It’s day three of the Dopey Challenge. It’s still freezing cold out. The January race series has turned into a wildcard weather wise. The last three years have been consistent in their inconsistency.
The Half Marathon
I like this half marathon OK. I think I would like it more if I were just doing this race. There is typically one super rare character stop on the half route, so I was hoping to have better luck than the 10k the day before. This was also the first day that our little running group was fully together and without costumes.
The trip into the Magic Kingdom was your typical marathon weekend route. You get a couple of few characters stops in the parking lot area before you head towards the results. These are usually mid-level rare characters, If you’ve never run one of these races, you’ll want to plan to stop around the 5k mark.
There was a slight change to the route as it entered in the park. Instead of veering to the backstage area and then unto Main Street, you now come in through the bus drop off area. It made for a nice buildup as you crossed under the train station. It was great to see the cheer group and we got the crowd hyped up as we proceeded towards the castle.
Once you make it into Tomorrowland, you’ll typically find some characters from that area. As you turn into Fantasyland, you’ll get a second shot at mid-level rare characters. Typically an Alice theme, Ariel theme and Beauty and the Beast theme. They are always a good stop and only the Ariel theme gets crazy backed up. We turned the corner to go through the castle and I finally get my rare find! The mice from Cinderella! They are really hard to get a hold of but you can actually meet them in MK if you are lucky. If the Fairy Godmother doesn’t make it in the park that day for meet and greets, the mice will sometimes fill in. It’s always unannounced and the Fairy Godmother is the healthiest person in the park, so she rarely misses a chance to greet guests.
I love this picture of Danielle and I. Her and Chris are easily our favorite thing that we love about Atlanta. This picture does show a new tip that I need to add into the Tips for great pics at Disney. The lightning? Perfect. The background? Perfect. Both are uncontrollable though. The lesson is the importance or edge you get with a running buddy. As great as this picture is, Danielle wouldn’t have gotten it because her running belt covered up her number slightly. I can’t tell you how many times a picture has been saved because just one person had a bib that showed.
The sun always beats us to the finish on half marathon days. It makes for a good mix of pics but it also makes us look like we’ve been running forever. I took the opportunity to pocket for a few solo shots. Even when running in a good size group, you can get pics like you are solo.
The pace of everyone usually picks up on the backside of the ball. You’ve got the choir singing and you know that you are just a couple of turns away from the finish.
See there were a bunch of us!
Now that that’s done, we just have to double it the next day….
I was a little nervous about this day. My body crashing after the last time I did Dopey was ringing in the back of my head. Sharon and I had a plan to combat that though; I would build us an aid station and she would bring it to Animal Kingdom so that we could resupply halfway through. Now there was no need to worry about the 20-degree change in temp from beginning to end or worry about carrying too much stuff on us.
It was so cold that we got in the tightest ball that we could and used body heat to warm each other. It was ridiculus!
So everything is going fine once the race started. A couple of us start out with a friend of ours that is injured and let our group sweep us. Still, things are going just great. The same character stops are out in the MK parking lot and we eventually make the turn towards the Magic Kingdom. It’s cold, so I’m bundled up knowing I’ve got a clothing drop in 9 miles.
We go under the train station and there is our cheer team going nuts! Its a large group, so we are all spread out giving hugs to everyone. Then I hear a bunch of people yelling my name and see my wife there crying.
This can’t be good for anyone.
It turns out Ben is feeling really bad and she is worried. She’s also feeling like she is hugely letting me and my group down because the plan for the aid station at Animal Kingdom will not happen now. Two things immediately begin happening. Danielle is reassuring Sharon that we’ll be OK. She’s telling Sharon that as my running wife, she knows what my limits are and will make sure I’m taken care of and will finish. Meanwhile, I’m doing something that I would never have thought in my whole life that I would do.
I strip all the way down to my underwear on Main Street to change into my day clothes.
I was thankful for Danielle to help calm Sharon and I realized the humor in being just in my undies in front of hundreds of people and just had to laugh out loud as I changed. Changing clothes meant that I was going to severely underdressed for a while, but it would hopefully pay off once the sun came up.
People say that they have trouble hitting pockets for good pics in their particular coral. Let me encourage you that you can still get them if are aware of your surroundings. Main Street was packed, but I was able to find about a 3ft pocket for this one. It doesn’t look like I’m by myself like they typically do, but it still turned out good.
