Up until this year, the 13.1 had been a night race. And a late one at that, with a 10:00PM start. This was a race start that seemed to be loved by many, but for my tired ass held zero interest.
When (much to the dismay of many, it seemed) the race received a morning start, and the weekend turned into a challenge with the addition of a 10k, Eric and I splurged for our second Disney Race experience of 2016. We had enjoyed the Dopey Challenge so much more than we expected that we concluded book-ending the year with Disney races would be fun. (needless to say, our budget wasn't as psyched about this as we were. We cut many other race weekend out to do this....)
|Beautiful weather, uneventful travels.|
We had an uneventful travel day on Thursday, November 3rd and landed in Orlando around Noon to find some of the best weather we have experienced there. The theme of 80, mostly sunny and perfect would continue all week (thank the LORD. We have felt screwed by the weather during previous trips!)
|Beautiful Port Orleans Riverside. Perfect, as long as you don't mind sharing bus stops with 10,000 people|
We had already had a long day of travel by the time we checked in. For the second time in as many trips, check in was a nuisance, and we found that we had been downgraded to a far lesser room that the one we had booked about 700 years ago. I have heard of upgrades but what's the deal with getting a downgrade!? The issue was resolved but it was time consuming and an annoying first world problem.
|Expo and bib pick up. Easy as pie.|
After getting our room fiasco sorted, we hopped on a bus to the expo which, after Dopey, we were experts at zipping through. It was DEAD. We easily could have been in and out in 10 minutes or less but we took a bit of time to look at some merchandise and pick up some new shoes for Eric, as he was getting horrible blisters.
|Perfect Florida night|
We continued our day of non-stop transportation by heading off to dinner at Il Mulino. This was an enjoyable dinner (at The Swan) and we always enjoy a boat ride (to then get on a bus!)
|Harry Potter world fun!|
We planned our trip to have an extra, non race day on Friday which we made good use of.
Neither of us had ever been to Universal before. We decided to make visiting a priority on this trip since we don't plan to head back to Orlando for a while. Since we are both Harry Potter aficionados it's pretty amazing that we waited this long to go! (we had planned to go in January but the weather was just too horrid.) We lucked out in the weather department and had a lovely day exploring Universal and feeling too scared to ride most of the attractions. Universal is certainly more of a thrill seekers park! While I personally love a good thrill I don't like feeling motion sick.... In my old age I find that I hit the barf button pretty quickly.
Knowing that we had a VERY early wake up call the next day we had planned to leave before the park closed. This was made easy, Universal closed very early for a Halloween event so even if we had wished to stay and ruin our feet with miles of walking we could not have!
Back to our resort we went, and we had a low key evening.
Eric and I are perennial fans of Disney "pool bars" and we enjoyed a perfect Florida evening sipping wine and avoiding mosquitoes.
As expected we were up quite early the next day.
We followed our Dopey prep plan, alarm at 3:00, coffee and breakfast in the room, out the door and on a bus as close to 3:30 as we could manage.
While the lines for the buses were significant, we had very little wait.Mostly because we don't mind standing room only.
We zipped right over to the DAMN GLORIOUS EPCOT PARKING LOT, which almost feels like a second home to us now!!
|We saw this guy! The 10K/13.1 was "Lumeire's Challenge"|
|When you remember to submit proof of time you get Corral A!|
Since we are the ultimate Disney race experts at this point, we knew the importance of submitting proof of race times. As much as we had enjoyed our view from Corral LAST in January we wanted a different experience this time.
Well, we got it!
The most obvious difference was the much shortened wait time for the start. Compared to the long and tedious waits that we enjoyed (haha) during Dopey, this time we felt like it was instant gratification! The other notable change was the traffic. The runners in Corral A are quick people so we found that running at any pace was comfortable. We were never impeded by other people and, had we been fit to do so (I, personally was NOT) we could have easily been faster. However, that requires fitness which wasn't a thing.
Also, take note of my outfit. Those stripes are enviable.
|And just like that, we were starting!|
As mentioned, the wait to start was brief. It was a warm and pleasant morning and by 5:00 they had our corral moving to the starting line.
|Everyone's taking the selfies|
Originally, many months ago, I had a ridiculous plan to lay down a sweet age group PR in the 10k at this race. I rarely run 10k's, and rarely run them well so I figured if, after Hartford I focused a bit on short speed work I could manage this feat with ease. I was secretly hoping to really hammer on it and manage a 45:xx which I have not been able to do in quite some time. I was pretty fit in October and I dreamed that a focus shift to speed work would yield results.
As it happened, the only thing I focused on after Hartford was slacking off.
My fastest run since then had been an 8:58 ap and my longest run was 6 miles. HA! Not exactly a recipe for success but oh well, this has taught me that I really shouldn't have lofty goals so soon after a fast marathon.
At this point, most of you know that, despite everything I did pull off a small AG PR, beating my time from the BAA 10K by a bit,and finishing in 47:16.
All things being taken into account, I was completely happy with my results and only pulled them off because Florida is bone flat. Despite being somewhat unfit, I can grind through 6 miles at mid 7:xx pace.
Dudes, it felt fast though and was a gross and sweaty effort!
I enjoyed the course, it was exactly the same as the 10k in Dopey.
There were 3 miles of boring bone flat highway which was pretty fun because it was so flat that it basically felt like running downhill with a strong tailwind.
I don't think that these were popular miles for the Disney diehards, it was dark and quiet. Not much going on. For me, it felt like a normal race day (but dark.) Not much princess photo potential though.
Then, there were a few miles of Boardwalk/Epcot which, while more pleasant to look at were a bit jarring because twists and turns in the dark tend to trip me up.
I emerged unscathed.
And, I emerged, victorious into a GLORIOUS parking lot to take top honors.
|VICTORY WAS OURS!!!!!|
Since we basically won the whole race we had to wait a bit for a bus because the road was still closed! Oh dear, the many challenges of being in Corral A, and being *elite* athletes.
Eric had enjoyed a good run, with one unfortunate potty break. Despite Reggie making life difficult he still finished in 52:00 and fresh as a daisy. (or something, it was quite muggy!)
It was still absolutely pitch black dark which made me think that the people who were sad about things being changed to "daytime" racing needed to rethink! It certainly still felt like night!
|Chilling with Andy|
Per the norm after a Disney race, we were back to the resort, showered and fed before 7AM. For the remainder of the day we moseyed around enjoying the weather, sitting poolside and sending lots of snaps to Andy since we missed him! (Andy joined in for the Dopey Challenge adventure back in January, we amused ourselves by sending him pics of glorious parking lots, magical buses, porta potties and such...)
I must admit that I noticed my lack of fitness as the day progressed. My speedwork muscles were crying a little and, overall, I felt rather stiff and uncomfortable. Of course, this was completely and totally deserved! One can't expect to feel great when they aren't particularly well trained.