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I am getting all excited just looking through the photos to create this post!  This is my recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  We arrived in Orlando on Thursday, and we made our way over to the Expo after checking in to our hotel.  The weekend had a bit of a rough start, because we had planned to travel to the hotel via the Magical Express, however, when we went downstairs to get on a bus, the sheer amount of people waiting to make that trip the same way was insane.  My husband gauged my mood correctly, and made the suggestion that we take a taxi.  It was not cheap, but then again, nothing really is cheap when you are doing a Disney vacation.  The cost was worth me not getting in a very bad mood waiting for an hour or more to ride a bus to the hotel.

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At the Expo, I did not have a negative experience, the way many of the bloggers who have posted about this Expo have.  I didn’t get there until Thursday afternoon, and therefore was not there for the crush of people at the opening, so it was relatively painless.  I will say, however, there was some merchandise that appears to have been sold out by the time I arrived.  Honestly, I love “stuff” but if it meant getting in the brawl, I will do without.  As seen above, I was able to have a quick meeting with Cinderella’s footmen, they were so regal.

Later that afternoon, we visited Animal Kingdom briefly, before heading to our reservation at Chef Mickey’s.  It was awesome dining with Mickey and friends, and as you can see, I had gotten my nails done in a Minnie Mouse theme, and she was very, very impressed.  Minnie is my favorite of the original Mickey Mouse characters, so I was extremely excited.  Friday brought about a trip to Epcot, which I had never previously been to.  It was awesome!  I did not see everything by any means, but I did not feel any huge need to do so, as we have annual passes and are going back for multiple races.  Friday night, I set out my outfit, and it was time to try to get some sleep in preparation for the Enchanted 10K.

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I did not plan a costume, I decided to just make sure I was comfortable.  I had a pink theme going on which I feel absolutely works with a princess weekend, and I was good with that.  The next morning came early, and we were on a bus to the starting area by around 3:30am.  I have heard various things about the way Disney handles race transportation, so I was a little bit concerned, however, it really did go quite smoothly.  We walked down to the front desk area and got right on a bus.  The walk from the buses to the starting area was a good way to keep warm, and they had lots of music and it was exciting.  There were several areas where you could stand in line to get your picture taken, I think some of those lines had characters at them, however, I was simply too nervous to do so.  As soon as they allowed us to go to our corrals, I headed to my corral.  I had heard the horror stories of the dreaded walk to the corrals, and so I was anxious.  Come to find out, the dreaded walk is only for the half marathon, so I worried (and stood alone for 30 minutes instead of with my husband) for no good reason.  I was in corral E, but there were tons of people in the corrals, and there was probably 10-15 minutes between corrals, so the elite runners were probably getting ready to finish before I even started.

The race itself was unremarkable for the first three miles or so.  I got to see Anna and Elsa on the overpass, and that was kind of cool, and there were character stops, but the lines were too long and I was too worried about not being fast enough, so I didn’t stop.  I mostly tried to relax and take in the moment.  The first three miles that was difficult because there were sooooo many people!  Nobody respected the etiquette rules, I was passed on the left and right (even though I was very much to the right, as walkers are supposed to be) and more than once someone nearly tripped me up.  The people in front of me that I ended up passing didn’t respect etiquette either, often moving in big groups, or walking 3-4 abreast, making it hard to move around them.  Despite all this, I really just wanted to have fun, not be annoyed, so I tried to relax.  Around mile 2, I passed a sweeper bus, just sitting there, but there were actually a lot of people on it, who I guess, for whatever reason, were quitting.  It was not a point of actually being swept when I passed it, but it was clearly poised for action.  It made me a little nervous just seeing it, however, there were hundreds of people behind me so I just kept on moving.

Once we entered Epcot, I was so excited!  The race changed dramatically for me, and I was super pumped!  Even the backstage areas were infusing me with that Disney magic, and I was happy.  The last 3 miles of the 6.2 mile race were amazing.  I LOVED it and cannot say enough about it!  When I finished, I felt so good, and I was totally excited about running the next day!  I collected my medal, met up with my very encouraging husband, and we were off to enjoy the parks, starting with breakfast with the Princesses.

We enjoyed ourselves, I was so happy, and we headed to bed relatively early.  This is where I will mention the hotel stay.  We had chosen to try to be economical, and we chose to stay at the Disney All Star Movies Resort.  I was not happy.  We were in a room quite far from the front desk, our room, while clean, really was in need of updating.  The fan in our bathroom would stick in the ON position after the housekeeper put it on, every single day, after we turned it off, afraid of breaking the timer switch every day.  The air conditioning locks out at 68 degrees.  This might not seem like a big deal to the average person, however, when I am staying at a hotel, I really like to be able to bundle up and like the temperature to be around 66.  Those two degrees coupled with the humidity of Florida were really annoying.  I just didn’t feel the Disney Magic at the All Star Resorts.  I have stayed at them before with no complaints, so perhaps my standards have just changed over the years, but before we even left Orlando, I changed our reservation for the April trip, and we will be staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in a one bedroom villa.  I was sold when I saw the whirlpool soaking tub, and we got a decent rate based upon the passholder discount.  My husband agreed, and we will be staying at the nicer resorts for all future visits.

