Florida Trip and Disney Half
It’s no secret that I have a hard time keeping up with regular posts on here, especially in January. But this time I have an excuse. A really fun, warm, exhausting and envy-inducing excuse. Last weekend we were in Florida! Remember when I mentioned the hubs was raising money to run for A-T? Well that was this past weekend and it was awesome! We hung out with my old college roomie and her family, who I hadn’t seen in years, and had an overall amazing time.
If you’ve never done a Disney race before, it’s a lot like visiting one of the parks: hurry up and wait. The hubs did the half marathon and the race had around 25,000 people. Can we just stop for a minute and try to imagine 25,000 + their friends and family all trying to accomplish the same task? Needless to say race packet pick up was a madhouse.
This was the line for the t-shirt pick-up and the expo. We went to a separate building to get the actual bib number and timing chip. Let’s just take a look at the line wrapping around behind us:
Insane right? We’ve done this race before, but the last time we did, it was under 20,000 people. I should clarify: I did not do the race this time around.You have to sign up far in advance and I didn’t know how my knee was going to hold up during the Hershey Half I did. Plus this race is not a whole lot of fun for someone that runs an average pace like myself. There are just too many people to fight your way through and you can never get ahead of it. But if you’re Speedy McSpeederson like the hubs, it’s a great race to do…as long as you can get to the start in time.
Sad story: even though the hubs left two hours before the race start, he wasn’t able to get to his starting corral in time. There was just a crush of people and no one was moving. Poor guy started back with the 12-minute mile paced people and passed thousands and thousands of people once he was able to start moving. It greatly affected his time. His first mile was almost double his normal pace because of the shear mass of people he had to get around. Other than that, he had a great race. Probably the adrenaline of passing all those people pushed him to go a little faster the rest of the race.
Another sad story: my camera wasn’t working! I seem to be having problems with it when I need to use the flash. The flash goes off but it won’t let me take a picture – anyone have a clue what’s going on there? Anyway, it was too dark to capture a pic of him finishing with my cell camera. But I did capture this to give you an idea of how dark it was at the finish:
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you – the race started at 5:30 am! Which means for spectators like myself, we’re watching our runners finish before 7 am. I’d say good thing I’m a morning person except that Disney stops running the shuttle buses before the roads close at 5 am! I caught the last bus at 4:45 am! That is well before what even a morning person considers morning. But enough about me, this race was about the hubs. I was so sad I didn’t capture a pic of him finishing. But was pretty excited to capture this pic of him stretching at our hotel after the race:
Done running 13.1 miles all before the sun fully rises. He’s pretty inspiring huh? You know what else was pretty inspiring? The celebration dinner that the A-T Children’s Project put on after the race (if you want to learn more about the organization you can read my post here). We got all gussied up for the celebration:
The organization does such a great job putting on events. They really make you feel like you’re a part of their community and it was really awesome to hear about all of the strides they’ve made in research for a cure. We hadn’t been to an event in a few years, so it was really nice to be updated. The most inspiring thing was hearing that they hope to begin gene therapy testing trials on A-T kids this year.
Another inspiring thing? We met and chatted with a four-time Olympian! AND I watched him finish THIRD out of those 25,000 racers I mentioned before. Talk about inspiring. Hunter Kemper is a tri-athlete (could there be a harder sport?) that has represented the US in the past four Olympics. FOUR people. He is hardcore. And he raced Disney in his “off season” in order to represent A-T. And WON! They interviewed him right after the race and he focused the entire conversation on raising awareness for A-T. He wasn’t even out of breath.
And at the celebration dinner he spent about 15 minutes talking to us (well mostly to the hubs). The coolest thing was he asked all about the hubs’ race. He was really interested in the hubs’ running, only talked about his own running at the hubs request.The hubs picked his brain on training tips and has been implementing them ever since. He was so excited. And in such awe. Imagine how you would act if you met someone who lived your dream. Giddy schoolgirl? Yup.
One last pic – here was the view off of our balcony at Disney’s Yacht Club, overlooking the Boardwalk:
Overall the trip was awesome, with awesome old friends (they’re the best kind right?), new friends, and an Olympian! We wrapped up the trip with visiting my awesome Florida family with my awesome parents, who had also made the trip down to watch the race.
It was an amazing 80 degrees everyday so it’s not been fun adjusting back to the cold. One thing that’s made it easier? Dennis Fitz Produce at Central Market is now carrying delicious Florida strawberries and they’re even better than the ones I had when I was actually in Florida! Seriously. Pick some up if you get the chance.