good – we were in N and we were out and running about 45 minutes after the official start (I think) which was better than I expected. Unfortunately with the heat and the crowding we didn’t go very fast and we ended doing a lot more walking than expected just so Heather could feel confident in finishing the race. Our pace was not too bad all things considered but not particularly consistent – we started with a long walk and then started some run / walk cycles and then started taking longer walks but when we got to areas where there was a good cooling breeze we were able to run pretty decent and some of the last few miles seemed to be some of our best time wise.
We didn’t partake in any character stops but loved the scenery and running through Magic Kingdom up Main Street and through the castle were fantastic as was the distance running in Epcot. Very nice course. Even with the coral changes there were still some choke points that had me wishing I was up in corral C but I survived and felt pretty good the whole run.
Overall I enjoyed the race and my wife did extremely well all things considered with a solid finish of 3:08:25 for her and an additional second for me. Considering that we walked almost all of it in the end this was a very good time that my wife was happy with.
I am definitely feeling the run a bit more in my legs and feet than I expected but I suspect that is due to walking most of the race – I used the muscles much differently than they are used to or were expecting. Going to take it easy today to rest those legs (already cold soaked) and watch my diet and fluid intake to make sure there aren’t any surprises tomorrow.
Time to go rest and get a bite to eat though – so congrats to all the runners today and good luck to everyone running tomorrow.