January 20, 2014

Race Recap: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

On the third day of Dopey Challenge, things started getting a little more serious.  For the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, we had a much more definitive plan.  Our goal time was 2:30 and Mom even had a pace bracelet to get us there!  In terms of timing for the morning's events, we planned to try to be walking into the Race Retreat at about 4:00 AM.  We dressed quickly and headed to the monorail (again) to make the trek to the EPCOT Wonder lot.

When we arrived (about 3:55), he heard the announcers saying they wanted all runners in corrals by 4:30 AM.  Umm say what?!  Mom and I looked at each other and felt a bit confused.  We headed into Race Retreat for some snacks and to try to relax a bit before the start.
Added security started at Wine and Dine - all bags checked
when you go into the start area
While in the tent, we ran into Megan, Natalie and Scot who would be our Race Retreat companions over the next two days.  We all lamented the insanely early corral placement times and decided we would head out a little later.
Dopey Challengers ready for day 3!
Mom and I parted ways with the group and headed to the corral around 4:50.  And while on our way there, we ran into Kat and Linzie!  We have been at so many of the same races as Kat and never have officially met so it was awesome to get to finally meet her!  She is just sweet as can be!  

We also ran into Walter from Running Happily Ever After while walking to the corrals and all gave him accolades for his fabulous costume.  
We'll call Kat our Dopey Challenge groupie!
We had about 30 minutes or so to kill in the corral before we started and saw lots of buddies.  I always enjoy chatting with people in the corrals as it eases my nerves.  Before we knew it, the fireworks were shooting off and it was go time.  
A horrendously bad photo of the starting line!
We planned to run this race with 4:1 run:walk intervals to help manage our pace and to not overly stress our legs.  The first few miles ticked off easily and we saw some of the usual sites for the course - pirate ship on World Drive, large Mickey, Donald and Goofy banner on World Drive and the villains just past the speedway.  We enjoyed taking in the course, the costumes and chatting with runners around us.  And soon enough we were heading toward Magic Kingdom squeal!  We stopped for our first ever (yes, you read that correctly) castle photo and headed on our merry way.  
Running into Magic Kingdom before dawn is MAGIC!
The stretch coming out of Magic Kingdom and headed to EPCOT was filled with spectators and characters which made it very fun.  We saw our buddy Krista and her darling daughter just out front of Shades of Green and got some high fives from random spectators.  We wanted to stop to see golfer Goofy but decided the line was too long so we snapped a photo of a random runner with him!

We made one solo character stop during the race and that was the Army Man at the mile 10 on-ramp to head to EPCOT.  We got some great advice from Sarge and "carried on" (har har).

When we got to EPCOT, I can honestly say I felt like I was running on a cloud.  Physically I was feeling great and I was eager to get to the finish line to get this race in the books.  I turned on the gas a bit too much and had to pull back a bit to hang with Mom (my fault not hers).  We crossed the finish line in 2:25 and change and checked off our third race of the Dopey Challenge.  
My 11th half marathon!
A few summary thoughts: 
- We were pleasantly surprised to find that the course had adequate space to run and never felt any crowding.
- The character lines were much more manageable for the half but the popular characters still had pretty long lines.
- Once again, we witnessed the clean-up crew on World Drive picking up all of the race gear to reopen the roads.
- I will never tire of the ChEARing fans when you enter EPCOT.  
- We finished slightly ahead of pace and I attribute that to both of us feeling relatively strong during this race.

What did you think of Donald's big event this year?
{Christine}

23 comments:

  1. Awesome job, ladies!! Glad y'all had fun and met your goal time...love your first ever castle photo, too! :0)

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    1. Thanks Karen! We had a great time during this race!

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  2. As always you both look adorable! So glad the half went well! And too funny that was your first ever castle photo -- that's often the only pic I take along the course haha.

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    1. Thanks Jen! Crazy that we've never done a castle photo right?!

