Tower of Terror: Yeah, that extra 16.2 is happening.

The Spoiler: I’m going to judge the 2013 Tower of Terror 10 Miler a good race.

The basics include that I stayed at the (not a host) resort, Art of Animation. I headed over to Pop Century which ended up being a 10 minute walk from our room in the Little Mermaid section of the hotel. The buses ran smoothly, I didn’t sit around waiting for them for long and I even managed to pick up an Elvis cupcake while I was at it. Mission Accomplished. IMG_2429The expo was better than Everest but definitely not marathon weekend level. Everything was jammed into one building and it was really crowded less than 20 minutes after opening. I wasn’t crazy about this but I came away a winner! I didn’t buy a single damn thing. Not one. Yeah, that’s right. Nothing.

Last year the shirt was black and it glowed in the dark–this year it was blue and a short sleeved version of the marathon shirt. I wasn’t dazzled but I could still run in it so whatever, it’s fine. I’ll let it go, especially since I didn’t buy an I Did It T-shirt.

By 7pm on Saturday I on the bus, ready to go. If I had gone alone, I would’ve done a 10 mile run that morning to get in my long run but since my sister came we traveled to Animal Kingdom and then around the World Showcase instead. Honestly, I did a 5 mile run Friday morning after I checked in at Art of Animation and I just wanted to pass out and die. Apparently, Disney imagineers imagine up robot Abe Lincolns but shade and seating in the hot hell that is Florida never crossed anyone’s mind. Yeah.

Unlike the morning races, I enjoy the loud music and dancing that comes along with the pre-race staging area. I kinda wished my sister had taken the ride with me because I was having a great time doing the YMCA and … THE TIME WARP. Big improvement: Disney put up more backgrounds for photos. I can never get one of those photos because the lines are always way to long but this time it worked! I got one!

IMG_2482I’m not sure what the grass was supposed to be but, um, nice landscaping job? I knew I was kind of in deep $hit when I was covered in sweat just from doing the Time Warp and Thriller dances and I hadn’t even gotten to my corral yet.

Off and on runDisney was posting online heat warnings because of high temperatures and Jeff Galloway came to tell everyone to take it easy because it was very humid and still pretty warm despite being in the mid 70s. Judging by the screaming I did in the shower at the end of all this, the humidity was REALLY high. I know people say their fabrics “wick away moisture” or whatever but I was just soaking wet by the end of this thing and couldn’t dry off to save my life.

I have really mixed feelings about Tower of Terror–I went into it hoping I might be able to get into a better corral at Wine & Dine… I was more than a little worried about missing a 20 miler for Marine Corps… So this run and I were in a complicated relationship from the get go. I headed to my corral once I realized I was basically sweating like a pig without really doing much aside from an amazing interpretation of “Thriller” and just parked myself there. I was shocked to discover how tiny the corrals were compared to previous races! They were actually smaller than the 5k ones marathon weekend, I thought. So this was quite wonderful.

The greatest part of the whole race was basically the fact that the starting line was essentially a speed bump. No, no I am not kidding. Isn’t that how all races start? Naturally. I did love the beginning of this race: exiting Hollywood Studios underneath the big sign they had fog and lights and played the Twilight Zone theme song. As we went up and merged on Osceola Parkway they played the music from Psycho and at the top of the little on ramp was the Evil Queen from Snow White except she was as her hag self complete with cauldron. IMG_2523

I actually got that one on the way back because she had a shortish line when I passed her on the way out but NO ONE on the way back. Score. Down the highway, the mile markers each played audio of the villains commenting on how far we’d made it. Through the Animal Kingdom tollbooth (SPEED BUMP) and then back out onto Osceola (how do I know this road’s name now?) to Wide World of Sports where I ran into… IMG_2516The characters had no lines. Literally. I just walked up, had my picture taken, and then moved on. The part that took the longest was that my tutu kept covering up my number which drove the Marathonfoto people INSANE (ps, there was one at every character this time). I figured what the hell, might as well seize the opportunity. As I was going towards Wide World of Sports, I saw that the further back in the pack you got the denser it got. The out and backs kind of let you see the sweepers or the winners on the other side of the road… Fortunately I was safely ensconced in my mediocre pace. I subsequently saw these people:

