Right after the Marine Corps Marathon, my friend told me my birthday trip to Florida wasn’ t happening. Long story short, I was heartbroken. Then, a month later, when I should have been flying to Florida, Disney opened extra spots for the Disney World Half Marathon. My best friend had an extra spot in her room. Done. Deal sealed. I’m there. And that’s how the adventure started….
Starting on Monday I started weather stalking, and it didn’t look good in terms of rain. Come Wednesday, there were forecasts of lightning. But nothing was getting me down. I’d been dreaming of this race since high school. I’m going to Disney, darn it!
Friday morning I started the day off with a 3 mile sunrise shake out run in the All-Star resort area. I wore a skirt and it was glorious! I did burpees at the different resorts and was in heaven. Lurking in my mind was the impending doom that was to be the next morning, but at least I got in a few good Florida miles.
After breakfast (MICKEY WAFFLESSSS) and waiting for the bus, we were off to the expo! There was quite a line for our bibs, but it went pretty quickly. I loved the variety of vendors but I surprisingly didn’t get that much. I picked up a couple of Sweaty Bands, some new Nuun flavors, and a tank top to *hopefully* wear the next day. We were also given a luggage tag that was a replica of our medal with our bib. There were constant announcements being made regarding Disney monitoring the weather – as if we weren’t. There was lightning forecased for the morning, with it clearing after the race was to be over. I knew what was going to happen, but I hoped it wasn’t going to be true.
Beth and I made our way over to Disney Springs for the rest of the afternoon. We did some shopping, I got pooped on by a bird, we drank lots of water. The four of us had a good dinner, complete with irish dancers and a local beer. We received more notices from Disney, that they were watching the weather. After waiting an eternity to get a bus back to the hotel, I started looking at comments on the RunDisney posts. I sadly saw signs that people were posting pictures of. Signs in lobbies that were saying that the race was “delayed”. Then a sign that said it was “cancelled”. Maybe the sign was fake? Right? Wrong. Around 7:15, we got the notice.
I was heartbroken, everyone was. A trip to Disney is not an easy, or cheap affair. We spent #somuchmoney on just the race. However, you can’t stop weather and lightning is no joke. Disney was a class act and offered refunds. Yes, refunds. Four options. A ($180) Disney gift card, 2 one-day park hopper tickets ($340 value), deferral to a race in the next 2 years, or spots in the marathon on Sunday. I so seriously considered running the marathon, but it seemed risky with the upcoming NJ Marathon. I knew then that I was coming back the next year, so I took the gift card, knowing I can use it on a hotel. I was wary about a deferral, wondering how Disney was going to handle the mass amounts of people trying to get into races that always sell out.
Despite being ready for bed, we went out for a drink at the Boardwalk, but ended up at the Swan. It was awesome seeing the people were already out, getting their 13.1 miles in. But our “lemonade” was already happening. When we got back, the storm rolled in, and boy was it bad. I stayed up for a while, pondering what to do the next day. Do I wait in line for my refund? Run with people running outside in the rain/lightning? Or spend a full day at the parks. Knowing I lost my trip in December, I decided to get my refund over email and my medal in the mail and hit the parks!
It was seriously a great day. I was there early enough that the castle was open for the race that was supposed to happen, and I got to stroll through it. While the girls I was with went to the expo, I did my favorite rides at Magic Kingdom, met some characters, and did plenty of walking. I met up with them at Epcot, and while they went to dinner (I wasn’t hungry) I walked around the world and had a few drinks, because why not? We ended up back at Magic Kingdom for more rides and Wishes. All in all, I got in my half marathon – 13.6 miles of walking and tons of fun.
Sunday consisted of more Mickey waffles, more Disney Springs, and some (chilly) drinks by the pool. Actually, sitting by the pool was the most fun we had all weekend!!! Despite the cancelled race, we still had fun, and I’m thankful I was able to join Beth and her friends on this girls getaway weekend.
I have no regrets about not running on Saturday. I think it’s great how the running community got together to run, but I was at DISNEY. I got a full day of walking at the parks and ran my 13.1 miles as a training run this past weekend. I was seriously so sore on Sunday from the walking! I’m already looking forward to next year. Registration for next year opens on Valentine’s Day and I’m planning to sign up for the Goofy Challenge! (13.1 +26.2). If a race gets cancelled next year, I’m done, but I have to try again.
Were you affected by the Disney Half Marathon cancellation? Did you go out and run anyways?
Do you run races in adverse weather? Heat, cold, rain, yes. But lightning, heck no.