26.2 miles

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2015 Weekend – Race Recap

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Yup, signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge for that third medal. BLINGAGE.
Yup, signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge for that third medal. BLINGAGE.

About eight months ago, I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon. And not just any half marathon. I wanted to run a half marathon the way I was meant to. LIKE A DANG PRINCESS. After an hour of screaming at the computer in frustration and cursing the networking gods, I finally got myself registered for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon. Wait, strike that. I ended up registering for the Glass Slipper Challenge… What is that, you ask? The runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge consists of a two-day challenge were participates run  the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and then the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. And whhhhyyyyy would I willingly sign up for 19.3 miles you may ask? Joseph. Ugh, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph. He has this thing about medals. “Oh, you can get an extra medal for completing two races? Okay, I’m in!” …. -______- okay, Joseph, fine, I’ll get that extra medal with you.

Costumes

Okay, so costumes were a top priority when preparing for our races. YOU CAN’T RUN A DISNEY RACE IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO LOOK THE PART. I not only wanted Joseph and I to have incredibly cute costumes, but I also wanted us to wear items that we could run in (i.e athletic). I think this was a smart move on our end because watching hundreds of people around us running/sweating in wigs and REAL costumes… wow, looked tortuous to run in. I also wanted to try and MAKE our costumes for the most part because I did some quick Google searches and while there were TONS of Disney race costumes… they were fantastically expensive. $165 for a Jasmine running costume??? No way, jose.

Ideally, I really wanted to run the Princess Half as my ultimate princess, Belle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find a good way of putting together a decent Beast costume for Joseph that was still appropriate for running. I was about to give up on a Beauty and the Beast themed running costume when LO AND BEHOLD one of my very dear friends linked me to these adorable tanks/shirts from Simply Human that featured Belle and Beast. I thought to myself, “Okay, I can’t do a full-out costume, but… we can wear the tops, and I’ll put together a yellow tutu! BAM! Simple race outfit for the Enchanted 10K!” I didn’t get to truly emulate my soulmate-princess, but it was close enough.

Naturally, for the Princess Half Marathon costumes we went for the costumes that would easily work as running costumes but also were very cute. JASMINE AND ALADDIN. I was fortunate because I had amazing help with the costumes. My dad’s friend owns an athletic-wear company, so he was able to make me the base of my running costume (the sports bra and running skort). My mom is a fantastic seamstress, so I asked for her help with embellishing the costume with the shoulders and gold trim. For Joseph, I made the fez hat with red felt, and he purchased a purple dri-fit tank that we cut into a vest. He purchased white running shorts and Abu for the finishing touches.

Modern athletic-esque twist of Beauty and the Beast for the Enchanted 10K and Jasmine and Aladdin for the Princess Half.
Modern twist of Beauty and the Beast for the Enchanted 10K and Jasmine and Aladdin for the Princess Half.

Enchanted 10K

3AM. BUS SHUTTLE. SO EARLY. OHMYGOODNESS.
3AM. BUS SHUTTLE. SO EARLY. OHMYGOODNESS.

Woke up at 2AM. Asked myself, “WHYYYYYY WAHHH SO EARLY.” Groggily changed and got ready for the race. Scooted our behinds onto the shuttles at 3AM. Arrived outside of Epcot at around 3:30AM. As we were walking through the event site, we realized that it was VERY VERY VERY WOW WOW WOWWW OBSCENELY COLD. INSANELY COLD. I was wearing a throwaway jacket at least, but Joseph only had his tank on. Note to selves: get the mylar running throwaway blankets.

Lined-up at the corrals at 5AM because the race starts at 5:30AM. Except we realize that we are in the LAST corral. MISTAKE. MISTAKE. MISTAKE FOR ENTERING IN A SLOW TIME WHEN REGISTERING. Each corral legitimately takes 15-20 minutes to clear out. While we are waiting for our corral to be released, we were seriously holding each other for our dear lives. Not because we love each other mind you (I mean, which we obviously do), but because we had to retain as much body heat as possible! It was an incredibly unhappy time for us. Incredibly. I think I was wondering, “What did I just sign up for, THIS SUCKS.” I also felt Joseph shivering, SHIVERING, and not of his own accord. And he’s a man. So yes, it was THAT cold. Finally around 6:30AM our corral is up, and we can finally start moving. Or so I thought. The later corrals consist of race participants who are running their first half marathon and/or do not run faster times. So it was a slower start since most of the participants in my corral started off walking. And apparently Disney does not encourage the “faster people on the left, slower people on the right” policy during their races. So the beginning of the race (and honestly, mostly the entire race) was spent me weaving in and out of walkers/slower runners! I have nothing against people who want to walk the races, but please have the courtesy to walk on the right side, so that I can run past you a little more easily! It was still so cold that I had to keep my throwaway jacket on for the first two miles while my body warmed up.

This is me. VERY HAPPILY RUNNING THROUGH EPCOT. Runner and Disney high at this point for sure.
This is me. VERY HAPPILY RUNNING THROUGH EPCOT. Runner and Disney high at this point for sure.

