Friday, March 22, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2013 Recap (Day 3 Part 1- RACE DAY!!!)

OK, race day, the day I had been preparing for the previous 4 months was finally here!!

We went to bed late on Saturday after a full day of walking around in the parks, knowing we'd be on our feet early in the morning on Sunday for HOURS.  Oh well, how often do you get to be in Disney World?!! We went to bed between 11pm and midnight and we had our first (of like 5) alarm going off at 2am-215am. We were smart and laid out our race clothes and our gear check bags before we went to bed so when we got up everything went smoothly.
everything is ready to go!
It took us a while to get up- I think we finally got up when the 2:30am wake up call rang haah! We were so tired but excited to do this race! BUT, we didn't leave until we got some pre-race pictures before we left our room though!
I'm so ready for this!
PS I did something I would never do for a race but I wore something new I've never worn before- my "Red Means Go" SparkleTech Sparkle Skirt! AND KT Tape!
We were meeting one of our sorority sisters from Virginia Tech and the group she came with (fellow hokies!) since we were all staying in the same resort.  We decided to meet up at 3:15 am so we could catch the shuttle bus over to the race area (which of course we had to walk from the bus drop off to the gear check and the main staging area for the race and then from there to the race starting line corrals).

I am usually pretty strict about my pre-race fuel/meal before big races (lets be honest, all races).  I like to have some water and oatmeal and if not oatmeal,then a balance bar/luna bar.  So for this race, I had one of my all time favorite Luna Bars with a nice cold water on the bus over to the drop-off.
Everyone try it! It reminds me of Hawaii! (Source)
We eventually got to Epcot after a 20-ish minute ride over from the Art of Animation.  We decided to take some pictures of the whole group and a sorority pic (OF COURSE so we can send it into the Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly- I just need to figure out how to do that!) with Spaceship Earth in the background.  It looked great because it was nighttime on top of everything else!
We eventually made it to the finish line/staging area and we walked around some, listened to the music (the DJ was sooo intense in the morning, I had half a headache from that!!), and hit up the porta-potties for those who needed.  Surprisingly, for a race of this length, I never had to stop to use the bathroom! I think the main reason I didn't have to stop was because I wasn't really nervous/anxious at all before this race! If you remember, I had the flu, pneumonia, and sinus infections the first 6 weeks of 2013 so I missed a month and half of training and ran minimally the last 2 wks before the race.  I decided that I wouldn't try to PR and just go and have fun! I guess this mentality helped because I was so relaxed and could enjoy all aspects of the race! 

Once they called Corrals A-D to go to the start line, I quickly finished my Luna Bar and carried my water with me, planning on tossing it  before heading into the corral.  We dropped our gear check bags so much easier than I expected and Maggie and I were both going to the "P" tent so it worked out!  Heading to the corrals was the most frustrating because there were so many people essentially being herded like cattle! Crazy.  We make the 20minute trek to the starting line corrals and Maggie and I say our goodbyes because she was in Corral B and I was in D.  I was happy not to be in the later, more crowded corrals but being right smack dab in the middle of 26,000 was a bit overwhelming for me! I did some pre-race stretches (this is something I need to work more on as I increase my milage) while in my Corral waiting for the Wheelchair, A/Elites, B, & C to go! One thing I love about Disney is that they make you feel special no matter what pace, how old/young, etc. I waited for what seemed like forever but then before I knew it it was 5:56am! Rhe Fairy Godmother said the magic words and was sprinkling pixie dust on all of us runners and then we were off! 13.1 miles to go!!!
fireworks frm the earlier corrals!
The Start line! I can finally see it!!
Fairy Godmother sending us off!
Fireworks sending me off to run 13.1!
WELL.  Even though I wasn't nervous about this race, one thing did gave me anxiety- the weather.  I double checked afterwards but the temperature at the start was about 73 degrees with a humidity of 95%.  Yes, that is pretty hot/sticky/damp for 5am.  The first few (3) miles were miserable.  I find that the beginning of my long races are the worst because I am trying so hard not to get caught up in the excitement and keep a slow and steady pace so I can negative split.  Well, with the weather and the tons of people, I couldn't keep my focus (I had sweat dripping in my eyes before getting to mile 1!!) and I started off faster than I wanted.
Here are some pictures from the beginning of the race:
The mile marker signs are one of my favorite things about Disney races!
Fuzzy Mile 2 :(
Don't be alarmed, my chip time was abt 36 mins behind clock time because I started in D.
After Mile 3, I was completely drenched twice over.  So humid and I know it's pretty humid in NC/VA but I've never run in anything like this race weather!! Around mile 3, I caught up with the girl in the green shirt I had been pacing with.  See, I usually find a person with a distinct shirt, etc in big/long races and I try to focus on them and keep up with their pace so I don't get distracted.  Well, whenever this girl would be running, I'd be on my walk breaks (I ran using Jeff Galloway's run/walk method with 3:1) and when she'd be walking, I would be in my running intervals! Soo, at some point after mile 3 we caught up with each other and was like "I was wondering where you were, I am trying to pace with you" and I literally said the same! So for the next 10 miles we got to talking and found out she is an Alpha Gamma Delta sister from Florida State University! We bonded over similar college/sorority/life experiences and it make this race so much more fun! I love meeting strangers at races and running with them, especially when they turn out to be sisters!  

