Note: Due to length I have broken this post up into a 2 parts.
The Race, Getting There
We had a hard night on Saturday night since A, sick with a cold was up screaming until 12:30 am. We had tried to get to bed early as we knew we had to wake up super early and were ready to sleep at 10 or so. But poor A was not feeling well at all 🙁
Finally at 12:30 my mom took A into the other room so we could get at least a couple of hours of much needed sleep. This of course left me feeling like an awful parent but A went right to sleep with my mom. N and I were kicking ourselves that we hadn’t given A to my mom at 10. But who knew. We really thought she would calm down and fall asleep but apparently she had to be away from us to do so.
At around 2:50, I woke up and started to get ready. 10 minutes later, N woke up to our adorable wake up call from Baymax! This is one of the things that I love about Disney stays, the simplest thing like a wake up call gets the Disney touch by having a character do the call (it’s a recording, which also helps that the staff don’t actually have to make the calls).
I also have to say in fairness and for those who have read my previous post about our sleeping habits, N almost always gets up before me and if I do wake before him, he wakes up as soon as I start moving. However, N had been taking care of A so I could get some snatches of sleep since he is used to going on almost no sleep and I am not. So I enjoyed this super rare occasion and let N get 10 more minutes of sleep.
After getting all geared up we headed down to the front of our resort to catch the bus. A short while later, we arrived at the Epcot parking lot where the race start and finish lines are. Just like last year, there were droves of runners, endless lines of port a potties and a lively pre race party happening.
Since this was the Princess Half Marathon, many men running dress up as princesses. I couldn’t take photos of all of the fantastic male princess costumes that we saw, but this male Rapunzel was on the bus with us and was kind enough to pose for a photo. This costume was great!
We headed through the bag check tents, with nothing to check we had no lines and we knew that leaving would also have no line. After a mile or so, we arrived at the starting corrals. This year N and I were in corral J, which is fantastic!
For Disney races, to get a good corral, you need to submit a time from a race run in the past year. N and I had no time to submit but had gotten lucky this year and been placed in an early corral. The corrals go from A (super serious runners and the likely winner) to P (runners who have not submitted a time and got unlucky with placement) with a large balloon marking the start of each corral. The later the corral, the heavier the congestion on the course and the more likely the runner will be in danger of being swept. All runners in Disney races need a sub 16 mile to avoid being swept. There are pacers known as the balloon ladies (because they have balloons tied to their waste so they are easy to see) who run a 16 minute mile the whole race. Falling behind the balloon ladies means the runner will be swept at the next sweeping point.
We got to corral J and waited to start. The race started at 5:30, Every few minutes a corral would start with an eruption of fireworks. As the early corrals took off, we started walking up to the start line. Soon we were right by the stage and the balloon for corral A as we stood at the start line. Until finally it was our turn. The fireworks erupted for us and we were off!