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2017 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon – 2:07:40

Alright, moving on to the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon from yesterday’s 10k recap

Pre-race crap

After spending the day walking around the parks post-10k, I was really struggling to get a good read on my hip. It would feel okay while walking, but then hurt a bit while sitting. I knew I’d want to take the half smart and be willing to walk if I had to. I had an invitation to run/walk the race with my friend Jen, but she said I’d probably lose my mind going at the pace she was planning. While I was pretty sure I was going to just do my own thing, I didn’t fully decide until I was getting walking to the corrals.

Anyway, backing up a little bit… I got in bed and asleep around 9:15 and woke up at 3:15, netting me around 6 hours of sleep—a bit better than for the 10k. I’d’ve loved to have stayed in bed longer, but I had a race to go do.

(Yes, double contraction back there. I’m a fan of multi-contractions!)

Darth Vader Flat Amy for tomorrow's #StarWarsHalf! First time ever running in anything close to a costume.

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I was excited to put on my Darth Vader costume. It was my first race costume ever and I had only thrown it together literally the night before we left for the trip and hadn’t actually put it on yet so I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to look good. I Amazon Primed a very cheap Darth Vader costume at the last minute and then cut out the belt and chest control panel and cut the cape off. I pinned the belt to my shorts and the control panel to my sports bra and threw the cape around my neck. The costume also came with a lightsaber so I had that as a prop too! After everything was put on and ready, I thought I looked pretty decent. Much better than I expected, to be honest!

If I was uncomfortable with my stomach in a sports bra for the 10k, I was triply uncomfortable for the half. I’d been, uh, backed up literally all week and was looking super bloated from it. Plus, 🏃‍♀️ + (🚽 - 💩) = 😧. But it was either stick with the sports bra or ditch the costume altogether since I didn’t have a black tank top with me. I sucked it in up and just went with it. Whatever.

I did this again.

Not bad for a costume I put together the night before our trip! #StarWarsHalf

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When I got to the staging area, I checked my bag right away and went to the designated meetup spot. My friend Jeff was already there, but Patrick was waiting in line for photos and…I don’t know where anyone else was. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Jeff and I chatted for a while to kill time before hitting up porta potties and heading to our respective corrals. While in line for the porta potties, I joked that it was the kind of humidity where you sweat enough that you can just pee your shorts while running if you have to and it doesn’t even matter. Jeff and the guy waiting behind us looked at me like I was the grossest person they’ve ever met, but HEY WHATEVER IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER WHEN YOU’RE SO SWEATY YOU LOOKED LIKE FELL IN A POOL!

By the way, autocorrect changed that to “porta parties” which sounds like a totally different kinda thing.

But, yeah, anyway, it was humid as hell.

Since I didn’t have to sprint to make the corral before closing, I had plenty of time to just hang around and listen to Rudy and Carissa do their thing on stage. Though, the people checking bibs at the corral entrance gave me a hard time because my A corral letter was covered by my costume and they had to see it. My “I assure you, I’m in this corral” didn’t get me very far. I mean, I was bib 20,178 (Dark Side Challenge bibs started at 20,000), of course I was in the A corral! Oh well.

Eventually, the stormtroopers showed up again to send us off!


 

 

The race

My hip was a concern, but there wasn’t much I could do about it except take things easy and see what happened. I started off at a very easy effort and hit a 10:39 first mile including a photo stop with R2D2. My second mile got down closer to an 8:30 which is an easy effort for me, but I knew I should be going even slower than that and tried to slow myself a little. For mile three, I had to stop for a photo with some Ewoks so that gave my hip a minute to just chill.

Amelia with R2D2 at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

R2D2!

At this point, I was honestly surprised I was still wearing the cape. I figured I’d want to ditch it just after starting. It was that cheap costume material that just soaks up sweat like a sponge and sticks to you. And it was shaped to go over your shoulders and cover them, not just hang behind. Once I started running, I obviously got it off my shoulders and threw the whole thing behind me, but it didn’t want to stay, it kept swinging around to my right side. As much as I hated it, though, I liked having it for my photos so I just kept dealing with it. And, of course, I was also running with a lightsaber in my hand—and my phone in my other hand since an iPhone 7 Plus is too big to put in any of my running short pockets. The lightsaber was a real piece of junk. Like, accessory that came with a $25 costume kind of junk. It kept falling apart on me so I had to keep putting it back together while running over and over again. I think I had to pick up parts of it from the ground and reassemble it close to 15 times. It was the bane of my existence. I dreamed of finishing the race just so I could emphatically throw the cape and lightsaber in the trash.

