RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

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Continuing from my post about the 10k, today I’ll be sharing about my first Half Marathon at Walt Disney World!

You can read about the Dark Side 10k here.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Both race start times were at 5:30am, so I kept my alarm as I had it for the 10k and left the hotel at 4am. Based on my experience with the 10k I probably didn’t need to be up and on the bus that early but I was still nervous about everything. When our bus dropped us off I noticed the crowd level was significantly higher for this race.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Much like the 10k, there was plenty of entertainment pre-race. Different trivia, different photo ops. This time I waited for a picture with Kylo Ren, since I was wearing my Poe inspired outfit.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Since there were so many more people for the half marathon than the 10k, and I was in one of the last corrals, I had a very long wait before I started moving. I stayed towards the back of my corral (which are HUGE – lots of space, unlike Disneyland’s corrals) and stretched and meditated – just like a Jedi! Eventually, we moved towards the starting line.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

The beginning of the half marathon was much like the 10k. Very, very boring. BUT at some point, somewhere between mile 2 and 4, the runners entered into a mock Battle of Endor, which was probably the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced during a RunDisney race.

We were on a road, surrounded by high trees on both sides, and they had set up loud battle sounds which included the sounds of ships whizzing by, “pew pew” sounds, and little cries from Ewoks. There were smoke machines and laser lights everywhere. It was SO MUCH FUN. I tried to take a few pics but it doesn’t really do much justice for the experience.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Around mile 5 we entered Animal Kingdom, and it was super fun to run through this park and see all the animals.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Entering Disney’s Animal Kingdom …

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

We had a long break between leaving Animal Kingdom and entering Disney’s Hollywood Studios around Mile 10. We did have some (outside) characters and spectators on the course, though!

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon
Great shirts

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon
Mile 8. Over it.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

From here we again ran towards the Boardwalk area and into Epcot, taking the “other” longer way through World Showcase this time.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

It was fun to see some of my favorite country showcases so peaceful and quiet.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

Leaving World Showcase there were lots of cosplayers out, cheering us on and posing for pictures.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

But my favorite character cheering us on was my husband! He managed to wake up and get himself to the finish line, even though he’s not familiar with WDW at all and I had no way to explain where to go or how to find me, aside from some sloppy text message descriptions that apparently did the trick.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

He was waiting right at the finish line and seeing him gave me a little push to finish strong.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

My time: 3:39:50. Four minutes slower than January, but that’s okay. I blame it on the two bathroom breaks I had to take.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

We easily found each other post race (much much easier to maneuver through crowds compared to Disneyland’s finish area). I collected all my medals and banana and we got in line for our resort bus. Again we probably only waited 5 minutes before we were seated on a bus.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

It felt so good to be done!! And the best part was I physically felt GREAT. All those months of physical therapy and training really paid off. Sure they were my slowest times but considering I thought I’d never complete a half marathon again, and within four months I had done TWO, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Here are some pics from PhotoPass to prove it:

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon
So serious!

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon
Crossing the finish line on InstaStories!

After cleaning myself up and doing a medal photo shoot at the hotel, we hopped on the bus to Disney Springs and had lunch at The Boathouse, where I ate the best hamburger of my life. I’m not sure if it was *really* that good or if I was just so famished that anything would have tasted incredible. But it quite possibly is the best burger ever.

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

After a long afternoon nap we ended the day back in my favorite park, Epcot, and celebrated with the Illuminations fireworks dessert party. It was a perfect day!

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge 2017 Recap – Half Marathon

And thus concludes my Star Wars Dark Side race weekend recap! Thanks so much for following along!