Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Report

I have a feeling that this is going to be a long race report, but I will try to make it as interesting as possible. Then again, how could Disney World be uninteresting? I love going to Disney World.

We picked Buddy up from school at 1pm last Thursday and headed to the airport for our 4 pm flight. Once we got to Orlando, all we had to do was hop on the Magical Express bus and head to our resort. We got to the All-Star Sports Resort around 8:30 p.m. and as soon as we were checked in and we could grab a light jacket, we were off to Downtown Disney to find some diner and for Buddy to hit the Lego store. I was able to find a quarter rotissery chicken with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies at the Wolfgang Puck Express so I was happy. After lots of time at the Lego store we got back to the room around 11:15 and we were all ready for bed.

To my chagrin, Buddy was waking us up at 5:45 am (4:45 Houston time!) and telling us to start getting ready. I had taught my 5:30 am class the day before, so I had a long day on Thursday. I told Bud that it was too early to get up and he started jabbering about the Extra Magical Hours. I asked him how he was able to be up and ready to go when most mornings I had to pry him out of bed at 7 am. "But Mom! This is DIFFERENT!!!" I told him that dad and I needed a little more sleep and to be quiet and read his book. Once up and dressed we stopped at the dining hall and I was surprised to see that they had soy milk for sale. I grabbed a small sip box to have with my gluten free breakfast bar and we went out to wait for the bus to Epcot. The only bummer thing that happened was that I dropped my iPhone out of my string wallet going through the bag check and I smashed the face. The touch screen still works but only after two months I now have the broken ghetto phone.

After enjoying Soaring and a few other rides at Epcot, I left the boys at the park and I jumped the Monorail to go to the Polynesian Resort to catch the shuttle to the race expo at the Wild World of Sports. I wanted to get there as soon as it opened up to grab my stuff and get out of there and head back to the park. I ended up spending close to 2 hours at the expo looking around and buying things. Oh well, at least I did not have people looking at me and whining to go. I looked over the merchandise and skipped on these options...
It's pink and it's a running skirt. A double negative does not make a positive!
A running baby doll top? I think NOT!

But I was really excited about these two things!!!

Now this is a shirt with attitude!

My personal favorite!

I also met a cool gal from Montana who has a company that makes tote bags out of old race numbers. She donates to Team in Training and at the end of the month I am having a bag party. I will give more information about Stef and her cool bags in another post.

Once out of the expo, it was back on the shuttle to the Polynesian Resort and on the Monorail back to Epcot. I met up with the boys in the World Showcase and I was able to get some lunch and then we hit Test Track and more of our favorites. For diner we went to the hibachi grill in Japan and had a very talented table chef who put on a great show. We got back to our room around 11 pm that night and I had to inform the troops that mom could not repeat that process the next day. There had been lots of talk of Magic Kingdom on Saturday and I put a stop to that by pointing out that if we waited until Sunday, there were Extra Magical Hours until 1 am. I won that debate.
Test Track!!!

The next day we headed off to Animal Kingdom so that the roller coaster junkies could ride Expedition Everest. I was content to sit and wait in the shade and to get off my feet. My son tried really hard to get me to go on, but I don't like to pay for cardiac arrest. I don't mind roller coasters, but I have a nasty fear of the feeling of falling. Expedition Everest has an 80 foot drop. PASS. As much as I like the Kali River Rapids, the chances of getting soaked are high and even though it was warm out, there was a breeze and being wet could have been chilly. PASS. We had a nice lunch at a Pan-Asian restaraunt and the chef came to the table and was able to talk to me about what he could adapt on the menu to be gluten free. YEA!!! They got a nice tip from us. When the park closed at 5 pm. I boarded the shuttle back to our resort and the boys hopped the shuttle to Hollywood Studios. I was able to have some time to chill out and get my stuff ready.

When I got back to the room, this is what I found...

Housekeeping had seen my SHWAG bag and race number and went the extra mile to make my stay extra magical. I was able to get a nice sliced turkey diner with veggies and mashed potatoes for dinner and they had Gluten Free brownies for desert! I got all my stuff laid out, and tested out my new SPI Belt that I got at the expo for the bounce factor with my iPhone.

