Posts Tagged by WWOS

The Kindness of the Running Community

The Wine & Dine Half Marathon Expo was, um, crowded. This was the first, and probably last, time I will show up at a race expo first thing in the morning. I arrived early because I wanted to get it out of the way so I could go enjoy my day in Walt Disney World and also to grab a pair of the Disney New Balance sneakers. It’s a good thing I did because the line was already super long 30 minutes before the Expo opened!

2014-Wine-Dine-Expo-New-Balance-Line

After grabbing the shoes, it seemed like the best time to head over to the official runDisney merchandise booth. Certain items have been known to sell out quickly so it made sense to just go there first. It was a bit chaotic, but manageable. I grabbed the few things I wanted (pins, vinylmation and a water bottle) and got in line to check out.

The morning started off chilly but quickly warmed up. Plus with all the bodies in the Expo, I was quite warm in my tech hoodie. So I tied it around my purse…something I’ve done countless times. Well sometime between paying for my runDisney merch (a remember seeing it in line!) and walking to the Expo exit, my hoodie feel off. In a panic, I retraced my steps to find it but no luck. This all happened within about 2 minutes…no hoodie!

I was super bummed because 1. it is my favorite running hoodie and 2. I was planning on wearing it for the cold, rainy race the next night. I headed up to the Services Center at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and filled out a lost item card, but had little hope that it would be returned.

What do you know? The next morning I received a call from Sharon at ESPN saying she thought she found it. Oh My! Well low and behold, when I arrived, there it was. Sharon seemed just as excited as I was to reunite me with my hoodie and she truly made my day…and race!

ESPN-Wide-World-of-Sports-Complex

I’ve always thought that the running community is made up of special people. There is something kind and supportive within all of us. Probably because we have all endured the humbling experience that is running. This experience just proved that point!

So thank you kind person who found my hoodie and took it to lost and found.  Because of you I was able to run a warmer (sadly not drier) Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

2014-Wine-Dine-Half-Hoodie

Do you feel the same way about the running community?  Have you ever lost one of your favorite pieces of running gear?

RAD Signature 100x75

Registration is Now Open for the Disney Fit Challenge!

Disney-Fit-Challenge-Mickey-Barbell

Registration is now open for the first ever Disney Fit Challenge!

This is a a three-day competitive fitness event featuring age and skill divisions hosted at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) at Walt Disney World® Resort, September 26-28, 2014.  These CrossFit style workouts (WODs) will test your speed, strength, skill, endurance, balance and power.  Athletes will compete in 4 qualifying WODs on either Friday or Saturday and the leaders in each division will go on to compete in the finals on Sunday.  All athletes must be able to complete these following standard movements:

  • Push-ups
  • Air Squats
  • Weighted Squats
  • Wall Ball Shots
  • Lunges
  • Plyometric Movements
  • Dumbbell Presses
  • Sit-ups
  • Sprints
  • One mile run
  • Obstacles
  • Lift Conventional objects
  • Pushing or Pulling objects

Disney-Fit-Challenge

You can register in one of the following divisions depending on your skill level.

Recreation Division
The Recreation Division is for athletes desiring a chance to test their fitness level against fellow competitors by seeing who can complete a variety of physical tasks the fastest. There will be general calisthenics, as well as strength tests of lifting and carrying heavy objects. This division will also test cardio-respiratory endurance through wind sprints or rowing or a combination of the two.   Recreation Division requires no experience in Olympic lifts or advanced gymnastic movements, as they will not be part of any event.

