After the Tower of Terror Expo and our delicious lunch at the Disney Moms Panel Luncheon, my boyfriend and I unpacked the car, relaxed in the hotel room and got ready for a fun-filled evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Since we weren’t staying at a host resort for this race, we moved the car over to the Boardwalk Resort where we were able to catch a bus over to Hollywood Studios at 7 pm.
When the bus dropped us off in the Film Parking Lot, we were immediately greeted by the sounds of the race DJ and the crowds of runners and spectators waiting for the start of the race. My boyfriend has never waited with me for the start of a runDisney race so he was a little overwhelmed with everything going on. As we wandered around the staging area, we were pleasantly surprised by some of the things we saw. The biggest surprise was the food trucks located near the DJ. We weren’t really hungry while we were waiting but plenty of people did take advantage of the food trucks.
While we were waiting for the race to get underway, Marcia from Travel, Run, Eat found us and we hung out for a bit. She needed to drop off her bag at bag check so she headed over towards that area before we were sent to the corrals. Can you guess which racing costume won?
Around 9:15 pm, the race announcers told everyone to start making their to the corrals. My nerves were kicking in to high gear at this point and my boyfriend was trying to calm me down. He walked me up to the Corral A entrance and started making his way towards to Hollywood Studios. Knowing that I was starting in Corral A was probably the most nerve-racking part of the entire race because I didn’t feel like I belonged. It was also one of the coolest parts since I got to see a lot more of the pre-race entertainment.
The first 5K of the race were great for me! I felt strong and my pace was right on target for the finishing time that I wanted. I really wanted to finish in under 2 hours to redeem myself from last weekend’s not-so-good long run and to help convince myself that I could actually run the marathon in January.
Mile 1 – 11:16 min/mile
Mile 2 – 11:32 min/mile
Mile 3 – 12:55 min/mile
After the fireworks went off, I started making my way away from main toll plaza of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and heading towards Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As I headed out underneath the entrance sign for Hollywood Studios, I was blinded by spotlights as I entered the Twilight Zone. The course headed up the loop ramp and made a right turn onto the Osceola Parkway. At the Mile 1 Marker, I was feeling amazing but knew that I was running a little too fast. I walked through the first water stop and then continued on towards the Animal Kingdom.
Unlike the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, the course didn’t take me into the Animal Kingdom. Just after the toll plaza, I made a large turn and started heading towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports. My pace slowed down a little during the third mile because I was started to feel the effects of the humidity! I was still feeling pretty good though and really felt like I would have no problems reaching my time goal.
Mile 4 – 11:59 min/mile
Mile 5 – 12:56 min/mile
Mile 6 – 14:48 min/mile <—Emergency Pit Stop
As I continued towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports, I was expected to turn down Victory Way and enter the WWOS the same way I had earlier in the day for the Expo. I was very wrong! The course turned down a gravel service road and followed a trail that I had no idea existed.
As I ran along the trail, I really tried to focus on my footing so I didn’t hurt myself. I think that runDisney did a great job with this part of the course. The trail was incredibly spooky (to me anyway) and was lined with sound machines and scary props. “Dead men tell no tales!”
While I was running along towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports, I realized that I needed to make an emergency pit stop as soon as possible. (Sorry, if this is too much information!) As I reached the sports complex, I started searching for the closest bathroom (or port-a-potty). I found one just before entering the track. I stopped and got back on track as quickly as possible. The course continued around the track before heading towards Champion Stadium, where the Atlanta Braves hold spring training.
Mile 7 – 12:58 min/mile
Mile 8 – 13:27 min/mile
Mile 9 – 13:28 min/mile
Apparently, I missed a few added course features while I was running around the warning track of the baseball stadium. From what I have heard, there were baseball uniforms located at each of the position as if the players had been struck by lightning … Tower of Terror reference anyone? As I ran along the warning track, I noticed that the large screen was showing the runners entering the stadium but it appeared as if they were running out of the Tower of Terror elevator. At this point in the race, I also realized that my time goal was not going to be possible. I was a pretty disappointed in myself but I really wanted to finish this race on a high note. I focused on getting to that finish line.
After exiting the stadium, the course continued back through the main entrance and onto Victory Way. As I reached the Osceola Parkway, I saw Marcia run past me. She seemed to be in the zone though and I was dripping with sweat so I just kept running. When we reached the loop ramp, we turned right and headed back towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I passed back through the main entrance and was blinded as I “returned” from the Twilight Zone.
Mile 10 – 12:40 min/mile
The last mile of the race wound through Hollywood Studios. I entered the park near the main toll plaza and wound through the backstage areas. As I ran through Lights, Motors, Action, I showed up on the large screen, which was one of my favorite parts of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon course. I ran past Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat, through the Pixar area and through the backstage lots where they have the costume shop.
As I came across the finish line near the Tower of Terror, I was disappointed with my time but still thrilled with the experience.
- Official Finish Time – 2:07:59 (12:48 min/mile avg. pace)
I truly feel like runDisney did an excellent job with this race and the only downside for me was the high humidity. I can’t wait to run this race again next year! My medal was placed around my neck as I made my way through the finisher’s shoot. I grabbed my food box and I realized that I had just run a 10 mile race. While it wasn’t my best time and I know I am capable of running faster, I still had a wonderful time and I am proud of my accomplishment!
I still have a few more Disney posts that I want to share with you, including a restaurant review, pictures from the race after party and pictures from a day of relaxing by the pool, so stay tuned!!