I have a iPhone holder that has a clip on it but it is obnoxious and the clip is always digging into my back and it bounces around since the clip has some play in it because it swivels in different positions. I am a looser and I have grown to enjoy listening to tunes when I run. I used to think that headphone people were wimps who could not handle just running. I resisted a walkman, diskman, MP3 player for many years. Then about three years ago, my husband got me an iPod for Christmas. I really did not use it or know how to use it so all it had on it was theme songs from Alfred Hitchcock movies and random classical and jazz stuff that my husband put on it. WTF, Who wants to listen to that on a run??!!?? After having my iPod for about six months, someone taught me how to use iTunes and take my music files and put it on my iPod. Shazam! I loved it! Man i could have used that on some of my long training runs. So now, I like running with it and I like hearing Lance Armstrong tell me I went faster on that route than I did the last time with my Nike+ thingy. Anyway, the SPI belt did not bounce! If you have not seen a SPI belt, they are made by a company in Austin, TX. It is an elastic race belt with a zipper pocket made out of Lycra Spandex. I have seen then around for a year or two at the Austin race expos, but I didn't buy one only because I really did not need one. Well now I needed it and I was glad they were at the expo.

I was in bed with my watch and clock set one hour ahead for daylight savings time and the lights were off by 8:30 pm. I did hear the boys come in but I had no idea what time it was (12:45 am). I was sleeping well. I sleep well the night before cycling and running events but I still have trouble sleeping the night before a triathlon.

My alarm went off at 3:20 am. I had one hour to get dressed, eat, braid my hair, and make my way two resorts over to where the shuttle buses were picking runners up to take them to Epcot. I wanted to be in line for the bus no later than 4:20 am because the last shuttles would be running at 5 am and I knew that there would be lots of people waiting to get on a shuttle. I met up with a couple of other ladies hiking towards the shuttle pick-up. One was from So-Cal and the other was from New Jersey. We gained a few more in our party as we passed another resort. Once at the resort with the shuttle pick-up we had to find the end of the line that weaved around the main building of the resort, around the pool, and back towards the individual hotel buildings. Man that line was crazy long at 4:20 am. I was glad that I got there when I did. At least the shuttle buses were showing up two and three at a time which made the line move steadily. More and more women kept showing up and line kept getting longer and longer. There were a lot of women in pink, in running skirts, in tiaras, in princess costumes, and in way too much clothing to be running in. The temps were in the high 50's or low 60's and it was going to be perfect weather. The girl from New Jersey asked me what my goal was and I told her that I had been dealing with some health issues so I would be really happy with a 2:05 or a 2:10 as a finishing time.

Once we got to Epcot, I hit the port-o-cans and lightened the load, but I had to pee more than anything. My breakfast of a Ms. May's Trio Bar (3 nuts, 3 seeds, 3 fruits) and a small bag of Ms. May's cashue crunch nuggets, but they had not gotten the plumbing moving. I headed to the line to drop of my bag with some dry clothes. That was another long line and I basically did a lot of people watching. There were all these crazy ladies who were going to be running in full princess dresses, sashes, gloves, and tiaras. Chafing was sure to be the number one sports injury at this race. Since it was chilly with out my warm-up jacket, I started briskly walking in direction that everyone else was going towards the start line. We had a good 1/2 to 3/4 walk (possibly longer) to leave Epcot, go past the parking lots, cross over onto a road that traveled west and then make our way to the corrals. There was some open area after the crowd thinned out at the last bank of port-o-cans and I jogged a bit just to warm up.
I got to Corral A and walked right up to the front and staked out my spot as more people started showing up. It was only 6 am and I had an hour before the race. I took my Sport Legs and began the countdown to the start and tried to relax as much as possible. The stars were out but there was mist hanging in the air and it was chilly. A bunch of us sat down on the ground until we had to get up to let the three wheel chair racers and their chairs through. Spria had a team of about 8 women there with a coach. There was a net barrier up to keep the masses back about 20 yards from the start. The start line was all lit up and there was a stage to the right where "Princess Gi Gi" or "Princess La La" or whatever the hell her name was would come out every five minutes and give an update. One time she came out and introduced Sally Edwards who would be running at the back of the pack with the tail end to get them in. It was chilly and I was ready to get going! I huffed on my inhaler at 15 minutes until the race. I cranked up my tunes at 10 minutes until the race (the playlist was perfectly timed so that the race would start after "Work (Freemasons Club Mix)" by Kelly Rowland and the gun would go off on "Low" by Flo-rida. The national anthem was sung, the wheel chair athletes were off and the net barrier went down. We walked up towards the start line behind the Spria gals and I popped a Sportineen lozenge before the race. The fog machines on the start line arch started spewing out clouds of vapor. 5---4---3---2---1---GO!!!

