Today I’m going to talk about being on the other side of the fence of a runDisney event by cheering for the WDW 10k!
It all started the previous night after dinner at California Grill. Lynn (the gal in the purple hat,) had planned on cheering for our friends who were doing the Dopey challenge and since she was by herself at the Boardwalk that night, she invited me to crash with her! I’ve always wanted to experience a runDisney event as a spectator but I worried how Jackey would feel about me arriving at our room at Pop Century, saying hello, then grabbing a suitcase and saying goodbye. Especially since I hadn’t yet seen her all day.
But awesome gal that Jackey is, she was super cool with me enjoying the 10k … and as will be proved by pictures below, we had tons of laughs together during our trip! So with my suitcase in Niki’s trunk, we headed to Boardwalk. I felt like such a jet setter!
Since we were thinking ahead … correction, since LYNN was thinking ahead … we first went to the Boardwalk Bakery to get something yummy to eat the next morning. (Me? A muffin. Her? A drool-worthy cupcake.) I asked the CM how much an empty coffee cup would be to use while cheering the next morning and she gave it to me for free. Which I greatly appreciated. Because I love coffee. Like, a lot. And it was nice!
Now, somewhere poking the back of my mind was a fear that waking early an extra morning wasn’t the smartest idea seeing as how I was running the Goofy. But YOLO, I quickly dismissed it. After all, I could make up for it by getting plenty of sleep later that night!
(Please note the foreboding foreshadow there.)
(Oh yeah, the super huge foreshadow.)
We woke at around 5:30 since being out there for the first runners wasn’t a big priority. Besides, I needed time to fill that coffee cup. Twice. But before leaving, we realized we didn’t have any Flat Laura and Lynn pictures! What?? Oh, no, that just wouldn’t do. So we improvised:
Oh, and notice our gloves, hats, and winter wear? That’s because it was COLD. Can’t remember the actual degree but to me, it was COLD. I hate being cold. Thank goodness Bob talked me into buying that red vest last time we were at Disney. I’ve never been a vest person–what’s the point if it doesn’t cover your arms?–but that bad boy is surprisingly warm.
Anyway, back to the topic. Once we left and first heard all the cheering and clapping and pounding footsteps coming from the Boardwalk, I instantly kicked myself for not being out there earlier. Lynn had already told our friends we’d be at the base of the bridge where there’s a great view of the Swan and as soon as we got there, we started clapping, cheering, and waving the pom poms Lynn had brought.
Let me just say this. I never in a million years ever thought I’d enjoy watching a runDisney race as much as I enjoy running them.
I was wrong.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing, seeing the waves and waves of people running past us, knowing that every single person there had their own story to tell, a battle they’re fighting, or walls they’re busting down. Some of them brought tears to my eyes, like a girl fast walking with a boot on her right foot. Or the groups of people running for a cause. The gentleman carrying an American flag. The two girls dressed in It’s A Small World costumes with the song playing from their backpack … yes, that song is a pure nails on a chalkboard, but they looked so cute! And what about the gal who did the Dopey challenge in a FIREMAN’S SUIT! Good grief, how awesome is that?
(If anyone has a picture, please share!)
At one point, Lynn noticed a gentleman running our way and said, “Hey, isn’t that Jeff Galloway?”
Why yes, it was Jeff Galloway, who thanked us for being there.
Many, many other runners thanked us for cheering as well which … I have to admit, while my purpose for being out there was not for their acknowledgement … did make me feel pretty great, like my cheering touched them. I’m always sure to thank spectators when I run, but this made me even more enthusiastic about doing the same in return.
And oh, the costumes! The wonderful costumes! We had a blast calling out cheers to Woody, Buzz, Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Cinderella, Tink, Snow White, Rapunzel, Anastasia, Drizella, Russell, Kevin, and everything else in between!
Pretty soon, we saw Niki, who was adorably dressed as Roz as part of a group costume.
Up next were two more of their Monsters, Inc crew, our friends Angie and Robyn who rocked as Boo and Mike Wazowski!
And yes! Here’s Sully, aka Sara, who did the Dopey challenge with bronchitis. BRONCHITIS! The girl is a rock star. Seriously.
