The final day of the 2022 runDisney Princess Weekend Fairy Tale Challenge was Sunday, February 27. I woke again at 2:30 am for my final early wake-up call of my 3-day running adventure. I was definitely tired but still excited to complete the last day of the challenge which is the Princess Half Marathon. This was also the first time of my previous 9 runDisney races that I wore a “costume.” I would be a version of Minnie Mouse by wearing a black tank top and a red skirt with white polkadots.
I felt good after completing the Enchanted 10K the day before and spending the day in Animal Kingdom. I was able to get back to the room early and get a goodnight sleep.
My goal for the race was to have fun, feel strong, and get some good character pictures.
The course map for the 2022 Half Marathon was similar to all of the other runDisney Half Marathons I have done. I think the only time it differs is for Wine and Dine weekend, but I have never done that one. The half marathon course is my least favorite because there is so much boring highway running.
As they do with all races, the runDisney team sends you off in style with music and fireworks. I was in the 3 wave, and since I was by myself, was able to get into one of the first groups that went off. I like the new model, but it’s just less formal than the way they did it in 2020.
As I mentioned, my goal was to be steady, feel strong, and just have a good time. I did 60/30 run/walk increments. RunDisney is nice with this because many people do the Galloway method. The beginning is a lot of highway running with some characters on side of the highway. You can see picture of some of them below. Even though there is nothing super exciting about this part, it is worth it because it is SO EXCITING when you enter the Magic Kingdom, turn on to Main St. and see the castle in front of you.
The course goes into Tomorrowland and then you make your way into Fantasy Land. When I went past Ariel’s Grotto, I was hoping to see Sebastian (I got a picture with him during Dopey 2020), and I was thrilled to see him and Prince Eric.
After this, you make your way through the castle where you are given the opportunity to get a picture in front of the castle. They have several photographers and the lines go really quick, so I recommend everyone stop here. This year, I got my favorite castle picture to date. I think it was the Minnie Mouse look that did it!
After the castle, you wind though the Liberty area to Frontier Land and then leave the Magic Kingdom. You go past the hotels and get back on the highway for more running. At least here there are lot of characters, and they try to keep you entertained. I was feeling really strong and stopped to get pictures with a few characters, which I found really fun.
Making Friends with Donald Duck
Eventually, as the hot, grueling sun beats down on you, you eventually make it to the backstage of Epcot and you know the end is close. I was really excited to see a character stop with Mickey and Donald! I had to stop and get this picture even though I had to be half a mile from the end! As I was standing in line, Mickey had to leave. I was two people away, and the photographer motioned to the girl in front of me that it was her turn. She asked when Mickey would be back, and he said a few minutes. She told him she would wait, and well, if you know Donald, he was NOT happy. Poor Donald Duck! I said I would be happy to get a picture with him, and he was so happy! I felt good making Mr. Donald Duck happy since I know he always feels slighted by being second to Mickey.
The half marathon by nature is going to have more characters than the other courses, but there were definitely characters we had seen on other days. There were LOTS of princess (as there should be!) I wasn’t able to get pictures of everyone, but I tried. Some of my pictures didn’t turn out because it was just so busy at the beginning.
It was a hot day, so getting to the finish line was very exciting! They also had cold, wet towels to help you cool down. RunDisney always does a great job taking care of their participants.
I finished the half in 2:57:31 with a restroom stop and several character stops, so it was a complete win for me. My goal was accomplished since I had fun and felt really strong through the whole race. I didn’t train as well as I should have, so I was a bit worried about how I felt. Since completing Chicago, I hadn’t done a lot of running besides a few of the smaller races I signed up for in 2022. Completing a challenge is a big accomplishment for me, and it continues to amaze me that I can do 3 days of walking/running and still feel good.
After I got my Mulan medal at the finish line, I made my way to the challenge tent to get my Moana Fairy Tale Challenge medal. Then it was time for my celebratory picture at the photo booth. The sun was out in full force, so I didn’t really get a good picture, but it shows that I made it! Then it was time to get to the bus and make my way back to the Art of Animation for a shower and to get Mom to go to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day. It was truly a magical trip. I just love runDisney events!
