Saturday, February 28, 2009

RACE: ESPN the Weekend 5K

I didn't expect to be running this race, but someone at the office had to pull out in order to work (I know), and I took his place. So I am not Marcos, but seeing how we're in the same age category (25-29) and the fact that there are no age group awards, I figured it's s'alright s'alright.

I had spent the night at a friend's house and woke up at 4:15am for the 7:00am race. And after walking the pugs that kept me company that night, I headed off. I arrived at DHS a quarter to six and met up with a fellow office runner, Larry, to get our packets. This was the first race I've been in that used the D-Chip timing system which was kinda cool (the "chip" being disposable) but I remained suspicious.

This may be the new wave of race timing.
Anyways, there were hardly anyone dressed up at this race. There were some people in ESPN shirts, there were a couple female referees, and yeah... the Mullets were there. They got to get up on stage and high-fived John Anderson, who was also going to run.

Then they brought up a couple sports celebrities. I didn't recognize the first person... (a baseball player/coach?), but the second was Misty May-Treanor, the two-time Gold Medalist in women's beach volleyball and Dancing With The Stars season 7 contestant. And I took a picture of her for MOM. I figured that she'd be *jealous*.

(MOM didn't recognize her)

Anyways, at the starting area, there were simple signs for the different pace groups: 7 minutes and under, 7:01-9 minutes, 9:01-11 minutes, etc. Yeah... of the 1450 runners, there were only a handful in the first corral, and it just felt weird that people were actually abiding by these pace group suggestions.

The number of people in front of me is countable.
I really liked the course:

The first mile was an out and back on Disney-MGM Studios Access Road (the south entrance)

I liked how this pic turned out.
then winding around inside the park for the other two miles -- Lights Motors Action, Streets of America,

The sign was a really nice touch!
Echo Lake, Great Movie Ride, Sunset & loop around Tower of Terror,

The other side is clear.
then up Hollywood Blvd, cutting right right before the gates back towards the cast parking for the last tenth. It had a lot of turns (especially at the end), but I really liked the layout. I liked it more than the DHS portion of the WDW Marathon and more than the ToT13K. There weren't any characters in the park to take pictures with, but the LMA jumbotron was up and you bet that I got a pic of me taking pic of me on it.

It's ME!
There was a little kid, an 8-year-old running with his father, who bolted at the start. Larry and I figured that he'd tire out within 100 yds, but a mile later... the kid was still ahead of us then kicked it some more! (Seriously), I kinda gave up that fight and ran my own race from then on.

Whoa, kid.
I didn't have to stop, but I did a couple times to get pictures (jumbotron and sunset blvd). Then I did have a great kick at the end (I actually loved the suspense of the twists and turns at the end). I found out that my co-worker finished about 40 seconds ahead of me and that the little kid only beat me by 13 seconds. Dah. :P Well, I enjoyed my time on the course and don't regret a thing, especially since I wasn't running as me, though I seriously feel like I'm in less shape than before.

Here is my Marcos's results:
  - chip 22:59, clock 23:01
  - overall 83/1450, male 71/753, age 15/120

Overall, the race didn't feel "too big", it was well-organized, and I had a lot of fun, plus the medals were nice. So I'll probably do this one again next year.

I hung around the finish line for a little bit,

Mullets and Cheerleaders (oh my)
then Larry and I went back to our cars and got freshened up before we headed over to breakfast.
We walked from DHS to the Swan Resort and ate at the Garden Grove.

Larry had been there before for their breakfast buffet and enjoyed it. Our server was a nice old lady, who gave us a tour of the buffet and introduced us to the best omelet chef on property.

and this is only half of the pastries
The food looked and tasted very beautiful. And I was amazed that we were each full with one trip to the buffet, one omelet, and one Mickey pancake.

We also found out that the Garden Grove was a character breakfast on Saturday -- Goofy and Pluto came around to greet us, we got our picture taken with them.

It was a really nice experience, and I'm glad that Larry suggested it. We decided to take the Friendship boat back to DHS, where Larry headed home, and I headed into the park.


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