When our family boarded Disney’s Fantasy for our cruise a few weeks ago, Jay immediately stopped at the concierge to clarify some details of our vacation while the girls and I walked around the lobby. A few minutes later he came up to me with the biggest grin on his face, telling me that I was going to think he was the most awesome guy in the world.
In his hand was a ticket for a 5K run on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. He’d overheard someone else asking for them, so he asked for one for me too. I was so happy I cried. And I’m totally serious when I say that – tears actually welled up in my eyes. When Jay handed me that ticket, I was elated. It meant that I could be a part of another Disney-related running event! And the best part was that the ticket was completely free! We were told that it was just a “fun run,” meaning that official times wouldn’t be recorded. But that wasn’t a problem for me since I’m never really worried about my running time anyway.
We had to start the run early, so I got ready that morning and headed to The Tube, one of the adult lounges on the ship where they arranged groups for disembarkation. When I checked in they handed me a bib (I may have clapped like a giddy schoolgirl), then went over the route the run would follow on the island before we all headed off the ship. Once we were on the island it was just a short 5-10 minute walk to the starting line.
It was all about as laid-back as it could get. The crew member who walked us to the starting line told us to wait there while he biked up ahead to set up a water station. Then another crew member came, told us where to put our stuff (there was a big bin near the starting line), and showed us the time clock so that we could keep track of our own time. Then he said, “GO!” and started the clock. And we were off!
Backstory – At some point while planning out our day on the island, Jay and I realized that we had a potentially major problem. We had booked a nonrefundable jetski excursion on the island for 10a. Since the race started at 9a – and I’d been mega-psyched about it all week – we were a bit freaked out that this free run would end up costing us money if we missed our excursion. Because I’d taken a running hiatus all summer and had only recently started back up, I’d been running close to a 15-minute mile. As soon as I finished the 5K I would need to change into my swimsuit and get to the other side of the island where the jetskis were located, meaning that unless I ran the whole thing in 40 minutes we wouldn’t be able to hit the waves at 10a. *Lesson learned: If you plan to run this 5K, don’t book anything too close to the time you expect to finish!
So with all this in mind I pushed myself not to go fast, but just to maintain a steady pace. The route took us down a short road, then through the bike trail (more like a road than a trail), down to Serenity Bay, the adults-only beach. Then it went back through the bike trail again to the road that led back to the start/finish line. I was completely blown away when I got to the finish line and saw that my time was just a few seconds over 30 minutes – as far as I can remember that’s the best time I’ve ever achieved at an organized race! Needless to say, we had no trouble making it to the jetskis in time. :)
So what was my absolute favorite thing about this 5K?
It’s not my completely and awesomely supportive husband (love you baby!). It’s not the unexpected medal I received either (even though this wasn’t an “official” runDisney event, Disney just totally rocks and still provided every single participant with a Castaway Cay medal upon crossing the finish line).
No, my favorite thing about this race is the fact that I can now say that I’ve run a 5K in another country. I love being able to say that I’ve gone international!
Happy, happy, international me. :)