Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Run Like a Princess

Here it is almost 2 weeks later and I'm still basking in the glow of my half marathon!

My partner in crime for this trip was Jessica. We got in late Thursday night and were up Friday morning ready to go to Animal Kingdom where it took Jessica a couple of rides to work up to the yeti, but finally she conquered her fear and after that she was ready to ride again! But it was time to head to the expo where I checked in for the race. And I was tempted by all the neat things to buy and ended up getting a tiara and another baseball hat. More options to wear for the race! We finished up the night at Epcot, as they had extra magic hours.

The next day was Hollywood Studios, where we saw Taylor Swift and her entourage being escorted to the super secret rock star entrance, before finishing up the day at Epcot, this time to see it in the remaining daylight hours. We didn't spend too long at Epcot. Back at the hotel, I put on a fashion show for Jessica so she could help me pick out my race outfit. I was in bed by 9:30 or so, but didn’t sleep all that well because I was worried I wouldn't wake up, even though we had set 4 alarms. Yup, 4 alarms! No way was I traveling all this way to sleep through the race! :)

Alarm #1 woke me up at 2:30 and it was time to start the day. Soon I was bundled up and on my way to the start line. Once the bus dropped us off, it was a decent walk to check in and then another 20 minute walk to the actual start line. Huddled in my corral, I tried to stretch and keep moving, partly to stay warm! It was a chilly morning!!

I was tearing up at the start as the Fairy Godmother counted down the first wave and the fireworks went off. I think the tears were the culmination of all that I had been working for over the past several months. The next two waves took off and then it was my turn! I crossed over the start line, discarded my gloves and sweatshirt and was off! I soon began wishing I hadn’t gotten rid of my gloves so fast as my hands were freezing!!

The first several miles were all about positioning – dodging runners and walkers left and right and trying to find a spot for myself. Sometime after mile 2, I finally settled into a decent pace and had even warmed up!

My original “mini” goal for myself was to run 4 miles before stopping for my first walk break. Somewhere between mile 2 and mile 3 I had to stop because the princes were cheering us on! I snapped a quick photo and continued on my way. I knew I was going to need to stop soon for a bathroom break as well. I kept passing the port-o-potties until I found one that had a short-ish line.

Before you knew it, we were entering the Magic Kingdom and running down Main Street and through Tomorrowland on our way to the castle. There were lots of opportunities for pictures with the characters. I had told myself at the beginning that I could stop for 2 pictures, so make them count. I passed by Cinderella and Prince Charming because they had a huge line and at this point I was still worried about time. I did stop for Princess Tiana & Prince Naveen (from The Princess & the Frog) because they had a short line. Coming through the castle, I saw the professional photographer was taking pictures in front of the castle – there was a long-ish line for that but I stopped anyway. I think by doing that I may have missed my chance for an action shot in front of the castle, but oh well. From there on out, I kept stopping for photos – not for everyone, but for a lot of them. They had people there to take your pictures, and the lines moved fairly quickly. Darn – I should have stopped for Cinderella! Next time!!

I didn’t actually take an “official” walk break until around mile 10. Don’t get me wrong – I walked through a couple of water stops and stopped several times for photos, so I did take rests, which is sometimes all I need before I can start running again. After mile 10, it was hard to keep running consistently, especially with climbing up the overpasses but I knew I was close to the end. A big smile was on my face - I was going to make it!

Epcot came into view, along with the mile 12 sign. Just one more mile – piece of cake! I made one more stop for a picture with the mice from Cinderella. And then it was mile 13! Only a little bit left! I would have stopped for one more picture had it been Minnie & Mickey, but I must have just missed them and instead it was Donald & Goofy at the finish – they weren’t worth stopping for being so close to the finish line! And there it was - the finish line! I made it!!

I got my medal, met up with Jessica, and switched my hat for a tiara for pictures! With that taken care of, we climbed on the bus and headed back to the hotel. One of the funnier moments for me was after we got off the bus and you could see all the runners hobbling as they started moving again. It made me feel better that I wasn’t the only one who was stiff and sore.

And just like that it was time to start the day over! I took a shower, got dressed, put my tiara on along with my hot pink compression socks and we were off to the Magic Kingdom! Oh yeah, I was styling – especially with the pink compression socks! ;) And while I was tired and stiff, walking around the park helped loosen me up. At one point I was behind a couple of girls who had also ran and we all groaned as we hit the first stair on our way to Big Thunder.

Monday we woke up early to ride the yeti one more time as Jessica hadn’t gotten to fully enjoy the experience the first time, being worried about the ride. We finished up the day with a trip to Downtown Disney before boarding the plane for home.

My official time – 3:08:23! I don’t know why I feel like I need to justify my time, but for whatever reason I do. Finishing in itself is a great accomplishment! And deep down, I am happy with my time, even if it was over 3 hours.

This was a great race – the entertainment was fantastic, the atmosphere incredible and the volunteers were amazing! And after all my declarations of this being my last half – well, I can definitely see myself doing this race again.


Mandi said...

Congrats on running a great race! Completing half-marathon is a HUGE accomplishment. Glad you got to have a little fun at the same time!

Emily said...

Thanks Mandi!! And thanks for all your encouragement along the way.

Anonymous said...

Great recap! Congratulations!!!

chunky girl said...

very nice, princess emily!

Michelle said...

I see 'Fun with Hats' was the theme for this trip! I'm so now having Disney longing. It looks like the weather was gorgeous. How did you like Port Orleans? I've never stayed there, but I've heard it's really nice!

Emily said...

Thanks everyone!!

Michelle - me too and I just got back! :) Loved Port Orleans! I think it is my favorite of that category of hotels. I do have to say that I live the French Quarter better than Riverside, but definitely my favorite "moderate" hotel.

Sara @ RunningInPinkProject said...

This makes me so jazzed for this years race! How long did you train for the Princess 1/2 last year?

Emily said...

It's hard to say since I started training for a 12K November/December, which was a nice building block for the Princess. I kicked my training into high gear the end of December or so. All this to say probably about 8 or 10 weeks.