Archive | March, 2011

It’s official!

15 Mar

I officially registered for Goofy! It seems surreal to be registered. I’ve been talking about doing it for awhile, and now I’ve paid my money. I’m going to do it!

39.3 magical miles over 2 days. I cannot wait!!!

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Spring running weather is here… hopefully it’s stays!

12 Mar

I had an awesome run this morning! It was in the lower 50’s when I started and around 60 when I finished. I set out to do 14 miles, the longest run I’ve ever done. Since it’s only been 2 weeks since the princess 1/2, I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up. I decided to do two 3.5 mile out and backs. If I wasn’t feeling it after the first 7 miles, I was just going to call it a day. I started out ‘slow’ so I wouldn’t run out of steam at the end, but after a mile I realized I ran a 9:30 minute, which is fast for me on a long run. I decided to stick with that pace because it felt pretty comfortable. I finished 7 miles in 1:08, and still felt good. I stopped at my car for a few minutes to fill up my water bottles, and refuel. The second out and back was a lot harder, but I felt strong most of the way. I finished the last 7 miles in 1:12. My goal for my next 1/2 marathon in 3 weeks is to finish in 2:15, and when I reached 13.1 miles during my run, I was a minute ahead of that pace!

As soon as I stopped running the muscles in my legs started screaming. The hills around here, and the longer distance didn’t make them happy, so I decided to try an ice bath when I got home. I’ve read about them several times, but I’ve never had the nerve to try one. It was horrible for the first minute, but got better once my body temperature adjusted. I’ll be anxious to see if it helps with soreness tomorrow!

I’m really loving this weather, and hope it stays. I can see several outside runs in my future, especially since  I’m on spring break next week!

The North Face Endurance Challenge

12 Mar

I’ve never been a patient person. I’m really big into instant gratification, and when I get an idea in my head, I can’t wait to accomplish it. That being said, Rock n Roll St. Louis was going to be my first full marathon ever. Notice how I said was, and not is? I was reading Runner’s World last night, trying to get sleepy when I saw an advertisement for the North Face Endurance Challenge series. I usually flip past the adds without looking, but I actually stopped and looked at the page, and upon examining it I noticed that one of the cities hosting the race is Kansas City. I was too tired to get on the computer and look at the website last night to find out more details, but today after work I came home and checked everything out. I’m officially running my first full marathon on August 27 now! The training schedule I’m planing to follow is an 18 week plan, and since the race is 24 weeks from tomorrow that means I officially start marathon training in 6 more weeks. I have a few half marathons on my schedule this spring and summer though, so I’m going to have to modify my schedule to fit those races in.

I can’t wait to start officially training to run a marathon. It’s going to be a long hot summer of running, but I’m determined to get through it. I was even extremely ambitious and said I would finish the race in 4 1/2 hours, which is probably a long shot since I’ve yet to run a 1/2 marathon at that pace. I’ll personally be thrilled to finish under 5 hours, but I didn’t want to seem like too much of a rookie during registration…

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon – February 27, 2011

9 Mar

Since I signed up to run my first marathon at the Fit for a Princess expo, I thought it would be fitting to start my marathon blog with my report of the race!
It’s hard to believe that I started this crazy running obsession only a year ago. A year ago I started couch to 5k, and couldn’t run a mile without stopping. When I first thought about running the princess 1/2 marathon, I had nightmares about getting lost on the course, or falling behind and not being allowed to finish. It’s amazing how much a year changed things! Going into race weekend my nerves were pretty cool. I knew I had run the distance before, and was mainly there to have a good time. After running the second leg of the wine and dine 1/2 marathon relay in October, I was really excited to run a full race at Disney. I was so sad watching the starting line fireworks from a couple miles away at the relay exchange area in October. You better believe my camera was ready when the fireworks to start the princess 1/2 marathon went off!

My princess morning started early. At precisely 3am, two cell phone alarms, and the hotel room phone were ringing. Luckily I was already so excited about the race that the early wake up call wasn’t an issue. By 4:15 the Epcot ball was glowing close by, and it was really starting to sink in that I was actually getting ready to run a 1/2 marathon at Disney!

