Disney World Half Marathon Recap

I realize the race was over a week ago but I have been fighting a cold and haven't been up to blogging.  Boo!  I didn't get any pictures during the race but I have a few fun post race photos!

With an early wake up call (2:30 AM!!!???!!), Alison and I were in bed by 7:00 the night before the race. Since the race runs through the parks, it starts at 5:45 in order to allow time for the runners to finish as well as clean up the race mess before the parks open for the day.  In a way, an early start is good because you still have the whole day ahead of you!

We'd laid out our race gear the night before so all we had to do in the morning was get dressed.  Alison and I got on a shuttle and headed for the start line.  We arrived at the start around 4:00 and headed for the race retreat tent.  Race retreat tent, you ask?  Well, since Alison had run the half two years ago and the weather was cold and sleeting, we decided to bite the bullet and pay for the race retreat.  It was an awesome decision!  We had access to a warm tent with our own port-a-potties, changing rooms, bag check and a buffet of muffins, bagels, water, Powerade, coffee and tea.  I definitely recommend the race retreat and will absolutely buy a ticket for it next time I race in Disney!

Around 5:15 we were herded like cattle headed to the start line.  I'm glad we headed over when we did because it took us a good 25 minutes for us and 27,0000 of our closest friends to reach the corrals.  Once we reached our corral, we didn't have to wait long before the race started.  Disney starts off the race with a bang - Literally.  They let off fireworks to signal the start of the race and let the first wave of runners go.  Alison and I were in corral D so we had to wait about 30 minutes to cross the start line.  Before we knew it, Donald Duck had counted us down and we were off!

Alison and I started out together, but there were so many people that we just had to move through them as well as we could and we separated shortly after the start.  Usually it takes about two to three miles of a half marathon for me to get into the groove, but since there were so many racers, it took me about five miles before I was able to move without worrying about tripping over someone!

I was on pace for meeting my best race time and possibly PRing by a few seconds.  I felt great and my iPod playlist was helping me stay focused.  BUT...  That's when it started going downhill.  Around mile six my legs started feeling tired.  This is also the time we got to run through Cinderella's castle!  :)  So, I powered through and told myself it was okay to slow down a bit but to keep running.  I kept going and almost at the same time, my iPod died and my legs were just too sore to run and my knee started to ache.  I've run plenty of races without music, but I really felt I needed the push from it since my legs were so sore.  I also didn't want to further injure myself, so as much as I didn't want to,  I had to walk.  I decided I would run .2 mile and walk .1.  This helped my legs feel better.  I was no longer on track to PR or even match my best time, but that's just how it goes.

Around mile 11 or so, Alison caught up with me and we decided to finish together.  Of all the races we've run with each other, we've never actually finished together.  I was excited to have her with me to cross the finish line.  It was also great to have someone to help motivate me!  The last couple of miles flew by and we crossed the finish together.  Neither of us PRd, but I think we both had fun!  I went into this race with no expectations other than to finish and have fun and that's what I did!  If you haven't run a Disney race, I highly recommend running one.

We headed back to our room to rest a bit before heading out for a bite to eat and hitting up a few rides at the Magic Kingdom.  Oh, and of course a post race Yuengling!

Fun!  Characters and music along the route make this a fun race and all the runners are in a great mood!
Nice long sleeve technical tee
Course - You run through both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Start time (which is also a con) - The race is over early enough that you still have the whole day ahead of you.
Destination race - You're in Disney...  Make a fun long weekend trip out of it!

PRICE!  With the entry fee over $100, there isn't anything super special that you get in return.  Yes, you see characters along the way and you get a great long sleeve shirt, but I'm still not convinced it's worth the entry fee.
Field size - Around 27,000 runners makes for a very crowded course.  It takes a good six or seven miles to clear up a bit which can make it a hard race to PR.
Start time - Although I put this as a pro, it's also a con.  You're in bed super early the night before since you're getting up in the middle of the night.