Last weekend, Darin and I ran the Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. This was my second Run Disney event. Last year, I ran the inaugural Dark Side themed race. It was my first half marathon, and my first time ever running 13.1 miles. Last year, I had no idea what I was doing and I was on my own. Unfortunately, my excitement lead me to being ill prepared. All runners had to be at the busses at 3am. I forgot my banana and had nothing to eat before my corral started around 6:30 am. While Disney did offer a spread at the waiting area, I also forgot to bring cash. During the run, I didn’t really have anyone to share my excitement with and when I was finished, it was hard to convey how amazing the experience really was.
This year was different. This year, Darin was running with me. I also learned my lesson, so when we headed to the busses this time around, we were prepared with bagels, peanut butter and drinks. This year, when I saw something cool, I had someone to look over at and geek out with. This time, I wasn’t the only one giggling like a kid at the excitement of running through the parts of that park that are generally only seen by cast members.
As per Run Disney custom, we dressed up for the run. I was Darth Vader and he was a Storm Trooper. One thing I did really well last year, and repeated this year, was that I made my costume first and foremost running gear. I did not want to sacrifice comfort on the run for looks. I also knew that like last year, I would want to peel off layers and ditch them, so the costume was made in easy to remove on the run segments.
Having the costume easily come apart as needed on the run came in especially handy this year as it was record heat for that race. Several areas of the race were flanked with paramedics assisting people with hydration or heat issues. We made sure to take electrolytes and water at every station, which is not something I generally do but knew it was necessary this time. One woman from the mid-west told us she wasn’t sure how she would make it, it was so hot and humid. She pushed on but it was clear she was having a hard time. Since we are Florida natives and knew to keep hydration a priority, we didn’t really have any issues. We also fueled about 3 times during the race with Hammer gels.
One thing that made having a partner this time a bit more challenging, was navigating the crowd. When I was on my own, I just dodged and weaved however seemed right. There were over 16,000 people at the run. When you are trying to stay together among hundreds at any given time, that makes things a little more challenging. When we got to the finish line, I was relieved. Somewhere around mile 10, I did something to my knee when trying to get around someone and I was quite ready to be done. Thankfully, the Run Disney people are amazing to their runners. After we crossed the finish there were people there ready to help patch us up. I got an ice pack strapped to my knee and we headed in to get snacks and headed to the bus.
After showers, some breakfast and a much-needed nap, we enjoyed the rest of the day at Epcot. You better believe I treated myself to a caramel frappuccino too!