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Old 04-20-2012, 11:44 AM   #31
Ariel484
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Day 3: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! Training Plan, Start and Mile 1

Like most people on this board, I didn't start running until adulthood. My first 5K race was in 2008, and when I started running, I used the Couch-to-5K plan.

After running a few more races (5Ks, a 2-miler, a 10K, etc.) I knew I wanted to tackle this Princess Half thing. I went back and forth over how to train for quite awhile - I tend to overthink this kind of stuff - and settled on using this Jeff Galloway plan. At the time, I think it was just what I needed - not too much, but just enough to (SPOILER ALERT!) get me across the finish line without dying. Having that said, I now prefer Hal Higdon plans, and I used one of his for the marathon.

Training for and completing this race really taught me a lot about myself. I never thought I would be a runner, and Will likes to remind me that when I first started out I would say to him, “I’d really like to finish a 5K someday. It would be cool if I could do that.” That was my ultimate goal. And here I am a few years later having run 3 half marathons and one full. Woot!

So if anyone is on the fence about trying one of these things, I say go for it! You just may end up surprising yourself. I sure did.

Okay, enough of the gushy, motivational talk. Let's get to the race, shall we?

The 2011 Princess Half Marathon

Despite the fact that I was SO SO EXCITED for this race, in the months leading up to this trip I found myself having some nightmares. In one, I forgot my running shoes at home. In another, I came upon my first character on the course and found that my camera battery was dead. Horrors. In another dream l was snoozing in my bed when my brother casually sauntered into my room and said, quite indifferently, “Hey, so I guess we should probably go to the race now”…10 minutes before the race began! The dream ended with us running to Epcot to try to make it to the starting line on time. So it should come as no surprise that I had 2 alarms set - my phone and Will’s phone - along with a request to the front desk for a wake-up call all ready to go at 2:50 AM.

I actually woke up early, at 2:40 (thankfully…I had a dream I was the girl singing in the music video for that “Airplanes” song…and I hate that song) and got going quickly. Turned off the phone alarms, grabbed the wake-up call (Stitch wanted me to get going already!), and turned on the coffee maker. I got dressed, sunscreened and Body Glided up, and checked my camera again (it was fine…I didn’t have a spare battery so what could I have done at that point anyway?). I quickly ran out to knock on my brother’s door to make sure he was awake - he was! I went back to my room to get the rest of my crap (including Will’s phone…mine wouldn’t fit in my fuel belt) and stepped outside after saying good-bye to Will (he managed to grumble “good luck, love you” in response). The weather was perfect race weather – mid-60s with a slight breeze. We didn’t even bring any throwaway clothes.

We quickly headed to the entrance of Riverside and hopped on a bus around 3:30 AM.



The ride went pretty quickly and we were dropped off in the Epcot parking lot (forgive me for lack of specifics…we never drive at Disney so I’m not familiar with the lots). We walked over to the staging area, maybe about a half-mile, to find a DJ, other runners, photo-ops, and porta-potties galore.

They had screens of princess castles set up, and we had a good amount of time to kill, so we decided to take some silly pictures. I was having trouble identifying the castles, so feel free to correct me if these are not right!

Ariel’s castle:



Jasmine’s castle (I KNOW this one is right!):



Rapunzel maybe?



And I believe this is Snow White’s:



We made our first trip to the porta potties, which had pretty long lines. While waiting we marveled at the costumes…people are so creative! I saw a couple dressed as Snow White and Prince Charming (really detailed), a man with a t-shirt that said “Coach Charming” on the back, 2 frogs (one I think of as “runner frog” – green shorts, compression socks, a frog hat and covers on his shoes that looked like frog feet – the other I think of as “insane frog” – a green, polyester full bodysuit with long sleeves, pants, and a hood that had a crown on top. I thought this guy would surely get heatstroke later, but I did see him sprinting through Epcot around mile 11 – silly me!), a Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and people from Tron (they had black outfits with blue glow sticks – they looked great in the dark, but later when we saw them on the racecourse in the daylight it just looked like they were wearing plastic tubing). And then of course people were dressed as the various princesses, Minnie and Mickey, and many were wearing tutus. No pictures - the thought of taking pictures of strangers made me feel weird. This was the only point in the morning that I regretted not having throwaway clothes (which Disney collects, cleans, and donates to charity) – I got a bit chilly standing in line, but it was no big deal.

