Well I might as well go ahead and warn you that this isn't really a blog post, so much as the preliminary manuscript to my new book "why I will always pay whatever Disney asks of me just for the opportunity to run through their castle". Just kidding (about the book, not forking over the money), but what I mean is, it's a long post. Grab a drink, don't forget your homework and use the bathroom, because I'm not turning this car around.
My 52 hours in Disney World were amazing, despite the fact that Mother Nature basically laughed in my face about the previous blog post begging for warm weather. At least it didn't rain (or snow).
The drive was uneventful, and I arrived in the hotel lobby just in time to receive a phone call from my sister saying "I just watched you answer your phone" as the bus carrying her and my mom rolled up. I promise it wasn't as creepy as that sounds, haha. They got off the bus and we jumped up and down for a few seconds in the lobby with the "we're in Disney world!!!!" song and dance. We checked in, met up with my awesome running mom pal Bethany and her mom, and headed to the Fit for a Princess expo.
Let me just say, I am far from a girly girl. I've always been a bit of a tom boy, and only break out the makeup on the occasional night on the town or wedding. I'm lucky if I wear a dress twice a year. But when it comes to running-watch out. I can't get enough pink or running skirts, oddly enough. So needless to say, I had a field day at this expo. The race shirts in the packets were ok...
... buuuttt I did pick up a few more things!
Actually the bag and *hot* pink socks were part of the half marathon packet. I swear my world (blog and dailymile page included) are starting to turn so pepto-bismol pink I'm not sure what's coming over me lately! That's Kain in the top right hand corner. He did not come in the race packet.
Friday night I met up with a handful of moms from the cafemom running group . These girls were awesome, I felt like I was spending the night chatting over drinks with old friends. What an amazing opportunity that we finally got to meet! I am certain that it won't be the last time.
Saturday morning the alarm went off early, about 3:50 to be exact. Mom, Holly, and I donned our running gear and headed out in the freezing (ok, slightly above freezing, but still in the 30's) cold to hang out for a few hours at the race start for the Royal Family Princess and the Frog 5k. It would be my moms first 5k race and we were all very excited for her.
What wasn't so exciting, was the fact that it was cold. I know I know, some of you scoff at high 30 degree temps. But after all, we were in FLORIDA in MARCH. Forgive me for having warmer expectations, haha. I shivered my way through the start, and then Holly and I walked my momma to the finish of her first race. Of course I stopped to cheese for the camera as often as possible. Seriously I have so many pictures from this weekend it was hard to choose just a few to share!
Did I mention both of my sisters were there? Real-life little sister Cathy was registered for the 5k but wasn't able to make it down to Florida. So big sister Holly brought a fill in, lovingly referred to as "Cathy on a stick". Cathy on a stick caught the attention of many people, including Creigh Kelley, the emcee of the Disney races. We had a little chat with Creigh and the video cameras, and when he asked my mom if she was proud of her daughters she said "Actually, I'm pretty darn proud of myself right now, I just finished my first race!" I love it!
I have to say my only complaint about this weekend (besides of course, the weather) was the 5k shwag. I've seen the other 5k race medals, the 3D rubber/foam ones, and they are really cute. This one...well not to sound like a medal snob, haha,but it looks like something they give you for free at Blockbuster video. There was even an advertisement on the back of the medal. Come on Disney!! ( I added the pins. I am telling you, Disney could sell ice to an Eskimo, and my life didn't feel complete until I had a Figment dragon pin, haha)
Since this is a running blog, I'll spare you the minute by minute details of our day in Disney world. It was SO fun. But I will tell you , if you are going to Disney, try and make reservations for the Spirit of Aloha Dinner show at the Polynesian village resort. Despite the fact that I froze my booty off (outdoor show at night!) it was amazing!
The only thing I wouldn't recommend about the luau is going to the 8:00 show the night before a Disney race. Because we didn't make it back to the hotel until almost midnight...and the alarm clock went off at 3:00 am. I was TIRED.
But we woke up, donned our tutus and tiaras, and hopped on the bus around 3:30 a.m. Gotta love it. So you know how I mentioned it was cold for the 5k start? Well it was even COLDER for the half marathon start. I had on an underarmour cold weather gear long sleeve, a hooded sweatshirt, and a mylar space blanket, and I was still shivering like mad. If we were all lost in the woods, I'd be the one you'd have to eat for dinner, as I probably wouldn't make it through the night. I hate being cold. We stood around and chatted with some other runners, all while I felt like an idiot for forgetting my bright pink dailymile sign. Sorry ladies!
