Baby It's Cold Outside - Recap of Disney's Enchanted 10k

Welcome to Run Disney Race Weekend!
Here I am, back again and (nearly) fresh off another race weekend, and of course, it was a race weekend at my favorite place on earth...  Walt Disney World!  This weekend was a double header thanks to my signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  Two days, two races, 19.3 miles...  Disney's Enchanted 10k on Saturday and Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Sunday.

I remember doing this challenge last year and thinking to myself "never again."  What happened between "never again" and the mad rush to sign up in July?  I have no idea.  I'll blame my brother, who wanted to make this his first race, and me who thought I'd tag along like it was no big thing.  But this time I swear, this is my last Glass Slipper Challenge, this is my last Run Disney race, and I'm hanging up the shoes for the foreseeable future.  I'm not sad about it, though I thought I would be...  I'm ready to go back to running for fun, Disney vacations that are actually vacations, and not hobbling around in a park after getting up entirely too early to run entirely too far.  I left behind a dining credit because I couldn't find enough time to eat, thanks to the races.  That's criminal.

Anyway, after running around the parks the day before, our 2:45am wake-up call came entirely too early.  In case anybody was wondering, 4 hours of sleep isn't enough to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for a 10k.  To make matters worse, I had been sick as a dog the day before so I was very nervous about how my body would react to the run (spoiler alert: not well).  And if there wasn't enough to stress about, it was unseasonably cold in Orlando.  When we slogged out of our Pop Century room at 3:25, it was a frosty 38 degrees.  
Cold souls in corral B

Due to the cold, my planned Captain Eo costume had to be changed a bit, from a tee shirt and homemade sparkle skirt, to a hoodie and sparkle skirt over some gym pants.  Really, it was kind of slapped together, but that didn't bother me at all.  I was cold, I was tired, and I was about to run 6.2 miles.  My husband felt much the same and opted for a non-costume, while my brother was a total trooper and went fully dressed in his Fix-It Felix Jr. outfit.  My brother was amazing during these races and I'm in total awe of him...  But more on that later.  

The line to the bus was small, the ride to the start was short, and the time to wait before the race was ridiculously long.  On the plus side, the DJ was absolutely hysterical and I loved watching him so the time kind of flew by.  The crowd was pretty amped especially considering how cold it was, but we were perfectly happy to chill (figuratively and literally) on some bleachers until it was time to load up into the corrals...  Which came sooner rather than later.  When they called corral A into the chute and were sent on their way, I figured that the frozen masses in corral B would be sent off right behind 3 minutes later, but actually the gap between corral A and B was 10 or 15 of the most painful minutes of my life.  It was so freaking cold!  The shine of the race was definitely dulling a bit during the wait...  I was ready to go and being so close, yet so far from starting was agony.  

Finally, fireworks, fanfare, and we were off!  I know a lot of people complained there wasn't much to look at during the first half of the course during last year's race so I thought one or two character stops would be added between miles one and three...  But there were no new stops that stood out to me this year from last.  Anna joined Elsa this year at the overpass just outside of Epcot before mile one, the White Rabbit was meeting at the turn just after mile one, some of the fairies (Tinkerbell and some frost/cold themed fairy) were meeting at mile 1.25 or so.  I know people were bothered by the lack of entertainment again for 2015, but honestly this course was one of my favorites and I had absolutely no complaints about the activity along the way.  Though I did love that when we entered Epcot, they replaced those toy soldiers with some cool, Mardi Gras-like performers on stilts.  They were very Labyrinth-like and I kinda regret not stopping for a picture.

After having learned the hard way last year, where I hit a PR for the 10k but was ruined for the half, my plan (and by default, the plan of my brother and husband as we all wanted to stick together) was to interval run the first half of the race, then walk the rest.  I figured that would get us through the most boring part of the course, and give us more time to enjoy the journey through Epcot.  My brother was going to stop for Alice if she was on the course, but my only planned stops were in Japan for a shot of myself and the torri and Spaceship Earth, and a stop at Captain Eo for that oh-so-necessary poster picture.      

