Way back over the summer we signed up for the Mickey Jungle Jingle 5k at Animal Kingdom. I figured I had plenty of time to get to a 16 minute mile. Easy. And then life happened, then school was starting and you know all the excuses. I had over estimated my fitness level, way over estimated! I started to read reviews of the 2012 race and figured this might not be as easy as I had thought.
I wanted to stop for pictures are we ran, I didn’t realize I would have to board a bus at 5:15 in the morning or how much walking we would do the day before. I needed to get my rear in gear! I have a great running partner who put up with me and my whining. Around mile two there is a lot of whining.
But on this day there was very little whining!!!!! If there was it was because we were up at 4:45 inhaling pop tarts. Triple checking that we had everything we started the walk to the bus around 5:10am. In the dark!!!!! By 5:15 the bus was full and we were headed off to Animal Kingdom.
It was amazing to walk across the dark parking lot and to look behind us at all the runner streaming in! I wish it had been lighter to take better pictures, but it was 5:30 in the morning. The lines quickly formed to take pictures with the characters, the child refused so we walked around people watching. What a creative group we were running with. We saw Cruella Devil and her puppies ready to run. All sorts of princess, fairies and characters. A family of the Incredibles in costume and groups in matching tutus. So fun to look at all the costumes!
We were in our running corals as the sun was rising, stretching and trying to stay loose for the beginning of the run. Disney had corals A-D set up. We were in the back of C because I made us to the bathroom before we lined up. I didn’t want to hear at 7:30 during the run that we needed to stop.
The time to start went quickly and our coral was off past Mickey and Minnie cheering us on at the start line. Things got interesting because I have never run with this many people before. Disney did not require proof of time for a 5k, so I assume many people were very generous with their estimated speed. Before the half mile we had hit so much traffic we were almost at a walk. It was very frustrating to try to “run” around people walking 3 wide. That is my only complaint about the race.
By the time we finished the parking lot mile and headed into Animal Kingdom we had spread out, the runners were past the walkers for the most part. We stopped to take some pictures by the tree. Disney did a great job having alot of volunteers willing to take pictures with your camera for you! As we ran around toward Asia the paths were narrow so there was more traffic to watch for. It seemed to pass so quickly! Next thing I knew we were running past Everest. Another lovely volunteer took a picture for us with Everest in the background! We headed back toward the front of the park for the long leg we still had in the back lot area. We turned the corner and my child was so disappointed to see the back of Expedition Everest. She didn’t even want me to take a picture of it. LOL! Just ugly brown metal.
Another turn and we were back out at the parking lot for the last .1 of the race. It was fun to have everyone still cheering at the finish line. Another volunteer gave us our finishing medal and we were also given a snack box. There was tables full of Gatorade and waters. A huge and impressive undertaking to put on these races!
As we tore into our food boxes we started talking about what race we wanted to do next and why. Its sad, we hadn’t even showered yet! There were plenty of Disney buses waiting to take us back to our hotels to clean up. No one wants to smell like a runner all day. We proudly wore our finisher medals all day at Animal Kingdom. It was not my fastest 5k with all traffic but it was the funnest!
The downside after spending the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom was we felt like this at 3pm. Well, she felt worse. I had worn my pink compression socks after the race. They really helped with my recovery. The one time in your life you don’t feel like a dork for wearing compression socks has to be after a Disney race!