Glass Slipper Challenge – Enchanted 10K
We did our shakeout run the day before. It was hot and steamy. Quite frankly it gave me pause on some of my goals for the weekend. We ended up running around our resort and the Polynesian. We finally found an area to do our strides in, the bus parking lot at the ticket and transportation center.
Based on our experience with marathon weekend, we figured we would get on the earlier monorails. Since the first monorail started running at 3:30 am, we set the alarm for 2:30 am. As we are good runners and had all of our stuff for the race laid out the night before, were we good to go. I really didn’t get much sleep that night per normal. We got to the Grand Floridian monorail stop pretty much right at 3:30AM. The ride over to Epcot was pretty uneventful. It took about 30 minutes total between the stops and the train change.
After we got to Epcot we walked over to the race area through the parking lots. My guess was that it was around half a mile. We quickly went through bag check and got to the start finish area. We made our way to the end since that is where A corral was and there were no people. About an hour before start time we started our warm ups. We basically ran two miles in a short little loop between the corrals and the port a potties. We also had some strides and skipping.
We were then told to start getting into the corrals. I wanted to make sure to get to the front to avoid the crowds. Caleb had given us some advice about dealing with the crowds and I was hoping I wouldn’t have to use them. I figured that the corrals were going to leave from the back corner and that they were going to walk us along the back, so we headed back there. Fortunately, I guessed correctly. The gates opened and we walked over to the start.
The walk was short but interesting. We walked past all of the other corrals. All of the other runners cheered us on as we went past them. I felt a bit like a rock star.
They lined us up for the start. Here we got the national anthem. It was an excellent rendition by a trumpet player. Having played in grade school, I could appreciate how difficult the version he played was. After that we had the fairy godmother come out to start the race. The actress playing her was quite good.
I think I was about four or five rows back from the front. We got the countdown and then the fireworks and we were off! The course runs out of the parking lots and turns left onto the highway. I was trying to figure out my strategy on positioning, but I really didn’t need to worry. By the time the first turn came up, the course had opened up.
I couldn’t figure out how many people were in front of me. I ended up passing a group of people talking about one of the runners in front. Apparently he wears the same Minnie Mouse costume to all races, which are mostly Disney by looking at his athlinks profile. At this point we went under a overpass and Elsa was on top waving to everyone. Snow was falling off the bridge. Quite frankly, this the only character I remember as it was early in the race. I think it was around .75 miles into the race.
After the first mile, we did a u-turn and swung up on a overpass. I had seen a couple of the more elite runners on the bridge already. I figured that there couldn’t be more than 20 in front of me. I attacked the hill and moved up. Coming down the hill I was passed by one woman. The rest of the race was basically myself, her, and one other guy running within 50 yards of each other.
I ran for a bit on empty highway and hit the half way point. My 5k split was 20:52. I started heading to the back of Epcot to run around World Showcase. I was really having difficulty maintaining my goal 10k pace, so I ended up dropping to half marathon pace. The heat and humidity were getting to me. I finally hit World Showcase which was around the 3.5 mile mark.
I ran around World Showcase. There were some cast members cheering us on and a water station. I grabbed a bit of water and kept moving on. I exited through the back entrance between France and England. I then did the loop around the Boardwalk, over to the Yacht Club, and past the Beach Club. I always hate running the Boardwalk. The boards are always loud over there and it makes me feel like I a running super heavy. Tread lightly, I am not.
I was keeping my running “partners” in view, but I was feeling myself slip. I had to keep reminding myself that I only had a mile and a half to go. I ran past the backside of Epcot and headed towards the ball. I think we ran past Innoventions, but I really wasn’t paying attention. At this point I started to close on people. I finally passed the other guy in our threesome.
I made the last turn towards the finish line and was ready to catch up with the woman in front of me. I gave it the last bit that I had. Right at the end, I thought I had a chance to pass her. As we went over the timing mats they use to call out names, I heard that she was the third place female. Crap, I thought to myself. I pulled up and over a little bit as people were rushing over to her.
I gave some fist bumps to a couple of guys that came in behind me. I am not sure what happened, but somehow my voice dropped an octave as I congratulated them. All I could think of was I had to find a bathroom. I was so soaked, I could have probably peed my shorts and no one would have noticed.
I got my picture taken, got my medal, liquids, and snacks. And then I just wondered for a while. After a bit, I ran into The Blonde. We went back and got our picture together. We also had them take a picture of our backs, which had our team name for the half the next day.
Two negative things happened after the race. The first was that I got a massive charlie horse in my right calf from kicking off my shoes. Really??? The Blonde was nice enough to go get me some ice while I tried to stretch it out.
The second was our bus driver ended up being an idiot and didn’t go to our hotel. Even though his sign said so and the guy checking people on asked if we were going to one of the three hotels on the sign. We ended up all the way back at Epcot! We got off the bus and walked over to the monorail and took that back to the Ticket & Transportation Center and walked back to our hotel. It took us twice as long to get to our hotel as it did to run the race!
While, I was not able to maintain my goal pace, relatively speaking I did alright. I did have a PR of 42:11 and Strava ended up giving me a bunch of first place overall efforts for my personal times. I ended up placing third in my age group and 17th overall. I did need a bit of luck for that to happen. The overall winner was a fifty year old local male. That freed up the masters spot. The first place in my age group got the masters award which bumped me from fourth to third. The Blonde ended up placing second in her age group with a PR of 45:32. She was 38th overall. There were about 9000 finishers overall. We will have photos up of the placement awards once they mail them out.
A couple of other notes: I am not used to being at the front of the pack of a race. So it was a different experience not watching runners in front of me. I looked up the third place female winner. It turns out she is 13 years younger than me, owns her high school records in the 400 & 800, ran cross country for Xavier, and lives in the area. This overweight, no talent, 1.5 years of running experience (with injuries), masters runner from the North will take that result against that competition.