Anyway, so heading into the half marathon morning, I really didn’t get the greatest night’s sleep because the bed really was not comfortable, but I still arose in good spirits, ready for the day’s excitement!  After all, we had sprung for the Race Retreat for both myself and my husband, and I was about to get to run a race through Cinderella’s Castle and run down Main Street!  What!?!  I had been looking forward to and planning for this for months and months.  Then I took a step out of the bed.  Heh.  I had a nasty pain on the outside of my foot, between my ankle and my heel.  I tried to stay positive, I got dressed, and I thought, I will just stretch it out and walk it off.  As we were walking towards the bus to head to the starting area, the pain intensified, to the point I was unable to walk without a limp.  I was starting to get worried, but I still was hoping I could walk and stretch it off.  I will not continue to belabor the point, but ultimately, I decided not to participate.  I was unable to walk without a limp no matter how hard I tried, and I knew that would mean there was no way I could keep up with the 16 minute mile pace, and getting swept would have been heartbreaking to me.  I don’t want to take anything away from individuals who do not complete the course and still decide to take the medal being swept, that is their choice, but for me, if I don’t earn the medal, I don’t want it.

I tried not to let it get me too down, I was very disappointed, and my foot hurt, but we did finish out our vacation with some time in the parks.  I didn’t walk much, Sometimes I just sat and let my Disney nerd husband go off on his own, and twice I returned to the hotel and rested while he stayed and did some things he found enjoyable, and I was very happy for him to be able to do that.  I just kept reminding myself I have more races coming, and not doing the race and risking serious injury for trying was the smart thing to do.

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Overall, this was an amazing first runDisney experience, even with the disappointment of not getting to do the Half Marathon and complete the Glass Slipper Challenge.  I am super excited to return in April for the Dark Side Challenge, and I am keeping positive thoughts that I will be able to complete the challenge.  I am more prepared, we have made rookie mistakes (hello Magical Express, Disney All Star Resorts) and I fully expect our next runDisney adventure will be even more magical, and full of pixie dust!

 

I am going to post my recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend soon, however, for now, I am going to summarize my plans for the next 12 months.  This is an exercise in motivation for me, as I have a lot planned, and I need to keep my motivation strong.

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The next race up is the Dallas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon and 5K.  I will earn my Texas Legend medal if I am able to be an official finisher for this race.  This race is held in 10 days or so, March 20, with the 5K being held the day before.  My sweet husband will be doing the 5K with me.

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Shortly afterwards in April, we will trek back to Orlando to the House of the Mouse for another Disney challenge.  This is the inaugural Dark Side Challenge, which means the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.  2018 will probably be the year of the Kessel Challenge which will require me to go to California for the Rebel Challenge and do the Dark Side Challenge in the same calendar year.

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There is quite a gap in races after that, as I am going to defer the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend in California this year.  Instead, September will bring about the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, and the Dumbo Double Dare, which consists of the 10K and the half marathon.  That is going to be a short trip, we are literally flying in on Friday, doing the expo, I will do the 10K on Saturday and the half on Sunday, and then we will fly home Sunday evening.

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I have decided to do the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend as well.  I was not initially planning to do this, however, there are rumors they will add a 10K and with a 10K likely will come a new challenge, and I am a huge sucker for a challenge.  That means November will bring about another race.  The Wine and Dine Half is unique in that it is a race run at night.  I am hoping if they add a 10K it will be run at night as well, because I really would enjoy that.

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This brings us to January 2017.  I am going to participate in the great grand-daddy of the runDisney races, the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.  I have big plans for that weekend, I am going to attempt doing a challenge, but I will be at peace with completing whatever races during that week I am able to do.  It will all be incredibly dependent on my weight loss and my training, so it is impossible to say for sure.

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In February, on my eldest son’s 25th birthday, I will be heading to New Orleans for a quick race weekend.  I will only be participating in the half marathon, regardless of the point I have reached in my training for the marathon weekend in January, because later in February, I come full circle and will be back at:

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I hope to redeem myself at this race in 2017, where I was unfortunately only able to complete the 10K this year.  More about that in my next post though.  After that, it starts to be too far out to plan precisely which races I will do.  I would say it is safe to say I will be attempting to do the Dark Side Challenge, and if a Challenge comes from the Wine and Dine weekend, that one as well.  I need to do those every year to try to maintain a legacy status, which is something I would enjoy.  One year, I would like to make it a priority to hit every single Disney race weekend, just to be able to say I did it.  Run all the races!