Shortly after arriving at Epcot, it was time to walk to the corrals. I read about the corrals being a 20 minute walk from the staging area in the Epcot parking lot, and always thought that it was an exaggeration, but it literally took 20 minutes to walk to the corrals. I heard a lot of people around me joking about how they wish Disney would count the walk as part of the race distance. I didn’t have my GPS going on my phone, but it had to at least be a mile walk to the corrals. Once we got to the area where the corrals were I still had more to walk to get to corral B.
You can see the start line in the distance!

Corral B- I felt really out of place being assigned to the second corral because I’m definitely not fast. Apparently this weekend I was considered fast because everyone else ran about the same pace I was running for the first mile.

 I got into the corral just around the time they were talking to Ethan and Jenna from survivor. They were running the race with us, and I couldn’t really hear what they were saying, but from what I did hear they were trying to compare running a 1/2 marathon to being on Survivor.

After a few more minutes, the Fairy Godmother came out and we were ready to start the race! I really had to try not to cry at this point. I was so excited to finally be running this race, and couldn’t believe the race was finally starting! The first corral started, and we had to wait 8 more minutes before it was our turn.

 
Luckily the time went by really quickly. I was very thankful that I only had to wait 8 minutes to start. The people in the last corral had to wait 40 minutes after the first corral before they got to go. I would have been going crazy! 8 minutes later we were off and running!
 

The first mile was probably the slowest of the race. It was so crowded, and I had to do a lot of weaving to find my own little running bubble. I was really afraid I was going to trip over something and fall since it was still dark out, and there were so many people. About a 1/2 mile in we had our first entertainment. I was really impressed with the high school bands that were playing along the course. They probably had to get up long before I did to get to the race on time and set up. When I passed by, the drummers were doing a solo, and their beat made me run a little faster. A few minutes later I saw the first mile marker! One mile down, 12.1 to go!

Mile 1 was still pretty crowded. We passed a DJ, and these guys on stilts around 1.5 miles in.

 I have to mention that I tried to take as many pictures as possible while running, so that’s why some of them are blurry and not centered. I try to take better pictures when I’m not moving, but I didn’t want to stop and have someone run over me since it was so crowded. Mile 1 was pretty uneventful. We had just started onto world drive when mile marker 2 appeared.

 Mile 2 was probably my longest mile of the race. When I started becoming interested in running a Disney race, there was always one picture that I saw in race recaps that I had to have. I told myself before the race that no matter how long the line was, I was going to stop because it was a once in a lifetime photo opp. When I started running down world drive and heard pirate music playing, I got very excited. I saw the pirate ship, and knew my picture was coming. I was finally going to get my picture with Jack Sparrow, and his crew of pirates!

This was the line when I got there, and it only got longer as I waited.

The line took maybe 3 minutes total, and I got my picture! I was super bummed that it turned out so dark though…

Right after I ran away from the pirates, there was this hot air balloon that would totally fool me later on in the race.

Not too much further past the hot air balloon, I saw people running across the grass to the other side of the road. I thought that there were porta potties over there at first, but then I saw princess Atta, from ‘A Bugs Life,’ taking pictures. After waiting in line for the pirates I didn’t hesitate to run over and get my picture taken since she had hardly anyone waiting.

Another minute of running later there was another photo opp I couldn’t pass up, the Disney Princes! Their line was just as long as the pirates line, but  I had to wait again because you just can’t get this picture anywhere in the parks.  When it was finally my turn to get my picture, there was a girl dressed like Ariel running by who started screaming at the princes and waving. Aladdin yelled something back to her, and apparently Eric was afraid Aladdin was stealing his princess because he told Aladdin that he was going to tell Jazmin. I was cracking up when I heard their banter, and was super impressed that they stay in character so well.

One lesson I learned from this race is that the pictures before the sun come up don’t turn out well. I should have waited to get these until we were running back down world drive, coming back from Magic Kingdom. Lesson learned for the next race…

I was really ready to start running again after so many stops during mile 2. I love the pictures I got, but it was hard to stand in line when I just wanted to run. Right after I left the princes, I saw this sign- we were finally getting close to Magic Kingdom, sort of…

17 minutes later, I finally made it to mile 3!

