Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Post: From ChEAR Squad to Starting Line

My husband, Robert, and I ran the 2013 Tower of Terror 10-Miler last month. You have already read about my own race experience, and now, here is his own recap on his first runDisney event!

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Not only would the Tower of Terror 10-miler be my first Disney run, it would also be the longest distance I have run in my life. As my corral headed to the starting line, all I could think about was how I got to this point. The answer became clearer with every step; earlier this year, my wife participated in the Princess Half Marathon and I was there to cheer her on at the momentous occasion. After seeing the extreme sense of pride and accomplishment in her face after she finished this feat, I was overcome with inspiration and wanted to feel it for myself. In that moment I knew I wanted to run in a Disney race.

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After months of training the time had come and the excitement continued to swell as each second ticked off the clock. Before I knew it I was at the starting line, the MC started his countdown, and BAM – the adventure began. As I ran away from the start I kept reminding myself, ‘pace yourself you have a long road ahead of you.’ I really think this helped me out because in the past I was plagued with a tendency of starting off too quick and allowing it to affect my run as a whole. As I approached the first character spot I was feeling great, the adrenaline was pumping, and part of me wanted to just bypass the photo and continue on. Then I thought about why I chose runDisney for my first big race, so I jumped in line to get my picture taken.

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Once I completed my first photo stop I made my way back onto the road. I found myself in a zone jamming out to the music on my iPod and running at a comfortable pace. Before I knew it I had arrived at the next picture opportunity. As I stood in line waiting to have my picture taken with Jafar the excitement continued to build. Unfortunately, he needed to take a break just before I made it to the front of the line; it was disappointing, but I just went back to running and before I knew it I passed the 5K mark and was feeling great.

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As I reached mile 4, I felt my muscles starting to tighten up a little bit, and in the back of my mind I began worrying if this would slow me down; then like magic (well I was at Disney!) the Medic station was just ahead. I made a quick stop and applied some Biofreeze to the areas that were feeling tight. The Biofreeze began to work right away and I felt like a new man. The relief couldn’t have come at a better time because at this point I entered the part of the course that was a wooded off-road area. I really liked the look and atmosphere of this part of the race, but when it came to my pace it was rough. The trail wasn’t very wide and I often found myself stuck behind large groups of people walking and had to walk more than I would have liked.

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After finishing my trek through the woods I arrived at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex. This part of the race was amazing and I really loved running around the baseball field. It gave me this sense of being a professional baseball player warming up for the game, especially with the cheering of spectators. As I was leaving the sports complex there was a group of spectators cheering us on and one of the signs caught my eye; a lady was holding a sign that said “You might be a stranger but I am proud of you!” If at any point during the race I felt like I couldn’t go anymore, I just thought back to that sign and was instantly uplifted.

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Next thing I knew, the neon lights reading ‘Disney Hollywood Studios’ were burning bright and my journey was coming to an end. As I made my way through the park, the support and motivation from the volunteers and spectators grew and grew. I ran past Toy Story Mania and decided to stop and have my picture taken with Lotso. In what seemed like a blink of an eye I rounded the final turn and could see the finish line in sight. I mustered every ounce of energy I had left in my body and off I went. I did not slow down until I gave Goofy a high-five while crossing the finish line.

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I ended with a chip time of 2:39:42 and couldn’t have been happier. Since this was my first race, I wasn’t focused on time. I just wanted to have fun along the way, take part in all the photo ops I wanted to, and finish the race. The overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment when I crossed the finish line was amazing. After collecting my medal, Gatorade, and snack box I headed off to find my wife and partake in the Disney Villain’s Hollywood Bash!

The Tower of Terror 10-miler may have been my first runDisney race, but it will not be my last! I enjoyed it so much and being able to share the moment with my wife was the icing on the cake. I will now use this sense of pride and accomplishment to drive me in my training for my first ever half marathon. Tink, here I come!

QOTD: How did you feel when you finished your first big race?

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the great recap, Robert! I love that you stopped for so many photo ops! I had a sense of pride, joy and just pure happiness when I crossed the finish line for my first race. Even now, it's that feeling that inspires me to run (and sign up for as many runDisney races as I can)!

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