I finished my first half marathon! I am so glad that I chose the Disney Princess Half Marathon to be my first, what an awesome experience. The encouragement you receive along the way from Disney cast members and fellow runners/walker's is just amazing. It honestly did not feel like 13.1 miles, the time went by so fast and there was so much to see and take in. I can't wait for next years Princess Half but until then here's the run down on this years race.
Saturday, March 6th; we arrived in Orlando and headed straight to the Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo at the Wide World of Sports. I was able to walk right up and get my bib and then headed to another table to get my goodie bag. Total time was about 10 minutes. Not bad at all. It was crowded but not too bad, mostly people browsing the vendors and checking out Disney merchandise. I stopped by Sparkle Skirts and got a pre-race hug from Leah (she had just run the 26.2 with Donna 2 weeks prior!) then headed to Run Happy and purchased a cute running shirt. After that it was off to check into Port Orleans Riverside and meet up with the DIS Wish ladies. Gulped down dinner with the hubby and kiddo's, talked the kiddo's out of swimming in the cold (o.k. we used bribery, McDonald's milkshakes always work), headed to our room and finally hit the pillow around 10ish.
Sunday, March 7th; alarm goes off at 3am!!! I actually get up. I can't believe that I'm up this early to go run 13.1 miles in the dark. I see my tiara and Team Sparkle skirt and I'm excited, I can do this! I did my hair and make-up, yes you read it right I did my make-up. It is a Princess run after all, a girl has to look pretty when she crosses the finish line. It's now 3:45! I need to make it to the bus by 4am so I grab my stuff, kiss the hubby and kids goodbye and off I go. I arrive at the bus stop on time only to have to wait in the cold for 25 minutes! It is very hard to eat a banana when your teeth are chattering. Several buses go by.... what the heck! Finally an empty bus stops, fills up before I make it to the front and drives off leaving me and several others still waiting in the cold. We can see the start area from where we are standing and consider jumping the fence, walking through the woods, and building a human bridge to cross the water canal but decide to just wait for another bus to show up. 10 minutes goes by and then score! I make it on the warm bus and I'm on way to Epcot to do some more waiting in the cold. I arrive but have no idea were I'm going so I just follow everyone else. I make it to some port-a-potties and decide I better not take my chances so like 100's of others I stand in line to pee. I also take this time to eat my bagel and peanut butter, who knew I could multitask this early in the morning. Once done I wonder around again trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do and see people walking towards white tents so I follow. It's bag check and once I go through there I'm on the long walk to the corrals, no turning back! It's dark, it's cold, did I mention it was COLD? I'm really mad at myself for not bringing gloves, a scarf, and a heavier jacket. I live in Florida people this is just not right. I can see the corrals ahead and hear the music coming from the stage, it's real now. I find my corral way, way, way in back and meet up with my running buddy Missy (quick note, we had only met the night before and only emailed back and forth before that so we were basically strangers running our first half together). She looks really nervous but happy to see me and we are both relieved that we found each other in this big crowd of people. We snap some pictures and as we slowly make our way to the starting line we can't help but giggle and smile. We are really here, we are really doing this! The fireworks go off and it's our turn!!! We're laughing through chattering teeth, snapping pictures, and taking it all in......
Mile 1 - 2 my hands are freezing so when someone throws down their gloves Missy doesn't waste a minute and picks them up for me!! Thank you girl!!! I now have warm hands but I can't help but think "I hope this person doesn't have any cooties."
Mile 3 and we are still feeling good! We can see the Magic Kingdom ahead of us and on the sidelines they're playing Disco Inferno. We sing and keep going. This is awesome! We then see some "real" bathrooms and decide we better go now. There's a few people in front of us but not bad and it beats running off onto the side of the road. We're getting hot so we ditch our outer layer and head off!
Mile 4 through 7 is mostly MK (I think) and goes by fast! We are headed down Main Street!!!!! We can see the castle just ahead! As we reach the castle we see Missy's hubby Mike and he takes some pictures of us in front of the castle and we are off again! Running into Tomorrow Land was so cool, we grinned like little kids and gave each other high 5's! We are stopping a lot to take pictures but neither one of us cares because we are having the time of our lives. We suck down a GU somewhere in MK and keep going. We start to head out of MK and back onto the main road on our way to Epcot and the Finish line!
Mile 8 through 12 is a little more challenging because it's just a long flat road. Disney does it's best to have entertainment and cheering along the road but you can see that some are getting tired. We see those darn bikes go by with orange flags and they tell us we are ok but those that don't make it to the 8.2 check point by a certain time will be picked up by the "bus"!!!! We put a little more pep in our step so we can have a little cushion on the last couple miles. We get some Powerade and suck down another GU. We encourage each other on and know we are close to the finish. Miles 10, 11 and 12 have some ramps but we push through it.
Mile 13!!!! We are almost there!!!! The last mile is lined with yellow cones and I can't help but think of the Wizard of Oz. We can see the Epcot ball! Yahoo!!! We enter Epcot, we are sooooo close. After a while we see the 13 mile marker!!! We can hear all the families and friends cheering on those that are crossing the finish line and we keep going. Just as I can see the Finish line I hear my friends Debbie, Joy, and Alison call my name and cheer me on!! They drove down just to see me cross that finish line, 30 seconds and it was over. What great friends! As we pass them I can see my hubby and kids further down!!! It feels so good to cross the finish line. Missy and I get our bling medal and then go down the line and get some bagels, mini Luna bars, bananas, oranges, pineapple cups, and water. Head out the exit to meet our families and take more pictures!
I started out the race with a stranger but ended the race with a friend for life. That's what running is about for me. Running changes your life. It helps you see that anything is possible, that you are capable of doing whatever you want when you put your mind to it, and it changes you from the inside out! I never in my life thought I would be running a half marathon! If you had asked me a little over a year ago to run I would of told you "no way" I don't do that. I don't know why I decided to try it, maybe after years of being asked by my husband to run with him I figured I would show him I could, lol. I started out with baby steps. I walked and walked and then finally ran. I'm not a fast runner and in some peoples eyes I may not even be a runner but in my heart I know I'm a runner girl, mom, diva, princess............ The End.