I registered for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler back in April, and I talked my Wife into taking the plunge with me. We are not runners and never even thought about a runDisney event until the original (2012) Tower of Terror 10 Miler was announced. We both love the Tower of Terror and its backstory, so this got us to overcome our fear (and to a big extent our common sense) and give it a shot. So there we stood in the Lights parking lot at DHS on Oct 5th at 7:30 pm. We were, of course, WAY back in corral J with the rest of the newbies. Luckily there was enough time to socialize and a few friends stopped by to say hello on their way to the corrals for those with more experience.
The night before we had gone to ESPN to the Expo to pick up out race packets. These had out bibs and race shirts plus final race instructions. We also checked out the cool merchandise! I picked up a couple of pint glasses and the mini medal for my runDisney Mickey vinylmation; that way one of us was sure to get a medal, no matter what happened the next day. There were also some cool props to take pictures with.
After waiting in the corral for what seemed like forever sitting on the pavement (pro-tip 1: Florida parking lots can hold their heat long after dark, effectively cooking your butt pre-race) we started to make our way to the starting line. This was a fairly long trek but luckily there was music piped in from the Starting line along with the commentary from the race hosts. Thier stage was set up to look like the check in desk at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, it was pretty cool! There was about 2 minutes between each group so our start was actually 10:28 or so. Once it was out turn the fireworks went off signaling our start and the adrenaline kicked in. We started our 10 mile run, which would take us to the entrance of Animal Kingdom and then to ESPN Wide World of Sports and finally back to Disney Hollywood Studios to the base of the Tower of Terror. It was so humid during our race; 80% humidity and 76 degrees at the start. The first couple of miles were not so bad, we ran out the DHS entrance and there were pillars of fire coming up from the pond, a pretty cool start! As we made our way to Animal Kingdom the heat started to take its toll and I was thrilled to see the first water station. I had a power-aid and a water at each station to try and stay hydrated. As we ran I learned of the existence of the dreaded “Balloon Girls” two very experienced marathoners each with a few balloons (Jack Skellington; good choice) and that if you were behind them you could be swept (taken by bus to the finish line). My goal became to simply finish before them! As we ran we saw various Villians taking pictures with runners but keeping ahead of the Balloon Girls was far more important to me I saw the Old Woman from Snow White and then the Queen of Hearts in the first few miles. As we ran on Hook and Hades appeared. We got to ESPN Wide World of Sports around mile 5! We had made it half way! A loop of the track and then we headed into the stadium They had a HUGE Tesla coil throwing lightning and making that unique noise. I so wanted to stop and watch it for awhile. As we left I saw the Mile 6 sign! by this point busses of those that failed to keep ahead of the Balloon Girls were going by. Hearing them behind you really will let you know how much you have left as you pour on whatever speed you can. The road back to Disney Hollywood Studios seemed to take forever but finally it came into view and it was downhill this time! As we entered the park I heard the Balloon Girls say that there were no more sweeps, but finishing before them was now a point of honor (which was absurd as I have said they were experienced marathon runners). We came into the park by Lights Motors Action and ran up the Back Lot street. It was nice to see that they have started on the Osborne Family lights! We ran past the Sci-Fi dine in and down a tunnel and finally the finish line was in sight. I put what little I had left into a burst of speed and finished maybe 30 feet ahead of the Balloon Girls. As you cross the line someone hands you a cool pack, and then a little further you get your Medal (Pro-tip 2: This cool pack is a wash cloth with ICY HOT on it, do NOT wipe your face with it, wish I had known that). Then water, banana’s and I went to wait for my wife; she finished a few minutes later, still going with the knee she sprained 2 weeks earlier. At mile three she had told me to go ahead she was going to wait to be swept but never fell far enough back. I am insanely proud of her. The Tower of Terror medal is amazing and heavy and cool and even glows in the dark. Totally worth it. Will I do it again? I’m not sure, but I am very glad I did it this time. Most of this post originally appeared on CanDoItMom.com if you have not checked out my wifes blog and love all things Disney you should. Thanks for stopping by!