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!


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.




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.



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.




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.


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)!