2 days down - 1 to go. Set the alarm for 2:20 but I was up at 1:56 AM - well might as well get this party started! Mom and Dad didn't have to be up for another couple of hours to make their way to Magic Kingdom to cheer so I tried to be as quiet as I could as I got dressed. I am a BIG believer in never wearing anything brand new on race day (last year I even braved taking my Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday tutu skirt out for a run around my neighborhood) but there is one piece of clothing I will break this rule for - SparkleSkirts! Having sold a skirt I didn't wear very much, I bought myself a new skirt and wore it for the half with my team shirt (which I washed from the day before). After getting dressed, I grabbed all my gear and was on my way out the door by 2:45. I am very superstitious about getting on anything later than the first or second bus to the start line and apparently I'm not the only one as there were already about 12 Princesses on the bus including my new friend, Bev who I had ridden the bus with marathon weekend too! To my surprise, the bus didn't wait around and even though the bus was only about 1/3 loaded we were on our way! A few days before I posted about how a year ago I woke up the night before the Princess half with a bad case of the nerves. This year I was just excited to go and ready to do this!
Getting there so early meant a lot of standing around until my teammates showed up but one by one they started to come. Hey! Even George was on time for the team picture! By the end it was getting pretty uncomfortable as our meeting spot is RIGHT next to the port-a-potties and several thousand princesses lined up to use them right before go time so we were getting a little cramped! Again, we were meeting in the reunion lot. Half marathon day is again different as we gather in what for the previous two days has been the reunion lot then head through the bag check tent and walk to the start line.
As usual, we stood around, talked, laughed and took pictures until it was time to go. Around 4:45 we snapped our usual team picture, wished each other luck and then we we were off....for the 20 minute walk to the corrals.
The best part of being on a team is always having someone around - walking to the corrals is DEFINITELY one of these times I am grateful for my teammates. I made the long walk with Kim until we split off when she headed to corral and I made one last stop at the famous and never ending portapotties. Port-a-potties at RunDisney races are always an interesting experience but this time someone decided to move them back to make more line up room so now they are sitting on the side of a hill! Yay! In addition, someone forgot to put extra TP in the stalls so people stopped using those causing this potty stop to take longer!
But timing is everything! I finally was able to go and as I started heading to my corral I ran into Suzi! We had talked about meeting up but with some 20,000 odd runners it probably wasn't going to happen. Amazingly I looked up and there she is looking beautiful in her Belle costume! I was so excited to have someone to line up with. But the fun didn't stop there - right next to us were Mike and Michelle, hosts of the Mikey Miles Podcast! 1500 people in our corral and I manage to find 3 friends! Amazing!
Before we knew it we were moving closer and closer to the start line and with a blast of fire works it was our turn to go! I wished my friends good luck and we were off! It was REALLY humid but I was feeling good! Especially when I passed the 2:45 pacer for Corral H where I started and was quickly closing in on the 2:45 pacer for corral G! A few minutes later we heard the fireworks go off for the next corral and of course someone had to make the "GUNSHOTS! Everybody down!" joke! As we continued a long, I noticed a lot fewer costumes than the day before - I think the heat REALLY got to a lot of people.
The miles were zooming by, helped by the characters (Captain Jack and Barbossa at Mile 2, Villains heading into Magic Kingdom parking lot) but the crazy fog defintely made for an interesting experience. The Magic Kingdom toll both - we were nearly right up against it before we could really see.
Around mile 4 we hit my dreaded "Contemporary Hill from Hell". I took the opportunity to slow down and text my family to let them know I was heading toward the Magic Kingdom.
I'm glad I did this later, as I found out that the texts from RunDisney came later and all in a big lump so my trackers weren't sure where I was. Mile 5 - time to enter the Magic Kingdom! I had preset another text to send to Mom that I sent just inside the gates that said "OKay I'm coming!" so they would see me on Main Street.
As we entered Main Street, for some reason EVERYONE shifted right and I stayed left, which was perfect because my personal cheerleaders were on the left hand side. Stopped for a quick hug and then I was off. What a strange experience - we were running down Main Street but there was no castle - completely hidden by fog! I felt kind of bad for the first time Princesses who signed up for this race looking forward to running down Main Street looking at the castle - except it was like the beginning of Despicable Me...looked like someone stole the castle! LOL! But we still got to run THROUGH the castle!
Running through the Magic Kingdom was awesome as always and soon we were back out on the road again for the IMO very boring miles 7-10. Mary Poppins, Bert and the penguin were out by Grand Floridian, Let It Go blasting at the half way point, Lilo and Stitch out near the golf course but pretty low key. But no Elsa, Ann, or Olaf! :(
I thought I felt a blister starting at Mile 8 so I took my shoe off and straightened everything out but after that,I was feeling pretty good and I was keeping consistent walking through all the water stops and drinking water and/or Powerade at each one. (PS - RunDisney volunteers are awesome!)
Next up - big evil overpasses and we encountered Sarge at the top of the hill. Maybe I'll make that a future RunDisney goal. Forget PR's - have enough energy to give Sarge a few pushups!
Mile 10 I slowed down to text my family and friends and let them know where I was - and of course look over the side of the overpass and see ALLLL the people behind me (which wasn't easy with the still crazy fog!).
Mile 11 1/2 ish I looked ahead and saw the only other WDWRadio Running Team shirt I had seen so far. I put a little speed on and caught up to her and made a new running friend in Liz! We hung together, stopping off around mile 12 so say hi (and sweaty hug) our friends and favorite cheerleaders Lou, Deanna, Marion and Nicolas Mongello before we headed for our last mile.
Into EPCOT, around the the loop between Future World and World Showcase (fog still so crazy we couldn't see the American Pavillion across the lake!), backstage to say hi to the gospel choir and on to the finish line!
I like to run what I call "Forrest Gump style" - no watch to keep track of my pace I just run so I wasn't quite sure I was at but I did now that when I finished in January the gun time was 3:01. In hopes of beating that I took off for the finish line, finishing when the clock read 2:59:52. Unfortunately my finish time was 2:38:01. 8 minutes slower than my PR but with the humidity I am REALLY happy with my time!
I grabbed my medal and then it was off to the Glass Slipper Challenge tent to pick up my shiny Glass Slipper medal. I did it! 22.4 miles over 3 days! (Actually the Glass Slipper Challenge was only the 10k and the half - 19.3 miles but I had to go ahead and do the extra 3.1 miles! ;) )
I got to see my friend Beatrice again handing out the little Princess weekend drawstring backpacks too! I love that RunDisney gave these out at the end of the race instead of at expo because I had something to put my Powerade, snackbox and banana in. Another great thing RunDisney did at the end of this race was hand out little cooling towels which was a nice surprise after a long sweaty run!
After the half my legs were a little tired but I still felt good. Honestly, the day before after the 10k I had been having a good time I started thinking "Maybe I do want to Goofy next year - maybe I could do it" but after 13.1 miles those thoughts were over. But I'll admit, after a couple of days of recovery I'm still deciding what I'll do for marathon weekend next year. Dopey? Probably not. Goofy? Maybe....I'm still scared to death of a full marathon and doing my first full the day after a half probably isn't the smartest thing, BUT its an anniversary year and that medal will be AWESOME. *sigh* I'm such a bling junkie! But don't hold me to that! LOL
But I do know one thing - I will be there for marathon weekend in some form or another! But next up Wine and Dine in November....now to figure out how to keep myself motivated for the next 8 months.