The race started at 7:00am, which meant we got to sleep in, by RunDisney standards. We were meeting Kerry and Kathleen in front of our building at 5:45am to walk to Starbucks, before heading to the corrals. It was a bit chilly so I wrapped myself in a foil blanket to keep the crazy out – I mean, keep my body heat contained! Once at Starbucks I got some water for my water bottle and took advantage of a real bathroom for a quick pit stop. Our timing was great as the line behind us was super long by the time we left. We headed to the expo building to try to meet up with our group before going to our corrals, but everything had been taken down and the designated meeting spot no longer existed! We got a group photo and made our way outside toward the corrals. Everyone needed a port-o-potty by this time, so we found a line and waited only a few minutes. They had some type of urinal system for the guys, and the regular port-o’s had these foot levers in the floor that “flushed” when you pumped them. Amen to no stinky port-o’s on race morning! We regrouped and headed to the corrals.
In the Corral:
Since I was by myself in my Corral (well, without any of my friends) I used the time to relax and stretch a little. Around 6:45am I started wondering if I should jump out and use the port-o one more time so I wouldn’t have to stop on the course. Once I had the thought, it was inevitable that I would need to go, so once my corral started moving forward, I got out and got in line for the third (and final!) pit stop of the morning. I shed my foil blanket at this point and another girl used it as a privacy curtain to go behind the port-o. This line wasn’t moving as quick and my corral started starting, but I’d already committed so I stuck with the plan. These port-os were not as clean as the earlier ones as people stopped “flushing”, but it was a quick stop for me and I was on my way and back in the corral.
There were only four corrals for the race, but the way they started us was brilliant. We started in waves within our corral. Volunteers funneled about 100-150 or so of us at a time to the start line, we waited about a minute, and then they released us. This cut down on so much course congestion throughout the entire race and made for a much less stressful experience, especially when it came to narrow parts of the course, as it gave everyone a chance to spread out and find their groove without having to dodge and weave through a heavy crowd of over a thousand runners at one time (I’m looking at you, Dark Side Weekend 10k!)
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I know some people are tired of hearing it, others think it’s just because it’s “new”, etc, but even a month later after more reflection, I still think this is my favorite RunDisney course. First of all, the wave start, as mentioned, had a lot to do with this being an excellent experience – not being crowded and being able to run freely when my intervals dictated was fantastic! Next was the amount of time spent in the parks. Given their size, I feel like we spent a good amount of time running in the theme parks. The course support and characters inside the parks was fabulous and I wish I had stopped for more character photos. I did stop for a few selfies and two PhotoPass photos in Disneyland Paris – once in front of the castle, where I worked on my jump shot, and once for Little John
After leaving the parks, we made our way out to the surrounding village, and the course support was great! The community was out to cheer us on, there were bands, performers, a large cheer group, and fuel stops all along the course, in addition to water and Powerade stops.
The middle part of the course was full of beautiful scenery throughout the French countryside. There was one part of the course that was basically trail running around a lake, which I walked most of, because I don’t trust my ankles not to roll! Then we were back on pavement for the last quarter of the race. This is where I ran into Lynda – it was soooooo good to see her beautiful friendly face and talk to her for a few seconds! Shortly after seeing Lynda, I made a new running friend, Patrice and we leapfrogged each other and then ran together for a little bit, until Kathleen caught up to me. She was killing it, and I walked with her for a few minutes while we chatted, until she was ready to take off again! By this time, we were running into Hotel Sante Fe, and then Hotel Cheyenne, including running right by the building where I was staying. For some reason, I always love running past/near my hotel – it happens frequently in Disneyland and Myrtle Beach, so it was a nice familiar thing to have happen here, too. I’m a dork, I know, but if you know me, you know it’s the little things that make me happy. 🙂
From there, we followed the same path we took to the parks toward Downtown Disney, past Sequoia Lodge and The New York Hotel, before going up, up, up, and over the bridge to the Newport Bay resort. I had reconnected with Patrice by this point, and she was staying here at Newport. Her roommate (who had already finished the half) was on her way back to the resort and ran the bridge with us – if she was still running, so should we, right? 😉 The finish was so close, and we stopped for photos at the 21k banner that was still being painted! We crossed the finish line together, received our medals and took photos of and with each other to send home, and parted ways – Patrice was so encouraging and great to run with!
Next I went to get my Castle to Chateau Challenge Medal, and meet up with Kathleen and Kerry who had also finished around the same time. The post-race snacks were awesome – water, Powerade, chocolate “milk”, bananas, peanuts, apple slices, cereal bars, and trail mix. It was refreshing to receive real food, even if I couldn’t have any of it, but I did miss the tortilla chips and cheese just a teensy bit. 😉
We stopped for a castle backdrop photo while waiting to hear from Jen and Jamie. They weren’t too far behind us, but we had lunch at 2:00pm, three people in our room who needed to shower, and it was already 11:30am, so we started walking back to the room. 😁