Races

Race Review-Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

On October 4th, I did it.  I entered the fifth dimension….I entered….The Twilight Zone.

Source: RunDisney.com

Source: RunDisney.com

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).

Photo credit: My mom

Photo credit: My mom

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.

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

While waiting, I also signed in to the Hollywood Hotel guest registry.  I’ve heard good things about this hotel, especially the elevators.

sign in

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!

corpse brides zombie tailgaters

 

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!

TOT finish!

Photo Credit: My husband..who waited up until almost midnight to see me cross the finish line.

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

 

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.

The Pros:

“Smaller” RunDisney race

Night time course so no hot sun beating down on you

Different terrain breaks up the miles

Wonderful volunteers

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

 

The Cons

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!

Yvonne

Question: Have you run the Tower of Terror 10 miler?  What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Running through my fears..at Disney World?

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

I have some exciting news!  On Wednesday I finally did something I have been waiting to do for months!  I am officially registered to run the Tower of Terror 10 Miler at Walt Disney World!!!

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The race is not until October 4th 2014 yet preparing for it is all I can think of!  Is it a little sad that simply registering has me this excited?  Probably, but as a runner and a lover of all things Disney, a race at Disney World is like a dream come true.

The funny thing about this particular race for me?  If you knew me, you would think this is the last race I would ever sign up for.  Why?

1. It takes place at night, in the dark.  I am not a fan of the dark and I’m usually in bed before 10pm, which is when this race starts!

2. It highlights the villains.  I am always a “root for the hero” kind of gal.  So to participate in a race that loves all thing villainous, is pretty ironic for me.

3. I am not a fan of scary movies.  This race promises grave diggers and Twilight Zone references in addition to appearances by even the most hated of villains.  For me, just seeing those previews for scary movies keep me up at night.

4. Before this year, I was not a runner.  So for me to run a 10 mile race is not something anyone who knew me would think I could do or would even want to do.

So, now that you all know this about me…you may be asking yourself “why is she so excited about this race”?  It conquers those fears.  This race goes against everything that has held me back.  Once I run this race and burst through all of these fears (justified or not) I know I will emerge a new and better person.

Oh and plus I get this super sweet medal.  I mean the elevator moves and it glows in the dark…the awesomeness of it all is overwhelming!

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

As a Disney World Annual Passholder, I was able to register for the Tower of Terror 10 miler early.  General registration will open on February 11th, you can find more information at RunDisney.  If you want to register, do it as soon as possible.  RunDisney races sell out super fast!!

Who is going to conquer their fears with me?

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Now that you all know a little bit about the race…what should my costume be?

Best Damn Race Recap-2 races, 3 medals & lots of learning!

Good Afternoon fellow new runners!

It has been a few days since my last blog post, that is because this Saturday I ran my first 10K!  Whoo hoo!  The Best Damn Race had a 10K + 5K challenge (run the 10K, then the 5K about an hour later.  Two races and 3 medals in one morning, how awesome!) and I did it!  It was an amazing experience.  But because I am both a new runner and a new blogger, I forgot to take pictures of the race!  I am so sorry, I will do better next time!Photo: 9 miles, 2 races, 3 medals all before 10am.  Not bad for a Saturday morning!!

As this was my first 10K, first multi-run race and my first non-local big race I learned a TON!  Here are some of the highlights:

1. Don’t let all those other runners get you off your game.  I started out of the gate way too fast in both races and as a result couldn’t keep up my pace and ended up walking some.  This brought my overall time down.  I will be sure to slow down in the first few miles of the next race!

2. Get there early!  It was not easy to get up when that alarm went off at 4:30am, but boy am I glad I did.  I got to the race about an hour before the first race (10K) and as a result got a fantastic parking spot where I could go back and forth to get personal items between races.

3. Take in the course.  The Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor, FL had an absolutely gorgeous course.  I was sure to check out the gorgeous bay, the waterfall and even the hills…about the hills…

4. If you are like me and not at all used to running on hills (hey, I live in Florida!) and your race happens to have some, walk up them.

5. EAT and DRINK! I didn’t drink enough water after the races and didn’t eat after the second one until I got home (about 2 hours after the final race).  As a result I had a wicked migraine the rest of the day.  An experienced runner told me to make sure I drink more water and eat more, especially protein.  Even if you have to force yourself to munch, do it!

6. If you are running more than one race in a day (or walking if you are racing on vacation) make sure you stretch after your race!  When I lined up for the 5K I realized my muscles were super tight and I raced to stretch them before the run.  Don’t do the same thing, find the time and space to stretch!

7. Take in the before and after festivities!  Walk around, enjoy some food and water (or in the case of this race, the beer), strike up a conversation with a fellow finisher.  Or watch and cheer the runners still finishing!  It is amazing how inspired you will be!

Overall it was a great race.  There were a few glitches, but in my opinion they were minor.  I will be signing up for this race again next year!  Who will join me?

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

If you are interested in the Best Damn Race series (they have races in Safety Harbor (just outside of Tampa) and Orlando you can visit them here at http://www.bestdamnrace.com

Friday Flashback-My First Race

Good Afternoon New Runners!

Of course I was a bumblebee, they are slow & lumbering but they do fly!

Of course I was a bumblebee, they are slow & lumbering but they do fly!

In this edition of Friday Flashback, I want to take you to my first race.  It was a small Halloween 5K right in my neighborhood that started at 5pm on a Saturday.  Sounds like an easy, fun race for a first timer, right?  Except that I was a nervous wreck!  From where to park, to getting my bib and checking in, to hoping I didn’t get lost on the course, everything that could possibly go wrong ran through my head…all….day….long.

My husband had to work and my parents, always very supportive, were away on a trip.  Thank God for my sister in-law.  She and my nephew came over and we all went over to the race, along with my little munchkin.  The kids participated in a one mile “fun run”  that took place right before the race.

Parking was a cinch, they had volunteers directing runners on where to park.  Finding where to pick up the bibs was easy (it was well marked) and finding where to wait until the start was simple.  The start was well marked as was the entire course.  In short, almost all of my fears were completely unfounded.

The start of the race I got a little emotional (I couldn’t believe that less than 5 months before I couldn’t run a mile and now I was embarking on a race to run 3!) but once the race got started I settled down and got into the run.  The course was an out and in course so right around the mile and a half mark, the top finishers had already made the turn and were heading back.  I was blown away by their speed…it was so cool to see!  Seeing the amazing top finisher women, who were beating lots of men, really inspired me!

Speaking of inspired, some of the most inspiring scenes did not happen with the top finishers.  One of the most vivid memories was a very pregnant mom (7 months or so at least) dressed as Super Woman running with her three year old, dressed as Super Grover.  They ran/walked the entire course, finishing last but anyone who saw the two of the running, well, they were absolutely top finishers in heart.

When nerves got the best of me, I pictured myself on my usual running route, just doing another run.  That really helped calm me down and I was able to really get into a good groove.  The other people around me didn’t intimidate me so much, but I did a slightly rookie move and was reluctant to pass people.  This was foolish on my part, I should have passed (politely of course) especially when people were running two or three wide and going much slower than I would have liked.  Never forget it is a race!!

I finished with a very respectable time and was super proud of my accomplishment.  I wore my medal for the rest of the evening, even surprising my husband at work to show him.

So sign up for that race!  You will be nervous and that is OK!  Everyone is to some extent, but just remember to go at your own pace and to have FUN!  Smile at your fellow runners and don’t be shy to say great job or looking strong!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Do you have any race memories?  Any great suggestions?