Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon!

“Never Again.” Those are the words I muttered upon crossing the finish line on Sunday morning shortly after 8:00am when I finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I was in more physical pain than I have ever been in. I think it was worse than child birth – mainly because I had an epidural during child birth, and there is no such thing as an epidural for marathon runners. HA! Will I ever do it again? I really can’t be sure. It was a great experience. Definitely a painful one. But looking back on it now, when the pain has passed, there is a slight chance I may do it again. Slight! :)

What was great about the Half Marathon was that it allowed my three sister-in-laws and I to spend some girl time together. Something that we never get to do since we don’t all live near one another. We spent Friday night together having dinner out in Tampa. Then Saturday afternoon we drove over to Orlando together. We had quick potty stop at Target on the way, which turned into a 30 minute, fun shopping adventure. We finally made it to our hotel, only to find out that our hotel didn’t provide transportation to the race on Sunday morning. SO, they transferred us to the Saratoga Springs Resort for free because it was their mistake. For the inconvenience of having to transfer hotels, Saratoga Springs then gave us over $100 on a gift card so we could have a nice pre-race dinner on them. NICE! Our dinner was DELICIOUS!!! One of the best pasta meals I have ever had – with shrimp and salmon. My kind of meal! After dinner we headed back to our hotel and we were in bed shortly after 10pm so we could wake up at 3:15am (which ended up being more like 3:37am to be exact) to get dressed and on the bus by 3:50am to make it over to Epcot for the start of the race. It was an EARLY morning for sure!!

We got dropped off around 4:40am. The traffic was horrific! And then it was another 30 minute walk to our corrals for the start of the race. Rebecca in corral B, Missy in corral H, and I was in corral D. When I entered my corral, I weaved my way to the very front. It was a great feeling to actually be standing on the start line when the fireworks went off for my corral to start. My corral started at 6:03 on the dot. Right on time. My first mile was awesome. I felt great – running an 8.49 pace. I was wearing a wrist band pacer to finish in 2 hours flat. I was ahead of schedule and was so excited about that! About a mile and a half in, I had caught up to the corral ahead of me. There were TONS of walkers already on the road. Mile, 2, 3, and 4 I spent a lot of time weaving around people. I ran on the grass quite a bit during those miles just trying not to get stuck behind slower runners. By the time I hit mile 5, the road opened up a bit, the sun was now shining (behind a few rain clouds), and I was still feeling great. I was about a minute behind schedule for my two hour finish time. Shortly after mile 6 we entered Magic Kingdom. This was probably my favorite part of the race. We spent a full mile running through Magic Kingdom and even ran through the castle. There were lots of spectators cheering us on and that felt great!

When I hit the half way point, I could feel my body getting tired. I started slowing and my watch told me that. As I looked at my two hour pacer next to my watch, I started noticing that I’d be a minute and 30 seconds too slow, then it was two minutes too slow, then three, then four. By mile 9 I was about five minutes slower than my pacer said. How in the world I lost five minutes was beyond me. But my body was hurting!! There was a water station right after the 9 mile marker and I walked through it. I had to give myself a little pep talk and make my legs run again. When I got to mile 10, there was another water station. I walked through that one too, plus another 50 feet. I SO wanted to be done. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, my lower back hurt. I just HURT! I remember thinking that it was only 3 more miles. Just a 5K. Piece of cake. HA! When I hit mile 11, I was a full mile behind schedule according to my two hour pacer. I was at 1.49. The exact time I should have been at mile 12. oops! Two miles left. Just two miles, I told myself. Then, a hill came. I walked it. Ya’ll, I limped it. EVERYTHING hurt. Shortly after mile 12, we entered Epcot. We were almost finished. There were people everywhere cheering us on. I picked up the pace. It actually felt better to run faster than slower. Imagine that?! As I was rounding the final corner before the finish line, a choir was getting into place. The kind of choir from the movie, Sister Act. As I was approaching them, they started signing with full force, “Joyful, joyful, Lord we adore thee. God of Glory. Lord of love…” I smiled with joy in my heart and thanked the Lord for that bit of encouragement. I needed that. I picked up the pace even more and finally crossed that finish line at 2 hours, 10 minutes. It mentally felt good to be done, but I was in so much physical pain, I can’t even describe it. I could barely walk, seriously. My right groin hurt so bad that if you were watching me walk, it looked like I had a peg leg. HA! I hobbled over to get my medal, some water, powerade, and my picture taken. I wonder what that picture looks like. I probably look like death!

I finally made it over to where I checked my bag before the race and called my SIL, Jamie, who was a spectator. She came to meet me to wait for the rest of our SIL’s to finish. I texted Dave to let him know I was done. It even hurt to talk. .. As we waited, it got colder and colder. And my body hurt more and more. Rebecca and Missy finished and we snapped a few pictures before we boarded the bus back to our hotel.


Missy was pretending that she was dying. HAHA!



Rebecca, me, Missy



13.1 and DONE!!!



And, here is one of us with Jamie – our personal cheerleader!


It felt incredible to SIT DOWN in the warm bus. What felt even better was the hot tub at our hotel!! We spent about 40 minutes sitting in there. I was so thankful for that. And, I spent the entire rest of the day limping everywhere I went. Whew! Is this what Half Marathons always feel like?! I felt great after my 15K a few weeks ago. What happens between mile 9.3 and mile 13.1? The answer to that question could probably be training. I trained pretty decently up to 9 miles. I only ran a 10 mille run once before the race. And, I pretty much took 5 days off from running before the big day. Not intentionally, but it’s just how it happened. That could have something to do with it. Either way, I can now check “Run a Half Marathon” off the bucket list. I can GUARANTEE you that I will NEVER run a full marathon. EVER!!! I think for now, I’ll stick with 15K races as my max. That is until next year, when I’ve forgotten about all the pain, and I get suckered into this race again. HA! My excellent runner of a hubby will just have to run with me next time (in his tutu) to push me through those tough moments!!

Happy running, to all you runners out there! :) You are my inspiration!


Laura said...

NICE JOB!!! :) You guys rock! Thanks for the play-by-play- I only hope I can run as fast as you did!!!

Surrounded-By-Boys said...

I have always wanted to run the 5K there! Congratulations on your half-marathon!

Carrie said...

Good for you, Danielle! You're my hero :)