Today I’m going to blog about the meat of the trip to Walt Disney World, the 5k race that I ran! The race all took place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and was scheduled to start at 7:00 am on Saturday, September 29th. My sister-in-law and I were staying at Disney’s All Star Sports Resort because it was a “host” resort for the race, meaning that there were designated buses running early in the morning to take you to the race and then back to your resort after. I had rented a car on this trip but since it was my first race I wasn’t sure how traffic and parking would be and decided to take the buses instead.
We set our alarms for 5:00 am but I actually woke up naturally around 4:30, probably due to excitement/being worried, and just decided to start getting ready at that time. After we got dressed I was a bit nervous about whether I should eat or not. I initially decided not to since it was so early and I felt good but then I decided to take a pain pill (as a preventative thing – just in case I got shin splints) and needed to eat food with it. I decided to just eat half a chocolate power bar and hope for the best. It was pretty funny because I kept thinking things like “should I eat?” “If I do eat, how much should I eat?” “what should I eat?”…. I guess I wasn’t really good about experimenting with all that while I was training like I should have been. Lesson learned for next time.
So we hopped on a bus at 5:45 and were at the WWoS complex before we knew it. Here we are full of energy and excitement before the race: (I’m on the right)
The weather was perfect for this run… it was cool and foggy and there was even a full moon! It definitely felt like a haunted night/morning. We got to the baseball fields and found our corral (Corral D – they went from A to E) but we weren’t ready yet to stand in there with all the other people so we took a lot of time walking around, getting water, using the restrooms, and checking out some of the costumes the other runners were wearing. Some of them were amazing like these chimney sweeps:
At 7:00 all of us were in our corrals ready to go as the sun was coming up. The first corral walked to the start line and boom! they were off. It didn’t take long before it was our turn and we started walking towards the start line. On the way I was looking for any familiar faces and I saw my friends Mike from the Be Our Guest Podcast and Sarah from Running At Disney standing on the sidelines cheering on the runners. I ran over for a quick pic before the race started. Can you see how excited I was?!?
We walked by the DJ who was up on a platform and he asked “who is running their first 5k today?!?” To which I, of course, shouted and screamed and raised my hands. It was all just so thrilling. The next thing I knew we were being counted down… 3!….2!….1! run!
We started the first part of the run on wet grass running around some baseball fields… then we were on gravel for a tiny bit and then we took a hard right turn into the woods! They weren’t kidding when they said this was a trail run! The nice thing was when we ran into the woods it felt almost as if we were running into a wall of cool air. The trees really kept it shady and cool back there. The bad thing was the ground was a bit muddy and uneven. This slowed me down some and there were even moments in the run where I walked so I wouldn’t slip or twist my ankle. Here I am in the middle of the race:
As we ran there where a few characters on the trail to take pictures with. I took this picture of brer bear and brer fox (with some people I don’t know) as I ran by. I guess I felt like I didn’t want to stop my momentum or slow down but looking back I had plenty of time to take pictures.
The one place I did stop to take a picture was with the pirate ship. I am a huge fan of anything pirates and I overheard a guy in front of me say there was a pirate ship up ahead. My heart started racing just a little bit faster in hopes that I would get a chance to take a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow. Instead I was disappointed when all I found was an empty pirate ship. I had my sister-in-law take my picture in front of it anyway though.
There was also an area of the run where they had giant plastic bugs and spiders in the trees overhead and speakers playing a loud “buzzing” sound like the sound of insects. I have to say this was probably the creepiest part of the run for me overall! I hate that bug sound.
After we came out of the woods we started running on a track. I could hear everyone’s sighs of relief to finally be on some solid ground! My sister-in-law and I picked up the pace and ran a bit here. Then after the track we ran around some more baseball fields as we got nearer to the WWoS complex and the sun was shining right in our eyes. This part of the race is when it was finally starting to get a bit hot and I was super glad I wore my hat to shield my eyes from the sun. We came around a curve and there was the finish line ahead of us. Now, I have to say here that I was a bit disappointed in the finish line. The Run Disney website had said that there would be “an unforgettable finish”, and to be honest, there wasn’t. There were people there lined up cheering us on and there were two finish line flags but that was it. I guess I was expecting Disney to go over the top, for there to be fireworks, confetti, a band playing, something. But no. Oh well though, I still ran through the finish line feeling great and like I had accomplished something massive. My sister-in-law and I ran across together and then collected our medallions. All in all I’d say we ran about half and walked half, a lot of that due to the muddy running course, and having a lot of walkers in front of us also made it tough to keep a steady running pace. I could see how some seasoned runners might find it frustrating to run on this trail run but for me, a beginner, it was great. A perfect first run.
Here’s my favorite photo: me after the race with my medallion:
I have to say I’ve never been an athletic person, and I still don’t consider myself athletic, so this is a huge deal for me. I really am also proud of myself for creating a goal, signing up for a challenge, and seeing it through. Let’s just say a lot of the time I have problems finishing what I start. Now that I have this run under my belt I’m going to be looking at some local races that I can do in the meantime and I’m definitely going to consider doing a half marathon next time, hopefully sometime in 2013 if I can.
Thanks for reading and please leave me any comments or questions below! I’d love to answer any questions you might have about the race!