They had some good characters back in Fantasyland again, but I was actually thankful that I didn’t need any of them. I set the team back about 5 minutes getting changed and trading things out.
The sun came up at about the same spot that it did the day before. It’s at this point after MK that the course deviates from the half. You go down a service road that cuts straight to Animal Kingdom. Now there is nothing back here, so they will often load this with the best rare characters that you’ll find for the day. Jen and I stopped for the Adventurers Club and then we stopped at a spot where they had the rides from a bunch of retired attractions. Of course, our selfie covers them all up except the sub from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
At the end of the stretch, I see something glorious. It’s the #1 character off of my character hit-list! 38 races, years of going to Disney and I had yet to meet Hades. I was super hyped up about it. Pain and Panic were a great bonus.
Right around the corner was one of the worst things about the course. They set up a water station directly in front of the water treatment plant. I felt bad for the volunteers. It was like they were handing out water and free poop biscuits out there. This was also some symbolism for what we were about to go through. In the next 5 miles here is what happens.
- I’m worn down from hopscotching the team trying to play catchup after character stops.
- One of my best friends on the team, Luke, is hurting bad….and we don’t know why yet.
- Steve is feeling it. Sandra is feeling it. Everyone is feeling it.
- In Animal Kingdom, every photo pass person we ran by was messing with their cameras instead of taking pictures, so the guy known for race photos manages to make it out of the park without a single photo.
- The temperature is cranking and we still have 9 miles left.
Most people consider the ESPN area Purgatory. It’s over a 5k in distance where you are just weaving back and forth and it seems like you never get out of there. The first time I ran it, I stopped for all the characters which broke it up. This time we just barrelled through and it was brutal. Thankfully Beth was in the last stadium to give us a quick cheer and some treats. She was a lifesaver!
Things took another turn as we hit the 35k mark. Luke was definitely sick. We make it through Hollywood Studios which had a chocolate stop….that included candy corn M&Ms? Nothing like leftover Halloween candy in January!
After Hollywood Studios, you take a very small path over to the Boardwalk area. There is a transition that cuts a hard left, declines, and narrows all at once. Poor Sandra takes a spill, but gets up like a trooper and keeps going. At this point, I’m just trying to make sure that we all make it across the finish line alive!
We run across our cheer team again. I love them. They waited for everyone at MK and then picked up and moved to the end to cheer for us again. Cheering is not easy. If someone comes to cheer for you. Thank them, give them a hug and take them out to a meal.
Epcot is hard, but you know that you are close to the end at this point.
I think we are going to make it!!!!!!
We all make it across the finish line and evidently nearly murder this young man in front of us.
The girls and I cry for just a second (I’m secure enough in myself to say it) and then immediately take Luke to the medical tent. Final verdict: Kidney Stone.
The man just ran a marathon with a kidney stone.
I’ve said time and again how much I love this team. They have gotten me through thick and thin. they have been there for me when I needed it, and I hope that I’ve been an encouragement to them when they could use it.
We all went our separate ways, but my personal adventure was not over. Sharon couldn’t make back into Epcot, so I was stranded. I took the time to get a message. (Always get the message after the half or full!) and got on a bus with no line. I don’t even know what resort it took me to. I dropped my location to Sharon’s phone and set on a bench somewhere. I thankfully made it back to my real hotel a bit later.
So that’s it! Another race series in the books! If you are on the fence about doing the challenge, let me encourage you; you can do Dopey if you put your mind to it and train.
I wasn’t supposed to be here.
It’s well known that I will step up to just about any challenge, accomplish it and then I’m off to the next thing. So why am I dumb enough to do the Dopey Challenge twice? It really came down to three things.
- It was the 5th anniversary of Dopey and the 25th of the Marathon. Guaranteed that the medals were going to be top notch.
- I still felt there was a period to put at the end of the sentence to this challenge. I did it two years ago but came out really ill that cost me a trip to California and nearly put me in the hospital. You can read about that adventure HERE
- My friends. I’ll do just about anything for them….as you’ll see at Princess weekend.
The expo was set up differently this year as it was in transition. They were going for the experience of the DL Expos but scaled up to WDW size. Results were mixed at best this time. People reported waiting hours in the rain and cold to get into merch. My tips still are the same: Get there early on day one. merch, bibs, expo. If you hit the expo first, you are wasting some time. Also, go with friends if possible. They make it so much more fun!