We went through the No Bag Check area and began to make our way through the corrals. After about 5 minutes of walking, we heard loud cheers. I looked to see a line of women standing with their backs to the bushes and was confused – what was everyone cheering for? They didn’t even have on clever costumes! Then I walked a little further and saw what the fuss was about – the line of women was a human wall, formed to shield their pals who were squatting in the bushes! I expected to see this happen at some point in the race (and it did happen throughout the course), but not beforehand! The funny part was, as soon as we turned the corner, there was another huge batch of porta-potties with no lines whatsoever. I guess they just couldn’t wait.

I broke out the bagels and peanut butter I’d brought from home around 5AM and we feasted as we made our way over to Corral C.



A volunteer checked our bibs to make sure we were in the correct corral and we joined our fellow runners. While waiting, we were treated to “witty” banter from a couple of RunDisney folks (gems included “I think Corral A knows how to party!,” “Corral B…I bet the ‘B’ stands for beautiful!,” and “Corral C…C is for courageous!”) and a variety of music – if you ever wanted to hear a techno version of “Beauty and the Beast” or “Under the Sea,” this is the place to do it. They were also playing “Firework” by Katy Perry quite a bit.

From our position we had a good view of the Fairy Godmother up on the giant screen. She was saying magical, whimsical things while talking to the RunDisney people.



They started gearing up for the wheelchair start and put the one woman in the wheelchair division up on the screen – I was really surprised that she was the only one! The Fairy Godmother counted down to her start at 5:43 AM, and she got her own dose of fireworks to send her on her way.



After the wheelchair start, we each took a vanilla Gu for a little kick of energy. Corral A started 2 minutes later (“I can tell this is a party corral!”), followed by Corral B at 5:53 AM.

SQUEEEEEEE!



Finally, at 6:01AM, it was our turn! 3 2 1 GO!



Normally I get super nervous before the start of any race, no matter what the distance, but not today! I was just so excited and happy to be there!

We took off and ran past Spaceship Earth, which was looking particularly luminous this morning. The first mile was pretty uneventful and crowded, so we were forced to keep a pretty relaxed pace. At one point I saw a billboard for Cirque du Soleil and thought that we’d reached the first mile marker already! Alas, we had not. I should have known, I mean, I WAS wearing a Garmin, which read 0.5 miles or something like that! D’oh!

After passing some stiltwalkers, we were at the first mile marker!



After running a bit, I looked at the return part of the course, to see Princess Atta waiting for the wheelchair racer! Awesome! I made a mental note to stop for her on the way back.

Next up were 5 leading men! There was a line, but it wasn’t too bad. I yelled for my brother to stop – and he said no! and for whatever reason, I listened to him and kept going. Boo!

Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 04-22-2012 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:41 AM   #32
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Day 3: Sunday, February 27, 2011 continued - PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! Miles 2-5

I grabbed some Powerade from the first aid station (yelled to my brother to grab some and he declined) and came upon mile marker 2, just before turning onto World Drive.



Arr! There be pirates! But guess who didn’t want to stop for pictures?



At this point, I was getting irritated. If he wanted to run the race for time, that’s fine, go ahead and do that. But we’d had multiple phone conversations where we’d both agreed that we were going to run this race at a more relaxed pace, and that we’d stop for photos and have fun. He’d been very agreeable to this plan, claiming that he hadn’t trained AT ALL for the race.

I had a serious conversation with myself – I’d worked too hard to not enjoy this race completely. Things were going to be different from now on!

We ran under the parking gates to the Magic Kingdom…woohoo! And mile marker 3 was up next.





Right after mile marker 3, I spotted a little blue guy and his human friend. Enough was enough. I told my brother in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to keep going to go right ahead, but that from now on, I was stopping for photos, darn it! He sort of slowed down and walked ahead.

