Out of all 4 of the races I did during Dopey Challenge weekend, I think the half marathon was in many ways the most challenging. It came after two days of racing and getting up early, it was much warmer than the previous two mornings, and it was also a mental challenge.
I knew I wanted to take it easy, but it’s difficult for me not to push myself or want to do my very best. And it was also tough to get through a half knowing in the back of my mind there was still 26.2 more miles waiting for me the very next day.
I got up at 3am and was on the bus by 3:30am. I took the long walk to my corral and got there around 4:30. This meant there was about an hour before we started, so I just hung out and took it easy. I was in corral D, and started the race at 5:41am.
Jason and Mercedes were near the start line to cheer – I saw them about a quarter of a mile in but they couldn’t see me! They were across the street and with that many people it’s tough. Then I was surprised to see the first character stop at only half a mile into the race. The line was already extremely long, but it was Esmeralda and Clopin from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I knew I had to stop.
Especially since this was supposed to be my “time doesn’t matter” race, I was up for characters. It was funny though, because my first mile was like a 20 minute mile. However, even with a lot of walking and some running thrown in my pace went back down pretty quickly. It was interesting to watch.
We headed onto the roads to Magic Kingdom. By the time I hit the 5k mark I was at a 14 min/mile. And then we were entering Magic Kingdom! The most magical of all places. Plus Jason was there to cheer for me on Main Street before he headed back to Epcot to be at the finish line.
I ran through Magic Kingdom but a lot of the character lines were extremely long. On exiting the park there was Chicken Little with almost no wait – since I’d never seen him out as a character before, I figured why not?
I never got the alert or update when I crossed the 10k mat so I wasn’t sure what my official pace was, but I was trying to slow myself down a little because I knew I was probably pushing too hard considering what was still to come the next day. Sure enough, when I hit the 15k I was at a 12:35 min/mile – faster than I wanted to be.
I slowed myself down and this is when the mental games really started. It might have been “4 more miles,” but my brain kept saying, “yeah, and then 26 more tomorrow…” It was also getting hot at this point. I was ready to be done.
Then it was finally to the finish line, where I finished in 2:51:01 with a pace of 13:03 min/mile. I achieved my goal of running my worst half marathon ever! Seriously – that’s what I was aiming for because I didn’t want to go into the full feeling the way I do after running a “good” half marathon. I headed back for a rest and to relax my nerves as much as I could before the full marathon!
Characters at the Disney World half marathon:
Esmeralda and Clopin
Pirates of the Caribbean
Christmas reindeer and tin soldier
Queen of Hearts
Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater
Which character would you most want to meet on the Disney World half marathon course?