Disney Princess Half Marathon 2013 Weekend-Day 1 Part 1

I arrived at Disney late Thursday night. The drive took longer than I anticipated, and I arrived shortly after 11pm. The first night we were staying at Disney’s Pop Century resort. I have never stayed at this resort before, and to be completely honest, I can’t tell you much about it.

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I checked in, and immediately went to our room in the 50s section. I was so worn out from the 10 hour drive that I immediately went to bed.

The next morning, my roomie, Patty, left early for the highly coveted runDisney Princess Half Marathon meet-up. I slept in a bit, but was anxious to leave for the Expo. Conveniently enough, this year the Expo was moved from it’s normal home at the Wide World of Sports complex to the conference center at Coronado Springs, where we would be staying for the majority of our trip. To avoid taking parking away from resort guests(thank you Disney!), they had everyone not staying at that resort take buses to the Expo from Downtown Disney. We didn’t face this issue since we were checking in that day. I immediately left our room at Pop Century and headed over to check in early at Coronado Springs, before the Expo started.

I got checked in and wandered around a  bit. Our room would not be ready until that afternoon and it wasn’t quite time for the Expo to start. We stayed at CS back in 2008, when we were just a family of 3, and I remembered how beautiful it was. All of the resort buildings are circled around a rather large lake. There are palm trees and sandy beaches with hammocks(not that either time I have been I have had enough free time to relax in one of these hammocks).

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It wasn’t much time and I was ready to head to the Expo. Expecting large crowds, I wanted to get there first thing to try and avoid them. My plan worked. I first headed to print my waivers. I kept telling myself in the days leading up to leaving for Disney that I needed to remember my waivers. Naturally, what is the one thing I forgot to do? Print my waivers. Lucky for me Disney sets up several computers outside of the convention room for people to go and print their waivers. No line, and it took me less than a minute. I hurried into the area where you pick up your bib. They have many booths set up according to your bib number, and I headed to my appropriate booth.

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Again, very little waiting, and I had my bib. Disney3

I also took Patty’s waivers and picked up her bibs. I then headed over to t-shirt pickup. Thankfully I also hit this area in time, I walked right up, and got all of our shirts with no waiting(I heard that in 10-20 minutes, the wait for this pick up grew and grew). Disney provided us with a large, clear plastic bag(to put things you need after the race in, that you check before you start). Inside the bags were our very nice tech t-shirts, a pink Princess Half Marathon mesh bag and a few other goodies. I loaded up our bags and quickly headed over to the official Disney merchandise booth. I heard it gets crazy and a few of things I wanted tend to sell out quickly. I heard correctly. I fought the crowd to pick up an “I Did It!” t-shirt, a runDisney Mickey vinylmation with mini-medal and an adorable tech jacket. I stood in line to pay, chatting with a very nice princess from Canada in front of me, and was out in about 20 minutes. While things were a bit crazy when I went in, when I left, there was a line stretching outside just to get in to the booth. After this I headed over to the KT tape booth, to have my knees taped, in hopes that it would help with the IT Band/knee issues I’ve been having for weeks. I stood in line there for nearly an hour, and during this Patty finished up with the Princess Half meet-up and met me at the Expo. We met up, I had my knees taped, and we left the Expo.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming later today!

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I Did It!!

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This will be short, but I intend to do a full race weekend re-cap in the next few days. Unfortunately, my work has piled up in my absence(totally worth it!!) and I need to play catch up on that before I play catch up on my blog. But I did want to say that I did it, I am officially a Princess! This was not easy. Yes, I trained for it, but actually doing it was tougher than I thought it would be. Conditions were a little rough. I was used to training either inside or out in the “cold”(cold for me being in the 40s) with little to no humidity. For the race we started in 70 degree weather, with 94% humidity. Had it just been the temperature it would have been great, but the humidity was killer. But I pushed through and was pretty proud of my time. I wanted a time of under 3 hours, and I got it, 2:48:28. It was tough but I had such a great time. Disney knows how to put on a great race, and the trip itself was nothing short of magical. Look for my coming posts on how the weekend played out!

Two Weeks!!

Two weeks from yesterday, I am leaving for sunny Florida. I can’t wait. I need to warm my bones. I’ve never lived in a year-round warm weather area, but even after nearly 30 years spent in area that have winter, I still hate the cold. I’m so over winter, and can’t wait for spring. Hopefully a trip to Florida will help.

