Running a Disney race is one of the things that motivated me to start running in the first place. I have always been a huge fan of Walt Disney and the parks. Running through the parks while they were closed seemed like the best thing in the world, so when early passholder registration came around, I jumped at the chance to do it. I also got my mother and sister to sign up. It would be their first 5k and I couldn’t have been prouder.
The morning of the 5k we woke up about 3:30 am. Since Chris and I only live about 20 minutes away, we decided to drive to the race. My parents and sister stayed in a hotel closer to the parks. It was also the coldest morning of the year, in the lower 30s. Because of that I had to alter my running costume. Here is our early morning look:
After getting dressed and making sure I had everything that I would need, we were off to Disney World! It was a fairly easy drive on I-4. I was expecting a lot of traffic the closer we got, but we didn’t encounter any. We followed the instructions that were in my event guide and it worked out perfectly! This sight always makes me cry:
When we entered the EPCOT parking lot, there were plenty of spots available and Disney had their parking attendants out there. It was a little bit of a walk from the side of the parking lot where we parked to the opposite side of the parking lot where the starting area was. And it seemed even longer because of how cold it was outside. Being a native southerner, I was not used to it. When we arrived at the starting area I couldn’t stop shaking so I bought a hot chocolate to try to stay warm as Chris and I waited for my family to get there.
Now Disney goes all out for these races. There was a DJ and a dance party to get the runners warmed up before the race. I just wanted to get warmed up from the cold weather.
Eventually it was time to line up in our corrals. I was in corral A while my mom and sister were in corral E so they could run the race together. You could feel the excitement everywhere! After we stood in our corrals for a while, they started moving us to the start line. My heart was racing from excitement and nervousness. I didn’t know what to expect. My only race at this point had been a local 5k in Dallas of about 20 people.
The announcer counted down and then we were off! Now I hadn’t planned on racing this 5k. Being an un-timed fun run and because of my tendinitis, I wanted to take the race slower than I would in a race situation. When the race started my feet were literally frozen. I had no feeling in them. This was a good thing because I felt no pain in my tendinitis foot. Because of the cold and the pain free foot I may have gone faster than I intended.
I felt pretty good at the beginning of the race and a little over a mile later we were entering the World Showcase through a backstage area. Before we entered the park there was a silence in the air since we left the cheering from the spectators at the starting line. It gave me a sense of calm from all of the excitement. This was the moment I had been waiting for and it did not disappoint. It was absolutely beautiful. The entire world showcase was lit up in the darkness and it was simply breathtaking. Over the loud speakers they had Let it go playing in all different languages throughout the world showcase. Now I love Disney, but I think it is a little bit overkill with what they have done with Frozen. In spite of that I still felt the need to skip through the race while moving my arms around and singing along.
At about a mile and a half I was passing the American pavilion. I looked to the right and saw spaceship earth all lit up. It was truly magical. Now it is a fun run, but I still didn’t want to stop during the race. Not for photos or water stops. I was having too much fun just running. The best part was that there was hardly anyone around me. I had read about how crowded these races were and was actually worried about it, but it felt like I was alone in the park! It was amazing!
After we left the world showcase, the course led us to some backstage areas and then on to Future World. There we ran up to the Land area and then doubled back towards Spaceship Earth. Here I was really excited because I knew the finish line wasn’t much further. As I turned a corner around mile three I saw it. The finish line was right ahead. I sprinted towards it and as I crossed I did my Derek Jeter fist pump. I had completed my first Run Disney race! According to the clock I finished in 26:59.
After I crossed the finish line I walked to a volunteer to receive my Frozen 5k Medallion. It is a colored looking metal but made out of a plastic/rubber material. After that I was very thankful to see volunteers handing out heat blankets. Since the 5k is a shorter race and I didn’t run all out, it didn’t take long for me to start getting cold again. I wrapped up in my blanket and walk through the rest of the finishing tunnel and then pictures!
After the picture stops there were tables with drinks, snack boxes and bananas on them. I took one of each and then made my way out of the finishing area. Chris met me outside and we went over to where my dad was watching the finish line. We watched and waited for my mom and sister to cross the finish line. They also had a great time during the race.
When we were done taking pictures, we all went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I love their parfait and egg breakfast dish! It was a perfect way to relax after the race. And then onto the parks!