Scaled Division
The Scaled Division is for athletes that have experience performing high-intensity workouts that include Olympic lifts, Bodyweight movements and cardio-respiratory modalities.  In addition to the standard movements listed above, athletes may have to perform:

  • Olympic lifts (light to medium load)
  • Power lifts (light to medium load)
  • Knees-to-bars (females)
  • Toes-to-bar (males)
  • Pull-ups (males)

RX Division
The Rx Division is for athletes that can perform most benchmark workouts as prescribed in their box or gym. Athletes should be strong, excel in most gymnastic movements and have an ability to sustain a high tempo and pace while working through movements.  In addition to the movements required for the scaled division, athletes may have to perform:

  • Olympic lifts (med to heavy load)
  • Power lifts (med to heavy load)
  • Toes-to-bar
  • Pull-ups
  • Muscle-ups (males)
  • Handstand push-ups
  • Double-unders
  • Rope climbs

Elite Division
The Elite Division is for athletes that possess an elite combination of strength, speed and endurance. Athletes can expect Olympic and Power lifts, complex gymnastic movements such as handstand walks and muscle-ups, weighted pistols, and double-unders.  In addition to the movements required for the Rx division, athletes may have to perform:

  • Olympic lifts (heavy load)
  • Power lifts (heavy load)

Team Division
The Team Division will be comprised of three athletes of the same gender competing together. Teams will be able to partition movements and reps in most events. This will allow each team to strategize and take in to account each team members strength and weakness.   Teams will have the same movements as the Rx division.

All divisions will then be divided up by age group.  For those athletes that are 40+ as of the competition date, there will be a Masters Division and Masters Team Division with standard movements similar to the Rx Division.

Registration for the event is $175 for individuals and $525 per team.  You can use this link to register and select your division.

As many of you know, I have fallen in love with CrossFit in the past few years so this is right up my alley.  I have my finger on the trigger to register for the Scaled Division since I just don’t have a few of the basic moves for Rx down yet.  I rather ensure that I can complete each WOD then struggle through a couple of moves.  The weights will probably be light for me, but hey…maybe that will help me get to the finals on Sunday…YIKES!  Oh and the best part is that this is taking place during the opening weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival…the perfect treat for a day of WODs 🙂

Are you going to compete in the Disney Fit Challenge?

RAD Signature 100x75

Registration Opens Today for the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

UPDATE 3/4/14 @ 12:45 pm: runDisney has confirmed that there will be an all new one-time-only fifth anniversary medal for the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon!!

wine-dine-logo

Registration opens today at noon for the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!  This will be the 5th Anniversary of this annual “Runner’s Night Out” and I’m sure will prove to be better than ever!  It’s always a good time when you end a races with a Food & Wine Festival, right?!

All running events take place on Saturday, November 8th beginning with Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K at 7:00 am at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  (Here’s a great review of that race from last year!)  Later that morning at the New Balance Track & Field Complex, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), are the Kids Races with the dashes starting at 10:00 am and the 1-mile run at 10:45 am.  And if that’s not enough running for one day, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon starts at 10:00 pm at WWOS.  This nighttime race takes runners through Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finishes at Epcot…the only Disney Half Marathon to take you through 3 parks!

ToT-Expo-W&D-Medal

Other events taking place over the weekend are the Pre-Race Taste and the Finish Line Party.  The Pre-Race Taste is a 2-hour event on Friday, November 7th located at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features food from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and tons of entertainment.  The Finish Line Party has turned into a great event for runners and their supporters.  It takes place at Epcot following the Wine & Dine Half Marathon where select attractions including Soarin’, Test Track, Mission: SPACE, and Maelstrom are open until 4:00 am for those attending the party.  Another added bonus is that all of the Food & Wine Festival kiosks are open during the party!!

Pricing for the events are as follows:

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

  • $185 by April 1, 2014
  • $200 between April 2 and May 13, 2014
  • $215 on or after May 14, 2014

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

  • $55 by August 19, 2014
  • $65 on or after August 20, 2014

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by August 19, 2014
  • $20 on or after August 20, 2014

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by August 19, 2014
  • $35 on or after August 20, 2014

Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste Tickets

  • $79 for Adults (ages3 and up)
  • Children under 3 do not need a ticket

Finish Line Party Tickets

  • $75 by August 12, 2014
  • $85 between August 13 and October 28, 2014
  • $95 on or after October 29, 2014

The price tag for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a bit higher than other Disney races, but it includes a few extra perks.  You get the usual amazing Disney entertainment on the course, a long sleeve tech shirt, and race medal, but also included is admission to the Finish Line Party at Epcot and a $10 gift card to use at the Food & Wine Festival kiosks!

