Thursday, March 3, 2011

Princess Half Marathon 2011 Report - Part 3

Sunday Morning!!! This will be a long one, sorry in advance!

 I woke up bright and early on Sunday and headed towards the bus stop to catch a ride to the race. The bus lets you off a tiny walk away from the bag check tents and family gathering tents. There's a DJ playing music to get you pumped and plenty of time to walk around and mingle with other runners. Mom and I went to the "H" family tent to meet up with some ROTErs. ROTE is an online running club called Running of the Ears. They obviously run all the Disney races, but also meet up at other running events too. I met a lot of really nice people including Megan, a fellow ROTEr and Daily Mile friend! After that I finally met up with Tiina, ie One Crazy Penguin. This time we were much smarter and came up with an exact spot to meet up and shared what we'd be wearing. I am pretty sure I was the only one with my tutu so she said it was easy to find me. Yay!! It was awesome meeting her! She's just as cute and wonderful in person. I was really really nervous for the race at that point. I was definitely not my usual bubbly self and I'm sure I looked like a deer in headlights, so Tiina talked me down a little and wished me luck. Unfortunately we couldn't hang out too long because she had to meet up with other friends but I'm really glad to have finally met one of my favorite bloggers in person!

Then comes the sneaky trick that Disney pulls. There's a walk to the start corrals, but it's about a full mile long! I do have to say though, that the princesses running provided plenty of entertainment along the walk. There's tons of porta-potties at the bag check and more along the race, but they all had huge lines (18,000 girls= too many people) so girls were literally dropping their tutus left and right and sneaking to the bushes along the walk to the corrals. It was a funny sight to see and kept us laughing. Another runner said "isn't it like blasphemy to pee on disney property?!". :P

We lined up in our corrals. I was in F, the last one, so we had plenty of time to hang out at the corral again. I met a really sweet runner who told us about the race last year and gave us some tips for along the way (like passing etiquette). Then before we knew it the race started with an exciting fireworks display as the fairy godmother granted us a wish for a fun race. I thought it was neat that Disney set off the fireworks for each corrals start so that we all got the same experience. Here's my awful iphone video but you get the idea:

Then we were off. The race was very flat and in the beginning the hardest part was pacing ourselves because we wanted to see what was next! During the first few miles we saw most of the princes, a huge hot air balloon, a parade float, lots of characters, bands, DJs, cast members, and crowds cheering. It was so cool. One of my favorite moments was when we passed the first monorail track, a monorail train went by and honked at us. 

The "entrance" to Magic Kingdom (really still a mile away)

Hula dancers!!

A drumline!
Next stop, the Magic Kingdom! We knew we were getting close when we finally saw Space Mountain (not the castle! we thought that was weird). Anyways, at mile 5 we ran onto main street from a back entrance and it was so incredible I instantly teared up. There were hundreds of people there cheering us on, including characters, but what's more was the view of the castle. It's really indescribable the feeling you get when you see it. I worked so hard to get to that point and my life has really changed since I took up the goal to run through the castle. Finally seeing it felt like my dreams were coming true, as horribly sappy as that is. After that we ran through tomorrowland. It was really cool to see the sunrise of my favorite rides. Next we wound through fantasyland where we passed more characters and the teacups and the carousel. Finally it was time for the big moment and we ran through the castle. Everyone screamed and cheered as we ran through and it echoed and Mom and I both said "We're really here!".
Tomorrowland Sunrise

My castle pic!
After the castle we ran through frontierland and headed out of the parks. Up until this point I really didn't feel like I was running at all. Everything really flew by, but at mile 7 I started having some issues. In my training I had the same problems: asthma, foot charlie horses (a side effect from asthma/medications), and shin splints. I fully expected to see those crop up during the race but felt prepared to deal with them. However, I didn't really see those and had completely new ones! The first problem I had was unexpected girl issues :( Sorry boys! But I needed to stop for a bathroom break a couple times and that was totally unexpected. The other was cramping in my hamstrings. I got some serious charlie horses from my asthma in my hamstrings, which has never happened before. It was hard because I have learned how to stretch out my feet while moving to get rid of the cramp, but hamstrings are kind of impossible to stretch without stopping. On top of that our energy was completely drained around mile 10 or 11. Physically we were sore but mostly we just wanted a nap. The sun and lack of sleep and hydration was really starting to pay it's toll. But enough with the whining!


Despite all these issues, I still think the last few miles of the race were fun (although slower than we hoped) because of all the Disney magic. After the park I thought the course would be a major let down, but actually it was really fun. There was a lot of fun floats, characters, and cast members along the rest of the race to keep up the momentum. The lines for characters were huge at the beginning, but in the last half of the race there really weren't any lines. Mom and I were trying really hard to keep up our momentum so we didn't stop for much. Finally we made it to Epcot. I can't tell you how excited I was to see that golf ball knowing it meant I only had a mile left! 



Almost There!

Can't you feel the pain in this pic? :P

Inside epcot we did a very short run past the ball and innoventions and the huge fountain. Then we ran back out and to the finish line. And I cried like a baby! As soon as I crossed the finish line all hope of not crying was gone, because I was so overcome with everything. I finally made it from an asthmatic so sick I couldn't go a week without missing class, to a half marathon runner. It felt INCREDIBLE!! I really think everyone should do it at least once. 

I got my medal and we scarfed down some water and powerade then, like maniacs, we went straight to epcot to show off our medals and ride some rides. Inside the park we got so many congratulations from cast members and even just park go-ers that we felt like celebrities. We had a great time, somewhat delirious from exhaustion, goofing off at the park. It was definitely a trip I will never forget. 

My medal

Flower and Garden Festival starting early

Delirious. I told mom to make a goofy face too, but she was a little less enthusiastic...

The magical petit fours we worked so hard for. You HAVE to try some.
PS: Don't forget to check out part 1, part 2, and sign up  for my virtual 5k!

8 comments:

  1. That's awesome congrats on the race! I think the only thing better would be if they made that medal a tiara

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  2. Congratulations on the race!!!! That is so awesome!! And you look great, no pain at all!

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  3. Great recap! Congrats on your race!

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  4. That was awesome....Thnks for sharing! I am planning to do my first Disney Princess Half Marathon in Feb. 2012. It will be my first and I will prob walk a lot of it but it is a goal of mine.

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  5. Awesome! Where did u get ur Minnie mouse tutu?

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  6. AHHH! I am a new runner, and I decided yesterday to take the plunge and do the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Feb. :-) I only have one 5K under my belt, so I'm a little nervous about running that kind of distance, but it looks like such a great experience I can't pass it up! I would like to be able to do the coast-to-coast race challenge, or whatever it's called, and do the Disneyland Half Marathon as well, so we shall see what happens.

    P.S. I ran across your blog via Pinterest. :-)

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  7. The Disney Princess Half is my dream! Hahaha. I long to do this.

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