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So How Did I Get Here? Part 1 - January 2022

I'm nothing if not a planner. And even though I debated Dopey vs. Goofy (half and full only) vs. only the Marathon for a little bit, I knew in my head that I needed to build up to this event. Disney has 4 race weekends:

  1. Marathon Weekend (5k, 10k, half, and full events) at the beginning of January

  2. Princess Weekend (5k, 10k, and half events) at the end of February

  3. April event that has evolved over the years, and it wasn't announced yet

  4. Wine and Dine Weekend (5k, 10k, half events) at the beginning of November

So, I purchased a Disney annual pass as soon as it was released (and before they sold out) in September 2021, knowing I wouldn't activate it until February 2022 which would get me through Marathon 2023 weekend.

Then, by a stroke of luck, they reopened the previously sold-out Half Marathon distance for January 2022, and I jumped on it. I literally said, "Happy Birthday" to Sam before leaving at 6 AM, flew down on Friday morning, picked up my race bib, ran Saturday morning, and flew home Saturday afternoon. Except, I learned some lessons on this 30 hour trip:

  1. Walking shoes matter! Between the airports, the expo, and Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping, I was in tears walking in my old running shoes. They're old for a reason - they were NOT supportive. I could barely walk that night and wasn't sure I'd make it to the starting line.

  2. Speaking of which, the walk to the start line is no joke! I had about 5,000 steps before I even started the race. I had run 2 Disney races before and was familiar with the 2:30 AM alarm, the 3:00 AM bus ride, and the 5:00 AM start time. But I had forgotten just how far a walk it was from the bus to the start/staging area, AND how far it was to the actual start line from there.

  3. Ask for a late checkout! It's not at all guaranteed, and I could have been out by 11 AM and hung out by the pool before I needed to head to the airport. But having a 12:30 PM checkout allowed me some time to stretch before a shower, have a few snacks, and close my eyes for a bit.

But I did it! 13.1 miles as Ariel! I even stayed in The Little Mermaid Room at the Art of Animation to complete the theme. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!

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