Finally, I started to jog! The moment I had anticipated and at the same time been nervous about since I signed up was now here. Well I did not start jogging until a little after I crossed the starting line because there were so many people around me. But, the crowd thinned faster than during the Half Marathon in January, which was nice. I don’t like the start of running large races because I am never sure if I am going too fast or too slow and I have to look at my RunKeeper app to see my pace and try to see by feel. As a side note, my RunKeeper app did not work as well as I would have liked it to. At the end of the race, it said that I had completed a half marathon and had done two six minute miles…not the case.
The first four miles were on the highway. I had known this would be the case because I had checked the map beforehand a few times. The highway is always a bit boring. We saw the runners on the opposite side of us who had already done 3 miles while we had been waiting to start. The people at Disney races make the race amazing. We could run through every behind the scenes area possible and I would “oohhh” and “aaahhh” but the other racers keep me running. Within half a mile I was already thirsty but I did not want to stop to crack the seal on my Powerade bottle. Note to self: Do this before starting next time. One runner ran up on my left dressed as Donald Duck with a quacking duck beak whistle in his mouth. That made me laugh. He kept using it and everyone would turn because they would be very confused from the sound. I heard him later on in the race as well and it brought a smile to my face. The other runner that made me smile was a man in an orange shirt. He was running with his wife and his wife’s friend I believe. He had definitely run a race or two before and was cheering his wife and the friend on. But, he was not saying just “you got this” or “keep going.” He shouted out things like, “Think of all those people on couches, you are doing so much better than them!” and “If you are numb and sore clap your hands.” He had the energy of the energizer bunny and kept me running. I would’ve stayed behind him the whole race if I could.
My sister started to walk and then run and walk and then run within the first two miles. I had to keep slowing down, looking back, and walking. My dad somehow managed a really slow jog to stay with my sister’s walking. After about three miles I told them “adios” because I wanted to jog most of this race and not walk this much at the beginning at least. I would meet them at the end. So I went off alone. Well alone is not the right word because I had thousands of runners around me and I felt totally safe the entire time. I regret not taking any photos on the run but I wanted to finish under my half marathon 10 mile split. I think in the future when I get my mile time down, I will stop for character photos.
I began the trail path into ESPN Wide World of Sports. I only have one complaint from this trail path. The lighting was fine, the trail was not bad, but the width of the path was not ideal. Almost everyone around me walked this part which I understand because if you do trip, you could be done with the race. But, I do think walkers should have tried to stay to the right because trying to weave in and out was awful. I had to try to follow tall loud people who were running and could easily go through and follow behind in their spaces. Thank you to those who had beepers when they were supposed to stop running or start running because it alerted me when to watch out for a change in speed and was very nice. Once we got into WWOS, it was easier to run. When I say run through this whole thing, I really mean jog at about a 11 min/mile average pace. The tesla coil was not working when we ran around the baseball field but I play softball so I thought this part of the run was especially awesome. At mile 5 I was supposed to text my dad, but I did not stop to text until mile 6 (running + texting =bad idea). After 6 miles I was mentally in the race. I knew I was more than half way done. Unlike during the half when at 6 miles running through the Magic Kingdom was great but I was freaking out about having to do 8 more miles in my head.
Throughout the whole race especially after I separated from my dad and sister I took frequent Powerade sips and grabbed water from the volunteers. Thank you volunteers who stood out in the heat for hours handing out cups and cheering us on! I thought it would be really bad if I passed out since I had no one with me and I really did not want to pass out so I drank and drank as I sweat and sweat. As we made the turn to go under the Hollywood Studios sign, Malecifent glared down at me and told me I couldn’t stop now. Ever since I was little I have not liked the Disney villains. I would never let Captain Hook sign my autograph book nor would I walk up to see him. So I kept running with the childhood fear of Disney villains in my head.
Miles 7 and 8 I remember I walked a bit more than I would have liked. My legs were sore but not terrible at all. My breathing was fine. My shoulder hurt. Thankfully, the pain subsided after a bit but I knew that playing the viola for over 7 hours a week was not a good idea because that shoulder had hurt before. Miles 9 and 10 were the last two. Mile 9 I walked more because I wanted to repeat what I had done at the half marathon. My dad and I had ran the whole last mile straight and I wanted to do the same for this race. It is the last push.
I saw the Mile 9 sign and started jogging. We were in Hollywood Studios now so it made the running more interesting and there were more spectators at this point in the run. I don’t know Hollywood Studios well because this was the longest mile of my life. I did not know that you could snake around part of the park and eventually get to the finish line. The workers kept saying that the finish line was around the corner. Finally and really finally, I turned THE corner and jogged smiling across the finish line. I jogged over to the left right before the finish line so that I could high five Goofy as well. I walked over and the medal was placed over my head and I was happy. I read somewhere that the first 30 minutes after a finish are the most important for recovering so I took a new Powerade, Water Bottle, banana and snack box. I forced myself to eat the banana even though I don’t love them and drank the whole bottle of water while I was waiting for my dad and sister for 15 minutes. I also looked like a dork waiting for them because I paced back and forth to keep moving. This kept my legs from feeling stiff and also kept my body from having a shock from stopping the run. Here is a photo of my sister and I post race. I will discuss the after party next!