Archive for February, 2013

Thoughts on racing at Disney…

I need to delay my Princess Half Marathon race report for several reasons.
1. I still don’t have an official time since there was a problem with my tag registering at the start line.
2. I haven’t had time to upload my pictures yet.
Instead I thought I’d share some thoughts about running at Disney. There has been some discussion on various Disney-related discussion boards about the Princess Half Marathon (and running Disney races in general) and I thought I’d use this space to give some of my opinions.
Issue 1: The Corral Placement system at Disney is imperfect and leads to some fast runners being corralled in the back and some slow runners finding their way to the front. This leads to a situation where sometimes faster runners need to weave around slower runners before being able to attain their desired pace. Obviously this can be dangerous as it leads to potential crashes and annoying because the faster runners cannot run their own pace while dodging around slower runners.
In my opinion there are several different issues at hand.
1st issue is that runDisney caters to 1st time half marathoners, many of whom have never raced at all (or have never gone further than a 5k). I met a woman at the airport who runs 8:30 pace and finished the half in a “disappointing” 2:20 because she started in Corral F. In retrospect she belonged in Corral A but had never done a race beyond a 5k. It’s hard to translate a pace for 3.1 miles to a pace for 13.1 miles. Disney only accepts a proof of time from a race 10k or longer. Disney is forced to “randomly” assign these runners to Corrals based on no knowledge of how they will actually run. There’s no good solution. Disney asks for an estimated finish time but requires proof if you think you will finish faster than 2:45. The situation is made worse by the fact that many of the slowest runners at the race are afraid of being “swept” for not keeping the pace. These runners will try to start as far forward as possible because the sweeper clock doesn’t start until the last runner crosses the starting line. Having someone who is running a 17:00 min/mile pace start at the front of Corral D is an unfortunate situation but it happens – sometimes intentionally. One of the first non-Disney races I ran was a local half marathon with no corrals. I guessed (correctly) that I’d be one of the slower runners and thought (stupidly) that I’d start toward the front so I wouldn’t finish last. What a mistake! I was nearly trampled by the 1st mile. The next year I ran the race I (appropriately) started in the back for my own safety. In all fairness I knew I wouldn’t be swept anyway and the amount of time cushion was minimal so there was no benefit to starting near the front. I totally understand the fear of being swept but still think it’s safer for people to start near where they belong.
The 2nd part of this issue is that many runners who are capable of running a faster time choose to enjoy the entertainment instead. If you normally run a 2 hour half but stop in a dozen lines to wait for pictures with characters, you will find yourself weaving through crowds of slower runners. Should there be a separate and later start for people who want to stop for all of the characters???
Issue 2: Course crowding. Both the Disney Full Marathon in January and the Princess Half Marathon last weekend had record number of participants. While this is clearly good for runDisney’s bottom line, it does create an issue with crowding on the course. There are several narrow parts to the course and the larger number of runners has made the congestion much worse. Having started runDisney as a Corral F runner and now having started in Corral B, I can pretty definitively say that the crowding is worse the further back you start. So for that woman who start in F and finished in 2:20, she had the worst of the crowding. I don’t really think that runDisney is going to start cutting back on the number of runners. Economy of scale argue against this. The Disneyland Half Marathon sold out within hours of opening. As long as we, the runners, are willing to pay the high prices to participate in these races, Disney will continue to have big numbers. And since Disney caters to new runners, they have a pretty good thing going. For all the people who ran the Tower of Terror 10 miler last fall and swore they’d never do it again, Disney is finding new people to run the race. And they raised the price of that race by quite a bit. Trust me, they’ll be able to sell out the race.
Issue 3: Walking vs. Running vs. Run/Walking. I suppose this could be a whole entire blog entry but I’ll keep it brief. There are always complaints that there are racers in the early corrals who are already walking by mile 1. And this is a huge problem for some people. I have strong opinions on this since I am a run/walker but…
1st I know a 60-something year old man who WALKS a 2 hour half marathon. No running involved. Unless you are faster than he is, don’t criticize walkers as a homogenous group.
2nd, I did run 30 sec/walk 30 sec for most of the race. So I took my 1st walk break before minute 1 of the race. And I finished around 2:34-ish (no official time yet but that’s my Garmin time). For a Disney race that puts me appropriately in Corral B. Which is where I started. And I ran negative splits. Depending on when you saw me, you might have seen me walking early in the race. That doesn’t mean I don’t belong in B. I try to be considerate of my walk breaks and skipped some when course crowding/narrowing made it dangerous to slow down to a walk. I know that some people are less considerate with their walking and, especially with the later corrals, course crowding caused problems. But Jeff Galloway is the master of run/walk and he’s also the training consultant for runDisney so walking isn’t going away anytime soon at Disney.
Final thoughts: runDisney does an amazing thing. It gets people off the couch and into running (or walking or run/walking). This is an amazing thing. In a generation where obesity is an epidemic, we should all support an organization that encourages people to start moving. Three short years ago I got off the couch because of runDisney. And since then I’ve done two 5k fun runs, one 10k, one 10 miler, SEVEN half marathons, and 2 full marathons. That’s pretty amazing stuff. So I refuse to criticize those who train the best they can but struggle with the 16 min/mile pace. And if letting people who are just starting their discovery of running means that I won’t PR at Disney, I think I’m ok with that.
Ultimately I think that running at Disney is a bit about letting yourself have fun and managing your expectations. The Princess Half was exactly what I expected and I had a blast! And my 7 year old daughter is counting down the years until she’s old enough to run the Princess Half with me (she has 7 more years but who’s counting???). I’ll be there with her!