As we ran through the fog, some crazy ASI photographer was in the middle of the road kneeling down to take a picture and he was plowed over by a bunch of women dressed as Belle and wearing a lot of spangles. I did not look back to see if anyone got hurt but I would assume that there were bloody knees involved. As I ran through the dark, I calmly settled into my pace, not anyone else's and I had a bunch of women running past me like they were on a mad dash to find that glass slipper. I moved to the right of the road and stayed out of the way. There were a few men that passed me up. It seems that there were 162 MEN out of the 8000 strong field who were running. I guess it would be a great way to pick up women or make good conversation with some ladies. I had no desire to keep up with the front runners and I just kept the feet moving. We hit an overpass and as soon as we got to the other side, the road started looping around to go down to the road we had just crossed over. I saw my first walker. She must have blown the doors off the barn and had no horses left to pull the wagon. I saw mile marker Number 1.

Mile 1= 8:24

The road was angled at a slant for drainage and it made it uncomfortable to run on. I stayed to the left near the edge of the road to keep it easy. I was feeling the urge to whiz again since it had been cold before the start and I was letting my kidneys do the processing rather than sweating. About 200 yards down from the first mile marker there was a group of 6-8 12-string classical guitarists playing for us. Nice touch, but I was finishing up my jam on Tiesto's "Break My Fall". We hit the end of the off ramp and did a sharp U-turn to head north on the road towards the Ticket and Transportation area. I ran past the first aid station since I had my Fuel Belt on and dug around in my pocket for a Margarita Shot Blok. I ran past a bank of port-o-cans and wondered briefly if I should have stopped. My intestines were starting to sit low in my pelvis and I knew I had to stop at the next bank of cans. I could feel my breathing getting labored and I had to mentally relax due to the GI issues. I ran past another walking victim. The spirit was willing but the body had not been able. I had some more gals in tiaras and tuu-tuus pass me up but that was ok. I saw mile marker Number 2

Mile 2= 16:43

I saw that the road was going to veer left up ahead and I saw the second aid station. Now just to look for the port-o-cans. I knew I was going to loose time dashing into the cans, but it was nessessary and of the utmost importance that I stop. I hopped right in since there was no line and I did the Paula Radcliff pull the shorts leg to the side and took care of evacuating the pipes. I felt a lot better after that and I dashed back up onto the road and towards mile marker #3

Mile 3 = 26:33 5K time = 27:13

Ok, so the Colon Blow slowed me down but I was eventually going to have to stop and I stopped before the chills and backed-up gas started setting in. I had gotten back in the group a bit but these gals were all about my pace rather than passing me up. We ran past a crew of high school boys doing a drum line. As we ran around the back of the Petty Racing Experience car track, I saw another Team in Training Person about 150 yards ahead of me. I figured that I would eventually catch up to her and say "Hi". This was the first TNT person that I had seen. The sun was not up but the sky was starting to lighten up a bit. Aid station 3 was past us as we ran through the Magic Kingdom parking lots and as we turned the corner to run into the Ticket and Transportation area, there were crowds of cheering spectators holding signs and ringing cowbells. I had caught up to the TNT gal and we introduced ourselves. She was from Chicago and she looked like she was holding in there and was looking strong. The road dipped down under a tram bridge and there was a little hill up back to ground level. As we ran out of the T & T area the crowds all but disappeared except for a few lone cheering family members along the road. I was loosing track of the miles at this point and my timing. My goal was to just get ahead of some of the crazy women running as a team in costumes or goofy knee high striped socks and polka dot tops.

Right before the Contemporary Resort, the road goes sharply downhill to go under a canal between Bay Lake and the lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. That uphill was a leg zapper. I just had to keep one foot moving in front of another. There were more spectators along the road by the Contemporary Resort and we ran under the Monorail and took a sharp left towards the Magic Kingdom. The gentleman who was manning the traffic/security gate was all smiles and cheering for us. I told him thank you as I ran by. We ran behind some bushes, and through some of the back lot and then we were running into the Magic Kingdom and down Mainstreet U.S.A.!!! All the lights were on and the streets were filled with cheering spectators and Disney Cast Members. It was a real spirit booster. We headed to Tomorrow Land  and the gal from New Jersey who I sat with on the shuttle to the race saw me as she was running by and we ran together into Storybook Kingdom.  As we approached Cinderalla's Castle Micky, Minnie, Cinderalla, Prince Charming, and some other princesses were all posing for pictures with runners. I was suddenly aware that there were going to be women who were going to stop and take pictures with all the characters and still finish in front of me. I did not like that thought and decided that I was not stopping unless it was for another Colon Blow.

The course took us into Frontier Land and over the Magic Kingdom rail road tracks and into the back lot. Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto were there in their Tuxedos and fine dress to pose for more pictures with fast women who would still finish before me. We headed out of the back lot area and hit a nice long road that was quiet and we started heading towards the Grand Floridian Resort. I saw the mile marker for mile 6 up ahead. I was kinda floored...

