After we checked-in at the Caribbean Beach Resort and enjoyed dinner, I set out my race clothes and tried to sleep. Ha! Good luck sleeping the night before a race when you have to be up at 3am, and on a tram to your race by 4am!
I got to the starting area and met up with my friend Stephanie from GooberMonkey. She was so reassuring and it was exactly what I needed that early in the morning. Off to our corrals we went, and then my nerves kicked in again. Big balloons lit up the way for our corrals, and I was shaking I was so nervous.
Then I met these two lovely ladies. I didn't catch either of their names, and didn't think to get a photo with them, which I really regret. They were amazing and talked about how they started training, that they were doing the Dopey challenge, and when I told them it was my first Disney event and first 10km they were SO EXCITED. It was really amazing to have them cheering me on throughout the course, and I am so thankful to them both for their encouragement.
Then came our start. 6:10am. Fireworks and bam...away we go.
At the first overpass we saw Anna and Elsa...and it was snowing!!! It was so neat. The first three miles were out in the open, on the road, so it was a little boring, but being that it wasn't a route I had ever run before, it went by pretty quickly. When I got to the 2mi marker and realized that I had run the entire way, I was pretty pumped. I felt I was doing a good job pacing myself; every now and then I would sprint to a song, and then I would slow down and run at my training pace. It was good and it helped me feel like I wasn't gassed all of the time.
When we ran into Epcot through the cast member entrance, it is a sight that I will never forget. The sun was rising over the different pavilions and it was just beautiful. There were characters everywhere, but I was too worried about those darn balloon ladies catching me that I didn't stop to get my picture taken with any of them....aside from a selfie with the Genie.
Then a message from my bff Heather
I know you're not quite done yet Shannon but I wanted you to know how awesome you are and how proud I am of you. Keep running!
That's about the time that this photo was taken...and Golden Slumbers was pouring in my ears
I kept pushing, kept running (I think I stopped to walk a total of 2 minutes, in about 3 different sections) and saw the finish line.
I started bawling as it neared and probably looked like the biggest dork, but I was just so proud. I cried and crossed that finish line with arms raised. Then exhaustion hit, and I felt like I was in a daze. I got my medal, some refreshments and got on my bus to get back to the hotel and see my boys.
I cried the entire drive back to the hotel, and bawled when I saw my husband and kids. My son, Owen, was asking why I was so sad and I told him I wasn't sad, I was really proud and really tired. They gave me big hugs and Owen fawned over my medal.
This past weekend I learned that I really can do anything. I can run further and harder than I had before. And it made me realize that I can do a half....absolutely I can. I may not be the fastest out there, but I will finish. One foot in front of the other.
Next up: Gasparilla 5km!