Meanwhile, I went on a Hawaiian rollercoaster ride!



Love the Elvis suit.

After the picture, I caught up to my brother (who actually stopped to wait for me) and we split a pack of Gu chomps for fuel just before mile marker 4.



After passing the entrance to the Transportation and Ticket Center, we found a huge group of drummers. They were great! You can't see her on the end, but there was a little girl drummer, maybe 5 or 6, dressed in a princess costume. Adorable.






After the drummers, we passed a couple of trampolinists! Very cool.



I thought about passing the next water stop but changed my mind quickly – there wouldn’t be another one until we were out of the Magic Kingdom, and it was starting to warm up a bit! I thought it felt really humid out during the first mile, but by now it seemed okay. I think we got lucky with the weather (sunny and mid-high 60s)…any warmer may have been a problem.

We made our way over to the Contemporary and went down the road that’s under the water bridge. A DJ perched on top of the bridge kept saying “you’re running under water right now!” We went down the hill and I’m proud to say that I powered up the other side! I was feeling pretty good. I think my brother was starting to break down slightly…he just kept saying “this hill is going to kill me!"

Mile marker 5 was right in front of the resort.



Next thing I knew, we were backstage at the Magic Kingdom! We entered the park, took a right, and were on Main Street! The first thought that crossed my mind was that I was shocked to see so many construction walls on Main Street. I think I had read somewhere online about the work going on but had forgot about it.

And then I saw the castle! (And my brother’s dome.)



The volunteers to the right of our path (in the yellow shirts) were fabulous. So energetic and encouraging. There were quite a few spectators on the other side, but they didn’t see quite as enthused. Fair enough...it was just a little after 7AM at that point.

We took a right and crossed the bridge into Tomorrowland.



Buzz Lightyear was out meeting runners in front of the Lunching Pad. He had a huge line, so we passed him up since he can easily be met in the parks and headed into Fantastyland.

At this point, a younger girl (I say girl but she must’ve been 18) ran up next to me, and we had the following conversation:

Girl: “I don’t know how I got talked into this! I’ve never run more than 5 miles!”
Me: ...quickly changed to “You’re doing great! Keep it up! This is so much fun!”

Hope she finished and had a blast!

I then shouted to my brother that I was going to stop for a photo…and he joined me!



Now he’s catching on! (I liked their little plastic clappers…very silly)

We headed through Fantasyland and I spotted the one photo-op on my must-get list…Minnie and Mickey!

We hopped in the HUGE line and my brother actually asked to get his photo taken…he’s converted!



(Was not successful.)

Speaking of not successful…after the Sword in the Stone picture, a character attendant informed us that Mickey and Minnie were going to switch out with Cinderella and Prince Charming 3 people in front of us! Devastating. We sadly got out of line and I walked up to the mice. Minnie was kind enough to give me a sweet wave. I was so sad not to meet them…they looked great.



Continued In Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 04-26-2012 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:57 AM   #33
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I just ran the Princess this year, and I was like you starting out the race not sure I wanted to slow down for pictures (my time will be horrible!), but after passing the first stop I saw all the Disney men posing for photos and I had a serious change of heart. I decided that I would just relax and enjoy the experience - I would remember my photos more than my time. I think it was Tarzan that did it to me...
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:12 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by BigEeyore View Post
I just ran the Princess this year, and I was like you starting out the race not sure I wanted to slow down for pictures (my time will be horrible!), but after passing the first stop I saw all the Disney men posing for photos and I had a serious change of heart. I decided that I would just relax and enjoy the experience - I would remember my photos more than my time. I think it was Tarzan that did it to me...
Yeah, I know what you mean about the time concern...I just had to tell myself that it was my first half, so no matter what, it would be a personal record! I definitely agree with you that it's best to relax and enjoy the surroundings at the Disney races.

LOL at the Tarzan comment...
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:20 AM   #35
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Day 3: Sunday, February 27, 2011 continued - PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! Miles 6-8

The trumpeters on the castle laughed at our misfortune…mwahahaha!



