Well, sort of. You can find my trip report for the January races on my Disney Blog.
I will try to get you all the way to the finish on this entry. I have no more pictures from the race so you’ll have to bear with me and my story telling.
So when I left you, we had just passed Mel’s husband at the TTC. This area was a real bottleneck so running was difficult. We tried to run when my watch would beep at the intervals, but wouldn’t get too far.
We went under the water bridge. This is a tough hill. Probably the steepest on Disney property. But it’s nice and short. There is a hill in Valley Forge NP that is just as steep and much longer. I did feel the burn in my glutes by the time I reached the top of the hill though. We then saw my “home” at the Contemporary Resort right before we turned into the Magic Kingdom backstage area.
We came out into the park beside Tony’s Town Square. This was my second trip where my first visit to the Magic Kingdom was on race day. I need to plan that better in the future, but it does make the run down Main Street a little more exciting.
And that’s exactly what we did. For the first time in a Disney race, I ran down Main Street! We ran the whole way. We stopped when we turned to go into Tomorrowland. I believe we saw Goofy in Tomorrowland and then made our way to Fantasyland. We saw Cinderella and Prince Charming and then heard the trumpeters. We decided to run through the castle and stay to the right to avoid the people who were getting their pictures taken. Well, there were also photographers on the left side of the ramp so even though we didn’t stop for them, we got our pictures taken!
We then made our way into Liberty Square and through Frontierland. Mel was just talking about how Splash Mountain was still closed for rehab. They were taking advantage of the colder weather to do some additional painting apparently. Well, just as I started pouting that I wouldn’t be able to ride it, I looked up at the mountain and they turned the water on. Woohoo! I knew what I would be doing before I went home.
Once we went over the train tracks and into the backstage area, we grabbed more water and made the turn to start heading back! We were about half way done!
The next few miles were pretty uneventful. We had the same problem with crowds until we got up near the Polynesian. This was when we saw Mel’s husband again. She waved hello. He may have gotten a picture of us (I’ll have to ask him). The next few miles are a bit of a blur. I remember getting gel (Clif Mocha, my favorite) and then having to walk much farther than I should have for the water to wash it down. It had to be at least a quarter mile or closer to a half mile before we had more water on the course. Somewhere between Miles 9 and 10 we passed the first aid tent and I took a few seconds to grab two tylenol and then we were on our way again.
Once we got to the On-Ramp from Hell, we made sure to stay to the left. This was my third time on the ramp and the first two times, I had stayed to the right. That is the inside of the curve and therefore the shorter distance. Unfortunately, this is also the side with the banking. It really does a number on your knees, ankles and hips. Somewhere (I think it was the Running to Disney podcast) I heard that you want to stay to the left here.
So that’s what we did! For the first time, this hill did not hurt! I felt great going up the hill and the climb didn’t wear me out. Kirsty and Mel seemed to handle it pretty well too. Once we got over the bridge we ran down the hill a little bit. We kept up with our walk-run combination. Somewhere around mile 11 Mel told us to go ahead. Her knee was bugging her so she was going to hold back on the running.
Kirsty and I kept going and at hill #3, the last overpass before Epcot, I tried to stay on the flattest part of the hill. This was really the first time that I really started to hurt. I almost wish that we ran up the hill in order to justify the pain I was then feeling. We were still on pace to beat my January time and hopefully my Philly Distance Run time too. It was such a relief to see Mile 12! Unfortunately, someone around there was also smoking. Yuck! Right near the course too. I couldn’t believe someone would do that.
Once we got into Epcot, Kirsty stuck with me and let me walk until we got out to the lagoon and started heading back (I think that’s how it happened at least, maybe she can correct me). I do remember running at some point over the bridge and then taking a break before we exited the park. As soon as we exited the park, I knew I was good on time and I told Kirsty to go ahead and finish the race. I was going to run as soon as I got the to last mile marker.
I saw the sign for Mile 13, walked for maybe another 20-30 feet and then summoned up all of my energy to finish strong. I pushed that last tenth of a mile like I was in high school again. I ran as hard as I could and made it to the finish line. I honestly felt like I was going to be sick, but I was 99% certain that I had set a personal record.
I got my medal, grabbed water and snacks and made my way to get my picture taken. I left a message for Mel’s husband to see if she had finished and a few minutes later, I got a call from her. We got our picture together with our medals and then grabbed my bag, and found Kirsty.
We found everyone and got pictures together with a few other friends. Kirsty and I made our way to the buses and headed back to our resort.
In the end, I finished in 3:20:43. I was so excited to have a good time. I was a little bit achy and really tired, but I felt great! Of course I’ll do it again! See you next year!