The first change was the Expo, which had been moved from the Wide World of Sports to Coronado Springs Convention Center. We stayed at Pop Century this weekend and took the bus to the Expo, but we would have preferred to drive so we could go straight to a theme park. Unfortunately, nobody was allowed to drive to the Expo this year. But since I don't usually mind the bus system, I could live with it.
|Bib and Coast to Coast bracelet - check!|
Then it was time to find the race merchandise. I had spotted a teal jacket that I HAD to have, so I got into yet another very long and windy line to get INTO the Run Disney merchandise area. Jan had to pick up an order from Raw Threads so she did that while I stood in the line. This line too much, much longer. I didn't look at the time because I honestly didn't want to know. I was losing my precious park time and that was bad enough. Jan returned and we finished our time in line. I ran for the jackets and tried on the last small. It was tighter than I prefer (since I wanted to be able to put it over a long sleeve shirt) but they had only larges left and that was too big. However, over in the corner, Jan spotted a medium for me so I grabbed it and tried it on! It was a little roomy but definitely not too big! Of course, by the time I was done shopping they had replenished the entire stock of jackets! Oh well, it was an adventure! I also bought a long sleeve Run Disney In Training shirt mostly because it says, "Every Mile is Magic" on the sleeve.
We had to wait in yet another long and windy line to check out. By this time, I was simply tired of being crammed in next to people. It was noisy and chaotic and stuffy and I was just done. We paid for our items and neither one of us had any desire to shop at any of the vendors anymore. I didn't even go to the Sparkle Skirts booth to say hi to Leah because I was on sensory overload! I only picked up a small thing of Body Glide because I needed to be able to carry it with me during the race, and I picked up a Fellow Flower for Jan (and was disappointed because they didn't even seem thankful for our business).
We went outside to find the lines for the buses and were greeted with another long and windy line. Thankfully Jan asked what that line was for and learned it was the bus going back to Downtown Disney for non-resort guests so we didn't have to wait in that one. We went over to the parking lot and found our own line for Pop. We didn't wait too long for a bus and were back at the resort before too long.
Race morning was upon us before long. The alarm was set for 2 AM so we could board one of the first buses. I believe we got onto the 2nd bus leaving Pop Century and it was a smooth ride to EPCOT. I heard from other friends that it was much more difficult getting to the start later on.
There was a sign warning us about the difficult weather conditions and that's when it really hit me - I was going to need to be really careful. I had been battling congestion since Friday morning and that was making it difficult to breathe. The humid air wasn't helping one bit. Time to change the game plan from "Let's see if I can run this faster than my previous Disney Halfs" to "Let's be smart and make it to the finish in one piece"! :)
|Danger! Will Robinson!|
We seemed to be timing everything well before the race. There were no lines for the porta-potties the first two times we went. The walk to the corrals was uncrowded. And we had no trouble getting into the corral. I think the key for us is that we did everything very early. We saw many, many people running to Corral A right up until race time! That sort of stress is not fun at all!
|Selfie in the corral with less than 2 minutes to go - Jan, Cindy, and me!|
Corral A took off and then it was our turn! It was so exciting to be back at Disney World for a race after 13 months!
Jan, Cindy, and I run at different paces and with different intervals. Yet, all the way up to the Magic Kingdom, we kept running into each other! We even crossed into the Magic Kingdom together - so we stopped and took pictures of one another! I wish we had stopped someone to get a picture of the 3 of us.
I didn't stop for character pictures because the lines were way too long for my taste. But I did stop and get a few great shots in Magic Kingdom. I usually don't stop but this time I wanted some good pictures!
|Scary-looking selfie in front of the castle!|
|My favorite part of the race - coming up Main Street USA!|
|Getting ready to Run Through the Castle!|
The effort I was having to put forth was greater than I realized and despite keeping to my fueling and water strategy, I was fading fast. I think it was just the difficulty of getting oxygen into my lungs that was doing it to me. My plan was to run the last mile in, like I did at Tink, but I decided against it this time. I passed the 10 mile marker and was really just over the whole thing, which I've never felt before. I even considered walking and thought to myself that nobody would care if I walked the rest of the way. But then I decided that walking would just mean I was out there longer and I just wanted to be DONE! LOL So I kept on with my intervals.
Once we were in EPCOT (I didn't even stop to take pictures of the entrance like I always do - that's how badly I just wanted to be done LOL), I decided to keep running. It was probably 8/10 of a mile, according to the readout on my Garmin. As I rounded the corner with the Gospel choir, they were singing one of my favorite songs and that really boosted me to the finish line! I rounded that last corner with a smile on my face - so glad that I had finally finished. I had had no pain at all and I was so grateful for a strong finish in tough conditions!
My official time was 2:32:58 - less than 10 minutes slower than my best ever Disney half, and right around 6 minutes slower than my first ever Princess Half (where I ran the entire way!). I think that is a pretty strong showing, considering the intervals, the congestion I was feeling, the humidity, and the fact that there were 12,000 more finishers this year than during the first year (much more crowded course).
|Coast to Coast Finisher 2013|