Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap: Part II

Here is the the 2nd or 3rd  installment (if you count the kids race recap) of my Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Recap. You can read Part I HERE (day 1) and all about the Kids Race Recap HERE (day 2).

Before I jump into race day, I would like to give you a little background info on the day leading up to the race....if you could care less, that's cool, just jump halfway down the post to Race Day.

One thing I didn't mention in either report but eluded to in Part I, is that I wasn't feeling very well. I wasn't feeling horrible, but I wasn't feeling right either. We arrived in Orlando on Friday and since we were travelling we missed lunch and didn't eat until 3ish. Way late for me, so I thought my feeling of weakness, exhaustion, and slightly hot body temp was due to, more than anything, lack of food. I went to bed that night with a tight feeling in my throat and denial in my thoughts. When I woke on Saturday morning my throat was so sore I could barely swallow and the feeling of weakness and slight fever were still there. Now this was my families first real vacation and my kids first time at Disney so, I did like any good mother, and sucked it up. And like any runner who has ever been injured and unable to run, I was in denial. I just kept telling myself I needed a good meal and lots of fluids. After all, we had races to get to and Magic Kingdom to explore!

As you read in the Kids Race Recap we had a great time. After the boys and our friends daughter collected their medals we headed over to Magic Kingdom. We were going to get lunch, go on some rides, and watch a parade.  And we did just that. As time wore on, and the parade started, I was feeling worse and worse. No longer was I just feeling a little weak and slightly warm, I was feverish and feeling very run down. All I wanted was my bed and the cold side of my pillow.  I somehow made it through the parade. The way the sun was beating down on me made me feel like an ant under a magnifying glass. Just when I thought I was going to have to walk around Disney with a  fever my husband decided he wanted to go back to the resort. He was over being bumped into and nudged by the crowds and I wasn't going to argue.

We got back to the resort around 4.  I dropped a NUUN tab into that water bottle I had gotten the day before and drank all my sore throat would let me and got into bed. Over the next several hours I drifted in an out of sleep, shivering and sweating at the same time. Every time I woke, I lye there in disbelief that this was actually happening.

Let me share with you some thoughts that were going through my head:

Am I going to be able to run tomorrow?
I can't believe I'mnot going to be able to run!
All that money I invested in this is wasted!
I hope my family doesn't get sick!
All the training down the drain!
After texting my father-in-law, a two time Boston Finisher, and asking him what I already knew, I came to terms with what I must do. If I was feverish at race time then there was not going to be any running. If I was just weak and still had the sore throat I was going to at least try and walk it.

I woke up around 9pm in a pool of my own sweat. It was gross, but my fever had broke!! My bed was like a kitchen sponge and since we were on vacation I had no other place to sleep but back in my own sweat! I drank some more and tried to eat some soup my husband had gotten me but that didn't happen. I decided that I would get my stuff together and set my alarm. If I woke and still felt ok, I was getting on that bus.

Race Day

I set my alarm for 2:50 a.m. (Yes you read that right, the race starts at 5:45. Everyone must be in their corral by 5:00. The buses from the resorts to Epcot started running at 3:00). When the alarm went off, I was up and ready to go. I left Meagan a text the day before that I wasn't sure where I stood and if I wasn't outside our rooms just to go and good luck. But I was ready, and I was going, so I waited outside our rooms, texted her, checked the bus stop and no Meagan. I didn’t know what to do. There were several buses and I wasn't sure if she left on one yet. I didn't want to chance missing the bus and getting to the race late, so I hopped aboard and headed to Epcot. I did call and text her and her husband to let them know I was on my way. Shortly after my bus pulled out, I got a frantic call from Meagan, she overslept and was on her way. (Yikes, oversleeping is my second worst nightmare, I was living my first!)

Meagan and I decided back in January that we were going to invest in the Race Retreat.  Sure it was $99 additional dollars but we decided we were going on vacation and the extra money would be worth it.  As part of the retreat you get a heated tent, with tables, chairs, TV's, live race results, massages, food, private port-a-potties, and they guarantee you will run a faster time. Ok, maybe I made that last part up. But you never know what the weather will be like and I hate being cold and worse I hate being cold and wet. I wasn't taking any chances!

my facebook RMM friends
Before Meagan got there, I briefly got to meet-up with some women I have only had the pleasure of meeting on FB-RMM. It was nice to meet them in person and I wish I could have chatted longer, but I was still ill and needed to try and eat. I meet Meagan back at the race retreat and tried to eat some food. We got ready and headed to the corrals. I think the only negative to buying the race retreat, and this could have just been becuase I was out of it, was I didn't really know what was going on outside the tent. I didn't hear any announcements to get a move on to the corral. Plus we missed all the music and crowds excitement. I think I would have like to see that if I was feeling better.
Megan and I pre-race in the Race Retreat
I knew that there was a 20 minute walk to the corral, and that they wanted you in your corral by 5 am. Any other day I would have obeyed and headed over there with plenty of time to spare, but not only did I want to get my moneys’ worth of the race retreat,  I wanted to be warm for as long as possible. This however almost blew up in my face. I was assigned to corral A. I arrived in my corral with about 3 minutes to spare! What I failed to take into account, was not the walk to the staging area, but the 20,000 other runners that were also heading that way! Dumb oversight on my part. At times I was walking slower than I could crawl. We were walking shuffling for so long I had to pee. We came across a port-a-potty station and after waiting for a few minutes in line we said forget it and hit the bushes! (Yes, we are THOSE people!) Thank goodness I am that person or I would have missed my start for sure!
Once I was in my corral I had a chance to take in the crowd, it was huge! I was naive for thinking I would actually bump into other runners I know. I was looking for Moms RUN This Town members, who were suppose to be dressed in MRTT colors. What was I thinking! It was dark and there were thousands of people entered into this race! I started to feel small and nervous.
Race Time!!
The race started with a countdown by our fairy godmother. She said some mumbo jumbo while waving her magic wand, setting off fireworks to signal the start of the race!
Do you see me?