Today my family participated in Disney’s Royal Family 5k. This is an untimed “fun run” and not a race. I decided to register for the stroller division because I didn’t think Zachary could walk 3.1 miles. Jessica, Nathaniel, and Tom were going to have to manage on foot.
I was a little nervous going into today’s event. For starters nobody in my family had trained AT ALL. I wasn’t sure that anyone, except maybe Tom, could finish 3.1 miles on their own 2 feet. Secondly, we needed to leave our hotel around 5am this morning. This required a very early morning wake-up call. And finally I was worried that nobody (except me, of course) would enjoy the experience of participating in a Disney race.
Last night I prepared all of the running clothes. Bibs were pinned on shirts. Outfits were laid out from the shirt to shoes. And snacks were packed as well. I woke up by 4:20am (before my alarm went off). I took a shower and got dressed before waking anyone else. Once I was ready to walk out the door, I woke my husband followed by the 3 children. Zachary was upset that he didn’t get a race bib but we managed to get over that problem quickly. By 5:15am we were in the car and on our way (only a little bit later than my hoped-for 5am!). The drive to Epcot was pretty easy and we were parked before we knew it.
Once in the Epcot parking lot it was a short walk to the starting corrals. We stopped and used the port-a-potties on the way. Tom and the big kids were assigned to Corral D but got permission to start with us in Corral E. Corral E is the designated stroller division and runDisney holds a banner at the front of the corral that prevents any stroller participants from going faster than their 15 min/mile pace. No running with the strollers! Thankfully before we started the race, I reviewed a meeting spot in case we got separated during the race. I told Jessica and Nathaniel to find letter “R” in the family reunion area. I highly recommend having a meeting spot!
While waiting for the race to start we all enjoyed the DJ and had fun dancing and taking pictures. We ran into one of my Team Studios Central buddies who was walking the 5k with his family. And then we waited. And waited some more. Corral A finally started and then B, C, and D. Somehow there was then a LONG delay before they sent us off. Many people finished the 5k before we started. Although we were at Epcot by 5:15-5:30am, we didn’t start until well after 7am (maybe 7:20am?). Obviously the stroller division was full of children who were none to happy with the long wait.
When the fireworks went off for Corral E, we started walking. Jessica immediately announced that we were walking WAY too fast and asked us to slow down. And Nathaniel took off at a run, never to be seen again. I was torn between making this a “family event” and trying to keep Nathaniel within view. Ultimately I accomplished neither. Tom went slowly with Jessica. Zachary and I were somewhere in the middle. And Nathaniel eventually ran in front of the Corral E banner and ran to the finish well ahead of the rest of us.
The first mile of the race was quite uninteresting. We walked through the Epcot parking lot to a Cast Member parking area and backstage area. There was absolutely no entertainment and not much in the way of visuals. After the 1st mile marker we entered Epcot next to the Mexico Pavilion. Soon thereafter was a water stop. Zachary and I each took a cup of water. Mulan was hanging out in China. We then saw Snow White in Germany (and stopped to take advantage of indoor plumbing). There were several topiaries out in preparation for the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival. Jasmine was in Morocco and Belle in France. Marie was also in France. We exited the International Gateway and turned right to re-enter Epcot via a backstage area. We re-entered in England and saw some amazing Peter Pan topiaries. The course headed into Future World and we made a loop around the front of Epcot. Finally we made a left to exit the park back into the parking lot where we found the finish line. Zachary was thrilled to get his medal. We grabbed some PowerAde and snack boxes. I especially loved that they had Jake and the Neverland Pirate fruit snacks for the kids.
I was super nervous about finding Nathaniel and things were very crowded. We headed to the Family Reunion area and the letter R. There was Nathaniel just hanging out. A runDisney representative was waiting with him. Apparently she had tried to call me (I didn’t hear my phone) and managed to reach Tom to let us know that Nathaniel was safe. When Nathaniel finished he asked one of the volunteers where to find the Letter R. The guy didn’t know but got this runDisney person to help him. Amazingly enough she waited with him until I arrived. I must say that I was very impressed.
Jessica struggled with finishing the race but Tom got her across the finish line. Nathaniel, Zachary, and I were there waiting from Jessica and Tom but we cheered for them! Nathaniel immediately announced that he would happily do this again. Jessica was a little more skeptical but willing – with more training – and Zachary was perfectly happy in the stroller.
Overall I truly enjoyed finishing a 5k with my husband and 3 kids. Having never done a runDisney 5k, I was a teeny bit disappointed in a few things. It took way too long to start the 5k, especially considering the number of children involved. The first mile of the course was blah. I thought there would be more fanfare with the character stops. Things I liked about it: It definitely was a fun race. A relaxed pace with no pressure to go fast. It’s fun to see the park before it opens. And I love World Showcase. I love that this was a great way to introduce the kids to the love of running. The race was far enough to be a challenge but short enough to be manageable.
In short I think we would do it again!

