A little over a year ago, I get a text from my buddy Austin. He thinks it would be awesome to go to Disney World together and run in the 2018 Star Wars Half-Marathon Weekend.
I agreed, obvs. How could I not? Plus, I needed something to get me off my tookus and back to running regularly. That was November 2017, and I had just let myself hit 200lbs again (that’s 40lbs of weight gain from what I like). So it was kind of serendipitous.
Together, we paid our registration fees: him, his wife, and mine doing the 5k, and silly-ole-me signing up for the 5k and The Dark Side Challenge (running the 10k and half-marathon as well).
By the time the race dates rolled around in late April, I was totally ready. After all, runDisney ain’t cheap. Nor is it refundable, so that’s some pretty good motivation.
I made sure to record my daily mileage over the duration of the training, too. This is the full 17-week calendar starting on December 25. You can click to enlarge, either image.
Day 1: Arriving in Orlando
We drove from Florence, AL down to Orlando. Well, I say we. Our friend Adam drove, and I am forever grateful. I never had to put a finger on the steering wheel and was able to really focus on my upcoming runs.
And by that, I mean sit in the back seat and play RPGs on my 3DS and Vita. (Man, Bravely Default is some good stuff.)
Upon arriving, at our hotel (the All-Star Movies resort), we were greeted by this amazing stand-up for Solo, which was due out in a few weeks after the race.
On our way to the room, we saw this, which was just cool.
Once we were set up and our luggage was in the room, it was time to hit the expo. I won’t lie: I was a little underwhelmed by the expo. Not that it wasn’t awesome, and I didn’t have a blast. Because I did.
But because I wasn’t planning on spending a bunch of money on stuff, it was more of a browsing-and-seeing-what-was-there kind of thing. And the stuff was neat and all, but I’d had my fill in a couple of hours and was ready to move on.
One thing that I saw there was a crazy number of runDisney tattoos. For real. So many people had different designs all dedicated to different races or just runDisney in general. Until then, I had no idea how hardcore people were about these races. But y’all. People are hardcore about these races.
Looking back, however, there are a few items I wish I had picked up (like the I did it car magnets and challenge merch), but thankfully there is a solid secondary market on eBay for runDisney merch. So I will likely grab those pretty soon.
The expo was also where you got your bibs, and that was actually pretty fun. In addition to running all three races over the weekend, I had participated in the Virtual Half-Marathon earlier in the spring. And this is where I got the medal.
Which is awesome. That X-Wing even moves up and down along the track. So cool.
The rest of that day was pretty much just Jennifer, Adam, and me running around Disney Springs (holy cow do I still want to call it Downtown Disney), having fun, eating, and seeing what kind of cool shops were there. The best part (outside of the food) was this gigantic Lego Incredible Hulk.
In proper Beej form, I hugged him.
Given that it’s been a year and we didn’t have park tickets, I’m gonna say that we went back to the hotel room to rest up a little after that. But we might not have. Either way, it wasn’t memorable apparently, and since the next morning was such an early wake-up for the 5k (2:30 am), we’re just going to say that we did and fast forward to the next morning.
A Quick Aside
At some point during the day, we were working on coordinating with Austin and his wife to see how we were going to meet up for the 5k the next day. We had planned all along to do it together.
They, however, had been at Disney a couple of days beforehand with some family and their three daughters (two of whom were twins about 5 months old). They were — understandably — exhausted.
So they backed out of the runs in order to sleep. 2:30 am would come even earlier for them. It sucked, and it was disappointing, but Jennifer and I understood and decided to have the best time we could at the 5k regardless.
Okay, now we can fast forward to the next morning.