Back in August when I first registered for Disney I worried about training in cold weather in November and December in preps for a warm weather race. Little did I know in early December as I struggled to get nearly 18 miles in in snowy conditions that that would be the best training I could possibly do in prep for race day.
About 10 days before the race the tracking of the weather forecast began. As it got closer, panic set in. Race day temps would likely be in 40s, maybe 50s. Panic set in - what the heck am I going to pack for race morning??? I ran out to Target and Walmart. Next to my sunblock and short sleeves were hand warmers and fleece. This was going to be an interesting trip.
We arrived in Florida on Thursday afternoon and immediately flew down the highway to get to the race expo. Picked up my bib number and hit up the vendors for some necessities. Margaret and I met up with our fellow partner in crime, Katie, as well as some friends from Running of the Ears (ROTE).
Friday we hit up Hollywood Studios for a bit (my first time there) and then made our way to the ROTE Rally at Downtown Disney. I also had the pleasure of meeting up with my adoptive Florida parents for a quiet dinner at their home. It couldn't be a late night though, the alarm was going off at 3am on Saturday. Even though I wasn't running til Sunday, I wanted to get up and head out onto the half marathon course to cheer for all of my friends. I also figured getting up that early would help prep me for the next day, too.
The local news was highlighting marathon weekend and the record breaking cold sweeping through Florida at the time. They even said snow might happen. Really??? This isn't what I signed up for when I envisioned a marathon in Florida. Race organizers were sending out numerous advisories to participants reminding them to dress appropriately, and saying that any clothes throw to the side in good condition would be laundered and donated to local charities.
As we stood around on Saturday morning before the half, the unthinkable happened - snow, sleet, and rain all arrived.
My fellow ROTEr Rooters and I headed out and set up our spot on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, right were the course turned and runners headed into Tomorrowland. We cheered from the lead runner to the last walker, growing louder whenever we saw one of our ROTE friends, or I caught a glimpse of my friends from the Striders.
Afterwards, we all sought warmth, and basically just rested up for Sunday's big race. Saturday night we headed to a special ROTE carb load dinner. Good food, good friends, and good laughs. We all retreated to our rooms for an early lights out. I laid my clothes out, packed up energy gels, and put warm clothes and a change of shoes in a bag to check at the start line. A wake up call was arranged for 2:40am, and the alarm for 2:45. Diane and I weren't taking any chances. I settled in for the night, still totally calm about what awaited me in the morning.