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Race Recap: Walt Disney World 10K

Last weekend I ran a 10k.  At Disney World.  It was awesome and fun and tiring and stressful and everything in between.

I suppose I should back up a bit.

Several months ago when Disney announced that they were adding a 10k to the WDW Marathon Weekend line up, I was incredibly excited.  Pretty much anyone who runs (or does some kind of competition) has a dream race or goal race that they want to run.  For me, the only thing that I ever wanted to do was run a Disney race and get one of those pretty medals.  The problem was, training for a half or full marathon was very overwhelming to think about.  As a beginning runner, and a busy person in general, training for something like that seemed like too much of a commitment and risk for me.  I realize that many people who are busier than me run more than I do and successfully train for much more difficult things, but personally I just don’t love running enough to commit that much time to it.  So, when they announced that there would be a 10k, I knew I needed to sign up.  It seemed like an attainable distance, and it was at a time of year that I knew I wouldn’t have a problem getting time off of work to go.  (and somehow I convinced the husband to sign up and run it with me!)

racestart

For the next few months I ran regularly.  2-3 times per week, usually, and didn’t have any issues.  I wasn’t running fast, but I was getting the miles in, and I wasn’t getting injured, so I was happy with that.  Then, I signed up for the Zooma 10k.  I knew I would be more comfortable if it wasn’t my first 10k, so I went for it.  Unfortunately, that race didn’t turn out the best for me – but I finished, and I knew that if I could finish in those circumstances, I would have no problem finishing any other race.

After that, I kept running regularly for a while, but then I kind of fell off the wagon.  Work got busier, the weather got colder, and running just wasn’t a priority.  Then, I was invited to run the Berbee Derby 5k on Thanksgiving Day.  I thought that was the perfect opportunity to get back on the wagon and start running regularly again, I needed that extra motivation.  Then I ran the Berbee Derby (definitely not at my best, again) and fell off the wagon once again.  For about a month leading up to the WDW 10k, I didn’t run at all. I did start doing yoga again, and tried to concentration on proper nutrition and hydration (one of the hardest things for me) but running just wasn’t there.  In hindsight I know that was not the best decision, but there were just other things in my life taking priority and I figured that if I could finish the Zooma 10k in a reasonable time when I was not feeling well, I could finish the WDW 10k, even if I hadn’t run the whole month before.

Fast forward to last week.

We got to Disney World the Wednesday before the race.  My emotions were all over the place, but mostly I was excited – I was finally going to run in a Disney park and get that awesome bling! We went to the expo and got our bibs and things and then headed to the parks for a bit, as we did on Thursday as well.  One of the hardest things about running a Disney race is wanting to make a vacation out of it and make the most of your time there, but not wanting to kill your legs by walking all over the parks the days before the race.

raceepcot

Thursday night came (the night before the race) and reality started to set in. I was not at all excited to get up at 3am to run a race at 5:30am, but I knew I would be a lot more excited about it once the race actually started.  We got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, but that was fine.  Waiting is one of the hardest parts about races for me, but there were tons of people around (many in fun costumes) to distract me, and there were plenty of bathrooms and water there if I needed them.  We were very lucky that we were in corral C –  waiting in a crowded corral and seeing everyone in front is where my nerves really get me – so we only had to wait about 15 minutes or so before we were off and running! The fireworks that go off at the start are definitely an energizing way to kick off the race!

The name of the game for me was slow and steady.  I had no formula for when I would walk, I just did when I felt like I needed to. (The husband and I generally stuck together throughout the race, when one of us wanted to walk we did and then just caught up to the other, we stayed fairly close together, and did finish together.)   I didn’t have a time that I wanted to beat, or really even a pace in mind that I wanted to go.  Since I hadn’t run for a while, my goal was just to finish and not overdo it and injure myself.  And I did just that.  Slow and steady, drinking some water at each stop, and keeping my eyes on the prize.   The weather was wonderful – and definitely helpful in me having a successful race.  It was a bit humid, but it was a nice temperature and since the sun wasn’t up yet, there was no bright, hot, sun to deal with.  Compared to my previous two races, this race actually went much better.  It may not have been the fastest run, but it was the most enjoyable.  I didn’t have to stop for any bathroom breaks, and my stomach didn’t feel off the entire time.  Really, it was the best I could’ve hoped for – and getting that bling around my neck after I crossed the finish line was the icing on the cake!

racemedal

The organization of the race and all of the volunteers that were around helping with every aspect was wonderful.  It seemed like there were porta potties all over the place, and water right when I needed it every time. There were also people cheering on every corner.  Running at Disney World is a great distraction in itself, but seeing someone cheering you on at pretty much every point – including other runners – in the race is pretty awesome.  I didn’t stop for any of the characters along the course, because I didn’t want to loose my groove, but it definitely put a smile on my face every time I saw them!

Overall the Run Disney experience was great, and running through EPCOT before it was open was very cool.  If you are a Disney fan, I would definitely recommend running in one of the races, it is such a unique and cool experience.  If somehow it didn’t involve me waking up super early in the morning I would totally do it again 😉

A huge thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement before, during, and after the race!!

7 Responses

  1. Way to go!!! I love the 10k distance because it is a challenge, but you can be a little more relaxed with training. I’m planning on doing the princess half with some friends in 2015. I might sneak down fall of 2014 and do one of those races in a shorter distance just so I can get a feel for how run disney operates. I feel like its a well oiled machine, and plenty of bloggers have covered the races, but I learn by doing.

    • Thanks, Katie!

      Yes, it is a well oiled machine, but it definitely would be worth going to one beforehand if you can. You could definitely tell the people who knew exactly how everything worked and those who were there for the first time. I learn by doing as well.

  2. How cool! Running a Disney race is definitely on my bucket list!

    • It is so fun!! If it didn’t involve pricey travel and getting up crazy early in the morning I would totally do it again.

  3. That sounds like an AWESOME race to run! I am glad they added a 10K to the disney races, it sounds like the perfect distance to get a feel for the races around the parks 🙂

    • It really is! I mean it was still hard work, and I was tired afterwards, but I didn’t feel like I was so tired and sore that I couldn’t still enjoy the rest of my vacation and walk around the parks. So much fun.

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