We ran out of the Wide World of Sports and onto the Osceola Parkway. Thankfully Disney did it up with DJs blasting music and characters along the way already. We had planned not to stop for characters unless absolutely necessary, so we just saw them as we ran by. The Country Bears (from the Country Bear Jamboree) and the Hippo and the Swan (from Fantasia) were on this first part of the course. The first mile was very, very crowded. We had just left the start, so people hadn’t spaced out yet. After that first mile it was a little more bearable. We were doing our walk-run intervals and it was working great. Mile 2 seemed good, but it was daunting to think how many miles were ahead.
Then at about mile 2.5, I tweaked something in my knee. It was a sharp pain. I was pissed. I had been resting my knee for weeks, since I had messed it up after the Happy Haunted 5k. I wanted it to be fresh for this race. It usually didn’t start bothering me on my long runs until about mile 4, so this was entirely too early for me. It was bothering me, but quitting was not an option.
By this point the course had taken us to the Animal Kingdom. The front was already decorated with a big Christmas tree. We ran into the park through these light-up tusks and right in front of us was the Tree of Life. It was awesome seeing it lit up at night. I was still feeling off, I think my knee was getting to my nerves. There were people stopping to use the bathrooms in the park, and I was tempted to go cause I was feeling a bit bleh, but I kept going. I got water and Powerade at every single water stop throughout the course. There were stop about every 1.5 miles, so it was perfect. At this point I had one of my Cliff Shot Bloks. I think this helped me out.
We kept running through Animal Kingdom and passed by Everest (which I will be back to ride!) and through DinoLand. As we left Animal Kingdom we saw Captain Jack Sparrow, then at the exit of the parking lot there were these awesome light up puppet things (it’s hard to explain them) of Tigger and Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid). We heard “Under the Sea” and were off to a long highway stretch of the course.
I knew that this part of the course would be long and uneventful, cause we wouldn’t hit Hollywood Studios til about mile 9. But they kept it really fun and had DJs cheering us on. And at a particularly sucky on-ramp, one of the toy soldiers from Toy Story was cheering us on. He really helped.
Finally, we got to Hollywood Studios. I knew this was the beginning of the end. We ran into the park next to the Tower of Terror and then ran up Sunset Bouelvard. I think this is the point when I heard Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin'" (best timing ever). We turned to head towards Mickey’s Sorcerer hat which had an awesome DJ cheering us along. We ran through the Pixar area and even saw Buzz and Woody taking pics with people. Then, it was the Osbourne Family Christmas lights. It was amazing.
We hit the Hollywood Studios backlot next. If you’ve ever taken the Backlot tour, you know the part where they show you set design and costuming in a tunnel? Well, that tunnel was a disco party! They had disco balls, lights and music to keep you going through that tunnel. It was a great surprise.
We headed out around the back of Hollywood Studios and saw Wreck-It Ralph and there was no line to meet him! My nephew loves Wreck-It Ralph, and we couldn’t pass up a character with no line, so we stopped and took a pic with Ralph. He was very nice and even blew kisses at us.
Then we were going towards the Beach Club and Boardwalk resorts. This part of the course sucked, not because of how I felt--I was feeling much better, but because the sidwalk was so narrow. When it was time for a run interval, we couldn’t run cause there were so many people huddled together. Finally, we reached the wider boardwalk of the hotel at about mile 12, and there were tons of Team in Training people cheering us on.
We came around the back, and Kristina tells me, “OMG, look Paris!” We were almost at Epcot and the finish line. We ran past the countries and through Future World. Now I know parks like Epcot and Hollywood Studios like the back of my hand, but going through them like this is a whole new experience. You’re so turned around sometimes you aren’t expecting to see things.
Before we knew it Spaceship Earth was in front of us, and the finish was just beyond. Once we got into the parking lot the lights and noise of people cheering got louder. And then I saw it, the finish! We walked for a bit before so we could make sure to run through that finish line, and we did!
I still can’t believe that my best friend and I did this. Two girls that had no desire or even inclination to run a year ago had just done a half marathon. We had our hard earned medals. It was amazing.
I went to the medical tent to get an ice bag for my knee and then we went to take pics, and meet up with Eddie, who was volunteering with Team in Training. We didn’t know it, but Eddie was at the finish and got video of us crossing the finish line. He also got us some celebratory cupcakes! Thanks again Ed!
At this point my phone died, so I have no more pics, but we did make it into Epcot and got our sparkling moscato and a few things to eat. We kept to the front side of the lake, cause there was no way we were gonna walk all the way to the back of the park, to then walk to the front to leave.
After about an hour at the party, we boarded our bus back to Port Orleans. Getting the hotel was the best idea. Not having to drive back to Kris’s house after the race was a fabulous decision. We got back to our room and our fluffy beds and passed out.
The next morning, we checked out and headed to find some real food. We decided against going to a park cause that would have required too much walking, but we went to Downtown Disney instead. It was a nice morning, plus we had our “I Did It!” shirts and medals on. We were soaking it all in.
We didn’t think we would be able to find brunch, but luckily there is a Sunday brunch at Raglan Road, and it hit the spot. We started out with some mimosas, and then the "full Irish" breakfast. We needed that food after eating so randomly the night before.
We walked around a bit, marveled at how good we felt, and then headed back home. I’m still in a bit of shock that my body held up so well. My knee feels better than it has in weeks, and thankfully I was able to make it all the way through the race.
If you really want something, just put your mind to it and it can be done. No matter how impossible something seems, if you want it you can make it happen. I never thought in my wildest dreams this was possible and it now is fact. Sorry to get all sappy here, but I’m so proud of Kris and I for making through those 13.1 miles. We actually did it!
So I just have one question, when’s the next one?