Mile 6 = 52:06 10K time =53:28

That may have been the fastest 10K that I have ever run! I did a negative split and I'm sure that the 45 seconds that I dropped of my time was the time I had spent in the port-o-can. Oh well, at least I was consistent! I ran past Peter Pan and Wendy and Belle and the Beast. I saw women stopping for their picture with Sleeping Beauty and then I saw the Evil Witch at mile 7.

Mile 7 = 1:00:16

Wow, I was able now to start tracking my times again on the second half of the run with a good place to count from where I would not have to do too much math. Time for more Margarita Shot Bloks and Enduralytes. The course was meeting itself again and I could see the last of the walkers at mile 3.5. I could tell that I was slowing a bit as I pulled on my sun glasses and started running into the sun. Pit Bull and DJ Laz were screaming at me to "Get Krazy" and "Boom Boom Shake Shake" as I was hustling down the road. For some reason, I became painfully aware of the bottom of my feet for a moment and then to watch my step as I ran through some cups on the ground at the aid station. I'm not sure why, but the road looked slick like ice and I was suddenly afraid that I was going to slip and land on my head. I shook it off and picked up the pace again and headed towards Mile 8.

Mile 8 = 1:09:03

The sweep trucks were on the other side of the road picking up cones and sweeping up the trash to make things look magical again. I ran past the high school boys drum line again and was blinded by the sun that was at eye level. As the road curved to the right, we started heading south and I would feel a little twinge in my upper right shoulder at the base of my neck. I know that this muscle tends to tense up when I get anxious while running and then it starts affecting my breathing. I had this ephifany that I could not Zone Out, but instead I had to Zen Out. The road was flat and straight and there were only a few people around me. Now I would not advocate running with one's eyes closed because of obstacles and hazards, but I did close my eyes for a few brief seconds and focused on deep breathing like I would use in Pilates. I opened my eyes just enough to see the road and that I was still on track and not running into the grass or the other lane. I did this several times until I could see mile marker number 9.

Mile 9 = 1:18:27

I was consistent, but on a 9 minutes mile pace. I was momentarily bummed out, but I threw that in the trash as I waved to Aladin, Jasmine, and Abu the monkey. Another timing mat was down the road a bit. I wondered what it was out there for and then it hit me that it was the 15K timing mat. I saw another TNT gal from Georgia and she was stopping to stretch. I wished her well.
15K = 1:20:58

I could see women running over the bridge that I was going to be running under. How did they get so far ahead? Good Grief I wish that I could run that fast. The loop up to the bridge started and I had to stick to the right and run the white line on the shoulder because the road was slanted. I saw my third walker on the loop. She looked to be limping a bit and I knew she was feeling rough. We came out of the shadow of the pines and as I hit the bridge something in the back of my knee cramped up. ARGH! OW!!! It was not my hamstring and it was not my calf. It had to be the Poplitial and I knew that I had to take more salt in fast. I slowed to a jog to pull out my Enduralytes and to pop a few and guzzle down some water. There was the Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot in the distance. My goal! I just have to make it to Spaceship Earth and the rest is cake. I put my bottle back in my Fuel Belt and ran past this gal that was dressed in a full length princess gown with a sash and gloves on. She had stopped to take a picture of Mile Marker number 10 and then the Running Princess proceeded to pass me up! NO!!! Short of grabbing at her sash as yanking her back or throwing something at her, I vowed that this chick would not cross the finish line before me. Ha Ha!!! She stopped to take a picture with Alice in Wonderland, the March Hare and the Queen of Hearts. I picked up the pace. I had lost track of the time again and I had no idea of my splits. My heart rate monitor was set on distance and I did not want to fiddle with changing it to a different setting. I just kept running. I could see the mile marker for mile 11. Go, go, go, one foot in front of the other. Maintain the pace. I had been jamming out to Tiesto's music that he mixed for the opening ceremonies for the Athens Olympics. I knew that my power song was coming but I was ahead of my planned schedule and I had to settle with "Give It All You Got" by Ulta Nate. Not far past mile 11, we had to do a semi U-turn to double back on a road that would take us over a bridge at the Epcot parking lot. I could feel my heart rate climb as I motored up that bridge. The last time I ran the half marathon at Disney, this is where my friend had brought my son out to so he could cheer me on. I got to the top and let the "Naughty Girl" (Calderone Quayle Club Mix) by Beyonce pound into my head. I could feel my legs as I was running down the other side of the bridge. Spectators started appearing as we ran through the shuttle bus drop off lot. Mile 12! I saw some crazy time like a 1:46 or a 1:47. NO WAY!!! Was I going to PR this puppy??? Once we got into the back lot of Epcot I eased up just a bit. I always feel like I have to run faster and harder for the spectators. Disney cast members were manning an aid station and cheering for us. I ran past a man that I had seen earlier. He must have slowed down for me to catch up to him. We ran out of the back lot and into Epcot by Spaceship Earth. All I had to do was run down to the entrance of the World Showcase and on to the finish line. The Pussycat Dolls were wailing that they wanted to be famous and be a super star. Oh yeah!!! Right at the turn around, my iPhone dinged at me and I knew that it was Johnny Tri checking in on me. Ok, back to Spaceship Earth. I really appreciated all the cast members cheering for us. We ran back behind customer relations where there was a singing group and I saw that man in the white shirt again. He was not going to finish before me. I picked it up because now it was only a few meters to the home stretch. There were crowds of people cheering for us and Mickey and Minnie were at the finish line. HOLY MOLY!!! 1:54:47. I only had a hundred or so yards to go! I was so excited that I forgot to hit my stop watch and I forgot to look at the clock as I ran under it. I heard the announcer call my name and I was smiling from ear to ear. I watched my step so that I would not step in the sawdust piles that were soaking up someone's breakfast who did not finish happily ever after.