Packet pick-up will be required at the Health & Fitness Expo held at WWOS beginning November 7, 2014.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend and click here to register for any (or all!) of the events beginning at noon today.

You can also check out some of my recaps for more info on what the events are like:

2013

2012

This is such a fun race and I can’t say enough good things about it.  I’m already registered for this year, so I hope to see you there in November!!!

RAD Signature 100x75

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo

Every Disney race weekend starts with a trip to the Health & Fitness Expo.  So I thought that with Princess Half Marathon Weekend starting in a few days, we should take a look back at the Marathon Weekend Expo so all of you Princesses can get excited for the fun!  Kimberly Amato was at that Expo and has a great look at what to expect and some tips on how to navigate.  Check it out!

***

I recently ran the WDW half-marathon.  It was my first half-marathon and first runDisney event!  I had heard rumors of the Expo being crowded, somewhat disorganized, and time consuming with long lines.  I am happy to report I was pleasantly surprised at my Expo experience!

We flew down the Wednesday morning before the race.  Coming from New England, we wanted to buffer in case of bad weather.  We also wanted to spend that first afternoon at the Expo because we planned to be at the parks the rest of the days  prior to the half.   My parents, who live in Florida and were ChEAR squad members, were there at 10 am when it opened.  They drove and found parking to be easy.  They said it was crowded with many people in line before the doors opened (most likely for the New Balance runDisney shoes) but it did not take them long to get their ChEAR squad packets.  They did not visit the Expo floor.

We arrived at the Expo about 1:30 pm after checking into the Beach Club Resort.  There was dedicated transportation to/from the Expo from all WDW resorts and it was awesome.  Buses were plentiful and frequent.  Drivers were friendly and upbeat.  Signage was fantastic.

General Expo info:

Marathon-Weekend-Expo-WWOS

The expo ran from Wednesday through Saturday and was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Anyone can attend the Expo, even if you are not running or spectating at a Run Disney event.  The Expo was held in several different buildings but they were all in close proximity to each other.  This was also the site of the kids races and the Mickey Mile.

Everything you needed to know about WDW Marathon Weekend and the details of the Expo, including maps of what was located in each building, were provided in the Official Event Guide available online about a month before race weekend and also given to you with your packet pick up at the Expo.  Resort hotels also had limited quantities of the Marathon Weekend event guide if you asked for them.

Food and beverage was available for purchase at the Expo from the ESPN store, the Yum Yum cupcake truck and vendors in the Expo hall.

Overall, I thought it was well and relatively logically organized.  Signage was large and plentiful and staff and volunteers were easily identifiable and helpful in giving direction if needed.

Packet/Bib Pick up:

Our first stop was the HP Field House which was where packet pick up was.

Marathon-Weekend-Expo-Packet-Pickup

It was very well organized and not at all crowded when we were there.  The entry level had a bank of computers and printers for those who forgot their race waivers.  The Expo floor here had long registration booths along each of the 4 walls for the Full Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K.  Runner relations and event information also had booths here.  We walked right up to the half marathon desk, handed in our waiver, signed our bib out of the book, and were handed our bibs and any pre-ordered commemorative items.  We were so excited, we took this photo!

Marathon-Weekend-Expo-Bibs

The lower level housed pick up for the 10K, the Goofy Challenge, Dopey Challenge, Goofy/Dopey shirt and gear bag pick up, ChEAR squad, 5k/10K breakfast ticket pick up, a shirt exchange booth, transportation info, runner relations and a commemorative item booth.

Marathon-Weekend-Expo-Packet-Pickup2

There was also an official runDisney merchandise booth here.  I was surprised that it wasn’t really crowded at all.  It had more generic runDisney merchandise such as car magnets, pins, mini-medals, glassware and runDisney attire.  Some race specific items were here but not all of them.  Those items were at the bigger runDisney store at the Josten’s Center.  I did purchase a few things here that I knew I wanted.  They were a WDW Marathon Weekend pint glass, a mini half-marathon medal pin, a small 13.1 mouse ear car magnet and a runDisney Sweaty Band.  There were plenty of cash out positions with a long roped queue set up, but there was no line when I was there!  In talking with the cashiers they said the lines earlier were very long and it was much more crowded then.  Merchandise seemed well-stocked when I was there.  There were also great posters of the race courses and iconic runDisney advertisements along the outside of the store booth.  We had some fun with them!