 You don’t enter Magic Kingdom until after mile 5, so the parking lot sign is kind of deceiving if you aren’t familiar with the area.

I was glad I didn’t have to stop and use these, the line was long!

I wanted to tell them that they could use real restrooms at the transportation and ticket center in a mile if they could wait, but I was too busy trying to juggle my phone and camera before we got to our first water stop.

There were some drivers from the Richard Petty driving experience out taking pictures in the parking lot. They were very complimentary of everyone taking pictures with them, and were yelling “run princess, run” between pictures.

Not too much further in the parking lot, there was Elvis music blasting, and Lilo and Stitch were out for a photo opp. I was so excited to see Stitch dressed like Elvis. I love him, and have never seen him dressed up before!

There were hula dancers, and cheerleaders around this area too. We were right by the Polynesian resort, so I’m sure it was themed to be a Hawaiian entertainment area.
Right after we passed the Hawaiian party, we were approaching the Ticket and Transportation center, and the next mile marker.

There were a ton of people waiting to cheer us on in this area, and this awesome drum group.

Mile 4 went by pretty quick. Before I knew it we were reaching the hill that everyone says is the worst in the race. I wish I would have taken a picture of it because it really wasn’t bad compared to what I train on here. There was a DJ cheering us on, and telling us that once we got to the top of the hill we were almost to Magic Kingdom. He also mentioned that there were guys in spandex doing tricks on a trampoline at the top of the hill. I can’t say that made me personally run faster, but some of the women cheered with excitement about that announcement.

At the top of the hill was also the next mile marker. 5 miles done!

I picked up the pace a little here because I was ready to run down Main street! I heard that the course narrows through Magic Kingdom, so I tried to find a nice little gap of my own space to run in. I didn’t want to be paranoid about tripping while I was in Magic Kingdom. I loved hearing the cast members saying ‘Welcome to Magic Kingdom Princesses’ while we were approaching the park through the backstage entrances.

Running down main street was just as amazing as I always imagined. I can’t wait run through Magic Kingdom twice in January!

I loved that Disney lets people into the park to cheer us on before the park actually opens.

I wish I would have stopped to get a better picture of the sunrise over Tomorrowland. It was amazing to see in person!

Not far into Tomorrowland was the first character picture stop in the park, Chip and Dale!

Just a little further, almost into Fantasyland, Alice, Tweedle Dee, and Tweedle Dum were taking pictures too.

All the signs we passed for the rides already had 10 minute wait times listed. I wish I would have taken a picture of one of the signs with the empty line in the background.
After passing through fantasyland, it was time to run through the castle. I thought I took a video of the trumpeters playing as we ran through the castle, but I must have accidentally deleted it. Total bummer, because it was so awesome! My mom was waiting outside the castle, but there were so many people in that area that I missed her, and was passing the mile 6 marker before I knew it.

Right after I took this picture I saw Princess Tiana, and Prince Naveen.

There were characters from the Haunted Mansion out right across the path, but somehow that picture disappeared with my castle video. Not too much further was Woody. I had to stop for him because I know a lot of toy story loving kids!

I have no idea who this character is. She had no one in line for pictures, so I figured it was worth 10 seconds of my time to stop for a picture.

One of the trains from the railway and a conductor were bidding us farewell as we left Magic Kingdom and headed backstage again.

Backstage, Disney had some parade floats with characters taking more pictures. Of course I had to stop for all of them!

Disney did a good job entertaining the runners on the boring roads after we left Magic Kingdom. There was a DJ and firetruck from the Reedy Creek fire department after we left the backstage area of Magic Kingdom.

Yes, that is a guy wearing a tutu in the picture above. There were a lot of guys dressed up for the race.

7 miles down, we’re over halfway there now!

Beauty and the Beast were out taking pictures right after the 7 mile mark, and I was super bummed the line was so long. It had to be at least 3 times as long as the pirate line I waited in. Belle is my favorite princess, but at this point in the race I knew if I stopped for a long character line, it would be really hard to get back into a decent pace. I took a picture of what I was missing as I ran by.

