Saturday, May 4, 2013

runDisney Princess Half Marathon 2013!

 I finally completed the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge. It was the most wonderful experience I've ever had and I was able to cross off some things on my Bucket List.

If you've read my previous posts you'll know that we were in Disneyworld for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. It was a very special year for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon, it was their 5 year anniversary, I love that they designed a special medal just for that and that all the commemorative items had the years on them (2009-2013).

 The half marathon was on a Sunday and because I had a bad experience and almost missed the start time for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon 5 weeks earlier, I had set my alarm to 3:00AM, 3:05AM and 3:10AM, just to be sure. I had actually had a dream the night before that I woke up an hour after the start time and rushed there and what not, so I wanted to make sure I would wake up on time. I got hardly any sleep, in fact I was up about 10 minutes before the first alarm would have gone off anyway. I had set up all my running gear and costume the night before again and just got ready and off I went. The hotel had a special gathering to wait for the bus for all the runners in front. There were already a bunch of people there when I got there. I do have to be honest and say that they did not have the pickups scheduled very well. We stayed at the All-Star Movie Resort, this is a third hotel in the All-Star Resorts, all the buses that were sent to pick up the runners kept filling up at the first two resorts so none of them made it to us. We waited for what seemed forever, at least 45 minutes, finally there was a cast member who called the bus driver directly and asked them to come directly to the Movie Resort and then we got onboard and off we went, I felt bad because it did not fit all the runners, so others had to wait even longer.

Once we got to Epcot the walk was faily close to the bathrooms and water station before the starting line. Then it was about a 10 minute walk to my corral, I was again in corral "A" and this time since I had more time and there weren't that many people in my corral, I was able to go to the very front of the starting line. Maybe this sounds weird, but it was a really cool feeling to be right there with all the Elite runners and the stage was right next to it, rather than seeing it on the big screen.

Sean Astin was just hanging out there while waiting for his interview, and I yelled out "Sean can I get a picture with you" and he said that he had to finish something and that he was going to be back, I figured that was never going to happen, but it did, he finished his interview and came back looking for me, so I got a picture with him and another girl right next to me got one too and then he left. I was so lucky and it was so sweet of him to do that. Ali Vincent, the first biggest loser female winner was there as well, she was so nice and talked to all of us and took ton of pictures.

I waited for about an hour or so and then it was time to start. All the Elite runners lined up in front of the ribbon and we all got to stay behind it, there were about 10 of them or so. Once the fireworks went off we were ready to run, at first I tried to keep up with all the people in the front, but I soon realized that wasn't gonna happen, so I slowed down my pace to make sure I can finish the race. It started out on the freeway and at 5:00AM it was already so hot and humid, which I was not used to being from Seattle and all. About 5 miles in I saw the sign for Magic Kingdom, it made me smile and pick up my pace just a tad. The first characters we came to was all the villans, there were about 7 of them or so, the queen from Snow White, Kruella from 101 Dalmatians, the mean sisters and the Mom from Cinderella. I had to stop for them since there were so many of them then came Lightning McQeen, this one was for my son and then we entered Magic Kingdom. It was still dark and Main Street and Cinderellas Castle were all lit up, tons of people cheering on. I was able to get a couple of pictures in front of the castle and there were a couple of very nice EMT guys who took my picture on the side of the castle, as we ran through Tomorrow Land and Fantasy Land and Frontier Land, that's where I saw Jesse from Toy Story, had a get a picture with her. then it was the castle, the line for Minnie and Mickey was sooooo long, but I had to wait, I could not, not get a picture with them at the Castle. The girl behind me took a picture of me and the back of the castle and finally I got a couple of pictures with Queen Minnie and King Mickey and off I went. Tons of photographers were right outside of the castle and then we started making our way back to Epcot.

At around mile 8 is when the heat and humidity started getting to me and my mind was playing games with me and I kept telling myself that I've done this before, no problem, I'm almost there, now I just need get back to Epcot and I'll be good to go. Then I heard the song on the loudspeakers by Alicia Keys "This Girl is on Fire" on repeat, and they had a fire truck and fire fighters out there cheering us on. There was something about that song that just gave me new energy to keep going. Every since then that has been my go to song for my runs and every time it comes on it makes me want to be faster and keep going stronger.

Right before mile 11 hit, it was all uphill and this was tough, at this point I saw Jeff Galoway right in front of me, I was trying to keep pace with him, but man is he fast, his walk-run-walk program works, I'm thinking about trying it out, because I was so exhausted by that time that I could not keep up with him. Granted his is an Olympic Gold Medalist, but I thought I had an age advantage which apparently ment nothing :) Finally I saw the Epcot ball and I knew I was almost at the finish line. I heard them announce that Sean Astin finished and I told myself to just finish it and then its all over with. It felt so good to finally cross the finish line, I could not even remember if there were characters at the finish line, I just wanted to finish.

This was by far the hardest race that I've ran, I think the heat and humidity had everything to do with it. The course and the characters where amazing, but when you are coming from a cold rainy Seattle winter to a hot humid Orlando winter, it makes a huge difference in how you perform.

I had my Tinkerbell Half Marathon medal in my running fanny pack during the run, so when I finished I put it on with my Princess Half Marathon medal and then I went on to finally get my Coast-to-Coast medal. When they were cutting off my wrist band, I asked them if I could keep it to put in my scrapbook, they wouldn't let me, so I asked it I can at least just keep the part where it says Coast-to-Coast challenge and they cut it out for me and let me keep it!!! RunDisney is the best, they really do an amazing job putting these events together. I'm hoping to do a lot more of them in the future. They are far for me and expensive as well, but a girl can hope, right?

If you were there, let me know what you thoughts were about the race below!!!


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