Eventually we wandered our way to our corrals, and I couldn't believe where I wound up. Maybe about 15 feet from the starting line? Seriously, only in a Disney race, or a local 5k containing less than 150 people can that happen. Apparently a sub-2 hour half marathon makes you a speed demon in this magical kingdom. Just as I was working up the courage to ditch my layers for the start, someone walked up to me and asked if I was Heather. Turns out it was Holly (not my sister, another Holly) from the cafemom running group! It was crazy that in the sea of 14,000 runners , all wearing pink and tutus, that we found each other. I knew Holly and I shared the same pace, and I was instantly happy to have a running partner.
Here's a video of the magical start. You can see how ridiculously close to the start I was (and I love when the fairy godmother says "That way, keep going..." as if anyone questioned?!?)
It was about a half mile into the run when we spotted a pirate ship and Captain Jack Sparrow. Instantly Holly and I merged to the side of the road to stop for a photo. I think it was at that point we both decided "screw a P.R. this is going to be a fun race". Alas, the captain was whisked away before we could get in a photo with him. No idea why they did that, it wasn't like he had been out there more than 5 minutes. So we got back on the road and kept running. It was around this point that my tiara fell off and smashed into pieces on the ground. Oops.
We then proceeded to stop at just about EVERY SINGLE character we came across for pictures, no matter how long the line. It was so fun. I'm telling you, the second you enter Disney property, it's like you revert back to 6 years old. Magical! I even stopped looking at Garmin or even caring about my pace. We stopped for pictures, water, and porta potties with no concern as to how long they were taking. Around mile 4, a woman came up on my right and said "I know this is going to sound weird, but are you Heather?" Of course it didn't sound weird, I posted my race outfit days before online for the whole world to see, haha! It was Christine, yet another mom from the cafemom's running group. We ran together for a mile or two, and then she ran ahead when we entered the Magic Kingdom and started getting picture crazy!
Let me tell you...the freezing cold weather, the ridiculously early wake up call, the hours you have to sit around waiting for the start, and the fact that 3/4 of this race is run on boring access roads...it ALL disappears the second you round the corner of that parking lot and enter into the magic kingdom. People line the sides of streets as far as the eyes can see cheering for you, and you have views like this:
Like I said, you revert back to your 6 year old self and it's just magical! Holly and I stopped and waited for pictures with everyone, and at one point, even ran backwards for a photo op. That one pissed of my Garmin for sure. Here are just a few of the pictures from the race.
We found Captain Jack on the way back through!!
The furthest I have run in a long time is 9 miles, so around mile marker 11 my legs did start to get a bit sore. Regardless, I couldn't believe how fast this race went by. We approached the 13 mile marker and I thought to myself "SERIOUSLY? It's over already?" That's why I don't have more to say about this race. Because, it went by so fast, I hardly remember anything. I felt like I frolicked through the course, haha.
Of course we had to stop for one last photo right before the finish line ....
Our time was 2:20:55. FAR from a *time* PR, about 22 minutes off to be exact (for me). But if there is such thing as a *fun* PR, this race takes the prize. This was one of those races that reminded me why I LOVE to run. 13 seemingly effortless miles. Who doesn't love that? Just another reminder of how far I've come. And a reminder of why I love this sport, and that it's not ALWAYS about the time.
Holly and I collected our medals, which were beautiful! Thanks to Bethany for this picture (I totally stole it off her facebook page, my medal is already covered in toddler fingerprints, haha).
We meandered around getting snacks and stuff, and then I met up with my mom in the ChEar section just in time to see Holly come across the finish line. The sun was starting to warm me up (finally) and we were set for a beautiful day in Florida (finally!) Another successful half marathon, complete!
I absolutely HATED that I had to leave so soon. I'm counting down the days until we go back...2013 we are going to "Dopey" - that's the new term apparently for adding the 5k to the Goofy Challenge. For those of you not in the know, that means Friday-5k, Saturday-half marathon, Sunday- full marathon. I can't WAIT! In fact, I wonder if I can really wait another 3 years before going back. Tower of Terror 13k next year? hmmm.....
Have a magical day my friends, run like a princess!