Saturday, January 12, 2013

Goofy Challenge Pre-Race(s) Report

towel art!
Got to Orlando only a little behind schedule, but the quality time spent with the rent-a-car folks meant we wouldn't be able to make it to the race expo on Thursday night. No matter; we went to the grocery store, got checked in, and spent a little time exploring pretty Art of Animation.

Thursday morning we put the top down on the Mustang (woot!) and drove over to the expo. It was a gorgeous, if possibly too warm morning. We lined up in about the same spot as last time. After the doors opened, however, Goofy challengers went to a different spot to pick up bibs. Because Wil and I had consecutive numbers on our bibs, at least we were in the same short line. (Usually Wil is in the only long line at an expo. Heaven knows why...). But we got our bibs, upgraded to Corral C based on our previous finishes, and then went to collect the merch.

We picked up our pre-ordered pins and necklaces (hello, charm bracelet!) and then looked at the stuff. First priority for me was to get all of the "medal" pins -- check. Then the pint glasses. We decided to just get a pair of the Goofy glasses, rather than the full and the half as well. Then we looked at shirts. The designs were actually pretty cute this year, but nothing came in black. Besides, the last thing I need is another technical top, right? The last thing we picked up was a pair of Run Disney vinylmation figures -- along with tiny medals for the figures. Typical marketing genius on Disney's part, here: the figures had only Run Disney and 2013 branding on them, and the box had a graphic the looked like the marathon medal, but wasn't. So they could mass-produce the figure for all of their races this year, AND sell the tiny add-on medals to go with the figures. I fully expect to see the figures and tiny Tinkerbell medals - at the expo in Anaheim.


Merch secured, we then went over to pick up our shirts - three different bright colors this year, which seems nicer than the same-old white or gray. Yellow for the half, blue for the full, and orange for the Goofy. By the time we picked up the shirts and made our way back through the merch area, it was chaos... So we just pretty much walked to the exit at the expo. Easy peasy.

We spent the rest of Friday hanging out in the parks, but I didn't want to go to the Magic Kingdom.. I always like seeing that for the first time during the race. So we went to Epcot first, and then over to the Animal Kingdom. But we knew that the 3 a.m. alarm was going to be painful, so we didn't stay out too late.

Race day was weirdly warm, even at 3 a.m., but I still put on a set of "disposable clothes" over my costume. Heck, I didn't want to fly them back home... And I figured it would still be nice to have some extra warmth on my knees in the corrals.

We got on a shuttle quickly -- so efficient! -- and we're soon dropped off at Epcot. We sat for a little while, but then were encouraged to make our way through to check bags. We went through the "no bags" line (again, so efficient) but then hit a wall of people. At first we thought we were just trapped behind people waiting for porta potties.... Or perhaps waiting a minute or two before the walkway opened to the corrals. Still not sure, frankly. It was a weird situation. The announcements kept telling runners to head to their corrals but we were trapped. Uncharacteristic failure of crowd control - one of many things that Disney does super well. (i should point out that the next morning they had sorted things out much better, only calling corrals by letter rather than all runners...)

on the way to the corrals

the loooooooong march (ha ha)
Eventually the crush eased and we moved out to the corrals. Lots of whining about how far it was to the start (wah) and how dark it was.... But we quickly got to our corral and settled in to wait. Various running world legends were interviewed, music was played, and then fireworks were set off. Wheelers, then elites, then corrals A and B. then the race "conducktor" (Donald, of course!) counted down the start for corral C and we took off.

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