First few miles were pretty empty because we were running between the Disney parks. But it wasn’t bad because there were random character stops/entertainment stops along the way. We didn’t stop at any of the character stops for pictures because I felt like I could just get them at the half marathon if I wanted to. It was also cool to run by everyone and check out their race outfits. Enchanted 10K wasn’t AS big a deal as the Princess Half, but there were still a good amount of people dressed up!

Around mile four was when we entered Epcot. That was the BEST part of this race by far. It was such a thrilling experience to run through the world showcase! At that time the sun was in the process of rising so the views of the lake and the Epcot ball-thingy were spectacular. Joseph and I stopped for a quick photo-op during that time. Truly, this was the peak of the 10K race for me. My body was finally fully warm, and I was honestly just cruising along. I didn’t feel tired, my legs weren’t sore, and I was just… happy.

Finished the 10K at a solid pace considering I had to weave in and out of the walkers the entire time as well as the quick stops for photo opportunities. Also, Joseph and I tried to slow down and take cool pictures as we ran by the Marathon Foto photographers, lol. I know, we’re embarrassing. But hey, we got some good pictures out of it!

WOOHOO! Photo opportunity while running through Epcot!
WOOHOO! Photo opportunity while running through Epcot!

After the race we received our 10K medals, took more pictures, grabbed our free food boxes, and went straight to our hotel to shower and go to the Disney parks. NO RESTING FOR US. I really wanted to get EVERY second possible efficiently utilized during my Disney weekend. When do I ever get to go to Disney? Oh, right, never. I will soon regret pushing myself to parade around through Magic Kingdom after completing a 10K though. I will regret this very, very soon.

Princess Half Marathon

Before the race! Wrapped up in my throwaway jacket and a runDisney mylar blanket. Joseph is just chillin'.
Wrapped up in a runDisney mylar blanket. Joseph is just chillin’.

The previous day of racing and park-gallivanting? REGRETS. WOW REGRETS. We got back to our hotel and crawled into bed around… 11PM? Which honestly isn’t too bad as a “bedtime,” but if you take into consideration that we needed to wake-up at 2AM again AND run a half-marathon? OH GEEBUS.

Woke up at 2AM grumpy, groggy, and mildly angry at Joseph for convincing me to sign up for this dang Glass Slipper Challenge. WHY WHY WHYYYYYY. But I got my behind up, and I changed for the Princess Half. To be honest, it took us a little longer to actually wake up and get ready, so we weren’t fully out and about on the shuttle buses until 4AM.

Fortunately, it was not AS cold as the day before. It was still pretty chilly for me personally, but I had another throwaway jacket as well as a mylar blanket this time. WINNING. Because this is the main race, there are thousands of more people at this race. Like you know… 20,000 people. So there were about 20+ corrals. Of course, Joseph and I are STILL stuck in one of the later corrals. UGH, SO MANY MISTAKES WHEN WE REGISTERED EIGHT MONTHS AGO. The race started at 5:30AM, but it still took us about an hour before we were finally let out to go run.

Heh. I know. We're barftastic.
Heh. I know. We’re barftastic.

There were a LOT more character stops during the half marathon. Joseph and I didn’t stop at most of them because 1) the lines looked way too long and 2) the characters didn’t appeal to us, but we did stop at a few. There were a lot of “AWWWS” as we were running because not only were we dressed quite fantastically as Jasmine and Aladdin, Joseph was wearing our team bib on the back of his vest. I aptly named us, “Chasing My Princess.” Yea, I know, we’re ridiculously cute sometimes. And Joseph really was chasing me… I was weaving in out and of walkers/slower runners during the half like there was no tomorrow.

We ran through two parks – Magic Kingdom around mile five-seven and ending up in Epcot during mile eleven-thirteen point one. Magic Kingdom was really cool to run through! When we first got to Magic Kingdom we ran by a band/drum team. Definitely helped pump me up during the run.

However, because we were in a later corral, by the time we got to Cinderella’s castle there was a STRAIGHT UP TRAFFIC JAM. Hordes of people crowding shoulder-to-shoulder taking pictures/selfies with the Castle. It didn’t help that freaking Elsa, Anna, and Cristoff were up on the balcony smiling and talking away. I love them and all, but WOW WAY TO HOLD UP THE TRAFFIC, GUYS. Had Joseph and I been in an earlier corral we probably would have been able to run through the castle… but our mistake with the registration (sigh, okay I’ll stop complaining about that). There were TONS of great photo opportunities in Magic Kingdom though!

Of course we had to get a picture with GENIE! TRIFECTA COMPLETED!
Of course we had to get a picture with GENIE! TRIFECTA COMPLETED!

Mile 8-10 was ROUGH. My legs were slowly starting to feel the pain settling in. And also by then the sun was out in full force, and during that time we were on a LONG stretch of highway… so there was nothing to protect us. Nothing but the sun beating down on our poor selves. Nothing to look at besides the other runners suffering alongside us. Joseph and I were more fortunate in our selection of running costumes though. I saw some people in full out costumes, wigs, long-sleeve/long-pant contraptions, long dresses… so I was quite thankful for my (lack-of) costume.

