So, this is a couple months late, but I figured now is as good a time as any, right?
One of the reasons I started running was because I decided that one of my Bucket List items was to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. In fact, I made it one of my 101 in 1001.
I'll be honest, after I ran the ToT 10 miler, I started slacking. Majorly. I wasn't as prepared as I could/should have been. But, I decided to do my best and work to do better next time. I mean, you have to have a baseline, right?
On Saturday, Feb 22nd, we picked up our packets and got our official race bibs....
Disney really does know how to up the excitement for these races. It's a whole weekend event (with kids runs, 5k, 10k, and a fitness expo). We spent a good amount of time walking around after we officially checked in. My mom and Jeff ran the 5k on Friday, so they were up there. We went to dinner at Downtown Disney and called it an early night as we had to be on the bus by 4am.
When the alarm went off at 3:15am, I can't say we were too thrilled. But, we did make it on the bus by the appropriate time...... only to discover that we both left our room keys in the room.
3:50 am...... It seemed like a good idea back in July......
As early as it is, Disney also knows how to wake you up. Music, lights, etc. Plus, the people watching is stellar..........
There are over 25,000 people that run this race and everyone is split into corrals (A-P). So, imagine our delight when we found our friend Leigh-Anne and her hubby as soon as we made it to our corral (I, ftr).
Did I mention that LA is preggos? And, she'd run the 10k the day before?
Megan and I were shamed and declared that next year, it was a must.
Once the race actually started, we all crossed the start line together, but quickly separated. Usually, Megan is faster than me, but she was still recovering from knee surgery. LA and her husband already decided to take it slow. I went on by myself.
Again, Disney does know how to do these races. They always have some sort of entertainment along the way, picture stops, etc. Except for my one bathroom break around mile 2, I didn't stop.
Well, except to take this picture.......
There was something SO amazing about being able to take a picture in front of the big Magic Kingdom sign/parking booths. Typically, it's full of cars wanting to park. I'll admit, I got a little emotional when I reached that point.
Also, before we even got there, we saw the fastest runners coming back from MK. As in, we were just hitting mile 3 and they were on mile 8. It was pretty cool to cheer them on. They each had a bicyclist riding next to them to make sure they were safe (because they were basically running by themselves).
Another incredible moment...... so, as I was running, I was sort of staying in the same pack as this woman and her friends. The back of her shirt said, "This Princess Used To Be Paralyzed."
I thought to myself how wonderful it was.... Then, we got to Main Street. She stopped in her tracks, turned her back from the castle, and just burst into tears. Her friends surrounded her and they were all crying.
It was such a beautiful, inspirational moment. I am tearing up just typing about it. I, also crying, told her what a great job she was doing and kept running.
Generally, I don't stop for the picture spots on these races. The lines are long and it is for characters (which I can see whenever). However, when I got to the castle, I decided I DEFINITELY needed to get a picture. Somehow, my sister managed to catch up, so we were able to get a picture together......
Yes. I am using the Proofs. I'm not paying $30 for the one picture. Anywho.....
Keeping it real...... Miles 7-10 sucked. Like really, really bad. At one point, I could only tweet how bad it was....
One of the reasons I started this whole journey with running is because of how far it pushes me out of my comfort zone. It is a physical and mental challenge. It brings out so many of my old insecurities. It is something that no one (including me) ever though I could accomplish. The fact that I get up at 5:15am regularly to run (or run after work, if I don't quite make it out of bed) is proof of how much I've personally changed.
But, it is hard. Especially when you're in the middle of running 13.1 miles.
When I hit the ten mile mark, my body got a boost of energy. Granted, my mind thought, "If I were doing the Tower of Terror, I would be done, right now."
One thing that kept me going was all the funny signs. One particularly awful incline had a group of several basically calling us all crazy for even attempting. It was funny, lol.
This was my personal favorite, right around Mile 12.......
When I got into EPCOT and was headed to the exit (you go in, run to the lake and then run back), I saw Megan was just entering. Sister power walked the whole thing. I ran back to her and we finished the race together!
My ending time was 3:08:29 and my place was 11672. It wasn't what I originally was hoping for (back in October before I started slacking), but I did better than I expected. And, I finished ahead of over half the people that participated!
And, I earned this beauty.............