We were asked to be in our corrals by 5:45AM, which meant we had to get there in time to hand off our girls to my husband's cousins. (Did I not mention my husband ran the 5K with me? Oh. He did.) This meant catching the bus from our hotel to Epcot, which is where the run was. Also? This meant no time for coffee. So I began my very first experience as a race participant severely undercaffeinated.
After we handed my precious girls to the wonderful cousins they barely know (*gulp*), we headed to our corral. Along will eleventy billion other people. I didn't actually count them, so I may be off by a little. And I really had to pee, which caused me great distress. Peeing your pants during a 5K is just not acceptable, but I was afraid I was going to have to be a rule breaker. So I shifted back and forth while standing with the gabillion other participants (again, just an estimate) and tried to find a way to keep my mind off my bladder (it's all about relieving the pressure).
This was a 5K "Family Fun Run" which meant lots of kids and costumes. No, not kids IN costumes. I mean there were a few, but it was mostly grown-ups who were wearing the costumes. I felt very out of place in my ordinary Athleta running skirt and leggings and my Target tank top and jacket. My assertion that I am not creative stands.
|See? It's a lot of people.|
|To Infinity and... The Finish Line!|
|Waiting to run. And pee.|
Although our "fun run" was to begin at 6:30 AM, our corral didn't cross the start line until nearly 6:45. Which meant we were standing in our corrals for nearly an hour. And we were the second corral - there were two others after us. Once we started, running wasn't really even an option because of the umpteen kajillion participants. I did not know this was how it would be. Also I hadn't anticipated the number of nine year olds walking with their grandmas I'd have to dodge. None of this was in the FAQs section. But they did shoot off fireworks as each corral started, so that was kind of cool.
Now, I knew we would run through Epcot, but I didn't know how much of our path would be in the park. It turns out not so much. When we started we were on a back access road or an abandoned highway or something. And there were stadium lights attached to generators along the road, which helped us see but did not help us breath *cough cough*. Eventually we got to Epcot, but through a service entrance past the garbage cans, which obviously were another treat for my olfactory receptors. But once we were actually in the park? There was music and every single Epcot employee lined up to cheer us on. I don't have a picture of that (because, duh, running) but I won't forget it. These were not the characters or the cute little young folks you might expect. These were the food service people, the custodial people, the nuts and bolts of the park. And they were there at 7:00 AM on a Friday waving at us with big Mickey gloves and shouting to remind us that we "could do it!". It kind of made up for my lack of coffee.
When my husband talks about our run together through Epcot, he likes to add that I was singing for the last mile, and you know what? I totally was. I mean, there we were running through Epcot with "Hakuna Matata" playing on the loud speakers on a beautifully warm January morning. How do you not sing in those conditions?
Eventually we had to exit the park, again through a stinky service entrance (exit?) to make our way to the finish line that was in one of the Epcot parking lots. But as we exited and started to pass the bleachers near the finish, in my left ear I heard the wonderful, familiar voice of my six year old, cheering for us. I was pretty tired so I was afraid that if I turned to look for her, I would trip on a nine year old, but I knew that voice. As we approached the finish line, I told my husband I wanted to hold hands as we crossed the finish line, and so we held raised hands as we crossed the finish line for my first official race.
And now I have a medal with Mickey Mouse on it and a 5K under my belt.
And I'm 38. And I like to kick, stretch, and KICK.