Finish = 1:55:09 Overall Place: 436 out of 6331 finishers

I really could not eat or drink any of the stuff they had laid out for us in the finish area so I just got my medal, had my photo taken, and went to go collect my bag. I pulled out my iPhone and saw that Johnny Tri was telling me to run hard and answered back that I had just finished with a PR. Not much of a PR, but it was 40 seconds and my last half marathon for time was in January of 2007. I will take it! As I walked to the shuttle bus to take me back to the All Star Sports Resort, I called the family to let them know that I was on the way back. I woke them up. Lazy bums. Get up! It's 9:00 a.m. and I'm ready to go ride Space Mountain!!!
We had a great time at the Magic Kingdom and I did have a Magical Day!

Sorry for it being so long. I will shut up for now.

Later Gators,



Greyt Times said...

Awesome job Liz!!! Loved the detailed report. I can never remember races that vividly. Sounds like it was a fun time!

Tiggs said...

great report! I would be guaranteed a PW at Disney because I would have to dress up and stop for pictures with every character! LOL!

The Lazy Triathlete said...

Great job and wonderful report. Glad you had such a great time.

Spokane Al said...

Very cool - congratulations on a pr! That race must make the rest seem a bit plain in comparison.

JohnnyTri said...

Nice Job!!! You freakn rock'd it!!

great medal too..!!!

what a freakn cool time at this race!


Benson said...

absolutely Fantastic!

Your medal is the coolest one ever.

Ryan said...

Great job Princess!


The running towel was very creative on housekeepings part.

Great report and very well done with the PR...Princess.

Marni said...

Great report and great time! I LOVE those towels..How creative! Your pics were great.

Greyt Times said...

I want to hear more about your quest to become a grey-mom!!! Do you have one you are hoping to adopt? Pic online anywhere??? WOOHOO! Email me with ANY questions you may have!

Rainmaker said...

1) Interesting expo options, glad that guys don't have these sorta issues.

2) Wow, very cool with the housekeeping noticing your bags and doing towel-man. Nice touch.

3) Holy crap 3:20AM is early!

4) Wow, you run through the magic castle...interesting.

5) Looks like a cool finishing line, and you had quite a few really solid official race pics.


Racn4acure said...

What a great race report, Liz. Well done! A PR too! I enjoyed reading your report.

I might run in a gown and a tiara for the right donation to my TNT fundraising campaign, but not otherwise!

I had two friends from TNT walking the half down there, and they did wear tiaras they said.

Jeff said...

Wow, great race. Congrats on the PR -- 40 seconds is 40 seconds, but you were 10 minutes off of your goal. You Rock!

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Running Diva Mom said...

I really enjoyed your post and the detail you provided! I'm running the 1/2 in a few weeks and cannot wait. I hope it is magical. My goal is a 1:55 also. SOunds like you had fun!

Running Diva Mom said...

I really enjoyed your post and the detail you provided! I'm running the 1/2 in a few weeks and cannot wait. I hope it is magical. My goal is a 1:55 also. SOunds like you had fun!

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Anonymous said...

Wow! It seems as if the spirit of this race was really lost on you. All the other reports I have heard about the Princess 1/2 have been so uplifting and positive. Yours just focused on yourself, your bowel movements (TMI, by the way) and on putting others down. I'm not sure why you would even run this race with your poor attitude. Oh, and your grammar is horrible.