Monday, May 13, 2013

WDW Expedition Everest - May 4, 2013

No matter how you cut it, running at Disney World can be expensive. For people who have never run at Disney before, or for those who are in their first year of running at Disney, perhaps the costs don't really seem that bad...

But for those who have been involved with running at Disney the past couple of years, it becomes even more apparent just how money hungry that Disney seems to be. I suppose they have a great marketing plan. They realize that if they raise the prices and allow more people into the races, they will make more money because... well... they are Disney and people just love the Disney brand.

For me, I'm just not sure its worth it anymore... I mean, for the price of one of their half marathons, I could afford entry to 2 or 3 half marathons elsewhere. The Expedition Everest 5K Scavenger Hunt (last year) cost about what an early registration to a half marathon at a non-Disney venue would be, but I could justify that because this race (unlike other Disney events) came with admission to an after hours party in Animal Kingdom.

But then this year, they raised prices again. And it cost us $45 more per person. And then it became really hard to justify, because with 2 people, that is an additional $90 over last year... and that itself is a half marathon registration. Then lets not forget hotel, travel, food and drinks while in Orlando... and it just all adds up. Is that really worth it for a 5K?

Ray and I with friends Kevin and David
On the other hand, I have a soft spot for the Expedition Everest 5K... While not my first 5K, it was the first 5K I ran that gave a finishers medal to participants, that had an expo, and that was kinda a big deal. While I didn't consider myself a runner when I ran Expedition Everest last year (and I still struggle with that label now), this was the first time I ever felt as if I could really become a runner, and as if I belonged in the running community, regardless of how slow I was going.

So when it came time to register for the Expedition Everest race, we jumped on it. We realize that by next year we will probably be priced out of this race altogether, and that is OK. But this year, we chose to return to it... And I am happy that we did.

In the weeks leading up to this race, I had fantasized about running the entire 5K run portion of the course and getting a better time than last year... but life had different plans for us. Just the week before we went to Orlando, Ray hurt his ankle trying to scare a possum off of our porch, and he still wasn't able to put a lot of weight on it. Then the day of the race, as we walked around the Magic Kingdom, I watched his limping getting progressively worse. We were able to tape his ankle up tightly, but by the time we started to get into the starting corrals, he was afraid he wouldn't be able to do much more than walk.

This was heartbreaking to me, and he knew it. And in the end, he pushed himself far harder than he should have so that I could try for a better time than last year, but I am getting ahead of myself a little.

Kevin, David, Ray, Me and Carra at the start
What you need to know is that after saying hello and goodbye to our other friends who were running this race (including running into a girl I went to boarding school with when I was a freshman in highschool), we got to our corral somewhat late.

I'm a slow runner, so it didn't seem strange that we were in the very last corral, but I also knew slow runners who were 3 or 4 corrals ahead of us. It kind of felt like everyone was placed into the wrong corrals to start. And because we got into our corral so late, we were at the very back of the corral, with only a handful of people behind us. I was worried about this, particularly as our corral was inching forward to the start line and we were already seeing runners crossing the finish-line at the other side of the parking lot.

But the worry was for naught. When our wave started, Ray and I started strong. We didn't use our interval timer, but opted instead of run until we couldn't anymore, then slow to a brisk walk, then return to running when the pain subsided. This strategy, while not ideal for a long distance run, seemed to work out OK at this race.

The course was packed. I got a little frazzled when at the quarter mile mark there was a really large woman off to the side of the course having trouble standing up and her friends were screaming for medical (read: screaming bloody murder), but I had to shake it off. She really wasn't in any dire emergency from what I could tell, and so we kept going. Then I was a little frazzled around the 1 mile mark where the course bottle-necked a bit.

People go to Disney races and don't treat it like a real running event. They forget that you have to train (like the woman with the medical emergency who I believe entered the race without any prior training and was enticed by something Disney), and they also forget road etiquette. I just can't understand how people think that it is ok to walk 6, 7, or 8 abreast during a road race when the path bottlenecks to a point that is only about 4 feet wide. You tell them repeatedly on your left and they refuse to move. It doesn't make sense.

The race itself was fairly uneventful, although unlike last year, because I was running without headphones, I was much more aware of course entertainment, music, other runners, and my own breathing. We started at the end of our corral but quickly found ourselves passing other runners. Before we knew it, we were crossing the finish-line for the run portion and entering into the scavenger hunt portion. After the last half marathon and the way everything that could have gone wrong did, It was nice to have a really mellow run-of-the-mill event.

When we got to the scavenger hunt portion though, Ray's ankle was not wanting to cooperate anymore. Whereas he had been grinning and bearing it up until that point, he could barely hobble along, and just putting partial pressure on his foot was making him wince in pain. He's tough though, he didn't complain. But he also wasn't doing that great a job in hiding his pain any longer.

The clues for the scavenger hunt were tougher than last year (I thought) and we struggled a little with them, but all things being equal, we still had an awesome time.

Our final time was slower than last year, but if I'm being honest, I have to say that our race portion of the event was faster than last year. Guess our bodies move faster but our brains move slower!

5K- 44:30
Search time- 49:10
Chip time- 1:33:40

Even though we started at the end of the final corral, we somehow managed to pick up speed and came in 724/987 for co-ed teams. Color me impressed.

I wish there were more to say... but I got nothing.

We went. We saw. We conquered. And in the end... We'll remember it fondly.

But next year... we'll probably be priced out.

*Also, Just to put this out there... Ray finally went to the doctor this morning. Like he expected, they did X-rays. What he had thought was a sprain turned out to be a broken meta-tarsel. He's gonna spend a few weeks in a boot... and hopefully he listens next time I ask him to go to the doctor.


  1. Congratulations on your co-ed finish! I am like you, I get annoyed when people enter a race and then don't pay attention when they walk, and block the path for runners. When I enter corral races, I generally put myself into faster corrals, just to avoid running into a wall of runners:) I think a lot of people do it, because even when in a faster corral, I still find myself passing people:) Glad you had a fun run!!!

    1. But that's the thing. I don't want to move up to a faster corral if I can't handle it because I don't want to bottle neck those who are faster than me. This one allowed for a lot of people to move to faster corrals though without proof of time, I think. We started at the end of Corral H and were finishing the run portion with barely anyone from Corral H and mostly people from G and a few from F.