Disney Star Wars Dark Side Half 2016 Part 2

See Part 1 Here.

The Half Marathon started a half hour earlier than the 10K, so the alarm went off at 2:30. Ugh. Rough, but after yesterday it felt normal. We got dressed and met friends in lobby at 3:15. But first a selfie.

The bus line wasn’t nearly as bad as it was for Wine & Dine, and we got on second bus to start village. We didn’t check any bags, and I ate my bagel while we waited in the runner’s area. We didn’t see the photo ops pre-race. I used the port o potties and then we headed to our corrals about 30 minutes before gun time. It’s a good piece to the corrals and the slow walking aggravated my back a bit, but once we spread out a bit it was OK. I’d been worried about the weather all week (of course), but it wasn’t as hot as I was afraid it would be and humidity was practically nonexistent. Far from perfect running conditions, but the best you could ask for in Florida.

I jumped into the port o let line one last time and made it into the corral with just a couple of minutes to spare. Having had to wait around for hours at all of our other D races, we timed this morning just about perfectly. I took my pre-race Gu and, being all the way up in corral H, we were waiting on the gun and fireworks for our corral in no time!

Mark had run a lot of the first four miles of the course on Saturday, so he could warn me were the choke points were and places the road might be bad. A high school band was playing Star Wars music in the first mile. This was the first time I’ve ever run through the World Showcase, and it was beautiful running through with the countries and torches all lit up. After that we turned and went on the familiar Yacht/Beach Club/Boardwalk path to HS. Although it was tight through here, people were still able to run and everyone was keeping a pretty good place, I guess because we were in a higher corral than we have been before.

We went into Hollywood Studios and saw Storm Troopers and Kylo Renn on the stage with music and movie screens,. It was pretty neat. Then down Sunset towards Tower of Terror and out the back entrance. Cosplayers were standing in the Fantasia theater for lots of photo ops. From there it was the portion we were dreading – the three miles down World Drive and Osceola Parkway to Animal Kingdom. As we walked slowly up the badly slanting on ramp onto Osceola, the sun started to come up, but the weather was still pretty nice. There were no photo ops, but there were a couple of screens playing Star Wars movie clips and a DJ. I think Disney could add some entertainment here. Even another band would be great.

We walked the overpasses, but they still worked my back. About mile 7 I started hitting a wall bad. I felt slow and my legs felt really tired. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep the 3/1 intervals. We hit mile 8 just as we turned into Animal Kingdom and I looked at my Garmin: 14:38! My fasted mile of the race. No wonder I was hurting! We spent about a mile working through Animal Kingdom, and as we exited the entrance there were more cosplayers. I couldn’t help but stop for a picture with all the storm troopers. My first Disney race photo!

We headed back down Osceola towards Wide World of Sports, and it seemed like nonstop overpasses and hills. My back started hurting really bad, and we walked both up and down. It would get better on the flats, but there wasn’t much flat.

At mile 12 we turned onto the gravel/dirt path behind Wide World of Sports for about ¾ of a mile. It seemed pretty soft and it was crowded so we walked a lot here too. Once we got into Wide World of Sports  there were tons of spectators cheering us on, then, before I knew it, there was the finish!

Mark and I pretty much walked straight through the finish village and straight to the bus line. There were more photo ops, but they were probably a half mile from the finish and we didn’t feel like it. I didn’t like how the finish area was set up at all. The bus line back to Boardwalk was long but moved very quickly.

After we got back to the hotel and a shower, it was time to celebrate! We spent the rest of the day in Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Now I can't get away from these guys! #darksidechallenge #darksidehalf #nuunambassador #rundisney

A post shared by Runs With Glitter (@gorunglitter) on

Monday it was time to go home, but we had time to visit a few more friends at Hollywood Studios.

All in all, I had probably the best time I’ve ever had a a Disney race. My finish time wasn’t my fastest, but I feel good knowing I made several photo stops, ran on extremely tired legs, and was forced to walk more because of the bottlenecks. Otherwise, I was actually on track for a PR! More importantly, I actually enjoyed the race for once, and ran with a smile on my face most of the time. Disney really stepped up its game, adding med tents and water stops in every mile. There could’ve been a bit more course entertainment, and the finish area needs to be thought out a little better.

I doubt we’ll be doing another Disney race for a while. They’re getting so expensive, and there are a lot of fun races out there. And we both want to PR our half. I think the course will get better when construction of Star Wars land is finished at Hollywood Studios, and we might do the half or maybe the 10K when that happens.

Results:

Chip Time: 3:32:56

Overall:15631 / 18171

Gender:8197 / 10047

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