Sunday morning at some unGodly hour I will be starting my very first Princess Half Marathon.  I must say that after a few weeks of bitter cold and snow, I’m looking forward to a lovely long weekend in the Florida sunshine.  I’m also really looking forward to racing a more sensible distance than the Goofy.  For reasons that I may never understand – lots of extra miles, resuming speed work, ??? – I’m running about as well as I ever have.  My most recent “long” run was at 10:23 min/mile pace.  Which is very fast for me.  And my 12 mile run was at 12:50 pace and felt great.

Disney races are known for being fun and social events.  Friends run with friends at whatever pace is comfortable.  Many people stop for photo opportunities.  Lots and lots of first timers on the course.  And since Disney knows how to do spectacle, there is PLENTY to enjoy along the course.  Many would say that a Disney race is more about the journey than the destination.

Which leads me to my current “crisis.”  I probably can PR the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday.  I’ve been running strong for the last few weeks.  My training feels great.  And even after my most recent 12 mile run I had plenty left in the tank.  I’ve run some pretty fast speed work, including half mile repeats at around 10 min/mile pace.  Although I haven’t run a Galloway Magic Mile in a long time, I think I could probably finish this race around 11 min/mile (if I really push) or, at least, something faster than my 11:25 min/mile half marathon PR.  But the question becomes….Should I?

I’ve been assigned to Corral B.  Which is where I belong based on pace.  But many of my friends are starting in Corral C and planning to take it easy and enjoy the race.  Do I go for a PR and try to race this race? Or do I drop back to Corral C and join my friends in a slower pace? If I try to run a “fast” race (in quotes because my fast is many people’s slow), I’m a missing the point of running the Princess? Or is it a good idea to take advantage of the “leftover” training from the Goofy and go for my best?

I’m pretty sure I’ve decided to try for a good finish time rather than drop by and run with my friends.  But I must say I still feel conflicted about it….

Running Form

One of the things that I worked on with Jeff Galloway during my ecoaching was some running drills.  I did cadence drills which work on increasing the number of steps you take per minute and acceleration-gliders which work on using forward momentum.  I did hill repeats to work on leg strength and prepare for running hills (not that there are many hills at Disney – it’s about as flat as a course can get).  Probably like many other runners my interest in running form initially began after reading Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run. I have posted about that book before and, briefly, it is the book that really started the most recent barefoot running phenomenon.

