Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Ran...I Ran So Far Away

I know I talked a little about my run last blog post, but I wanted to share a bit more about my first 5k experience.  

I'm not a runner.  Let's make that perfectly clear.  My husband is the runner in the family.  He does 5k's for fun on evening runs and just this year, he ran the St. Louis Half Marathon.  Me, I get winded thinking of running!  My joke when people have asked if I was ever going to run a race has always been, I only run if someone's chasing me! 

However, over the past few years, a few of my trips to Walt Disney World have been centered around race weekends.  I have gone to support friends who've run in both the January Weekend Half Marathon and also the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  I love being able to support my friends as they run!  It's win-win.  They run and I just get to watch!  Cheering on your loved ones (and even strangers) is one of the most awesome things to do.  It's such a rush knowing that you are helping give them a shot of adreneline in a time when they potentially need it.  I have been a good supporter! 

This year, all that changed.  You see, I was the one people were cheering for!  How's that, you ask?  Well, this year, I ended up running the Halloween 5k on October 1st during the Wine and Dine Race Weekend. 
It all happened because a friend of mine came down for the race weekend without his daughter.  She had been signed up for the race, but it turned out Homecoming was that same weekend, so she opted to skip the race and go to Homecoming instead.  This meant that my friend had paid for a race no one was going to run. 

Out of all my friends who were down there for the weekend, I was one of the only ones who was not signed up already for the 5k that was somewhat open to the idea.  I knew that it would surprise a lot of people if I said yes to running this race, so in one of those weird moments in my life, I said yes.  I'll run the race in her place. 

Like I said, I don't this means that I had no training done, what-so-ever.  The furthest I'd ever ran/walked at this point was a mile and a half on the treadmill when I sporadically worked out.  I honestly didn't know how well I was going to do in this race.  I didn't even know how fast I could accomplish the race in.  I was just hoping I wouldn't come in last. 

So, on Oct. 1st, I got up at 5 am (I managed to get a decent night of sleep for myself...this was going to be one long day to begin with...I was expecting to stay up to 3 am for the Wine and Dine After Party that night!) and I got ready.  I put on the tennis shoes I thankfully brought with me and the shorts I ended up having to buy at the Wide World of Sports Expo and ventured out in the dark to meet my friend who was going to run the race with me. 

This year, the race took place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  When we got to the parking lot, we were floored!  There was a huge line of cars all waiting to be parked.  I couldn't believe all these people were going to be running this race! 

Finally, I made my way up to the corral in my time slot (I picked the slowest one, the 13:00-15:00 mile) and was ready to go.  The National Anthem played and then the next thing I knew, BOOM, the fireworks exploded and the race had begun!  All the sudden, it was my turn to run.  So, my friends and I took off. 
We ran through the parking lot of Disney's Animal Kingdom and then make our way through the front entrance.  It was really neat to get to run through to see the Tree of Life show up in my field of vision.  Another neat thing was to see characters set up so you could meet and greet them.  I didn't do that this run though, I was concentrating on not finishing last! 

My friend was keeping track of how far we had ran and at this point, when we checked, we'd already gone a little over a mile!  Wow...ok...this isn't so bad.  I couldn't believe I'd already ran that far without much trouble. 

Then we went backstage.  This became the long part of the race.  Backstage had to have been at least a mile, though while running it, it felt like it was about 5!  We just kept running and running without seeing the turnaround anywhere.  Finally, after what seemed like forever (because there wasn't really anything exciting to look at backstage) we came upon the turn around point!  At this point, the run became a little easier because I knew what I was running to.  I was on my way to the finish line.  (I guess I shoud friends and I ended up walking/running this race, mostly walking though due to high crowds, as well as fatigue...but I did run a good portion of the race!)

Once we came back onstage at the Animal Kingdom, the run became easier again.  We ran past Expedition Everest, past Finding Nemo, and past Dinoland U.S.A.  Then we went back through a backstage area again as the sun was coming up on the horizon.  Finally we heard a Cast Member say, just around this corner is the Finish Line!  As soon as I saw it, my legs suddenly got shifted into high gear.  I took off running faster than I've ever ran before!  There was my end!  It was in sight! 

As soon as I crossed the Finish Line...I did something I wasn't expecting.  I had to fight back the tears.  I was SO proud of my accomplishment!  I had done it!  I had done what I thought was impossible.  With the help of my friends, I had ran a 5k!  3.1 miles in just about 49:00! 

So where am I going with all this?  If you've ever thought of running a Disney race ever...and even if you haven' it!  There is something so amazing about accomplishing a Disney race.  I am so proud to say that my first race was a Disney race. 

The question is...will this non-runner run another Disney race?  I'm not sure.  I still am not a runner...I still am not a huge fan of running in general.  However, I will tell you...I am not counting the idea out.  Disney makes the races seem so easy.  So, you never know.  I may just decide to sign up next time!  Maybe I did catch the running bug.


DebWDW said...

That's so cool that you did it! First Dinosaur, and then a 5K?! What's next for you????

Stelle said...

Rikki, really glad you decided to right something about your impromptu 5K. Was very surprised when I heard you were joining in on the podcast! Good for you! My husband and I have been really wanting to run out first one, and even though I do go to the gym pretty frequently, the only running I do is when I'm running late for my train in the mornings. I'm hoping we get to do one soon and it would be even nicer if it was in Disney.

Good for you! It must feel so awesome, and I hope you do another really soon!

Amanda said...

Congrats! You did a great job with no training and no experience. Glad you took a chance and did the race and enjoyed it. Hope to hear you're going to do other races in the future!

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much!!! It was really quite an experience!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I can't believe you ran a 5k! I'm running one this weekend and although I've tried to prepare, I haven't actually run the full length of the race yet. I may end up doing mostly walking. But I think going down for a Disney race may make really train for it - it sounds like fun to run backstage and all!