Disney Half Marathon Recap

Posted Jan 10, 2011

Wake Up Time

2 AM. That's what time we woke up. I drank a full glass and a half of water with a shot of veggie juice and ate a couple chunks of grapefruit. I continued drinking water every 15 minutes while I got my business done, showered and dressed. By 3:15 we were out the door. It was about 50 degrees at 2 and I noticed it was still dropping. I dressed extra warm in the car.  

Drive to Epcot

It took about 30 minutes to drive from our house to the Epcot exit and there was little traffic on the way there. I was able to pick out other drivers along I-4 on their way because of their array of 13.1, 26.2 and 70.3 stickers. There were already a line of cars at the exit, but they were moving at about a nice 30 mph pace. We probably got to park around 4:00, so it took about 15 minutes from the exit to park.  

Reunion Area

Before leaving the car, I put some bio-freeze on my shins and calf. I also took a belt to put my Cliff Shot Blocks in. I kept a long sleeve shirt over my race shirt and my hooded sweater. Right next to the entrance they had the bag check, a stage, port a potties and the entrance to the start line. I usually have to pee 2-3 times before a race and did so, before making my way to the start line. We were told it would take 20 minutes to the start line and in order to get there we had to show our bibs and depart from our friends and family from the Reunion Area. I gave Leala both my long sleeve shirt and sweater, so all I had was my short sleeve tech shirt, and I made my way into the crowd of runners to the starting corrals.

Long Walk to Starting Corrals

Once out of the Reunion area and past the bag check, I picked up a cup of water and stood on line at another port a pottie. Then the long walk to the start really began. There were so many people you couldn't even walk that fast. I was hoping to get in some warm up jogs and just couldn't. I was also cold and ended up pulling my arms under my shirt and tried to stay in the middle of the crowd to stay warm. I wished I brought my throw away shirt with me. There were some orange traffic cones in the middle of the walk way that I and others kept walking into. I don't know why they were there.

Starting Corrals

After 20 minutes we finally got to the starting corrals. I noticed outside the corrals the announcments were muffled. It would have been nice to hear what was going on during the 20 minute walk. I pee'd 1 more time (they were singing the pledge of allegiance at this point) and then I made my way into my corral. Out of the 8 corrals, I was in the 3rd one or Corral C. They place you based on a past races time. I had submitted the Miracle Miles race with a 9 minute pace. I wanted to update it with the OUC 8:30 pace, but don't think I could have. I don't know if I would have been placed any closer. It's probably good, since I wasn't feeling 100%.  

They did the usual pre-race speeches and I heard something about Al Roker being there, but couldn't understand if he was running or just a commentator. It also turned out some soldiers in Iraq were running the race in Iraq with us.

Race Start

Then the race was about to begin. Each wave of corral runners were to start about 6 minutes apart. With the first wave they shot fireworks in front of and behind the corral. Then each corral moved up one corral. Then they shot fireworks again for each wave. It was very breathtaking, especially so for our wave. And we were off...  

The first mile I was feeling ok. We were running down the roads between the parks away from Epcot and toward Magic Kingdom. It was a site to see runners running off the road into the woods to pee. There were port-o-poties setup in the median, but it was probably quicker to use the woods than stand in line. I even so a girl run into the woods too. Some runners were dressed in disney costumes. There were high school bands playing in the medians to the left of us. And every mile or so there were Disney characters with runners stopping and standing in line to take pictures. I was too concerned about getting a certain finish time and I guess they weren't trying for any PR.

Slow Start

I realized I was going slower than expected when a couple of runners ran past me and then I saw my time of 11:16 at mile marker 1. That was disappointing since I never did more than 10 minute miles in my training runs at a slower pace. Same thing with mile 2. It wasn't until mile 3 I was back on schedule, but the first 2 miles really hurt me.  

Here's my splits:

1     0:11:16
2     0:11:25
3     0:09:30
4     0:09:07
5     0:09:10
6     0:09:29
7     0:08:46
8     0:08:29
9     0:08:31
10    0:08:34
11    0:08:05
12    0:07:58
13    0:07:42
13.1  0:00:45

I was hoping to start with a 9:30 time. I didn't get a proper warmup because of the large crowds and there were so many runners. My warmups always include 20-30 minutes of walking then jogging. My right calf was also still feeling tight as I mentioned in my pre-race training. At least I was having a great time!

There were water stops every mile or so where you could get Powerade first or water afterward. I opted for water each time and took a Cliff Shot Block every 15 minutes.