To make my long runs a little more palpable and fun, I researched and found several races that overlapped. I looked for races in NC, but we don’t have a lot of long ones in the summer because it is so hot. My brother lives in Ohio, so I looked there, and low-and-behold, I found a half marathon that fell on my 16-mile day!
The Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon and 5K are hosted in Dublin, Ohio. From what I hear, this usually falls during the Irish festival, but that wasn’t held this year because of Covid. I wasn’t really sure what to expect other than that it should be a flat race.
Event communication was fair. They sent a few emails that had a ton of information. It was a lot to process but eventually, I took it all in. I wasn’t familiar with the city so I didn’t understand the reference points.
The course was great. It was flat and very scenic. There were a lot of water stops which were desperately needed with the heat.
The race started out well. We ran through a cute downtown before going on some rural streets and neighborhoods. I ran with my brother (who was doing the 5K) before he split off after the first mile. Then I was on my own. I was staying at a steady pace and taking in my surroundings.
I didn’t realize it, but we would spend the majority of the course on a trail. I really enjoyed this and thought it made for a pretty run. I was feeling okay at this point, but just trying to stay steady on my 3/1 run/walk pace.
I really started slowing down. My walk breaks got longer here, but I kept trying to get into a run.
WALL! The only way to describe the rest of my race. I hit a hard wall and couldn’t recover. It got really hot and humid. I was getting water to drink and pour in my head at every stop. I would try to run for short periods but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I always try to run over the finish line and while I feel like I tried, I’m sure it wasn’t a real run. My official time was 2:40:09, which averaged out to a 12:14/mile pace.
When I finished, I collapsed. I got my medal and a bottle of water. The volunteers handed out an ice-cold towel, which was AMAZING! I looking for a spot to sit and sat on the ground. I needed time to recover and process what happened. I felt miserable. I worked to get my water down and enjoyed the relief from my towel. After a bit, I made my way to find a banana and my brother.
Even though I crashed hard, I am proud of myself. I ran this after running 3 miles earlier in the morning. If you take my first 13 of the day, I did really well. The heat/humidity has been affecting me a lot and very badly; this race was no exception. The race organizers did a great job making sure there were plenty of water stops and the cold towel at the end was such a treat! I probably would have gone faster if I knew that was waiting! 😀
The 2015 Rock ‘n Roll Savannah Half Marathon was my first half marathon. I’m writing this recap in June 2021 as motivation for my upcoming 2020 Chicago Marathon training efforts. While I didn’t have a blog at that time, I have always journaled about my big experiences, so I thought I would add those in as part of this recap.
I signed up for this race in February 2015. I had planned out the remaining of my 50 states by 30 goal, which would finish in May 2015. That had been instrumental to me and helping me through a down period in my life. I knew I needed another big goal to work towards when I finished that trip. By the time I visited Alaska, I knew a half marathon was my next focus. This was a SERIOUS race – I was so nervous I wouldn’t be able to finish, so I planned to take my training very seriously. My youngest brother also said he would join me on this adventure, so I was pumped!
Several friends suggested that I follow Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Marathon Training program. I ran a little in college (about 2 miles most days), but I never thought of myself as a runner – far from it – then fell out of working out for several years until I decided to pick up running again. At New Years’ in 2013, I did a Couch to 5K app then made a habit of running a few days a week through Central Park. This was an amazing experience. Between this and several friends getting into running, I started to gain an appreciation for the sport. I watched the Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Half/Full Marathon in December 2012 and the NYC Marathon in 2013, which provided a new perspective. These people had a goal and did the required training to achieve it. Maybe I could do it, too.
When I started the training, I was not accustomed to running 4 days/week. I think I was running 2 or 3 at the time. My main worry was about the distance, so I made sure I always did my long run on the weekend. I traveled to Austin to do a 7-mile training run on the Colorado River with my brother. Then, in October, I visited my friends in NYC to do my 11-mile training run in Central Park.
