Big Sis Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Experience

I am SO glad it is over!

This is my 4th half marathon to complete and the first time I have not been nervous at all. Crazy, I say. Back in June/July my best friend Kim started talking to me about doing this Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon and I kept saying "I am not doing another!" I had completed my first one in 2008 and had ZERO intentions of doing another. I had been running races again since earlier in the year but had NO desire to do a 1/2 again... thought my first experience WAS AMAZING. I honestly did not think I was capable of doing it.. again. Something inside of me changed suddenly and I talked to my husband about it and we decided to go for it. We booked tickets for 15 days in Florida getting to spend time with our best friends from Japan, their girls, doing Disney, and the race.... It was going to be a great vacation to make wonderful memories.. just like we had done in our 3 years together in Japan and our amazing vacation in 2011 to Thailand together! I was so excited. I came up with the idea and approached it to my husband about bringing my mom along. I thought it would be so cool for her to experience Disney with us! Everyone liked that idea too.. so we got her a ticket to Florida for a little of the time we would be there. It was so exciting... and time to seriously start training for this 1/2. I was DETERMINED to beat my first time of 2.21!!

Moving into August I had a Mud Run to do in California with my running friend! It was such a GREAT run and we had a blast together. As we finished the run we headed to a fresh market that they had to pick up some fruits and veggies... as we were walking over she said something about a 1/2 she really wanted to do the next day... but had decided not to. Long story short... we did it. I figured out, in that next hour-- childcare, coverage for nursery at church, and whatever other hinderance we had.... we went to Whole Foods to sign up for the run on the way home.. got our goodies.. and we were on our way. All night I wondered WHAT on earth I was doing!!! That race was a beautiful race. It was so great. We ran and ran and ran. I felt great... and that race helped me to know that I CAN do this Disney Princess!! I was also excited because sister and I were signed up for another 1/2 in Texas come October- so I knew I could do that one too!! The next day and through the week that followed, I HURT!! I hurt like heck. I did not remember hurting like this after I ran my first 1/2.... but I did. I didn't run for about a week.. and then I picked back up. But my runs were different somehow. Moving into September, I was having a very difficult time getting motivated to run- but I had 2 half marathons to be ready for.. so I had to! Then.. the shocker.. I found out.. I WAS PREGNANT. This explained why the recovery from that half in August was so weird to me and why my runs would be.

BUT.. being PREGNANT was NOT going to STOP ME from the DISNEY PRINCESS 1/2.

So this is how I found myself in Florida in February planning to run this 1/2 Marathon with my mom, sister, and three friends. I went up early to spend some time with my friend from Japan who I had not seen in almost two years. We had our first babies in Japan together and got to enjoy most of the firsts together. I was so proud of her, just as I was my girls, for taking up running and doing this. I never expressed any doubt about this race until I got to Florida. I did get several comments to me during the past few months "You are really going to do this?" "Are you even prepared" "Aren't you going to hurt your baby?" "I think it is a bad idea" "I can't believe you would do this"... and everyone that said those comments meant them as helpful and kind- but in all honesty- it was THOSE comments that pushed me when I wanted to give up. My Doctor was very proud of me for doing it and thought it was a great idea! Let it be known that if I thought I was going to hurt this little girl, I would not have done it! Anyways, so once I got to Florida I started to doubt myself and thought quite a bit about just not doing it... but I think it had more to do with the fact that I didn't want to leave my son at 3am with my friends parents AND I didn't want to hold my mom and sister back. But it is what it is.. and I did do it. I texted my supportive husband at one point and shared my thoughts briefly about how maybe I shouldn't be doing this.. and he responded with "it isn't too late, you don't have too." I was glad that I had him behind me regardless if I chose to do it or not. How lucky am I?

Fast forward to 7 days after arriving in Florida! The night before the race I was not worried one bit. It was such an odd feeling. Every race I have done before, my stomach has been anxious. But not this time. I was calm, cool, and collected. To be honest with everyone I was so excited to do this: SO IT WOULD BE OVER!! The guilt of knowing I was not preparing for it like I should.. was on my mind EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! I wanted to not have to worry about it anymore. The night before we had made plans to have dinner at an Italian Restaurant in our hotel with our party of 15. It was a huge mess that made us all mad after they "gave away our reservation" and "sorry we weren't suppose to take reservations" ... all of that jazz... We ended up at the hotel buffet for $2 off a person because of the mess we had to deal with and waiting so long. The dinner was terrible to me, and I had less than half a plate. It is what it is... and I had a pop tart later.. :) It was fun once we got back to our hotel though. Mom, Sister, and I should have been in bed WAY earlier than we were.. but we weren't! :) We had a great, late night together... and we were ready when our alarm went off the next morning, a few hours later, at 230AM!