The boys of the running team decided that they were going to dress up as 80’s and early 90’s WWF wrestlers. I got roped in later and although I did watch some wrestling and knew everyone as a kid, I didn’t live and die by it, but……I did love GI Joe. So I went as a Sgt Slaughter. It was fun because we all worked on our costumes separately and would tease them to each other, but no one had seen them all until we were together that day. It was a sight once everyone was assembled.
It was so cold that day that it altered several of our costumes. I was in and out of sleeves, Hulk added a layer and Luke… well he still ran in a jacket and shorty shorts.
We had a great time out on the course and became an impromptu photo stop while people waited in lines for the real characters.
Once we made it to the ball we had to stop and fight it out to see who was going to cross the finish line first….
After the brawl, it was a quick distance to the finish line.
I like how it looks like Im getting clocked in the face as we cross the finish. Fitting.
So no costumes today. Just a plain old run. There is typically one good rare character stop at the 10k. Donnie and I decided we would start out up front and get some characters. We see Darkwing and Launchpad which was the rare one from last year. My hopes were dashed that we were going to get anything good for this race. As we are closing in on our second mile, I notice a running cadence of someone and know immediately that it’s my good friend Jeff. We pull alongside of him and we run the rest of the race together. This was such a treat because we haven’t run a race together in about 8 months. Donnie played hopscotch the rest of the race around Jeff and I as he stopped for characters.
I can usually get us some good pockets for pictures and today was no exception. We had a great time catching up and enjoying each others company on the course. He typically gets stopped several times for pics, but not today. I think it was because it was so cold and he was harder to recognize all bundled up.
Jeff is a machine. About the only time I can get him to stop is when the WDW Radio Running cheer team is out. The only other times are for bathroom breaks and that’s mine and Barbs chance to get a character while he catches up.
After seeing the team, it’s a quick stroll around the boardwalk which is my favorite section. I love the scenery. I love the people out cheering. I even love the sound the runners make as they run across the boardwalk. It’s basically perfect.
Before you know, it’s the finish line!
I love that guy.
I find my family after the race and see that Ben is over the very cold temps and is sleeping in his mommy made cocoon.
He would eventually wake up and have a blast at the kids races.
The Disney Half Marathon and Marathon!
Tips on how to get great pictures at Run Disney events
Have you ever been to a Disney race hoping to get at least a couple of good pictures only to find later that none of them turned out like you hoped? Here’s a chance to learn from my mistakes and failures in getting that perfect shot. Follow these steps and you should get just what you are hoping for.
Do The Expo Pic
99% of the runners zip right past the photo booth at the expos. Each one gives you a fun interactive experience with a green screen. The one in Disney World is near the entrance to bib pickup. (It’s right by the stairs that you go down to sign the waivers.) It’s a regular exhibit at the Disneyland Expo. It’s usually near the edge that faces the DJ. Both coasts experimented with video on the last races of 2016. The video is from Wine and Dine.
Decide ahead of time what kind of pictures that you want and know your options.
- The Determined Runner
- Be focused, don’t look at camera
- Trust that they got you.
- You’ll look cooler than you actually are.
- The smile (and wave)
- It’s the classic.
- Higher success rate.
- Makes it look like you are having fun even if you are about to die.
- The jump
- Lower success rate, especially if a bunch of runners are around you.
- If you are in the pocket (see tip 2) you may be able to pull it off easier.
- Zero expectations
- If it turns out bad, it actually might be better.
- Great for character stops.
If I’m solo, I’ll usually do the front half determined and then switch it up the smile on the back half. If I’m running with friends, it’s either smile or funny.
Pocketing as I like to call it, is when you find pockets with little or no runners. Picture most often get ruined because there are a ton of people on top of each other with 25% of them jumping, 25% acting crazy/holding hands, 25% trying to get a normal picture and 25% that don’t care. Often times you’ll see the photographer up ahead before they snap your picture. Look ahead and behind to find that pocket if possible. Sometimes you need to speed up and sometimes you actually need to slow down to get that perfect spot.
Here is a good example of seeing the pocket and speeding up just a bit to get a better shot.
Here’s one where we actually slowed down. It looks like we are running the race by ourselves.
Not pocketing gets you this….
It doesn’t have to be a big pocket either. It just needs to be enough so that the photographer is taking a couple of individual shots and not just group shots of the packs of people coming through. Here is an example of how even a small pocket can work in your favor.