In Magic Kingdom we ran through the front entrance down Main Street. Spectators were cheering us on and I waved at a few. I looked for photographers and tried to smile. We went through Tomorrow Land and to the back of the Castle and under it. Out the Castle is where I saw Leala trying to take a picture. As I ran by here I felt bad I didn't stop and I felt guilty about it for a few minutes. Then as quickly as we came into the park, we were back out onto the roads back to Epcot.

It wasn't until mile 6 that my right calf was loose and I felt confident enough to pick up the speed. That's when I really realized how packed the course was and it was hard running through. Especially after Magic Kingdom I had to run in the grass a lot to get around people because the road got narrower. I felt bad because of some people I bumped into trying to squeeze through. I apologized each time and tried to warn them.

In between the Epcot parking lot and actual park is where I saw Leala again. I was excited she was able to make it there in time from Magic Kingdom to see me again. We made our way to the right of the globe, to the front of the lake where they had the Christmas tree still setup. We ran around the tree and it was another mile or 2 back to the finish line. I remember tring to run faster and faster these last 2 miles, but the course curved too much and too many people. I ended up making some sharp moves that could of hurt me.

Finish Line

The finish line had spectators sitting along some bleachers cheering us on. As I sprinted through at least 1 guy flew by me. Then I finished and saw the time of 1:58 on my watch. I was a bit dissapointed with the time, but was glad I was able to finish strong. 

At the finish you get your medal with Donald on it. They give you water and powerade right away. I took one water and the volunteer forced a second one on me. They also handed out foil blankets. I was heated up throughout the race, but after finishing you start getting cold since your wet from all the sweating and it was probably about 60 degrees out. Then a friendly photographer takes a picture of you against a Run Disney back drop. He right away asked me if I was Brazilian. I guess there were a lot of Brazilians there.

The last section is filled with bananas, oranges, muffins, Cliff Powerbuilder bars and more water. I grabbed 2 bananas and the powerbuilder bars. Then I exited out to the reunion area.

Family Reunion Area

I right away looked for Leala calling her name. I figured she was about 20 minutes away from the reunion area when I saw her last. We had agreed to meet at the car so I walked that way. Before I left they were charging $20 to engrave medals. I had no money on me though, but didn't get it when I did have money, maybe something I should have done. I had to keep walking or I was going to cramp up and I kept drinking water.  

I waited about 10 minutes at the car and she wasn't there. Then I went back to the reunion area and realized there were signs with letters that you meet up with a persons last name. I called her name out again, walked around a bit and finally found her.


There was a small tent setup where you could buy Disney Half memorabilia. I bought a shirt and I wanted a jacket but they were already sold out of my size. Then we headed out to the car to leave for a breakfast appointment we made at Cape May.

I changed into a dry shirt and put my the long sleeve half marathon shirt they gave us at the Expo over it. The traffic getting out was very slow. I used The Stick to loosen up my muscles while waiting and hear a person walking by say "Hey, that's The Stick" to his companions. I also had to pee really bad and my left shin was aching. I put some bio-freeze on it which really stunk up the car. After waiting about 10 minutes in the car and traffic not moving, I got out of the car and went to pee and then got some ice. When I made it back to the car, Leala hadn't moved much. The ice felt really good. I was drinking some Cliff Shot electrolyte mix I brought along and a protein mix.

It was probably about 30 minutes before we got out of the parking lot (it was sooo slow) and the roads to Cape May were clear. We were running about 20 minutes late when we got there but they allowed us to come late. We waited about 15 minutes to sit and got to see other Half Marathon finishers with there medals on. I had mine on too :) I stetched a bit while waiting.

Breakfast at Cape May

Cape May was a great end to the morning. Minnie, Goofy and Donald were there and we took a few pictures. I didn't have the best appetite and was having trouble eating the baked goods. The eggs, bacon, yogurt and mixed fruit settled best in my stomach. Toward the end of the meal I was starting to crash. That's when I got a cup of coffee to wake me up right away.

When we got home, I took an ice bath right away, which really helped. I tried to nap, but I think the coffee kept me awake. Except for being a bit spaced out, I was feeling very good. I didn't have much aching in my body and I used The Stick one more time and put some bio-freeze on.

Next time I do this, I want to make sure to get there about 30 minutes early and get my usual 15 minutes of warm up jogging done. I also think I shouldn't have done intervals or anything else up to a week before, which probably led to my tight calves.

This is a great video on YouTube which really shows you how everything looked. They happened to catch me 8:27 into it at the finish line:

Here are the official results I copy and pasted from active.com


Age: 34 Gender: M
Distance HALF MAR
Clock Time 2:13:33
Chip Time 1:58:20
Overall Place 2795 / 21953
Gender Place 2024 / 9549
Division Place 289 / 1269
Age Grade 50.2%
5K Split 32:39
10K Split 1:01:21
15K Split 1:28:07


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