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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
We watched the other corrals empty out and shortly before 10 we started to move and begin the trek to the starting line.
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.
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.
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.
Then at the top of the ramp was the Evil Queen from Snow White…you very rarely see her out.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Notice anything on top of the sign for the Studios? Maleficent was up there warning runners about what lie ahead…she was pretty badass!
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 🙂
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!
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.
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!
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…
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?