- Adjust and have great posture.
- Arched back, shoulders wide. Suck that gut in.
- Wear a costume if that is your thing.
- Much more likely to get attention from Run Disney
- Make sure you are comfortable running in it before hand.
- Stop for a character stop if it’s someone you’ve never seen before.
- There may be a line, but that’s OK. You’ll do some pocketing later and still get great pics.
- Very few people remember their race time, but all remember the experience.
- There are many rare characters that only come out for the races. You’ll never find some of these in the parks….ever.
- Do the post race pic.
- They always will give you two pictures. One plain and one with the race logo.
- If you are doing more than the 5k and get really sweaty, only wear black shorts. I’ve got too many pictures where it looks like I peed my pants.
- If you are in a group, call out the cameras but don’t point them out. I cant seem to learn this lesson.
- Don’t carry your phone.
The majority of my pics have me carrying my phone. It’s because I usually try to get every character stop and some do not have Disney photographers at them. Some come out weird too so it’s a good backup. If you are in a group, have one person take the course pics and share them with everyone.
Follow these tips (and learn from my mistakes) and you’ll get some great shots out there. If you’ve got any other tips of dos or don’ts for Disney race pics be sure to comment below. Now excuse me while I go and verify I have enough black shorts for my upcoming races.
Anytime you face a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.
I recently had a pretty big setback personally that put me in urgent care.
As many of you know, I’m trying to do all the Disney races this year with only two other people in the US that are also trying to complete the task. I’ve been planning this for almost four years and saving money for over two years. It would require me to do 24 races in 8 series on both coasts of the US this year. My first two series were back to back in January. During the first series I ran a 5k, 10k, half marathon and a marathon in 4 days. I was tired after the fourth day, but was ready to fly out to California three days later for three more races. The morning I traveled home from FL I had a tickle in my throat. By the time I made it back home, I had a 102.5 fever and was miserable.
The next morning I went to urgent care, where the doctor told me I had destroyed my immune system and I had a bad case of bronchitis. He said I shouldn’t go to California, and if I did I would be risking getting pneumonia and possibly being put in the hospital out there. I was devastated. I remember sitting on the patient table crying in my wife’s shoulder because I felt four years just went out the window. I had just completed what .00002% of the yearly US population accomplishes just a few days prior and I felt like I had failed. This was a setback, and it hurt.
So what do we do when we have a setback?
You really only have two choices, no matter what the setback is or the circumstances of how it happened. You can let it define you and dictate your future, or you can push through it. Satan wants nothing more than for us to wrap ourselves up in our setbacks and take home defeat. It’s the easier path for sure. I could stop signing up for races. I could punt the last half of my season and save a lot of money. The Lord gives us strength to rise above our disappointments and setbacks. Sure, its harder, but we must push through tough times.
If you’ve had a setback recently, be encouraged and don’t let it define you. The people that work with you care for you, you have family that loves you and the sun will rise again in the morning. You get to chose what defines you. Don’t let these things be among them.
Runners World Challenge and other extras from the WDW Marathon weekend 2016
Since I knew so far out what the plan was for this huge challenge of doing all the races, I wanted to go all out for the first one. I signed up for the Runners World Challenge, knowing it was a lot more expensive, but you also get basically everything they have to offer during the weekend. Here are some of the things you get before the race:
- A Runners World Challenge Tech shirt
- The Complete Book of Running
- A training plan based on your experience level
- Access to the subscription area of runnersworld.com. An exclusive forum and planning.
I liked the shirt and the training plan, but the forum was not really active during the whole training period.
Now this was really nice. I didn’t have to go wait in any lines. I got all my shirts, bibs and other info in one spot. The staff was super friendly as well. The expo itself was crazy. I arrived 30 minutes before it was supposed to open to go ahead and get in line for merch. By the time I made it the building, they had opened early and were already selling out of certain sizes of the Dopey Challenge jacket. I finished my shopping at the official opening time and they had indeed sold out of two sizes. I was also amazed by the sheer amount of stuff people were buying. It gets expensive quick!
5K & 10K
- Hot Breakfast with the Runners World Staff in the race treat area
For both the 5K and the 10K, we were able to go to the race retreat area and enjoy a hot breakfast with the Runners World crew. It was great during the WDW 5K because its was so cold. The tent was gigantic and was heated. It was nice to be in a dry, warm place after the rains at the WDW 10K.
