A week ago, we ventured down to Florida so that I could do one of my bucket list races. I did the Fairy Tale Challenge (previously known as the Glass Slipper Challenge). That means a 10k on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday. 19.3 miles in two days! To say that I was nervous beforehand would be an understatement.
It’s dark in the picture because each morning’s races start at 5:30am. The transportation to the start area is really great if you are staying on site. It’s easy, but it’s early. You have to be on the bus by 3:30am (for the 10k) or 3:00am (for the half), sleep deprivation is an added obstacle to overcome for these races.
The 10K was a lot of fun. I took my time and didn’t push myself too much so that I wouldn’t start the next day being exhausted. I had some soreness in my left foot after the run but other than that, I felt good. (I have now self-diagnosed my left foot pain as plantar fasciitis.)
The 10K takes you around all of Epcot. You run outside of the park for the very beginning, but this part goes by quickly. Then, you get to see some of the actual park.
There are lots of characters on the path.
But you have to wait in line to see them….and some lines are very very very long. (So, if you want to stop, know that it will change your finish time.)
After the 10K, we went to the kids races. Unfortunately, it was really hot. The kids races started at 10:30 with the 100m, then the 200m an hour later. I’m glad that neither of our girls were going to do the 1mile because that started at 1:00pm. The kids races were actually a bit unorganized. Big girl and I could barely hear anything while waiting for the 200m. When you have a big group of hot and sweaty kids with their hot and sweaty parents (who probably already ran that morning), people start to get grumpy really really quickly. Thankfully, there was a lot of water…and applesauce for the kiddos. GoGo Squeez was one of the big sponsors for the kids races so there was applesauce everywhere. My girls had more applesauce pouches during this weekend, then they probably have during the whole year. lol
Sunday was the half-marathon. This one goes through Magic Kingdom which is really magical and then ends at Epcot. I, honestly, started to feel a little emotional when we ran through the castle!
However, a lot of this is actually just on highways and roads outside of the parks. Soooooooo much of this is not in a park – and it gets a bit boring. There aren’t as many characters to see on the course when you are outside of the parks. Seeing the characters every mile definitely helped the 10K to fly by…..so the half got a bit boring…..and hot……it got really hot on those roads. The heat is definitely not something that my Illinois winter training could have prepared me for.
Now that I’ve had a week to think about everything, I have started to come up with a plan for myself. I think that I would, in fact, want to do the Fairy Tale Challenge in the future. However, I need to get my pace time way down so that I can start in a different coral. There were 25,000 runners during the half-marathon. 25,000! For a back-of-the-pack runner like me, that meant that I didn’t cross the start line until an hour after the race had started. It also meant that I had an hour longer in the hot Florida sun. (The “real feel” temp on my phone said 89 when I crossed the finish line.)
It was a great weekend and I’m glad that I was able to do it. I’m still tired (still trying to get caught up with the lack of sleep). And, my foot is still hurting. (Trying to stay off of it for awhile and doing lots of stretching. 19.3 miles is a lot for two feet.) But, I’m so happy that I was able to experience this and, most importantly, I’m glad that I was able to share this weekend with my family! Having them with me made it even more magical – Ryan, my girls, and my parents!!
Now, on to the next race!! My goal is to get my 5k run time way down, then do the same for my 10k time. Then, it’ll be time to start training for my next half!