Marathon-Weekend-Expo-Aladdin

Our ChEAR squad members reported their pick ups went smoothly and quickly.  They did not receive an official race guide with their items.  I thought they should have at least received maps of each of the races with their packets and tips for spectators to help them in their spectating experience.

Race shirt and gEAR bag pick up:

The race shirt pick up for the Dopey and Goofy challenge participants was in the same place as packet pick up which made it easier for them.  For everyone else, you had to go to the Josten’s Center to pick up your race shirt and gEAR bag.  runDisney provides a very large, clear plastic bag for you to place any items you wish to check at the race bag check into.  You MUST use this clear bag.  It has a drawstring and I was skeptical of it’s strength but it held up well for my needs.  I did hear that some of the challenge runners asked for an extra bag just in case, as they had to use it multiple days.  You were also provided with a large sticker for your gEAR bag with the first letter of your last name and your bib # on it for identification.

Upon entering the Josten’s Center we had to walk down the stairs and across the Expo floor to get to our race shirt and gEAR bag.  This area was a bit more congested with the 5K and Marathon shirts on one side and the 10K and half shirts on the other.  Pick up was quick and easy, but a bit less organized than packet pick up was.  I imagine it was a bit of a mob scene when it was more crowded.  Just beyond that was a shirt exchange booth if you needed to exchange your official race shirt.  They do run a bit small.  I was surprised they were long sleeved but I love it.

runDisney Merchandise:

You were then funneled into the large runDisney Official Merchandise booth.  Very clever marketing ploy!  This was also well organized with the “I did it” shirts for each race along one wall as soon as you entered and employees available to help with sizing.

There were aisles dedicated to each of the races: 5k, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge.  There was very little Dopey merchandise available when I was there Wednesday early afternoon and heard several Dopey runners complaining.  I’m not sure if it was re-stocked later or not or if there was just not much beyond shirts.  I know there are a few Dopey ‘I did it’ shirts available at the Disney Store online currently.

There was also generic runDisney merchandise available, much the same as the smaller store at the HP Field House.  I saw a few “my mom ran a __________” T-shirts for kids but with very limited sizes and really just for ‘my mom’ and ‘my dad’.  None for my son or my daughter or grandparents which I think is a missed marketing opportunity.  My parents totally would have bought a “My daughter ran a Disney half marathon!” shirt and I’m 44!

I purchased my “I did it” shirt, which was very cool as it had the course map on the back, and was quickly checked out.  Of note, if you have a magic band, you can use it at the official runDisney Merchandise booths but you cannot use it at any of the other expo vendors. From here, our group split up to do our shopping and agreed to meet a half hour later at a pre-determined spot.

The Expo floor and vendors:

View from the top floor looking down to the Expo floor

View from the top floor looking down to the Expo floor

The Expo floor was crowded but manageable.  Be sure you bring cash or a credit card as your magic band (if you have one) will not work at non-runDisney vendors.  If you studied the map and list of vendors prior to going, it made for easier shopping at the vendors you were interested in.  There were some freebies, mostly in the form of snacks like yogurt and fruit bites or energy bar samples.  Others offered discounts for purchasing at the Expo or discounts or coupons for free gifts in the iGift bag you are sent with final race instructions.

Some of the vendors included Sweaty Bands, Asics, Raw Threads, Fit 2 Run, One More Mile, Marathon Foto (official race photographer), Lasting Commemoratives, Brooks, Bondi Band, KT tape and many, many more.  If you needed any kind of last minute race gear, you could probably find it here, from race nutrition to hydration belts to socks to any kind of running attire.  Of course, they want you to impulse buy!  I walked around the floor twice.  I made a few small purchases but I don’t do well with crowds and had not planned to purchase anything in particular.  It was a bit overwhelming.  I prefer online shopping and was mindful that I had to bring whatever I purchased home with me!

