In my last post I promised to write an update on the Dark Side Challenge. This was back in April, so it’s going to take some digging, but I’m excited to share my experience.
The first race of the weekend was the Dark Side 5K and this was my “take it easy” race. My mom signed up for this race as well, so we decided to walk the race. Although having a time of 51:55 for a 5K super stressed me out, I had to remind myself I was doing it to save my energy and strength for the coming days. I also didn’t stop for photos with characters because I knew the time was going to be slower. But I did check out who was along the course to make a mental note for the next couple of races. The only one that I planned to stop for during the 10K or Half Marathon was the ewoks because they were awesome!
The next morning I got up to run the 10K. Taking my learnings from the Dumbo Double Dare, I decided to take the 10K slower than I normally would run a race, but still at a brisk pace. I averaged a pace of 12:35 per mile and finished with a time of 1:20:54. 12:30 per mile was what I was looking to do, so this was pretty spot on. I didn’t stop for any characters on this course because the lines were long and there was no one I was dying to see. Yes, that means the ewoks weren’t there.
This was also a different course than I’ve done before with the 10Ks in DisneyWorld. I haven’t done many 10K there, but we started by the Transportation and Ticket Center and ended in Epcot. It wasn’t the best course I’ve ran, but it also wasn’t the worst.
The final race of the weekend was the biggie, the half marathon. If the challenge medal hadn’t been on the line, I may have skipped it. I was so tired from having to get up at 3:30 in the morning three days in a row. I got myself out of bed, dressed and to the bus so that I could get the race over with.
When I arrived at the start line, there were lots of character booths. The lines are always long for these, but my attitude is that I have to wait somewhere before going to the corrals, I might as well wait in line for a picture and hope I get it. And I did. This time it was with Jabba the Hutt. After my quick photo, I made my way to the corral to start.
Typically when I run a Disney half marathon, I don’t stop for characters until after the first 5K. After the traumatic moment of almost getting picked up by the bus when I ran the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, I imposed that rule on myself. Well I broke it this time around because I saw the ewoks! And there was a crazy long line, but I was not missing that photo op.
I paid for it between the 5K and 10K split when I had to make up some time for the stop. After that, I leveled out my speed a bit. The last 5K was tough but I was feeling good and finished with an average pace of 12:47 per mile and a time of 2:53:16.
At the end of it all, I was super surprised at how good I felt. I was sure my body would ache and I’d be in pain, but I felt really good. There was certainly some muscle soreness, but nothing too bad. Honestly, the hardest part of running these three races was waking up so early three days in a row. And at the end of it all, I could show off all my cool medals which included the Kessel Run medal for doing both the Light Side and Dark Side half marathons in the same year.
If you’re ready to join the Dark Side, sign ups for the 2018 Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend are now posted. You can register here.