And there's the alarm and it's time for the WDW Half and the Dopey Challenge day 3!
For past race mornings I aim to be on a bus by 4am but the poster in the lobby said I needed to be on the bus by 3:30 so, whelp, my wake up time just got bumped up. As I'm sure many runners do I set multiple phone alarms and make sure to order a wake up call... just in case. When you have to set your alarm for 2:45, it just feels wrong. Especially when you are changing time zones so it's like you are waking up at 1am. Since I had the room to myself though I was able to put on a podcast and a little My Favorite Murder really helped wake me up with a little intrigue and a lot of humor.
This morning was slightly warmer than some of the other mornings but I knew 1) I wasn't going to be running particularly hard and 2) I was going to be outside for longer. Layers included a RawThreads tank, a long-sleeve tech tee, a pair of regular opaque women's tights, a pair of running tights, and my Minnie dress which had long-sleeves and was made from sweatshirt material. I also had on a wool BUFF, wool socks (Smartwool or REI thin wool socks are my faves!), gloves, and a heat sheet + throw away jacket for pre-race.
ASIDE: I know a lot of people will go out and buy brand new clothes for throwaways but please, if you can, go to a used clothing store to gather these. It'll help cut-down on the fast-fashion enterprise which doesn't always support the best labor practices and just continues to support our over-consumption culture. Also, normally buying used means you are probably making a donation with your purchase. Buying used is the way to go, but I digress...
I was out of my room by around 3:20 and on a bus just before 3:30, the All Star Resorts do a great job at busing participants efficiently since there are so many runners staying there!
I also decided not to bring a check bag since I wasn't planning to hang out afterwards, the name of the game was to run the race easy but efficiently because total time on your feet plays a larger role today as we look towards the marathon.
It was cold at the start (in the 30's) and I got to hang out with my running Ohana while we waited for the moment we could head to the corrals. I think they finally let people go to the start line (which is ~0.5 mile walk) around 4:30am. At around 4:30 we decided to start heading to the corrals and I had Nathan (T: @HarveyMonster) and Amelia (T: @EntirelyAmelia) to keep me company as we made our way to corral A. This year they decided to go back to the corral groupings they had before so there were only 8 corrals with the final 3 being very large.
We made a quick stop at the porta-potties near the corrals and then headed up to the front. We got in our corral and waited for the start. The National Anthem was sung by an amazing vocalist, she really knocked it out of the park and brought the song to life at this very early hour on a cold morning. After the National Anthem, we waited for the start! With a burst of fireworks the first wave was off and then we were quickly released in the next mini-wave.
We set out at a casual pace Nathan, Amelia and I, the plan was to stick together to keep ourselves honest and not go too fast. The first couple miles were quiet and some stilt walkers as entertainment. We then go to the road to the Magic Kingdom and it started feeling more like the runDisney I knew!
As we got into the parking lot Nathan peeled off to go to the bathroom and Amelia and I stopped soon after for a quick pic with Vanellope trying to keep an eye out for him so we could all run together again. No such luck so we made the next stop too at Jack and Sally!
Still no sign of him so we were pretty sure he had passed us already so we just set out on our journey. Still 10 miles to go!
This year they changed the course and instead of entering through a backstage area of the Magic Kingdom, we got to run right through the entrance and under the train station. This was a WONDERFUL improvement and I'm so glad they did it.
We ran into the hub area and then hung a right into Tomorrowland where Mike and Sully were meeting with future monster recruits. The course then went up to Fantasyland and then through the castle (Alice characters were near the near the tea cups and I think a few characters in new Fantasyland plus Perla and Suzy near the castle). You really can't beat running through the castle, I just love it!
At this point Amelia and I were cruising well, chatting and just enjoying the miles. The 2:00 pace group caught up with us and we kept playing do-si-do with them since they were doing the run/walk method. The miles back to Epcot passed by as we chatted and I had a great time running with her and getting to know her better.IT's always fun when social media friends become real-life friends. It also showed me that if I can find the right running partner, running with a group could be something I would enjoy in 2018!
We got back to Epcot and while the miles passed pretty quickly, I could definitely feel the 3 days of running and DIsney fun on my legs and I was ready to be done.
We crossed the finish in 2:06, grabbed our medals and our food boxes and were on our way back to each of our resorts. It was important to make sure we stayed off our feet and get rested in anticipation of the marathon the next day. I was excited to be on a warm bus again!
I got back to the resort and got in a warm shower ASAP. I then went and got some breakfast and headed back to the room for a nap. 2-3 hours naps were the name of the game all weekend for me, they helped me stay relaxed and rested. After my nap, I then decided to head to Disney Springs for a bit, I wanted to stroll around and get something special from Sephora because getting something to pamper myself from Sephora is one of my weaknesses.
It was really busy at Disney Springs so after a couple hours I figured it was time to head back to grab some dinner from the food court and wind down for the night. I also grabbed a couple of beers for post marathon celebration. Time for a night of rest and my final day of the Dopey Challenge, not going to lie I was feeling a bit bittersweet that this was going to be the last day of WDW Marathon Weekend.