There was a third set of vendors at the Champion Stadium.  This was a less ideal venue as it was outside but under roof cover.  Unfortunately, it had a wind tunnel effect of sorts.  I think the exhibitors here probably got less foot traffic because they were not as visible and were outdoors.  The day we went it was cool and breezy.  I’m sure many runners walked right by without even visiting these vendors unless they specifically wanted an item available here.  This was also where the kids races packet pickup was located, runner tracking booth was and where Sparkle Athletic, some of the other running organizations, and the Dooney and Bourke items were.

ChEAR squad:

Our chEAR squad members purchased the gold pass.  This gave them entry to the special ChEAR squad spectator areas.  They had a smooth packet pick up and were provided their chEAR merchandise (stadium blanket, clappers, T-shirt and pass) in a clear runDisney gEAR bag.

Speaker Series:

We did not attend the speaker series.  I heard from others that it was fantastic. My mother attended the Information for Runners and Spectators presentation on Thursday at noon and said it was informative from the spectator perspective.  This is one of the things I do wish we had budgeted into our plan.  There were some fantastic topics covered related to running in general as well as tips for running the specific Disney races, and they are all free.  Next time I will plan to spend more time at the Expo and attend some of the presentations.  The runners I talked to that attended them had nothing but good things to say about the various sessions they attended and they all benefited from the experience and recommended it to others.  It also affords you the opportunity to meet some of the Run Disney official personalities like Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus, the Diet Diva.

New Balance Run Disney Shoes:

I heard there was quite a line when the expo opened, mostly for the coveted New Balance runDisney shoes.  They can only be purchased at a runDisney Expo and they draw a huge crowd as they tend to sell out fast. Although I did not want the shoes, I heard from others that they essentially created a fastpass system for shoes, giving you a return time to be fitted and to purchase.  For some, the return time was several hours later.  They had a really cool booth set up with ‘princess’ style seating in the round and plenty of staff.  It seems they changed a lot about how these shoes are distributed and had more merchandise available than in previous years as well as multiple styles and sizes including kids sizes.  I also heard they ran low on some sizes and styles but got a second shipment in by the 3rd day so most people were able to get the shoes they wanted. We saw people leaving the Expo with multiple pairs of shoes and many people wearing them in the parks and even during their run!

Will Call:

Will call was at the Welcome Center and was where you could pick up any pre-ordered tickets to events related to Marathon Weekend including the Pasta Party, which is what we visited will call for.  We had linked our pasta party tickets to our magic bands prior to arriving and unbeknownst to us, that’s all we had to do.  If you did not do so or did not have a magic band, you had to get a physical ticket for your event.  It was quick and easy.

Summary:

Overall, the Expo experience was far better and faster than I expected it would be.  It was well-organized overall and there were plenty of staff available to help if you had questions.  Attending on the first day and mid-afternoon might have had an impact on our experience but most of the people I talked to also had good things to say about the Expo experience no matter when they attended.  From what I understand, the Expo was more spread out in multiple buildings this year than it has been in the past and that helped both with crowd control, organization and the overall user experience.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and efficient it was!

I do wish I had spent more time at the Expo.  In hindsight, taking more time to visit all the vendors and see what is available in the world of running as well as taking in some of the speaker series would have been both fun and valuable.  In the future, I will definitely plan to do so.  See how that works?  I said, ‘in the future’.  Disney sucked me in!  Can’t wait until I can run Disney again!

 *****

Kimberly is a 40-something soccer mom who is on a quest to run Disney.  She is a Physical Therapist, Reiki Master, and Creator of Meghan’s Hope, a foundation whose goal is to educate the public about the very real danger that a child can be severely injured or killed by falling furniture or televisions and it happens in an instant.
She blogs about her running adventures over at Run Kimmy, Run!