We ran through the castle and were greeted with a crowded Main Street…it was amazing to see all of the spectators!



Just after entering Liberty Square, we found mile marker 6:



Tiana, Louis and Naveen were up ahead! I told my brother we were stopping for a picture and his response was “okay, but who are the people with the crocodile from Peter Pan?” Apparently someone hasn’t seen Princess and the Frog yet!



Naveen kept saying "You're almost there!" No we're not, Naveen. Not by a long shot!

Continuing on through Liberty Square, we found a couple of Haunted Mansion ladies. They were both wearing microphones and were making lots of “all this running is making me DEAD tired”-type puns.





Madame Leota’s tombstone was behind us...cut out of the picture, unfortunately.

Frontierland was up next, and we stopped for a picture with Jessie! Craig was excited for this one.



Up next was Horace Horsecollar! There’s a classic for ya.



After exiting the MK, we came to a backstage area…it was character-palooza!

“Friend Like Me” was blaring from the speakers and I was enjoying singing along!



Hook and Smee:



And this fine trio!



Nice!

Sadly it was time to exit the Magic Kingdom. I couldn’t believe how many characters we’d met…it was great! This is the first time I remember feeling a little worn down…I think all of the starting and stopping took a bit of a toll, but it was completely worth it. That feeling went away pretty quickly and we were back to chugging along.

Mile Marker 7!



Next up was the longest line I’d seen all day next to Mickey and Minnie, and I really, REALLY wanted to wait for it, but decided to pass. I've certainly never seen Gaston out doing meet and greets before, save for others' pictures at the Halloween Party. Over a year later I'm still sad that we didn't wait for this one.



Love the facial expression!

After passing this random gentleman (surely he was switching out with someone…not sure who it was)…



...we came to a little Sleeping Beauty set-up.



This was sort of gross (to me, anyway). While waiting in line for the character photo, people would lay in the bed and have their picture taken. Being covered in my own sweat is one thing…laying in the sweat of a bunch of other people is quite another. Plus, if I laid in that bed, there’s no guarantee that I’d get up. I’ll pass.

Plus, why lay in a bed when you can meet some fairies??



Next up was Golfer Goofy just before mile 8.





Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 04-26-2012 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #36
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of all the possibilities, flora fauna and merriweather are the characters I want to see the most! And Tweedledee and Tweedledum... and Flynn. I really could run for Flynn...
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #37
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of all the possibilities, flora fauna and merriweather are the characters I want to see the most! And Tweedledee and Tweedledum... and Flynn. I really could run for Flynn...
They were a huge surprise! A friend of mine met them in their Spectromagic gear on the Wine & Dine half course this year...so jealous! That's one of my favorite things about these races...gotta love the rare characters.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:16 AM   #38
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I agree about that bed - gross!
The Haunted Mansion lady is pretty cool - we didn't have her this year.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:28 AM   #39
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I agree about that bed - gross!
The Haunted Mansion lady is pretty cool - we didn't have her this year.
A lot of people were pretty excited about the bed photo-op.

The Haunted Mansion ladies were one of the most fun meets we've had on the Disney courses so far. They were hilarious!
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:44 AM   #40
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Day 3: Sunday, February 27, 2011 continued - PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! Miles 9-12

Just beyond mile 8, we found Meeko!



We also passed by the only food station set up on the course, which was handing out Clif gels. I’ve never tried them myself...I just go with Gu because that’s what my local running store carries. I did try Hammer Gel once, and it was disgusting – way too watery for my taste. Anyway, I’ve heard over and over that you should not change any part of your normal routine during race day, and the routine for me is to take Gus. So we bypassed the food station and kept on running. I heard people around me saying that the gel was disgusting, or that it was tasty, or that “it tastes really mocha-y!”

Mile Marker 9 was up next!



Further down I got a nice surprise – the gentlemen that we’d passed up earlier in the morning were still out! This time, we hopped in line.

