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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WDW Marathon Weekend - Expo and 5k

As I've mentioned here in the past, we have been training for a 5k and a 10k. We've just returned from the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend and we had a lovely time!

We arrived late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, no thanks to Air Canada, and checked into Bay Lake Tower. We didn't make it into bed til close to 3 am. We were up again around 8 am to have breakfast and then head to the Expo, which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports location. Because we were doing the 5k, which was scheduled for Thursday, we had to go to the Expo on Wednesday to pick up our race items and bibs.

The transportation to the Expo was excellent, there were buses leaving from each resort, so we didn't have to worry about using the rental car. This was a good thing, because the parking lot was quite full by the time we arrived.

The Expo was well laid out, there were ample signs directing attendees to the packet pick ups and the t-shirt pick ups. After a quick stay in line to register and sign off for the respective races, Mike and I headed to the RunDisney merchandise shop. We were looking for the 5 and 10k items, but there wasn't any available for purchase. It was close to 11, so we assumed that they had all been snatched up. There was a glut of merchandise for the full and half marathons, as well as the Goofy and Dopey runs.

We were told there was a second RunDisney shop in the building where you pick up the race shirts, so we headed there. In that building, I came across the Raw Threads booth, where I picked up two new racing tops - Red Hearts, (which I thought was for the Evil Queen, but it's actually the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland), and the Plaid Bow, which is the one for Merida!

After I paid for the tops, I found Mike who was chatting with none other than our German guide from our Adventures by Disney trip! We knew she was running the Marathon, but we didn't know we'd run into each other at the Expo of all places! The three of us spent the afternoon together navigating the Expo and picking up our race shirts.

After the Expo, we rushed over to the local Dick's Sporting Goods to pick up a helmet for Mike. We didn't know he needed one for the wheelchair division - there was nothing in the race documentation etc - this is something RunDisney needs to work on. After we grabbed the helmet, we were off to an early dinner at Sanaa, I love this restaurant, before an early bedtime.

The 5k race started at 6.15 am, which meant you had to be up around 4am in order to arrive at the starting line. Because Mike was in the wheelchair division, he had to be in the wheelchair tent in time for him to be checked in and to make any last minute adjustments to the wheelchair and the FreeWheel. We were up at 4, ate a small breakfast, put on 4 layers due to the -1 Fahrenheit temperatures and we headed to the Monorail.

At the Monorail, we were told that we could not switch to the Epcot Monorail because it had broken down. Instead we were to use the buses. This would have been ok in warmer temperatures, but it was much worse standing outside in the biting wind, waiting for a bus.

We arrived at the bus drop off location in the Epcot parking lot, and then we walked into the staging area. I was blown away by the sheer amount of participants. There were large packs of racers moving into one area, it really looked like the Zombie Horde! We made it through the bag check - we didn't have one, and headed to the wheelchair tent. Here, Mike and I separated and I went to go find my corral.

I was a little confused here, because there was no signage directing you to the corral section. I wandered around a little until I found the map and the location of the corrals. All the while, freezing and trying to keep movement in my fingers. Eventually, I made it and into Corral C, the best letter! I went all the way to the front, stretched, walked around, and waited for the race to begin.

After what seemed like an eternity, we were called to the starting line. The wheelchair racers were put in place first, then Corral A moved down the chute and towards the starting line. After the 'A' racers were in place, they loaded Corral B and so on. It took about 18 minutes or so from the time the wheelchair racers started to when our corral started moving.

I was fortunate enough to be in the middle of a small pack, so I kept a slower pace than usual. This worked out well for me because I ended up running about 75% of the race! I finished in about 37 minutes, about 10 minutes less than my average time. This put me at about the middle of the pack for the finishers, which is just fine for me. I was paranoid I'd come in last!

There were some characters on the course, but I didn't stop to take pictures. By the time I got to each one, the line up was quite long, so I didn't bother. I was able to get these, though:

Spaceship Earth in the distance

Sunrise, looking back at World Showcase

After the race, I found Mike at the wheelchair tent and we beelined for the bus to take us back to Bay Lake Tower. It was still frigid and we didn't want to spend anymore time outside than we needed!

I wasn't as sore as I thought I'd be after this race, but we did take some time in the afternoon to nap and relax. We had another early morning for us on Friday for the 10k.

I'll have my 10k report later on in the week.

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