I have a history of having trouble getting to sleep early. I have always been a night owl. Especially now that I have a job that requires me to work mostly later in the day, I rarely wake up before 9AM if I don’t have somewhere to be. So going to bed early enough to be rested for a race that was requiring me to wake up at 3:30AM to ensure I had enough time to get ready, grab a bus, and warm up before settling into my corral by 5:15 was a bit daunting. I had some initial trouble falling asleep due to thin walls at The Dolphin. While we were thrilled with our upgraded king bed balcony rooms, the locale left something to be desired. Throughout the evening, loud revelers would come stumbling off the elevator, laughing at the top of their lungs, and chatting right outside before their compatriots went inside and slammed the door shut. Not fun. Eventually I did fall asleep, only to be awoken by the FIRE ALARM going off at 1am! The front desk didn’t help much when my husband called:
Front Desk: Hello Mr. Morrison, how may we help you?
John: Uhhh… yeah… there’s a fire alarm going off and we don’t know whether we should actually evacuate or if it’s a false alarm. We are running the race tomorrow and just want to get some sleep.
Front Desk: Yes, Mr. Morrison, there has been a report of a fire incident and the authorities have been notified and are on their way. In the meantime if you are hearing the evacuation signal, you do need to evacuate for your safety.
So, we throw on non-pajama clothes (John actually put his race clothes on since that’s what was out) and he knocked for his brother and sister-in-law staying across the hall to come out. By the time I got down two flights of stairs, the alarm had stopped. Back to bed everyone!!!
Needless to say it was difficult calming down and getting shut-eye after that incident, and 3:30am came fast! Before we knew it we were dressed and ready and on our bus, headed to our first DISNEY race! The butterflies were flitting around in my belly. I was anxious in both good and bad ways. But now that they day was finally here, I just wanted to get started!
The pre-race stuff is fun, I guess, but when we were in our corral it was hard to hear and see exactly what was going on. I must’ve made four nervous runs to the port-a-potty just to be safe, (And even had to make one stop during the race, but it didn’t hold me up too much). The race started at 5:30am. We were in corral D, and it was about 6am when we finally got to start.
Mostly everyone in our Corral was doing some version of run/walk. It could get a bit crowded at times but never out of hand. Everyone seemed to be pretty good about paying attention to his or her surroundings. The worst were the large groups who took walk breaks and walked shoulder to shoulder. When the course was narrow, it was hard to get around them. John stuck close to me, always trying to stay a little bit before or behind. We had a good signal system going on. The only minor mishap came when some other chick in a lime green shirt whizzed by him. He thought it was me, so he started to run again. I had to call out to him to get him to realize I was still walking behind him! Generally, people seemed to be having a really good time. We thought we might stop for characters, but when we were in the heat of the moment, there really wasn’t anyone we wanted to stop for, and the ones that may have been worth it had really long lines.
Hook and Smee on I4 in an elaborate setup with sand and treasure and the whole nine yards
Mushu in China
Genie in Morocco
Goofy in Football gear outside of ESPNZone
Green Army man as we re-entered EPCOT to run through future world area
Chip and Dale in Future World
There were also big light-up figures of Genie and Lumiere towards the end.
We did stop mid-way to get a sweaty selfie with Spaceship Earth.
Throughout the race I fought off various ailments- tight cramps through the first mile gave way to a stitch in the side in the 2nd an 3rd. The stitch disappeared with more water and an energy boost. Seeing the INTERCOT crowd that came out to cheer by Jellyrolls, and also my sister-in-law who was just a minute down the road from them, really brightened our spirits; nevertheless, even with my inhaler, I was starting to lose breath control just about halfway through mile 5.
We took some slightly longer walk breaks because I really wanted to finish strong, and I did! We ran the last half-mile or so straight through and crossed that finish line. I was wheezing away but never felt so proud of myself for accomplishing something I’d never thought I had the ability to do. I can only imagine how first time ½ marathoners and marathoners feel.
We took some pictures and I cried just as I said I would. Walking around the post race area I started noticing pain in my feet. I tried to ignore it, figuring I’ll just ice them when we get back and I would be fine. I wanted to get on with the rest of the day and celebrate our achievement with my in-laws! More on that later… for now I’m just re-reveling in that post race high! Oh, and my official RunDisney Finish time was 1:24:34 with a 13:37 pace. Right around where I thought I’d be.
Our most recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort gave me my new found inspiration to finally get my blog up and going. My first two trips to WDW were with my parents in 1995 and 2002. While on that 2002 trip, I spent many hours laying in a hammock on the beach at the Polynesian, talking to a boy I had just started dating. A boy I would marry 8 years later. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. John and I took our first trip to WDW together (without parental supervision) in 2004. 10 years later we found ourselves on our 9th WDW trip together (not counting one jaunt over to DL), planning to do something we’d never done before: Participate in a runDISNEY event! We’ve visited WDW in December (x2), August, May (x2), June (x2), and October, but we’ve never visited for Marathon Weekend before. Inspired by a meet planned by our very favorite Disney site, INTERCOT.com, our original intention was to run the Family Fun Run 5K with a bunch of fellow INTERCOTees who were all using this as an excuse to get in shape. Boy did it work! So many of us took up the challenge to make better choices in our lifestyles and embrace running. After my husband and I successfully completed some local 5Ks, we decided to go big and jump on the opportunity when Disney Announced its INNAUGUAL Minnie 10K. How much fun would it be to push ourselves even further and participate in a race the very first year it was run?! So, we decided to go BIG and train for the 10K. The following is a little piece I wrote the night before the race:
Training wasn’t a bed of roses, as neither of us is the poster child for a healthy young adult. But we’ve soldiered on through our various conditions and ailments and I am confident we can finish, even if it isn’t pretty. Growing up with exercise induced asthma, I generally just shied away from the activities that would exacerbate my condition (namely, running of any kind). As an adult, I have been diagnosed with full fledged asthma, and exercise still causes flare ups. Nevertheless, the appeal of participating in a runDisney event is quite strong, so I began jogging using the couch to 5k program last January. As my husband saw my determination increase, he joined my efforts to get in shape and before I knew it, he had surpassed me by leaps and bounds, losing 60lbs in the process. There is no secret to his transformation; he simply counted calories, ate healthier foods, and ran his butt off!
I haven’t been quite as successful in shedding and maintaining the pounds, but I have been fairly dedicated to the training and have noticed some changes in my body along the way. I will never be someone who can “run” a race straight through, and following Jeff Galloway’s method of run/walk/run has been an invaluable confidence booster. At times it can feel like quitting or cheating when you take those walk breaks instead of soldiering through, but they do give you the energy you need to tackle the next interval and the average pace at the end speaks for itself. I’m sure some distance runners roll their eyes at people who have to use a run/walk ratio for 5 and 10ks but there are many more supportive people who recognize that for people like me, this is a huge achievement. As this is the night before the race, I am nervous as heck. However, I know I have it in me and when I cross that finish line and receive my medal I will have tears in my eyes and pride in my heart for BOTH of our achievements. I am so happy to be running this race with such a supportive husband who could easily leave me behind in the dust, but instead will stay by my side the entire time and finish together what we started together a year ago.