On October 4th I got to run in my longest race so far, The Tower of Terror 10 miler. It was an evening race, so while I was in the Magic Kingdom for about two hours in the morning, I spent the afternoon napping and resting up. I grabbed a pasta dinner at the Grand Floridian Café at 5:00, and then headed back to the room to get ready for the race!
My friends and I got into our race costumes and made all of our last minute preparations. I made sure everything I had to bring was packed into my Flip Belt, and I filled up my water bottle. We attached our bibs, took some pictures, and made our way to transportation. Unlike the Princess Half weekend, not every hotel was a host hotel for the race this time. We were staying at the Grand Floridian, which was not a host hotel. But the Polynesian was, so we walked over there to grab a bus around 7:15. We even passed a photopass photographer on the walk over!
Once we got to the race site it was about 7:45, and we had until 9:15 when the corrals opened! So we mostly sat around for about an hour and talked, as well as met up with some of our other friends that were running the race. And got more pictures, of course! Then we went to gear check to check our bags (I didn’t check one, but my friend did so I threw one or two things in there), and use the port-a-potties. The lines were super long, and it turns out that once you got into the runners only area there were more port-a-potties that had no wait at all. So lesson learned for next time. In fact, when I got to my corral, E, at 9:30 they were just beginning the walk to the starting line! If I had been a few more minutes I would’ve missed my corral. I didn’t realize they would start so early.
It was fun watching the race begin with fireworks as the first corral started. In the beginning there were only 2 or 3 minutes in between each corral, so I think I started around 10:09. The first 5k went really well. My pace was at 10:45, which was faster than I was planning, but I knew I wanted to stop for characters and I felt good so I figured that was okay. Also, my official time was actually at an 11:04 pace – my phone had me going an extra .10 miles or so due to all the bobbing and weaving I did in the beginning when the course was tight and I tried to get around a lot of the walkers. There was some fun stuff along the way – the Twilight Zone music playing, an eyeball out on the lake, and of course characters. We got down to Animal Kingdom and then turned back around.
After the first 5k I did have to stop for a photo – with the Queen of Hearts! That was a must, since I was dressed as Alice. The line for that one was moderate, but when I started up again my pace was at about an 11:30, so I definitely gained some time that I tried to run off. But it turned out the next character was Dr. Facilier, another one I really wanted to meet. His line was also very short, so I stopped for him and my pace was at about an 11:40. These ended up being the only two characters I stopped for.
We turned off the road onto a dirt path that led to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It was cool for the creepy factor, but I have to say that this was probably the worst part of the race running-wise. The path was so tight and it was impossible for me to get past people, so I did a lot of walking here. It got better once we got into the Wide World of Sports, where we ran through the stadium and on the track before heading back onto the road. My 10k split time officially was an 11:46.
At this point it was all road again until we reached Hollywood Studios for the last portion. Running in the park was invigorating, and there were lots of people cheering us on. We ran through a lot of backstage areas, but into the park past the Hat. Also through costuming, and a weird corridor filled with disco balls. The end actually seemed to come faster than I expected it to – though I was definitely ready to be done!
My official time was 1:55:54, with a pace of 11:36 min/mile. I couldn’t be happier, given the fact that my last 10 mile training run had a pace of 11:34 – and I had stopped for two character photos this time! Plus according to Runkeeper I actually did 10.27 miles when all was said and done.
I got a water bottle, a banana, and my snack box. And of course my medal! I got a photo and then sat down to eat some of those goodies. It was a fairly long walk from the finish line back into the park where I could actually sit. Once I was done it was time to enjoy the park and the Villains Bash, which I’ll post about later!
I know one thing I was curious about was which characters would be out, so here’s my list from what I remember to the best of my ability. I tried to remember what order they were in too but I know that’s not 100% accurate, plus I might be missing one or two. There were a lot out, and plenty of villains! Here’s who we saw:
- Hyenas from Lion King
- Queen of Hearts
- Dr. Facilier
- Captain Hook
- Jack Skellington and Sally
- Hag from Snow White
- Grave Diggers
- Zombie football players (?)
- Haunted Mansion ghosts
All in all it was a great race. While it doesn’t go through the parks as much as some of the other ones do, I liked the fact that it was at night and I enjoy the 10 mile distance. I would definitely do this one again! Disney won’t be hosting it next year due to construction around Hollywood Studios, but my fingers are crossed that it will be back in 2016!