529 = ounces of water drank the week before. That's 4.13 gallons.
150 = amount of money paid for registration.
20,000 = number of people I ran with.
600 = number of porta potties passed on the course.
168 = minutes ran.
13.1 = number of miles ran.
It's been a week now since I ran my first half marathon; Disney's Princess Half Marathon to be exact. 13.1 miles stretched along the roads and parks of Disney World. Starting and ending in Epcot with a run through Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom in the middle.
Sunday morning at 2:45, fifteen minutes before my alarm was set to go off, a combination of nerves and excitement woke me up without any intention to let me catch those last precious fifteen minutes of sleep. I figured I'd get an early start on things and hopped in the shower. By 3:30, we were out the door, bottles of water, gatorade, bananas, and peanut butter sandwiches in tow. By 3:45, we were on a bus being shuttled to Epcot with the other princesses-to-be. And by 4:15, we were making the 20 minute walk to join our fellow runners. And then we waited.
Bet you've never seen Epcot at 4am!!
Melissa, Me, Katie
And then we were corralled down a back service road to make it into our starting corrals. At 5:45, the first corral was off!
Mile 1 to 5: Epcot to Magic Kingdom
These first five miles seemed to pass by quickly. The adrenaline and excitement were definitely blocking out the dread of 13.1 miles of running. Getting a feel for what the race would be like, seeing the characters lined up on the road for pictures, the hundreds of volunteers there to pick up tossed clothing, hand out drinks, or to just cheer us on definitely took my mind off of what I was actually doing.
Mile 6: Magic Kingdom
Running into Magic Kingdom was a huge boost. We entered through a back lot (aka where the trash is apparently kept b/c it was smelling ripe!) and then onto Main Street USA. There, thousands of spectators cheered us on and the feeling of turning the corner and seeing the castle at the end was thrilling! We ran through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland before making our way to the castle itself. I meant to listen to what song was playing at this point b/c they let us vote on it (I obviously voted for Gaga), but as soon as we got to the castle, trumpets sounded and then all else was forgotten. This was definitely the most memorable part of the race (minus the finish, of course).
Just before entering Cinderella's Castle
Mile 7 to 10: Magic Kingdom to Epcot Center Drive
This is when things started to get a little rough for me. We left the park and were on some back roads. Mile 7 brought us the musical stylings of Kelly Clarkson with none other than "Stronger" blasting to push us along. Mile 8 was a complete blur for me. Literally, I totally blocked it out and don't remember a step of it. When I saw the mile 9 marker I said to Katie, "WHAT HAPPENED TO MILE EIGHT?!" She turned and said, "We just ran it, haha!" Welp! I guess it's good I blocked it out! Between miles 9 and 10 they gave us packs of GU Energy Gel....I honestly don't know if it worked, but hey, it's worth a shot! Around mile 10, Katie pulled away from me with two thumbs up and a, "You only have three miles to go!"
Mile 11 to 13: The Highway to Epcot
This was by far the hardest part of the race for me. By this point, I had been separated from Katie and Melissa so I was on my own. My feet were completely numb and my thighs felt like there were meat grinders in them cranking away. I was exhausted, but I somehow managed to keep moving. This was also when I started to get super emotional. The effort I was putting into trying not to cry was taking away from my effort to keep breathing and there were several times I had to calm myself down before hyperventilating. The combination of being so proud of myself for setting my mind to do something as intense and physically daunting as a half marathon, then accomplishing it, the cheering from the thousands of spectators, the signs of encouragement, and just the feeling of wanting to be DONE all came crashing down at once. And the last mile. The last mile was TORTURE. There were so many people that kept yelling, "You're almost done! Less than a mile! You can do it!!" I swear it was longer than a mile. I swear. But then. THEN, I topped a hill, and at the bottom was the finish line. And Mickey and Minnie ready to greet us. I ran past Minnie, gave her a high five and I was done. A few steps away, I was presented with a medal and a, "Congratulations, Princess." I was done. 13.1 miles. Complete.
Princess Jamie, at your service ;)
As if running that far wasn't enough, we then had a 45 minute walk to the bus. We finally made it back to the hotel, took quick showers, and then were on a hunt for FOOD. After eating Melissa and I check into a different hotel for the night and CRASHED at about 4:30. At that point we had been awake for 14 hours and ran 13.1 one miles. To say we were exhausted would be an understatement. We had big plans for a sushi dinner, but after waking up after only and hour and a half nap, there was just no way. So we rolled out of bed, went and grabbed something and came back and crashed again. And this is what the 9 hour ride home looked like.
I didn't mention this before, but I managed to cut 30 minutes off my total time. That's a lot. And because of that, the pain I was in was almost unbearable at times. These compression socks are a life saver....for the lower half of my legs. My knees, calves, and feet were actually never sore. From the knees up were a different story though! I kept the compression socks on (don't worry, they were a clean pair ;)) all day Sunday. And then I wasn't going to wear them on the ride home, but my calves did start cramping a little so I put them on and wah-lah! The 9 hour drive was complete torture though. Trying to find a comfortable position was impossible. And getting in and out of the car at stops, yeah...I was definitely moving slower than any old person we encountered. Melissa said that next year we need to make shirts for the ride home that say "Sorry for the slowness, I ran a half marathon yesterday" to wear on the way home haha! Monday I was still moving slow, but after that, the recovering moved along pretty fast.
And that's the story of how I ran a half marathon. I'm so happy I did it. As someone who is definitely not a runner, I'm so proud of myself for doing it. Nothing feels better than crossing that finish line and knowing that what you've just accomplished is something that not many people can do. Something that not many people will even attempt. And has hard as it might be while you're doing it or while you're training for months on end, it feels good to know you've done this for yourself and as hopefully an inspiration to someone else. And now I could easily stop, say, "Been there, done that." But I won't. I think this is something I'll keep up. There is definitely room for improvement. And I'm positive this won't be my last half marathon. Heck, we're already talking about next year's Disney Princess Half ;)
You don't even want to know how many bathroom breaks we had to make
on the way down ;)