Dark Side Challenge Race Recap: Half Marathon

Saturday night I was feeling the effects of getting up early for a runDisney race. I crashed in bed around 9 pm to the Big Bang Theory while eating what ended up being my only meal from the hotel food court. I love Pop Century for the most part, but I find the food courts at value hotels to be the antithesis of a relaxing dining experience and this time they were full of high school students there on group trips. IMG_9325

Sunday started extra early. Normally, runDisney half marathons start at 5:30 am but I’m assuming in an effort to beat the heat/sun, the Dark Side half started at 5:00 am. Once I’m getting up before 4:00 am, really what difference does 3 or 3:30 make? I rolled out of bed, put on my Matt the Radar Technician outfit, and headed to the buses with 15 minutes to spare. Even with the anxiety of maybe not getting a bus that I had experienced on Saturday, I hate standing around waiting even more.

There was no problem getting one on Sunday morning, I walked right on a bus and was there just as they were telling runners to go to their corrals. I started in the D corral this morning, a little earlier than my N start at Princess. IMG_9396We started on time and I had a list of things I knew I wanted to accomplish this day:

  1. Picture with R2-D2
  2. Clock my actual run time for the half

I honestly am in shitty shape and haven’t run further than 4 miles since February, so my expectations for the half were pretty realistic. I paused my watch when I waited for photos to gauge where I was for pacing since I’ve got a half coming up in May and want to see where I currently stand. It ended up being not a great spot, but not absolutely terrible–I mean, I finished, right?

I stopped less than a mile in for everyone’s original favorite droid, R2-D2 who by the way moved and beeped. So basically, it was wonderful and worth the 10 or so minutes I had to wait. IMG_9404Next was a trip around the World Showcase and out the International Gateway. Having run Wine & Dine, it was a little weird going in reverse, part of what I loved about the Boardwalk area is that it’s “I’m almost done” territory in Wine & Dine AND the marathon. IMG_9434I plodded along, being surprising consistent with my pace. Kylo Ren was up on a stage at Hollywood Studios, the super fans were out in the back by the Hollywood Bowl where they show Fantasmic, and people could stop and get photos in front of Tower of Terror. Animal Kingdom had more photo ops, with backdrops in the parking lot (FYI the parking lot of Animal Kingdom accounted for about 3 miles), plus Stormtroopers in the park and another Star Wars superfan cheering area on the way out. IMG_9432Strange but true: I saw more Matt the Radar Technician than I did Kylo Ren. I don’t think I saw a single Kylo Ren during the race, but there were a lot of Reys and BB-8s. I cruised for the last 5k back to Wide World of Sports. Feeling fine, enjoying the weather, and thinking how lucky I was it wasn’t more humid.

I collected my stuff at the finish, my three medals, food box, etc. and headed to the bus with no wait. I skipped the photo lines because all I really wanted to do was shower and change. Breakfast was Mickey waffles at the Wilderness Lodge followed by a day of sleeping on a lounge chair by the pool and capped off with a salted caramel light saber pretzel from the Boardwalk Bakery:IMG_9311 And, of course, the day ended the same way it began with fireworks to Star Wars music when I stopped for the Symphony in the Stars fireworks at Hollywood Studios.  They are my favorite fireworks ever, sorry, 4th of July.IMG_9487And that was it. Monday I spent my day sitting at the pool after a morning at the Magic Kingdom, followed by a lounge crawl around the Magic Kingdom resorts, then it was time to head home.

Overall, I really liked the Star Wars race weekend. The weather was better than Princess, oddly enough, the theme was nicely done, and overall it went pretty smoothly. People say California races are better because the wake up time is much later, realistically that’s never happening in Disney World so is it a fair way to compare the Disneyland and Disney World Star Wars races? Meh, I’d say maybe. I’d definitely consider doing it again, though, and I had a great time. IMG_9444

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4 thoughts on “Dark Side Challenge Race Recap: Half Marathon

  1. Good job on finishing even if you weren’t at your best! The pics look great I really like the high saturation of colors it makes em really pop. 😉

  2. They let you touch R2-D2? They were militant about people keeping hands off in Anaheim in January! I seriously think the cast members were ready to jump anyone who even got too close. Glad you had a good time!

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