How to Make a Stress Fracture
Even though I was diligent about my weekend long runs, I was not good about my week day runs. I’m sure there were weeks that I didn’t do any of them. I just thought I needed to make sure to cover the distance, no matter how hard it got. When I visited NYC, I stayed with a friend who had run the NYC Marathon several times and another friend who was training for it. I had a lot of good motivation around, and I wanted to keep up with them.
I stuck with my friend on our 11 miler, running the first 7 miles without walking – a first for me. Then I ran/walked at the end. I’m not sure what part of it I told her to go ahead of me, but I was walking at the end. I was hurting, and I assumed I had a sore muscle. I’m the worse when it comes to pain. I don’t get specific, except just that it hurts.
After the run, I met up with my other friend who was running 7 miles after doing a half marathon race in the park. We made our way back to Hoboken as I hobbled down subway stairs. We rushed around the city later to catch rush tickets to An American in Paris on Broadway. My foot/leg/lower half hurt, but I just assumed I over did it. Eventually, I went home and was feeling okay. No runs during the week.
The pain returns…
I didn’t run over the week, but the next weekend I tried to run 5 miles. I made it about 2 or 3 miles before I broke down crying and called my mom to come to pick me up. It was awful. Not only was I in pain, but a half marathon is a lot more than 3 miles. I went to the urgent care (I will never go to one with a running injury again) who took an x-ray and said everything was fine. I went home to ice my foot and my ego. The next week, I visited a sports doctor a friend recommended. He did a horribly painful exercise to test for tendonitis in my foot. He basically used a ribbed (not sharp) pizza cutter-like tool to separate the tendons in my foot. It horribly bruised my foot since I bruise like a peach. He said to run some the next week – if it started out painful, then keep running, as it would work itself out. If it got worse while I was running, he would send me to a different specialist.
Well, it got worse as I ran. I couldn’t take it. Reluctantly, I made an appointment since I wanted to run long-term. He said of the 8 people to visit him for possible stress fractures, I was the winner. He explained to me the importance of training during the week. Those runs are to help your body build up the ability to be on your feet and handle the stress of running. Between not doing those runs and then going into overdrive in NYC, I had created a stress fracture on my right foot. I was to stay off my feet for some number of weeks – no running at Savannah.
A Very Tough Decision
My world was crushed. I was so close, and I ruined it. I regretted not running my weekly goals. When I asked my brother his plans for the weekend, he said he was going to do the race even though he hadn’t done a training run since our 7-miler in mid-August. Even though I was jealous, I said I would go and cheer him on. Our parents and brother were going to come, too.
I walk sulking to my friend who is a really good runner and had run many races. He suggested that I should walk the race. I couldn’t believe the suggestion – was he serious?! I was scared about getting last place when I was running! If I were to walk, I’m sure I wouldn’t even make it past the 15-minute pace requirement. What if my foot hurt, and I couldn’t make it to the finish line. He explained to me that there would be medical tents throughout the course that could help me if I was in pain, that lots of people walk through the race so I wouldn’t look unusual, and also assured me that I wouldn’t get last place.
I agonized over this for days. Then, a few days before we were leaving, I went on a 3-mile walk and didn’t have any pain. “Okay,” I thought. “I’m good to go. I can’t miss out on this opportunity.”
Travel to Savannah
Savannah is a four-hour drive, so my family went down the night before. We stayed downtown on the Riverwalk so we could get to the start line easily the next morning. We stopped at the expo before crossing the bridge. What an unreal first expo experience. It was so exciting getting our bib and t-shirt then walking around at everything running. To that point, I knew to get a good pair of shoes and some GU gels, but I that was about it. I didn’t know about all of the things you could sell runners.
We went to dinner on the Riverwalk where I had a simple dish of pasta and vegetables. My brother and I laid out our clothes (I didn’t know to take pictures then!) and went to sleep. Early the next morning we got up, had our Cliff bars, and walked to the park.
The Start Line
Having only done three races (a small 5K, a small 10K, and a run at Yankees Stadium), this Rock ‘n Roll event was like something we had never seen before! It was insane how many people were there. My brother went to his corral in front, and I went to the back of my corral. I didn’t want to start in the back because I would need extra time to walk. I was so stressed about making the time limit and finishing.
