Monday, March 5, 2012

Disney: Race Day

I am laying in my bed and it's pretty outside. It is nice to relax after a long day at work (case of the Mondays for sure). Josh and I have been texting about a bunch of different stressors today, so I am excited about this post for the mere fact of escaping back into my incredible runner's high.

Disney: The Run
Race morning my first alarm went off at 3:15am. I was out of bed and brushing my teeth by 3:19. I got dressed, laid out food to take with us (bananas, banana oat bars, and mini Luna bars we got at the expo), did my hair/headband, and got all my accessories ready. We left the room around 3:45 to catch the shuttle from the hotel to Epcot.

On the bus ride over, Jennifer and I ate the bananas and banana oat bars. We arrived to tons of other shuttle buses and runners (27,000 people ran this race!!). We walked for a while and got to the bag check spot. We met up with our team "captain" (NF lady) so she could take a picture of us and wish us luck. We left that area and made our way to the corrals. It took us a good 20-30 minutes to walk there. I ate my Luna bar on the walk over.

We were in corral B (they had corrals A-H I think) and made it just after 5am. We were scheduled to start at 5:45. I killed time on my phone and we took some pictures.

Tebowing, for Joshua
I actually left off something running related. The weather that morning was in the 50s and was not supposed to go up much during the race. I debated wearing running capris, but the only ones I brought made me chafe last year - I brought shorts because it was supposed to be warmer. I decided to go with the shorts. My bottom half never gets too cold anyway. I wore some pants and a jacket that my mom was going to give to Goodwill while we waited for the race to begin. They have all these bins you can throw clothes into to donate because a lot of people wear "throw away" clothes. While we were waiting, I gave Jennifer my jacket because she was really cold and I felt I had been using it to stay warm for a while. I took the pants off about 5 minutes before our corral started. The shorts were perfect and I actually got hot and sweaty in the lightweight long sleeved shirts we wore under our jerseys, but it was the kind of sweaty I didn't notice too much while running because it was still chilly out.

Around 5:45, our corral was off! We were in a large herd of people. It was really hard for about the first 2 miles to pick up a good pace because of the amount of people. Josh was "tracking" me and my splits were sent to his phone. Our first 5k was around a 13 minute per mile pace, but we decreased that time every 5k because the crowd of people thinned out and we were actually able to run.

In the Disney Princess Half Marathon, they have tons of characters throughout the course you can stop to take pictures with. We stopped once to try and snap a quick picture of Buzz Lightyear (Kylan's new obsession), but other than that we didn't stop for any pictures. I tried to take some pictures on my phone while running, but they all came out blurry (shocker). I think the best one I got was going into the castle (my favorite part!)

Jennifer dropped her camera at this point and luckily some nice person picked it up and some other people stopped to tell her. The castle was around mile 6 and I was still feeling good. We ran through the kingdom, and this was my favorite part last year. It was still awesome. After the kingdom comes this long flat stretch of road for a few miles. I remember dreading this last year. We stopped for our first powerade break then because I could tell I was starting to run out of fuel. This was around mile 7 or 8. When I hit mile 9, I knew the rest would be difficult because 9 miles was the most I was able to run in my training due to sickness.

Around mile 10 I believe, they gave us Cliff shots of goo. I got the chocolate flavor which actually was tasty. However, my legs were killing me, I was fighting with myself in my head trying to block out the pain, was just telling my legs to keep moving, and it was all I could do to open up the packet and try to eat the gel while still moving. I did feel like it helped and I could tell I had a little more energy about half a mile after that, but come mile 11, I was back to pain and exhaustion. The last 2 miles were like a blur. There were some roads, curves, a huge screen, and lots of things on the side (like more characters, people in stilts, and a choir). Every step hurt and my right ankle started to do this weird pulsing thing. I wanted to stop and walk, but Jennifer kept running. I tried to pick up my pace to keep up, but I couldn't. Then I realized that I just needed to finish for me, not for any one else. Jennifer did pull ahead and end up beating me by about 30 seconds, but I realized that I didn't need to kill myself just to finish beside her.

The last mile I probably pushed my iPhone button 5 times to see how much time had passed (on my Nike+) and if I was almost there. I went around a loop, turned a corner and saw the finish line. One of the best feelings ever. I tried to start sprinting the best I could and crossing that line was a feeling of pure elation. 
Right before I crossed the finish!
My whole body hurt and I had to hobble to walk, but when I got that medal around my neck, I was the happiest girl in the world. I found Jennifer, and saw Roy and Josh in the crowd. They took a picture before they came to find us.

I grabbed water, powerade, and a box of goodies (food) they provided us with. I downed the water and started on the powerade. We talked about the race, found our "captain" lady and took some pictures. I smiled through the exhaustion, but it was genuine happiness.

I hobbled over to Epcot (seriously, I felt like an old lady. I know Josh was laughing on the inside, but was very sweet about it) and we took some pictures in front of the "ball" just like we did last year.

Time spent doing a half marathon?
2 hours and 20 minutes (9 minutes less than last year!)

Feeling after running 31.1 miles?
priceless :)

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