YES!!! I was finally here!!!! The Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. This race weekend, I opted for the 10k. This is a distance that I really enjoy and haven’t had the opportunity to run in about a year (insert and see #onearmbandit posts from December!!). I was nervous and excited and being at the Health and Fitness Expo just made it all too real!!
The 3 day Health and Fitness Expo was located at ESPN Wide World of Sports
..and you could FEEL the force the minute you entered the property!!! The 5k was earlier on Friday morning, so you could already see some of the cool bling and tech shirts walking around. Kind of made me wish I did the 5k too!
We made our way on in to pick up my swag bag…
You see how BUSY it is!!! There are SO many people!!!
There were so many people, but everything flowed well because of all the volunteers and Disney cast members. I got my race number and off we went to walk around the Expo.
I am thinking some one else was just as excited as I was to be there!!!
I had to resist the Dark FORCE to NOT buy anything at any of the vendors! And let me tell you…that was HARD!!! I don’t do that…that’s just not normal!! I did manage to convince Hubs to stay around a little and get some photos. He’s NOT the biggest Star Wars fan; he doesn’t hate it, but doesn’t really understand the FANdemonium, either! But that’s ok, because Aidan was with me, and he got it…
After hanging out at the Expo, we went to check in at our hotel. There were MANY people signed up for the all of the races this weekend and therefore many road closures. For transportation to the race, it was suggested to stay on a Disney property. Hubs surprised me by making reservation at the ONE Disney hotel that I have always wanted to stay…..
We stayed in Building 8….BOCA CHICA
The hotel is reminiscent of Old Florida, like the times of Henry Flagler, John Rockefeller, and the like (see St.Augustine,FL ). It was like stepping into a time warp, in a good way!! All of the buildings are named after some of the barrier islands in Florida. The kids had a great time at the pool and we had a wonderful dinner at one of the restaurants on property. We had an early evening because I had to get up early to catch the bus to the start.
How early did you ask???
Yep…you read it right…3:10 AM to catch the bus at 3:30 AM. All race participants needed to board the buses no later than 4 AM in order to get to the corral for the race start at 5:30 AM. I was at Epcot by 4:15 AM, cleared the security, and hung around a little. I managed to meet up with a high school friend, Kim, that I hadn’t seen in 20 years. She was there with some friends to celebrate a 40th birthday. It was so good to see her and catch up as we walked to our race corral. (See you Kim for our NEXT 10k…but a lot sooner, please!!). I was in corral C and trust me when I say, the ‘corral police‘ made sure you were where you were supposed to be!! You can move back a corral (or two) but you can’t move up! There were a total of 6 corrals (A-F) and we all started in waves. The first wave was the Wheelchair racers at 5:29 AM and Corral A starting at 5:30 AM; each corral after that was at 3 minutes intervals. My corral came up…the countdown began…
The course took to the back part of Epcot and eventually through the park itself, by the World Showcase. Hi Canada, Hi United Kingdom!!! Down the Boardwalk and then we got to Hollywood Studios. I paid close attention because I’ve never been there before! I must come back and see it…in the LIGHT OF DAY!! 3 miles in…I’m feeling pretty good!
Between miles 3 and 4 brought some unexpected hills, which we all know I LOATHE! You know when you are at a park, and you have that slight up hill walk to get to the next attraction? Yeah, well try and RUN that a few times! #notFUN . Some where along the way, we made it out onto the street (more like the highway) and we had to run up an on ramp (or down ramp, I can’t remember). I was NOT prepared for this uphill battle and the force (ie my big behind) forced me into surrendering….to walk! This slowed me down some, but I wasn’t the only one.
Mile 5 was approaching and I think I kinda felt like him….
I felt like I was further than this…but I wasn’t! 1.2 mile left! A huge movie screen greeted us with scenes from The Return of the Jedi, when Princess Leia is riding through the forest, racing and battling the Stormtroopers. That scene led us to the rocky, cross country like path that began the ending of the race (wasn’t prepared for THAT either!). There were props from the movie to pose with, but I…..kept going! As we entered towards the finish at ESPN Wide World of Sports, it started to sprinkle a little and that made me go faster! (I really don’t like running in the rain!!).
Official Time : 1:15.26
1353 out of 6919 Women
3533 out of 12169 finishers
A close up of the bling….
I wasn’t in love with my time, but considering the course that I was completely unprepared for, I was ok. Additionally, I hadn’t done the 10k distance in over a year, so considering this, I was ok. I just have to do the distance again AND get some speed/hill work going!!! As much as I hate hills, I know my time would be a little better had I been prepared.
Opinions on the race, as a whole?
- I thought the race was very well organized. I had heard many “minuses” but I found it to be the opposite. From the transportation to the start and finish, to the line up in the corrals, and to the ON TIME start….it all went so well!!
- Fun with LOTS of costumes and people watching GALORE!!
- You get to see the “behind the scenes” of the parks when all is shut down. It was kind of neat being in the park when the “MAGIC” was off!
- The after race photos with your medal(s).
- The post race snacks were yummy!!
- I’m not really sure WHY this race was $110. I mean, this shirt and the medal were awesome. It was cool to have my name on my bib, but was ALL of this worth that price tag? #welcometoDISNEY
- It’s not really a race that you can PR. Many people stop to take pictures with the characters, mile markers(see above), and Star Wars props/memorabilia. It was a little distracting, but I kept on running. You can do all this IF you keep up your pace (16 min/mile maximum).
- The course was a little off for me…the hills and the rugged terrain. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either (but I would race it again!!)
Oh…I forgot! My outfit!! I went with my favorite droid, R2D2
I told you it would be anticlimactic and it paled in comparison to some of the costumes and original outfits, but I was happy with it!
I had such a great weekend, and now I can see why everyone loves to runDisney.
Well, Mickey…add me to the list, because next year 10k…you WILL be mine!!! #maytheCOURSEbewithyou
Congrats to all of you who participated in any and ALL of the races this weekend!!!
Thanks for reading! ❤
What events did YOU do this weekend??