Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part III

Right as I was about to run through Cinderella’s Castle, I saw Minnie in true princess fashion!  So, so excited.  The attendant warned that the line was closing in two minutes, but I made it!  Hurrah!

While I was on line, I saw the two unofficial balloon pacers walk by (they were walking a 16-minute-per-mile pace, the minimum needed to stay in the race, not get picked up & driven to the finish line).  I had always trained at about a 12:15 mile on my long runs, so I wasn’t worried–but I didn’t take into account walk breaks because I was sick, photo stops with characters, and a bathroom break.  Still, I wasn’t giving up a photo with Minnie!

Or The Princess and the Frog characters:

I LOVED their costumes and they were so friendly!  Definitely one of the highlights of the race.  At this point, the bikers informed me I was two minutes behind pace and I needed to catch up.  I asked if I stayed ahead of the bikers–would I be okay then?  They said no, I had to be in front of the balloon pacers–the ones that had passed me while I was on line for Minnie!  Aaaagh.  I sped off through Frontierland and rocketed forward.  I skipped the HUGE line for Sleeping Beauty as soon as I got out of the MK because I did NOT want to get driven to the finish line!  I must have been running an 8:00/mile pace; I was so terrified I would be picked up during the race.  I knew it was not an empty threat and I had been in a completely empty Adventureland (minus two women, but I’ll get to them later).  Luckily, I caught up to the balloon pacers and walked slightly ahead of them for a while.

At mile 7, Kelly Clarkson’s What Doesn’t Kill You was blasting on the speakers.  We were running on a VERY narrow strip of road backstage, and the walking and the song provided a much-needed boost.  I decided to pick up the pace to give myself a little wiggle room.  One man cheering on racers said, “Run faster! There’s free beer at the finish line!”  When no one picked up the pace, he started singing, “Iiiiit’s a small world after all, iiit’s a small world aaaaafter all…” over and over.  He was hilarious (and I obligingly picked up the pace).  As cute as that ride is, that song never gets stuck out of my head!
Stitch just went on a break when I passed by, but Lilo was still there!  Lilo & Stitch is definitely one of my favorite Disney movies, so I was psyched.  I was also feeling good, well ahead of the pacers, and running strong.

I saw my parents again at mile 8!  They made it!  Based on my 5k and 10k automated text updates, they weren’t expecting me for another twenty minutes at least.  I gave them a quick hug, explained I need to be speedy because of the balloon pacers, and took off.

I saw Goofy and golf gear and I had to stop…I mean, why not?! (Well, because I was terribly aware that the pacers were very close behind.)

Now, I had to wait in line for Goofy.  No problem.  But it was behind the same two women whom I had been behind since Adventureland–and they brought their autograph books with them.  Both of them.  It was incredibly, incredibly frustrating that I had to wait for the two of them for three photos while the characters signed.  With the pacers so close, this really shouldn’t be allowed.  Luckily, the character attendant for Goofy refused and I took off soon after.  I was determined to get ahead of them before the next photo.

Which I did!  Hi, Pocahontas.  I was a little nervous here because I could SEE the pacers from here! AAAH!  We were circling past the MK again and back down the other side of the highway, the opposite side from where we came.

In reality, when ants aren’t purple and cute, I hate ants.  But here I stopped for A Bug’s Life photo.

It was past mile 10 (I passed it around A Bug’s Life!), my first time in double-digits as a runner.  This Toy Story soldier was telling me to keep on keepin’ on!

More and more people were walking as we neared mile 11, but I kept on running!  As we ran over an overpass, they had cars clearing the highway of runners.

Up next: Mile 11 and the Magical Finish!  Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part IV

Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part II

A princess race…but there was no line for the race car drivers of the Richard Petty Driving Experience!  So of course, I jumped on it!  At this point in the race, I wasn’t feeling very well, and I was determined to pace myself (one of my strengths as a runner is I’m very, very good at determining my pace and sticking with it, I run very even splits most of the time), walk as needed, and make it to the Magic Kingdom at all costs.  I remember walking quite a bit around the Speedway, and it was really discouraging that I was only a bit over a 5k at this point.  I was coughing a lot.

I had a long way to go, and I doubted I could make it.  I was coughing a lot at this point, (I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again…the night before the race, I was sneezing my brains out and coughing up hairballs.  It was just so, so awful, and as an incredibly optimistic person, it had been a long time since I felt so low and so hopeless.  I thought there was no way I could run in just a few hours.)  I had to just keep moving forward.  I kept a smile on my face because it’s DISNEY WORLD and I had been dreaming about this for so long.

I loved seeing all the strong, evil Disney villains–I’d never seen ANY of these in the parks before!  I was especially excited to see Cinderella’s step-sisters and step-mother, who were hamming it up and were absolutely evil.  This whole line-up made my day completely amazing.  I began looking forward to ditching my sweater (here, I ditched it in line before the photos every time), because carrying it was getting really annoying.  I began to have a little hope that I would make it past the Magic Kingdom, and more people in costume cheered me up. I blasted my music and focused on enjoying as much as I could.  My coughing, for the most part, got a little better, and I settled into a regular walk-run pattern.

A blurry photo as I ran past the Contemporary and under a tunnel.  Here was a DJ, and I really liked waving to him.  There were also acrobats on trampolines!  Whoa!

