Since the half marathon is a larger race, the call time for the buses is at 3:30 instead of 4 which means a slightly earlier morning for all of us. I was up by 2:40 and out the door by 3:20. I got on the bus by 3:30 and was through bag check and with my running Ohana by 3:55am. Day 3 is when the Dopey Challenge really starts to sink in. We’ve still got a lot of miles to go.
My legs were feeling tired but not too tired and I was starting to think I might have done too much park time the past 2 days but honestly I was okay with that. I really wanted to get a WDW vacation AND a fun running experience out of this weekend.
I was in corral B this time and Nathan decided to run with me so he dropped back from A. We parted ways with our running group around 5 and made our way to the corrals which is a hike but it’s kind of a sombering shuffle that helps you get focused and relaxed. I don’t really mind it anymore, it’s just part of the experience.
We got in our corral and enjoyed listening to the race announcers (big kudos to them for keeping us all entertained while we wait) and I just tried to relax and assess how my body was feeling which honestly was pretty good given my effort the day before.
The National Anthem was sung and the race began with fireworks. The fireworks never get old to me!
Nathan and I set out at a very comfortable pace and just cruised. This pace should’ve felt more comforable for me but it didn’t and by mile 2-3 I was having some hip pain that I was hoping would just go away. We passed the first couple characters (Captain Jack and another lady pirate and Vanellope and Wreck It Ralph) but then decided I really needed a character break so we hopped in line for the Evil Queen (Queen of Heart and Maleficent were also meeting here).
We then started cruising again and it just kept sinking in that this was probably going to be a rough race for me. We passed the Contemporary and turned into the MK bus dropoff area and then ran under the train station into Magic Kingdom and, guys, this view NEVER gets old. Everyone cheering, the castle, Main St all lit up, and doing my favorite thing in my favorite place. Priceless!
We took the turn into Tomorrowland and Mike and Sully were meeting but we kept going. The White Rabbit had no line so we got a quick pic with him before running past Goofy as the Great Goofini in front of the Storybook Circus entrance. We then ran through New Fantasyland and saw the step-mother and sisters from Cinderella meeting right before going through the castle but decided to keep going.
We turned into Frontierland and Woody and Bullseye were meeting so we stopped for that character and kept cruising before getting backstage where they had a float with Tiana and Naveen meeting. At this point my hip was really hurting and so stopping again sounded great, plus why would I pass up Tiana?!
Once we exited Magic Kingdom it was back to the roads and the cones. it gets really crowded here so Nathan and I just settled in and once again were on a slow cruise control. Chip, Dale and Clarice were meeting at the Grand Floridian and the Bachelors were across from the wedding pavilion. Even though my hip was hurting more we just kept going along. We came up on Donald and Daisy at the golf course and felt like it was also a good time for a break so we peeled off for a pic.
This next section felt really long. I wasn’t feeling great and I really just wanted to be done but these long highway miles were really unmagical. Having Nathan helped keep me going though and we just chatted and enjoyed the run. I knew he was starting to feel all the Dopey miles too.
We finally got up and over the highway and were on our way to Epcot but those last 2 miles felt so long. Dug, Carl, and Russel were meeting right as we came into backstage Epcot and then Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow were meeting behind the Land Pavilion but we were both ready to just get this race done, or at least I was.
They changed up the Half Marathon course and it was pretty cool to see the back side of the Land’s greenhouse but I did miss getting to run in Epcot more. We came into Epcot between Imagination and the Land and then cut diagonally across Epcot to exit the park at the usual place, by the right side of Spaceship Earth. We made the final turns and crossed the finish line and I for one was relieved to be done. My hip was NOT happy with me and those final miles were NOT smiles time.
I was already starting to get worried for the marathon because if it felt like this, it was going to be a VERY long 26.2 miles. We grabbed our medals and snack boxes (no heat sheets this morning, they were giving out cooling towels instead) and then checked to see where the rest of our running Ohana was and decided to hang around for them to finish. The temp was great for running but once I stopped moving I got a little cold and really wished they had been handing out heat sheets but oh well.
We got to see the rest of our crew and catch up with them before getting on the bus and heading to the hotel. My body was feeling pretty beat up and because of the cold I was not feeling great. A hot shower and some intense muscle rolling (where I found the BIGGEST knot in my IT band, probably why my hip felt so bad) and then it was time for a nap. Coming off of this half I was NOT feeling confident in the marathon going well the next day since my body was so achy and sore. I was just uncomfortable all over.
This was our non-park day so after a nap we headed to Disney Springs where we had a treat at Amorette’s, browsed World of Disney, and then I stocked up on Basin shampoo and conditioner bars with my runner discount! We then headed over to Animal Kingdom Kidani Village for a late lunch at Sanaa where we gorged ourselves on the bread service and I enjoyed some tandoori chicken. I probably ate too much but, oh well, this was one of our favorite meals of the trip! #worthit
We then got to meet up with Jeff and his wife at Animal Kingdom lodge and just hung out an enjoyed the Savannah views. We looked at the animals, got some zebra domes (thanks to the cast member for the tip on the gluten free ones), and just hung out for a bit. I love the Animal Kingdom Lodge and can’t wait to stay here one day!
We then decided it was time to make the bus journey back to Pop Century. We got to the resort’s bus stop and a Hollywood Studios bus came up first so we hopped on that and rode over to make the transfer at the park to the Pop bus but… the Disney bus gods smiled upon us! When the bus got to DHS it pulled up to the Pop Century bus pick up. That’s right we just got to stay on the bus as it loaded up and then took us home to Pop! This was amazing!
We got back to the resort around 6 and headed to our room to relax. I continued to try to work out the knot in my leg, got myself all ready for marathon day, and then we both settled in and I was asleep by 8:30. We were both still full from Sanaa so we skipped dinner and just dreamed of all the delicious food we at that day :)
Just one more day of running, it was all going so fast!