Friday, March 9, 2012

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon - Part Two

This is Part Two of my Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Report.  For Part One, go here.  For my post on the Princess Half Meet Up and Expo, go here.

And again - Dear Past Jenn: I swear all of the stuff below is true.  Really.  You are going to run a half marathon and you are going to kind of love it.  Love, Present Jenn

We left off with me hanging around in Corral E finding it hard to believe that I was about to run a half marathon.  A singer performed the national anthem and suddenly I realized I should probably be paying attention because the race was about to start!

The Race Itself

The Fairy Godmother counted down the first start, which was the wheelchair athlete who was competing in the race.  Fireworks lit up the sky and everyone suddenly had an amazing amount of energy, like a switch had been flipped.  They counted down for every wave and the Fairy Godmother said her magic words for everyone.

I made this picture bigger because I love it so much.

At the beginning we were in a swarm of people and it was hard to hit a good pace.  On top of that, people had dropped all sorts of things in the first few hundred meters - tiaras, random accessories, chews and other fuel, and even a travel sized BodyGlide that Julie stepped on which nearly sent her out of the race before it started.  Luckily she just stumbled a bit and kept going.  The first few kilometres were slow between the congestion and me not wanting to go out too fast.

Along the highway there was various entertainment - a high school marching band, a hot air balloon, some music, some characters (like Jack Sparrow and a giant pirate ship booming awesome music - so cool) but it was mostly dark and I was focused on running running running.  The line up for Jack Sparrow was massive - as were the rest of the lines we encountered, as you might have guessed.  That means no character photos for us, though we did take various blurry photos of other people with the characters while running running running!

We did take pretty regular walk breaks - I would estimate around every 10 minutes in the first half of the race, and more towards the end - but no stopping breaks.

It didn't feel like much time had passed before we reached the Magic Kingdom sign that Julie and I both know and love from many childhood trips.  I was so excited to reach this point!  It turns out not much time had passed because not much time had passed.  This was only around the 4km point if I am looking at the right point on my map.  There's still plenty of highway stretching between this sign and when you actually get into the Magic Kingdom, so don't push too hard yet!

Magic Kingdom Parking "Entrance"

At the five kilometre mark I was feeling amazing.  I saw my Garmin showing five kilometres and told Julie we had to pause for a moment (our thoughts, not our feet) and she asked why.  I said we had to think about how less than one year ago I couldn't fathom running a 5k race and here I was, at the 5k point in a freaking half marathon.  Seriously.

I think it was around this point that I checked my pace band and realized we had to pick it up a notch if we were going to finish in 2:30.  (I picked up an awesome pace band at the Clif Bar display at the Expo.  It was printed on one of those bracelets you would get at an amusement park or something - waterproof paper that had a sticky part so you could fasten it on.  Amazing.)  We were behind by about three minutes if I remember correctly.

At this point, I started to find out how Julie was interpreting the "Jenn sets the pace" rule.  If I wanted to get to 2:30, she was going to get me there.  The race was filled with lots of "it won't hurt more to run a few seconds faster", "it will hurt more to walk" and Julie running away from me if I told her to leave me there to die.  (I promise this was all done in a supportive, loving fashion and I love her for what she did for me in this race.)

In the Magic Kingdom parking area, Julie finally gave in to her bladder but refused to line up for a bathroom as did a lot of other people.  She ran off to the bushes while I got a walking break without her asking when we would start running again.  (At this point I'd like to brag that I didn't stop to use a bathroom once.  Not sure if this is a good thing or not.)

On a related issue - I can't remember when this happened so I'm telling you now - I should have remembered everyone's advice about not drinking Powerade if you haven't before while training.  I usually drink plain water or Nuun.  I was worried about having enough steam to finish when I wasn't eating my chews as regularly as I planned (hey, I was distracted!) so I tried the Powerade.  At some point my stomach started sloshing around and I had to take a walking break so I wouldn't toss my cookies.  I drank water from then on.  I think Julie laughed at me, or at least she did after the race was over.

Magic Kingdom lot.
Ahead, villains and porta-potties.
Right, perfect bathroom break bushes.
Self portraits are awesome, clearly.
Running by the villians.
All our character pictures are blurry!