I was off without any real problems. I held an 8:30 pace for a while.  I could say that I didn’t care about my time and that being sick let me relax and just take in the sights but, I am pretty competitive and I would be lying. I have to admit that a little part of me was still holding on hope for a  sub 2 hour time. L
The race course starts at Epcot and you run along the highway to Magic Kingdom.  Along the way they have characters stops and different displays. There was a big pirate ship with Jack Sparrow and his crew, a real hot air balloon, but no crowd. Which I didn’t think about since it was so dark and I wouldn’t expect at 5:45 in the morning. This goes on for about 5 miles. Then you get to the Magic Kingdom. As you come up on the MK the spectators start to show themselves and by the time you get to the MK there is a nice size crowd cheering you on. It was really inspiring and kept me moving. From what I remember, you don’t run through the park entrance, but a side street. This takes you up Main St USA and through Tomorrowland, around to Fantasyland and through the back entrance of the castle. This is where I saw Mickey and Minnie. They were so cute, all dressed up for us! This is also when I decided I was being stupid. My pace had slowed to around a 10 minute mile. I wasn’t going to set any records today. As I ran through the castle I made the decision to stop at every character stop and get a picture. I left my camera at the bag drop so I just had the photographer take my picture. (Which, I can now purchase for the cost of my entire trip to Disney. So you will not be seeing any of those pictures in here, lol!) I am so glad I did that though. It gave me a chance to check in with myself and see how I was really feeling. First stop was a picture in front of the castle. I also got a picture with Jack Sparrow, Jesse, Belle, Fairy Godmothers, and some others that I can’t remember. Sure this added a ton of time onto my race, but at this point that wasn’t what it was about anymore.

Meagan took this on her way up Main St.
Once you leave the castle you are back on the highway. The crowd thins and then disappears and you are left to run the second leg of the race feeling pretty isolated. I wished for darkness again. If you have ever been to Disney World you know there is not much to look at on the highways there, some trees and retention ponds. The lack of scenery was actually a motivator for me to keep running or start running again after a little walk break. It was quit boring to be honest with you. (Disney lovers please don't hate me for saying this!) The last mile or so you come back to Epcot and do a small section of the front of the park and then head back to the parking lot where we started to run through the finish line.
This is obviously not me.  But with the purchase of the Race Retreat you do get confetti dumped on you as you cross the finish line! JK.
The other runners were great. Lots of great costumes you could tell people put some time into. I will say that I have never been in a race that people were on the phone while running. At first I was like, what are you doing? But with the size crowd it was actually a good way to keep tabs on where you and your race buddies were. Smart actually, especially if you were going for the atmosphere and not a PR.

Post Race
Meagan and I met up at the race retreat. She was battling her own injuries and did pretty well considering. We ate as much as we could (had to get our money’s worth, hahaha), got some pictures, and headed back to the resort. We were both in that post race fog, like “Wow, I just did that. Months of training have come to an end.” Both relieved and maybe slightly saddened that it was over.  

Will I do anther Disney race? Maybe. Am I jumping up and down about how great it was and can’t wait for next year? No. It was very well organized, the people were amazing both runners and workers alike. There were lots of little touches that you expect from Disney.  The expo was great, the kids races were too. Are these lackluster feelings due to my freak sudden illness and sub par performance, maybe? Probably.  If feasible, I would like to see more of the course actually in the park and less on the highway. I know logistically this might not be feasible, but that is what I would like to see.  I guess I won't know unless I do another. J

Check out some additional pictures. I might not be allowed to run another race as I have no idea who these people are. I also didn't know who one of the Princesses were when I went to get my picture with them in MK. Oops. I was kind of a tomboy growing.
Post Race in the Race Retreat. I have no idea who these people are suppose to be.
I do know this is Belle.
What the He** am I doing?
I had to ask the photographer who this was!
I guess princesses  run in heels?


  1. I love it! I think you are right about more time in the park and less time on the highway. I think that you did amazing considering you were sick and how many characters did you get pictures with?? You put my time to shame and I didn't stop but for 1 bathroom break, which i timed and was 32 seconds. Our scenic potty stop before the race was classic and i am so glad i got to do this with you. :) Next one should be the halloween 1o miler in Disney minus the kids?? j/k

    1. I love that you timed you potty break! Did you use an actual port-a-potty? lmoa! So glad we got to do this, and next time (not sure about this fall) but next time it will be sans kids! :)

  2. That is the only thing too now that I think about it from the one I did in January - that highway is a killer. I was in a fog for the first 5-6 miles of mine - I didn't remember there weren't alot of people on the side. They had some cheerleaders and some people were on the sides, but I think they were family of the runners.

    My only negative on mine was the walk to the corral - not as well lit as I would have liked - people kept crashing into the traffic cones they had set up.

    1. I don't think we are alone with the thoughts on the amount of highway. Don't get me wrong, I am happy that I was able to do it, even if I was sick. My family and I had a great week at Disney.
      Thanks for reading :)