Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mickey's Halloween 5K

I'm home and resting after a crazy Wine & Dine Weekend. It was a whirlwind trip that I throughly enjoyed.  I found Mickey’s Halloween 5K to be a lot of fun, and I know that there are more Disney 5Ks in the future.

The kids and I arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center at 6:00am for our 7:00am start time.  They were dressed in costume as characters from the Kingdom Hearts video game.  Kirk was Valor Form Sora, Tori was Kairi, and Katie was Olette.  We walked towards the starting line and looked for the friends we were going to be walking with.  Katie found the found the Be Our Guest Podcast Crew right away.  They had brought signs and would be cheering on the Podcast fans who were running the race.  I can’t thank these guys enough for coming out that early in the morning to cheer us on.  Knowing that there is someone there for you is a real boost, and when they sent up a loud cheer as the kids and I came close to the finish line gave me the boost that I needed to get across those last few feet.

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicBut let’s get back to the beginning.   After standing around and meeting several twitter friends, I gave the other half of our walking team a call.  Friends from Twitter, John and Sarah-Irene Donahue would be walking the race with the girls and I.  John and Sarah are two of the best people I have ever met.  Their spirits are so generous and lovely, it was an honor to spend so much time with them this weekend.  They had just arrived at the site and we chatted on the phone until we found each other in the crowd of 4,000 plus people.  We were in a sea of runners, volunteers and spectators that I had never before experienced at a 5K.  The DJ at the starting line blasted music across the sound system to pump up the participants.  Where you stood in the crowd and started the race depended on your usual pace, so my son Kirk said his goodbye and told us he’d meet us at the finish line.  Then, he bounced off into the wave of runners to take his place in the 10 minute coral.  Tori, Katie, Sarah-Irene, John, and I found our way to the “walkers” coral and waited there. We had fun checking out all the great Halloween costumes that people had put together for the race, and tweeted our status to those who were cheering us on from home.   It wasn’t long before it was time for us to start and fireworks lit the way.

Share photos on twitter with 
TwitpicThe start was really congested, and even though I began in the back with the rest of the walkers, I wasn't able to take a full stride until at least .4 miles. I remember thinking that if I couldn't start to take a full stride soon that I would have to drop out because it was painful to be short stepping and I was going to get hurt.  We made it under the water bridge and up to pass the Contemporary Hotel, it was there that we found the lead runners headed back to the finish line.   Our group cheered for them, and then officially declared our hatred for their speed. We rounded the bend towards the bus terminals at the Magic Kingdom where we hit the first Mile marker.

My pace for the first mile was 24 minutes!!! I haven't been at 24 minutes since the very first day I started walking.  Disney had stated at 16 minute pace requirement to participate, so I was pretty far behind.  All I can think of is that I was slow because it was so very crowded, and I knew that I needed to keep moving.  AdventurelandThere was a short line for pictures with a character at the start of main street and I stopped so one of my team members could use the restroom, however there was a woman on a bike that told me the last walkers were right behind and I needed to get moving. My girls and I made our way down main street the best that we could.  I was doing a pretty good combination (for me) of walking and jogging so that I could snap some pictures.  I made it through Adventureland and thought I was doing alright but just as we were turning into Frontierland Sarah-Irene saw the sweepers coming towards us so we started running.   That was the point that I lost Tori and Sarah, I just couldn’t keep up, but Katie and I kept moving and encouraged each other to keep going through Frontierland, but I knew that I was falling behind, and John was still behind me about 25 yards.   As Katie and I came through Liberty Square The EMT bikes were riding along side of us.  I pointed them out to Katie and she took off like a rocket catching up to our crew ahead.   She thought for sure that I John and I had been swept.

Castle in the distanceI was fighting a really bad cold and I'm sure that my wheezing was audible I jogged then walked and jogged then walked as fast as I could because I knew that I was not far in front of the sweepers. I was waiting for those EMTs to say something to me,from liberty square until the point in tomorrowland that a little boy fell down. I can remember crying when I passed he castle, and saying Thank You to my Aunt Pat for passing on the love of Disney to me.   Years ago when Disney held it’s first marathon, she and I talked about how fun it would be to run through the Magic Kingdom, neither of us thought that it was something we could ever do.  Though it wasn’t a marathon, I felt like completing this race was a life long goal that I was doing for the both of us.

I don't really remember anything through Tomorrowland other than I was jogging and had to dodge a lot of people, I felt like I was weaving in and out of folks trying not to get pulled off of the course. I did notice that at mile 2, I had made up a lot of the slow time from mile 1 and the sweepers weren't as close to me as they were before. I had managed to keep other participants behind me.

3 Mile MarkerI caught up to my daughter Katie by a pond on the back side of space mountain. There was an alligator in it which I thought was really neat. Katie and I stayed together back past the contemporary and under the water bridge. I slowed down a lot in order to stay with Katie, and I kept looking back over my shoulder for our friend John who was about 50 yards behind us. I saw the sweeper van one more time before we went under the water bridge toward the finish. There were people in in, but they didn't seem to be pullig folks off of the course at the point I was because I kept going.  Having that hill at the very end was a torture by the way. It seemed twice as tall as it was when we ran it in the beginning. We found Tori and Sarah waiting for us at the 3 mile marker, and we decided to wait for John to catch up as well. My son Kirk (who finished in 40 minutes) jumped the fence and refinished the race along side mom. We headed to the finish, and I broke down in tears as I crossed over.

 I couldn't believe that I had done it and I wasn't even last. 
Our Team Finish
Sara-Irene, Katie, Kirk, Kristen, Tori & John


  1. I was in the 11-13 min mile group & we would could only run a few steps, stop & walk until the downhill for the tunnel due to the crowds. There were quite a few walkers who started in the early pace groups that we passed.

    From the timestamp on my phone pic, I hit the 1 mile mark at 16 minutes due to when we started & the slow initial pace. My second mile which included 3 picture stops and some walking was 12 minutes. I think they also gave you time to stop for pics or bathroom. I ended up finishing at 43 minutes. That last uphill was a bear.

    We were at Wilderness Lodge Villas, so we walked back past the finish line at 8:08 headed to our hotel. Mickey & Minnie were just walking the last two contestants over the finish line. So I think they were pretty lenient with the 16 minute mile.

  2. My son finished in 3rd place overall and his brother and dad came in the top 30 runners. They where surprised to find out the medal wasn't a medal rather a rubber lanyard.A good race,but they where a bit disappointed.Had I known Disney wasn't going to keep to the 16 min.mile I would have made it my fisrt 5K,but I didn't because I was only at a 18 min mile.I would have loved to take pictures along the route.We love Disney.

  3. Great job for your sons! From what I understand the 5K medals are always the rubbery ones. I think it's still pretty cool. My son took the medal off of his and is wearing the lanyard part with his school ID.

    I was really worried about that pace, I normally do an 17:30-18 minute mile walking. It was a fun race, and I hope to do it again next year!