Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: RACE RECAP!

Now for part 3 of my weekend recap -- the part that many of you (or not) actually care about -- THE RACE RECAP! The short version? I had a blast and a great race, got a 50 second PR, and enjoyed every minute of it. Read on for the long version!

I woke up at 3 am and I did not waste any time (like I sometimes do) laying in my bed. I have a fear of getting left behind, especially since Disney is so intimidating with their race language, so I wanted to make sure that I was on the bus by 3:30-3:45. I got up, got dressed, and ate half of a plain bagel with a tiny bit of peanut butter. My bagel was actually quite disgusting because I had purchased AND toasted it the day before at breakfast, carried it around all day, and then popped it into the refrigerator overnight (not sure why I thought that it would taste good). I gathered my Garmin and everything else I might need and headed out the door at 3:20.

I got to the race area around 3:30/3:40 and went to the bathroom. The bathroom was already out of toilet paper at this point (reminiscent of Melbourne Music Half), but because I only went pee, I didn't mind too much. I texted Lauren to see where she was at, but she was in the race retreat at this point, so I was hanging around watching some of the pre-race entertainment by myself. I ended up looking around right at the exact moment when Karen and April were behind me, so I leeched onto them and followed them around like a puppy. I eventually got a text that said a friend had come to cheer me on and was in the Epcot waiting area, so Lauren and I went on an adventure to find him. We ended up just missing him in the beginning, but we did find this guy:

Lauren and I then made our way to the corrals, split up when they told us to, and I headed to the long lines for the port-a-potty because I had to pee, again. The lines were really long so I ended up not getting into my corral until about 5:20 (race started at 5:35), but that meant less time to panic in the corral! I was in corral F and we were set off around 5:50.

The first few miles were good -- I think the new corral system really helped (in my opinion) cut down on the amount of people that I had to dodge, but I still had to dodge a lot of people. I was hoping for anything less than a 10:30 average, so I was happy when my Garmin told me that my average for the first few miles were about 10:07. I also might be one of the few people to say this, but I was COLD before the race started and the humidity only bothered me for the first 4-5 miles. I didn't think it was oppressive and I didn't think that it really hindered my performance. Also, because the course was the same as last year and had many of the same characters, I did not stop for many photos. I did stop to see the footmen with the glass slipper, because I didn't get one last year, and also stopped for the castle (but didn't hand them my an idiot). It was so great to see my friend in Magic Kingdom before I went into the castle. He said he saw me again leaving the castle and watched me cross the finish line, but I missed that.

I actually had to take two bathroom breaks on the course (BOO!) at mile 7 and mile 10 (mile 10 was the only one that added time on since it was one port-a-potty and the woman in front of me took FOREVER), but I'm not really too mad about that. I still had a great time and was actually able to make up a lot of lost time because I ran 3-5 miles in the 9:30-9:50 pace area. At mile 10, my legs felt like they were going to fall off, so that was how I knew that I had to push harder and keep going. I'm glad it was just my legs giving up this time, and not my lungs (like at the Mel Half). At mile 12.5, I started feeling nauseous, so that's how I knew I was working at my threshold and just needed to hold out until that 13.1

I crossed the finish line in 2:13:50, a 50 second PR from the beginning of the month! I am happy with that time since last year I ran Princess in 2:32:xx and also because I stopped for photos, dodged people, and took 2 bathroom breaks. I know I said I wasn't racing anymore this year because of my trip to Europe, but I am tempted to race again in the fall or winter if the funds are there so I can slowly inch closer to that 2 hour mark...

I got my medal, made my way through the food/medical tents (I needed ice for my hamstrings) and met up with my friend, who was sweet enough to bring me a flower and then drive me home after the race! I ended up doing Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom afterwards, but I only stayed in the park for about 4 hours or so, as my legs are SO sore (the most sore they have been in a while), and I was also tired of crowds. I did get myself a nice, big cupcake from MK to bring home with me :)

Overall, I loved this race and would race it again next year! It's Disney, so fun, and the spectators and volunteers are phenomenal. However, I do have a few complaints about this year.

Things I didn't like:

--The expo layout
--My family didn't get ANY of the tracking text messages until AFTER I crossed the finish line and they were all delivered at once. They didn't even realize I had started racing until I called them to tell them I was finished.
--I asked EVERY single medical tent for a marathon blanket because I was freezing afterwards (my body temperature always drops immediately after a long run, even in the middle of the summer) and no one would give me one. They wanted me to pay for a massage to get one...I didn't need one that badly.

Other than that, I loved everything !

Who else raced Princess? Did you set a PR? Who were your favorite characters on the course?