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The 2017 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge

I decided last year to run the runDisney Kessel Run again after completing it in 2016. I ran the Light Side without a problem in January, but after signing up for Dark Side last summer, I joined Team For Kids to run the Boston Marathon – less than a week before running the Dark Side Challenge.

After running the marathon on Monday, I got in one light run on Wednesday before leaving for Florida early Thursday morning. I knew I was still recovering from the Boston Marathon, and I wasn’t going to do my best, but I was willing to still go out there and do the best I can.

The first of the two races started at 5:30am, and I was able to start in corral A for the 10k. The humidity was high as we started out from the start area and headed south on Floridian Way to World Drive. We took World Drive south for three miles before looking around onto Buena Vista Drive and into the back of Hollywood Studios. We ran a half mile inside the Hollywood Studio park before heading towards Epcot at the four mile mark. We ran north for about a mile on the connection road before entering the World Showcase at Epcot and running through the park to the finish line just beyond the main entrance to Epcot.

I was covered in sweat, but I was able to finish 1:0032. Finishing the 10k in an hour was a respectable time, but I could feel the strain from the previous week, and I knew the next day would be a tougher race, since I’d be doing at least half the race after the sun rose.

Sunday morning brought us back to the same start area, with a similar humidity and a slightly later start for me in corral B. We started out on Floridian Way again, but this time changed to take Bear Island Road south for four miles before approaching Animal Kingdom. Soon enough, we were amidst the attractions and animals to run through – even seeing monkeys swing overhead as we ran by. From mile 6, we began our eastern journey on Osceola Parkway for two miles before heading north towards Disney Hollywood Studios. With a mile of the run in the park, it was back out and a mile and a half to Epcot. As I was approaching Epcot, it was good to see some friends had a refreshment table on the Boardwalk, but they were far enough back and I was getting too close to finishing to stop, so I shouted and waved and kept going. The final mile had us come in through the World Showcase again and running around to exit in front of Spaceship Earth to the finish line.

It was a rough race for me between the sore legs and heat, but I did what I could. My slowest half marathon to date at 2:45:36. I was glad to just finish that race after running a marathon.

While there was no real way for me to recover in less than a week, I was glad I did run the races. It was interesting to see how they changed the courses from the previous year, due to the construction for Star Wars Land, but it makes me look forward to what the race will look like when it is all done.

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