It’s a weird feeling going into a race knowing that you’re not really going to race it. This was the situation I found myself in today. With the marathon looming tomorrow, today’s half was to be run at an easier pace, saving the legs for Sunday. Despite this I was still pretty nervous this morning. Right from the start it seemed more of a bigger deal. The last few mornings there’s been 2 buses waiting to take us from the hotel to the staging area at Epcot, this morning there were 7.
This mornings outfit….
Upon arriving at Epcot, there were people everywhere, despite the early hour. I was very fortunate in that my Mum had kindly paid for me to be able to access the ‘Race Retreat’. This is basically a large, air conditioned tent, with tables and chairs, restrooms, and breakfast provided. This gave me some where to sit down and relax, as well as top up the fuel reserves with a bagel.
Diverting slightly, this was also a godsend after the race. As it meant I could pick up my things quickly, get changed, refuel with the provided breakfast service, and even get a massage before returning to the hotel.
Anyway the increased numbers meant more starting corrals, and thus a much longer walk to the start. In fact probably about 15 mins, I kid you not! I was fortunate enough to be in Corral A, which put me just about as close to the start as you can be, amongst runners much more professional looking than I was.
At 5.30am, following the usual anthem and fireworks we were off. True to form I struggled to keep my pace down in the first 5k, so came up with Plan B, I’d try to take a few photos along the way, also as the temperature was around 18c and humidity pushing 80%, taking a drink and walking through each aid station should slow my pace.
At each mile, you get a nice mile marker, with the time from the start, accompanied by the appropriate Disney theme tune.
The first 5 k took place on World Drive, with the odd entertainer, character or overhead monorail for interest. At mile 4 we began to enter the Magic Kingdom area.
However it was another mile before we entered the park itself, it was worth the wait. Running straight up a packed Main Street, runners on one side, supporters on the other, towards Cinderella Castle, looping off through Tomorrow Land and New Fantasy Land before coming back through the centre of the castle. Stunning.
Upon leaving the Magic Kingdom, we headed back down World Drive towards Epcot. By this time I was happier with my pace and felt good, simply enjoying the atmosphere and surroundings. The final mile as you enter Epcot takes you through Future World, round Spaceship Earth and onto the finish. I stopped the clock at 1:54:47 with an average pace of 8:46per mile. Pretty much what I was aiming for. Job done.
Felt OK throughout the race, but have tired this afternoon, not helped by the 2am alarm calls. An even earlier night beckons, with the real work to be done tomorrow.
As I mentioned a few of the runners in Corral A looked a bit more professional, one in particular who lined up next to me stood out.