Archive for January, 2015

2015 Disney World 10K

One day after running the 5k, my alarm went off even earlier for me to run the 10k. After dragging my Night Owl 10 year old out of bed, we were off to the monorail for a slightly warmer trip to the same starting area. Luckily the Epcot monorail was running this time and our trip was easy. The temperatures were at least 10 degrees warmer and lacking the brisk winds from the previous day’s race. We stayed in the same tent from the previous day until it was time for some group meet-ups.
Unfortunately for my introverted son there was only one other elementary school child in the group (and she was a girl!) so he was stuck with the adults. We were lucky to be in a starting corral with some friends of mine from Team Shenanigans and I was grateful that they helped to entertain Nathaniel.
I had chosen a conservative run 30 sec/walk 60 sec for this race because Nate had never really run further than 4 miles. I was really worried about him going out too fast and crashing and burning towards the end. About 0.5 miles into the race he asked me if we could go faster and I wisely suggested that we waited until at least the 5k mark before speeding up.
Mile 1
I gave Nate the option of stopping for some character photos but he declined. He told me that he wanted a “real” finish time for the race. I didn’t give the same choice to the younger two children for the 5k because I was worried about not finishing.
Mile 2
The first half of this race is on roads outside of Epcot. There were some fun characters out. Elsa and Anna were on an overpass with “snow” coming down onto us. We saw several character stops with decent lines of people waiting. I learned during this part of the race that Nathaniel likes to sprint for 30 seconds and then walk at snail’s pace for 60 seconds. This meant that he would get way in front of me on the run intervals and then I’d catch up and pass him during the walk. As we reached the mile 3 mark (which came out too blurry to share), Nate started complaining about feeling light-headed. I gave him some Clif Bloks and he perked right up.
Once in World Showcase we were able to have some fun. In honor of Nate’s drum playing with Joe Weeks during the Wine & Dine 5k, we took a picture in the African outpost with the drums.
Our time was well within the limits so we started having a bit more fun.
(Random family with mile 4 marker)
Nothing like watching the sunrise from World Showcase!
We made a much-needed pit stop in Morocco. After seeing long lines for the restrooms in Germany, I was worried about losing too much time in the bathroom. Luckily the bathrooms in Morocco were nearly empty and we were quickly on our way. I think the lesson is that the bathrooms in the first part of World Showcase have long lines but if you can wait until the end of World Showcase, there are no lines at all!
As we were getting ready to exit World Showcase for the Boardwalk, we decided to increase our intervals slightly. I changed us to run 30 sec/walk 45 sec. A special treat awaiting us at the Boardwalk! A group of running friends formed a cheering squad and it was amazing to get lots of hugs from some familiar faces!!!!
Nate was starting to lose steam a bit at this point in the race but we were in the home stretch. As we passed the Beach Club we met a mother and daughter running together. They were so impressed with Nate running a 10k at age 10 and I think the compliment really energized him. We re-entered Epcot and Nate’s energy levels increased. He was even hurdling over orange cones!
As we approached the finish line, my dear friend Rich was ready to text Race Announcer, Rudy, Novotny, that we were coming. We were thrilled to hear our names as we finished! Another friend Fast Eddie got some photos of us finishing.
I was very proud of Nate’s accomplishment!
And I think he was proud of himself, too!!!!
A big thank you to our amazing friends who were cheering at the finish line!
Running 6.2 miles at age 10 is certainly a challenge. Nate was an awesome running partner. He never complained even when it was hard and he was really fun.

