While I have had the amazing experience to complete the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, Tower of Terror Inaugural 10 Miler, Dumbo Double Dare Challenge (Disneyland 10K and Disneyland Half Marathon), and earned my Coast-To-Coast Medal with Kelly, I have never been so proud of her as when she completed this year’s Tower of Terror 10 Miler! We are beyond excited to have her share her recap of this year’s race! Thank you Kelly for being a great inspiration and friend who wouldn’t let me quit!
I’m not a runner and I don’t like running. That being said, I’ve spent a fair amount of time training and running Disney races this year. I don’t regret a minute of the pain, sweat and tears that has gotten me to where I am today.
My first big race and RunDisney experience was the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 miler and looking back, I’m not quite sure how I ever agreed to run more than a 5k after that race. It was miserably hot and the course was frustrating in both terrain and entertainment which led to a frustrating experience…and somehow I blocked that all out when I signed up to race it again. To sweeten up this race, I used dvc points to get a treehouse for the weekend so other friends who were also running would have a place to relax together.
As I got close to this race, I started to remember all of the misery I felt on the course and that I had a new issue to deal with. While I train alone, I’ve run every Disney race with one person who is a family member to me, a sister I chose. She had decided after the Dumbo Double Dare that she was retiring from running and I would be going it alone from here on out. The thought of not having someone to yell at me to keep up my pace for those first few miles sent me into a teary panic but it was time for me to pull up my big girl compression socks and move it.
I made it to the expo and quickly picked up my bib and race packet with minimal lines. The expo itself was rather minimal, less exhibitors and crowds. A welcome addition to this weekend was the warnings from RunDisney regarding the weather at the expo and online. Their twitter account was regularly encouraging runners to hydrate heavily due to the heat/humidity. While I appreciated hearing these warnings, they did freak me out a bit since the course was extremely hot last year.
Before I knew it, it was time to head out. I arrived at Hollywood Studios and caught up with friends who were also running and tried to shake out some of my nerves. I expressed some of my nerves to Deanna, particularly my issue of crossing the start line alone. We decided to start together as her regular pace is near mine. If one of us needed to slow down, we could separate and see each other at the finish line. The separation never happened, and I’ll be forever grateful for this.
We started comfortably with a game plan. We kept a decent pace with intervals and enjoying the enhanced entertainment on the course. First three miles were pretty smooth…. and then came the cramps. I got a stomach cramp and pushed through it with a few extra walk intervals. We laughed, danced and sang our way to mile five. Mile five was mainly off road and was not comfortable to run on due to the lack of flat surface and light. Along with these issues, a new set of cramps hit that made me want to quit then and there. I tried to push through it with some jogging, but I didn’t make it very far. We stopped for a picture with the Haunted Mansion gravediggers, but the cramps persisted. We hit Champion Stadium and were welcomed by friends with signs, and cheers. I turned to Deanna at this point and told her that I knew I was able to finish at that point but I didn’t think I had any running left in me as it was a bit of a struggle to walk quickly. She didn’t leave me though, and we continued on.
We created a “mile of truth” and spent more time enjoying the entertainment and sights on the course, which were significantly better this year. At mile 9.5 we had another welcome surprise: snacks for us both! Deanna’s husband Neil and our friend Cindy had popcorn and beer for us to enjoy as we finished the course and crossed the finish.
So where do I go from here? Well, I found out something new in this race: I am a runner. I don’t always like running, but I’ve now found that there are times that it is exactly what I need to do. I have grown closer with Deanna and we do have some races planned in the future. Most importantly, I’ll be running my 3rd Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014.