Can pretty much be summed up with: Cold as hell!
It was only about 38 degrees at 4:15 when we arrived at the start. I had decided to go with capris, a shell top and a long-sleeved tech over it. And it wasn't enough. I was wishing for a throw away sweatshirt topped with a parka.
I spent most of my hour and forty-five minute wait standing in line for the porta potties, which actually timed things pretty well: I peed with about 10 minutes to spare before the start, which meant that I had a completely empty bladder at the start of the race -- seems like a small thing, but after the past 2 HMs, it was a blessing. Also, I was assigned Corral A, which was the first one, bonus!
The race got underway with a typical Disney fireworks display, and because I was in the first corral, it only took about 2 minutes for me to cross the start. My toes were freezing from being out in the cold for so long, and running actually kinda hurt at first, but I was eager to run at that point so I could warm up!
The first mile was crowded (13,000+ runners), but it thinned out after that and was comfortable the entire way.
The highlight of the course was, of course, running through Cinderella's castle: The scenery was perfect, such a good fit for the princess theme, and the crowd there was amazing. Otherwise, I was disappointed that Disney's course for this race took us through virtually no parks; it was almost all highway. So, not too scenic (like the other races of theirs that I've done), but the wide asphalt was good for thinning out the crowd and it was, for the most part, flat.
After the first mile, I warmed up pretty well, but I never felt hot and I didn't shed my top shirt until mile 11, but despite the chill of waiting in such cold temps, to run in such temps was perfection, and the miles just went so easily for me. The Advil did their trick and my throat felt fine for the duration of the race, and my drippy nose wasn't unmanageable (besides, I was wearing sleeves for wiping!).
So, aside from the first mile's crowd, I set my pace and was amazingly consistent:
At this point, I knew I was headed for a PR; I just had to maintain my pace, and it would be in the bag. Of course, the last few miles were the toughest: Highway overpasses and then lots of twists and turns as we wound our way through the backside of Epcot, but I did well maintaining my pace:
.27: 2:12 (yeah, lots of weaving early in the race added about .17 to my distance)
For the grand total PR of: 2:07:52!
So, I crossed the finish feeling great and got my medal:
This was the first HM in a long time where I finished and felt like I could keep going. In fact, I finished and barely felt fatigued. I think that's partially the cool, crisp air, but I also think that the past few months of training and racing have really just put me back into my former shape, and I felt great!
After the race, I caught a shuttle back to my hotel, showered and was on the highway home by 9:15 am. Which meant that I got home in the early afternoon and was able to spend the rest of the day with my family (who I really missed in the 24 hours I was gone). My sore throat this morning has now blossomed into a full-fledged cold, but I am at least thankful that my symptoms this morning remained minor so that they didn't interfer with my race.
So, all in all, a great race for me personally, but a good race overall. Gotta love Disney; they make those expensive race fees feel well worth it!