At this point, I admitted to my brother that I’d been feeling some knee pain. I was starting to get a little worried because it was in the exact same place that had bothered me so much during my last long training run – left IT band. That last training run was scheduled to be a 14-miler, and I was in so much pain that I had to call my husband to come pick me up at 10.5 miles. Luckily I recovered quickly with some ice and rest...whew!

I think the pain on race day was for the same reason as it was during the training run – a lot of those roads on the Disney courses are very sloped. The knee pain was disappointing, because I felt fantastic otherwise – not at all tired, in good cardiovascular shape, and properly fueled and hydrated. Waahhh! Weirdly enough, my brother was having the same issue, also in his left knee. I guess the sloped roads were getting to him, too.

Anyhoo, we got to meet the men! It was sort of funny…Prince Eric asked how I was doing, and I looked down and was incredibly shocked by the amount of make-up he was wearing. Yikes! Anyway, my response was something like “I’ve been better” and he got really concerned and was like “Are you going to make it??” Of course I am, you silly prince! I guess he was being chivalrous?



A little further down, Atta was still waiting for us!



As we moved on from Atta, Craig was starting to really break down. In his own words, he basically "got up off the couch" to run this thing - no training whatsoever - and it was starting to catch up to him. Stupid plan, but looking back I'm sort of impressed that he was able to (SPOILER ALERT) complete the race. An let's be honest, I'm a little jealous...if I hadn't trained for this race, I most likely wouldn't have made it far past the first mile marker.

“I can’t wait for this to be over!” he gasped, “I’ll feel so much better once I see the Epcot ball!”

There it is! Oh no, wait…never mind. Fake out!



Arr! There still be pirates out!



After Mr. Sparrow, some Disney Gents welcomed us to double-digitland.



I could hear someone shouting orders over a loud speaker – it was Sarge! Unfortunately he decided to go hide in his RV right as we approached…darn!



After the RV, we began climbing an on-ramp...boo! A lot of people were really breaking down at this point...us included.

A few stilt walkers welcomed us to mile 11 and I took my last handful of Gu chomps (I also took some around mile 7…I think I forgot to mention that).



After talking with Craig about the knee pain, I’d decided that I wanted to stop at the next med tent to get a little tape job going on. I wasn’t hobbling around or anything, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

The tent didn’t have tape, but they did have a GIGANTIC bottle of Biofreeze.



I slapped a giant blob of the stuff on my knee (I was surprised to see that it was green!)…I’m not sure if it helped, but at least it was something!

After flexing our muscles with Mrs. Incredible…



…it was time to diiiiiiiig a little deeper at mile marker 12!



Craig was majorly hurting at this point and took a walk break every 0.25-0.5 miles…but he perked right up when he saw Mushu! He's a big fan of Mulan.



Spaceship Earth suddenly appeared…we were in the home stretch!



We entered Epcot and I was surprised to hear someone calling my name…it was Will and my mom! I am kicking myself for not getting a picture...it was very exciting to see them out on the course! YAY!

Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 07-12-2012 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:36 PM   #41
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Great trip report! Running in a Disney marathon is on my bucket list. I am hoping to enter one in 2013. I am running in the Flying Pig half marathon (Cincinnati) a week from Sunday.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:43 PM   #42
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I'm really loving your TR! Doing a race like that at Disney is a dream for me - the running part seems impossible! Keep up the great work!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:25 PM   #43
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Really enjoying your report - I'm hoping to run the Princess Half next year so all the info and pictures have been great!
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:20 AM   #44
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Great trip report! Running in a Disney marathon is on my bucket list. I am hoping to enter one in 2013. I am running in the Flying Pig half marathon (Cincinnati) a week from Sunday.
Thanks! Ooh...the Pig. I've been looking into doing that one some day. Good luck!!

You should totally do a Disney race at some point! Racing in general is fun, I think, but Disney takes it to a whole different level.

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I'm really loving your TR! Doing a race like that at Disney is a dream for me - the running part seems impossible! Keep up the great work!
Thank you! If you really want to, you should go for it. I never thought I would be a runner, but I started in 2008 and haven't looked back. The key for me is having races to train for and sticking to training plans. And let's face it, most often I'm motivated by the promise of a nice, shiny medal at the end. I hope you do a Disney race some day!

