At Two Hours Thirty-Six Minutes and Thirty -Six Seconds another Half Marathoner was born.
Congrats to the sexiest Half Marathoner I know! You rock baby and I couldn’t be more proud!
Volunteering for last night’s race was definitely an experience. On one hand I was happy to not have to be up at 3:00am to volunteer for a race that started at 6:00am (like my previous two times), but on the other hand I was ready to curl up in a ball and sleep before the race even began.
I vote next year the Wine and Dine Half compromises somewhere in the middle with an 8:00pm start. It’s still dark out, yet the starts before my bed time as opposed to after. ;
Kelly and I were assigned to the Runner Direction/ Relay Exchange point last night. Our shift had a 7:30pm call time and a 1:00am end time. This meant a 6:30pm dinner time in the hotel’s crowded food court.
It was really interesting to see so many runners with pinned on bib numbers in the food court chowing down on burgers and fries or other various heavy dishes. I wonder how those meals felt in their stomachs at the starting line?
Derek stuck with what he presumed would be a safe bagel and peanut butter combination, Kelly ordered one of Disney’s famous Veggie Burgers, and I dug into a pre-packed dinner of carrot sticks and an egg salad pita.
1) I’m tried of spending money. 2) I’m tired of crappy food. 3) I knew I’d be eating out all day tomorrow and wanted to get at least one home made meal in today.
My egg salad was pretty tasty too. It was a combination of a hard boiled egg, hummus, pickle, tomato, red onion, and plain yogurt.
I also had a large cup of highly caffeinated tea to keep me awake.
Kelly and I said our good byes to Derek and wished him luck before taking the shuttle to the start line to start our shift. Or so we thought…
We entered the tent at the start line and gave our information to check in.
Our names weren’t there.
After talking to several other volunteers – and reviewing our original registration – we realized we were in the wrong spot. Turns out we were supposed to have parked at the Animal Kingdom Parking lot at the mid point in the course, not at the starting line. Oops…
Luckily, one of the ladies in charge was able to shuttle Kelly and I to the right location. There our names were on file and we were able to collect our volunteer apron, snack, and wait for further direction on what to do next.
And wait we did. The race started at 10:00 and it was only 8:00. We had 2 hours to kill before we would be ushered to our spots to stand.
We killed time by making new friends.
And playing with our new toys.
Can you believe they trusted us with megaphones?!?! Now, this is a job that’s right up my ally.
At 10:00pm we were finally ushered out into the race and to our standing spot.
One of the options when registering for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is forming a two person relay team. The two legs aren’t exactly even (one is 5 miles and the other is 8), but I’m sure it’s still a fun way to experience running a Disney race without committing to the full half marathon distance.
Our job was to direct the relay runners into the proper shoot for the exchange point. For two hours I was yelling “Relay to the Right, Relay to the Right” Good thing I had a mega phone. And good thing runners are awesome and fun to joke with along the way. On top of yelling “Relay to the right” I also threw in a lot of “You’ve got this runners” and “Cute outfit!” and “You’re still surrounded by people – this means you’re in a good spot! Keep it up!”
Within 25 minutes of the race started we had our first wheel chair go by.
A couple of minutes after that the first runner came.
And then the road exploded with people.
“Relay on the Right” “Relay on the Right”
I had so much fun cheering people on. Everyone was really friendly and it was really fun to interact with all the runners while they were knee deep into the race. I saw a few familiar faces and even had a few runner recognize me! A big shout out to all the readers who ran past and said hi! You all looked great and really spirited!! Love that!!
I had Derek’s updates sent to my phone so every 5 minutes I was checking for either a text message or e-mail with his latest split. When he reached his 5k at 33:52 with a pace of 10:45 I knew to predict him around the hour mark after the start.
Sure enough I was able to pick out the bright orange “I run to stop MS shirt” and hi big beautiful smile.
He was in great spirits. He gave me a hug and I told him he was doing great. I couldn’t believe how happy he was. As soon as I saw him I instantly knew that he was going to finish this race. He had this and he was rockin’ it!
Go Derek Go!
After Derek passed I still had a good chunk of people run by. Within the last 10 minutes or so of people I saw another familiar face run by with a big smile on her face.
This is Jess.
I first met Jess three years ago at my ex’s hometown Christmas party. She was in the process of recovering from heart surgery, but meeting her for the first time you would never have known. She was strong, bright and to this day remains one of the sweetest, kindest people I had ever met. Even though we had never met her before that party, she still had a Christmas gift waiting for me and made sure to include me in all conversations. I felt very welcomed and automatically included in a group of friends I thought I would be an outsider in.
When she ran by I’ll admit I didn’t recognize her at first, but when i did I gave her a big hug and told her I was so proud. Three years ago she was recovering from heart surgery and now here she was finishing up the first leg of a Half marathon Relay. Jess is amazing and I’m so, so proud of what she has accomplished.
Way to go Jess! Congrats on another amazing accomplishment!
Pretty soon the last runners/walkers were slowly making their was by. We saw the sweepers come by and take up any runners that weren’t making the time cut off (such a sad scene) and before we knew it our time was up.
We headed back to the tent and picked up our well deserved one day Disney Park Pass as a Thank you for our services.
I was a little hungry at this point and grabbed an apple from the provided snack bag.
Kelly and I were able to hitch a ride from one of the other volunteers to our hotel, BUT because of a mix up at check in we were keyless and Derek was still running the race. Crap. :/
Since neither of our names were on the room registration we were stuck for TWO HOURS in the lobby. Kelly watched crappy Disney tv and I took a little nap on the couch.
It pays to have the ability to sleep anywhere.
Finally a little before 2:00am Derek came hobbling into the lobby.
Metal in hand. 😉
He was in pain, he was limping, but he did it!!!! I had never been more proud.
I’m going to save Derek’s story to be written in his own words. Stayed tuned for a Derek guest post recounting what exactly was going through his head during his first half marathon. I’ll hopefully have it from him early next week. I know he has lots of stories to share.
For now, Kelly and I are about to use our free park pass.
Food & Wine Festival – here we come!