Once we got close to the Grand Floridian there were a ton of picture stops with much shorter lines!
I rode in this carriage at my wedding! Too bad my prince is a lot cuter than this guy…

I ran with this guy most of the race, and finally decided to take a picture of his costume. It was really warm, so he had to be roasting in that suit!

Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip were very pleasant. Sleeping Beauty said I looked beautiful, although that was clearly a lie considering I had run 7.5 miles in the humid Florida weather. Prince Phillip invited me to take his arm for the picture, which I was kind of hesitant about knowing hundreds of other sweaty women had done the same thing already. I think that’s why I stood so far away from Prince Phillip in the picture, although I’m not sure how standing further away from him made his arm any less sweat covered… I blame it on having run 7.5 miles already.

There were a lot of spectators along this part of the course outside of the resorts by Magic Kingdom.

Donald was out for a round of golf.

The miles keep getting bigger, which means the finish line is getting closer!

I loved Pocahontas when I was little, so I was excited to see Meeko out for pictures. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in the parks before!

Mile 8 was probably the hardest mile. It was really starting to get warm, and the GU I had taken 3.5 miles in was starting to wear off. I was really excited to see mile marker 9 because that meant we were heading back out onto world drive and would be running the final stretch back to Epcot.

When I got home, I read about the markers Lady Foot Locker put in the road as encouragement for us. There were 4 of them total, and I think this was the last one we saw. I tried to take a picture of one each time we ran over them, but failed every other time.

From a distance I thought this was the real ball, and thought we were a lot closer to Epcot. Once I got closer I remembered that they had the hot air balloon out, so Epcot wasn’t quite as close…

I heard the pirate music again after I passed the Epcot balloon, and decided that I had to stop again for a better picture with the pirates. Luckily the line was only a minute or so long this time.

I’m considering a pirate princess outfit next year just for this photo opp. The only thing that could make it better would be having Johnny Depp dressed as Jack Sparrow…
There were definitely fewer characters in the second half of the race. I started running negative splits because I wasn’t stopping for pictures.

Only a 5k to go!
The course took us up one of the overpass ramps to get back to Epcot, so one of the green army men from Toy Story was positioned on the hill encouraging us to “keep moving soldiers.”

I made it up the hill, and was feeling pretty good. I had to start passing people on the grass because there were a lot of people running out of gas around this point. I didn’t want to slow down to their pace because it was getting hot, and I was ready to be done.
Only 2 miles left!

The last couple miles were relatively boring. I was glad to finally see some more characters before the 12 mile marker.

Jane made me laugh because she told me that I was almost to the finish, and she heard that there were bananas there…

Right after all the pictures, the 12 mile marker appeared. Only one mile left, and most of it was in Epcot!

I of course had to stop for more pictures.

I wish more of the course went through Epcot. We turned around right before we got to the World Showcase, and ran back towards the entrance.

I meant to video the gospel choir at mile 13. They were awesome, and motivated me to run a little faster to the finish.

Almost there!

My mom was waiting at mile 13, so she was able to get a few action shots.

I had a sudden burst of energy once I saw the finish line. I was going to finish really strong until I saw Pluto, and Mickey and Minnie with no line. I had taken so many pictures already, but how often do you see Mickey and Minnie dressed in Royal Garb without a line for pictures? I had to stop and get just a couple more pictures.

I love this picture with Mickey and Minnie!

I turned around and did my best to try to convince the finish line photographers that I had just run hard to the finish. I forgot about the finish line video though, and I just look silly in mine waiting for the cast member to come take my picture.

After the finish there are fairy godmothers in training that sprinkle you with pixie dust, then you get your medals!

Officially I finished in 2:38:37, which was better than I anticipated. My goal was 2:45 with stops for pictures. I can’t say I was the most diligent with my training during the winter, so I was pleased to surpass my goal time that much.

All in all, my first full Disney race definitely lived up to the hype. I’ll definitely be back next year, and hopefully for many more years to come!

As a bonus, guess who I found in Epcot later that day without a line?

Yup, my favorite princess with a long line during the race.