There were several things that I really liked here. First they had exclusive character meet and greets everyday.
The Country Bears were the characters for the 5K breakfast
The Br’er characters were the 10K meet and greet characters.
Next, the food was really good. Probably the best eggs I’ve had in my life! They had a real good assortment of hot and cold items to choose from. Third, was getting to meet and talk to some of the Runners World people. I had breakfast at the 5K with Bart Yasso. He’s basically a running legend. He’s run races on every continent, biked the US with no support twice, ironman, mtn climber, invented a marathon training program (Yasso 800s)….you get the idea. He’s also just an all around nice guy.
I talked to several of the other runners that had signed up for the Runners World Challenge. I was expecting to hear stories about their journeys and their excitement, but instead heard many stories of not getting in to the regular race before it sold out. There was a reasonable segment there that were there just for the races and didn’t care about the extra stuff.
Pasta in the Park
We also got in to the first pasta in the park party the night after the 10K. It was really fun. We again got our own section to sit in and the food was pretty good here as well. It was a themed Toy Story event and they had exclusive character meet and greets here too. I was finally able to meet Bullseye!
We also got exclusive reserved seating for the Illuminations show, but with it starting at 9pm and us getting up at 2.30am, I skipped it.
Awkward, non-selfie at the selfie station? Check.
Half and Full Marathon
- Pre-race breakfast and warmup area
- Early walkout and access to the starting corals
- After race brunch
- 1 free massage
- Exclusive bag check
- Private changing area, restrooms
I used the pre-race breakfast for the half. It was light snacks, fruits, and drinks. They also had the characters out for the pre and post race activities. The Pinocchio cast was there for both races.
The early walkout is actually a huge advantage. The starting line is moved for the final two races and you will trek a half mile + just to get to your coral. The Runners World group gets escorted straight to the front of the line. I chose to stick with the WDW Radio Running Team and didn’t use the shortcut either day. It would have been less hassle, but I love my regular group too much.
I really appreciated the brunch after both races. It was also nice to be in the retreat area, not crowded by people. The massage both days was a life saver! It was a game changer to get my body ready for the marathon and a nice recovery after the marathon the next day.
Is it worth it?
That’s the $1000 question. I say it really depends. If you are planning to do everything and want to be treated like a king/queen, then yes its absolutely worth it. You do save money doing the challenge as opposed to buying it all separate, I believe. If you don’t have a running team, this is a good alternative.
It may not be worth it if:
- Not interested in the extra perks
- Not interested in characters
- Only interested in some perks
You need to really be interested in everything and participate in everything for it to be worth the total costs. If you are only interested in some of the perks, then I would consider the regular race package and adding on an event too.
I had a great time and was very happy that I participated in the Runners World Challenge.
Walt Disney World Marathon
The sun comes out, only to fry everyone.
Day 4. I sleep really well and was feeling much better than I had the day before. I should have been a big ball of nerves since I’ve never run a marathon before, but I had a good sense of peace about the morning. I had broken it up in my mind into 8, 5K segments and a 2 mile transition.
Sharon and the kids were there to drop me off with the WDW Radio Running team. It was really great to have them there for almost all the races. They are a huge support to me!
Another day, another reason for me to love my running team. I had left my running watch charger at home. It was at 19% by that morning and should be dead by the time I made it to the Magic Kingdom. Sharon drove me all around Orlando the afternoon before looking for the charger with no luck. I put a message for help out to the group and the Casanos brought me one of their chargers! I plugged my watch into a portable battery and charged it all the way until two minutes before my wave started. I then carried the battery and the cord for a 10K before dropping it off at Magic Kingdom.
Speaking of forgetting something and getting saved… I forgot one critical piece and didn’t realize it until I got to my start coral: deodorant. I texted Sharon and then mentally prepared to smell like Oscar the Grouch for the next 5 hrs.
Even with all the self imposed hurdles, off we went and I was feeling pretty good. About a 1/4 mile in I found this girl that was pacing exactly the same as me. She was checking her watch regularly, so I started charging mine again and then ghosted her for 3 miles. It worked beautifully.
Right at mile 3 was the first characters. The gang from Chicken Little! Here we are again with me getting excited for someone most people weren’t interested in.
