Race number 3! The Walt Disney World Half Marathon, which runDisney touts as “chock full of excitement, adventure, and surprises on a 13.1-mile course through two of Disney’s most beloved theme parks.” That’s right y’all, we get to go beyond just Epcot in the half marathon!
I was back to being a solo runner for this one. When I got up, it was so quiet getting ready… but at least I mastered the coffee pot this morning! That’s right, coffee on the road. Thank goodness! I got dressed and headed out, and got a seat right by the front of the bus. For this one, I didn’t even stop but headed straight to the corrals when I got to the start. You seriously walk like a mile from security to the corrals… I read online that people were saying it was 0.7 miles, and I didn’t measure it, but we just kept walking and walking and walking. But finally I was there!
My knee was achy as soon as I woke up, but it wasn’t hurting so I planned to walk the race and see what happened. The pre-race hype was back to being pretty cool, with energetic MCs and lots of crowd interaction. They announced that they found one guy who was not only a perfect marathoner (which means he’s run every runDisney marathon from the start), but he is a perfect runDisney runner! That’s right, he has run every single runDisney race! WOAH!
So finally my corral headed out. I tried to run like the first few yards, and realized quickly that was a no. So I started my walking from the start. The half is sort of an out and back and at one point there was a DJ playing music and cheering people on, and for the fast runners who were on the way back he kept saying, “You’re almost there!” It took me way too long to realize he wasn’t talking to us, the people still at mile 1!
We ran through the Magic Kingdom parking lot and the Ticket & Transportation Center. There were characters aplenty – I remember seeing Lightning McQueen and Mater, and Vanellope & Ralph (the first character stop I ever did, back in Princess 2015), and then Jack & Sally. I didn’t stop for anyone, because of the whole walking and fear of being swept thing, but it was still cool to see them on course!
In between the TTC and Magic Kingdom, you have to go through an underpass. Even though my knee was fine when walking, it wasn’t so great with inclines. That underpass wasn’t the most pleasant thing ever. But once I got past it, I knew were almost to the park! As we went through the ticket booth a girl running by me yelled out, “YES! I just got into the Magic Kingdom for FREE!” I laughed… honey not for free. You paid for more this race than you would for a park ticket!
Let me tell you… there is nothing like running (or walking) into Magic Kingdom and down Main Street, staring at the castle. It truly is a magical experience!
The course veers into Tomorrowland and back by the circus area, up through Fantasyland, and then you run through the castle. I still didn’t get my “running through the castle” picture! One day… ONE DAY!
So then we turned and headed through Liberty Square and Frontierland. I legit think this is my favorite race picture, ever. Sassy Katie came out to play! Even though I was walking, and not stopping for pictures, I was having a blast.
After that, we headed into the backlot area. Princess Aurora and Prince Philip were out, along with Cinderella and Prince Charming. No lie, I was really tempted to stop for Philip, because I’ve never met him and as we all know, I am obsessed with all things Sleeping Beauty, but there was a really, really long line. Instead I stopped at the med tent just past them and got some acetaminophen. They marked my hand and sent me on my way…
On my way down what I call the Road of Boring. It’s the back road to the Grand Floridian. I did think it was so adorable how they had penguins and carosel horses out, as in from Mary Poppins. Still didn’t stop though :p
You know what is even worse than the Road of Boring? The Overpasses of Hell. That’s right, the course goes up this long on ramp, which of course is curved and sloped and miserable, then along what felt like a million overpasses. I was feeling okay until that point, but the up and down inclines just killed my knee. I started crying, and limping, and moving so slow. Michael sent me a sweet, encouraging text that I responded to with every 4-letter word under the sun. In triplicate. And all caps.
Finally made it into Epcot. At that point I wasn’t having fun anymore… I was just in serious pain. I cried some more. In this picture, I had just sent my mom (who happens to be a physician) a text asking her what was the maximum dosage of acetaminophen I could take. I knew I was going to need more after the race.
I stopped for a ball picture again. Its tradition! And they actually took a couple, because I was swaying on my feet when I wasn’t moving, and look like I’m falling in the first one.
I continued limping on to the finish line. If I thought I was ready to be done after the 10K, you can triple that for the half. I was done! The picture sure is adorable though. Possibly the best race costume I’ve ever put together…
By this point, even though there were more runners for this race, the post-finish-line process was more streamlined. I didn’t even care about the medal, I was just starving and hurting, but I grabbed it and got my I Did It picture. You know, just in case I managed to do and complete the marathon the next day (challenge runners had to have their picture taken at the bib pickup and then again after each race, to make sure there was no cheating going on).
I have never walked an entire half marathon before, and frankly I hope that I never have to again. It took forever and was kind of boring being out there solo for so long. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done, and it was still a Disney race so that was cool, but walking nonstop for 4 hours kind of sucks. The race was well done though, possibly the best of them so far!