After reading that book I purchased a pair of “more minimalist style” shoes.  I am not looking to run barefoot.  I have extremely flat feet and have always worn stability shoes.  But I was intrigued enough about the message in Mr. McDougall’s book that I researched extensively on some of the newer shoe styles along the minimalist tradition.  My research led me to try Brooks Pure Cadence.  Why? At the time I was wearing Brooks’ stability shoe (Adrenaline) and so I knew that Brooks shoes fit me (I now run primarily in Saucony Hurricanes for no particular reason except I wanted to try something new).  I have not been happy with Nike shoes in the past (they fit funny) so I didn’t think Nike Free was a good choice.  The Pure Cadence were the most “stability” of the Pure line. I went to my local running store, spoke at length with the salesperson (also a runner – always a good sign), and tried the shoes.  The salesperson did warn me to slower transition to the new shoes and not train for a race in them.  He said it might take as long as 2 years to adjust.  My plan had been to use the once a week and he and I agreed that it was a sensible plan.

Although I loved the Pure Cadence on my initial trial run, I didn’t love them as much subsequently.   They seem a little tight across the forefoot which requires keeping the laces very, very loose. And I just never felt great running in them.  I trained for the Goofy in my Saucony shoes rather than wear something I didn’t love.  Recently though – after finishing the Goofy – I decided to try the Pure Cadence again.  And a funny thing happened.  I like them much better than I did before.  I actually think that my running form may have improved from Jeff Galloway’s drills and more miles and more experience. An article in Runner’s World echoes my personal experience that most new runners heel strike:

And then today as I drove to the hospital for morning rounds, I was listening to a new podcast (new to me – the podcast isn’t new).  Another Mother Runner podcast was interviewing Christopher McDougall and, since I’m obviously a fan, I decided to give it a whirl.  It was a really interesting interview and he started talking about running form.  He mentioned a drill that he does called the 100-up drill.  I had never heard of this drill but found it intriguing.  Some chemist (pharmacist?) from the late-1800’s in England created this drill to help him train.  Not unlike a medical intern, he worked long hours and didn’t get to run outside as often as he’d like.  This was, perhaps, his version of treadmill running.  First is the 100-up Minor which is basically a variation on marching in place. And then the 100-up Major which is, essentially, running in place.  The idea is to maintain perfect form during the drill.  For those interested in learning more, here’s a link to a website that explains the drill and includes a link to a video with Christopher McDougall demonstrating it.

During the podcast interview Mr. McDougall talks about the fact that, for many of us who run for fun, doing drills isn’t necessarily something we will stick to doing.  Since we run for enjoyment, we have to focus on those drills that we WILL actually do.  As someone who struggles daily with work-family-running balance, I find it difficult to get to the gym to cross-train.  Not because my intentions are bad but because my time is limited.  The 100-up drill is something I can do at home while spending time with my kids. (Confession: I had Jessica doing the drill with me today while the boys were at Tae Kwon Do).  I think I’m going to take a personal 100-Up Challenge and see if I can see a difference.

Now that the snow is melting and it looks like I can run outdoors without fear of breaking my leg from slipping on ice, I will return to my Galloway-assigned drills.  With my April half marathon being a super hilly course in Central Park, the hill repeats need to find their way back into my training.  And instead of beating myself up over not going to the gym 1-2 times a week, I can practice my 100-Up drill at home or at work.  Let’s see how to works out!

The Mickey Medal, Part 5

The final 10k of the marathon.  Or in the case, of the Goofy.  This is often where the Wall begins.  Although I’ve only run 2 full marathons, in my opinion the last part of the marathon is where the brain dominates over muscle. Mind over matter.  It’s less about athletic ability and more about sheer will-power.  At no time is that more true than in a marathon where heat plays a major role, as it did in this case.

After the mile 20 “not-so-spectacular” we exited Wide World of Sports and turned toward Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Another stretch on hot asphalt. At least there was some crowd support here.  And since we were running next to slow-moving traffic, we got some cheers from people driving by.

I think it was was somewhere around here that some awesome stranger had a cooler full of ice that he was handing out.  I put some under my cap and down my shirt.  Heaven!!!

Our military friends were back to encourage us as we began an overpass.  The hill wasn’t horribly steep but at Mile 21 any hill feels steep.  At the top of the hill I noticed a woman leaning against the wall and then sit down.  I was in front of her and didn’t have the energy to turn around but I saw a police car at the bottom of the hill and told the officer to send help.

For all of you metric system folks.  Here’s the 35k mark.

I think it’s cool that you can get an idea of where we were by looking at the road sign behind the mile marker!

Entering Hollywood Studios from backstage!

