*So my husband laughed at me for the abrupt ending to the previous blog post, sorry about that. I ran out of time and had to get ready for work 😜*
So Saturday arrived with a rainy morning. Luckily this was a night time race and I did not sign us up to do the 5k that morning like I had originally
crazily thought about doing. The 2 weeks leading up to Saturday October 4th had been incredibly rainy and hot even by Florida standards. I had read horror stories about the heat and humidity of this race in the past, and was getting a little nervous because the weather in Pennsylvania had been INCREDIBLY mild this summer and had even dipped into fall temps durning my last few long training runs.
But the rain (and my mom, I swear she did this) actually caused the temps to drop throughout the day and into the evening. I was starting to get more excited-nervous as opposed to throw up-nervous.
John and I slept in and then went down and got breakfast at our hotel. The only plans we had for the day were to head over to The Boardwalk and get a later lunch at The ESPN Zone. John had been asking our last 2 trips if we could get over there and it just never happened so I really wanted to get over there for him, since I forced him to run 10 miles with me and all. We were shooting for a 1/1:30 lunch, not even thinking that it’s a Saturday….duh. College football day. And because the ESPN zone is a sports bar it was packed. And they don’t force anyone to leave if they are done eating if they came to watch a specific game. Womp. So we waiting in line foreverrrrrrr (ok maybe only like 45 minutes) but we finally got seated and got to watch the end of the Florida-Tennessee game (I think, I don’t follow college football, just NFL…) after lunch we made our way back to Pop Century to rest the legs and get ready for the night to come.
I felt like the poster girl for all things running: purple sparkle skirt, Evil Fairy Raw Threads tank top, purple Asics, Expresso Love abd Gu chomps, and my purple Sparkly Soul headband.
At 7:15 we made our way down to the busses. We were one if the first at our hotel to get there so we were on the second bus to come along. I saw a lot of Raw Threads shirts being worn that night, particularly the Evil Fairy and Evil Queen.
We arrived at the runner drop off and checked our bags and at point all the butterflies I was trying to suppress flew into my throat and stomach. I was still excited but now it was really happening. We kind of wandered around a little. I wanted to sign the signs they had up by the DJ but the line was just astronomical. So I settled for getting a picture at one of the 4 backdrops they had set up. We met another couple in line ahead of us and that helped pass the time. They were nice enough to take some pictures of the two of us so it’s not just selfies haha.
Being placed in F really took a lot off my mind, knowing we had that buffer between us and the dreaded Balloon Ladies and Sweeper Bus. Then it was another hour of waiting around. The nerves were really taking over. I knew I had trained hard, but was it enough? I’d only done 8 miles…how would my body handle the other 2? John was
annoyingly calm and tried to help me relax. Finally it was time! They bearded the cattle runners out of each corral and down the long walk to the starting line. Before I knew it, the fireworks for corrals A-E had gone off and it was time got F to begin!
John and I started off together at a decent pace, but in all honesty I paid very little attention to my time the entire race. After the first mile I had pulled away and was on my own. My earbuds decided that only one side was going up work, which was frustrating but it ended up being a blessing. By only have 1 working bud I was able to have my music but also be very present in the race and the atmosphere. Around mile 1 there was already a character stop, I believe it was Jafar, but the line was SUPER long and he was being led away as I ran by. I knew I wanted at least one character picture from this race, I’m in Disney for crying out loud! I had a mental list of who I would stop for if the lines were short. The first 5k was pretty boring, just the one character stop and one spot that had music playing on course. I knew I would be coming up to Animal Kingdom soon which meant during around and running back.
I tried to take as many pictures as I could, I’m sure I was very entertaining to watch as I ripped my arm band off every mile or so to take a selfie with a mile marker lol. Scar was mile 3 I believe because soon after that I saw the character stop for the Hyenas! They were high on my list of ones I wanted to stop for, but the line was long and I wasn’t going to stop before I had at least a 5k done. The next mile was slightly uphill and the Queen of Hearts stop was there. I was very tempted to stop for her, but kept on trucking along. There was a girl in a blue tutu that I was trying to stay with, she would run past when I walked and I would catch her again. Mile 4 marker was very exciting, Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog! One of my favorites!
And right past the mile marker on the right was the character stop! And the line was very short! (Thanks again mom!) He was my number one pick to stop for. So I stopped the garmin and ruled off my arm band. My picture didn’t turn out good, luckily the marathonfoto one did.
