Yep, that’s right. 3 am. I wasn’t kidding. Don’t we look chipper?In a way, I was thankful for the early start. After Chicago, I bitched incessantly about how ridiculous it is to start a race later when you have weather to contend with. I would much rather get up early for good weather than sleep an extra hour or two and get stuck in the heat!
Plus, I didn’t really sleep anyway. Nerves, sharing a bed with my sister who kept throwing blankets on me, and screaming kids at the pool all contributed to this.
Anyway, we got ready and were off. I had a bagel with peanut butter since it worked so well for my last long run. We shared a taxi to the starting line and made it there with plenty of time to spare!
I then discovered the best thing to ever come out of a port-a-potty…my friend Brooke!
Brooke (or Brookie Jay) and I went to college together–we were sorority sisters! She’s now in dental school in DC and I haven’t seen her in years. I ran into her literally coming out of the port-a-potty. So random! It was her first half and she totally rocked.
My sister and I split up because we were in different corrals. Somehow, my 2:13 from last April put me in corral B, but my sister’s 2:33 had her in C. We had very different goals for the race anyway–she wanted to PR by a lot, I didn’t really know what I wanted other than a good race.
I also ran into two Internet friends while chilling at the start of the corral! Hi Caryn and Mercy (and Mr. Mercy)! It was great to meet you!
At the start, our fairy godmother saw us off and there were some fun fireworks.
The first two miles were pretty crowded and dark. The sun didn’t start rising until mile 6 or so, which was kind of a blessing in disguise because I couldn’t stare at my Garmin and freak out about pace.
I was also the freak who talked to people just for fun. I’m one of those chatty assholes on courses. Sorry.
Miles 1-4 were pretty uneventful other than the on-course entertainment. We saw Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship and a giant Epcot ball balloon and some cute, yawning Japanese drumming kids. I felt good, and strong, once I got going, even though I had no idea what my pace was.
I got all teary when I turned the corner onto Main Street USA. I started this blog a year and a half ago, and wanted to list my goals for the heck of it, and threw on "run a race at Disney" because it sounded like so much fun, but I had no idea how I’d do it, since at the time I hadn’t even run one race. And here I was!
Dreams really do come true at Disney.
Anyway, we ran through Tomorrowland and Frontierland! Fun!
Anyway (sniff), the Magic Kingdom was the most baller part of the course. Great scenery, and lots of fans and characters to take pictures with! There were lines at every character for pictures, but I managed to get some good drive-bys.
- You’re halfway there. You can run another 6.5 miles no problem.
- Hey, remember how you pooped out mentally at mile 7 of the Rock n’ Roll Chicago half, and physically at mile 20 of the Chicago Marathon? Remember that regret afterwards for not pushing harder? You have a choice to make, Brie. Don’t puss out.
- You feel really good right now. Yes, this is hard, but half marathons are kind of supposed to be hard.
- You are a well-trained runner. Act like one.
I decided to make one goal: finish without walking. In all my previous halves and my full, I’ve walked some–through aid stations, or when I broke down, or when it got hard. I had my handheld full of Gatorade and had plenty of Gu if I needed it, so I could fly through the aid stations. I knew that if I walked, it would all go to hell from there.
So, at mile 7, I chose to finish strong and run a race I could be proud of.
Miles 7 through 10 were probably the hardest part of the course for me. We were running into full sun and there wasn’t much crowd support, though I did see Belle, Pocahontas and several other characters. And also the Disney fire department hotties dancing like Chippendales in pit-sweaty t-shirts.
Once mile 10 hit, I knew I could do it! There were some steep onramps to climb, but I honestly enjoyed the change in grade. It kept things from getting boring, and hey, uphills mean downhills, right?
For the last 3.1 miles, I just ticked away the distance left on my Garmin and kept chugging along. I also experienced some really strong cravings…specifically, an ice cold Diet Coke, a hot dog, a cold shower, beer, and a pedicure. Every time I thought, "it’s hot," I thought about Mile 20 of the Chicago Marathon and shut my mental piehole.
I gave it a little kick when we entered Epcot and finished strong, proud, and feeling great.
Final time? 2:22:08.
Not a PR, but BY FAR the strongest race, mentally and physically, I’ve ever had.
A few random observations:
- I didn’t have a training plan for this race, beyond a general "add a mile to your long run every week, take a stepback week if you need it, skip the junk miles" thing. I cross trained on the elliptical and by doing workout DVDs and I lifted some weights. I loved this plan, it worked, and I had zero mental burnout. I plan to keep this up for my next half in two weeks.
- On a whim, I skipped Gu altogether this race. I didn’t need it on my 11 miler and did fine. I drank Gatorade the entire race and felt great–no tummy issues like I sometimes have with Gu. Again, going to stick with this!
- Ohmygosh I need new shoes. I have a new pair calling my name that need to be broken in! I considered leaving my old shoes in the garbage in Florida, but figured I’d being them home to donate at least.
- War wounds: second toes on both feet are black (again) with blisters on them (again). I’m interested to see if this stops in my new, half size larger shoes.
- Running in a tutu wasn’t bad, but it got stuck in my crotch quite a bit, and made getting in and out of my SPIbelt tricky. Also, the tiara needed some bobby pins, because I had to adjust every mile.
- Losing weight has helped me feel more confident about my running. It’s just 10 pounds, but I kind of feel more, "hey, if you think I’m slow, fuck you" than chip-on-shoulderish than before.
After the race, I got glittered and medaled and waited for my sister at the runner reunite area. She was in tears because of foot pain, but PRed with a 2:29:32!
Also, because I was mad about the crappy expo with no freebies (nothing in the bag but ads and a piddly mini Luna bar! Lame!) I stole 4 Luna Protein bars from the finish line. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, $140 race entry fee!
God bless the shuttle bus driver who dropped us off at our hotel even though we weren’t on his route. We showered, I inhaled a Diet Coke, and we spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom!
I wore my medal around all day and in the Country Bear Jamboree some lady made the whole place yell “yee-haw” at me. I got lots of congratulations, too!
For dinner, we took the monorail to Epcot and ate at Via Napoli in Italy. Not only was the food great, but the waiters were hot too! Thanks to Meghann for the awesome recommendation.
It was a long, long, long day, but so fun and I’m so happy with how I did!