The 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race Recap

Last year’s 10-Miler was not my favorite race and I actually wasn’t sure I was going to run it again this year.  But after seeing that the race was pushed back a week I was hoping that might make it a bit cooler, plus I always like to give things a second chance.  So I registered and crossed my fingers for cooler temperatures.  Imagine disappointment when I woke up the day of the race to this:

Heat-Advisory

Sigh…  Looked like I was in for another hot one, but what would a Disney race be without heat right?!  So I was just going to make the best of it.  And what better way to start off your day than with a giant breakfast at Kouzzina.  Allergen-free waffles, bacon, sweet potato hash & fruit…perfect fuel for race.

01 Tower-Kouzzina

After breakfast, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I knew I would go stir crazy if I just went back to the hotel and rested all day, but I didn’t want to go crazy at the parks and tire my legs out.  A few friends were heading over to the Food & Wine Festival for the afternoon so I decided to do that.  I could slowly stroll around World Showcase and keep my legs loose…and maybe meet some fun characters.

02 Tower-Sarah-Aladdin

I headed back to WorldQuest Resort around 4pm to get some rest before the race.  I showered, took a quick nap and heated up my leftovers from breakfast that morning.  Sweet potato hash is some awesome pre-race fuel!

03 Tower-Leftovers

Amanda’s hubs was meeting some of our other non-runner friends for dinner on the Boardwalk, so we hitched a ride with them to the resort.  The runners took off down the path towards the Studios and the non-runners headed towards Kouzzina for a tasty dinner.

04 Tower-Group

Walking to the Studios was exciting.  You could hear the music in the distance and we were talking strategy for the race course.  It was the first runDisney race for my friends Rick & Leslie so we were going over all the logistics with them.  When we arrived to the Studios parking lot, it was CROWDED.  The bag check area was a big hectic, the bathroom lines were super long and there wasn’t much room to move.

05 Tower-PreRace

So we headed straight for the Runners Only area where there were NO lines for bathrooms and plenty of room to sit and chat.  We had about an hour to kill before the start of the race so we found a spot and relaxed our legs.

06 Tower-Corrals

07 Tower-Group

Like my Team Sparkle skirt?  It actually matched my KT Tape!  Finally it was time to head to the corrals and get this thing started.  I was in Corral G for this race, but I decided to drop back to Corral I and run with Rick so he wasn’t alone for his first race.  It meant so much to me to run my first race (and so many after) with Amanda, so I wanted to pay that forward.  Besides running with friends is just more fun.  So we headed into the corral and waited some more…

08 Tower-Corral-I

We watched the other corrals empty out and shortly before 10 we started to move and begin the trek to the starting line.

09 Tower-Empty-Corrals

Along the way we met some fun people, saw the starting fireworks in the distance and always my favorite, a TON of spectators cheering us on!  I got a big hug from my friend Cindy, but sadly no photo this time.

010 Tower-Siamese

011 Tower-Starting-Fireworks

013 Tower-Sarah-Rick

012 Tower-Starting-Spectators

013 Tower-Go-Sarah

Oh hey thanks for the sign random stranger!  Finally around 10:25pm it was our turn to get moving.  Carissa and Rudy counted us down and we slowly made our way into the 5th dimension.

014 Tower-Corral-I-Start

016 Tower-Carissa-Rudy

015 Tower-Starting-Line

One of my biggest issues with this race last year was the lack of entertainment on the course, but within the first mile I could see that this was already improved.

As we rounded the ramp onto Osceola Parkway there was a HUGE fireball coming out of the pond in the center.  It as seriously cool!!  I tried to get some photos, but it was only going off every so often, so it was hard to have the camera ready.

017 Tower-Fireball

018 Tower-Fireball

Then at the top of the ramp was the Evil Queen from Snow White…you very rarely see her out.

019 Tower-Evil Queen

We got on Osceola to make the looooooog trek to Animal Kingdom.  We were keeping at a steady pace, but Rick is a bit faster than me so I was struggling to keep up with him at times.  Add in the heat and by mile 2 I was already feeling myself getting very hot.

020 Tower-Animal-Kingdom

As we passed through the gates and made the turn to head back down Osceola Parkway towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), the dread started to set in.  This is where things started to fall apart for me during the Marathon and I was feeling very hot like I did on that day.  Thankfully this GIANT spider was there to distract me a bit…how cool is this?!