Around here one of my Team Studios Central teammates was waiting with ICE COLD WASHCLOTHS! Seriously.  A little piece of Manna from Heaven. Nothing in the world could have been better at that point of the race.  Nothing was better than seeing a familiar face and feeling something cold.  It was such a huge energizer!

I remember so much more about running through Hollywood Studios this year compared to last year!

The path to the Boardwalk.  I have run this path several times before on training runs while staying in Disney World.  It’s a great place to run and I felt like I was in the home-stretch!

From there we enter World Showcase via a backstage area.  The final water stop of the race is back there.  And then we enter into England and across the bridge to France.

I felt pretty strong still.  The heat was bothering me but not so much that I couldn’t continue my run/walk strategy.  I was able to pick up my pace a bit and enjoy World Showcase.

I wasn’t able to get a picture of the incredible Gospel Choir.  But what could be better at mile 26? At this point I had a sudden and severe pain in my right shin.  My first thought was a stress fracture but I knew I only had a little way left to go.  Luckily it ended up being a shin splint that healed pretty quickly.

Although it is tempting to sprint to the finish, that final 0.2 miles ain’t nothing.  So I restrained myself until the final line was in full view.  Somehow I have no photos of the finish line.  Once I felt I was close enough, I ran my way across.  By dumb luck I finished on the left side of the course where Goofy happened to be located.  I was able to high-five him as I was crossing the finish line!!!

I received my BEAUTIFUL Mickey Medal right away and headed to the Goofy tent for my Goofy medal.  I stopped at the self-serve medical tent for some ice for my shin.  I waited in line for my finisher photo (I haven’t usually done that but I knew I would wait in the Race Retreat for my friends to finish).  I started crying and the photographer kept asking if I was ok.  I said yes.  He asked if I was sure.  I said yes.  Then he asked if I was lying.  So I started laughing.

The Race Retreat was a Godsend.  Plenty of food and Powerade.  I sat down with my right leg up to ice my shin.  The lovely man sitting next to me does medical massage and examined my leg.  He reassured me that it was more likely a shin splint than a stress fracture.  (He was SO nice but also totally not hitting on me as his husband arrived about 30 minutes later.)  I received messages from many people, including my Team Studios Central teammates.  When I told them I was injured, they talked their way into Race Retreat to make sure I was ok!

I realized that I was a bit dehydrated since I had gone about 8 or more hours without peeing.  So I loaded up on Powerade.  I was sitting in my soaking wet clothes (dumping water on my head all race) so I grabbed my checked bag and took advantage of the changing area.  I saw several friends and had a chance to recover pretty well.  Definitely worth the cost of the Retreat, especially for the Goofy.

My finish time of 5:51:56 was about 20 minutes or so slower than I had hoped.  But with heat and humidity and a half marathon the day before, this was still pretty good.  My e-coach Jeff Galloway was happy with my results and reassured me that under better race conditions, I would have reached my time goal.

All in all it’s been an incredible journey and I’m grateful that I was along for the ride!

The Mickey Medal, Part 4

I think that in a full marathon this is really where the race begins.  Especially with this particular race where the sun was now up and the temperatures were climbing.  The next 11.2 miles are where you need to dig deep and find out what you really have.  It was definitely getting hot, despite being really good about dumping water on my head at each water stop.  I had kept up with my fueling and I was feeling pretty good.

The stretch between Animal Kingdom and Wide World of Sports was another stretch on the highway.  As we approached WWoS there were cones dividing us from those who were exiting WWoS.  I didn’t understand at the time that we had several miles in the Sports Complex before we reached their point of the race.  And apparently there were several reports of people skipping the entire WWoS part of the race (I think it was about 3.5 miles or so) and jumping the cones.  I personally didn’t witness this and there was a timing strip on the ground at Mile 20 to “prevent this.”

I will take a moment to comment on this type of “cheating.”  I really, truly don’t understand it.  I’m never going to be an elite runner.  I will probably never even be a fast runner.  And I’m ok with that.  Given that I’m not running for any prize other than a finisher’s medal and the pride of knowing that I accomplished something that about 1% of the population does, why cheat? I don’t understand the benefits of cheating.  Skipping WWoS might have changed my finish time from a “just sub-6 hours” to a “just over 5 hours” but who cares? I’m not comparing my finish time to other people.  I’m comparing my finish time to myself.  Did I live up to my own expectations? Was I really able to run 39.3 miles in 2 days? Did I really finish my 2nd marathon?  I can’t even judge people who would cheat at a Disney race.  There are many, many reports that Disney gives medals to people who get swept (if you can’t keep the 16 min/mile pace you are at risk for being driven to the finish area on a bus).  So you don’t even need to cross the finish line at a Disney race to get a medal.  What benefit is there to cheating???

