The Enchanted 10k-the first part of the Glass Slipper Challenge! Unlike the 5k, this was not going to be a fun walk through Epcot. With a last corral placement I was going to have to give it my all to make sure I was not swept. There was no choice, but to finish this race. If I was swept, I’d get my 10k medal, but I would lose out on the Glass Slipper Challenger medal. And that was not an option.
Back in January I had done the Minnie 10k. For that I was also in the last corral. And I was a nervous wreck. My mental state for that race was about as bad as it could get. As I approached mile 3 I thought i was going to get swept. I basically gave up. Even when I learned I was not being swept, and would be able to finish, I could never get my stride back.
I was determined that the Enchanted 10k would not be a repeat of the Minnie 10k. While nervous about the last corral I made sure I kept my eyes on the prize-finishing! I got as close to the front of the corral as I could. Luckily one of my friends was in the corral with me. While faster than me, because she had registered late she was put in the last corral. While we would not be running together, it was great to have someone to chat with while we waited for our time to go.
I kept focused, did my intervals (I use Jeff Galloway’s method: run 45, walk 30), and just listened to my music. I tried very hard not to glance over my shoulder to see if the Balloon Ladies were close. They did catch up with me as I reached Mile 3. I had it in my head that I was safe at Mile 3. With the Minnie 10k back in January I thought that was when we had been told we were safe from being swept.
As we passed Mile 3 I asked the Balloon Ladies how much farther. I meant how much farther till we were safe. I was hoping to hear-SAFE! Instead a fellow runner decided to let me know we still had 3 miles of running. Well that was very nice of her to let me know that, but not what I was asking. One of the Balloon Ladies Molly knew what I was asking and said she could not tell me. She wasn’t being mean, it just depended how many runners fell behind. She told me to keep them in my sight. I told her, “I’m keeping you in sight Molly!”
I kept them in sight until Mile 5. As I reached Mile 5 I saw a Cast Member on a bike, and asked if there were any more sweep points. He kindly told me I was safe! With a half marathon less than 24 hours away I decided to walk the rest of the way. There was a spectator who was taking pictures of any runners who wanted one at Mile 5. I had him snap a picture! That was my only picture during the Enchanted taken with my camera as I do not usually stop for anything but water so as not to lose time or focus.
At this point I texted my parents that I was coming close to finishing, and would not be swept. I also texted my friends. I had told them to head back to the room when they finished, and I would meet them there. One of my roomates told me not to argue with her, but to text her when I reached mile 6.
As I approached the Finish line I looked to the left as my friend had instructed me to when I texted her at Mile 6. A few of them were there cheering, and they threw me a rose. I was beyond touched. There is no way to explain how much it meant to have my friends there cheering as I finished.
I was beyond thrilled at finishing the Enchanted. However I was also pretty tired. My roomates and I had planned to go out to dinner that evening at Downtown Disney. Even though it wasn’t even 9am, I knew I needed to take it easy, and be in bed with lights out by 8pm. While we did spend a few hours at Animal Kingdom, we took it easy. By 3pm we were back at our resort-hot tub, early dinner, in pjs by 6:30pm, and lights were out by 8pm. Our 2:30am wakeup would be upon us very soon.
Question: How do you mentally prepare for a challenging race?