Although it was rather chilly in Central Florida last week, the unseasonably low temperatures and added percipitation couldn’t slow down the thrill of a long weekend away. Or another race for the books – Auntie Nancy and I ran the Celebration Half!

On Sunday we headed to the starting line pre-dawn in our running gear and custom trash bag ponchos. It was quite the look! Luckily it wasn’t raining too much by then, and at about 48 degrees, we were plenty warm with long sleeved base layers and gloves.

We were so fortunate to have dedicated fans along the course! Uncle Steve, Nance and Len cheered with personalized frisbee signs and noise makers along the palm tree-lined route.

Despite the cloudy sky – the scenery was still so beautiful. We ran through the town of Celebration with it’s picturesque neighborhoods and pathways. For an entire mile the course took us along a wooden bridge that was completely covered by greenery – I first thought to snap a photo but then quickly decided against it since multi-tasking on a slippery and crowded walkway most likely wasn’t in any runner’s best interest.

The race ended in downtown Celebration with a festival full of oranges and an assortment of recovery foods. Overall I finished with a time of 1:52:38, which equates to an 8:36 min/mile pace. The time was less than a minute more than my Bristol Independence Half last summer, so not quite a personal best, but close! Interestingly, there were 1,780 finishers for this half marathon, and I placed 230th overall, 67th for females and 5th in my age group. Pretty neat! I don’t think I’ve gotten into single-digit placement before since most races tend to have many more participants.

Finishing the race with Nancy was definitely the highlight of the trip, but running in a destination race also meant I could check out some other local attractions!

On Saturday, I took a trip to the Kennedy Space Center with Nance and Len. Very cool place! The compound is packed with NASA rockets and shuttles and exhibits highlighting the astronauts that have taken them into orbit.

Admission into the center includes a  bus tour around the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), launch pads and the Crawlerway, a heavy-duty pathway connecting the VAB and rocket launch sites.

The VAB is the largest one story building in the world, and where rockets are assembled and serviced. The doors of the building open like a garage, take 45 minutes to open or close, and allow an upright rocket to move in and out. The American flag pained on the side of the building helps demonstrate the building’s scale. The blue portion of the flag is the size of a regulation basketball court and the stars are six feet across. A sample was painted on the ground outside for comparison.

Back on the main museum campus we made our way through the rocket garden where several previously launched shuttles are located:

There was also an official moon suit on displace and a moon rock to touch!

A trip to Orlando just wouldn’t have been complete without some sort of Disney tie-in, and so we also made our way to Disney Springs, a dining and shopping area outside the parks. We strolled through the lakeside plaza and enjoyed a celebratory dinner at the end of a lovely run and family-filled weekend.


– EmPan

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