Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Magic of Disney (Half Marathon)

This past weekend, hubby and I went to Orlando for the Disney Half Marathon. We were lucky to receive applications at the Marine Corps Marathon in October for two of the few spots still open. I'm glad we decided to go.

We arrived in Orlando on Thursday night. Hubby's sister and her family live there, so we spent the night with them. It is great to combine a running trip with a family trip. After a spectacular dinner by my brother-in-law, we chilled and prepared for Friday.

On Friday, we went to the Disney wide World of Sports to pick up our race packets. The facility is pretty amazing (after all, it is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves), but the expo was smaller than some I have been to previously. We left pretty quickly and headed back to hang out with the family. We got to see our almost 5 year old nephew play basketball, and we had a nice dinner. We checked in to our hotel Friday night.

Sadly, it was very late Friday night, at least when you have to wake up at 4 am for a race. wake, we did, and we made it over to Epcot without issue. The race began on a road just outside of Epcot. There was much fanfare - Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy were there to start the race. There was even a small fireworks show as we started. The first few miles were tough. We were on a regular road that sometimes went down to one lane. It was tough to move around 12,000+ people to find a space, especially in the narrow quarters. It was also dark, so there wasn't anything to look at while running. At about mile 5, we started to get back to people. Soon, we made a bog turn, and ran right down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.

I can honestly say that I have never felt so exhilarated running than when I was running in the Magic Kingdom. We ran through Tomorrowland, then Fantasyland. We ran right through Cinderella's castle, then on to Frontierland and out a back route. All along the way, there were beloved Disney characters standing along the route, cheering the runners, and taking pictures with any of the runners who were willing to stop. The run continued back the way it came to Epcot where we ran through that park before coming to the finish.

I missed my PR by less than three minutes, but I think it may have been the drop in adrenaline after the park. Still, I had lots of fun and I was glad I did it. I think the half marathon distance is good for me, but I may be willing to try a marathon soon. I have another half scheduled for March. In the meantime, I have a lovely gold Donald Duck medal to hang on my medal rack.

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