RACE DAY!

230 came fast! Probably because I woke up a couple of times between going to sleep and waking. The issue this time wasn't nerves but the little girl who lives on my bladder... :) Luckily when our alarms started going off we were all up and at it. Because it was so early, I am so glad that we had ALL of our gear ready to put on and get out the door! This is for sure the earliest I have gotten up for a race to date... but I was fine with it. I was most nervous about leaving my boy with my friends parents... just because I know he loves to see Mommy when he wakes up and pretty much we are always together! :) So we get ready and get out the door before 3am! We walked down to my friend Kim's room. I left my boy there and her mom came and joined him to sleep until they were getting up around 530 to come watch the race. And we headed out... When we got on the bus, which we didn't have to wait for since we were one of the firsts out of our hotel for the race that morning, mom and sister sat together and I sat alone. It was a weird little bit for me. I was not nervous at all. I was just watching and listening. On the radio Sarah Mclachlan "ANGEL" came on and at that moment I was so thankful to be sitting by myself. I was able to just think. I am not sure why listening to this song made me think of my big brother, Shane, but it did. For those that don't know- we lost this amazing man over three years ago.. and sitting there listening to it.... With clean tears coming to my eyes, I just had such a peace come over me and realized how PROUD he must be right now of his three girls. I know he was looking down in awe and amazement of my mom and being so proud of her. Though the lyrics "you were pulled from a wreckage" aren't literal in her song, he WAS in a wreck, so it made me THAT much more emotional. "In the arms of an angel" kept playing and I just smiled believing he IS in the arms of an angel... with our sweet Jesus. So during the few minutes of that song I had a brief moment of forgetting about the race, thinking about him, wishing he was there to see us, but knowing how stinking proud he was of us!

We arrived at EPCOT. It was beautiful seeing the huge ball behind us. We were AMAZED at the amount of people there. As if we didn't know there were 26,000 others participating! :) We took some pictures with our friends and waited for another friend to get off of her bus... then we followed the crowd... and crowd it was. I was so excited for my mom and sister. Britt had already completed one, but this one actually felt REAL because it wasn't a tiny one like we did in October. We walked through and skipped an area where people were taking pictures at banners and continued on our way with the crowd. We then discussed our bag check and decided to go ahead and do bag check and then bathroom break. We had combined our stuff, obviously, so we only had to go through one place to turn in our bags. Their bag check set up is the best I have seen yet! Separated by the letter of your last name, we just walked in and dropped it off. Our friends were in "d" and we were in "s" so we told them we would meet them on the other side of the bag check... Needless to say, we didn't see them again until after the race. Holy Bathrooms!! Of course we had to all three go potty.. and we had plenty of time so we stood in line until we got to go to the bathroom. It is truly amazing how gross the pottys were THAT early in the morning and by WOMEN! :)

After the bathroom break we decided to go ahead to our corral. I didn't have my phone or watch, so I didn't keep up with time at all. We had to walk a long way, but we made it to Corral E. We went in, found a place to sit, and... sat. I enjoyed people watching. I had to snack on food while we sat and didn't drink much water. We didn't talk too much because the entertainment they had coming over the speakers was fun. I enjoyed listening to the speakers and music. It really was a blast. I couldn't believe when it was time to start. I really like how Disney put off fireworks for EACH corral. It was exciting to know that we would get fireworks too, even though we were in E. There were corrals A-H... and I am guessing about 5-10 minutes between each corral. I could be totally off. It was fun watching all the fireworks and excitement for the corrals ahead of us. I was actually SHOCKED to the core when it came our turn. Disney did a great job making the time go by fast and keeping the people in each corral entertained. As I watched the others there to run I kept thinking in my head 'why on earth am I doing this?'....