As predicted, the first half of the race was uneventful...  Though shout-out to the woman dressed like Maleficent who was blatantly cheating and cutting the course (yeah, we saw you...).  The course was mostly flat and fairly easy, but I think the cold air and my not feeling good was throwing me off.  I was having a hard time sticking to my intervals and regulating my breathing.  When we hit mile three and transitioned to walking, I'm not going to lie, I was ready to drop it to a walk.  But mile three meant we were hitting Epcot, the best part of the run.
Not a great picture, but ah, memories

I really can't describe popping out in Epcot between the Norway and China Pavilion in any sort of way that does it justice (by the way, I looked hard for clues of work being done at Maelstrom, but no such luck).  The sun coming up, the Illuminations torches lit around World Showcase Lagoon, everything quiet and still except for the sounds of feet hitting pavement and the ambiance music they play...  It just brings a lump to my throat.  For some people, they hold out for that moment they run through the castle, and while that's an amazing feeling, I live for that moment for when you pop out from a seemingly endless, weaving route backstage into my beloved Epcot.  This moment makes me so ridiculously happy that I wish I could bottle the feeling and pop it out whenever I need a peaceful moment.  That run from China to England (which makes me sound like an amazing runner when I put it that way) is one of the most beautiful parts of any Run Disney event.  I was so happy I could share that with my brother and husband...  Last year I was on my own and while I didn't mind it at the time, I'm was grateful to not be alone this time.

There were characters out and about in the World Showcase.  I think we spotted Jiminy Cricket in Italy, Marie in France, and Goofy just at the start of the Boardwalk next to some sort of race car.  Then, of course, Princess and I think Prince Mickey were out by the re-entry back into Epcot.  The biggest course entertainment, however, came by way of the hundreds of spectators who lined the course route.  Cast members, families of runners, and curious tourists were all out in force to offer support.  I loved seeing the people sitting by the windows of the rooms, sipping their coffee, and watching the race.  I totally got a thrill out of pointing at them, then waving frantically, then watching them perk up and wave back, equally as frantically.  

Before I knew it, we'd wound our way through a character-less Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club, through the Epcot backstage, and back out by the Imagination Pavilion and Captain Eo (finally, after four races, I got my picture at the Captain Eo poster!).  After passing by The Land, The Seas, and through Innovations and under the shadow of Spaceship Earth, we went backstage again and charged to our glorious finish just outside of Epcot.  I was happy to get the medal, even happier to get the post race box (chips and cheese dip, woo-hoo!) and Mylar blanket.  

My brother, who I think is the fittest person I know and didn't even break into a pant during
I am here to change the world
the race, walked like it was no big thing to Hollywood Studios for rope drop and rides, while my husband and I wandered back to Pop via Art of Animation for a nap.  

Oh, did that soft bed and those warm blankets feel good...

Overall, the Enchanted 10k route is my second favorite course, behind Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  I could have wished I felt better, but I was aiming for fun with my family over a PR.  I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.  The magic of looping through the World Showcase at sunrise in a quiet park is still one of the most moving experiences of all of my races.  I think Run Disney put on a fantastic event with a lot to do and a lot to look at, and while some seemed disappointed in the lack of course entertainment between miles one and three, then miles 5.25 and six, I thought there was still plenty to see and do.  During miles three through six, the volume of people out cheering made up for any lack of characters.  To people who've run halfs at Run Disney, remember the set up for a 10k is a bit different with fewer hydration/water stops, no Powerade given out, and no energy shots.  Keep in mind, as such a large part of the course is in a park, there are ample bathrooms (portapotties) between miles one and three and again from mile three to mile 4.5 (flush bathrooms), but no bathrooms of note between miles 4.5 and 5.5, though once the route re-enters Epcot, flush bathrooms are again available.  If I could change one thing, it would be that arduously and unnecessarily long launch time between corrals A and B.  10 - 15 minutes is just too darn long.

And after the wet and wild run that was Wine and Dine 2014 and the freezing cold Enchanted 10k, if Disney could figure out a way to regulate the weather, that'd be awesome.

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