#TheFastestNarvaez – Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge Part 1 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon

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I did it! Walt Disney World’s Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge complete!! Over the weekend, I ran the Walt Disney World (WDW) Half Marathon on Saturday morning and the WDW Marathon on Sunday morning.  Since I did actually complete two races, I figured in order to avoid a massive blog post, I’d post about each race individually.

Last Friday, I attended the Health and Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to pick up my bib and t-shirts.  I was pleased with the expo, the vast number of companies sporting their goods, and the organization of it all.  Since the WDW Marathon Weekend is Run Disney’s busiest weekend, I was rather worried about the crowd, the disorganization, and how hectic the area would be, but, of course, Run Disney knows what they were doing everything went very smoothly.  Usually I avoid making purchases at the expo, but with such a special weekend, I ended up buying a Sweaty Bands headband for my weekend races.  I was able to visit a lot of the booths, even stopping by Run Disney’s booth to grab a glimpse of all the 2014 race medals, and even caught Jeff Galloway (who is Run Disney’s training consultant and is known for his run-walk-run method) before he headed out of the expo.

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Ready for Goofy!

On Saturday morning, I had a lovely wake up call at 3:30 AM, got dressed, and headed off to the resort for the half marathon.  The humidity was no joke for my poor Southern California body! I could already tell I would be burning up the minute I stepped out of the door.  Regardless, I still hadn’t completely decided what my plan was for this race.  Give it everything I had and try to PR, which would leave the marathon the next day up in the air?  Take it easy and conserve more energy for the marathon?  Even while running, I hadn’t actually made a decision, and I even told myself, “Okay, at least sub 2 hours for this race.”  Well, then I actually remembered I was going to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon the following weekend, and told myself that I do not have many marathons planned for 2014, so take the half marathon easy. So I did!

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Amerie and me before race start!

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I had a blast before the race even actually started.  The WDW Half Marathon was “Donald Duck’s race,” so he came out to start all of the corrals out.  It was adorable to hear Donald’s voice yelling out, “3, 2, 1, GO!” to all of the runners.  Precious!!  The fireworks and music for each corral (though I can only speak up to corral F) was fantastic as well and got me feeling so giddy pre-race.

Course-wise, the race started off at Epcot and the first few miles went along WDW roads towards the Magic Kingdom, which was the first park we actually ran through.  Following the Magic Kingdom, we ran by the Grand Floridian, golf course, then back to Epcot.  The humidity definitely played a factor for me at the start, but the humidity started to die down a few miles in.  Nevertheless, I had a blast, stopping to take pictures with characters and taking more selfies like I did at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, since I chose to run with my phone for the half marathon.

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See? Selfies. Lots of them.  I don’t know why I am putting this up for all of you to see (I’m sorry you have to suffer through my poor sweaty self in these pictures)

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Photos with Daisy, Donald, and the Phineas and Ferb characters (I only took that picture with them because I know my best friend Sarah thinks they’re hilarious)

Compared to Run Disney’s races at the Disneyland Resort, I left rather disappointed with the half marathon.  Sure, I may be slightly biased just being from Southern California, but for all of you who have never run a race at Disneyland and only at Walt Disney World, I strongly recommend taking a trip out to California for one.

  • Spectators and entertainment are not nearly as numerous as at Disneyland.  At Disneyland, there are many more marching bands, cheerleaders, and spectators compared to Disney World races.

  • Parking for the race was FREE at Disney World compared to Disneyland, which requires you to pay for normal park fees (a whopping $16).  Or maybe Disneyland just is picky about which races they require payment for parking and which they don’t.

  • No mylar blankets.  I suppose this is iffy depending on weather and distance, but I was nearly half expecting to get one at the finish.

  • No free massages.  I can’t really complain about this one.  I know that there are just too many people who run these races compared to Disneyland races so it wouldn’t be feasible to have free massages.  But hey, I’ll still mention it.  Also it’s important to note that maybe the massages were free before and they’re not free any longer, so maybe I just got lucky during past races.

  • The self-support post-race was AWESOME.  The first place I stopped just after receiving my medal was one of the self-support areas, which had ice ready and medical staff awaiting your arrival to ice around your tender joints.  What a sweet surprise that Disneyland has not yet implemented.

  • The volunteers were just as fantastic as Disneyland, and I believe there was simply so much more of them because of the length of the weekend and the length of the races.  So many thanks for their hard work.

Most of all, I was disappointed with the course and the entertainment.  At Disneyland, Run Disney has you running through the park’s back roads, and keeps you occupied with more characters, parade floats, and the like.  There really was not as much going on during the WDW Half Marathon.  That is one of the things I praise the most about Disney races to people—the entertainment and support is TOP notch.  However, I do not believe Saturday’s race lived up to Run Disney’s potential, and I believe the half marathoners kind of got a gypped.

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Photo c/o my brother, Adrian

Anyway, I can’t complain too much, the race was still great, and I finished with a time of 2:25:31, which is nothing to write home about, but I’m fine with considering I took it easy, took pictures with characters, etc.  But my biggest takeaway?  Fix up the WDW Half Marathon just a bit more, Run Disney! ;)

Come back tomorrow for part two of my experience at the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge –the Walt Disney World Marathon!

jn

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