While we were waiting, I started talking to a pacer and asking about her experience. To my surprise, a girl in our conversation said she was doing the marathon and hadn’t trained at all because someone told her she could walk and she “did that sometimes”! The pacer started giving her a lot of warnings, but it shocked me. Maybe I wouldn’t be too bad off, but I was really worried for her. The heat index was also unseasonably high for November, so the event crew was actually redirecting the marathon route to try to find more shade. After completing this race and Disney races, I give the race event teams a lot of credit. They are dealing with a variety of kinds of people. While I believe that everyone can do a half or a full who wants to, I do believe you need to train for them and have a healthy level of fitness. Even though my brother didn’t have a running plan he did, he was a very active, athletically inclined young male. As you will see later, I am very jealous of people like him.
Anyway, the national anthem played and the race started! We were off – I was doing a half marathon!
The minimum pace limit was 15:00/mile but my friend said I would have more than that if I didn’t start in the back. The last person at only 15:00/mile. My goal was to be around that pace, which would have me finish in just over 3 hours. I didn’t have a watch or anything at that time, so I don’t remember how I clocked it. I guess I just watched the race clock.
Even though I was walking, I have a quick walk. Even from the beginning, I was passing people, and I have no idea how. I was terrified of coming in the last place. The first mile or two was through the city with lots of spectators and funny signs. Since this was my first big race, I was surprised by all of the signs! I loved it! The first one I saw (or the one that I will always remember) was a man standing on a street corner. He was holding a bright yellow piece of cardboard in one hand and a beer in the other. It said “It’s early. I’m drinking. You’re running. I’m winning.” It was so appropriate for the drinking town of Savannah, and I laughed so hard.
The beginning of the race went through some neighborhoods I wouldn’t have ventured to on a normal trip. Many of the residents came out to cheer us on and they seemed happy to see us.
Around mile 5, we made our way back to the historic area of Savanah, which I find beautiful. It is gorgeous to see how the Spanish Moss falls off the trees around all of the squares. The course has a lot of out-and-backs and the middle part goes around parks, so it’s a great race to have spectators. They don’t have to walk very far to see you at 2 or 3 different spots. Seeing them was a huge boost.
Overall, I felt great. I got a cramp twice, and it was hard not to run, but I finished in 3:01. I was so proud of myself and everyone who participated. It was an incredibly hot day that day, so it was not an easy race.
One of the best things about this race was one of my favorite bands, Rascal Flatts, was the post-race entertainment! I couldn’t believe such a big and popular band would be playing FOR FREE after the race. I was in heaven.
My brother killed his first half. I think he finished around 2:30, which is amazing for not training. He had a killer cramp in his leg that was saved when someone gave him bananas to eat. He caught the running bug, too, and went on to do two more with even less training, more drinking, and both were PRs. I don’t quite understand how people can do that. I have to train, and training is a real bear. More power to them, but I will never understand how some people’s bodies can do that.
What I found amazing about this experience is that anyone really can participate in a long-distance race if he or she wants to do it. I didn’t believe people when they told me that before. I think one of my friends is right. He always encourages to do half marathons because anyone can do that without a ton of changes in their daily lives. Marathons require more adaptations, but they are possible. You just have to put your mind to doing it.
It was a long journey, but I made it! I’m glad I was encouraged to walk the race since I really wasn’t out of place. A lot of people walk during the race, and I was able to do it without hurting my foot more. I finished my first half marathon on November 7, 2015. This was the start of a new hobby and passion.
My running career has been fickle. I was very committed to running two miles almost daily in college. That’s when I was in my best shape, but I fell out of running after college. I was set to get back into it by using the Couch to 5K app in early 2013. A few of my friends were running half or full marathons. Even though I thought they were crazy, but mostly I was impressed. It was great for them to do it, but I didn’t think there was a way that I could do this myself; 13.1 miles is a lot!
