1. I had a good attitude about my time. I definitely wanted to PR, but I knew with the weather that my sub-2:10 goal was likely out of reach, so I didn't put too much pressure on myself.
2. I enjoyed the moment. I stopped thinking about running at specific times during the race and made sure to soak up my surroundings. I did this going through the Magic Kingdom gates, in Magic Kingdom and running through EPCOT. Sure those were the easy high points of the race, but it's what makes Disney races amazing.
3. I more consciously focused on the runners around me. I chatted with strangers, fist-pumped a fellow Virginian and enjoyed every one's costumes/outfits.
4. I also focused on the volunteers and thanked them as often as I could muster the breath to shout "thank you!"
So now for the chronology of the morning...we woke up at 2:50AM (gross!), got dressed and headed out to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) by 3:10 to catch the monorail to EPCOT. We wanted to be on the early side given that we've heard nightmares about making it to the corrals on time during marathon weekend. We got on the first monorail that came through and shared a car with a few other runners. We chatted with them and shared our nervous excitement. We made it to EPCOT a few minutes later and walked over to the Wonder Lot where the bag check, pre-race entertainment and family reunion area are located. One perk of staying at a resort on the monorail is that the walk to this area is much shorter than from the bus drop-off point.
|Great signage for transportation|
|Starting line fun!|
And then the magic happened...running down Main Street is just awesome! I smile a big ol' cheesy smile every time I do it! I ignored my pace completely during MK, just trying to enjoy the sights and sounds of it all. The characters, the rides, the castle - amazing! And then all too quickly, it was over.
As we exited MK, I grabbed my Clif bloks and started chomping 2 at a time during a walk break until they were gone (about mile 7). And then we started getting closer to the MK resorts - the Grand Floridian first, with Mary Poppins, Bert and the penguin out front, posing for photos, and then the Polynesian, with Lilo and Stich posing for photos with a Hawaiian backdrop. My Dad planned to spectate, so immediately I was looking for him in the crowd. And sure enough, I saw him before he saw me. We shared a smile and a wave and off I went towards EPCOT.
Now, somewhere on the mile 6-7 stretch, the 2:15 Clif pace group passed me...and let me tell you, I was none too pleased to see him go by me. But I relaxed, told myself to run my own race and just go with the flow. At mile 8, the course widens significantly as we passed the Hess station to merge back onto World Drive. Here, I was able to find my groove, dropping my pace to 10:10-ish. I felt great.
Next up, was the Clif Shots stop at mile 8.8ish. I checked out the banners to find citrus and made my way over to a volunteer ready to fuel me for the rest of my run. I always wait to take the gels until I can see a water stop...I really need water to wash them down. And a word of caution - watch out for the packages afterwards - I once watched someone step on a full gel and it squished all over their shoe - icky!
Surprisingly the route back to EPCOT went very quickly for me. I was amused by the Army Men challenging runners to push up contests...but soon that amusement faded as we headed into the string of overpasses that made my calves burn!! At mile 11, I passed the 2:15 pace man triumphantly...I thought about sticking my tongue out as I passed him, but thought better of that.
EPCOT greeted us at mile 12 with tons of awesome, cheering spectators. We made our way by Spaceship Earth, up to the edge of World Showcase and back out to the side exit. The amazing gospel choir serenaded us to the finish. I felt like I was floating. I concentrated hard on seeing a character at the finish line (I ALWAYS miss them!) and high fived Mickey on my way to a 2:13 finish time. I was overjoyed with a 4 minute PR.
|Source - That, my friend, is a happy half marathon finisher!|
I had set my text alerts for our friends Allie, Sunshine and Josh and I was so happy to see they had finished right behind me and Allie had PR'ed 10 minutes! We shared (very sweaty) celebratory hugs. Very soon after Mom finished up and we went through the formal photo line, grabbed our snack boxes and headed to the buses. We quickly boarded the bus back to the Polynesian for I had celebrating to do in Hollywood Studios!
So here is my race by the numbers...
Total mileage (from Garmin): 13.27...my least ever, so I ran the tangents well!
Total time: 2:13.48
Average pace: 10:12
Fuel consumed: 6 strawberry Clif blocks (1 package), 1 citrus Clif shot
Fluid consumed: 2-3 oz at 9 water stops - approximately 25 oz.
Slowest mile: mile 5 (thru MK) at 10:34
Fastest mile: mile 12 at 9:30
|Very poor lighting, but a happy shot back at the Polynesian with our medals|