Good Morning Fellow New Runners!
On October 4th, I did it. I entered the fifth dimension….I entered….The Twilight Zone.
I had been looking forward to this race for over a year, the first time I read about it on another blog. It sounded like so much fun and the medal…well..more on that in just a bit.
My family arrived in Disney on Friday and we immediately went to our resort to check in. This time we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. I will do a review of our Disney experience in a different post, but once I checked in, I also had to go to a different desk in the lobby to check in and get my free mini-golf passes(that’s right, I said FREE mini-golf passes. With no expiration date…bonus!) and my Tower of Terror weekend pamphlet. After that, we headed over to the Wide World of Sports section of Walt Disney World for our packet pick up.
I was concerned as I’ve heard that packet pick up and the expo’s can be very crowded, but this one was so well organized, we could have been in and out in a matter of minutes (and I had to pick up 2 bibs, one for myself and one for my daughter who did the Kids Races). Kudos to RunDisney for the expo. As someone who hates crowds, this was a very pleasant surprise. I took a look around the expo floor at all of the neat runner specific things that they had for purchase, but the highlight for me was to see all of the other RunDisney Medals! That is right, all of the other medals from upcoming races were on display. My favorite? Let’s just say I need to make a trip out to Disneyland for the Avengers race. (my apologies for no pictures, this area was constantly crowded with people wanting a look. Can’t really blame them!)
On Saturday I tried to nap, but I was too excited and before I knew it…it was time to board the bus! Funny enough the usual butterflies that accompany me heading to a race were completely absent. I had made a pact with myself that I was just going to enjoy the experience. Everyone told me that with a RunDisney race, you can’t worry about your time, so I decided, I would not (note: I did still have a target finish goal in mind, under 2 hours).
The bus was a great experience as people were so friendly. I met three lovely ladies and we chatted about running and what we hoped for from the run. (To finish was the over-arching theme.) We got to the waiting area outside of the corrals and what fun! There was an absolutely fantastic DJ who had moves to every song, so it was like a dance party, warm up, and aerobics class in one. I know I should have sat and rested my legs but darn it, if I hear a fun song I just half to boogie down. Apparently, I am not alone.
While waiting, I also signed in to the Hollywood Hotel guest registry. I’ve heard good things about this hotel, especially the elevators.
The only fault I found with this part of the process? At 8:30pm (race starts at 10pm), all of the port-o-potties were out of toilet paper and the portable sinks were out of soap and paper towels. There was no one near to report this to. Next year I hope they have extra supplies of such essentials, especially for us lady runners!
At 9:15 we loaded into our corrals and walked to the start. It wasn’t long now…the excitement was overwhelming. Then, promptly at 10pm we were off!! I always force myself to slow down at the start of a race, and this one was pretty easy to do just that because it was crowded at the start. Not “running into others” crowded, but certainly too crowded to sprint out although I saw people doing just that.
I was nervous because I was told not to bring headphones and when I got to the race start everyone was wearing headphones, but honestly, I didn’t need them. Within a mile there were DJ’s, a character meet and greet (Jafar) and water and powerade. In fact I could not believe how fast the miles ticked by, it seemed like I had just completed a mile when buzzzz, my Garmin vibrated another mile down.
By far, my most favorite part of the run was when we ran into the Wide World of Sports Complex. It was a well lit trail that added such a different vibe, I thought it was really fun. I also LOVED running through the baseball stadium. People were cheering and screaming, oh it was a blast! Additionally the volunteers on this part of the course were simply amazing. They were clapping, had kazoos and clappers and were cheering us on. They deserved a medal too, in my opinion.
It was also a wide world of sports that I got some super fun pictures. I had to get a picture when the infamous grave diggers, and surprisingly their line wasn’t that long at all, maybe 5 people in front of me? I also got a picture with the “zombie tailgaters” who had literally zero line. Then at mile seven I stopped to get a picture with the “corpses”. Every picture I took I was amazed, the people playing the characters NEVER broke character. They were all fantastic!
Once I left Wide World of Sports I knew the end was close. We ran into Hollywood Studios and they had a DJ who was not only playing music but hilarious. At this point, I sent a text to my husband letting him know I was on property and had about 2 miles to go. We ran into the lights motor action speedway and through the back lot. Then we ran down New York City (so cool!) and around the Mickey hat. It was here that family and friends were cheering and another amazing DJ was playing music and saying “you got this, you can do it!!”. It was mile 9 and I can’t lie, I almost starting crying (I get a little emotional when I run). More twists and turns and then through the seamstress section, which was super neat to see all of the clothes. They also had a disco ball and music, I felt like breaking out into a dance. Then a straight away with more amazing volunteers cheering and clapping.
My Garmin buzzed 10 miles…yet I was STILL running! What the what? I saw a huge screen ahead that had various race photos, the Twilight Zone music and once I hit that, I turned a corner and there it was…the finish line!! I high fived Goofy and cross that line in my goal finish time! Bonus was that unlike my Gasparilla experience my husband actually saw me cross! As soon as I crossed I got a chill towel (ohhh so nice!) and a snack box. I also snagged my most awesome medal. Folks, the elevator moves and the windows glow in the dark. Yep, coolest medal around!
Two things about this race that were a bit of an inconvenience:
1. The walk to the bag check to pick up your bag is looooonggg. For the love of God, I just ran 10 miles, can you make this pick up a little closer? Also, if you had to pick up your bag, there was no way to tell your loved ones waiting for you where to go. I wish they would have made that a bit easier. Lesson learned: I will always tell my family to go to the bag check section or changing tent area to find me.
2. The snack box had all carbs in it. Almost no protein. I don’t know if it is just me, but after I run I have got to get some protein into me or else I get a wicked headache (which I had the entire next day). Lesson learned, next time I will bring a protein shake in my bag check.
I am very bummed to see that RunDisney has elected not to do this race in 2015 (no explanation why), but I hope that this a temporary stoppage.
“Smaller” RunDisney race
Night time course so no hot sun beating down on you
Different terrain breaks up the miles
Absolutely phenomenal medal and tech shirt (the shirt glows too!)
10 mile distance is a great entry point for someone who wants more of a challenge than a 10k but is not ready for the full half marathon distance
Very cool theme
That walk to the bag check! Sweet Jesus.
No ability to meet family right after the finish. No way to tell them to meet you at bag check vs. party
The fact that family must buy a villains bash ticket to see you finish. We are annual passholders. For almost every other race (except for Wine and Dine) my husband could have used his pass to get into the park to see me finish. But because it was a night race, he had to buy a special ticket. I am still kind of miffed about that.
There is no Tower of Terror Race scheduled for 2015 😦
I loved this race and I want to do it again. I hope RunDisney does bring it back, and better than ever. A run through the Magic Kingdom..by the Haunted Mansion ride perhaps? How amazing would that be?
Enjoy the Run!
Question: Have you run the Tower of Terror 10 miler? What are your thoughts?