Amelia with ewoks at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

A couple Ewoks!

Somewhere just after the Eworks, I ended up catching up to Jeff and started running with him for a bit. We chatted and I said I’d probably stick with him for a while, as that was a good pace for me to be running with ol’ hurty mcstupid hip. My hip had been starting to hurt, but slowing my running pace to 9:35ish seemed to help a lot really quickly. Jeff was super worried about the humidity so he wasn’t trying to go too fast either.

That humidity suuuuuucked. It was sticky and sweaty and swampy and gross. Being from New Jersey, humidity is a concept I’m very used to, but it hasn’t quite settled in yet this year so I wasn’t ready for it.

As we entered Animal Kingdom via the back of park, I took a moment to appreciate that this was the only time I’d be there this trip—I’m a huge Animal Kingdom fan, bee tee dubs. We quickly made our way around through Asia and DinoLand USA and I had some fun passing the photographers.

Really happy with how my #StarWarsHalf costume came out! #DarthAmy

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Coming out the back of Animal Kingdom there were some stormtroopers, tie fighter pilots, and other characters out. I stopped for photos with the stormtroopers and then took some selfies with the others. I was too sweaty to operate my phone, though, so it took a while to open the camera app. Jeff kept on going so I was back to pacing myself again.

Amelia with stormtroopers at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

My troops.

Amelia selfie with jawa at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

A selfie with some jawas.

Amelia at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

A selfie with some of my men.

Amelia selfie runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

More of my men.

At this point, the sun still hadn’t really come up yet and I was trying to get as far as I could before it did. I knew it’d burn off some of the humidity, but I didn’t want to be dealing with the sun blasting on me on a day that was going to get up to 90º.

After Jeff and I split, my pace started creeping faster again and there was a big break in photo stops. By mile 5.5, my hip was starting to hurt again—really getting close to that 5 out of 10 threshold. At 6.5, I started thinking I’d need to walk soon, but I wanted to try to make it to 8 before I did. I just kept trucking. This section from 5.5 until 10 was the section between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. This included the trek down Osceola Parkway, similar to the marathon if you removed the Wide World of Sports part. This section is always my least favorite part of the marathon and it wasn’t much different for this race either. It’s just kinda boring.

Just as I was starting to think about switching to walking for a bit, I spotted Jeff up ahead again. I kept my pace so I’d catch him just a little before the 8th mile marker and then stuck with him again. The humidity was taking its toll on him, but we ran together for the rest of the race and chatted it up about all kinds of things. After running with Jeff for a little bit, my hip started feeling better. By mile 9, I think it was just about 100% pain free. I was thankful for this and knew it would be best to just lock it in around that pace.

My cape was still driving me nuts and my lightsaber was still falling apart. I considered ditching them, but I’d come so far already, I knew I needed to just stick it out.

Once we made the turn into Hollywood Studios, I knew it was runtime-funtime from there to the finish. I grabbed some photos coming down Sunset Boulevard and was all smiles while posing for photographer after photographer.

Amelia with stormtroopers at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

More of my troopers.

Coming out of Hollywood Studios, Jeff was starting to struggle. Being from Pittsburgh, this was not his weather at all. I tried to keep the conversation light and he kept doing some math for what his finish would be, wondering if it’d be under 2:10. I assured him he had plenty of time to work with to make that happen.

Amelia at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

Having a blast coming around Crescent Lake!

This time, instead of running on the Beach and Yacht Club side of Crescent Lake, we ran around the Boardwalk side while Jeff told me about the time our friend Lauren got yelled at for cheering too loudly during a race. Classic Lauren! I stopped for a few selfies with some characters and sprinted to catch back up to Jeff. We had been running in the 9:30-9:45 range so my legs were pretty fresh for bursting my way back up to him.

Whoever this guy is.

Amelia with tie fighter pilot at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

A selfie with one of my pilots.

