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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tower of Terror 13K 2008

What a weekend.

We left Friday evening and flew down to Orlando for a quick weekend and nice little race in Florida. We had originally gotten reservations at the Boardwalk Hotel, but when I logged in on Thursday to check something on my DVC account, I saw that we'd gotten through on our wait list request to stay at Beach Club instead. Then, on our way down to Florida, it occurred to me -- my sister is in Tampa, why not invite her over to spend the day with us Saturday?

However, even after we went to packet pickup to get our glow in the dark numbers and race shirts, we hadn't heard from my sister, so we went off to Epcot for lunch and rides. Sharon called while we were there. She was sick and was thinking about coming over and would let us know.

The problem with Epcot was that the Food and Wine Festival was going on. I'd never been there for the Food & Wine Festival, so I was initially excited, then turned off by the fact that on a race day we couldn't indulge in wine, and I really wasn't that interested in the food. We had lunch in Germany and then went over to Future World to see what we could ride. The park was packed because of the food and wine festival (presumably), so we rode some of the lesser-ridden rides - The Universe of Energy and Maelstrom (which still, inexplicably, has a fastpass option) and then hung out in the Living Seas for a while.

I love the Living Seas these days. The Nemo stuff inside is awesome, and I like looking at the fishies, especially the cuttlefish. At one point, there was a scuba diver showing off his skill, and then he got out and did a question and answer / meet & greet kind of thing with guests and I had to ask Todd if he wanted to get a photo with the scuba diver. He said no, and my equipment is nicer than that guy's.

We had an early dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant and we pondered the fact that the fish in the Living Seas still look sick. They weren't that way when we dove there in January 2007, I'm wondering of something bizarre was introduced to the aquarium between January and April 2007 (April being when we first noticed it). It makes me sad, the fish in the tank do not look good at all.

We headed back to the hotel and Sharon and family met us there. It was such a pleasant surprise to see her! We hung out at the pool for a few hours, and then we got dressed for our race and Sharon dropped us off at our race transportation at Boardwalk. Sharon and family hung out in Disney for a while later for dinner and such and it sounds like they had a nice time.

It seems like the race was better than last year, just based on the reviews that I read. The runner's village was smaller than the Disney Marathon, but looked similar. They had a place for you to sign the hotel register (since we were doing the race at the Tower of Terror). They gave out temporary tattoos with the race logo on them, and had a place for us to get our photo taken (I was wearing my Minnie ears that I wore for the 2007 Marathon).

We were pretty early and sat and stood around for a long time. The race started with fireworks and was hosted by the bellhops from the Tower of Terror. There were a lot of walkers. A LOT of them. To me, being where I was, it seemed like the whole race was mid to back of the pack people and there were few people that really seemed to be running for any sort of time. Of course, there were costumes - the whole crowd from The Wizard of Oz, Forrest Gump, Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse, Pumpkins, a roman soldier, pirates, etc. The field was smaller than I expected - 2700 finishers. This is a lot smaller than other races down there. We spent a lot of time passing walkers who were walking 2-5 abreast (for the life of me, I don't understand why walkers can't be more aware and courteous during races).

There were quite a few people out on the course to cheer us on, including a lot of cast members, disco dancers, some creepy girls dressed the same a la The Shining, and many Disney villains. There were a lot of fog machines, but it wasn't TOO heavy, as I think Disney was afraid someone would fall down. At times, there would be loudspeakers where someone would come on and say things that were weird and didn't make sense and sounded like the Twilight Zone. Nothing was especially frightening or dark, so the glow in the dark race numbers really only glowed when we tested them out in the bathroom of the hotel.

The course took us through some woods and into the Wide World of Sports Complex, between the fields and around the track there. Then, we were back on the roads, headed back to Hollywood Studios. Going through the studios was a lot of fun and we truly wound all the way through - including through the set of "Lights, Motors, Action!" The finish line was directly in front of the Tower of Terror.

As for how I did, I maintained a 13 minute pace throughout, until right at the end, but I was never above 14. Todd stayed with me the whole time, and he helped me stay on pace. I had been sick and therefore hadn't gotten a lot of running in, so I didn't do as well as I might have otherwise. I was still coughing and feeling bad during the race, but I still had a good time. Running at 10:00pm is definitely weird, and it was just before midnight when we finished. I had post-race upset stomach (I've been getting that a lot lately) and we sat for a few minutes while I tried to eat a banana. Then, it was off to the park.

We hit the Rock n' Roller Coaster first, which did not hurt my stomach at all. Next, we headed over to the new Toy Story Mania Ride. It was fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was like the Buzz Lightyear ride, only better. So much fun. We waited about 45 minutes for it, but it was worth the wait. My stomach was hurting pretty bad at that point, so we went and got some pizza, which made me feel a whole lot better.

At that point, it was 1:45am and the park was closing at 2, so we had to decide what to do next. I let Todd choose and we ended up riding the Rock n' Roller Coaster again. We tried for a third time, but it was shut down and we were done for the night. We finally made it back to the hotel to get in bed by 3:30am or so. A long day for two people who are used to going to bed by 11.

Today, we pretty much got up with barely any sleep, had some breakfast in the hotel and headed home. It was a great weekend and very fun race. Weather was nice - sunny and warm shorts weather all weekend. Good times.

I'd definitely do this race again. No complaints whatsoever.

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