Saturday night, I ran the Inaugural Tower of Terror 10 miler and it was a really great race. This is coming from someone who hates most things Disney. (I know. First strawberries and now this? I’m un-American.) A couple years ago, I ran the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and I didn’t love it, so I guess my expectations were low.
Anyway, the night started off when my friend, Sheila, and I drove down to ESPN Wide World of Sports. There was a ton of traffic and a 10 minute hair-pulling wait for the turn signal into ESPN, but we made it there around 8:15pm and immediately boarded the shuttle to Hollywood Studios. (I still call it MGM Studios. That name change has not worked for me). The shuttles were more like gigantic, super-fly buses with comfy seats. Loved it.
Once Sheila and I sat down, we realized that we were sitting right across from Danielle.
Danielle and I met at the Savannah RNR Marathon last year and I saw her again at Central Florida Blogger Convention a few weeks ago. Out of thousands of people, I ran into her within the first five minutes of arriving. Small world, right? It was around this time that I realized I left my Garmin at home. Blah.
Once we reached Hollywood Studios, Danielle, Shelia, and I spent our time hanging out in the port-o-potty lines chatting before the race. It was then that Shelia spotted the rarely seen mythical creature, Sasquatch, and I captured it on film.
Then Danielle wanted to get in on that picture action too.
WHY are my friends so small?!
We parted ways with Danielle once it was time to get into our corrals. Shelia and I were in Corral A. Isn’t that corral for fast people? I swear being in the first corral made me feel secretly awesome. We walked a few blocks from the corral to the start line and waited a good 30 minutes for the race to start at 10:00pm.
Shelia stretched and then handed out free high-fives. (First one’s free, then you have to pay for them. They’re that good.)
I took awkward pictures. What’s up with that dude? All I see is his nipple.
The race finally started and it was a cool 84 degrees and one million percent humidity. The first couple miles were along the highway – not the most scenic but it allowed the runners to spread out, which was nice. I didn’t have to dodge runners for the first few miles like I did in the Wine and Dine half but I think that’s because I was in Corral A instead of D. The race looked way more crowded behind me at the turnarounds.
There was spooky Tower of Terror music along the way and characters dressed up in cool costumes to take pictures with. The line for pictures with some of the characters were 20 people long (wtf?). There was a lot less roadside entertainment than I expected but there were so many people running in costume that you always had something to look at. (To the two muscly guys dressed in towels and shower caps, my camera battery died but I will forever have a picture of you IN MY MIND.)
After the first few miles, we took a turn and ran on a “trail” which was basically a wooded, gravel, back road from the highway into ESPN Wide World of Sports. There were cricket and owl sound effects playing so you felt like you were running in the woods, which was fun.
The next couple miles though Wide World of Sports was awesome. It was well-lit and pretty. Part of the run was through the complex on the sidewalk.
The other part was around the track at the track and field complex. (That’s the best picture I could come up with.)
After we left ESPN, we were back on the highway heading toward Hollywood Studios. Around mile 6, Sheila’s calf was giving her problems and my lower back was hurting, so we walked for a bit. Around mile 7, Sheila insisted that I go on without her for about 10 minutes until I finally did. I ran the last three miles on my own and felt surprisingly great.
The last two miles were a winding path through different areas in Hollywood Studios ending with the finish line behind the Tower of Terror. It was really cool to see the tower (and hear the screams from the ride) as you’re running toward the finish. Loved that.
I finished in 1:45:52. I think that’s a 10:35 overall pace.
I loooove the medal. So bad ass. It glows in the dark and the elevator part moves up and down.
Honestly, I was disappointed with my time because I really felt like I was running faster. I was passing people through the entire race (that never happens) and I was in Corral A (that’s for fast people, right?). Maybe they grouped us by when we registered instead of finish time? I thought I might be part Kenyan until I saw the finish clock. Nope. Just slow German.
After the race, I waited by the medals for Sheila to cross the finish.
We tried to find Danielle but had no luck. So, we went to the ice tent, grabbed some Tylenol (for both of us) and ice (for Shelia’s bum ankle) and sat on the ground for 10 minutes to rest.
Disney provided the runners with a box filled with an odd assortment of food afterwards – Clif protein bar, a piece of chocolate, gummies, trail mix, crackers, cheese, and a wet nap.
The food was kinda meh, but it was way better than Wine and Dine’s weird, un-packaged, individually Saran-wrapped muffins. I had most of my banana, half of the protein bar, and pitched the rest since it was basically all junk food.
Hollywood Studios stayed open until 4:00am for the runners, so after our short rest, Sheila and I rode the Tower of Terror. Enclosed spaces with lots of sweaty runners is a treat.
How awesome is it to run the Tower of Terror and then ride the Tower of Terror? SO awesome. Didn’t even need to barf. So let’s add that to my list of talents: “Can run 10 miles and then ride the Tower of Terror without barfing.” That’s resume material right there.
Since we did so good not barfing on ToT, we ran right over to the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster.
I haven’t been on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster in over 10 years. Let’s just say I forgot it started out at 60 mph and forgot the whole ride is in the dark. Still didn’t barf, so it was a win. Plus, both rides had waits of less than 10 minutes which I’ve never seen. After the rides, we walked back to the shuttle and headed home.
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve had more fun at a race. The course was great, the race was extremely well managed, we never waited more than five minutes for a shuttle, the finish line was planned well, and being able to enjoy the park afterwards was awesome. Disney also has the only races I’ve found where the volunteers actually put the medal around your neck at the end. Not a big deal, but I think it’s a nice touch.
Usually I think Disney races are too expensive (I paid $90 for this one), but this was well worth the price.