The half marathon was the first part of the Goofy Challenge. It was a weird feeling to go into this race knowing that it would be just one-third the total distance for the weekend. Running the half marathon first also put the distance in a different perspective. It almost felt like no big deal when I knew I would be running a full marathon the very next day. When did that happen?
We spent the day before the half at Animal Kingdom. I wore my running shoes because I knew it would be a lot of walking, but we may have over-done it just a bit. By the end of the day my feet were hurting from so much walking, and that made me a little nervous for the races.
We had an early dinner at Boma the night before the race, an African buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I loaded up on delicious hummus, tofu and rice. Then it was early to bed!
We decided to stay at the Contemporary Resort this trip, which would put us on the monorail and give us easy access to Epcot both race mornings. We got up around 3:15am, to head to the monorail at 3:45 am. I ate my breakfast of a peanut and butter jelly sandwich and drank a bottle of water on our way to the race start. The monorail definitely made the trip to Epcot much easier.
We stopped for a real bathroom at the monorail station in Epcot before heading to the start line. We thought this would let us avoid the port-o-potties this year. The walk to the start line took longer than it did for the marathon last year. We were walking at a snail’s pace. By the time we made it to the corrals, I was in need of another bathroom stop.
We were in Corral G this year, thanks to our estimated marathon finish of 5:30. I had printed proof of faster half marathon results in case we wanted to change corrals at the expo, but we decided with our run/walking and stopping for pictures, it might be okay that we were so far back.
Even though we left on the monorail at 4:00am, it was after 5:00am by the time we made it to Corral G. They were already singing the national anthem! There were fireworks around 5:30am. They weren’t just at the start line – there was a great display right behind us too!
It took a long time for us to eventually make our way to the start line. I loved the energy from the crowd, and could not wait to get started.
Around 6:15am, we were on our way! The beginning of the race was so congested, I think it was even worse than last year. Our plan was to run 5/5 intervals, to make sure that we didn’t push ourselves too hard before the marathon. Although part of the time we were “running” I could have power walked just as fast.
- Mile 1: 13:01
- Mile 2: 12:19
It was the beginning of the third mile that we saw the first characters. It was the same pirate ship from last year. Once again, I couldn’t believe how much Jack Sparrow looked like Johnny Depp.
The character lines were much longer this year, and seemed to be moving much more slowly. There was no sense of urgency from many of the runners taking pictures!
- Mile 3: 18:30
- Mile 4: 22:48
We stopped for two characters in the fourth mile. We waited 3-4 minutes for Chip n’ Dale and about 5-6 minutes for the Nightmare Before Christmas scene.
We started to worry a little bit after these early stops. We wanted to take our time and stop for characters, but we were already behind the 16 minute pace requirement. I knew we wouldn’t actually get swept because there were so many people behind us, but we wanted to honestly meet the time requirement to feel that we earned our Goofy medals. So we started to run a little bit more and sped up the pace.
- Mile 5: 11:25
The sixth mile took us through the Magic Kingdom. Running down Main Street will always be my favorite part of these runs. There are so many people cheering in the crowds and the energy is so high.
I could not believe how many people chose to walk through that leg of the race! We did our best to keep running and weaving through the crowds. When we came up on the Cinderella castle, we decided to stop for a picture with a royal Daisy and Donald, and lost another 5-6 minutes.
- Mile 6: 20:45
Once we made it past the castle, we knew we had some serious time to make up. We ran the next couple of miles with very few walk breaks and skipped over a few characters to save time. The one I wish we had gotten was Jessie from Toy Story. We thought we could get a picture with her during the marathon the next day, but she was not out when we passed by.
- Mile 7: 10:46
- Mile 8: 11:08
When we saw that we were quickly making up time, we lightened up a bit and paused for a few quick pictures over the next couple of miles.
- Mile 9: 12:21
- Mile 10: 12:26
- Mile 11: 12:24
I don’t remember what mile it was, but the Toy Story soldiers were out again this year, encouraging runners to keep running up a hill.
We knew we were fine on time, but there weren’t many character during the final miles, so we kept up with our run/walking through the end.
- Mile 12: 11:51
- Mile 13: 12:10
- Mile 13.0 – 13.57: 10:00 pace
- Total: 3:07:38 (13:50 pace)
Epcot was a blur to me for both races. I must have been so focused on just finishing. It looks like I was still running happy though!
I knew from last year, once we turned the corner to leave Epcot, we were so close to the finish line. We didn’t sprint, but kept a steady pace for the last half mile. One-third of the Goofy Challenge was complete!
We picked up our medals and immediately got some ice before picking up our snack box. We didn’t realize there were buses right there to take us back to our hotel, so we hobbled back to Epcot for the monorail.
Overall, I was happy with this race. We had run a little more and a little faster than we planned, but it turned out we were fine. Our split at the 10k mark was a 16:33 minute pace; by 15k we had it down to 15:08 and by the end, our official pace was 14:18.
We showered, napped for an hour, and then headed back out to the parks, to Hollywood Studios. Wearing our medals, of course. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea for recovery before the next day, but we were there to have fun too!