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Really enjoying your report - I'm hoping to run the Princess Half next year so all the info and pictures have been great!
Thank you! I hope you get to run the Princess Half...it was SO much fun. I'd love to do it again at some point.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:34 AM   #45
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Day 3: Sunday, February 27, 2011 continued - PRINCESS HALF MARATHON! Finish Line and Post-Race

We began to make the loop around Future World. Our first stop was for a picture with Phineas and Ferb:



You can kind of tell from the way my brother is standing that he’s hurting He was looking for any excuse to stop at this point. P&F isn’t one I’d normally stop for, but I felt bad that he felt so crappy, so why not? Plus, he’d come around earlier to all of my character photos, so it was time to repay the favor.

We got to the turn around point and stopped for a picture with Duffy (again, not one I’d normally stop for).



On our way out of Epcot, we passed a gospel choir…



…just before mile marker 13!



The finish line was in site! But first…

A picture with a Goof…



...and some ducks! By far my favorite picture of the race!



I sprinted across the finish line, and just like that, it was over. We were half marathoners!





The end of the race was bittersweet for me. I was glad and incredibly proud to be done, but sort of sad that it was over at the same time. I’ve never had so much fun, and smiled so much, during a race.

After being adorned with our hard-earned bling we made our way through the finisher’s chute.

So here’s something sort of funny…this is a photo of my Garmin after the race:



(Yes, 13.19 miles...that's what happens when you weave around people in the earlier miles!)

I have it set to Auto Pause – when I stop moving, the Garmin stops timing. I think its actual use is for being stopped at red lights, but in my case, it had stopped every time I stopped to take a picture of a mile marker or get a character photo. Both of our chip times were 3:02:52 (exactly the same!), so our actual time spent running was 2:34. By my count we added almost 30 minutes to our time by stopping for photos! Totally worth it. Even funnier - I ran a half marathon at home 3 months later with no photos, just running...my time? 2:34. Right on the money! That's my current non-Disney half PR (Personal Record), and I'm hoping to break it in a few weeks!

Anyhoo, we found ourselves back in the staging area where we'd camped out that morning before the race began. There was a pretty nice spread of post-race goodies laid out for the runners: Powerade, water, bananas, oranges, muffins and Luna bars. One thing I had learned during training is that I needed to eat almost IMMEDIATELY after long runs. Consequences (nausea, shakiness, general misery, etc.) would be dire otherwise. That seems to have changed this year though.

Banana to the rescue!



After inhaling my banana, I checked the official merchandise tent for the coffee mug I’d been eyeing at the expo (they didn’t have it ) and met up with Will pretty quickly…cell phones are a beautiful thing. My mom wasn’t with him – apparently they saw me during the race, but somehow had not seen Craig, even though he was right behind me. I guess my mom assumed I'd ditched the bro along the way and that he was far back behind me, so she was still waiting to see him on the course. In reality he was sitting here on the ground, stuffing his face.

While we waited for her to find us, I scanned the staging area in search of a med tent. My knee actually felt pretty good, (whew) but I knew I should probably get some ice on it, just to be safe. This was one of my gripes with the finisher area – where they were keeping the ice was not very well advertised, which seemed like sort of an oversight to me. Will mentioned that he saw people walking around with ice bags, so I just decided to find someone with one and ask where they got it. Turns out the ice was hiding in the tent marked INFORMATION. Hmm. Marking it as the MED TENT would have been a bit more helpful.

Knee iced, I roused Princess C. from the concrete to get a photo!



Mom found us!





Princesses were out meeting and greeting runners in front of their castle screens (the ones we’d taken photos in front of about 5 hours earlier), but the lines were HUGE. I saw Jasmine and Ariel, but not the other two. We decided to pack it in and grab a bus back to Riverside. We got one right away and headed back to the resort.

Continued in Next Post

Last edited by Ariel484; 04-26-2012 at 07:39 AM.
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