Well, all of the training and time spent preparing for this half marathon was well worth every second. I just absolutely can’t believe how quickly the even came and went. We decided to stay on Disney property so we could take the Disney transportation to and from the expo and the race as was suggested. (we are so glad we did!) We chose a less expensive resort and did not expect it to be even half as nice as it was! (What were we really expecting though- its Disney!) We stayed in the Pop Century Resort. It was the cutest resort!
We hit up the expo on Saturday and hit pretty much every stand. I was going crazy over the merchandise. I don’t think I realized quite how big this event was going to be. The highlights of the day were 1) seeing the actual medal in person. It was an even bigger motivation to actually hold it. 2) Meeting Jeff Galloway! If it was not for him and his program, I don’t think we would have stuck out training! It was an honor to meet the man that had been talking in my headphones for the last 5 months.
We had a healthy, light dinner that evening and hit the sac early. I did not take into consideration that we were at a vacation resort at Disney and that the pool would probably be loud in the evening all the way through 11pm when it closed. I definitely should have brought earplugs since our room was facing the pool!
We were up dark and early at 2:45am. I actually woke up amped and ready to get dressed to do the race. I ate a light breakfast on the bus ride over to the race. Ryan and I did not know what to expect but we were in for a shock when we saw how many people were there! Disney provided a great environment for getting people pumped for a long distance. We found our corral (F) and decided to stay to the back so we could be at our own pace without being pressured to run and/or walk right away. I couldn’t believe we were actually there! I was thrilled to be dressed up as my favorite Princess with Ryan rocking a light grey tee and red shirts to match Prince Charming’s red pants.
When the national anthem was being sang it really hit me that it was real and a half marathon actually was ahead of us. The corrals starting with the fireworks and the Fairy Godmother starting each one made it even more magical. Disney always does a good job. Always.
Once we started running, it didn’t seem like we had started the race. We ran for a few minutes to get warmed up then started our 30sec/30sec intervals. The first couple of miles passed SO much faster than they do during a training run! We were at Magic Kingdom before we even knew it.
Like many others, my favorite part was actually running down Main Street where I’ve spent much time wondering through the shops on beautiful Magic Kingdom days. The place where dreams come true, like running 13.1 magical miles and earning a medal I never even dreamed of wanting. And it was an absolute blast being dressed up as Cinderella in the presence of her castle! 🙂
I actually felt better throughout this race than I had for our longer runs. The excitement of actually being there and the adrenaline that was running through me made it so much better than a regular training run. I’ve gotten the notion that that happens at any race though. Both of the 5Ks I did prior I did much better in and enjoyed myself more than running at home :). The only thing that was really difficult was the crowding. There were literally parts of the race that running was not an option at all. Being in corral F, there was not much we could do about that. We had actually ran 12.5 miles in a training run in 2:33 so we technically would have done our half in 2:45. Unfortunately, we would have needed proof which we did not have as this was our first half marathon. But other than the crowding, it was still a blast! After going through Magic Kingdom, I started picturing the next goal: medal. We were officially on our way back to Epcot and my adrenaline was even stronger than before. My parents drove over to see us finish and my best friend who lives in Wisconsin happened to have been down for a wedding and stayed with my parents the night before so she could see us finish too. Mind you, I had not seen her in almost 3 years since our wedding! So just knowing that they were also there at the finish line made me even more excited :).
The Powerade and water stands were very frequent which was awesome. I started to feel weak in mile 13 like I might pass out, but I pushed through and once we saw the finish line I was golden.
I crossed the finish line with a huge high-five to my buddy Donald Duck. He’s a new favorite of mine now 🙂
It was a 5 month dream that became a reality and it was extremely surreal that we had finished the Princess Half Marathon that used to be a distant, incomprehensible thought. I could have cried!
It was an absolute blast to have been a part of such a massive Disney event. I would definitely do another half marathon. The word “marathon” is definitely not in my vocabulary right now though. Since the half, I’ve been more consistent with shorter runs and running more and longer (like in my goal in my last post). I will make a post about that next :).