It was finally time for the race I’d been training for. On April 7th, I got up at 2:45 AM to get ready for my half marathon. I barely got any sleep that night, and didn’t want to get out of bed. I was super nervous and didn’t want to eat much. I made some peanut butter toast, and drank my Tailwind Endurance Fuel and Nuun Energy. I got dressed in my Rey running costume, and gathered up my race belt, and Honey Stinger gels. I made my way over to the bus at the neighboring hotel, and got on about 3:30 AM. The bus dropped me at the parking lot of Magic Kingdom where the start line was. I got in line for the bathroom because I felt like I had to pee 100 times. I basically walked around and stood in lines for 2 hours until the first wave was released at 5:30 AM. After that it was just more waiting until I finally got to start the race at 6:20 AM.
The fireworks went off and my wave started. I tried to make my way to the front of the wave so I wouldn’t have to fight through so many people. Barely a quarter of a mile after the start, the first character/photo opportunity was set up. It was Rey, and some people stopped, but I wanted to keep going. After mile 1, we went through a wooded area and they were playing lightsaber sounds and had a mini light show going on. It was awesome. This race had lots of extra sounds and displays to make it more fun. I loved passing through the woods hearing the Ewok sounds! I passed mile 4 and ran through Animal Kingdom. We got to see the floating mountains in Pandora and it was awesome! Soon after that I decided to stop for a bathroom break. I should have waited because I ended up wasting a lot of time, and all the people I had worked hard to weave around and pass, ended up passing me while I stood in line. Finally, I was back to running and had to make up some time. We continued through Animal Kingdom and ended up on some back roads. There was a lot of clogging on the course. The majority of the participants in my wave and the two waves in front of me, clogged the course. I had a really hard time maintaining my normal running pace because so many people were in the way. No one followed the stay to the right or two abreast for group rules. They just stopped and walked whenever and wherever they wanted to. This is really frustrating. I understand using the run/walk method, and that’s what I was doing, but it isn’t hard to stay to the right side of the course and let faster runners go by on the left. I won’t sign up for another Disney race until I have a good qualifying time and can avoid the slower corrals. I continued to try and get around people and make up some time. As the sun came up it got HOT. It was already humid, and I regretted wearing a costume. After the next few miles, there was a very large loop around and hill, we had to climb. This was one of the hardest parts of this race. The whole course was a lot hillier than I expected! Mile 8 and 9 were where I had the tiniest bit of doubt in my ability. Then I got back on track with helpful texts from my family. By mile 10, I was making up time and ready to finish! When we got to Epcot and I knew I didn’t have much further to go. We ran around the world showcase, and I was flooded with encouraging texts from my family. I picked up the pace, and rounded the final corner. I could see the finish line and started to sprint. Right as I was nearing the finish line, I came up on a group of 6 blocking the whole path. I ducked under their arms and sprinted through the finish. I was done! I got my medals and took some pictures. I was tired, but I felt good. My second half marathon was done.
Overall, this race was a great experience. I know now what I have to do the next time I sign up. You really have to get in corral A-E if you don’t want to have to fight people through the whole course. Other than that, I highly recommend RunDisney races. The expo is awesome, there are tons of vendors and a great energy. For the races, people are nice and friendly (for the most part). Tons of people dress up and it’s just a fun experience especially if you are a Star Wars fan. It’s tough getting up at 2:45 in the morning, but if you’re only doing one race or stay at a resort that doesn’t have the night time firework show, then maybe you can just go to bed really early and won’t be bothered by it. I definitely recommend participating in at least one RunDisney race. They put on great races that are really fun.