Fortunately, my iPhone is crappy and it was dark so stopping for the photos didn’t make too much sense. By the time I hit the gravediggers around mile 6 I had already decided “screw it” and just threw myself on the ground. I’ll never do it during the marathon but at that moment laying down seemed like a great idea and I would conceivably get back up. There were some brave people out cheering and plenty of volunteers also out cheering at this point. The stands in WWOS weren’t packed but it was fun and they had some great Twilight Zone references going on in the stadium.

My big mistake was right after the gravediggers and when I basically lost it. I was going at a pretty good clip and then I for some reason stopped to chug some water and after that my stomach wasn’t the same for the remaining 3.5 miles and I just started to throw up in my mouth. Mmmm, tasty. I suspect that’s what I was thinking of in these photos:

But at mile 9 we finally entered a legit park, Hollywood Studios, which is ALWAYS the park you spend the most time actually running through. We rounded the turn into the Streets of New York section that no one likes when they’re just in the park and then headed past the giant hat, Toy Story Mania, and finally ended behind Tower of Terror (I think this is actually where we entered for the marathon? or something?).

With picture stops and throwing up in my mouth, I averaged just under 10 minutes/mile. Now what about the after party, you ask. Well…

The Villains’ Bash was a lot of fun. Characters were out en masse, all villains, and we didn’t wait on any lines for anything, really. The funny part was that the boulevard leading up to the Sorcerer’s Hat looked like… Wow. Just runners lining the streets. People looked uncomfortable and unhappy and tired and run down, but I had only seen one person on the course who needed medical attention. I made the sign of the cross and then went along on my way. My sister had attempted to ride Tower of Terror but unfortunately just as the elevator was ready to drop… it broke. They were stuck there til cast members came up and manually pushed the elevator back into another part of the ride, turned the lights on, and took them in the “real” service elevator. She wasn’t really inclined to get back on after that. She said bus service was easy and she didn’t have a problem getting in–she headed out to the party when she got the text message that I was at the 5k point.

The area around Tower of Terror was packed but Star Tours was totally empty, and Toy Story Mania was a 15 minute wait. I won, by the way, for the first time EVER. IMG_2529

And I won by a substantial margin so yeah. Take that, sister. We wandered around, got popcorn, I got a soda… I love a freezing cold post run soda. And then we left around 1:30am. I was greatly saddened that the Great Movie Ride wasn’t open for the party. It couldn’t be open because people were running past it but still, I would’ve loved to have gone on it as it is one of my favorites. I like all the slow moving journeys.

All said and done, I say it’s a good race. I thought it was fun, there was plenty of entertainment, and the after party added a nice touch. It’s a great way to kick off Halloween. The downside is the weather. It’s Florida, so you’ll never really be able to consistently hope for cooler temperatures and low humidity and honestly after spending the day in the hot sun I was just so sick of being hot and sweaty and sticky. I need cool temperatures now like you have no idea.

With all that said, I think I am definitely on runDisney burnout. The next day I wore my race shirt but not the medal and all I could think was, “god, how the hell am I doing Dopey in January?” I suspect it’s as much because I’m just worried about Marine Corps as it is any animosity towards runDisney despite their refusal to put me on their facebook page. Dammit, runDisney, why don’t you LOVE ME?

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16 thoughts on “Tower of Terror: Yeah, that extra 16.2 is happening.

  1. Despite feeling sick, it looked like a blast. I can’t wait to watch your training for Dopey–me and a big group of friends might go down for WDW Marathon Weekend in 2015…and I am thinking I will do Dopey since I’m there…even though it might kill me. πŸ˜‰

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