photo credit: Megan Annunziata

As usual, I had to get up ridiculously early.  Since I was staying off property I tried to give myself plenty of extra time to get to the Epcot parking lot.  The only other times I had stayed off property for a race I was not the driver.  I guess I left early enough, though, because I had absolutely no problems getting into the parking lot, and I was parked not very far from the entrance to the staging area.  I had to run back to my car at least twice to grab things that I forgot, but it was close enough that I didn’t feel like I was wasting energy with each trip.

After meeting up with friends, I headed to the corrals.  I was in Corral E.  Not as good as my Corral C placement last year, but there were about 4000 more runners this time so I couldn’t really complain.  Before I knew it, the fireworks were going off and it was time to start!

Once we crossed the starting line, I jogged for a bit.  Maybe as much as a quarter mile just to get out of the crowds.  I quickly settled into my interval running.  I snapped some pictures along the way.  I swear that one of these days I will be a fast enough runner to stop and take lots of pictures during this race.  Before I knew it, I was at the Magic Kingdom gates.

I was hoping that the drummers from Japan would be out since they were not out for the marathon.  Once I got into the Magic Kingdom parking lot, I thought I heard the drums, but then I started doubting myself thinking that I must be hearing the drums from a high school band.  I was quickly distracted from my thoughts when I approached mile four and found Elvis Stitch!

I wish I had taken a picture of Stitch, but there was no time to be wasted.  Once I rounded the corner, I found what I had been looking for… The Japanese drummers!  That made me smile.  I even saw that they had some of the younger children taking part in the performance.  So cute!

As soon as I entered the Magic Kingdom and came around the corner and I could see the Castle, I started running.  I stayed towards the side of the course that the spectators were on, watching for Alyssa (NDA#20) to make sure that she saw me.  I ran all the way to the Hub and that’s when I finally saw her and she started cheering and snapping pictures.  I gave her some big smiles and waved hello before turning into Tomorrowland.

photo credit: Megan Annunziata

I had been hoping to be able to run through the castle, but there was way too much congestion and people were stopping in the middle of the ramp to get pictures.  I needed  to weave my way around people to get down the ramp from the Castle, but then I was in the clear and made my way into Liberty Square and Frontierland.  Once I left the Magic Kingdom and headed out to Floridian Way I was set for the long stretch back to Epcot.

Somewhere around mile 8, I got serious.  Since I hadn’t done much running since the marathon, I was feeling the 8 miles already. I was still doing a good job of keeping up my intervals even at this late point in the race.  Unfortunately, I was slowing down all together.  Thankfully, I made it to mile 10 and then up the torturous ramp hill.

In the last mile, I ran from Spaceship Earth to the World Showcase Lagoon.  Then I walked from there out to mile 13.  We did get to see my friend Kirsty who had run the Princess with me last year.  She was near the area where the runners exit Epcot.  Once I got outside Epcot, I kept trying to decide how close I wanted to be before I ran all the way to the finish.  When I finally determined the spot, I sprinted to the finish.

Of course I plan on doing this race again!  I love this race and hope that one day I will be able finish it in under three hours.

If you took part in the race, let me know your experiences.  What was your favorite part?  As evidenced by the lack of pictures, we were too focused on finishing to get too many pictures in the second half of the race.  Share your pictures with me and I’ll post them here!

Contributed by: Megan Annunziata (NDA#1) Megan is the DDL Fitness Blogger. She is also the creator of Megan in Wonderland.

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