021 Tower-Spider

022 Tower-Spider

By the time we hit the 5K mark I had to slow down.  I could feel myself overheating and I needed to stop pushing myself.  We had a long way back and I had to be smart about this.

023 Tower-Osceola

At all of the following water stops I started pouring water into my headband and the REALLY helped to cool me down.  I’m never a huge fan of pouring water over me because of the chafing issues it causes, but this was necessary and smart.  I was already starting to feel better by the time we reached to dark trail entrance to WWOS.  Last year there were a ton of complaints about how dark this area was, so I was glad to see that it was lit up very well.

024 Tower-Trail

025 Tower-Trail-Lighting

Entering WWOS meant that we were more than halfway through the race.  WWOS is definitely my least favorite part of the course and more so now after the Marathon.  For some reason there isn’t any air flow in there and it just feels hotter than it actually is.  However I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends cheering at Champion Stadium…that always gives me a HUGE boost!  In the center of field there was this giant Tesla coil spitting out bolt of lightning.  Super coil to see, but the sound was pretty annoying.

026 Tower-Champion-Stadium

When we left WWOS and got back on Victory Way, the rush of cooler air was such a relief.  Both Rick and I picked up the pace a bit and headed on towards the Studios for the home stretch.

027 Tower-Studios-Sign

Notice anything on top of the sign for the Studios?  Maleficent was up there warning runners about what lie ahead…she was pretty badass!

028 Tower-Maleficent

029 Tower-Lasers

Just before mile 9 we entered the Studios through a side entrance and immediately enter into Lights, Motors, Action!  This is one of my favorite photo spots 🙂

030 Tower-Rick-Lights-Motor

031 Tower-Sarah-Lights-Motor

Even though the Studios is a small park you cover a great deal of it.  Down the Streets of America, through Pixar Place and around the Backlot…I love this park!

032 Tower-Streets-of-America

033 Tower-Pixar-Place

And after running through some backstage areas, we crossed the finish line!  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler number 2 in the books!

034 Tower-Finish-Line

036 Tower-Medal

Now began the mile long trek from the finish line, through Fantasmic! and out to Hollywood Boulevard.  This was a much better route than filtering onto a crowded Sunset Boulevard.  Also, this allowed for a MUCH easier route to get to back check at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  We crossed Hollywood Boulevard and entered through a backstage area right onto the stage…so much better than going up and down those stairs.

036 Tower-Indy-Bag-Check

The heat was getting the best of some people.  I saw at least 4 people puking by this point and a bunch more just sitting on the ground looking exhausted.  I was hot but I was thankful that I was smart early on in the race to keep myself as cool as possible and not push myself to the point of exhaustion.

I headed to a nearby bathroom to change out of my sweaty clothes and then met up with my friends on Hollywood Boulevard.  We headed to Toy Story Midway Mania for a ride, but the wait was 40 minutes.  Blech.  I was not up for standing that long, so a few of us headed to Backlot Express for some food.  I did a repeat of last years meal…chicken nuggets, fries and a Yuengling.  All that salt is glorious!

037 Tower-Post-Race-Meal

We headed back toward Hollywood Boulevard and found a spot to sit and rest our legs.  I think this was probably my favorite part of the whole night.  I love people watching, especially when they enjoy life as much as this guy…

038 Tower-Beer

Did I love this race?  No.  I’m glad I gave it a second chance, but I still think this time of year is too hot for a race in Florida.  I’m also not a big fan of the course.  If we were able to run though Animal Kingdom instead of WWOS, I feel like that would be a huge improvement.  I was very glad to see all of the added entertainment on the course and the other improvements that runDisney made based on runner feedback.  The after party was a lot of fun and I still think this is one of the best medals you can get.

Will I run this race again?  Probably not.  Only if some significant changes are made to the course and if it’s held later in the year.  I really don’t enjoy the out and back on Osceola Parkway.  However I do think this is a great race for newer runners to wet their feet without taking on a half marathon.

Did you run the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler?  What did you think?

Next Page »