Disney World {Part 4a: RACE DAY, BABY!}

Hello, hello!

I am so glad we have finally gotten to the best part of my Disney trip: the actual half marathon!

PRE-RACE

Following suit, the alarm went off early on Sunday morning. Okay, maybe it would be better described as late Saturday night… I don’t count 2:30 am as morning! Since we had four people in our room {three of which were running}, we had brilliantly staggered the alarms. This would allow us with plenty of back-ups in case one did not go off, as well as give each person enough time to use the bathroom to get ready. Well, that kind of happened. Once I heard the chime of the first alarm, I was wide awake. IT’S RACE DAY! I’ve been waiting to run this race for several years! The adrenaline was pumping full-force! There would be no going back to sleep for this girl.

I got ready in my awesome Cinderella running costume and waited for my mom and cousin to finish up as well. Nothing like playing dress-up in the middle of the night! I was super antsy {and paranoid about making the bus early}. Due to our transportation fails on Friday, I believe my panic was justified. I forced myself to eat a Clif bar even though I wasn’t hungry because I knew I would need some fuel to run later. Once everyone was finished, we left our room and headed towards the bus stop.

I am relieved to say that there were plenty of busses and we were earlier than we needed to be {AKA on-time in my book}. It was a blast looking around at all the costumes and chatting with other runners in line for the bus! The excitement in the air was palpable… you’d never guess it was before 4 am. We’re all a bunch of crazies and I love it!

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Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are ready to run!

When the bus arrived, we got off and started to look for both Coty and the portapotties. There is nothing more miserable for me than trying to run with anything in my bladder. It is completely worth using a nasty portapotty! My mom and cousin split with us and Coty and I made our way over to our corral. She had submitted an older {and slightly slower} time when we signed up for the race and was assigned a different corral. I went to her corral, since you are allowed to move back and not forward.

I’m pretty sure this race has the most people in a costume anywhere in the world. And I’m counting Halloween!  It was crazy in the very best way! I was initially nervous about running in a costume because I’m am very particular about what I run in. In fact, I never ever, ever run in shorts because I’m super prone to chafing and it’s miserable. When my mom and I found this shop on Etsy set up by a talented woman who sews costumes specifically for running, I knew there was a fighting chance it would be comfortable to run in. I cannot recommend her enough! I had no issues whatsoever with my costume! It fit like a glove, was adorable, and practical for running. She has a bunch of different Disney-themed costumes, along with plain running skirts, and various other themed-costumes. The link to her shop is here and called iGlow Running. Check it out! She does amazing work!

Before I get to the race, I should mention that this was my 5th half marathon. Coty and I had decided before the race that we wanted to run so we felt like we were racing, but not kill ourselves. For the first time ever, I was not interested in improving my PR because I wanted to have the freedom to take pictures with any character that I wanted and not worry it was taking too much time. I wanted to take in the whole experience… not rush through and feel like I missed out.

AND WE’RE OFF

Fireworks and the Fairy Godmother began the race! Actually, fireworks began every corral, which I thought was special. Not just the professional runners up front get to experience the cool stuff- it’s for everyone!

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Start Line

My first thought once we started running was “the humidity is literally going to kill me.” I think I told Coty “I HATE HUMIDITY” probably a dozen times {Sorry, Coty}! Humidity may actually be my very least favorite thing in the whole world. I was completely drenched in sweat by mile 1 due to the ridiculously humid day, but I sucked it up. The first few character lines we saw were incredibly long and we didn’t feel like waiting yet. Plus, it was still pitch black outside {the race began promptly at 5:30} and I knew the photos would not turn out well anyway.

There were nine water stops along the course. I thought that was a bit excessive when I originally saw the number in the email weeks before, but was glad to have them as I was sweating like a mad person. At each and every one, Coty and I rehydrated. In fact, at nearly all of them, I took a cup of gatorade and water. I was that thirsty!

The moment when you enter the Magic Kingdom {somewhere between miles 5&6} was my favorite part of the whole race. There are thousands of spectators cheering you on, you get to run through Cinderella’s castle, and there are an abundance of characters!

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In front of “my” castle

Coty and I were keeping a good pace. We felt stong. Our first picture came when I saw Buzz Lightyear!

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To infinity and beyond!

The characters came fast and furious after Buzz!

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The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland {Sorry about the blurriness}

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Princess Tiana and Louis the Alligator

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GENIE

ImageI thought this sign was appropriate for me! There were dozens of different fun signs. I kept my eye out for a Cinderella-inspired one until I found it! And look! The sun is finally starting to make her big appearance!

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Dot! A Bug’s Life

Our pace was still solid and we only had a few miles left! We saw many people walking by this point, but we weren’t even tired yet! {And I refuse to walk during a race, unless I’m injured or dehydrated} We definitely fell into the “trust in your training” camp, as we were very well-prepared.

With a little over one mile left, we heard a man shouting orders from around the bend. I told Coty that I thought it was the green army man from Toy Story. Sure enough, I was right!

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Sarge from Toy Story III

So close to the finish line! We entered back into Epcot, where the race began, and knew the end was near. Our only complaint was that there were so many turns to the finish, you thought you were almost done for nearly a half mile before you actually finished. It would have been nice to see the finish line before you’re right in front of it, but that’s okay. I know I was smiling for the ENTIRE race. It was the most fun event I have ever run, bar none!

Right before we finished, I heard “KRISTI!!!!” and looked over. Paul and his family had come down to support his sister in her first race and got to see me finish 🙂 That was a neat moment.

We finished in 2:31:40 officially. Our time is less than 20 minutes off our best time {2:12}… and considering we stopped for so many pictures, I think our actual moving time may have been a PR! {Dare I say under 2:10?} I just knew we felt great! We never hit the proverbial wall, never slowed down, and had fun for all 13.1 miles. Crossing that finish line was bittersweet for me because I honestly wanted the race to continue! I know that I am getting the bug and will be wanting to train for a full marathon… I’m all about the adrenaline of race day. Who knows, maybe that will happen… someday!

The magical moment came when we received our finisher’s medals. I’m a sucker for my medals! They’re physical evidence of all the work that goes into training and competing.

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2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Paul found me after we had gotten our snack boxes, mesh bags, and water.

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Cinderella with her Prince Charming

My mom and cousin finished a while later. I felt bad for them because apparently there were so many people back in the No Time corrals that the photo lines were insanely long and they weren’t able to stop for fear of not keeping pace. At least next time they will have a time to submit!

An exciting moment came when Paul’s sister, Laura finished. Her boyfriend had planned to propose {we were all in on it} once she finished the race. She was also surprised by the fact that her family was there! Such a great day for her! CONGRATS Laura and Pablo!

There you have it! The Disney Princess Half Marathon, as recapped by yours truly. I look forward to competing in other Disney races as well; they’re incredible! {Maybe in California where it’s not as humid… haha}

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