2016 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend Race Recap
The force was definitely strong this past weekend in Walt Disney World for the Star Wars Dark Side Half 2016! I arrived with my family Thursday evening and went straight to Shades of Green. We met up with my brother, “sister” (in-law) and nephews at the Wide World of Sports Expo picking up all our race goodies! They ran the 5K, one of my nephews ran the kids race, and I took on the half-marathon Sunday. While exploring the expo I had to get my Ariel New Balance sneakers that I didn’t get a chance to get during the princess Glass Slipper Challenge weekend. Let me just tell you, they are AMAZING! Not only are they cute with all the little details (even a hidden Mickey!), but they are so lightweight and comfortable. (If you’re new to my blog, I’m also a Doctor of Chiropractic who focuses on pediatrics and pregnancy. www.mothergoosechiropractic.com) The kids I take care of love when I wear my Ariel shoes in the office!
I could not be more proud of my brother and sister for kicking butt during their first Disney 5K on Saturday! They sad they had a blast and finished in 37min. Not bad for a first time 5K, especially considering they started in the last corral and had to try and weave around a ton of people. If you want to run and challenge yourself make sure to put your pace time when registering, otherwise you will get put in the last corral. Most of those “runners” don’t plan to run at all and my brother and sister-in-law were a bit frustrated weaving around them most of the race. No one wants to get stuck trying to push through since some people don’t read the rules and don’t stick to the sides when walking.
After a quick nap we took my nephews down to the Wide World of Sports Complex for Dominic’s kid race. What a fun event to watch! If you have a little one I definitely recommend signing them up for the kids’ races. Not only are they adorable to watch, but the kids have a blast running and earning a medal. The boys (3 and 7) had fun running around the field and playing with the other kids until their race started. Dominic raced in the 400m and went so fast I didn’t even see him! He was so proud to show off his medal after. Disney also does a great job with security, you either run with your child or have the claim part of their bib before they release them. All of the families felt safe and secure- mine included! The kids’ races were done by 1pm and we had the rest of the day to explore!
Saturday night came quickly, I laid out my flat runner and tried to get to sleep early. That was easier said than done with the boys bouncing around in the other room. Eventually I passed out and ended up waking up around 2am before my alarm from pure excitement. I lay in bed for a little and then quietly got ready and headed down to the bus around 3am. The bus system they have going to the runDisney events are a lifesaver! It makes it so easy to get to and from the event, and even for family to sleep in a little and get to the finish line in time. Like I have said before, I highly recommend staying at a Disney resort and using the bus system. Plus I always meet the nicest people on the bus ride to the events.
After an enjoyable bus ride we were all dropped off around 3:30am. This gave me plenty of time to walk through bag check, get a picture with one of the props (above), check my gEAR bag, and use the potty. I also got to meet up with one of my DC friends for a quick chat and picture as we walked the 15min to get to corral start. It was so great to see my old friend Dr. Shimon, especially since he was the one who got me into running in the first place. If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be running half marathons I would have laughed so hard, but thanks to his running streak challenge after graduation, here I am today! 500+ days of running at least a mile a day starting in 2014 and now 2016 I just finished my 3rd half marathon!
I got to my corral a little after 4am and thought great I have an hour to wait. Although in true Disney fashion the time flew by since they had entertainment going. I also scored a killer 3rd line spot in the corral since I got in so early. At 5am the first corral of runners were on their way! Fireworks and all, at 5:25am we were under way with 13.1 miles to conquer! I have to admit I like the Star Wars movies but I’m not a super movie buff so I didn’t stop at many of the character spots. Although it was really nice and different because in two different areas they just had a ton of storm troopers and other characters that you could just walk up to and take a selfie. It was nice to not have to wait in line forever if you wanted a quick picture, so I did stop at one of those areas (below). I also stopped in front of the Tree of Life since there was no line.
The course started at Epcot where we ran around the countries on the World Pavilion. Then we proceeded to Hollywood Studios where we ran down the main street in front of Tower of Terror and back around. After that it was off to Animal Kingdom for a loop through Dinoland, past Everest and down and out the front of the park past the Tree of Life. That completed the first 9 miles. Miles 10-11 were on the road headed to ESPN’s Wild World of Sports to finish! Mile 12 turned us onto the back trail that was not paved for a little over a mile and then looped around through the complex to see the fabulous mile 13 sign! From there to the end is just crowd cheering and tons of energy. Even though my feet were not too happy with me at this point I booked it to the finish. They even announced my name as I came into the finish area (if that doesn’t make you run faster I don’t know what will ;)) So with 2 potty stops and 2-3 picture stops I still finished in less than 3 hours. Not my initial goal of under 2:30 but I’ll chalk that up to the long bathroom lines! My parents were at the finish line cheering me on! I jumped for joy as I crossed the finish and was ready to get my medal. After receiving my medal, race picture, snack pack and Dr. Cool towel (www.drcoolrecovery.com) I made my way to pick up my gEAR bag and meet my family. I was hot, smelly and wanted a shower!
We took the bus back to the hotel where my nephew told me he was going to run with me next year since my medal was “so cool”. He later agreed to start with the 5K next year😉 I couldn’t be more proud of what an accomplished weekend it was for my family. I am so glad Disney started this Star Wars race and I’m sure it is going to turn into a family tradition! Overall it was a “force”ful weekend filled with love, laughter and a little bit of the dark side! Hope you enjoyed reading about my Star Wars experience. Can’t wait till Tink in 2 weeks, pixie dust challenge and coast to coast here I come!
May The Force Be With You,
❤ Dr. Carrie