I couldn’t remember what the course was from there and whether we’d be going the long way around the World Showcase in Epcot or not. I was trying to map it out in my head based on how much distance was left and was still a bit unsure. To my pleasant surprise, we did take the scenic route around the World Showcase. From here, I tried to be as encouraging as I could to Jeff and keep the pace steady. My hip was still feeling good so I was thankful for that.

Amelia in World Showcase at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

Coming around the World Showcase.

We hooked right into Futurewold, under Spaceship Earth, and then out the side of the park towards the parking lot. I fist-bumped a stormtrooper because I couldn’t high-five with my lightsaber in my hand and he accidentally lapped my Garmin. Hah!

Sadly, most of the photos cropped Jeff out so this is the only one I have of us running together.

As we approached the finish, I asked if he had a finish line jump in him like he did for the 5k and he sorta just groaned at me. I went for it, though, and leapt into the air for the finish.

Amelia leaping in the at the finish at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

So serious.

I finished in 2:07 and Jeff was 2:05, well under 2:10. He thanked me for keeping him on pace and said he’d have slowed a lot if he was running alone.

We grabbed some photos with the photographers and then went over to get some Dark Side photos. We waited in the line for Darth Vader and then moved over to Kylo Ren. When I got up to Kylo Ren, I looked at him and said “grandson!” He did not appreciate my humor.

My wonderful running parter for the day, Jeff!

My grandson #StarWarsHalf

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Amelia with Darth Vader at runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

We’re practically twins.

After watching the awards, I walked over to the nearest trashcan and threw my lightsaber and cape right in it. I mean, like I really slammed it in there. I was so happy to be rid of them! Oof!

This race was a lot of fun and my first time running in a costume was interesting. I’ll never run with a cape again, that’s for sure. I don’t know how superheroes do it. Capes are the worst for running! I’ll also never do another prop I have to hold again. Other than that, my costume was great and not a problem at all.

runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge Medals

The Dark Side Challenge Medal Collection.

Hanging around Epcot.

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2017 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side 10k – 1:08:15

Star Wars! Disney! Running! YEAH!

I grew up a pretty big Star Wars fan so I’ve been wanting to do the runDisney Star Wars races since they first became a thing a couple years ago, but this was the first one to actually worked out for me. And, of course, I’m going to do the “challenge” if the have it! Besides, a 10k and half marathon on back-to-back days isn’t outside of the how I run on a normal weekend.

Pre-race stuff

If you recall my state of running post from last week, things haven’t exactly been great for me in the running department. In in the eight days before the weekend, I only had done a 3.5-miler and a 4-miler because of my hip. And I knew going into the weekend my hip was going to be questionable. The plan with my physical therapist was to do the race, but be willing to take a DNF if the pain got worse than a 5 out of 10.

Because we just did our annual week-long trip for Marathon Weekend in January and were also in Disney in October, we decided to just make it a quick weekend trip and stay at a value resort—Pop Century. We flew down Friday morning and came back Monday afternoon. Using points for our flights, the refund gift cards from the canceled Disney Half Marathon in January, and only doing a few days, the entire trip cost us less than $600 out of pocket for hotel, flight, food, and race fees.

Leaving the expo.

When we got down on Friday, we hopped right on a bus for the expo without wasting any time. To our surprise, the expo was empty. We’re used to it being a zoo, but we walked right in and got our bibs and shirts without waiting. We also were able to walk right into the official merchandise section, though, we didn’t buy anything. Even though the expo was pretty empty and not stressful at all, we didn’t stay long before going back to the resort and dropping our stuff off. We had Chefs de France for dinner in Epcot and eventually got back to the room to go to bed by 10:15. Much later than I normally go to bed for runDisney races, but I was less concerned about sleep for a 10k / half marathon challenge than I am when there’s also a 5k and marathon on top of that.

Flat Amy.

The 10k

I hopped rolled out of bed at 3:25am and quickly threw my pre-laid out running clothes on. Having overeaten at dinner the night before, I wasn’t too thrilled with how my stomach was looking in just a sports bra, but it was humid and I wasn’t in the mood to be messing around with no shirt.

Just me being silly after getting dressed.