Right after my picture was taken I saw my husband! I had been hoping to find him again on the course. We stayed together for the rest of the run on the highway and through the narrow trail that took us to the HALFWAY POINT! I was sad that the character stops on the trail had such long lines. Jack and Sally, who I wasn’t very interested in, had the longest line is seen since Jafar at the beginning. The other character they had on the trail was the Ugly Witch from Snow White with her cauldron, that would have been a fun picture.
The trail was pretty well lit, it was just a right squeeze and there were speed demons trying to get around everyone. We made it through the woods and onto the grounds of the Wide World of Sports. I really wanted to finish this race with my husband so made a very conscience effort to keep him in my sights. When we got to the baseball diamond I broke away a bit because I really wanted to “run the bases”, but I waited for him at the exit. I took the blurry selfie above to show 6 miles…John’s longest run to date! (Until we finished obviously).
Once we got out onto the road again John was hurting so we would run/walk the light poles as motivation to keep moving. I know my pace took a hit, but I wanted to stay with John. We turned left back onto the highway, passing the Zombie character stop…no thank you. And finally we were coming up the the mile 8 marker….MALEFICENT!
John and I had said that if we got split up again to just meet one another at mile 9 and we would finish together. Right after the mile 8 marker was the downhill ramp leading back to Hollywood Studios. I knew I had to run down the hill, so I took off and let my stride open up a little. Mile 8 was fun, between the hill and Hades above the Hollywood Studios sign harassing people I started to forget the pain in my butt (literally, anything longer than 6 miles and I get pain my left hip and butt) but it wasn’t terrible and I was under 2 miles to go!! This was when my favorite part of the race happened, we were finally running through a Disney park!
I think my favorite part of the entire race was running the Backlot Tour. It closed for good a week before so the ToT runners got to give her one last hurrah. We came in through the back of HS and ran down the middle of the Lights! Motor! Action! attraction, I tried to take a picture of myself on the megaton but it didn’t work lol. So instead I settled for cheesing it up for the marathonfoto cameras. I changed up the pose from my thumbs up to some kind of flying-arms out pose…with a huge smile of course! And the smile was truly genuine, I was having a fabulous time. Up next you ran past the old movie vehicles that you saw on the Backlot Tour, like Herbie. Right after that was the mile 9 marker, so I stopped to wait for John who was only 3-4 minutes behind me. It was a welcome stop, I stretched out my hip and butt a little and felt awesome. Once I gained a husband, off we went together run-walking the Streets of America. And then came all the chEARing fans! It was so awesome to get some positive energy because that last mile felt like an eternity! We ran around the Sorcerer’s hat and back through Pixar Place. I was looking for either Mike or Lotso to maybe get a picture with since John and I were together but I didn’t see either one. (Plus I don’t think John would have stopped, he was hurting and just wanted to see that finish line). So back into the Backlot Tour we went, this time through the tunnel that housed all the costumes and sets and past the Earful Tower. I knew we had to be getting close. Finally one voluntEAR told us it “right around that corner!!” So we walked a few more feet and started tuning in time with the music we could hear for the finish and hand in hand John and I ran across that finish line while Rudy announced “The Anselmo’s from Perkasie!” WE DID IT!!! We finished 10 miles together. And that wet towel they give, is heaven sent. After finally getting the bling that we earned, we started the long trek to bag claim. I was feeling pretty great, but I know John just wanted to go back to the hotel and shower and fall into bed. Luckily, Pain and Panic from Hercules were right in front of the exit to bag claim. So I put my Maleficent Mickey ears and got a picture with my bling.
This entire experience has been life changing. 365 days ago (from ToT 2013-ToT 2014) I’ve changed. I was always the one to have such high dreams but as soon as things got difficult I just have up. But not this time. And I couldn’t have done it alone. Not only has my husband been the most amazing motivator, but my family and friends have been so great this past year. A few that deserve a shout out are my sisters; Kim and Megan, sisters-in-law; Theresa and Nicole for following John and I by getting text alerts Saturday night for the whole 2 hours and 29 minutes. My dad for letting me mooch his gym membership and for getting there himself. Adj, for her unwavering support and for giving me the tools to make this happen (even if you do hate me for becoming a runner). The family I work for; Pratik, Melissa, Kira, and Ajay-for motivating me the whole year to get out there and move. And anyone else who checked in and cheered me on, I know I’ve been annoying on social media posting all my runs and sweaty selfies, but every like and comment has meant more to me then I could ever explain. And my BRF-Arianne, who started out as just a fellow runner on Instagram and has morphed into my greatest cheerleader. Can’t wait to follow your progress at Wine and Dine!
Well, I think that covers all the bases, this is one seriously long post, and I thank you if you’ve taken the time to actually read the whole thing. Now onto the next stage of making this Princess run…half marathon training!