Another early morning and another Disney race! This was the one I was worried about. It was timed and it would be my first official 10k. I really wanted to do the best that I could. I also wanted to use my time from this race as proof of time for the half marathon the following year, so I decided that I would not be stopping during the race at all. I would just be running straight through the course, as fast as my legs would carry me.
Even though I was trying for a great time, I thought it would be fun to run in a costume. Not a full out costume, but a running outfit inspired by a Disney character. As I stated in a previous post, I am getting a little tired of all the Frozen Fever, but Elsa’s dress is beautiful, so I decided to run as Elsa. I had received a sewing machine for Christmas and wanted to use it to make my running costume. Never having used a sewing machine before, I enlisted the help of my mother. With a design I came up with we were able to create an Elsa running costume without using a pattern and I also learned how to use my sewing machine! I think that my costume turned out pretty well.
After I got my costume on, fixed my hair, and collected all of my things, we left for EPCOT again. The morning was pretty chilly, although not as cold as the previous morning. I still had to buy compression socks at the expo the day before to keep my legs warm and I added white arm warmers under my sewn ones.
When we arrived we quickly walked over to the starting area. I didn’t have as much time before we went to our corrals as I did before the 5k because of the earlier start time. I had just enough time to go to the bathroom a couple of times and then meet my parents at the entrance to the corrals. They had come for support and to watch me cross the finish line! I told my parents and Chris bye and then headed to corral A again.
It felt like we were in the corral forever, but I did chat with this nice woman standing next to me. This was her first Disney race, but she had run marathons all over the country. At Disney races you can always find someone to talk to. I lost her after they opened the corral and started leading us to the start line. All the other corrals were cheering us on as we passed in front of them. It was an amazing feeling! We stopped not too far from the start line so the wheelchair competitors could start first. If I remember correctly there was only one and he had won the Walt Disney World Marathon in his division in January. After he started, Corral A was moved to the start line. The announcers counted down and then the fireworks blasted into the early morning sky and we were off!
Just after I crossed the start line this girl came out of nowhere on my left side and cut right in front of me, her arms and legs flailing about. I almost tripped over her foot, but I kept my balance and continued on. I don’t know if it was the excitement of it all or not, but when I arrived at mile marker one the time said 7:45! I had never run that fast so this shocked me and I got excited on the prospect of a great finishing time. This part of the course took us away from EPCOT and towards the parking booths. On top of one of the overpasses I saw Anna and Elsa and then directly above me was this awesome snow effect. That was one of those magical Disney race effects that made me smile.
A little after the one mile mark I made a 180 and headed back towards EPCOT. This part was a little tough because I had to run up one of the highway ramps. After that the course circled around the EPCOT parking lot and headed towards one of the backstage entrances. It curved towards the backside of Test Track and then entered the park between Norway and China in the World showcase. The part of the course through the World Showcase was the same as the 5k course until the 10k course veered off around 4.5 miles and went into the Boardwalk. I had never been to Disney’s Boardwalk, so this was an all new experience for me. It was lit up and there were people on the sides of the pathway cheering us on, which I needed at the time. I had to keep an eye on my feet so I wouldn’t trip on the planks of board that the pathway was made out of. At the beginning and end of the boardwalk there were bridges connecting it to EPCOT, and by the last one I was really exhausted, but I told myself to keep on going.
We exited the boardwalk at about 5 and a quarter miles. There was about half a mile of backstage areas to go through before Future World. This was probably the toughest part of the entire race. It was mentally challenging to keep going, but I knew that if I let up or gave up in anyway I would be very disappointed in myself. I high-fived a cast member with a huge Mickey Mouse like glove on his hand. That gave me a little boost.
I ran past The Land and the The Living Seas at about 5 and a half miles. Then around the Fountain of Nations I turned toward the park exit and ran under Spaceship Earth. At this point I remember thinking to myself, “Just a bit further, just a bit further.” I turned a corner and there it was: the finish line! I was pretty exhausted, but I ran as fast as I could and crossed with the time of 51:25. My 5k split was 25:02. I hadn’t even run a 5k in that time before! I think the cold and the excitement of Disney pushed me to do things that I didn’t know I could do.
After I caught my breath a bit I went to a volunteer to receive my medal. It was beautiful and well earned! Then more heat blankets! The snacks and refreshments were the same as during the 5k. I met my family at the end of the finishing tunnel. It was great that they got to see me cross the finish line! It was still so cold, so we decided to leave and go get something to eat. And then to the parks again!