The biggest challenge is not finishing the race, but getting to it. Buses run every 20 minutes from the Disney resorts, but when the buses are packed, you have no choice but to wait. My friends and I opted to arrive at the bus stop around 3:40, and luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. Once on the bus, however, we got stuck in traffic. The bus dropped us off around 4:30, but that’s just the staging area. It’s another 20 min walk to the corrals. I started to line up to have a picture taken with the army man from Toy Story at the staging area, but I realized it was 4:35 and I didn’t have time. So I snapped a quick shot of a stranger with him and hustled through the gate, only to be stopped by a swarm of people walking the same direction. The time estimate of 20 minutes was fairly accurate because I finally got to my corral at exactly 5 am.
The official start time of the race is 5:30, but I was in Corral G. Each corral has a staggered start time, so I didn’t cross the start line until 6:15 am. Crazy, right? We were in the Epcot parking lot and we ran toward Magic Kingdom. Along the way there were high school bands playing, and character sightings included Jack Sparrow and his ship, the characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Chip and Dale with racecars. I didn’t stop for photos because the lines were extremely long. However, Main Street USA was mile 5 of the race and I was making good time, so I stopped in Tomorrowland to snap a quick photo with Buzz. I saw Tiana after that, but I didn’t feel I could stand in a second line so I just took a photo of her with Louis. Belle, Ariel and Cinderella were near the castle, but the lines were just too long. I did manage to stop to get a shot of the castle itself, though.
My plan for the race was to run 8-9 miles and then walk. To clarify, I run the Galloway method, which is I run 3 minutes and then walk 1 minute then repeat. My plan was to do that for 8-9 miles and then reverse it (walk 3, run 1) for the last 4 miles. At mile 9 I still felt great and was tempted to run another mile, but God was watching over me. A British lady from Manchester approached me and for some reason I explained to her what I was doing. She said, “That’s exactly what I planned to do.” So we walked together for the rest of the race (with our 1-minute runs). Sadly, I didn’t get her name. I tried to find her at the end of the race, but it was so crowded I couldn’t find her. She’s in the same corral as me, so hopefully we meet up tomorrow. I have never had company during a race and it would be wonderful to run with her again!
After collecting my medal, I waited in line to get a photo with Chip and Dale and Scrooge McDuck. The DJ was playing and it was a lot of fun to just watch the pure joy on the finishers’ faces all around me. And the wait to take a bus back to the resort was not bad at all — much better than on the way to the race.
Overall, it was a fabulous race and a beautiful day! I only hope that tomorrow goes just as smoothly!