Despite having a pretty late bedtime on Friday, I woke up ready to go when my alarm went off at 3 am Saturday morning. I had laid out my outfit the night before, partly so I’d be ready to go and partly because I had a roommate in the hotel room and didn’t want to wake her that early. After getting dressed and ready, I headed down to the common area to grab some coffee and water before leaving for Epcot. One of the girls who was working the expo was also riding with me so I waited for her in the lobby and when she came down we headed out.
It didn’t take us that long to get to Disney, even though the 10k sold out in a few hours during registration. Traffic wasn’t that bad and parking went smoothly. If there’s one thing I really love about Disney races it’s the ease of getting to and from the races and checked in. They are super organized and even though many of them have longer lines, everything is always well laid out. Once we got into the parking lot area, I texted my friend where to meet us and after that we all headed over to get in line for the bathrooms. The most important first stop of the race. When we were done with that we headed over to our corrals. Alicia and I looked for her friend Megan who was volunteering at the corrals but we didn’t find her so we got in our corral, B. We were pretty close to the front of the corral, and corral walk out started before we knew it. It seemed like no time at all before they were letting us take off from the start line!
These were pretty easy miles outside the parks and along the highway. Around mile 1 we saw some penguins in Christmas hats waiting, but didn’t stop to take a picture. Mile 1.5 had port-o-potties so we made a pit stop. It took about 10 minutes to get through the bathroom line, but there was no questioning the need to stop. After that we got back on pace and finished mile 2. Our splits were coming in pretty nice: 11:01, 11:08
Finally around mile 3 we made it into the parks! I don’t remember many characters besides the penguins being outside the parks- and I didn’t stop for any of them. There were bands and a cheerleading team cheering us on, which was nice. I always appreciate all the people who have to get up and ready at 2 am so they can be there when the racers start to come in at 3. It’s a lot of dedication to making a great event happen for the runners! When we got into the parks, I started to enjoy the race more. It’s kind of boring running outside along the highway, but the parks are pretty cool, especially Epcot when it’s all lighted up and pretty at night. We stopped somewhere between mile 3-4 to get a cool picture with the Epcot ball lit up in the background.
Right as we were approaching the mile 4 marker, I saw the Genie from Aladdin. I had told Alicia at the start line that if I saw a really cool character I was going to stop for a photo but she could keep going. I didn’t want to mess her up, but at the same time I wanted to be able to take pictures with characters and not regret missing out on the chance when I had them. So I stopped for the Genie. It was really exciting because I’ve never seen him in the parks before! Mile splits: 11:23, 11:47 (the genie mile haha)
After my picture with the genie, I tried to catch up to Alicia. I pretty much hauled ass through mile 5 and tried to wave to the photographers as I saw them. I didn’t stop for any more characters throughout the course but between mile 5-6 I got a side cramp and had to stop to walk for about 30 seconds to catch my breath. This was nearing the end of the course, and a man was on stage shouting encouragement for the runners closer to the Epcot World ball. I picked up the pace again once the cramp had passed; the cool part is that I’ve run through Epcot so many times now that I know by sight when we are getting close to the finish line there. After we came through the back half behind the scenes at Epcot, the finish line was right around the corner. When I saw the finish line I began picking people to pass and picked up the pace for the finish. I got some amazing finish line pics! Mile splits: 10:45, 10:48
Once I was finished I walked around trying to find Alicia and finally found her waiting across from the medical area. We walked back to the area where we started and I decided to wait in line for Lumiere since I was still waiting on Gabriela (my coworker I had driven over) to finish. The line before the race had been almost an hour and we didn’t have time to wait but after the race it was only about 30 minutes, so I stayed and finally got my picture with him! Beauty and the Beast is one of my other favorite movies so I was super happy to get these pictures as well!
Once we finished getting pictures and meeting up with Gabriela (who was getting her medal engraved), we had to part ways. Alicia was meeting friends at the parks and Gabi and I had to get back to the hotel, shower, change and get to the expo.
The course was good- it was like most of the other 10k courses at Disney. One great thing I noticed is that the congestion seemed less so than previous races I’ve run, but that could also be because we were in corral B which is the second corral to be let off too. (Side note: I have no idea how I got into corral B because I don’t remember entering a proof of time. But somehow I must have.) The characters were ok. The only ones I was really excited about were Lumiere and the genie. I remember seeing Chip and Dale at some point on course, but other than that I don’t remember who was out there. It obviously wasn’t anyone I really cared about seeing! I’m glad I did the inaugural 10k at Wine n Dine weekend but next year I’m planning on doing the challenge!