The Big Day!!!! The Walt Disney World Half Marathon!!! 1/8/11

I’d been training for this for 14 weeks – and preparing for about a month before that to start training! I was so excited!!!

The weekend started on Friday when my sister Andrea and I

pre 5K

walked the 5K they had to kick off Marathon Weekend. It was just a walk, so no PR, but the sister bonding time was well worth it!

After the 5K it was off to the Expo to get my HM bib and stuff and purchase (and immediately hand to sis without looking at it) an “I did it!” shirt as I’d heard (correctly) that the stuff sold out quickly at the finish area. Lunch and Sweet Tomatoes and naptime in my resort room (cat allergy meant no staying with sis and her roommate) rounded out the afternoon. The evening brought a spaghetti dinner with my two running partners, sister, and Seth’s roommate and dog. Good times! Then we headed over to the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes! for inspiration.

just before Wishes!

And then it was off to bed to try and sleep!!

That was semi-successful. I was still in bed, though awake, when Stitch and Mickey delivered my wake up call – at 2:15AM! Got up and got ready, then headed over to get on the bus to go to the staging area.

oh man it's early!!

Lots of texting with my sister – she and Seth (running partner #1) were running a little late and stuck in the oh-so-warned-about traffic they thought their back ways would let them escape. Ryan (running partner #2) texted that he was in the lot and parking. When he got there, we checked my stuff (at this point sis had said to go ahead and do that – if she’d been on time, she would have held it for me) and headed to the staging area. Seth was going to try to meet us in Corral C, but when he got there he made it about mid-way through and couldn’t get further up. So Ryan and I started together.

ready to run!

We were there for all the pre-race stuff, then cheered as Wave 1 (aka Corral A) went off to fireworks and fire shoots. Wave 2 (aka Corral B) walked to the start and took off a few minutes later, also to fireworks, etc. Each wave/corral got the same send-off, which was really nice! Corral C walked to the line, and we were off!!

I had thought I’d stop for character shots, but initially there weren’t really any characters out I wanted a pic with, and when we did find them, it seemed everyone else wanted pics with them so the lines were long. About mile 3, I left Ryan behind – my walking pace (I was doing a run/walk) was faster than his, so the walk breaks weren’t really providing much of a rest for him. It was all good though. Took a pit stop just before heading into Magic Kingdom.

I will admit to tearing up when we got ready to turn onto Main Street, and more when we turned and could see the castle. Another runner saw me trying to get a steady shot of the castle and offered to take a pic of me – then I took a pic for her.

I'm really doing this!!

Just after this, I spotted my sister just before the turn into Tomorrowland and was full-out crying for a few minutes (she told me after she was too), and only continued as we ran through Cinderella Castle. I did try to smile for the cameras…but we’ll see how those pics come out when ASI sends me the links.

After Magic Kingdom, it was a relatively calm stretch by the Grand Floridian. I was feeling good and strong through the 15K mark. Probably around Mile 10 I started to feel something familiar every time I’ve gone a new distance – my IT band starting to flare a bit. So I just added in a little more walking.

Mile 11 is kind of brutal – you go up the cloverleaf exit, so it’s a long, steady hill that takes a while. The humorous part of this was they stationed one of the Green Army Men on the hill and he kept exhorting us to “Take that hill soldiers!” We were trying! I swear!! After that it wasn’t long until we were heading into EPCOT, and I realized I WAS GOING TO DO THIS!!!!!!

At some point just after the hill, I really felt the “middle toe” (the one right next to my big toe) on my right foot. This is the one that’s had a runner’s toenail for a while, and I wasn’t sure if the nail had come off or what. I finally pulled over to the side for a moment to take my shoe off and look. Toenail still on. Cannot tell WHY my toe felt weird. Put shoe back on and trotted off.

(A note on shoes… I ended up going with the 2160s just tied to try and keep from rubbing on the top of my foot/leg where they meet over the ankle. I’m definitely going to go on a new shoe brand and stuff hunt now that this half is done.)

The second half of the race I was much more aware of seeing cameras and trying to “run pose” for them. And yes, there were times that meant the mental thought of “Ok…camera…run, or at least look like you’re running. And SMILE!” We rounded Spaceship Earth and headed backstage. At the corner, I could hear the gospel choir and knew from youtube videos I was almost there. And I made myself run across the finish line!

I proceeded through the chute and got my mylar blanket and medal, then steered myself into Medical to get Tylenol and ice. A girl near the ice asked me how many and where I needed it, then saran-wrapped it on. VERY glad it was a female helping me with the ice up at the top of my upper thigh – which had also been twinging a little. She got a third ice pack and another medical volunteer to help with putting a couple of bags on my knee for the IT band issue. She got me some water so I could take the Tylenol, made sure I was ok other than that, and I hobbled out. Got in line for the “Look at my medal!” picture and Ryan showed up one person behind me! We went to get food (and got WAY too excited about things like mint chocolate energy bars, diet coke, and non-lemon-lime powerade), then my bag. As we exited the bag tent, my sister and Seth were there waiting. Long hug, and then the “We did it!” pic!!

We did it!!

Then it was off to the resort for me for a cool bath. I went back to the Expo to hear John “The Penguin” Bingham

with The Penguin

And Coach Jenny Hadfield

and Coach Jenny

speak. It was great to meet them as their book has been the backbone of my training, and Coach Jenny especially has been a GREAT help in replying to emails and tweets.

The next morning, Ryan, Seth, Alex (Seth’s roommate), Andrea (my sister) and I went to brunch at Cape May Cafe to celebrate – it’s a character breakfast with Minnie, Goofy and Donald. Since the Half Marathon finishers get Donald Duck medals, Donald was VERY excited to see us, and wanted a picture. Silly duck…he thought his tie was a medal.

Silly Donald!  Ties aren't medals!!

After breakfast, we went out to cheer on the Marathoners. And Seth, Ryan and I all decided that next year? We’re going to be among them!

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I’m so happy I did it!

Oh yeah… My chip time? 2:47:38!! (And in my “WOOHOO!” moment, I beat Al Roker who finished in 3:16 and change. Hee!)

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One thought on “The Big Day!!!! The Walt Disney World Half Marathon!!! 1/8/11

  1. very good recap. loved your replay of mile 11, those green army men were there for me too last year and yes they did spur me on too. i’m registering for D-Land and girl we must meet for sure! BTW, your time is not that far off from mine…just sayin…
    congratulations!

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