Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Recap

As most of my blog readers know this whole running adventure is a new experience for me.  About 18 months ago Paige mentioned that she would like to run a 5K.  We were already walking several mornings a week so we decided to start the couch 2 5K program and run our first 5K in December.  We did it and actually sort of enjoyed it.  We on and off ran through the winter and spring.  Running in more 5Ks and other local races.  Last May, Paige mentioned that she thought it would be fun to sign up to run the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon.  I wasn't so sure (I still don't really like running - I tolerate it) but I went along with her crazy plan.  We signed up in early June.  

God knew exactly what He was doing.  We had found out about my dad's cancer just the week before we signed up and Paige's brother was diagnosed with leukemia 3 days after we signed up.  This race became more than just a run for us.  It really was a spiritual journey.  During the 8 months of training we did lots of crying, laughing, praying and just pulling one another along.  There were some hard days (and not just training).  Our training went well and we did our 10K in early November finishing right at our goal pace to get us in a good corral for the 1/2 marathon.  We were right on track in our training.  Then life happened.  Paige's brother died and the weather got bad.  We didn't get to train like we wanted leading up to the race.  We were barely running 3 miles at a time and only got to do a long run/walk of about 9 miles.  We were very worried about how we were going to do during the race.  But off we went for our Disney trip.  

The morning of the race came VERY early!!  2:45 am wake up calls are not fun.  We quickly got dressed and got on the bus.  We were at the race by around 3:30 or so.  We had a bunch of time to kill so we took some pictures.    
 We met up with Kelly and her friends that were running.

We listened to a hilarious comedian dressed up as a fairy.  She was so funny and helped to keep us from getting too nervous.
 We were so worried about the weather.  The day before had been really warm and muggy.  We had heard the 10K had been pretty miserable.  We prayed before the race started for the weather to stay good for us.  We wanted the sun to stay hidden until we were done.  Thankfully the weather was really pretty good.  It was muggy but not too hot.  At times it was like running through soup it was so foggy but I will take that any day over hot and sunny.
 We slowly made our way over to corral H.  We got there too early.  If I were to do it again I wouldn't go quite so early.  We stopped for a bathroom break at the port o potties.  The line was really long but I was glad we went before the race started.  I did stand in an ant bed and got bitten pretty badly right before running.  Not cool!
 Then we just did a lot of standing around waiting for our turn.  It actually didn't take that long.  I was excited to be running in my Rapunzel inspired tutu that I got off etsy.
 Before long it was our turn!!  I loved the fireworks for each corral.
 And then we were off!!!!
 I had heard really bad things about how crowded the race was and how we wouldn't be able to run.  I wasn't too worried because we weren't sure how much running we would be doing anyway.  But as soon as we crossed the start line we were able to run.  It was crowded but we were able to run right away.  We had to do some weaving but it wasn't too bad.  Disney has really cracked down on making sure people are grouped correctly and I think this really helped.  We started running and just kept on running.  The first little part was good.  We were running.  It was pretty dark and not too hot so we just kept on running.  They had some good music and before we knew it we had made it to mile 2.  Pretty good we were thinking.
 There were several lines for character pictures but they were really long so we just kept on running.  Before we knew it we were running into the Magic Kingdom.  So cool!!  I loved getting to run through this entrance.
 Then we were at mile 3.  Still running which amazed me!
 We made a bathroom stop around mile 4 along with a minute walk break but before we knew it we were at mile 5 which was awesome because this was right before the entrance to Magic Kingdom.  We were still running which is way better than we thought we would ever do!
 Then the next thing we knew we were on Main Street running towards the castle!!!!  So amazing!!  The crowd was so loud and it was a blast to get to run down Main Street!

 Right before the end of Main Street we saw this guy!!  I had been able to text with him during the first part of the race so I was on the look out for him.  So great to see him.  We kept on running!

 We took a loop through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland before coming back to run through the castle.  I was so excited about this part.  It was awesome!!  I raised my hands and just yelled!!

 Mile 6 was over in Adventureland!  We were still running and doing great!  We exited the park back by Splash Mountain.  It was cool to get to see some of the behind the scenes stuff.
 Before we knew it we were 1/2 through!!  The song for the halfway point this year was Let It Go!!  It was awesome to get to sing at the top of our lungs as we ran!!
 We made it to mile 7 and we were still running!!  This was still interesting because we were back near some resort hotels and there were people cheering.  I even saw my BSF teacher leader cheering back here.  It was neat to have her cheering us on.
 Mile 8 was when it got hard.  We got back on the main roads headed back to Epcot and there wasn't much exciting going on.  We started to slow down a little we did some walk breaks.  We ended up walking for about 1/2 a mile then running for a mile from miles 8-12.  This worked as a pretty good pace for us.
 Around mile 10 got really hard.  We had to go up 2 ramps that were long hills.  We were getting really tired!  It was rough. I texted lots of my friends and had them praying.  But we knew we were headed to Epcot and then end so we kept going!
 We made it to mile 12 right outside Epcot and were so excited!!!
 We had planned to make some character stops but we were doing so well we hated to stop.  We only stopped for A Bugs Life (which I don't have a picture of) and for Sofia in Epcot.  These had no lines so we could quickly stop to get back to running.
 The run through Epcot was tougher than I thought it would be.  The end was so close but we were running out of steam.
 But we made it through.  The gospel choir before the last turn was AMAZING!!  Nothing like a little gospel music to encourage you the like 0.2 miles.
 Then we saw it mile 13!!  We were so close!!  We were still running!!
 We made the last turn and were greeted by the crowds ( including our awesome hubbies)!
 We did it!!!  We crossed the finish line with arms raised high!!  We finished under our goal of 3 hours.  We finished in 2:53:37.  Not bad for not having trained like we had wished.  It was just amazing to finish but to do it better than we had hoped was awesome.  We ran for probably 9+ miles which was amazing!!
 We hit up the medical tent for some tylenol and ice and then went to meet our princes.  They were sporting their wife princess shirts.
 We had to take lots of pictures of course!!
 Loving my runDisney bling!!!

 We quickly got back on the buses to our resort.  We were starving so Mickey waffles were in order and then a hot shower!!
It was an amazing experience.  I never thought I would ever be able to say I ran a 1/2 marathon.  I am so glad I did it.  This race has taught me so much about myself and brought me to a new realization of Hebrews 12:1 -"Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." I know that no matter what I face with God I can make it through!

I don't know if there will be any more 1/2 marathons in my future but I do know I will keep running.  I think I was really spoiled by doing a Disney run as my first one.  I don't know if I can run without a tutu and Disney music blaring as I run.


Amanda Sanford said...

So proud of you and love how perfectly God timed the training for you both!
Looking for shoe recommendations as I pick my running back up. Too much missed time and weight gain since my surgery. Now I am ready. May have to set a goal of the Disney 1/2. Looks too fun!!

Nicolle said...

Congratulations on a wonderful experience running the Disney half! Wishing you all the best as you continue your running journey.