Waking up at 3 am for my flight was tough. Waking up at 3 am for the second day in a row? Even more difficult. Nerves and anxiety and excitement would make it a little bit easier though. Florida had a freak winter weather thing going on that began on Friday, so Saturday morning it was actually pretty cold, in the low 40s when we were getting ready. That led me to change my costume just a little bit. I had purchased a long sleeve running shirt to wear under my Izzy t-shirt, and then instead of wearing the purple capris that I was going to wear I put on my black yoga pants and just threw my Sparkle skirt over the top. It wasn't quite as cute as the capris would have been, but I knew we would spend quite a while standing around outside before race time and I knew my legs would be freezing, otherwise.
We were on the bus by 3:45 and headed towards Epcot. Laurie had purchased cheap fleece blankets for us all to use before race time, so we bundled up in them and tried our best to stay warm. I also brought along a pair of gloves to ditch once the race started. We had quite a bit of a walk from the bus stop to the starting corrals, and on our way we made a stop at the port-a-potties. The DJs were keeping the crowd entertained and we were all huddled together, since it was so cold, admiring all the fun costumes everyone was wearing.
Each corral got a fireworks send off, and the first corral took off at 5:30. I crossed the starting line 49 minutes after the very first runner went, so that tells you how long we stood around waiting. We threw the blankets off, I went ahead and ditched my gloves, an off we went. I started my playlist and the first song was Sara Bareilles singing Brave, which I will admit made me tear up just slightly. I was able to start my intervals pretty much right off the bat, although it was so crowded at times that you often were forced to walk until you could find a way around a group of people.
I ended up leaving my entire group almost right away, but around mile 2 I felt someone come up on my left side and it was Laurie. She had lost Amanda and Matt, and from that point on we stuck together in the race. She decided to join me in the 30 second intervals, and we were keeping a good steady pace.
We passed the sweeper bus at mile 2.75, which turns out would be where Amanda would be swept off the course. You have to maintain a 16 minute mile, and if you fall far enough behind, they remove you from the course because they have to get the roads open again for park traffic. Mile 2.75 was the point at which we ran into Epcot for the first time, around behind the Test Track and came into the actual park off backstage in Norway.we circled around the World Showcase, and when we got to the bridge just passed France, we turned and went over to the Boardwalk area and ran around it.
There were a couple of inclines in this area, which didn't bother me much but Laurie had a little trouble. She told me a couple of times to just go ahead, it was ok to leave her, but at that point we were nearing mile 5 and I figured we had stayed together this long, we might as well cross the finish line together. So I walked a little extra with her when she needed it, and we kept the pace. At mile 6, we both agreed to run all the way to the end, and about that time my playlist began playing Eye of the Tiger. Nick loves that song, and it really made me feel like he was right there running with me at that point and I began to tear up again.
I can't describe running towards and across the finish line. Tears and excitement and joy....I didn't even feel tired at that point. I think if they had told me I had to run another mile just to get my medal I could have. We moved over to the right and were awarded our medals. Then we just needed to wait for Matt to finish, who turned out to be just about 7 minutes behind us. My official finish time was 1 hour, 26 minutes, and 7 seconds. I had completed my first 10k and under an hour and a half, which was my goal.