Happy 2023 everyone!! As I usually tend to do at the beginning of the year, I'm planning to provide more content on our OklaRoots website. Will this year be the year I can keep consistent posts?? Let's hope so! I plan to post more behind the scenes when it comes to sewing, running, mental health, and small business ownership. I may also, finally, post those "favorites" I keep promising. Favorite places to shop for all kinds of sewing items (although this list is fluid and changes all the time).
To kick off 2023 on the right foot, Babi and I did something BRAND NEW TO BOTH OF US! We participated in the RunDisney 5k, that took place over marathon weekend. If you remember, last year at this time I ran my very first marathon during this same event, and it was *magical*.
Some "pre-race" celebration drinks!
Lots of yummy food to give us energy for an early morning!
Although I did intend to run the full marathon again this year, my body and mind kind of collapsed on me, and I couldn't make it happen. While I definitely feel a lot of disappointment and frustration with that outcome, I know it was the right decision for me at this point in my life. Will I do another RunDisney 26.2 miles in the future? Most definitely, I have lots of years left in me and like a fine wine, I think my athletic career will only get better as I age 😉.
I'll be honest, I've always snubbed my nose a bit at the 5k RunDisney events. I figured they were super crowded and not as entertaining as the longer distances. But boy-oh-boy was I wrong! This is like the potent, highly saturated version of a longer race. I'm pretty sure there was a photographer every 20 feet, so we have SO MANY AMAZING PHOTOS. Character stops every few feet, all the magic of having Epcot to yourself in those dark early hours of the day, and just constant entertainment in the form of musicians, DJS, and videos. I heard that the 5k had the fewest number of racers out of all 4 races during this weekend (4 races being: 5k - Thursday, 10k - Friday, 1/2 Marathon - Saturday, Full Marathon - Sunday) and honestly, I could see the smaller numbers. It also seemed like the attitude amongst all the racers was so much more laid back, as well. I doubt anyone was going for a personal best or their fastest pace. The 5k... this is purely for enjoyment. Just have the best time ever with the biggest smile on your face.
Which is exactly what we did.
We stayed at my RunDisney resort of choice, the Port Orleans French Quarter. Woke up at 3:00am and were out the door by 3:15am. Grabbed some coffee and immediately got a seat on the super comfy charter bus.
This was Babi's (my mom) first time doing a RunDisney event, and she LOVED it. As soon as you get off the bus, the cast members are pumping you up. Dancing, joking, motivating... whatever you need that morning, you're getting it. Grab a photo with the beautiful Spaceship Earth and then make your way to the par-tay area, where you'll find food, coffee, a dance party, and the most incredible costumes. Babi ended up walking around the entire crowd, taking photos and videos of everyone's awesome outfits. And then immediately looked at ours in disappointment. She informed me that next time, we better be sparkly, coordinated, and themed. You got it, Mom!
After a 1.5 hour wait in our coral ( we were the last to go, but these waits are always the hardest part of the event) we were crossing the start line and off! Babi walks at a slow, comfortable pace, and she was a little worried we would be the last to finish. She quickly saw, this is an event for everyone at every level, and whether you're at the front or the back, you get the same magical experience and no one pushing you to hurry up.
This course snaked around backstage Epcot for just a bit (Babi wasn't a fan of walking by the area they keep all the trash cans - smelly) and then you enter Epcot right by Mexico. You get lots of fun dancing and photo opportunities, with the center of the lake lite up in celebration of the marathon weekend, before exciting by the gondolas and going backstage once again. We then made it back into Epcot, cut across to Test Track, and then backstage to the finish line! It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete our 5k, and our cheeks were hurting from smiling and laughing so much.
Just like the longer distances, you get your medal, water, Powerade and a snack box after crossing the finish line. Than, if staying at a resort, you can hop on a charter bus back to your room. Where I recommend grabbing some breakfast and then taking a nap.
We had the pleasure of doing this 5k with the charity Dragon Master Foundation. I would highly recommend doing that! You do have to raise money, so your cost ends up being more than the registration fee through RunDisney, but you're doing it for a great cause and you come in to these races feeling like a member of a team. Photos before the race, other fundraisers stopping to chat and hug you, as if you're old friends. And they even offered to buy us all a beer right after the 5k (couldn't take them up on that... 730am beer may be something 23 year old Jessica could handle, but not 37 year old Jessica).
After some breakfast, work and a quick nap, we were ready to hit the parks! Which, due to high crowds, ended up being more of a drinking and eating adventure, spanning multiple parks and multiple resorts. A truly perfect day.
So if you're a seasoned distance runner, but you haven't tried the 5k, I encourage you to do it! These long races can be stressful, always worrying if our bodies will cooporate that day. The 5k takes all the stress out. Eat what you want the day before. Sleep as much as you can. Walk, run, whatever, just have fun. You won't get swept. And if you're eyeing RunDisney, but you're "not a runner", this is a GREAT race to dip your toe in. Babi is already working out which 5k she wants to do next.
Thanks for following along! Do you do races? RunDisney? Local? Are you interested in the running community, but not the running part? Everyone is welcome at the RunDisney events!