I knew one of the hardest parts of the Dopey Challenge was the 4 straight early mornings, and it was definitely true. Usually the night before a race, I wake up several times worried I will oversleep. But by the 3rd day, I slept right up to the 3:15 am alarm.
Anyway…today was about running smart and conservatively. With a full marathon the next day, I knew I didn’t want to overdo it. But at the same time, I wanted to get it over with so I could get off my feet and rest up for tomorrow.
I was excited about the half this morning, mainly because our friends Nick and Ciara (who live in Celebration and work for Disney) were running their first half. I caught up with them after the bag check area and we walked over to the corrals. They both seemed ready to experience their first runDisney race. After chatting with them for a little bit, we separated to go to our respective corrals. I was in corral F for the half and full marathons.
Once the race got started, I found a comfortable pace and was on my way. The first several miles of the half are not the most exciting. But once you get past the Ticket and Transportation Center, you begin to make your way towards the Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom is definitely the best part of the half marathon course. Once you run through the side entrance, you make your way up Main Street U.S.A. Between the large number of spectators cheering, the buildings all lit up and, of course, Cinderella’s castle directly in front of you, it is like a scene from a movie. I make my way through a good portion of the park before exiting out Frontierland Gate by Splash Mountain.
The next several miles back towards Epcot and the finish line were uneventful. Disney does a good job of spreading out numerous cheering sections, high school marching bands and character picture stops along the way. But it’s definitely not the most exciting part of the course, especially when you are getting to the 10 mile point. I was feeling good with my overall pace. In fact, I decided to kick it into another gear for the last 4 miles. Nothing too fast, but mainly I was ready to be done.
I finished in 2:25, which was a nice easy pace and meant I would have plenty left in the tank for the next day’s marathon. I picked up my medal, water/Powerade, runner’s box and made my way back to the condo to shower and rest.
Our plans the rest of the day were to head over to Disney Springs for a #werunsocial meet up at 2:00 pm and then an early dinner with some more friends who live about 30 minutes north of Orlando. I was looking forward to the #werunsocial meet up, as I knew there would be several social media running friends I wanted to see/meet. One of the best things about running is the community, and #werunsocial is about just that. It is a group of passionate runners that love to meet up and support each other. So, when the chance to get together arises, that’s what we do. Rachel and I got to meet some amazing people that afternoon, including (but not limited to)… Dani, Kristin, Justin, Devin, Ivie, Ken, Kara, Marc and Scott.
Later that afternoon/early evening, we met our friends for dinner and one last carbo-load meal! Rachel and I both wanted to be in bed as early as possible that evening. I was definitely very tired by that point. We called it by 8:00 pm and were both asleep quickly. On to the big day! 22.4 miles down, 26.2 to go!