The half marathon took place on the 3rd day, the Saturday, of the Walt Disney World Race Weekend. This is when things started to get real serious. Even the morning operations, such as the set-up of the corrals and the start line was different from the previous two days for the 5K and 10K race. The corrals were now sectioned from A all the way to P.
Luckily this year, I was seeded in a slightly faster corral than last year. It saved me a wee bit of time. But walking to the start was still jam-packed with runners. There were two types: those that were extremely excited and amped up, and others that were more quiet & serious.
Me, however, I was not exactly nervous, but more focused. I had to be disciplined and concentrate on my strategy that I wouldn’t go out too fast on this 3rd day so that I would have enough legs left for the marathon the following day.
What’s so interesting and unique about the Dopey Challenge is that it’s a lot about strategic planning. Going out a bit too fast on the previous days could leave you with nothing left for the marathon. But going out too slow on the previous days could mean that you’ve fallen behind that you simply can’t make up the lost time on the marathon. So it has to be just right for banking time & energy.
It was real foggy during the half marathon race day. Better than rain, but the humidity was slowly creeping up. The weather pattern was fluctuating so much. I was hoping for fairer weather, but it just didn’t happen.
Along the course, I saw a guy dressed up as the chef from the movie “Ratatouille”; he was wearing his chef’s hat, apron, and clipped on a wash cloth. Many spectators greeted him, saying “Hi chef!” So cute.
And then at about the 10K mark, there were these costume characters dressed as green army soldiers, calling out to runners, “hey you, get down on your knees, I order you to do 10 push-ups.” This couple running by looked stunned, so the guy stopped and performed his push -ups while nearby runners chuckled. I don’t know what happened to them afterwards but they were probably gassed from that little interruption!
There were a number of amputees running the half marathon. It made me realize how fortunate we are to be able to do the things we can do. They surely are an inspiration to many runners out there. A guy who was filming himself along the course looked into his camera and said “don’t ever quit, look at that amputee – they can do it, I can do it too! Never quit!” Amazing what each runner does on the course to keep themselves going.
For me, I paid attention to the mile markers. It is funny how your brain works differently when the running distance doubles from the day before. At one point, you wish ahhh, wouldn’t it be nice if I was just running a 10K today, then I would have been long finished. But, then your brain clicks into concentration mode, and before you know it, you are done. Although I have to credit Run Disney for their volunteers and entertainment that was provided along the course, because that definitely made it easier to get me to the finish line.
The most spectacular part of the half marathon course was running through the Magic Kingdom. With the theme song from the movie Frozen blasting out loud on the speakers, it was very magical and dreamy indeed. “Let it go, let it go…” I kept humming the lyrics. Then before long, I was heading into my last few kilometers. I passed by the Epcot globe, where park spectators were beginning to gather. Their hype & energy grew louder and louder until finally I was at the finishing line. I received my 3rd medal of the weekend, which was a Donald Duck medal (see photo).
I was so thrilled and happy to be done with day 3 of 4! Yet I was feeling so physically drained by this point, and the thought of still having a marathon to run was even more daunting. But just one more day, and my second Dopey Challenge would be completed.