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  3. Awesome job! It sounds like you had a great time and your outfits are adorable! I love the castle photo!
    I was thinking of doing the Goofy Challenge next year and this gives me a good idea of what to expect at the half..thanks! :)
    Karen @karenlovestorun

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    1. Thanks Karen! Ooh Goofy in 2015? I have to admit the Goofy medal from this year is my favorite out of all 6 of them. So Mom wrote a few posts on Goofy training…
      http://www.werundisney.com/2013/04/goofy-training-are-you-planning-for-2014.html#.Ut0gsf30DJw
      http://www.werundisney.com/2013/04/more-goofy-challenge-training-tips.html#.Ut0g0_30DJw

      Hopefully those might be helpful! :)

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  4. I have to laugh - my half experience was MUCH different than yours ;) I really think that being in the "earlier" corrals made a difference. Nonetheless, I LOVE the smiles on both of you! And the castle photo is too cute - I'm glad you were able to stop and snap it!

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  5. Ditto to Megan above...my experience was MUCH different. Very crowded and long character lines, definitely didn't enjoy it all that much - luckily the full made up for it for me!

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  6. All your recaps are definitely making me excited for the Glass Slipper challenge. Great job ladies! Love the castle shot. What a fabulous memory to have!

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  7. Congrats ladies! Great recap! Congrats on beating your goal time! I'm so sad I didn't get to meet y'all! :-( I didn't start in my actual corral..I went back two so I could run with my friend. She was running a 2:1 so I did that with her the first 11 miles (I've never done intervals like that before). I'm not sure if it was because we were around a lot of walkers but the course was the most crowded it's ever been for me at a runDisney race. It was still a blast though! But it was my WORST half time ever lol!

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  8. Those outfits are absolutely adorable, and congrats on finishing before your goal time!

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  9. Great job. Wow those corral times are early! I wonder how lack of sleep affects Dopey runners too.

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  10. Cannot believe you never stopped for a Castle Photo before! Glad that you had such an amazing race and pretty much nailed your time. I love your Mom's skirt and wish they still had it in my size (obsessed with buttons). Happy marathon running and I look forward to your recap of the whole challenge overall as well!

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  11. Glad you had a good time! I just bought that Sparkle Skirt with the ribbon loops at the Tink expo! It seems like a really functional item. I like it with the patriotic ribbon! Having only done the DL races before this one, I felt like the photo lines were longer and there were less characters out than there tend to be in CA. On the other hand, I liked that they are out on the open road areas to break up the long stretches of nothing.

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  12. Great recap! This was my first half marathon and first rundisney race and it was so much fun :) Can't wait to go back for wine and dine. Sad I didn't meet the 2 of you that weekend, but happy I saw you run during the marathon!

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  13. Loved your recap looks like you guys had a blast! You finished strong! So proud of you crazy ladies!! You rocked an awesome pace! Question for Pam: How come you never wear compression socks? What is your secret??? I never see you with them on?? nor tape?????

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  14. Great job ladies, and kudos for finishing ahead of your goal time! Preston and I thought that the 4:30 call time to be in the corrals was a bit extreme. We didn't start making our way to our corral until around 5:00.

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  15. Awesome finish time! Yeah, I've learned to never listen once they start demanding that we stand around in our corrals for an hour for no apparent reason, haha. Glad you had such a great race! I thought it was a lot of fun! :)

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  16. Love all the pics! The Army man from Toy Story is always one of my favorite parts of the Disney races!

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  17. Awesome! I have aquestion, in yout experience, which WDW half marathon your recommend to run for the frist time: WDW half, Princess half or Wine and Dine. Thanks

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    1. Vanessa, This is a really hard question. I love all three of those races, but the Princess was our first half in 2011 and it has a special place in my heart. I (Pam) have run it every year since then and enjoy that it is a female (mostly) race weekend. The Wine and Dine would be a tough first half because of the late start and having to figure out meals that day. An early start for a race is usually easier, even if it is super early!

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