Disney Princess Half Marathon

Saturday night Christy and I went to bed around 9 and I can't even tell you how many times I woke up! I am not normally a person who has trouble sleeping but apparently I was pretty anxious about the race. I remember waking up at 12:27 and thinking HOW IT IS ONLY MIDNIGHT! I woke up a few more times and finally at 2:37 I decided to get up, since my alarm would be going off in about 20 minutes anyways.

We got up, dressed and nibbled some breakfast before heading up to the front of the campground to catch the bus to the race. We were supposed to be in our corrals by 5:00, and it is about a 20 minute walk from the parking lot, we also weren't sure if there would be lines for catching the bus or what, so we planned to get up there around 3:30. We got right on a bus and quickly made it to Epcot. They dropped us off by the tent area, tents for bag check, souvenirs, food and drink. We checked out what was going on and then began our walk towards the corrals. We were in corral B so it was one of the furthest from where we were at the time. It was definitely a long walk with tons of porta potties along the way. We decided to stop at a porta-potty since it may be our last chance for a while.

We finally made it to our corral and sat there and waited. and waited. and waited. They had music blasting and a few hosts talking and chatting with some of the runners. At 5:30 they set off fireworks for the wheelchair start, then at 5:35 corral A started. We were corral B so we moved up after they left and then at 5:42 they counted down, shot off fireworks and off we went!

I tried to take a few pictures along the way but never really stopped to do so and they turned out blurry! We kept a 10 minute/mile pace really well for a long time. There were characters all along the way and some elaborate set ups. At one point they had a huge pirate ship that must have been from a parade or something and Captain Jack Sparrow was in front of it taking pictures with anyone who wanted to stop. We didn't stop for any pictures... the lines were 10+ people long for the most part and I definitely didn't want to do any stopping!

At certain points the road got pretty narrow and it got more crowded, but after about 1 mile it wasn't ever really too crowded. We ran down the highway from Epcot towards Magic Kingdom. We went around the Richard Petty racing experience track, through the parking lot at the Transportation and Ticket Center on towards the Contemporary. We ran an inverted hill that goes under a water bridge that connects Bay Lake (Contemporary, Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian and Polynesian are on this lake) to the Seven Seas Lagoon (the other side of the Contemporary, Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge are on this lake). There was also a character coming out of this tunnel and a skinnier road so it got a little congested and I almost stepped on a couple of people. The congestion definitely slowed me down at times.

I got a picture of Space Mountain (my least blurry picture of the morning!) as we ran in front of the Contemporary... then it was on to the Magic Kingdom! We came in on the side of Main Street and the other side of the road was FULL of spectators cheering us on. It was pretty awesome! I have the Find Friends app on my iPhone, so my mom was able to track us on hers and knew when we were headed that way, so she told the people in front of her and they got a front standing spot to see us come by :)

We turned towards Tomorrowland and looped back around to come in the back of the castle then ran out the side of the park.
Heading towards Tommorowland

We are the pink blurs coming out of the castle

We headed back out to the road and back towards Epcot. We went by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian before getting back on the highway. This time coming down the highway wasn't quite as exciting... we had basically seen all of the characters already since they are in the median and now we were hitting the 8 mile mark and I was getting bored! I started to really have to go pee and was hoping it was just the nerves still making me feel that way so I held it until the next mile marker (there were basically 10 porta-potties at every mile marker or at least every other... you could tell this was a mostly female race!!). By the time we got to mile marker 9 I decided to relieve myself... and it wasn't just nerves making me feel that way! If you've never run that far and stopped in the middle it may not sound that bad, but 9 miles in with exhausted legs ... stopping only makes it worse! After that, the motivation was SO hard to find.

It was also about 70 degrees and ridiculously high humidity, which was no where close to what I trained in so that was not helping the situation. I had almost gone through all of the water on my belt (I drink A LOT of water on any given day, much less in 93% humidity running a half marathon)... so I decided to get water from the water station near the bathroom and had to walk through that so I didn't spill water all over myself or choke (although I still did! ha I'm skilled). We ran from there but it was definitely slower than the first 9 miles, I was feeling the exhaustion and was bored with the path. I also didn't wear my headphones for the race, although I have trained with them and always wear them... I bore easily and they keep me entertained. But for the race I wanted to be able to take my phone out of my pouch easily to snap pictures and figured it would just complicate things if they were attached to my headphones. Bad idea. FYI if you're planning to run a race.... run it the same way you train for it! I was just much more bored which didn't help my motivation. Plus music gives me something to keep a rhythm with.

Luckily though we were beginning to get close to Epcot... The crowds reappeared outside of Epcot and we saw mom and dad again! Then we again snuck in a back door to Epcot, right next to the big ball. We ran straight down future world, towards the fountain and the World Showcase and made a u-turn right before the lake. We came back up and out of the park and the finish line was in the parking lot. It was cool to run in another park, but this time it was just a little in and out and there were no spectators there, so it was not as cool as I thought it would be... but still awesome because it's Disney of course ;)

My awesome mom and dad popped up again at the finish line and snapped this picture of us crossing it... we are the pink blur! It was so nice to see them a few times throughout the race and really motivating.
Finish line! We are the pink dots almost under the finish

WE DID IT! My first half marathon. I used my Garmin GPS watch and I measured our particular path to be 13.3 miles (it is supposed to be 13.1 but they measure the shortest posssible distance which no one can really take, you weave and take the outside somtimes) and a time of 2:17:53.

We had to head back through the bag check, grab our snacks and could go to the "family meet up" tents so we went to a tent and told my parents where to meet us. Dad had little portable stools for us :) That was nice for my tired legs. We relaxed for a bit and cooled off then headed for the tent labeled "ICE COLD BEER" Yep, at 8:30 am. I had already downed a bottle of water and a protein bar and was ready to add some carbs to my body. It was the best bud light I've ever tasted.

We checked everything out, watched some other people finish and then were ready to go shower.

I am so glad that my best friend is a crazy runner and helped me train and pushed me during the race when I was tired! I couldn't have done it without her.

It was such a fun morning and I am so excited to have finished my first half marathon. I can't wait to do another and improve my time :) I'm thinking next time I probably shouldn't go full force in theme parks for 2 days before running! I was definitely more tired for that run than I have been before... but it was worth it for such a fun whirlwind weekend!

After we showered we went to breakfast at the Trail's End buffett in the campground. It was Nana's birthday so the whole family had breakfast together. Christy & I just took it easy the rest of the day before flying out that night while the others headed back to Epcot for some more fun!
On the plane in our race shirts

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