The alarms went off about 15 minutes earlier today. Jamie and I got up and prepared ourselves. We were out of the room in pretty good time. I took a pre-race picture before we got to the bus stop.
Yes, there is something missing and if you spotted that you are better than we were at 2:45 AM. We went to the bus stop and had to wait. My eye started watering and we still had time before the bus would leave. So, I ran back to the room to grab eye drops. When I got back to the bus stop, they let us sit on the bus. It turns out, they had buses at every stop first thing in the morning. So, at 3 AM we pulled away and headed straight for the race. We didn’t have to stop anywhere else. This bus driver knew where he was going. We weren’t the first bus there, but we were pretty early.
This time we did have bags to check. So, we walked through the bag check line that was small at this point. We had race retreat so we walked over there which is by the finish line. It is the opposite direction of the DJ and the rest of the pre-race activities. They had the whole thing done up in a Mardi Gras theme because the characters inside were from Princess and the Frog. I was happy about that. The tables all had Luna Bars on them.
I got in the very short line at this point to get my picture with Tiana, Naveen, and Louis.
At this point, still no one had pointed out what I was missing. I heard another person talk about how they switched out the characters on the half hour. Well, by the time this happened, the line was long. I just hoped to get Dr. Facilier post-race. Pre-race food included fruit and bagels.
They had water, soda, and Powerade.
They had coffee and hot chocolate.
The usual coffee additives were there along with some flavorings.
They had toasters and fixings for the bagels.
Medical and first aid were right up front with pump bottles of Biofreeze.
I had a banana, hot chocolate, and a bagel with jelly.
They actually has a menu on the tables.
Someone came by and asked us if everything was good. She was a head of volunteers. I asked her to relay that we would really like bacon for post-race next year. It really is the perfect post-race food. She assured me she would pass it on to the Disney people.
The centerpiece also had the menu for the breakfast for the 5k and 10k.
At this point, it was about 10 minutes until we were supposed to meet people for pictures. I walked over to bag check thinking I would check my bag and use the port-o-potties. When I got over there, the lady takes my bag, looks at it, looks at me, and says, “Where’s your number?” I looked down and within a second entered full panic mode. I knew there was not enough time for Katie to drive my number over since I knew exactly where I had left it in the room. I went over to Jamie and told her what was happening. Then I went up to the front to ask what I could do. The volunteer grabbed a runDisney person who told me it would be alright. I just needed to go to the information booth and get another number. So, I hoofed it to that booth and stood in a short line freaking out. When I got up to the front, the ladies were very nice and helpful. I had to sign another waiver. Then she handed me a number. I looked at it and realized it was in corral J. I was originally in H. I asked if there was any way to get in my original corral. She told me that was the lowest numbered bib she had. After an initial question, I realized I was just happy to be able to race at all. I grabbed 4 pins and walked briskly back to the race retreat. I checked my bag (they crossed through the number and put on my new one). Then I found everyone still outside for the picture. I love this group!
These aren’t the best pictures, but we were a little rushed at this point. We did a group costume so most of us are Ariel and her sisters or other characters (Jamie is Scuttle). Once the pictures were done, Jamie and I headed to the corrals. I was still full of nervous energy from the whole missing bib thing. I didn’t want to stop until I was safely in my corral. So, I didn’t stop for a port-o-potty on the way. Looking back, I probably should have. It was a long trek to the corrals. At one point, they split A-H one way and everyone else the other. I briefly commented that I should be going with A-H, but since I was now in J, I continued with Jamie. She was in the next to last corral. So, I parted ways with her and walked up a few more. I entered corral J.
Then I made my way as far up as possible. I realized after standing there for a few minutes that this was the corral Nicki and I accidentally started in 2 years before. We had plenty of time to take tons of pictures. Soon, we heard the singing of the National Anthem. We could hear everything really well this morning. In a short time, the wheelchairs started. Then the Elites. Soon, it was Corral A’s turn. Every corral got fireworks this time.
One by one the corrals departed until we finally started walking forward.
About 30 minutes after the original start, my corral was finally off.
My first few pictures will be blurry due to running and low light. I started my intervals right away. I know people were looking at me funny when I walked after 1 minute. Before the next corral started, we passed a high school band. I can’t tell which one because it was too dark.
Then came the first water stop.
At this point, I was already regretting my decision not to stop at the port-o-potties. However, I refused to stop before my normal restroom in Frontierland. So, I pushed on and tried not to think about it. Then came Mile 1.
There was a medical tent in this area facing the other side of the road.