CORRAL E time to go! As the countdown started and the fireworks let off we walked our way to the start line. No reason to run really... time doesn't start until you go under that amazing Disney Princess sign! :) It was a bit surreal. Mom and I already had to use the bathroom.. which stunk. Our plan was to do intervals 2:1. I did okay with it for a while.. but the pressure low kept me from actually doing them consistently. If I just focused, I could do it. I think it was around mile 2.5 that we stopped for the bathroom. LAME! I have never stopped during a race to use the bathroom... but I have never been pregnant before either. The line was long and there were only TWO potties. I was not happy about this. We kept hearing Lil Sis' beeper on her watch go off for our intervals and we realized that ... time is slipping. We literally stood there for 20 minutes waiting for the bathroom. Our friends in Corral G actually passed us while we were in line for the bathroom. What a bummer to be held back THAT much because of the bathroom. I know that it was only the 2nd mile, but as many bathrooms as they had before we started, they could have thrown more out there. I know that you shouldn't have to go that soon- but nerves get a lot of people.. and well, I honestly had no choice. My baby girl lives on my bladder! HAH!

We got back on the road... and to be quite honest, it was a pretty boring run to me until we entered Magic Kingdom. There was not a lot of areas were people could be to view. My FAVORITE part of the run was running down Main Street, into Tomorrow Land (I think), Through the Castle, and into Frontier Land. That was the only GOOD part of this run that I remember. I could not afford to stop for any pictures with the characters, nor was I interested in doing so... the lines were insane. We did stop right outside of the castle for a group photo, but we barely had to wait. Going through the castle was very fun... there were men on top of the castle blowing trumpets and that was fun. It was a walking standstill going through the castle, but we should all know that did not bother me one bit! :) Once we headed toward Frontier Land we stopped for another potty break... I can't remember what mile we were at... Gosh, I wish I knew. But I was too focused on finishing. We were still together and it was great. I know that miles 3-6 went very fast.. it was crazy we kept looking up and I was like.. WOW!! Already!?

Once we hit mile six I had to stinking go to the bathroom again.. It had been less than 30 minutes since I last went. I was so annoyed!! But I kept pushing on. I was having a harder time at this point. Once we left Magic Kingdom I was shocked at how narrow the road was. Such a boring road. I had to get on the grass often if I wanted to run... and that scared me that I was going to fall or something, but I didn't! We kept going and going.. Around mile 8 I saw that my mom was ahead of my sister who was ahead of me. She was waiting for me. I told her to keep going that she needed to encourage mom.. I would be ok. I had done these.. I would be FINE! She said "You better finish!" I said "Where the heck ELSE am I going to go?" LOL! So we carried on. For a while I would catch up with them.. until I literally could not keep up anymore because I had to pee so bad. I could not find a bathroom anywhere at this time so {brace yourself} I literally went and sat down on the grass and pulled my tutu out... and pretended to be stretching like I saw many do... and tried to pee right there. I had to go so bad, but I couldn't find the bathroom, NOR could I afford to lose anymore time... I was just going to sit there and go. I had a tutu that would cover it up! :) Needless to say, when I am sitting down, I don't have to use the bathroom. SO!! It didn't happen and I wanted to cry. So I stood up and carried on.

What kept me going was hearing people talk about how far away they were from being "swept." You had to keep a 16 minute pace.. and if not, they come through and 'sweep' apparently. They put you on the bus and take you on to the finish line.. You don't get to finish or get a medal. THAT SCARED ME. I honestly don't know much about it.. only what I have read. But it sounds horrible. And that was my biggest fear. I would run and try and catch up with my family.. but by this point.. yea, they were too far ahead. Luckily we were wearing these horribly orange shirts that made me look EVEN worse being pregnant... so I could see them most of the time. But I finally found a bathroom and had NO option but to stop. So I did... and the lines weren't long and I went. I saw them when I came out, then I lost them! So... I carried on.

By Mile 10 I was in so much pain I could not bare it. Usually on long runs it is my BODY telling my MIND I can do it. This time my MIND had to keep telling my  BODY that I HAD to do it!!! I hurt SO bad. My body has actually never hurt like this. My feet throbbed.. but dang it, I had to get that medal. {stupid medal}.... I remember going under a bridge and looping around and going on top the bridge. It was nice to look down and see others still coming but it sucked to see mom and Britt ahead of me. I had a huge hill to go up.. and well, I had to walk it. Oh, I can't even tell you guys how bad I hurt. But I kept moving along. It was around this time, I assume, that I literally said out loud "please just wait for me." There were several times from my 10 on that I started to tear up because I hurt so bad and I needed this to end... and this was one of those. We came over the hill and down and down and down... and I could hear a DJ.. this was nice. I was very sad about the fact that Disney did not have a lot of entertainment on the roads for us. It disappointed me so much. I expected a lot more.. Thank you to the Rock and Roll for helping me have those expectations! :)

