Greetings from somewhere between 0 feet and cruising altitude. (Which is where I was when I wrote this yesterday.)
I am absolutely terrified of flying and usually take a Xanax to relax myself a bit, but I think Mickey stole them, and I was a little too dehydrated to consider an airport drink, so I tried a few new things to distract myself while taking off.
Timing how long it takes to get from the pilot stepping on the gas (or whatever he does to get it from just rolling down the runway to hurtling hundreds of thousands of tons of aluminum and humans into the air) to wheels up: exactly 40 seconds.
Timing how long it takes from takeoff to “your use of approved electronic devices is now permitted”: 5 minutes. This one was especially shocking, as that always feels like an eternity.
But I digress.
Yesterday morning started ridiculously early. My alarm went off at 3:05 (and then 3:10, and then 3:13) and I got right out of bed, for fear of the bus leaving without me. I met Meghann and Callie in the lobby at 3:40, and we got right on the bus and were off to Epcot. Saturday’s bus ride was really chatty, but I’m pretty sure none of us could string together a coherent thought yesterday. By about 4:15, we were at Epcot and ready to begin the trek from the buses to the race retreat.
It was chilly for what we were wearing, and we were exhausted, so we were dying to get to the race retreat. We barely talked while walking there, until Meghann started chanting “Race retreat. Race retreat.” We had our eye on the prize.
Ahem. That’s runners to you.
Nothing like a big ball in the morning.
RACE RETREAT! Aka runner’s paradise. A pass to this tent normally costs $99, which I would probably never spend, but Disney gave us free access as media. Disney, I love you.
Inside the retreat, they had lots of food for us, including bagels and bananas, which, it just so happens, are two of my favorite foods. I knew there was a reason I ran.
I don’t usually do bagels before races and knew I probably shouldn’t change things up…but I just couldn’t resist the bagel, so I had a half with butter and a banana. I also had a few sips of hot chocolate, since I was still a little chilly and knew coffee was a TERRIBLE idea for my stomach. That’s one thing I have no interest in ever trying before a race.
They had a massage area, which looked awesome…but only took cash. Fail. I almost always have some cash in my Spibelt, just in case, but I took it out after the 5K for some reason.
Here’s my final Tinkerbell outfit.
Breakdown, just in case you are also a grown-ass adult who enjoys occassionally dressing up like a princess and running for hours at a time.
Tiara: courtesy of Meghann and the RunDisney tweetup. I don’t know how people run in tiaras–I had a headache by about mile 3 and ended up ditching it.
Shirt: Rese Pilates
Arm Warmers: Pearl Izumi (courtesy of Pearl Izumi)
Skirt: Team Sparkle (awesome story–one of the founders, Kelly, put together the skirt before her first marathon. During the race, it was such a hit with other runners that she and the other founder hatched a business plan. They’ve displayed at a few expos, but mostly gotten the word out through social media.)
Shorts: You can’t see them, but they’re under there, since the skirt is just a layer of tulle. I’d never braved the running booty shorts before, and after today, I’m not sure if I will again. They’re Moving Comfort, and I picked them solely based on their price ($30, compared to the $50+ for some of the other ones I saw), and Zappo’s awesome free overnight shipping that let me order them late Wednesday night and have them arrive at my office on Friday afternoon. (Yes, I get booty shorts delivered to work. What of it?)
Anyway, the shorts and my lower half did not get along. From about .25 miles in, to the end, they kept riding up and giving me wedgies. If I could have taken them off in the middle of the course, I would have.
We lined up in Corral B and waited for blastoff from our new buddy, Carissa, the announcer. (She interviewed us yesterday before the 5K, and she’s also a Fitfluential Ambassador.)
We finally crossed the starting line probably around 6am.
The Princess Half is definitely not a race most people run for speed–I asked to be put in Corral B since Meghann and I were planning on running together, and some dude gave her a Corral B sticker, but with our half PRs (1:55 for me, an awesome 1:45 for her), we could have been in the first corral in a 20,000-person race.
Each corral’s start was staggered, and Cinderella’s fairy godmother counted down to the fireworks that released us for each corral.
And we were off! When Meghann and I found out we were both selected for this a few weeks ago, we immediately gchatted each other to discuss and decided to run together and run for fun. I do think this is a course you can PR on if you really want to (especially if you run under a 2:00 half), but she’d just PRed, and I’m in no shape to get a half PR right now–so be prepared for tons of pictures ahead. (Or, spoiler alert: I didn’t PR today.)
What? You didn’t see a pirate ship on your run this morning? Weird.
Meghann insisted I keep my tiara on until we got to the princes. Fine.
At our next line for photos, we met Mary, who said she reads both of our blogs, and goes to Crossfit with Tina. Hi Mary! (And hello to all the other readers who stopped Meghann and me to say hi!)
All the badass Disney characters.
So the best part of the race is obviously running through the parks, but you don’t run through them for more than 3-4 miles–most of the race is run on the highways connecting the parks. That part isn’t the most exciting, but they break it up well with the characters so that at least you have something to look at and look forward to.
We ran up Main Street, through Tomorrowland, and then, finally through Cinderella’s Castle.
Like Meghann said, running up Main Street gave me little goosebumps. It was like coming off the Queensboro Bridge and into Manhattan during the NYC Marathon.
Why yes, I did kiss a 9-year-old frog.
Where she was waiting with her prince, obviously.
All the volunteers and spectators were so happy!
This Belle was very nice, and also recognized that I was Tinkerbell, which was appreciated, considering my half-assed costume.
I couldn’t decide which funny face to intentionally make here, so I just ended up making a really weird face while being presented with a glass slipper.
I think we were around mile 10 or so here.
This is the weirdest race recap, because I’ve barely talked about the actual running, since it was pretty much secondary to all the fun stuff to see.
And it sucked. I’m a little undertrained right now, for one, and between Friday and Saturday nights, I got 8 hours of sleep–not exactly setting me up for a good run. Also, all the stopping and starting for pictures was really hard–my legs were dying every time we started back up again. Our splits are pretty hilarious–the miles we didn’t stop for pictures were all between 9-9:20, but the miles where we stopped for pictures were around 14-15 minute miles.
Not even a fairy godmother could help my booty shorts from creeping up my legs.
As we entered the home stretch, this awesome choir came up on our right singing and dancing and clapping. I remember this from the first time around, and I remember how happy I was at this point that I was about to finish my first half marathon. I can’t believe this is the ninth one I’ve done since then!
Fairy dust totally helps with recovery. It’s a proven fact.
We did it! In total cheeseball fashion, we also held hands as we ran across the finish line.
Once we finished, we headed back to the race retreat. As we were leaving the first time around, we smelled bacon cooking and hoped it was for our tent.
Yes, there was bacon, but we also each got a free ticket for a mimosa as we walked in. Clearly this is my kind of race.
I ended up going for eggs (which were actually really good for buffet eggs), bacon, fruit and some amazing potato wedges. The muffin tasted too sugary, so I only picked at it.
They also gave us flip-flops in the race retreat, which was even nicer a perk than the mimoas. I’m always dying to get out of my sneakers after a long race, but rarely check a bag so can’t usually get into my flip-flops.
It was such a fun experience, and I’m so glad Disney helped me be a part of it and that Meghann and I were able to run together.
Oh, you want to know my time? 2:30–with multiple photo stops, still seven minutes faster than my first half here two years ago!