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

5k and Saying Saturday

Today was my much-anticipated 5k. The local Luke M. Parlatore Memorial Run was held today. This was my first-ever 5k last year, so I was excited. I must have woken up five times last night to check the clock (every hour, on the hour!) to make sure I didn’t oversleep.

And then…I overslept!! Luckily, my dad kicked me out of bed at 7:30–I was supposed to be there by 8, yikes! I bolted out, threw on my race clothes, snagged some pb, and headed to the race start. I was there by 8:15, which was fine, since the gun was at 9:00. I mingled, picked up my shirt, and soon–we were off!!

(I snapped a quick photo before leaving my house. I’m wearing my favorite Killer Socks shirt, that has a nifty zipper in the back for my ID.)

My lovely parents took this shot of me at mile 1. It’s totally normal to act goofy in just a 5k, right?? My lax coach paced me for the first mile (10:08), but then I was on my own. I was in bliss! I was running faster than I have in ages, accompanied with some music (Disney classics next to Simple Plan. I hadn’t listened to either of them in a while. Best mix ever).

As much as I was enjoying myself, I was afraid of burn-out. I knew I couldn’t hold a 10:00 pace for three miles with no training. I’d only run a few times this month, and I’ve only run three miles twice! One was about 37:00 and the other about 35:00. I knew I had to slow it down.

Still, I was GIDDY!

(Around the three-mile mark, I’m still pacing well and feeling strong.)

I had started my Garmin late, so I knew my time was off, but after the first mile, I slowed to about an 11:15 pace. Which quickly became an 11:24 pace. I tried to keep it around 11:20 or so, and took the third mile back up to about 11:00. Toward the last half mile, I saw my pace creep to 12:00, and I fought it back down to 11:16 for the final lap around the track. That was a tough fight.

Somehow, for me, the second the finish line is in sight, it all gets so much harder. You’d think it would be easier, because it’s *right there*, but all my mind is thinking is…less than a quarter mile? I’m practically there! Can I walk now? I’m thirsty. My calves are bothering me. Those people staring think I’m evolving into a turtle, I bet.

I dug out all I could and finished in 32:10. That’s right, nearly a two-minute PR. With no formal training!!

I was so thrilled. Fueled up with a banana and took some more goofy photos before heading home.

Of course, because I just can’t get enough activity into my day, I went KAYAKING!

There was a local festival out on the bay, so my mom and I took a two-seater kayak out and paddled. My arms were much stronger than the last time I did this (yay, weight training!). <- I never thought I would say that. Should I preserve this moment?

Anyway, some good food this week:

Roasted red pepper hummus (Athenos), baby carrots, and crackers:

Grilled eggplant with mozzarella and tomatoes on a bun, and sauteed asparagus:

And the first ice cream cone of the season! Mint chocolate chip, my favorite.

(Okay, I try not to play favorites. They are all delicious and I would never turn ice cream down, pretty much.)

A runner today had a shirt that said “The only difference between try and triumph is the UMPH!” on the back. I loved it. I’m a sucker for cheesy motivational sayings.

What’s your favorite ice cream or froyo flavor? I’m long overdue for froyo. =D

And do you have a favorite saying?