I had to go down toward the DJ and the turn and go up a hill.. at this time there were cones separating those that were still going down and those already going up the hill. I saw mom and sister at this time, they were on their way up the hill. It took EVERYTHING inside of me not to cross over those stupid cones and join them... but I didn't. I had to do this for me and well honestly, I would not have been able to keep up anyways. LOL. Going up that last hill was quite challenging for me. I teared up a lot. It felt better to RUN than to WALK. My feet throbbed.. CRAZY! But I made it.. then I went down and around and there was another DJ and people all around cheering you on. That is what I am talking about. THAT is what keeps you going. I was on the last mile.. and might I add.. that last mile was the freaking longest mile of this race. As we came through the back of EPCOT I loved hearing the Church Choir sing. It was so nice... and it was even nicer when I looked up and saw my girls waiting on me to go through the finish line! There they were! I was so proud of my mom! Seriously! And So lucky to have my sister who gave up her time to be with us! I hope she never regrets it... because I might have.. :(

Going through the finish line was amazing! ... Until I realized.. I had to keep freaking going. I can't even tell you how bad I hurt. I was so happy to see my sweet baby boy at the finish line rooting me on though, thanks to my friends parents for waiting on us to come through- that was so nice.. but...  I just needed a BANANA and to SIT DOWN! Again, Rock and Roll spoiled me.. because they had people there handing out bananas, gatorade, oranges, and just taking care of you. Disney.. not so much. We had to keep walking until we got to a table where it was handed out. I just needed a banana! :) Another thing I was disappointed with- and it is so stupid, is that I was HANDED my medal. WHHHAT! I have always, even on 10Ks had the medal put over my neck.. not this time, they handed it to me. But what a pretty medal it is. I finally got a banana and our food.. and we made it through where everyone was.. and sister went to get our bag. I literally just SAT down. I could not go anymore in my shoes. I NEEDED my flip flops. I was in so much pain!! I told Mom and Sis to do what they needed to do, I did not want to hold them back, so they did, I left and went and got my little man... and sat with him and ate some snacks for a bit. Then I went and found them! They both got massages and what not. I did get one too... and then we carried on to go back to our hotel. Our friends had already gone back because their little one had gotten sick during the race.

That day we ate lunch with friends and came back and crashed. I slept until about 430 and they all slept, including my son, until 530. Then we went to the pool and hot tub for a bit and then ordered room service. That food was SO good! :) I was in so much stinking pain. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and my lower stomach hurt. I had a CSection with my son and it reminded me of how I felt after having him... how it felt to try and get up and such. When I woke up at 430 I started researching if I could have hurt my baby girl in my womb. I hurt so bad in my back and stomach it scared me. I texted my friend in another room and my husband. I hadn't felt her move much at all.. so I was pretty scared. I am so happy to report that by  morning- the only pain I had was in my SHINS! Every other ache and pain was gone! I was shocked. The way I felt the day before was so terrible that I was sure I would not be able to move for days!

I would also like to report that since that run she has been dancing around even more... and she still has a strong healthy heartbeat. :)

Overall my thoughts on the Disney Run???

  • There needed to be more bathrooms at the beginning :)
  • They should have widened the roads, started earlier, or kept roads closed longer.
  • There for sure needed to be more entertainment.
  • The price I paid to do this run, plus getting there, wasn't really worth it.
  • I wouldn't do the Disney Princess again unless I live there.

Though it was a nice run, it was very pricey- plus getting there. I got a pretty medal, a nice shirt, and memories. The memories are great... but I don't know that I would pay the money again. I certainly am not as in love with this run as so many other are that I read about until the run. Who knows... Who knows. If I live in the area, I would consider doing it again- other than that, I would rather spend the money to experience new runs. My BIGGEST COMPLAINT?? The lack of entertainment. The roads were so boring and it made it so hard to keep going!

Until next time....

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Check out these other Disney Princess Half RECAPS:

Fit for a Princess Expo

Little Sis' Recap

Big Sis' Recap

Naturally Fit Mom 1st Half Marathon Recap