I was so happy to also get a picture with Leslie! She’s often such a fabulous support for other runners at runDisney events, cheering with her castle hat, handing out licorice, gummies, or Swedish Fish. (She also was a lifesaver for me during the half marathon.) It was wonderful being able to cheer for her for a change! Sadly though, I didn’t have any snacks to offer other than muffin crumbs. Must do better next time.
After more cheering and clapping, with me making up awful cheers like G-double O-D-R-U-N, good run, good run, (yeah, not my best work,) we saw them, the famous balloon ladies, who waved and thanked us for being out there, supporting the runners. I’m ashamed to admit that seeing them brought an odd look to my face, since there were still many, many runners behind them. Were they going to be swept? But then I realized we were beyond the sweep point. Duh. So balloon ladies, if you’re reading this, my sincerest apologies if it looked as though I was giving you the stink eye. I love you ladies. (I kind of want to be you ladies, since you get to do all the runDisney runs.)
Now, as much as I loved watching the faster runners near the start of the race, once the crowds thinned and we saw the remaining run/walkers making that turn up the Boardwalk bridge, that’s when we began to see true perseverance and grit.
Like the older woman pushing a walker with a photograph of either her husband or son taped to the front. My eyes well just thinking about the look of determination on her face.
The husband supporting his wife with sweet motivation.
And the final racer surrounded by volunteers and security who cheered her on, encouraging her to finish. Oh my gosh. I just wanted to run up and hug her for being so awesome. Instead, I hoped and prayed she made it to the end and collected her well-earned medal!
Once she had passed and our cheering was over … sniff … we headed back to Lynn’s room, taking note of how quickly the volunteers at a water station were gathering trash, unfolding tables, and putting Disney back to normal. As a runner, I sometimes don’t realize exactly how many people it takes to make these events a success, so for every single one of you, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
All in all, I had a total blast with Lynn and I’m so glad we experienced this together! She had a breakfast ADR at … somewhere, I can’t remember at the moment so I gathered up my stuff, said goodbye, and joked about how it looked as though I were taking the Walk of Shame …
Now, I’m usually way too frugal for cab rides, but it only cost $8.00 from the Boardwalk to Pop Century. So. Worth. It. Jackey and her mom were heading out to Magic Kingdom, so after taking a quick shower, (don’t know why I bothered seeing as how I later put my hat back on,) I headed out to join them. It was rather chilly and damp feeling so I did worry about being out too much before the Goofy challenge, but eh, I’d be fine as long as I got a good night sleep.
(Please note my SECOND foreboding foreshadow there.)
Okay, so let me take a second to get a little mushy about my running group. I first joined our Facebook group back in 2011 but I kind of stayed on the fringes, afraid to fully jump in. Many of us first met face-to-face at the 2013 Princess Half Marathon but once again, I held back, to nervous to show my crazy in case they were like, “Who invited this nut?”
Turns out, they’re all nuts.
Wonderfully supportive, encouraging, amazing, hilarious nuts who have blessed my life in too many ways to count. I never thought I’d find such a fantastic group of friends with the same sense of adventure and my life certainly has changed for the better since meeting them! Sigh. Adore them.
Okay, mush over.
Yep, here comes more mush.
Have you ever seen someone on Facebook and knew instantly you both were kindred spirits? Yep, I knew from the start we’d be two peas in a pod, seeing as how she’s young and fun and I have the mentality of a teenager trapped in a 45-year-old body. And we both love posing for goofy photos!
Oh boy, do we.
Somewhere about this time, we got a text from friends who were at Epcot, so we hugged her mom goodbye and headed over, with Jackey warning me to stay away from the yummy grapefruit beer at the World Showcase.
For the record, I wisely resisted … even though it would help make sure I got to sleep that night.
(That’s my last foreboding foreshadow, I promise.)
After hanging out with the above lovely ladies for a while, Jackey and I decided to head back to Pop so we’d have plenty of time to line up our outfits for the half marathon, pack our race belts, and get to sleep by nine.
One of us wasn’t able to sleep, though.
Any guess who?
Yep, both thumbs are pointing at yours truly. Which will be explained in my next post! Until then, thank you so much for reading all the way to the end of this incredibly long, picture-heavy post. 🙂
Question: If you ran the 10k, what was your favorite part?