In early 2013, I moved to NYC and was exposed to a lot of people running. Many of the girls I worked with did half marathons and cared about their health. Going to Central Park (my favorite place) you can’t help but notice all of the people running. It was a completely different world and very motivating. Since I was trying to get back into running, I started to do a 3 mile loop from my house to the park then around the reservoir before returning home. When you find a route like that, it is comforting to do the same thing every time you go out there.
Then, I got the courage to sign up for an interesting looking 5K – Runyon 5K at Yankee’s Stadium in August 2013. This would be my first 5K and my first race; I was so nervous about it. The night before I went out with friends and didn’t even have a glass of wine! I woke early the next morning and took the subway solo to the Bronx. Before we started, a volunteer or event coordinator gave us the highlights of what to expect – we would be going around the field twice (so cool!), get video taped on the scoreboard, then would make our way up and down multiple flights of stairs and ramps. This would not be a race to PR.
Five and a half years later, I am very proud to say that I have finished 6 half marathons, a full, and a handful of smaller races. It all came full circle on March 17, 2019, when I completed the NYRR United NYC Half Marathon. NYRR is a premier running organization based in NYC and hosts many races in the city throughout the year. All of the runners who impressed me at work and in the park were part of this group, and I wanted to be part of it one day.
It was a tough one because the stairs kick your butt, but ultimately, I was successful! I couldn’t believe I had the courage and stamina to complete my first 5K. I had completed a race in NYC.
In fall 2018, there was a post for the NYC Half on Instagram. I thought it was weird because it is a hard race to get into via the lottery, so why would NYRR advertise for it? On a whim, I asked my friend Ursula if she wanted to try for the lottery with me, and she said yes. Because of the limited number of spaces, I didn’t have much hope of being selected, but we both were!
The event was everything I could have hoped. I didn’t train as well as I wanted, but I had my second fastest time. The city was absolutely beautiful, and even though I was tired at mile 10, the energy of 42nd Street and Broadway energized each step. Finally, when I got into Central Park, I was back to where I use to go on runs five years before. I was running with the motivational runners who inspired me way back then.
When I finally crossed the finish line about 2.5 hours later, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a beautiful morning because the sun was out (it was cold). I crossed the finish line like I had done 6 times before, but this one was different. This one showed how much I had grown and showed me how much I could accomplish in five years. I now did something those motivational people did. As I continued walking, a volunteer greeted me with my medal. Heck yes! Accomplishment!
Then I went to find Ursula so we could talk and get ready for our next challenge…
Hard to believe I have just over a month until I run the 2019 NYC Half Marathon. I’m super excited for this race. We start in Brooklyn at Prospect Park, run up the FDR on the East Side, cut over to 7th Ave on 42nd Street, run through Times Square into Central Park. What an awesome place to run!
I’m writing this post because I want to take this race seriously. I want to PR this race. Right now, my PR is from the Charlotte Half Marathon in November 2017. I finished in 2:28:47 which is about an 11:22/mi pace. I told myself, if I can train for this (not that I achieve this), I will sign up to do the Dopey Challenge at Disney in January 2020. This would be the ultimate example that I am turning my fitness level around. I finished the marathon, so what are 3 more races?!
, so what is 3 more races?!
Since I have done 6 half marathons without significant improvements, I believe I need to do the below to improve my time:
Of course, I still need to run! I’m going to do some running (a short run and a long run each week), but I think I need to make improvements in other areas to see improvements in my pace. I just finished my second day of Burn Boot Camp which is circuit training with strength and cardio; this is just what I need. I am committing to attend this several times/week for a month to see how this improves my fitness level. Wish me luck!
Disney always does it right – and always leaves you wanting more. 2019 Disney Marathon Weekend was no exception. This is was my sixth half marathon and first time running it at Disney because of the rainout in 2017. As a whole, this was a great experience – the community, the characters, the accomplishment. I fell in love when I did the full marathon last year.
To be very frank and honest, I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of the course. In total, it’s a lot of highway running. I guess I knew this, but I didn’t realize it until I got there. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again; it’s just that the highlights through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot were short. Running through Epcot was very, very limited. I think this was because of construction, and hopefully, will be changed in 2020.