So, it has been way too, too long since I have updated this blog.  I am very proud to say that even though I have hit some detours, and not made the progress I wanted to make, I am still going strong, maybe even stronger in the long run.  That being said, here is my recap of the Rock n’ Roll San Antonio weekend.  Despite not having trained the way I should have done before attempting this feat, I decided to go ahead and do the 10K and the half marathon.  It was totally a mental thing for me.  With some of the nagging little injuries I kept having, I knew doing these races at my size was iffy.  I had several challenges coming up requiring me to do a 10K followed by a half marathon the next day.  I needed to believe in myself, and I needed to know I could do it.

First, the 10K.  I woke up early, and I got ready.  I was not particularly stressed out about the race, because my husband was going to be doing the race with me, and in training, I had gone that distance before, and felt pretty good.  We got ready, I ate a breakfast bagel sandwich, and off we went.  My friend Brandon and his girlfriend Shaleka were also there with us for this race, so we walked to the starting area.  The walk was about a mile from the hotel, and I definitely was of the mindset I wanted all this walking to come off the total distance I was going to have to do that day.  Either way, we arrived early, and we hung around waiting for the start.

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Brandon and Shaleka went off on their own, and Michael and I went on our way.  We agreed from the start that we were going to be taking it easy, as I really had no idea what to expect the next day at the half marathon.  I tried to do a couple of running intervals, and the hip injury reared its ugly head and I backed right off.  We decided to just walk at a quick pace, and cover the miles.  I do not remember specifics from the race, other than the fact that I felt pretty decent.  I was feeling strong and powerful, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

After the finish, I was feeling it.  I felt like I had a couple of (managable) blisters, and my muscles were sore, sore, sore.  I was stiff, and overall, right after the race, I was worried about the next day.  I definitely was ready to go back to the hotel.  I took a couple of epsom salt soak baths, and I had this amazing husband of mine who rubbed my feet and calves, and I just decided I wasn’t going to decide until the next morning what I was going to do.  I got plenty of rest, we ordered room service for dinner, and I slept.  The next morning when my alarm went off, I got up and I tested the waters some.  I walked around the room, and I had a little stiffness in my calves, and my feet hurt a little bit from the blisters, but overall, I felt pretty decent.  I consulted with Michael, and he made it clear he supported me, and he believed I could do it.  That was really all I needed to hear.  The biggest mistake I made that day, however, is they couldn’t bring me my breakfast, so I said don’t worry about it.  I didn’t eat a thing before going 13.1 miles.  Really, really bad idea.

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At the start line, I got to shake hands and a runner I had befriended while waiting for the start snapped this photo of me with Meb.  I was really, really pumped!  I met MEB!  My husband also cheered me on right after the start, and I was off.  I did a couple of run intervals, but then I started feeling that twinge in my hip again, so I resigned myself to walking.  In the back of my mind was always the timing.  I wanted/needed to be an official finisher in order to qualify for the Texas Legend medal after the Dallas Rock n’ Roll half in March.  The timing was fairly generous, I just had to finish in 4 hours.  I felt that would not be difficult, and the first 6 miles, I was feeling pretty awesome.  I was actually keeping a good pace, and then we wound around to the San Antonio Zoo and I encountered my first HILL.  Holy cow.  I will not post all of the cursing I did when I saw that hill, because I was just not prepared.  I made it up that hill, then we went downhill, then back up another hill.  All I could think was, TEXAS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FLAT!  I remember a medical worker saying to me at the top of the second hill that it was all downhill or flat from there (around mile 8) and I remember thinking, if he is lying to me, I swear, I am coming back to find him after the race.  Luckily for me, it was.

Around mile 10, I started really feeling it.  I knew I was going to finish, I had come too far not to finish, but I was so miserable.  I looked at all the side roads and mentally thought about telling my husband to come pick me up at that intersection, or the next one, and so on.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and looking behind me.  My two goals were to be an official finisher, and not to finish last, and I was doing okay.  The worst mile of my life thus far was mile 13.  That 1.1 mile from mile 12 to the finish line was horrific.  I felt like it went on forever, and I was suffering.  I was continuing on sheer will power at this point.  I felt nauseous, my feet were killing me, and all I could think was, I have to do this.

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Near the finish line, my husband was there and I saw his smiling, happy, cheering face and I just shook my head at him and put my hand up, because I in no way wanted to celebrate a damned thing, and I had to concentrate, one foot in front of the other.  He snapped this shot as I was getting ready to cross the finish line, and phew, I was done.  I actually had a lot of problems immediately following the race.  I thought I was going to pass out, and I was very nauseated.   I never should have done that race without something in my stomach.  My feet were killing me, and I just could not go any further.  The idea of having to walk over a mile back to our hotel was abhorrent to me and when I was able to get a grip, my husband got the car and came to pick me up.  Despite being horribly sore and having ridiculous blisters, I did it!

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As you can see, I was still able to smile and pose with my medals, once we made it back to the room.  A few days later, when we made it back home to Austin, I got the tattoo I swore I was going to get in honor of my first 19.3 mile challenge.

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