Monday, February 24, 2014

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2014

I slept in a little longer the next morning, until 3:45, since I don't like waiting around before a race and I was fairly confident I wouldn't get lost. No costume for this race, though, so I just threw on my blue running skirt and a tank top, made sure my ipod was charged, and headed out. This time I did eat a banana and mini Lara bar, as well as some coffee, before the race started. I brought a water bottle loaded up with some Purus Labs Condense pre-workout formula as well. I saved this for right before the race though, because a full serving pumps me up a LOT. My goal was keep to my marathon pace, get ahead of the 2:00 pace group so I would have time to walk later on if necessary, and HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! The fog was heavy heading in, so I knew we were in for another humid day.

With 25,000 runners, you can always expect the start area to be crowded. The lines for the first set of portajohns was truly impressive. I must say, I'm always blown away by the raw number of portajohns Disney puts out for these races. Mega kudos to them. There's about a 15 minute walk to the start corrals, though, so I took my time, stretched out, used a portajohn near the front corrals with a much shorter line, then settled in to wait.

When my corral started, I was so ready to start. I finished the first mile pretty smoothly before slowing down to about a 9:00 pace, and kept ahead of the 2:00 pace group until mile 5 or so. At that point we were entering the Magic Kingdom, and I changed my mind about racing for time. Who can resist Minnie and Mickey!
Or the castle covered in fog!
Or Sleeping Beauty, who was just too pretty to get close to (I was pretty much dripping by this point)
I even stopped for a pic with these dudes
I was carrying my phone with me through all this, and I am so thankful I have a RAZR. It got covered in biofreeze (that pesky IT band...I carried my phone with the hand I used to rub it in so I wouldn't touch my nose), Gu/Clifshots, powerade, and spent some time in my pocket. And it still works!

By this time I was a good ten minutes off pace, but who really runs a Disney race for time? Other than the winners of course (the winner this year finished in something like 1:11...whut). I definitely slowed down during the last few miles (my mantra: just a 5K to go!) which I think probably hurt my quads more than if I had just kept a faster pace.

One of the highlights of this race? Hearing the Green Army Man around mile 10.5 yell at a lady in a Navy shirt. HA!

As I got into Epcot and circled around through the final mile, I took the time to do a little body check. This was only a half and I was treating it as a good training experience for the full I have in three (eek!) weeks. Did I drink enough? What bothered me? Was my playlist strong enough? What made my pace fall off? These are probably the pictures in Epcot where I look thoroughly absorbed while running.

I powered through that last .1 mile and through the finish line, with Minnie and Mickey still there! I almost stopped to take another photo but the volunteers seemed to think I still cared about my time and waved me forward. I finished in 2:15:25, not too shabby for a "fun" race. I think it was something like 30th place for the military division....again, those darn water breaks!

This time I did stop in the self-help medical section for more biofreeze and some tylenol before hobbling out to get more water bottles. At this point they also handed out the same mesh bags they had last year. I really appreciate getting them at this point, rather than at the expo! It greatly increased the number of bottles I was able to take without shoving them down my shirt like I usually do. Right before the finishers' photos and exit was the line for both the Glass Slipper Challenge girls and the Coast-to-Coast medallers (one year!). Huzzah!

Seriously, how pretty!

I got my picture taken, grabbed a bunch of bananas, then headed back to my car (I cleverly remembered to take a photo of my row this time). I got back to my hotel around 8:30, showered, hung up my still-dripping clothes to dry, and crashed again.

As expected, I was dehydrated a little when I woke up, but not as bad, and my legs were pretty stiff. Since my flight wasn't til later, I headed to Downtown Disney to pick up some last minute gifts, and watch Frozen on the big screen. Since Let It Go was playing CONSTANTLY all weekend, I figured I might as well figure out why it was popular. I splurged on some popcorn and a GIANT diet coke that was labelled medium, and snuck out of the theatre about five times during the movie to utilize the ladies room. I just assumed that wearing my medal let everyone know I was hydrated, not broken.

Also, note to self: when heading to Florida, at any time of year, PACK SHORTS! Jeans in Florida are just a bad idea.

The trip home was fairly uneventful, other than having to stand in line behind TWO college baseball teams to get my bag checked (Southwest and Airtran still haven't figured out this merge thing yet...). Oh, and they also ripped my rolling duffel bag, so I was at BWI until almost 1am unpacking and repacking, but at least I got a little bit of a voucher for my next flight.

To conclude, I CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR! I just love this race, and if I plan now, maybe I can get some people to commit to coming next year. If I had to pick only one race to do per year, this might be it.

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