Even though this race was one of my slower times, I had a lot of fun. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t run for time; I run to get the miles. There are character stops at least at every mile. I still haven’t stopped to wait in line because I’m scared I won’t be able to run afterwards. PRO TIP: make sure to have your camera out in the Magic Kingdom because there are characters every few yards!
Another tip is to make sure to run a race beforehand so you can submit your “proof of time.” My friend didn’t have a recent race time, so she was placed in heat H, which was the last one. I wanted to run with her, so I had to start late because Disney is very strict about letting you move up. Our start was more than an hour after the official start! You start a long time before that IF you have a race time. It doesn’t even have to be a good time. For the half marathon, you have to have a finish time for a 10K or longer and a half marathon time for the marathon.
As always, we finished the day at Epcot. We had dinner with Disney Princesses and then watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It is a nice routine that I’m glad I got roped into with my friend. It’s a pretty show, and you can walk around Epcot with an adult beverage, so it is very relaxed. Many race finishers come out to show off their medals at Epcot after the race. Since we did the half, Dopeys and marathon runners were in
Flew to Orlando and to the Magic Express (for free!) to our hotel
Went to lunch at Disney Springs before making our way to the race Expo at Wide World of Sports
Met our friend at the Expo and walked around to look at everything Friday
Had an early dinner at the hotel cafeteria. This has turned into an annual routine before race day since they serve spaghetti, and it’s less expensive than other things on the property.
Early bedtime because 2:30 am comes quickly!
Wake up early for race day! Take the shuttle to the starting line.
The half marathon starts at 5:30. We didn’t start until well after 6:30 and finished before 9:30 am.
We hung out around the finish line for a while before heading back to take showers.
The next stop was Animal Kingdom to go on rides before heading to Epcot for dinner.
We had dinner in Norway with Disney Princesses Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella. They never break character – even for a group of 30-somethings with no children!
Watched Illuminations for the last time since it would retire the decade running show in a few weeks.
After getting ready, we headed to Hollywood Studios to cheer the marathon runners! It was insanely hot that day, so they needed motivation. We watched some shows and rode a few rides.
We then walked to Epcot to continue watching the marathoners. They were looking so good! We then took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom where we talked to a Dopey who said it was a great experience, and he was still glad he did it.
We visited MK for a while, had a quick dinner, and then got ice cream before watching the “Happily Ever After” show.
One of my friends left very early in the morning. My other friend and I took a walk around the hotel property to see everything.
Then we went window shopping at Disney Springs before lunch.
Finally, we left to board the Magic Express to take us back to the airport.
It wasn’t pretty, but it’s done. Half marathon #5 is in the books. I raced in the Chicago Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon on July 22, 2018. As mentioned, I didn’t not prepare for this race. On top of this lack of preparation, it decided to rain. One of my major concerns signing up for this race was the weather. You never know with Chicago. It’s July – theoretically a summer month – but in Chicago it may not be hot. On the other hand, it could be hot and humid like in Charlotte. But Chicago did not disappoint, it was cold and rainy…all race long. And since I’m a fickle runner, this was my first time running in the rain.
Even though it wasn’t adequate conditions, my time was only about 5 minutes slower than my PR. I couldn’t believe that (I finished around 2:34). This race did, however, provide many valuable lessons that a more experienced runner probably already knows. (And I know I need to train.)
Wear a ball cap. It would have helped keep the rain out of my eyes and my hair in place.
Even with good socks, you’re prone to blisters. My feet were basically wading in a puddle. The shoes were soaked! It was miserable. Walking around Chicago afterward didn’t help. I don’t know the way around this, but I am very thankful for my Feetures socks because it would have been a lot worse. If you run and haven’t tried these socks, do it. Somehow there is such thing as a better sock, and it’s worth the money!
Chaffing is worse when clothes are wet. If I had known about this, I would have worn either a long sleeve shirt or a tank top. My sleeves and my phone holder rubbed against my arms a lot, and it stung for days! I think the only way around this would be to get rid of sleeves.
