2012 Walt Disney World Family Fiesta 5K & Half Marathon Recap

Fog is cold. And damp. And 3 am EDT is really, really, really early in the morning, especially when coming from PDT time. Get up and run at midnight? Sounds like good practice for the ET Half in Rachael, NV over the summer!

The Three Caballeros Family Fiesta 5K started bright and early on Jan. 6th. No official chip timing for this event since it’s not a competitive 5k. Lots of people, though. About 8,500 people showed up to start running / walking around EPCOT’s World Showcase. I arrived waaaaaayyyyy early, catching the bus out around 4 am (the event was to begin at 6:00). It was nice and clear when I arrived. By 5 am, the dense fog rolled in, dropping the temps so that I was starting to get chilled to the bone.

Ended up walking with friends and their family instead of running it. We were in the last corral because of the baby stroller. Yes, they had unofficial corrals based on times for a 5K, which worked out well. The course wasn’t very cluttered at all, and I forgot what it was like to see the sun rise over the façades.

It was officially the slowest 5K I have ever completed, coming in at over an hour. I had the Garmin running, but neglected to turn it off until after I

was on the bus back to the hotel (this becomes important for the half). I was okay with the lack of timing, though. Gave time to catch up with my friends!

They handed out small bags of food which included a bagel, banana, and orange.

Got back to the hotel room and crawled into bed for a nap, piling on the blankets to help take the chill out of my body. Three hours later, I rejoined the land of the conscious, took a shower, and headed off to the parks. Walked 8+ miles.

Got back to the hotel sometime around 8 pm. Rolled out my calf muscles and my feet very well. In bed by 9. Exhausted!

Up again by 3 am to catch a bus at 3:30 am. Get on the bus. Breaks down on World Drive. Driver gets the bus going again. We make into the lot for EPCOT, and the bus loses its brakes. Oh, yes. Luckily we coast to a stop in an unused lane. Wait 20-ish minutes for a new bus. Transfer busses. In that amount of time we could have walked to the bag drop area.

Finally make it. Realize that we have to walk about a half-mile to the start line…. And on the way hear them start the race. I barely make it to my corral in time to start with them, but I do and I’m feeling good.

And my Garmin dies. In the first 500 yards of the race. Resort to my old counting methods to keep a steady pace. Count to 100 while running, then count to 50 while walking. Also opted to not listen to any music since the course had so much activity!

The first 5K I keep my steady 13:30 pace. Stop to take a few pictures at the hot air balloon and by the parking plaza. At 10K I slow a few seconds more to 13:45 or so. That’s fairly standard for me – and something I’m working on. I run through the Magic Kingdom at a much slower pace, stopping to have a cast member take a picture of me in front of the castle on my camera, stopping again for a picture of everyone running through the castle, and then by the pro photog smack in front of the castle. Fun!

The course is fully stocked. Tons of volunteers. Water stops every 2 miles or so with cups of Dasani water and/or Powerade.

Around mile 8 I can feel a lovely stabbing pain starting in my heels. Not good. I pull off to the side to stretch out my calf muscles. Walk. By this time I’m somewhere around 14:30 miles. I stop to stretch again. The 3:00:00 pacer passes me (on the right when I’m already as far to the right as I can get – but that’s a rant for another day) around mile 10. Mile 11.5 stop to stretch again. Force myself to run (hobble?) the last mile through the pain, and end with a respectable time of 3:08:33 – including all the photos and stretching.

The runner’s area flows well. More volunteers. Medals everywhere. Piles of mylar blankets. Easy to grab water or powerade. Fairly quick getting through the picture area. But the food area was chaos. No little baggies like the day before. Mad rush for bananas and Builder’s bars. Bagels snatched out of hands of others. But no one in front of the oranges. SCORE! Favorite post-race food acquired.



Sara Written by:

I'm an Information Architect and Taxonomist in the greater Philadelphia, PA area. Mad about metadata. Incessant organizer. Knowledge monger. Information seeker. Wisdom chaser. Curiosity has yet to kill this cat!