My alarm buzzed at 2:45 am on Saturday morning. I forced myself to jump out of bed, because I have learned that the longer I lay there wondering why I am doing this again, the harder it is to get up. I forced myself to eat a banana and a clif bar even though I wasn’t hungry with it being the middle of the night. I thought about how in my central time zone brain it was really 1:45 am, and not the time to get up to run. However, I was excited to run with my husband and friends, something we have had planned for four years. We were running the runDisney half marathon, as the first part of Goofy’s Challenge.
We finished getting ready, and headed out the door to meet Jen and Jeff at the busses. Thankfully, there was ZERO line and we hopped right on. Apparently there was a huge line at the Beach Club, so no idea why ours was so short!
Jen and I were both VERY excited about the race and FINALLY getting to run together after these years, and the boys were well, trying to fall back asleep on the bus. We made it to our destination, and after some texting, met up with Karen. If you will remember, Bobby, Karen and I ran the Disney full together in 2011!
I took a couple photos of the family reunion area, and then it was time to check bags and walk to our corral.
We thought we had allowed ourselves plenty of time to walk to our corrals, but I had forgotten about the “cattle herding” that takes place along the long, narrow road leading to the corrals. There was quite a bit of shuffling and mooing (from me and bobby of course) going on.
We remembered there were bathrooms by the corrals so we decided to wait and go then and I am glad we did. The line was MUCH shorter. However, while we were waiting in line we could hear the national anthem. Oops. We hurried up and ran up to the front, and I was able to get a couple of fun photos before jumping into our corral.
I spy Drew Carey! So wee meet again!
We jumped in right as the Corral B fireworks were going off, and we were literally, off and running. Our goal was to take it nice and slow, so that we wouldn’t be sore for the full the next day. We wanted to run walk, and just have fun.
The crowd was pretty thick to start, so we ran two and two as to not clog up the road. The miles flew by for me, because Jen and I chatted the whole time! We took it easy, but even still I was soaking wet due to the very high humidity. Soon enough, we were reaching the Magic Kingdom!
I got a burst of energy as we got closer and closer to my favorite part of the race. A huge thank you to the hundreds of awesome volunteers throughout the race. They were working so hard, and were so encouraging, often yelling out my name, or telling me I was doing a good job. runDisney does a hands down amazing job with it’s race volunteers. There was plenty of water and Powerade, and plenty of aid stations along the course. I was sure to express my thanks whenever I got the chance.
We made a couple more turns, and I could see my beloved icicle lights shining in the distance, and the faint roar of fans cheering on the runners out on Main Street. We turned the corner, and as usual I got chills. The street was packed with screaming fans, all looking for “their” runner. I smiled and waved, and then looked ahead to the beautifully decorated Cinderella Castle. I am so glad they had the icicle lights lit up for us! I tried my best to slow down and soak in the moment, and just LIVE. It was awesome. At one point, Bobby yelled for me to turn around. I wasn’t sure if he was taking photo or video so I just waved, and it’s now one of my favorite race photos!
After we turned off Main Street, we decided to stop in my favorite race “photo spot”
We continued on our journey, running through Tomorrowland, and around the corner into Fantasyland. The lines for character photos were SO LONG, and while we did want to take it easy, I also didn’t want to be on my feet for over three hours with the marathon the next day, so we bypassed and said we would stop if there was a very short line. (Plus I knew we would get a bunch of photos the next day during the full).
We turned towards the castle, and ran right through it, and back towards the crowds of people.
Do you see my phone in my hand? I live Tweeted and Instagram-ed the whole race!
We made a right turn, and then I spotted a character line with only a couple of people in it, so we decided to stop for a fun photo.
We soldiered on, through the rest of the Magic Kingdom, taking in the scenery and enjoying the race. We made it out onto the road and to my least favorite part of the race. The reason being the road is SO narrow and drops off into the grass (which was wet) so you just kind of get “stuck” behind people. We finally made it out past the Grand Floridian onto the open road, and were able to have some breathing room. We hit the Clif Shots tables and grabbed some GU. I had packets in my skirt pockets and had already taken two at this point and I took a total of three during the race and one before the race.
At this point, mile nine, Jeff decided to go on without us, so he took off to finish the race at his pace. Meanwhile, we kept having fun.
The sun started coming up, and I couldn’t believe we only had a 5k left until we received our shiny new Donald medals. We made the loop up to the overpass, and saw a familiar runDisney site.
We were ordered to “hustle up the hill” so off we went, heading towards EPCOT. We only had a couple miles left, for which i was thankful. While I was barely winded, my feet were starting to hurt from being on them since early that morning. We mad a turn, and were up on another bridge, with EPCOT in our sights.
We made it to Spaceship Earth, and the crowds got thicker and thicker. I loved reading everyone’s creative signs, I just wish I could remember what they all said now!
People were cheering us on with “almost there” chants which can sometimes annoy me when we AREN’T almost there, but I knew we were close, and it was exciting!
We headed towards World Showcase, then made the turn back into Future World, we were in the home stretch now! We picked up the pace because we were so excited!
Probably tweeting that I am almost done…
We were all smiling and excited that part one of our Journey to Goofy was almost complete.
Not only were we doing it, but I was running with two very special people on either side of me.
We could hear the gospel choir singing as we rounded a corner, and sure enough, there they were. The TRUE sign that you are almost home. They sang us all the way around the next corner, and soon enough I could SEE the finish.
I could hear the screaming, we were there!
As we approached the finish line, I felt nothing but joy for how blessed I was. I had made it through day one, with no injuries, and was about to get another medal around my neck, a symbol of hard work and love for the sport.
We lifted our hands in triumph, as a dream four years in the making, friends running Disney together, became a reality.
We crossed in 2:41, then got our medals, grabbed our water, Powerade, and snacks, then headed to bag check to get our bags and take some photos, which is where Jeff found us. Perfect timing!
No I don’t have a tumor on the side of my leg, I still had a gel in my pocket!
We said goodbye to Jen and Jeff and told them we would see them bright and early in the morning for part two. We then headed over to get some food, and I texted Jenn and she came and met us and we got a photo together to match our Disneyland one.
Bobby and I decided to go watch some of the other runners come in before getting on a bus back to our resort.
It was fun to cheer on the other runners, seeing their expressions right before crossing the finish line. Truly priceless. It was then time to get a shower and prepare for the next day.We were 1/3 of the way done. 26.2 miles to go on our quest for Goofy bling. How will it all end?
QOTD: Favorite part of the race? If you didn’t run, what is the character you would most like to see on course?