3:30am was far too early for this one to be awake, but I was and I was getting ready for my first runDisney race EVER!
I decided not to dress like a Princess for this race, but rather let my inner Winnie the Pooh come out!
I arrived via bus to the parking lots outside of Epcot where the drop off point was and made the walk toward the bag check area. There were tons of signs and volunteers to help us sleepy eyed runners get to where we needed to be.
Got my picture taken before heading towards the corrals! This is the first time I'd ever been to a runDisney event and was pretty happy with how smoothly the transitions were between locations.
I got to get up really close to the start line to take pictures.
As we were waiting for the time to come when the race would start, our runDisney DJ was keeping the crowd loose with dancing and good times.
I knew Erin was running the 5K, so we messaged each other on Twitter to find each other and I found her in line for Mickey and Minnie pictures. The line was SUPER long, otherwise I would have been doing the same thing!
After hitting up the porta potties (which there were TONS of!) and grabbing some water, Erin and I went to our respective corrals to await the beginning of the race. She was in A and I was in B.
Just me nervously awaiting my corrals time to get to the start line.
Here is Corral A heading up to the start line! Each of the corrals is penned in together, then one by one, they are lead down to the start line so that each corral has their own start line send off!
Here I am at the start, anxiously awaiting the beginning of the race and finally cluing in that I FORGOT MY GARMIN IN THE HOTEL ROOM!!!! GEEZ!!! This is the second day in a row that I had left needed items in the hotel room and not realized it until it was too late. Oh well, guess I will run without it.
And we're off! I was planning on running with my friend Jill, as she was running with her family for this 5K, and she said I could tag along since I was on my own. They were at the back of the corral, so I knew we would catch up to each other on the course shortly!
The course wound around the backstage and parking lot areas of Epcot. When I got to the first mile marker and decided I wanted to take pictures next to each of them. The race is untimed so it is a running time ticker from when the first corral begins the race. From that point the course headed into Epcot right next in the Mexico showcase.
The feel of the race totally changes when you're inside the park, it really makes it feel magical. This picture is looking across the lake inside the World Showcase, there are runners on that other side making their way to the finish line!
Here is the first water station! Everything was really well organized with plenty of volunteers and plenty of water as well! Well done!
Time for character stops! First one was in China and it was Mushu! I'd heard Mulan had been there earlier, oh well, must have just missed her! This is where Jill, literally ran into me. She was right behind the photographer when I was getting my picture taken. We started running together after that.
Next was Snow White! Dopey had been with her as well and left just four people in front of us. Sad face!
We ran to the next character stop which was Belle in France! Jill and her family had pictures with her already and I knew they were wanting to just keep going, so I told them to go on without me and I stayed on by myself. It wasn't so bad, though the pictures lines did take quite a long time to get through, they were slow moving!
Also had to get a picture of me in the actual France showcase! I love it here!!
The Flower and Garden Expo was coming soon and great arrangements were popping up all over, I couldn't resist taking a picture of my favorite couple!
Mile 2! Yes, you are reading that right, it says 51:54. Those lines REALLY added to my time, you'll see the difference in time when I go from mile 2 to mile 3 where I didn't stand in any character lines!
I had to take a picture in front of this area. Anyone who waited all day Friday the week before the race waiting to hear about the official meet-up information will know my pain. Oz...I'm not impressed.
I'm getting closer to the end!
See! Mile 3! Time 1:05:07, fourteen minutes from mile 2 to mile 3 and that was with quick stops for pictures as well. See, I told you I'm not that slow!
FINISHED! Woohoo!!! My first race with runDisney and I was done!
Why yes, I do think I will take my finishers medallion!
It's official! My first runDisney race in the books and I was happy about it! The course was easy, the character stops were fun (even if the lines were really slow), the course support was great with plenty of water and volunteers and the atmosphere was just fun and uniquely Disney.
Had to celebrate my race finish with my favorite recovery bars! Picky bars are so great, balanced nutrition and the perfect size to fuel up after running, but not feeling stuffed! It's my fuel trifecta!
As we exited the race area we were handed these refueling boxes that had hummus, crackers, trail mix, Luna bar and a dark chocolate square, along with a bottle of water and Powerade. That was fine and dandy, but not exactly what I wanted to eat right after running. These will be great snacks for later in the day.
Some Pro Compression love for my calves to keep them fresh!
After the race, I showered and changed back at the hotel and headed back to the expo to meet up with Erin. I needed to get my shirt and bag check bag, praying that the lines would be better. They were and the area was marked off with stantions and there was much better crowd control. It was still crowded as all get out, but it was better.
Erin and I went to meet up with Marcia at the RAD (Running at Disney) meet-up in Downtown Disney. From there we went to the Polynesian Resort for the #Team runDisney Dole Whip meet-up! I was such a BAD blogger, I took NO pictures at the meet-up or at the next meet-up which was the ZOOMA gathering back at the Coronado Springs resort!
It bums me out even more because I got to spend time with Erin and Chris Jimenez and I have NO PICTURES with them! I've been following Erin on Twitter and her blog, A Storybook Life for a while. She seemed like the biggest sweetheart and I was NOT surprised at all when we finally met and she was even more sweet in person than I had imagined. I don't know how it is possible. Erin and Chris are two of the nicest people I've met in so long and they are completely cute together, like unicorns puking rainbows adorable.
We got to talk about the expo and races and life in general. Seriously good conversation and a great time connecting.
Marcia and I had to leave the ZOOMA meet-up and head back to Epcot as we had dinner reservations at Via Napoli! Race Eve pizza! Both Marcia and I have the same tradition of eating pizza the night before a race, it is literally the only time I will allow myself to eat pizza anymore! I got the Margarita pizza, it was scrumptious! And yes...I ate the whole thing! Mangia!!
After dinner Marcia and I got ourselves back to the hotel to get some sleep before the SUPER EARLY wake up call of 2:30am! I kept thinking to myself, 2:30am eastern time is only 11:30pm western time, most of my friends and hubby will still be up when I'm waking up. My head couldn't wrap around it and I was too damn tired.
Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of my Princess Half Marathon recaps with the pinnacle of the weekend, the half marathon itself!