The bus ride over was short and was at starting area, outside of Magic Kingdom, in no time and the security checkpoint was a breeze. The lines for photos with members of the Dark Side were ridiculously long so I didn’t even think about it. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding any of my friends that I was hoping to see so I yanked my shirt off, checked my bag, and walked over to the corral. It was really nice having the start and staging areas be together, without the 20 minute walk between the two like there is for Marathon Weekend.

I found a porta potty line that only had a few people in it and when I came out, my friend Alison was right there. We talked for like 30 seconds before I got a tweet from my friend Jeff saying they were closing the A corral. As soon as I saw that, I took off sprinting to the corral while yelling back to Alison to have a good race. I got into the corral with time to spare and then ended up meeting up with Patrick and Karen. Patrick and Karen were Garth Vader and Obi-Wayne Kenobi for an amazing Wayne’s World / Star Wars mashup. They both ran in wigs and jeans. Not jean shorts, jeans. Not running pants that looked like jeans, jeans. A hilariously bad idea.

I mean, they looked great, but…those jeans.

The pre-start stuff included some old Star Wars trailers, as well as the trailer for The Last Jedi. And, of course, the usual antics of Carissa and Rudy. And then the stormtroopers rolled in to remind us that Captain Phasma would be watching us and send us on our way.

runDisney Star Wars Dark Side 10k fireworks start

The standard runDisney fireworks.

I wanted to start off conservatively and being with Patrick and Karen—who were, again, in friggin’ jeans—helped with that. It seemed like they immediately regretted those jeans. Though, they are the kinds of people who stop at every photo stop in Disney, so I ended up ditching them at the first stop.

I was worried about my hip so I wanted to try to take it as easy as possible. My first mile was a 9:20, right about where I should have been. And then I hit my first photo stop in mile two. Overall, I hit about half of the photo stops through the race. For the most part, the lines weren’t ridiculous, but most weren’t super short either.

I actually don’t know the Star Wars Rebels characters names :/

My hip felt okay for the first couple of miles, but started to hurt after that. The pain level was getting to around a 3 or 4, maybe, but when I’d stop and wait for a photo, it’d stop hurting and feel fine for a couple minutes after I started running.

It was a little more than half the race before we finally got into a park, which might be why I don’t really remember enough of the first half of the race to actually write anything interesting here. It’s like my brain just stopped recording for a while.

Darth Maul is more popular than I expected, tbh.

A little past the 5k mark, we rounded into Hollywood Studios and ran by Fantasmic and Tower of Terror and then down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. I stopped for some stormtrooper photos because obviously. From here, we continued down the same way the marathon does and followed along the water to Crescent Lake, past Beach and Yacht Club to Epcot. I’m not sure what happened on the boardwalk, but I passed a woman who was on her hands and knees and being helped up by two men. She seemed real slow to get up and looked like she might have tripped pretty hard. That boardwalk area can always be a little treacherous. It’s slippery if it’s wet and the boards are easy to trip over.

Hollywood Studios stormtroopers

Standard Amelia.

Right before turned into the service entrance to the World Showcase, I stopped for a photo with Chewie. He was quite sweaty. Not his sweat. He was putting his arm around sweaty ass runners and it was a serious yuck situation.

He was SO gross from runner sweat!

Coming through the UK and Canada and then into Futureworld, I wanted the race to be over. It was just 10k, but I was worried about my hip for the half. It was still under my pain cutoff, but it wasn’t feeling good and it wasn’t promising for the half.

More stormtroopers.

What is this rebel doing with these guys here?

As I approached the finish line, there were stormtroopers on either side and I went for a high-five with the one on the left. I got nothing. Nothing at all. I hung my head in shame as I finished.

After the race, my hip felt pretty much fine. I waited for photos with Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma and ended up seeing Jeff in line for Kylo Ren before I hopped back on a bus to the resort.

I don’t know what I’m smiling about, but let’s just say I was laughing at this guy.

I’m learning the dark side of the Force from Kylo Ren.

Jeff and I with Captain Phasma!

I had a lot of fun with the 10k and couldn’t wait for more fun with the half. That recap is coming tomorrow!

The photographer made me hold this damn sign. I was not amused.

Magic Kingdom for the day!