Okay, yes, I will be the first to admit it… my last post was BORING. But so was my day – as it was supposed to be; calm, relaxed, boring in preparation for the insanity about to ensue.
At 3:30am. Also known as Stupid-Early. That’s when the insanity ensued. Leg 1 of my go at the Princess Triple Crown: the Cinderella Royal Family 5K.
The race didn’t start until 6:15am, but we had to be at the start line staging area by 5am, which meant leaving my hotel at 4:15am to fit in time to eat, use a porta-potty and see some friends before getting into our corrals. And I needed 45 minutes to get myself together because – one of several big firsts for me that weekend – I had an actual costume to don!
Given my now-blonde hair and the 5K’s Cinderella theme, Cindy seemed like a natural fit and my outfit had a number of parts to get on, including a tiara. Tiaras, of course, leave hair exposed, so I needed time to get my mop of blonde fuzz under control too.
I opted to drive to the 5K because I’m not a fan of buses. For one thing, the seats are always so high, my feet don’t reach the ground, which is not comfy before or after a race. Also, buses would need to make a few stops to pick up folks all around my hotel, which takes time; I knew driving would be faster, allowing me more time to get myself together and eat. And then there’s this: buses are full of people, and people in February are all too often cesspools of germ activity. I needed to stay healthy for two more races, so driving my own car was a no-brainer. For those considering the drive vs. bus conundrum, let me say this: it took me exactly 10 minutes to get from my Caribbean Beach Resort (CBR) room to a parking space at Epcot, where the race was to begin and end. No WAY could a bus have gotten me there faster! Now, that speed was offset some by a pretty decent walk to and from the race start/finish area. I was fine with that, as my legs needed the stretch anyway, but do keep that in mind when making the decision yourself.
After a breakfast in my car of a bagel with peanut butter and a travel mug of the lukewarm brown water Disney insists on referring to as "coffee", I headed over to the staging area to meet up with my running group, take some pre-race pics and hit the porta-potties a couple times. This was great for me; I don’t like feeling rushed and stressed about time, and I had ample time to chat away pre-race nerves and sort out any last minute costume issues… like, oh, ill-placed race bib pins.
|Note: if you are short-waisted, watch where you're pinning your bib, or the pins can wind up in, er... unfortunate spots. Many thanks to some good, good running friends for pointing this out before the race started.|
I found the pre-race staging area to be amply sized for the 10,000ish folks racing and their accompanying friends/families; we had plenty of room to mill around and porta-potty lines were never too long. Before long, it was time to get into our corrals and get the party started!
|There's the Start line, waiting for us!|
My assigned corral for the 5K was D, and corrals ran A through E. The way things worked this year was that we got into our assigned corrals and waited as each corral, beginning with A, was routed out of its barricades, past the other corrals, and up to the Start. The National Anthem was sung, the wheelchair participants took off, and then the corrals began. It took about 5 or so minutes for each corral to start, so D didn’t head out until about 6:30am.
My goal for the 5K was to mostly walk, stop for lots of pictures, and generally just have a fun time with no attention paid to pace at all. I was lucky to find that a couple of new running friends had the same plan and were in corral D with me. We had an absolute BLAST!!! I don’t think I could have asked for better partners in crime for that race; we were equal parts enthusiastic, silly, irreverent and tired and there was pretty much nothing we didn’t find fun along those 3.1 miles.
Our hilarity started early, as the course took us through a great, big parking lot devoid of any entertainment at all. So. We made our own, of course.
|Most folks wait to stop for pics with Disney characters. We are not most folks. BEHOLD - a Disney power station! Ooooooo, aaaaaahhhh!!!|
|So much confusion in one sign... if no pedestrians are allowed, how are we here? I don't recall signing up to allow any inspection of my truck, TYVM. And who the heck resides in Epcot???|
|Don't make me bust out the canine search, lady.|
After a mile or so, we left the parking lot and backstage area to enter Epcot's World Showcase.
|Probably the most frequent question asked about Disney races is, "How crowded are they?" |
^THIS crowded. ^
Yep, it looked like that the whole way.
This is not the place to score a new PR, folks... unless you're going for a PR in Fun!
Which I was :)
The course then took us around World Showcase, through the pavilions of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, and Morocco.
|If you do this race, you MUST stop for a picture with the Big Ball. MUST!|
Character photo stops were available all through there, including Mulan and Mushu, Dopey, and Aladdin and Jasmine. We kept passing them by because the lines were sooooo long. And we wanted to have time for more power station photos, of course.
|Raise your hand if you got this reference...|
And then, there was this, in France:
Remember me, V? I. Don't. Do. Character. Pics. Only... now I do! Another big first - I got over the weird factor of posing with some dude in a fur suit and got my photo opp on. Go V!!!
But for every normal pic, there needs to be a bizarre-o one, so here:
|Doesn't everyone stop for a little thoughtful rest in the middle of a race???|
At that point, the course took us backstage again, which meant more rare photo stops.
|KEGS! Disney KEGS!|
|This can only be captioned "WTF?!?!"|
Just for the record, we were not the only ones taking weird pictures and laughing our asses off. I don't know about the other corrals, but D was Party Central. When our firework (yes, just one <sad trombone>) went off at the start, NO ONE in that corral ran! We all just sauntered on through, acting like it was just another day in a theme park. La-di-dah, just strollin' along... Okay, there had to be some runners in there, but they were noticeably few and far between and that slow, fun pace continued throughout the race. It was such a huge departure from how I've tried to race the past couple years, and you know what? I LOVED it!
Just about as I was thinking "I could do this ALL day!", we cruised into Future World, past the Big Ball (Spaceship Earth, really, but it will forever be the "Big Ball" in my family), and back out to the parking lot to the Finish. I got my first medal of the weekend, hugged my awesome friends goodbye, as they were heading home after the race, and thanked my lucky stars for such fun ladies to race with. :)
By the time I grabbed my post-race banana, water and box o' snacks, walked back to my car, and drove to CBR, it was nearing 9am and I felt like I'd already had a very full day. But there was still more excitement to come!