As we ran toward Space Mountain and the Magic Kingdom, I began to feel like utter crap.  I mean, the race was mostly flat, and I trained on hills, but I was still sick.  I could not stop coughing.  I dug out my inhaler (I can only use it twice in a four-hour period, so I knew I had to use it sparingly) and…

it made a WORLD of difference.  Here I am at the next mile marker, happy and upbeat, right before entering the TTC.

At this point, I knew I was going to make it through the race.  I was so, so happy and I felt SO much better.  I also ditched my sweater, giving it to a Cast Member (not even sure if they were on duty…oops), and I felt FREE!

I also saw my parents as I ran through the TTC!  They shouted my name and I almost tripped because I ran past them.  I wasn’t expecting to see them till Mile 8, and it made me INCREDIBLY happy and gave me a huge boost.  As excited as I was to race, running such a huge race, and my first race in another state, alone can be a little intimidating.  I told them I was running strong and I’d see ’em later.  I could only hope that they’d make it to Mile 8 with plenty of time, because I knew that although I ran strong now, I would need a pick-me-up later.  I’d heard traveling from viewpoints could be difficult.  I ran past the drummers from Epcot and all I could think about was running down Main Street.

I had dreamed of this moment for so long.

After asking a CM where the nearest bathroom was (a real bathroom! Not a port-a-potty!), I used a precious four minutes to duck out of the race and it was SO worth it.  My favorite parts were smiling at the little girls in the bathroom (who were wide-eyed that I had a tutu on!), and re-ducking under the line to run back onto Main Street! Hehe.

Everything was all lit up, and it was truly breathtaking to be running down this street.  It was over far too quickly.

I grabbed another photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle (after all, when else is there going to be an unobstructed view?!):

You can see my running shorts peeking out from under the tutu here…it may be silly, but I actually loved wearing it throughout the race.  It made me feel like a true princess for the day.

It was in the MK that I began to feel unstoppable.  I was on such a Disney high–and there were even more characters!

I was excited to see tons of characters I’ve never taken photos with.

I ran through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland (under construction for the extension), where I *just* missed the line closing for Cinderella & Prince Charming.  I’d NEVER seen them in the parks, so I was super bummed, but the sight of the carousel quickly cheered me up.  And at this point, I had stopped at every character available…one of my goals for the race (okay, besides finishing, it was my only goal!)  I was determined to make the most of my race!  Even when I registered for the race, I knew I wanted it to be my first one so I wouldn’t be shooting for a time goal.  As long as I continued feeling great and not coughing, I knew I’d be good.

I kept about a 12-min-per-mile pace through the MK, and then I heard trumpets:

Aaaah!  I was so excited to run through the castle!

Up Next:

In Which I Meet Two Princesses, Get Passed by Orange Bikers, and Run Like Mad: Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Part III

Okay With It

Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl recently posted about perfectionism.

It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. On February 26th, I’ll be running the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon.
And you know what? Nearly everything has strayed from my plans.
-I barely trained for my 10k (but I finished with flying colors).
-I was really sick from mid-December to mid-January and I jumped into my half-marathon training plan with some two-mile runs and a six-mile long run the first week.
Oops.
-I got sick AGAIN and it looks like my longest run before the race will be 8 miles.
Only 8 miles.
(Did I ever think I would say “only” 8 miles? 8 miles was an impossible distance once upon a time.)
I realized, training or not, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Life gets in the way of plans sometimes. I’ve learned to accept this lately, but sometimes it’s hard to take a scary plunge when I’ve been looking forward to this for so long.
So, I’m leaving for the trip just about a week from now.
I’m okay with whatever happens.
I will finish, even if I’m walking across that finish line.
And I’m okay with it.
I know this race will be tons of fun and a great photo opportunity. After, I’m looking forward to cross-training (conquering my fear of spinning once and for all?!) and running shorter, speedier distances. It’ll be nice to run for the sake of running again.
Would you rather train with a purpose (a race, or for charity, or an event) or just for your own benefit?
I love planning, so I like training with a purpose. I think I’ll appreciate cross-training a lot more now, though, especially because in college I can really take advantage of a great gym.
What makes you decide to venture out when you have other responsibilities? Friends? Family? A midnight run…or a midnight run to get ice cream?
Tonight I decided, heck, it’s open mic night and my boyfriend is playing a set. I’m going to go. I’m glad I did-I had a great time and it was nice to hang out with friends. I’ve worked hard lately and I deserved it.

Go Long!

The past two Sundays, I’ve been going long. 7 and 8 miles, both new distances for me! (1:38 and 1:40 respectively). It was pretty eye-opening to see how much faster I run outside rather than on the treadmill.

I was so proud of my 8-miler that I took a photo:

(Yaaaaay! 8 miles!)

It was a nice, relaxing run. I love Sunday long runs. They give me time to meditate, ruminate, and, I admit, belt out some Flight of the Conchords alongside Taylor Swift. (Yep, I’ve got quite an eclectic mix of music.)

I’ve been trying more gym classes–I tried a dance class yesterday and Zumba’d it up today! On top of that, I ran a quick three miles with a friend. Half-marathon training and socializing has never been so exhausting!

My roomie, Mel, smuggled me back a s’mores bar from the cafeteria:

(These are addicting. Oooh, my.)

Anyway, I’m running five miles tomorrow with a bud! YAY for half-marathon training! Time for bed…schoolwork + social life + training is exhausting.

What’s your latest food addiction?

I was talking with a friend yesterday, and while I thought about running as a love and an addiction, she thought about it like a love/hate relationship…what do you think?