This past weekend, I participated in the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler alongside my boyfriend Danny. We had been training for MONTHS and in what seemed was a blink of an eye, the race was here. We headed up to Orlando on Friday afternoon to pick up our race packets at the Health and Wellness Expo. I’m always impressed with how well run these Expos are considering the mass amounts of people that come through. Friday night, we dined at the ever so elegant Sweet Tomatoes, a soup and salad bar restaurant, and went back to a friend’s house to relax.
Since this race was at 10:00 at night, we decided to visit Animal Kingdom Saturday morning. I had not been there in about four years, so it was great to be back. The major highlight for me? Having my picture taken with Doug and Russell from Up!
Oh sweet and innocent before-race-Danielle… You have no idea
In order to get to Hollywood Studios where the race was being held, we had to take a shuttle from Wide World of Sports to the park. Since they were closing down roadways, we were instructed to be there no later than 8:00 PM. After a few hours of sitting around, I suited up in my Mrs. Incredible gear and headed out just after 7:00 PM. Thank goodness we did! The traffic was so backed up that the 10 minute drive took us about 45 minutes! We loaded on the shuttle and we were off to the race.
Disney always has the races incredibly organized. The bag drop and corral loads were both so smooth. Since we had no proof of time for an endurance run, we were placed in the last corral. We were worried that we would have a hard time navigating around the slower runners. Luckily, we found out how the corrals were working and made our way to the front. I only had to punch three people to get a good place in line! After about an hour of waiting, we finally started to make our way to the starting line.
Me and my Mr. Incredible ready to race!
Let me pause here to tell you about my training conditions. I mainly trained inside an air-conditioned gym, on a treadmill that had a fan. The one outdoor run I did was in 60 degree weather at my cottage in Michigan. To say I was not prepared for the Florida humidity was an understatement. At 10:00 at night, it was still 75 degrees and as humid as can be. Danielle was not ready for that.
So there I am, waiting at the starting line, not knowing what to expect. Once those fireworks went off, I was on my way. From the beginning, Danny was pushing me to run and lighting a path through the runners. Although it was easier than I expected to get around the slower runners, it still was exhausting.
Miles 1-3 were okay… nothing spectacular. Our 5K time was 26:53, an 8:39 pace, at least 1 minute slower than I normally run it. Still, not too shabby! This stretch of the course was not that great, mainly highway with little entertainment. Then came miles 4-6. I started to cramp up and feel exhausted. The heat was getting to me in the worst way. Could it have been the 2 bottles of PowerAde and Gatorade Prime? I wanted to be in a pool with a gallon of water in my hand. On top of that, we still were on the boring highway stretch. Around mile 6, we ran over rocky terrain in the dark, which was extremely hard. From there, we made our way to Wide world of Sports.
This portion was a breath of fresh air. There were a few spectators cheering us on. Occasionally we would hear something like “Let’s go Incredibles!” which put a huge smile on my face. Danny and I were still side by side, but I had made him slow the pace down considerably. Our 10K time was 56:45, a 9:08 pace. After rounding a baseball field, we made our way back out into the dark. Only 3 miles to go!
Then came the pukey burps. I remembering thinking on numerous occasions how embarrassing it was going to be when I had to stop on the course to puke. Despite that feeling, I kept pushing myself to finish. I was not going to give up.
Finally around 8 ½ miles, we entered Hollywood Studios. We made our way through Lights, Motors, Action, down the streets of America, back behind the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, and to the Finish Line. Running through the park was amazing and I enjoyed it as much as I could. I can assure you that had it not been for the spectators, I would have given up. The Incredibles shout outs pushed me to that finish line, I was so thankful for them. The spectators paired with Danny pushing me and paving the way made this race INCREDIBLE!
Our finishing time was 1:33:19, a 9:20 pace. We placed 610 & 611 out of 8919, that is the top 7%! Of the women, I finished 206 of 5798, top 3.5%. The pride that I feel for finishing is something that I don’t think I can put into words. We ran the entire time without stopping, not too bad for our first endurance race!
During the race, I kept thinking to myself that I never wanted to run again. Five days later, I sit here with my mouse on the “register” button for the Princess ½ Marathon in February. I have proved to myself that I am capable of amazing things, so why stop at 10 miles?!?!?