Wear short pants or shorts. This one I should have saw coming. I packed yoga pants (what I was originally going to wear) and then pants for the plane. The night before, I decided it was going to be colder outside, so I should wear my pants. These pants are longer and don’t tighten on the ankle, thus, they hit the ground and soaked up water from all the puddles. This added weight to my pants (in addition to the water in my shoes). I greatly regretted not wearing my yoga pants, even if it was going to be colder.
But that’s why we wander. We learn from our experience and then (hopefully) use them to make us better in the future.
On Sunday, I am attempting my fifth half marathon. Out of all of the races I have done, I went into this one with the best of intentions and trained the worst. For some reason I was just sluggish, but at the end of the day, I did go out and run occasionally, just not often enough. At least it got me moving.
I did my first half marathon in Savannah in 2015, and I can’t believe I’m still going. I’m glad I had friends who encouraged me to pick up this sport. I’m not a good runner, and that is okay with me. I like getting outside and pushing myself. Training runs can be challenging and a bit boring, but race day brings an enormous amount of energy. That’s what I hope is going to pull me through on Sunday. Chicago is a great city, and the race finishes up Lake Shore Drive. I’m sure I’ll have to stop and take pictures!
The training plan I tried to use for this race was a modified version Hal Higdon Novice 1. I liked this one because it was condensed (only up to 10 miles), but I didn’t get to all of my long runs, which is why I feel unprepared. I usually slack on my weekday runs, but this time I didn’t do all of my long runs. Long runs are what they say is the key to long-distance training, which makes sense. At the end of the day, I’ll at least walk and finish the race. I think I may be lucky to have the temperature be in the high 60s/low 70s…in July! More to come on Sunday!
Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles to finally earn my Donald Duck medal. I couldn’t write about my “magical” trip to Disney World until I could say I finished the race. It was nice because I ran around my parents’ neighborhood, and my dad drove out a few times with my dogs as a “character stop.” Their neighborhood is very hilly, but I finished in 2:46:36.
A group of friends and I made the decision LAST February to run the half marathon. Then, Friday night, Disney made the difficult decision to cancel the half marathon because of possible lightning.
We drove down from Charlotte on Thursday doing a midway stop in Savannah. Disney was just 4 short hours away from there. I went to Disney World as a kid and once in college, but going back as an adult was quite different.
You can drink in the parks – who knew? (not that we did this, but having the option is cool)
The Park Hopper pass lets you travel around the parks. Much easier to do in small groups
It is still a magical experience even though you’re no longer a kid
Thursday: drive to Orlando with a stop in Savannah. Dinner at Disney Springs (you don’t need a ticket) and checking into the hotel – All Star Music.
Friday: breakfast in Orlando, picked up a friend at the airport, lunch at the Yacht Club with friends, wandered around The Art of Animation. This is a great hotel and wonderful for taking pictures. Once we all arrived, we checked in at the race expo. We were going to have an early bedtime for the race but…
Saturday: should have been race day (2:30 am wake up), but we slept in instead! After walking around Music and Movies for coffee, we left for Hollywood Studios. It would have been a great day, but we had to go to World of Sports to trade in our half marathon bibs. It took FOREVER! Afterwards, we had dinner with friends at Trail’s End, which was an area of Disney I never knew existed. It’s a buffet and on a lake – you have to take a boat to the Magic Kingdom. That’s where we ended the day and saw the most magical fireworks show over the castle.
Sunday: Marathon Day! My friend ran the marathon instead, so we went out to cheer him on around mile 16. After seeing him, the rest of us went to Animal Kingdom. That was my first time there, and it was awesome! Because our schedule got off on Saturday, we had a lot to fit in. We did the highlights of Animal Kingdom but then rushed to the Magic Kingdom. We tried to fit in as much as we could, but we could have spent hours more. Around sunset, we took the monorail to Epcot. We watched the fireworks show there after doing rides, walking around the world, and eating dinner.
My overall takeaways are everyone should go to Disney, no matter their age. It’s very expensive, but there are ways to watch what you spend. Run Disney puts on a great event, but I hope/think this is the LAST time they don’t have a rain plan. They canceled the race for close to 30,000. I am going to go again next year because this is a race I really, really want to do!