2015 Walt Disney World 5k

On Thursday, January 8th I woke up at 3am and quickly got myself dressed in race clothes. Soon after I found myself waking up my 6 year old son and my 8 year old daughter and getting them dressed in running gear. My weather app on my phone said it was 46F outside but predicted it would get colder. In the weeks leading up to the race, we had carefully planned cute outfits. Jessica and I were going to dress as matching Elsa’s – matching capes and all – and Zachary as Bumblebee from the Transformers. Unfortunately a cold snap in Florida meant dressing for warmth before cuteness.
We hopped on the monorail from our lovely Villa over to the Ticket and Transportation Center where we were sad to learn that the Epcot monorail was stopped. We waited in the cold wind for Disney to send over bus transportation. Eventually a Disney bus (one of the typical theme park buses, not a race transportation bus) arrived and we were happily on our way to the start.
One downside to running Disney races with younger children is that you have to get to the starting line very far in advance. I’m sure for a typical local 5k you can arrive soon before the race starts. But at Disney the huge race size and complicated logistics mean that you are there at least 60-90 minutes before race start. Add cold and windy weather. Super early morning starts. And it’s easy to have some unhappy children.
We were lucky to hear from a friend that there was room in an unused massage tent for people to wait out of the wind. The tent wasn’t heated but since it was filled with people and relatively wind-proof (if people would remember to close the darn door behind them!), it was still a welcome reprieve from the cold wind. We were starting in Corral E so I wasn’t in a huge hurry to get to the starting area so we waited inside as long as possible. It did mean missing any runDisney team meet-ups but it was more important to keep my children from being miserable.
We finally headed towards the starting area and I encouraged my children to use the porta-potty before getting to the corral. They were reluctant but fortunately agreed. As we were waiting in line for a bathroom, corral A started. Luckily for the 5k the corrals are only a short walk and we were in the corral when corral B was released.
Another downside to the Disney 5k is that there is a relatively long time lag between starting corrals. With children I have always started in a late corral and many people have already finished the race before we started. This, combined with the cold wind and the early hour, meant that my 6 year old was ready to give up the race before we even started. With some coaxing and a reminder of the cool medal he would be getting, he agreed to wait it out.
The children and I had chosen a run 30 sec/walk 60 sec strategy for the race. We had practiced at a run 15 sec/walk 60 sec interval but I thought the race-day adrenaline would win out. Jessica was given her own run/walk timer in case she got frustrated with Zachary’s slow pace but she decided to stay with us the whole time.
Zachary has mild cerebral palsy and didn’t walk until age 2. Physical activity remains difficult for him although his disability is subtle and wouldn’t be noticed by a casual observer. The early hour and long wait to start had made him a bit cranky and he got fairly whiny early in the race. We had a difficult race during Wine & Dine Weekend (Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k) with lots of whining and he had promised this time would be different. I gently reminded him of his promise (ok, it might not have been very gently). After expressing some anger and frustration at me, he soon changed his tune and decided that we were going to have fun.
We passed the 1 mile mark before entering Epcot and by the first water station, Zachary had apologized for being crabby. He soon invented a fun game where we had to jump over any lines in the sidewalk and we started singing and dancing our way around World Showcase. We were a little disappointed as we were belting out “Let it Go” along with Demi Lovato and the music started to skip and have problems. But mostly we just had fun.
Here we are singing along….
The course then heads into Future World. Jessica loved running by Nemo where she was yelling “Mine. Mine. Mine” along with the seagulls. We came around by the iconic “golf ball” before heading to the finish line.
Zachary is trying to catch up!
One of the amazing things about running Disney over and over again is the special people that you get to know. For me a huge highlight of this trip was meeting famed runDisney race announcer, Rudy Novotny, at the Race Expo. I told him a bit about my kids running the 5k and especially about Zachary’s disability. My friend was waiting for us at the finish line with instructions to text Rudy as we were getting close. My kids were thrilled to get a special shout-out from Rudy as they were finishing! Definitely a highlight of the race!
I was SO proud of my kids for finishing with big smiles on their faces!
I think the Disney World 5k is a really fun race. I’m not sure it’s worth the HUGE price tag now attached to it but I’m glad that my children have had the opportunity to run this race. While we didn’t stop for character photos along the course, we still enjoyed seeing the characters. My best advice for this event is to HAVE FUN!