We ran the ramp onto the road to Magic Kingdom. There were some volunteers cheering us at this point. Then we got to Mile 2.
I think we saw the lead runners on the other side of the road at this point. A little further and the Heroes were in the middle. I knew I would wait until the way back for that one. Soon, we came to the Magic Kingdom sign at the entrance to the parking lot.
They have volunteers warning you about the speed bumps. Just in case you weren’t listening, they have medical just on the other side.
Then came another water stop. They are always configured with gatorade in the front and water in the back. This crafty person decided to let people know where the water started.
It was strange to not have the race track to run around this year. Soon, we came to Mile 3.
And shortly after that, the 5k speed bump.
Just as you enter the main parking area, there was a character stop on the left. I waited for Aladdin and Abu.
Normally, the next stop would be the villians. That line is crazy. I was not going to stop. However, it wasn’t the villians. It was Jack Skellington and Sally. So, I got in line. When I was halfway up, Rebecca found me. She joined me in line and we did a picture together.
She had started a corral in front of me but had stopped for the Heroes picture. We decided to run together for a while. Soon, we came to the dip below the road to enter the Transportation and Ticket Center.
There were quite a few spectators in this area. We got to Mile 4 just as we turned right at the monorail stations.
The Japanese drummers were on the right. They had some dancers with them this year.
The next water stop was as we were leaving the TTC area.
They also had a long row of port-o-potties and a medical tent.
Soon we were on the road that goes by the Contemporary.
We ran under the water bridge. The DJ was on the top.
We ran by the front of the Contemporary. Then we got to Mile 5 as we turned before Space Mountain.
We ran briefly through backstage areas before entering Main Street.
We ran towards the castle.
I looked for the nice alcove to take an unofficial castle picture, but it was gone. I guess it was a casualty of all the new development. We turned right into Tomorrowland. Buzz Lightyear was taking pictures in front of his ride.
We ran past the Tomorrowland Speedway to the Tea Cups. The Queen of Heart and White Rabbit were taking pictures there.
As we got to the Winnie the Pooh ride, we noticed a long line on the right. We thought maybe they had Prince Mickey and Princess Minnie out again. After we passed the wall, we saw Lady Tremaine and the Evil Stepsisters. I was briefly tempted to stop, but I knew we were probably going to see them at dinner that night.
Anna, Elsa, and Kristophe were up on the castle.
I really miss the herald trumpeters that used to be up there. I loved going through the castle hearing them playing the Rocky theme. When we got to the other side of the castle, they were directing us down both sides. We went to the left since it was less crowded. We waiting in a short line and got both a serious and jump picture in front of the castle
It would have been a great jump picture were it not for my sunglasses. I’ll have to remember that for next year.
Then we continues on to Frontierland.
I knew I needed to stop at the restroom. There was a line leading up to it for Woody and Jessie.
Once again, my restrooms were great. I only had to wait for one person. The use of a real toilet cannot be underestimated on this race. I loved being able to wash my hands. Mile 6 was right before we got to Splash Mountain.
They had the train and engineer on hand for pictures as we left the park.
They had 2 sets of Princes and Princesses out for pictures in the backstage area; Belle and the Beast and Aurora and Prince Philip.
Soon we came to the 10k speed bump.
Just on the other side was a water stop.
There was a DJ and fire engine at about the halfway point.
Mile 7 was just before the Grand Floridian.
Mary Poppins, Burt, and some penguins were out at the Grand Floridian.
This police officer had just cranked up Danger Zone in his cruiser for our enjoyment.
I think this was another water stop.
Then we came to the wedding pavilion area. The Glass Slipper guys were joined by a bride and groom this year. They commented that Rebecca was Ariel and I was the rest of under the sea.
Then we passed the Shades of Green entrance. The golf course area had vacation Genie out. We didn’t stop since I got this picture during the 10k.
We did stop to get a picture driving the Mickey golf cart, though.
We continued down the road and came to Mrs. Incredible.
Just after Mrs. Incredible was an appropriately themed Mile 8.
The Clif Shot area was next. I bring my own GUs and was eating one of those. Rebecca got one of the Mocha ones. The banners are listing the flavors they are handing out on that table.
We merged back onto the main road and saw these guys with a classic car by the gas station.
There were lots of runners stopped at the next medical tent using Biofreeze.
And then there was another water stop.
We ran a little farther and came to Mile 9.
After another half mile, we got to the 15k speed bump.
There was a hot air balloon in the middle section. I didn’t get a picture on the way to Magic Kingdom. It was raising and lowering. I couldn’t get a good picture while it was up.