Mile 17 is an awesome place for one simple reason.  They hand out wet sponges at mile 17.  These are like Manna from Heaven.  Especially  on a hot marathon day.  Trust me.

And then we entered a long stretch of Hell known as Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  This was a much anticipated part of the race for several reasons.  First, Disney had promised a “Spectacular” at mile 20.  With all the hype it would be hard for the Spectacular to truly seem spectacular.  And second this whole part of the course was new.  We had run various parts of the course during the Tower of Terror 10 miler and the course had not been particularly popular.

The Sports Complex.

Once again the course was a bit narrow and crowded.

Did I mention it was getting HOT?

We did run around the track at the Complex.

There was a lack of entertainment during this part of the race.

The beginning of the Mile 20 spectacular.  Genie.

From Monsters, Inc.


Donald, Mickey, Goofy.  Just like the medals.

The Mile 20 archway

The Mickey Medal is on the archway.

The Mile 20 bit wasn’t very spectacular in my opinion.  I think Disney made a mistake by hyping it up.  Nobody was terribly impressed.  It was fine but not exciting.  Nevertheless getting to mile 20 is a huge accomplishment and a big milestone in the race.  It has been said that the marathon can be divided in 2 parts.  The first 20 miles and then the final 10k.  So the 2nd “half” of the race was just beginning!

4:30:36 at the 20 mile mark.  13:32 min/mile.



The Mickey Medal, Part 3

At this point in the race begins the long, boring and often stinky stretch of road that leads to the Animal Kingdom.  This year was a new course which put this stretch of the road earlier in the race.  I much preferred this aspect of the new course.  It’s a long stretch of asphalt which heats up in the sun.  And when you’re already feeling the long miles, the spectator-free and entertainment-lacking portion of course isn’t helpful in keeping you motivated.  The course takes you past a water treatment center which smells like a dump.  Not an exciting part of the course!  This is definitely a point in the race where having an iPod is helpful because there’s not a lot going on.  I must have been really focused on my iPod and my intervals because I totally missed mile marker 11.  When my Garmin read about 11.33, I realized my mistake! Oh well.  So I was able to photograph 25 out of 26 mile markers!!!

I did get a picture of these folks:

2 hicks in a motorhome making funny comments as we ran by.  They were there last year, too.

That’s not a giant tortoise.  It’s a treasure chest full of Captain Hook’s gold doubloons.

The 20k mark was as we entered into Animal Kingdom.  There were animal handlers with animals along the way.  I didn’t get any decent pictures but it  was cool!

Mount Everest looming in the background.

Forgive the sun glare but here’s mile 13.  Dawn had definitely arrived by now! Last year I was already quite overheated at this point in the race but this year I was feeling pretty good.

Apparently Mickey is taking some friends on Safari!

This made me laugh out loud!

One of the Gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion was ready for us!

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

Another 5 miles down! More than halfway done….

13.1 mile split? 2:57:23.  13:32 min/mile

The Mickey Medal, Part 2

Once again, the stretch of course after mile 5 is really very special.  As you run through the backstage area, you can catch a glimpse of the Castle looming in the distance.  Then you enter the Magic Kingdom and turn right to run down Main Street.

Another right turn at the end of Main Street and a trek through Tomorrowland.

A blurry picture of Alice and the Mad Hatter in front of the Tea Cups before heading into Fantasyland.

And the most Magical part of the race…. Running through Cinderella Castle!

Disney Royalty!

Mile 6!

Nobody was laying across the tracks today.

And backstage once again. Running to the Grand Floridian was very similar to the day before.  Crowded and narrow with not much distraction.

Mary Poppins!

And then we entered the Richard Petty Race Track!

I wasn’t sure about this part of the course since it was new.  But it was pretty cool.  There were a bunch of people with cool cars hanging out and watching us race.  They seemed to think we were a weird breed (but I’m not sure they weren’t equally but differently weird!).  The cars were really interesting and I’m not much of a car person.  They had some upbeat music playing and I found this part of the course to be entertaining and fun! I took lots of pictures…

(True confession: I’m a hippie at heart. With all the cool sports cars on display, this is the vehicle I most wanted!!!)

And finally we reached the next big milestone:


2:15:56 or 13:36 min/mile.