2006 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Report: Pat Sylvain
|Well, I'm back!
What a wonderful, magical run!
We awoke @ 2:45 am (yes, a.m.!), dressed, as warmly as we could, had coffee and bagels and headed to our bus stop @ 3:30. Found 5 or 6 other crazy people waiting as well. Spoke to one gal who was doing "The Goofy", which is the half M on Saturday and the Full on Sunday. This particular gal was especially crazy, as she was doing the 5K Fun Run after the Half on Saturday!
We arrived in the pitch black darkness to the Epcot Parking Lot, and we walked, zombie-like to the first staging area. It was surreal! There was a big screen and a live band playing 80's music... kinda brought me back to my younger days... but I digress!
We tried our best to stay warm, and conserve energy. Obviously not an easy thing to do! By 0500, we had to take off any clothes we didn't want to throw away during the run, and check our bags. The line-ups were very, very long. We decided that my Dad would take my bag and check it with his own, as I wanted to make a last minute porta-pottie stop. The bag-check thing was a bad idea, because apparently you cannot check in anyone else's bag but your own - although it did not say that anywhere on the documents we received from Disney. Is that a usual practice? (We've never checked bags before, as usually my mom is with us, and she holds all our stuff)
Anyhow, after making my toilet-paperless pit stop, I did not see my Dad anywhere, so thought I’d wait for him in our Corral. We were assigned Corral C, which I thought was great! I began the long walk in the dark to our corral. The walk took about 15 – 20 minutes! I got to the corral, and waited anxiously for my Dad. Man, it was cold! You could see your breath!
At 0600 the Fireworks went off and away we were! The walk to the start line seemed to take forever! And even at the 1 mile point, we were barely into any kind of rhythm. I tried to convince my Dad that this was good- we were cold and stiff, and the slower the warm-up, the better off we would be! Any finishing time for him would be a PB, as this was his first half. My goal was to run easy, and finish with my dad. That however, was not to be.
At mile 3 he needed to pee, and because there were 3 or 4 people lined up at the 2 porta-johns, he decided to go in the bushes, and I waited my turn (2 minute process). When I finished, he was nowhere to be seen – it was still very, very dark! So, I sadly decided to go out on my own, hoping that I would find him somehow…
We had great crowd support at several spots along the run, and I cheered, applauded and thanked all of the high school marching bands, the cheerleading teams, Gospel singing groups, Disney Characters and especially the Disney Workers and Volunteers, who enthusiastically gave of their time to ensure we had a great race. It occurred to me that they had to get out of their warm beds at an ungodly hour to be there as well!
When the sun came out, I found that we were running through the Magic Kingdom, and magical it was! Super! It wasn’t long, or didn’t seem to take very long at all, that we were already at mile 10! I felt great! Of course, I was running this at a fairly easy pace, not pushing myself, and thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere!
There were water stations at every mile, with Dasani water and PowerAde. All volunteers wore gloves, and there were lots of volunteers! I walked through every other water station. Otherwise I just kept plodding along at a nice steady pace of ~ 6.36/km.
I was proud of the fact that I did not walk any hill (er, I mean overpass)! This is a first for me – I hope it bodes well for the ATB!
Before I knew it, we were rounding the bend into Epcot to the finish line! The crowds were crazy! It was great!
Chip removed, medal placed around my neck, into the food tent, which had loads of oranges, bananas, individually wrapped banana or blueberry cakes, cliff builder bars, PowerAde and water.
I would rate this half as 9 out of 10. The only issue is the long wait at the beginning. I’m sure if it was warmer, my rating would be higher. I’m seriously thinking about doing this half again next year! (But I will carry a camera next time!)
I ran in my Running Mania shirt – which by the way, I also wore the day before to the Expo and found several people staring interestingly at my chest! (I’m not well-endowed, so have not had that experience before!)