The next few miles were fun but still pretty dark, until we got to Magic Kingdom :)  Here are some pictures for this part of the race:
Mile 4!
Villians!! I soo wanted to stop for pictures with them but the lines of 40deep prevented that..
Mile 5
We entered MK through the castmember entrance-- I can totally see Space Mtn!
Main St. USA-- the most magical place to run in the world. Ever.
Around mile 5.5 we are inside of Magic Kingdom.  I love this part of the race so much! All of the signs from the spectators, the castmembers cheering you on, seeing Cinderella's castle and actually running through it is so magical and special.  There were so many characters here as well but the lines were impossibly long :(  I remember seeing Jessie from Toy Story, Tiana, Cindy and Charming, they had other Princesses there but those lines were beyond long!! Once we get through the castle, we run through Frontierland and through the side of MK to head back down World Drive. 
Some MK Pictures: 
Unfortunately, this is my best castle pic :(
Gaston in New Fantasyland!
The back of Cinderella's Castle!!
Tiana and her prince! 
Jessie frm toy story!
Mile 6 marker!!!
We get out of MK around Mile 6.4 so we have just a little bit before we are halfway.  We also ran in front of the Grand Floridian entrance! This part of the race was definitely my least favorite because of a few reasons: 1- it was a 2 lane road and they only had one lane open for the runners, the other lane was open to traffic (OMG SO DANGEROUS) and on top of that try keeping 26,000 runners in that much space and 2- they used Alicia Keys' song "Girl on Fire" as the halfway point song and I wanted to scream. I don't think there is a more annoying song ever played at a race!
Halfway mark!
OK, halfway done, I can finish this with this OOC crowd..! I knew the worst part of the course (immediately after Mile 10) was still to come and being out of MK was pretty depressing but I pushed on regardless.  It was nice to have Jessica (my sorority sis I was running with) there so we could keep each other motivated and to push each other to keep going.
Fuzzy mile 7 marker!
I stopped to see Genie!!! 
My friend Jessica and I w Genie!
Mile 8!! Around mile 8.3 they had a fuel station with Clif brand gel/gu.  I had 3 of my GUs but I took these just to be on the safe side.  I've had them before so I wasn't worried about taking them if I felt like it!

Aladdin &I totally had a moment.  I didn't want to wait in the line of 40-ish ppl so I stood by the side and Flynn got his attn and pointed towards me and Aladdin posed just so I could get his picture.  My life is pretty much complete.
 After the momentary high of having a connection with my true love (Aladdin), I was temporarily distracted from the fact that I was running for 4 more miles. 
15K done! only 6K left!!!!
I love this princess banner on World Drive!
Mile 10! Things were abt to be srs business after this...
After mile 10, there was a pretty steep ramp we had to run up and omg it hurt.  It was like running sideways w 20K of your closest friends! It was rough. I knew I could do this but the 10 mile marker is usually where I get completely exhausted and feel like I couldnt go any further.  WELL my friends, this was not the case this year.  Maybe it was b/c I was running with another person who needed me to push her or the fact that I had properly trained (even with my 6 wks out) and I was confident because I had done a number of HM's before but whatever the reason, I loved the feeling of being energized!
Finally made it up the dreaded ramp!

still many people in front of me!
At this point, I felt like I could've run more than I did but even though I did more walking w my friend, it was worth it running with someone else and keeping up motivated and going for the last part of the race!  
OMG Mile 12, we're so close to Epcot, I can feel it!!!!
Running through Epcot was great.  I remember in 2011 I walked practically the entire last mile but this time, I was so energized and Jessica and I talked about running the entire last mile straight.  Now this is something I never do, I am a stickler for staying with the Galloway method for races so I was a little nervous after mile 12.  I felt great running in Epcot but Jessica was faltering a bit so I pulled back and jogged/walked with her and keep her motivated.  She kept telling me to go ahead and keep running so I did but after mile marker 13, we had already passed the Gospel Choir and could see the Finisher's chute and all the excitement but she was struggling so I ran back to where she was and pushed her to jog/run the last .1 to the finish line, and we did :)
We're sooooo close!
Everything after the race ended is a bit of a blur but I remember getting Pixie Dust and my beautiful medal! 

Afterwards, we split up to find our groups. I first went to gear check to get my bag with my flip flops (OMG much needed) and I got my box of post-race snacks (something different than 2011) and let me tell you, I was NOT a fan of the box. I pretty much only ate my banana but other things included were hummus and pretzel chips, dark chocolate, a mini luna bar, and some other things that I dont remember because I rationed it out to my sister, her friend Sara, and Maggie. I got a couple waters (one to drink and another to make gatorade w my powder packets I had in my gear check bag) and a powerade.  I finally met up w Maggie at the "P" tent in the family reunion area.  I wish I had finished earlier so I could have gotten pictures with the princesses at the finish.  I was trying to speed it up because my sister and Sara were waiting for us and they seemed a bit 'annoyed' so that was frustrating that I didn't really get to enjoy all the post-race activities and amenities.  They seemed like they just wanted to get back to our room so we could get cleaned up and continue with our day.. I don't think anyone who hasn't done a half marathon can really relate to all of the emotions after MONTHS of training, sheer exhaustion, depression of being done, etc.  We collected ourselves and eventually made our way to the line for our shuttle bus back to Art of Animation. We were so lucky to get an AC charter bus too :)

Our sorority sis and her group ended up coming onto the same bus we were on so we all decided to get a Hokie Picture and sorority sis picture at our resort with our medals!

I love this one!
Sooo, there it is. I know this was long but I love all the details runDisney has in their races so of course I will document everything!!

I will finish Sunday's recap in a part 2 later on today since this was long enough, hope you enjoyed the pictures!


  1. Go to the International website. There should be a link for submitting to the Quarterly.

    1. Thanks for the tip Lisa!! I emailed Jill from the Quarterly over the weekend and she emailed me back so hopefully they'll make the next edition :)


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