After the Magic Kingdom lots, we ran under an overpass - one of the many "hills" we faced during this race.  The energy was great.  Everyone knew that the Magic Kingdom - and maybe more importantly screaming, encouraging spectators - was not far away.

Julie and I generally sped down the downhills, letting ourselves take advantage of the speed instead of fighting it and trying to slow down as that would have hurt more.  At some point we were hitting a downhill and another pair of runners was close by.  One runner said to the other "slow down on the hill" and the second runner agreed.  Julie and I looked at each other and both said "SPEED UP ON THE DOWNHILL".

Towards TTC, from my memory.

We ran through the Ticket and Transportation Centre, where there were spectators and awesome drummers who were hitting just the right beat to get my pace up.  We turned a corner and there it was!  Cinderella's castle!  And suddenly we were running down Main Street USA and towards the castle.  It felt like a dream.

OMG we are here!
So incredible. 
We took a loop around the park, hitting up Tomorrowland and Fantasyland.  The line for the teacups was super short.  Julie suggested stopping.  I said that I didn't feel nearly as bad at that moment as I do after riding the teacups, so I guess I was feeling pretty good!

My view for the race - "you coming?!"

And just as suddenly, we were about to run through the castle.  My pace through the Magic Kingdom was the fastest I ran for the whole race, other than the last 2.1 km (which I'm shocked by because by the last 2.1km I wanted to die).  I was so happy, everyone else was happy, I was in an amazing place that I love, I was running.

They trumpeted us in!

And here's a pause to talk about our awesome spectators, because they took pictures in the Magic Kingdom too!

The boys planned to see us at the start, near the castle, and near the finish.  It didn't quite work out as we never saw them but they did see us run by near the finish.  They took pictures to prove they were there.  Maybe they thought we wouldn't believe them?  (We had a plan to tell them we saw them even though we didn't because we didn't want them to feel bad.)

My sister's DH

Apparently the big space in the photo below is part of the "Chear Zone".  Not sure why that area was set aside when the route went to the left of this photo?

Crowds at the Magic Kingdom
Awesome spectating job!

The boys had quite the adventure trying to find us, riding a monorail where the doors kept opening on the track and then riding one of the boata (which apparently was much faster and relatively quiet compared to the packed monorails).  They managed to get to the Magic Kingdom on schedule and back to the finish by time we were there.  In the future we might plan our spectators' stops a little better, but it's hard with 19,000 runners who all have at least 2-3 spectators wanting to see them.

And we're back on route!  Running through the castle...

"How are you feeling? Good?"


Then we ran through Liberty Square and Frontierland.  I wanted to stop at the Country Bear Jamboree.  I don't think they were even awake in there yet.

Liberty Square

Somewhere there is an awesome picture of me giving the thumbs up next to the Indian statute that I believe is in Frontierland.  Taking that picture made me laugh super hard.  We took it for my brother and a friend of his who both have childhood memories of the Indian statute.

After we left Magic Kingdom I took a walking break - one of the few I remember as I didn't follow a particular schedule but instead went with walking when I needed too.  I was getting tired through the Magic Kingdom but wanted to run the whole thing.  When we were through I got a break.  Phew.

Close to the exit of the Magic Kingdom we hit the halfway point.  We were almost there!!


  1. Sloshy stomach is the worst!! Congrats on a great race, and on getting over 10,000 views!

  2. Ahhhhh! This gets me so pUmped reading. It's seriously my dream course. I basically lived a Disney between 2008-2010! Worked there. Spent my days off in all the parks. Lived in the town owned by Disney! Ahhhh. So exciting! So proud of you!

  3. I love reading these Jen - I've downloaded C25K and I'm going to start running... perhaps try the Bluenose 5K in May! I also got a nice 'running outfit' from Lulu to motivate me a little more. Now I have to get out there! :) I'm so excite.

    Your adventure really sounds like a dream. It's amazing!!! :)

    Angie B.

    1. Awesome!! I started out with the C25K app. It's hard at first, especially around week 5 when you have to run 20 minutes in a row and you're thinking "NO WAY". Then it gets easier and then you're hooked. The running outfit from Lulu is definitely key too lol

  4. Reading your race recap is getting me pumped for my next races which aren't until May! Might need to rethink that and do one sooner.

    1. Writing it has made me want to sign up for another one sooner too! My next race isn't until our half in May. :-(

  5. You are amazing! xo