I’m also very much looking forward to this vacation for me. Yes, I’ll miss my husband and kids. I feel guilty leaving them, and leaving the Mister alone with all 3 of them for 5 days. Yes, I do this all of the time, but he doesn’t. In the same respect, I’m giggling a little bit on the inside, because now he will know what I go through.

The big news for this week is that runDisney released bib numbers and corral information. Bib numbers(the number on that piece of paper you pin to you, for the unfamiliar) go from lowest(the fastest people) to highest(the slowest people), and where your number falls determines what corral you are in. I’ve mentioned this before, but for these races, they stagger groups of people for starting. Last year corrals ran A-H, and they do this year as well. This year each corral will start 7 minutes apart. The closer you are to A, the sooner you start, and the longer the amount of time between you and the dreaded sweepers. Sweepers and balloon ladies(ladies that start very last, and maintain a 16 minute mile, the maximum pace you can walk/run to be able to stay in the race, they wear balloons, hence the name, although they aren’t really all that dreadful from what I hear) cross the line as soon as the last person from the H corral crosses the starting line. So for each corral you are ahead of them, you technically have an additional 7 minutes between you and them, on top of maintaining at least a 16 minute mile. This can give time for extra pictures, potty stops, or other reason you might need to stop or slow down.

Now in the past these balloon ladies, and the idea of being swept, was a huge source of anxiety for me. I NEEDED to start in an earlier corral, to give me as much time as possible. But as I trained, I realized this is something I don’t really need to worry about. I’m not the fastest runner by any means. If it’s only a few miles, I can definitely push for faster times, but over the long haul, I maintain an 11-12 minute mile. However I can maintain that. Thus far I’ve done over 9 miles(with 10+ planned for this weekend), jogging the entire time, and maintaining that pace. It’s an amazing feeling, even if I’m being passed, even if I know that others can go much faster than that.

Back to corrals. The breakdown looks like this for individual runners:

Elite 1-30
A 31-2961
B 2962-5924
C 5925-8667
D 8668-11343
E 11344-14009
F 14010-16608
G 16609-19296
H 19297-22290

My bib number is 6802, putting me very safely in the C corral. Looking at time requirements for the C corral, it’s for those who estimate a time of finish of 2:31 to 2:45. Now when I registered, I put in the very lowest time I could without having to show proof of time(using a 10k race or higher), which was 2:46. Had I stayed there, I would have been in the D corral. But the 10k I did in October helped me out, and got me into C(and only 3 minutes over the cutoff for the B corral). I’m very excited, happy with this placement, and also proud. I didn’t get into the C corral by just throwing out the lowest number I could. I trained, I raced, and I worked for that corral assignment. This also means there are 5 corrals starting behind me, which means roughly a 35 minute buffer between myself and the sweepers, on top of me maintaining a 16 minute mile(I’m faster than that). So it means, if I choose to/need to, I can stop and use the restroom or stop for pictures. It’s a comforting feeling, and it leaves me with nothing but confidence that I will finish this race and will never even see the balloon ladies.

I Caught The Bug

I swore I wouldn’t. The bug. The running bug. The desire to keep going after the Princess Half Marathon, to keep running, to do more long races like this. I will admit, up until about a month ago, I hated all of this. I hated the training. I hated the obligation. I wanted to do this half marathon, say I did it, pat myself on the back, and never run again. Well maybe never run again is an exaggeration, but certainly never again with a rigid training schedule and long mileage.

But I kind of turned a corner on January 1. I knew it was time to get down to business with training. Yes, I had done the handful of races and ran once a week, most of the time. But on January 1 I hopped on my treadmill. And I started maintaining my Wednesday/Friday runs, and a long run on Sunday. I started climbing, and recently did over 8 miles. And then the excitement of the upcoming PHM really hit. And I liked it all. For the month of January I ran over 50 miles, that’s a first for me. I love feeling so accomplished. And I love the anticipation of the race. So this past Friday, when I got a special email about another half marathon in October. I jumped on it and registered. I never thought I’d be here, excited about running these kinds of high miles. I’m already looking at the Princess Half Marathon for next year as well. I’m loving this new me, and the strong feeling that comes with accomplishing what I have.