Then came the Heroes again. Rebecca had stopped on the way out. So, I told her to go on ahead and I’d see her in the Race Retreat tent after I finished. There was a line, but it moved pretty good. Rebecca got her picture with Prince Eric. He was missing when I got mine.
We passed a bunch of volunteers cheering us on.
And then another water stop.
Mile 10 was under the bridges.
And then came the dreaded ramp to the overpass. The lone Green Army man in the back was the one talking and pushing people on.
They did have 2 other ones this year to get your picture with.
From the bridge you can see the people behind you.
Including the ones taking a picture with the Mile 10 sign.
We were still going uphill to this DJ. She played a couple classic songs while I was passing including the theme song to Friends. I had to sing along.
Somewhere in this area I totally missed the Mile 11 sign. Thankfully, my running friends helped me out with this picture.
Then we were going downhill. You can see the EPCOT parking entrance to our right. The medical tent is in the trees in the median to the left.
We passed a water stop and then had this small out and back section. There are cones set up all the way to the video screen. Lots of people cut the cones early… I’m not sure why or what they buys them, but it’s their race.
This is a look back at the water stop from the other side.
You can see the cars entering EPCOT for the day from the bridge.
We came downhill from the bridge to some local entertainment.
First were the cheerleaders
Then the band from I believe it was Colonial High School in Orlando.
Mile 12 was just after the band.
There was a good crowd as we ran into the bus area at EPCOT. This is also the area where Peggy Sue used to encourage us.
They had the Cinderella carriage and the footmen before we entered the real backstage areas of EPCOT. I think this is where Sophia the first was before. I was glad because I didn’t get my normal Footmen picture in front of the Expo this year.
The last water stop was in the backstage area of EPCOT.
We came out into EPCOT and shortly got to the 20k speed bump. This is also a crosswalk since the park is already open to guests at this point.
The Kathy Giffin fairy was out this time.
This group with great signs was right by the loop.
For the loop, you run around this large planter.
I did stop for an official EPCOT photo this time.
We ran to the right of the “ball” and then went backstage. We passed the gospel choir which always signifies the home stretch.
We also passed Mile 13.
We ran by some stands and photographers and then we could see the finish.
There is always a great feeling when I cross this finish line.
I got my medal and fairy dust. Then I picked up a mylar blanket, water, and powerade. Luckily, they also had the mesh bags in this area. So, I could load all that stuff in the bag. I got in the line for my Challenge medal. They took a finisher picture before we got the extra medal.
Then we went into a tent for our challenge medal. Since I had a replacement bib, I showed them my bracelet. Then I got my medal. We had another line for finisher pictures here. I did run with my 10k medal in my short pocket. So, I pulled it out for the picture.
Once that picture was done, we got our snack boxes and bananas and headed to the reunion area. I then made the turn back to the finish line and the Race Retreat. I immediately found Rebecca. I set all my stuff down with her and went to the non-existent picture line. Dr. Facilier was out and I didn’t want to miss him. His interaction was great!
I didn’t notice it until I got back to the room, but my Glass Slipper Challenge medal was missing the clear stone on the shoe.
I have an inquiry into runDisney about a replacement and I’m sure they will make it right.
UPDATE: runDisney sent me a replacement medal with all the stones. It took a while because they had to get more with all the issues they had. They even called me when they were mailing it out to let me know it was on the way. Great customer service even if it did take over a month.
After I got my picture, I grabbed a big plate of food and sat down to wait for Jamie. I was getting concerned because I heard them say the balloon ladies had finished. I still hadn’t received a text that she was done. Rebecca told me not to worry too much because she never got one about finishing. They started making the round about getting your bag check items so I went up to get mine. They gave us a hand towel this year as our gift. They also put an X on your bracelet so you couldn’t get more than one. About the time I got back, Jamie found us. She had another terrible race. She was so afraid of being swept that she was in the very front of her corral. When they said go, they lady behind her pushed her hard in the back. Why would you do that? She ran straight to the first medical tent since that push had messed up her back. They worked on her for a while and she finally got back out on the course. Luckily, she stayed with the balloon ladies through the sweep points. She ended up finishing behind them, but she finished. I felt terrible that she’s now had 2 years in a row with bad races. We swore we would find her a proof of time before next year.
At this point, they were telling us the buses would stop running soon so we decided to go and catch one. I let Katie know we were on our way back. We didn’t have to wait long on the bus before it left.
I’d like to thank Wing Isom, Rebecca Low and Alyson Porter Riddick for allowing me to use the pictures they took of a few things I missed.