It all started as well as well can be:
04:10 Left hotel
04:35 Pull into EPCOT parking spot, barely 100 yards from finish area
05:00 Leave car and walk to finish area
05:05 Marvel at people buying hot dogs from concessions, must still be carbo loading
05:10 Realize it’s a FINISH area, not a START area – ah so
05:30 Complete ½ mile walk to the START area
05:35 Wander into Corral A – stake position at back-most spot
05:40 Visit edge of tropical forest for 1-1 nature time
05:41 Wander back into Corral A
05:45 Speedoman enters corral – boo hiss eeww
05:50 Obligatory speeches begin
05:58 Barriers between corrals are removed, crowd surges forward
05:59 Fireworks overhead
When the crowd surged forward, the 4:00 pace group from Corral B moved up and I pretty much started with them. The first 6 miles were uneventful, running in the dark, a loop around EPCOT, just keeping up. The pace seemed fast, and Garmin said I was averaging 8:50's instead of 9:09. I was also drenched immediately from the humidity. A storm passed through the previous night, and it was still foggy and misty. I'm not sure when this pic was taken, but can you see my clothes sticking to me? Good thing I remembered nip guards!
The next 6 miles took me towards and through the Magic Kingdom. The pace team was still in sight, but creeping further and further ahead. We pretty much ran through all the major areas, Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland. The highlight of course is the signature run through Cinderella's Castle. Disney cast characters were everywhere, and several people stopped to take their pictures with them - must not be trying to PR. If you really want to mess with some runners, next time stop and do a little shopping in the gift shops along the way - that will psych them out!
Once we left Frontierland, I knew I was in for a lonely 5 mile stretch of highway to the Animal Kingdom. It was approaching 2 hours and my 3rd GU. From this point on, it would be a GU-fest every 30 mins.
It was also along this stretch that I hit the half-mary mats. I was lost in my relief vs. disbelief debate with myself, trying to muscle down that 3rd GU pack, when someone pulled in behind me and to the right, and said "how're you doing?". A bit startled, but too tired to react instantly, I must've turned my head in slow motion and lo and behold it was David grinning from ear to ear! I wasn't expecting him, but it sure was good to see him. That's how I felt, but not what I said - I barely mustered 10 words total - pretty sure "tired", "tough", and "hard" were in there somewhere! David said something about see you at the end or something, and then he was off.2:00 and change in the bag, still on pace, but I could sense trouble lay ahead. All the parts were still working, although the engine was beginning to lose power. One thing I knew I absolutely positively did not want to do, above all else, was ... walk. That, was a mighty battle. Next time up, the 2nd half.