Don’t miss the 5k and 10k recaps! Also, read more about my journey to the Dopey Challenge here.
The Mr. and I decided to treat ourselves to a steak dinner at Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot the night before the half marathon. Not only was this steak delicious, but we were right next to the aquarium. It was such a lovely atmosphere.
After we got back from dinner I set out my Ariel costume and waited. I kept checking my email, refreshing the Facebook race event page and scrolling through Instagram. The weather in Florida is fickle and we all knew there would be rain on race day.
If you followed everything as it unfolded then you know that Disney cancelled the race around 7pm the night before the race. There was supposed to be a horrible thunderstorm between the hours of 3am and 9am. Keep in mind that most Disney races start at 5:30am and buses start shuttling people to the start around 3:30am. Disney did their best to offer multiple options to half marathon runners. I know some people were unhappy with these options, but we all signed an acknowledgement that the race could get cancelled without refunds.
It was a hard call, but I am so glad they called it when they did. This allowed people to sleep in knowing the race was cancelled, prevent early morning race day chaos, and keep everyone safe.
I went to bed around 8pm feeling totally bummed. I was thankful this was just the half marathon and not the marathon, but I was still sad. I had really been enjoying the Dopey Challenge and wanted to earn my medals. I went to bed uneasy that I would still receive the half marathon medal even though the race was cancelled.
The next morning I woke up around 7am feeling motivated to do something about my frustration. I thought maybe I should take that day as a way to rest up for the marathon the next day, but I was still upset. I came to WDW to run the full challenge and prove to myself that I could run 48.6 miles over 4 days.
Since the weather was disgusting anyways I decided to go for a run. I decided I was going to log my 13.1 miles no matter what the weather did. That’s exactly what I did.
I ran in the rain through dozens of parking lots, sidewalks around the hotel buildings and a little stretch of highway. When the thunderstorms and wind came, I ran under the overhangs around the hotel rooms. I may never be able to run another parking lot again, but I did it.
It might have been the nastiest, wettest and longest half marathon of my life, but I did it. I knew that even though I had ran so many half marathons, I wanted this one to mean something. I wanted all those medals to mean something. I wanted to earn them.
The most compelling thing of the whole experience was seeing hundreds of other runners do the same thing. At one point we even had spectators “on the course” and staff members cheering us on. It was so refreshing to see people push through everything to earn their medals when the conditions were so rough.
I also felt so proud talking to others on the buses and around the parks that day. I earned that half marathon medal. I know that this experience will stick with me. The Mr. and I spent the rest of the day having fun around the Magic Kingdom.
Have you ever had an experience like this? Ever make your own race?