Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Running in the House of Mouse.

Some time ago, and without my knowledge, Husbando wrote to my headteacher to ask for a day off for me.  I have long thought that teachers should be allowed to have a couple of days that they could take off, with prior agreement and ensuring that adequate cover work is left, each year so that they can attend important events that take place in term time. Like weddings.  On, in my case, races.  But that isn't the way it works, and I was thrilled when I found out a few days before the trip that Husbando had booked a long weekend at Disneyland Paris for the Run Disney weekend.   Even more excitingly we were going to travel over with a group of friends as part of the very prolonged celebration of my fast approaching significant birthday.

We had a few anxious days before the trip, as one of our friends ended up having surgery on Thursday to deal with some pesky kidney stones, but thankfully the surgeon gave him the all clear to run so long as he took it easy.  He was travelling with his (grown up) children so they were on hand to carry suitcases for him.  The journey over was uneventful and didn't even involve getting up too early, which was nice.

On arriving we went straight to the Expo to collect our bib numbers (A pen for most of us, E for elite for the super speedy family), a whole stack of race t-shirts, look at and purchase yet more running related stuff and sort out photopasses and all that sort of stuff.  We then checked into the hotel, Newport Bay, grabbed some food and then just relaxed before the first race.

The 5k
The 5k race starts at 8pm on the Friday evening.  We all decided to start in the same pen (A) and managed to work our way to near the front.  Our pen closed at 7.40pm and by this time pens B,C and D were filling up very quickly.  A few minutes before 8pm the wheelchair race started.  Now these weren't David Weir style wheelchair racers, a lot of the wheelchairs were pretty standard 'street' wheelchairs being pushed by companions, so they weren't likely to be setting off at a fast pace.  At 8pm the elite runners went off, followed by the 'invited runners' and then we were off.

We ran down a short hill to a very sharp right hand turn and into the back of walkers and wheelchairs!    Husbando and I planned to take this 5k easy, but wanted to 'peg it' to the first character so that we could avoid the queues and still get some photos.  We didn't recognise the first character, so didn't stop!  We carried on to the second, but the queue was huge, so we didn't stop... in fact we didn't stop for any of the characters... they were few and far between and nothing that we thought worth stopping for!  We finished in about 22 and a half minutes, collected our medals and made our way to the bar to wait for everyone else.  The bar was near the start and runners were still streaming past.  The last runners must have gone through the start close to 9pm!  And some of them had been waiting since about 7pm.

We toddled off to bed to try to get as much sleep as possible.

The 10k 
A 4.30am alarm is never welcome.  Especially when your first thought on waking is 'Oh my God!  I've got to do this again tomorrow!'  We pulled on our running kit and went down to get some breakfast and a cup of something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea (as Douglas Adams so perfectly put it).  We were in the pen by 6am, shivering somewhat in the chilly early morning air.  It was the same set up at the start  as at the 5k (and would be at the half) with the same, inevitable, bunching of runners near the start.  Husbando wasn't feeling great, we knew that we had to run again the next day, so we took it easy.  We stopped for character photos and photos with firemen, but again the characters didn't really appeal if I am honest.  I think it was all princesses and lots of them were quite difficult to see from the route, so you'd see them after you had run past.

After the run we went back for second breakfast (surely the best meal of the day), a shower and a day spent in the parks and then an evening dodging the gilet jaunes in Paris to get to a restaurant where the second bottle of wine was possibly an error and the complimentary limoncellos were definitely a mistake!  I poured myself into bed at about 11pm, cursing the thought of yet another early start.

The half
Same drill as the day before!  But warmer this morning.  The first part of the route was around the service areas and then it weaved in, out and around around the park.  This was great as it allowed for loo stops (most welcome) and we stopped for character photos too.  I felt great (despite the hangover) and would have liked to run a wee bit faster, but Husbando was still feeling somewhat below par so we kept the pace down.  I am unusual in that I like the bits outside the park!  There is a nice section in a park that goes around a lake, there are some lovely gentle downhills and bastarding long slogs up the corresponding uphills.

More firemen during the half marathon
At about 15k Husbando stopped for a pee, I ran on slowly, he must have had the longest pee ever because I had almost given up on ever seeing him again when he appeared at my shoulder!  I had found it quite painful to slow down and now struggled to speed up again, but luckily there was a downhill section ahead which helped.  Husbando seemed to have had a miracle recovery and we were now upping the pace.  It felt great.  Until 19k, when we came into the Disney Village, past a MacDonalds and the smell of food hit me.  The smell of fast food is grim at the best of time, when running with a hangover it is the last thing I want to smell.  My stomach churned.  I thought I was going to lose my breakfast.  I told Husbando to run on as I slowed down in an attempt to calm my tummy.  A second wave of nausea hit me as I passed somewhere cooking hotdogs.  Who wants hotdogs before 9am on a Sunday morning?

Once passed the food smells I felt better.  And I was nearly at the end.  Less than 2000m to go.  Could I catch Husbando?  I sped up until I could just about see him ahead, then worked on closing the gap.  I kept pushing, working hard for the first time in the race, but couldn't quite do it.  I finished 26 seconds behind him.  It isn't a PB race, but this is the first time I have run it in less than 2 hours, even though it was 8minutes slower than my half marathon PB from 5 years ago!

After meeting up with friends we made out way back to the Expo to collect the 'challenge medals.'  In addition to the three races you can collect medals for running 31k and 36k (which we did), and if you are lucky enough to have run a Disney half or marathon in America in the same year you can claim the 'Castle to Chateau Challenge' medal.  We then had a mad dash back to the hotel for second breakfast, showers and an 11am checkout.  We mooched around the park for a few hours, ate some lunch etc. until it was time to catch our train home.

We had a great weekend.  I did feel that I didn't see quite enough of any of my friends, but we have all survived to run another day, so there will be many more opportunities for mad running exploits in the future...and the not too distant future at that.









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