Sunday, November 9, 2014

Give Kids the World 5k Race Report

We woke up bright and early on a chilly Saturday morning – though not nearly as early as those Disney runners – and made our way to Medieval Times. That was where parking and the pre-race area was.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the parking lot was full and we were redirected to Osceola Mall (or whatever it’s called now, it’s been remodeled recently to resemble a Mexican shopping plaza or something).  Once there, we hopped on an old bus that took us back to Medieval Times.  
Blondie with Bangs seems very concerned...
We picked up my packet, which had my bib, a shirt and other various stuff, then kind of milled around for a bit.

The Gingerbread Man seems a bit creepy, or is it just me?
There was a lot of talking on the stage, introducing awesome kids who had stayed at the Give Kids the World Village and were happy and healthy now. It was hard to hear, so unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear the stories.

November in Florida - it DOES get cold here, ya know!
After the speeches and whatnot, we were sent to the starting line, which was actually about a quarter-mile away from the pre-race area. We walked down a back road (like a service road), behind a Chik-fil-A (yum!), to the side of a Walmart, which had been cordoned off with turned-over Walmart carts. My family gave me kisses and went to take their place on the Spectator side of the carts. 

I sure hope Walmart did that to their cards (or GKtW got permission to do that)
My crazy family is over there!
There were a LOT of people here! It didn’t seem like it ‘til we all lined up. There was a sign that said “Walkers Line Up Here” but it was so busy that corralling was impossible to do. While I lined up, I saw a few people in costumes (mostly cute tops or headbands).
The crowd behind me, looking towards Chick-fil-A
The crowds to the right of me - with the Walker sign
We were off!  The start line was decked out with lots of balloons and decorations that really made it festive!

I wanna dress up next year!
The first third of the race took us behind Walmart and down a two-lane road that passed typical Central Florida condos. Not a lot of spectators in this area. But Give Kids the World put out a lot of signs on the side of the road, giving both information and entertainment as we headed towards the Village.
130,000 is too many families
The first water stop was at the exit of the Village, so I grabbed a water and kept going.

Mile 1 was right at the turn into the Village, and we entered into a “backstage” area first.

It doesn't look it, but she was cheering us all on
Can I just say that I was blown away by this place? I knew that the Village was a fun place that was all about the kids and there was ice cream all the time and stuff like that, but I didn’t know what it would actually LOOK like, and I don’t think I actually expected a NEIGHBORHOOD!  There were small houses, each with a sign out front that provided the house number, as well as the name of the family inside.

Houses in many styles, but all had porches and garages or carports - so they seemed "Normal"
There were lots of playgrounds, too, and water areas.
Splash area
Someone even put out a bubble machine!
Bubbles are hard to photograph - trust me that there were bubbles
There was a neighborhood that was totally dedicated to Halloween, which was our turnaround spot.
Happy Halloween!
On the road, in front of the pool (I think it was the pool), people had used chalk to write down the names of teams that had fundraised.
"Thank You to Our Teams"
Names of the bigger teams that raised a lot of money
Two characters also hung out in front of the playground, posing for pictures.

We were in the Candyland area
We passed the second water stop after the playground, and I knew that sadly, my time in the Village was coming to an end.

Even their Caution signs are themed!
There's something extremely cute about bunnies in hardhats
Mile 2 was back on the two-lane road, and we were heading back to Walmart.
This sign was right before you left
Mile 2 - let's head to the finish line
Lots of employees or volunteers from Aaron’s stood near the finish line, cheering us in.

Not that you can tell from this photo...
I turned the final corner and finished somewhat strong. I finished in 50 minutes. Which is by far NOT my best time, but I slowed way down to enjoy the Village, so I’m fine with that. I picked up my medal, and some water, then looked for the family, but they were nowhere to be found. I was so confused… I walked to the end of the chute, then back to the beginning of the chute – no family.  I took a quick selfie, then went back to the end of the chute.
Besides the fact that this dude is Lion King'ing a baby, I have no idea what's going on here
After a few minutes, they came out of Walmart. Apparently, earlier, when Hubby had asked me how long I thought this would take, I jokingly said ‘an hour,’ he took it seriously - so they went shopping! 

Hello, I'm a creepy Gingerbread Man with a phallic jousting stick! Run as fast as you can, little girl!
We went back to the finish line and I got my official finisher shot, then we started walking back to Medieval Times.

I finished!
At this point, Chick-fil-A was open and cooking, and MAN it smelled good!  I love Chick-fil-A!

Thank you for the welcome, Chick-fil-A!
Back at the post-race area, we were given a goodie bag and a gingerbread cookie (of course) and we went over to the food area. They had a great selection, including water, bananas, Gatorade, granola bars, pretzel thins and more! Around the area, I also picked up a few pens, a rubber bracelet (the Kiddo likes those) and a Medieval Times crown and mouse pad (it’s proudly under my work mouse as we speak).
Everyone should have a crown
Goody bag of swag
Water, gingerbread man, pens (one shaped like a sword!), mousepad, snackage
We bussed back to the mall to get to our car, then headed to WaWa, our favoritest convenience store ever!  Check this place out:

Junk food as far as the eye can see (and a bonus bearded weirdo)!
They have a plethora of cooler drinks!
Another shot of the snackage area
One machine has CUBED ice, but the other has CRUSHED ice!!!!!  I LOVE crushed ice!!!
At the grill area, you use touch screens to order food! So tech-y!
Hubby and the Kiddo each got a milkshake (so healthy) while I got a Scrambled Egg and Bacon bowl. 
24oz Chocolate Cookies & Cream Milkshake
Scrambled Egg and Bacon Bowl
We took our food back to the hotel room so that I could chill and change. Sadly, the eggs were fake eggs, so they weren’t super tasty. However, the bacon was pretty good.  Not worth what I paid for it, so I probably wouldn’t get it again. The family said that their shakes were awesome.

After I changed and took photos of my swag, we curled up in bed for a while to take a nap. We would be volunteering at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon tonight, and we needed to check-in at the Volunteer Tent around 5 for our overnight shift. Sleep was definitely needed!    

I'll leave you with this cool video of the run that I got from the Gingerbread Run's website!

Location: Kissimmee, FL
Host: Give Kids the World Village
Race Fee: $35
Packet Pickup: Busy, but very easy to pick up packet
Parking: Limited parking on-site; was bused from an off-site location
Support: Two water stops; no sports drink; lots of spectators within the Village; fewer spectators on the two-lane road
After Party: Lots of food choices (for those of us who don't like bananas!); food was set up well; not much of an actual party so to speak