The first 1/4 of the race was exactly like the half the day before. They had Wreck it Ralph out again and Jack Skellington. The segment from the parking lot to the park felt much shorter this time.
The WDW Radio cheer group is in full force at Magic Kingdom. Deanna had also coordinated food stops for us along the race. Not only was it a great morale boost just seeing them, but the snacks were perfect too.
I didn’t even realize Frank was there at the time. I could have handed his charger back to him!
Main Street was just as amazing. Its hard to describe the feeling…you are out in the dark for the most part before entering the park. There is something magical about turning the corner into the park that’s lit up and people are cheering like crazy for you. The castle is there lit up as well. It can be an emotional thing to take in.
There were a ton of characters again in the park. You had Lilo/Stitch, Alice/White Rabbit and Ariel/Sebastian. Ariel was the only one during the whole weekend where I didn’t stop for someone I didn’t have. She was in a nice purple dress and it was a variation of the character that I hadn’t met, but the line was just too long. It double backed in on itself. Since it was just a variation and not a true unique find, I kept going.
I did stop at the next one though. Cogsworth and Luminere were swapping out times at the next spot. I haven’t met either, so I was happy to see Cogsworth.
Behind the castle
Remember Oscar the Grouch? Well it was already starting to show I made it where Sharon was. So she had gotten my text earlier and actually found deodorant for sale in the MK! She saved me again. That was a huge morale boost. After taking a moment to say hey to everyone, I continued off. Just on the other side of the bridge was the Princess and the Frog gang. I told them I was from Shreveport and they were thoroughly unimpressed.
There were still several other characters including the Country Bears and Brer Rabbit. The train was back as well and this time Maleficent’s evil henchmen where out where Peter Pan was. They were really neat!
The course then went on the backside of the resorts again. Bert, Lilo and golf Donald were back out again. The first WDW snack stop was also back here. It was awesome to be on mile 8 eating a box of nerds and sucking on a pretzel stick.
The next “stage” was a long stretch on a back road to Animal Kingdom. I’d heard a lot about how boring it was. I think they did a good job this year breaking it up with villain character stops. Hades was first, but he was MIA when I passed through. I did see the Evil Hag, and Shan Yu (Mulan). They also had Jafar with a neat backdrop.
I was also able to meet Barbosa who I was really hoping would be out on the course. Some of my conversation with them:
“Good morning gentlemen!”
Jack looks over to Barbosa, “Who’s he calling gentlemen, Mate?”
“Obviously me.” Barbosed replied.
“Aye, Obviously.” Jack replied.
Animal Kingdom seemed really short and the parking lot seemed like it took forever. I stopped for the Lion King group, but that was really it for that park. They had Safari Daisy, Timon, Baloo and Louie out. They also had a bunch of animals out that were really fun. They made little jerseys for most of them and they each had their own race bib with their name on it. I really wish I had gotten a picture of them.
It was another 5K to ESPN from Animal Kingdom. Not much as far as entertainment on this stretch. There were a bunch of spectators handing out goodies here though. I got some fresh fruit, candy and a coke!
I was really starting to get worn out by the time I got to ESPN (Mile 20ish) and was also starting to get a little chaffed in areas. ESPN wasnt the black hole for me that it is for some. Its basically a 5K that winds in and out of the complex. They had several characters in there and it was nice and flat, so I enjoyed it. I walked a ton here.
I left ESPN knowing I only had a little over 4 miles left to the finish. I stopped at one of the medical tents to get something for the chaffing. My stuff had worn off after the long distance. The cast member slapped me with a huge thing of vasoline….which was just sticky and actually made it worse. So, now I’m really struggling. I stop at the next medical tent to see if they had anything else. They then give me a bunch of biofreeze. Now, I didn’t know that biofreeze is basically icy hot until I applied it to myself…..and felt the fire consume my body!
At this point, I’m thinking just push on through and make it.
Hollywood Studios was open and it was a quick in and out of that park. I did stop for Boo who was tucked away at the end of a tunnel.
The last bit went by pretty quick. It was great to see the main WDW Radio cheer group right before Epcot. It was a good morale boost to the final kick! There were several characters in Epcot including Mulan, and Jasmine. There were also a ton of people cheering and guests just there for the day.
I finally made it across the finish line and I didn’t even cry like I thought I would. Sharon and the kids were there to greet me at the end. We went and had brunch, changed clothes and got another massage. I cant believe that I made it!