Epcot photo opportunities!
Epcot photo opportunities!

Mile 11-13.1 ended at Epcot. I was pumped! Or, I thought I was pumped. For some reason, when I get to mile 11, I always assume, “YES I AM ALMOST THERE JUST AROUND THE CORNER!” Then I realize… no… it’s a lot farther away then I realized. And then I want to seriously harm myself because I realize there’s so much more distance left to run. That’s what happened. SIGH MY LIFE. At every bend in the park, I would think, “Yes! Yes! Look at that character stop! That means 13.1 is almost here!” And then I realize I only ran a quarter of a mile. However, there was an awesome photo opportunity by the Epcot ball-thingy. So we stopped there for a bit then continued along. My legs were feeling a littttleeee bit more pain at this point. The pain was nothing like my first half-marathon mind you, but I was still ready to throw the towel in.The mile 12 stop was a nice pick-me-up with a gospel choir singing their hearts out.

And finally… finally… 13.1 mile finish line is in sight. Me screaming frantically, “JOSEPH, IT’S HERE!!! HOLD MY HAND!” (I know, feel free to roll your eyes). We’re running, and we’re running, and there’s Mickey and Minnie and Goofy RIGHT before the finish line for a picture opportunity. Joseph asks if I want a picture, but I’m like, “NO! GOSHDANGIT, I JUST WANT TO FINISH THIS RACE.” And so we finished the Glass Slipper Challenge. Hand in hand. My second half marathon under my belt.

Finishing the Princess Half hand-in-hand with my prince!
Finishing the Princess Half hand-in-hand with my prince!

Although I griped and complained about running two races in two days, ultimately, I’m really glad Joseph pushed me to sign up for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Because I DID IT. I completed 19.3 miles alongside exhausting myself at three Disney parks in ONE WEEKEND. It’s quite an empowering feeling. And it was such a fun race with costumes and character stops and running through Disney… do I recommend it for others? Wholeheartedly. Would I do it again? Yes. Yes. Most definitely. Oh, and all princesses get “pixie-dusted” at the end. An extra huzzah for finishing the race.

We actually GoPro’d our time at the Disney Parks as well as the races we ran!  I put together a quick video for those interested in watching it. Don’t worry, it isn’t five hours of footage. Just snippets of Joseph’s filming (there’s no way I could hold a mini-camera for 2039482 hours while running). It’s about 2-minutes long. Please enjoy!

And for those interested in just watching our Disney derpiness at the parks – here’s a quick video of our weekend footage.

Alright, next post will be either a recipe or a race recap post from Joseph’s point of view… as one of the 1,000 males running in a race with about 17,000 females… I do also want to post a “tips/suggestions” post for those interested in running this race. Although this was our first runDisney race, I think Joseph and I picked up a lot of things that we would do differently the next time around. I would have covered it in this post, but it already turned into a mini-novella, so I wanted to spare you the extra word count.

Until the next run,

Jennifer

Enchanted 10K Finishers Princess Half FinishersGlass Slipper Challenge Finishers

My First Marathon! (Joseph’s Story)

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To quote the great Barney Stinson,

“Here’s how you run a marathon: Step 1: You start running. There is no step 2.”

If you have no idea what I’m referring to, watch the video above. All jokes aside, I completed my first full marathon yesterday. 26.2 miles. Yes, that 0.2 miles is important. If you’ve run 26 miles, you didn’t run a marathon.

I finished the Houston marathon warm-up series a few months ago and figured, “I might as well run a marathon.” I had already trained and ran up to 18.6 miles so the full marathon was my next step. I decided to sign up for the USA Fit marathon in Sugar Land. The race seemed to offer quite a bit when I had signed up. A finisher’s shirt, jacket, and medal would all be provided, as well as access to all the race photos for free.

Crossing the finish line, finally. 26.2 miles later.
Crossing the finish line, finally. 26.2 miles later.

Before the race even began, the weather prediction for the entire weekend was rain and cold weather. Now I’ve run in the rain, and I’ve run in the cold, but put those two together for 4 hours… my nerves were going crazy all of last week. A few days before the marathon, I received an email saying that the medals would not be there in time. Although I realize a marathon is about your journey and not some medal, I was pretty bummed.

At last, race day was here and I checked my phone. The odds were ever in my favor for the weather. The weather was in the 60s and no rain! As soon as I got to the race, Jennifer hears the sound of medals clanging. She says, “Maybe those are the medals!” Of course I didn’t believe her because of the email, but I later hear a volunteer say “WE GOT THEM!” Happy me.

For my first marathon, I had pretty high expectations. I wanted to finish sub 4. I decided long before race day that I would follow a 4 hour pacer and speed up at the end to get my sub 4. This wasn’t a bad idea. I kept up with the pacer, who was very nice, for about 19 miles and then the clear skies got to me. Now if you’ve ever ran down University Boulevard in Sugar Land, you should know that there is NOTHING to shade you from the heat. By the time mile 19 got around, it was hot. There was a lack of water stations, and I had completely exhausted not only my own water supply but my Honeystinger waffles as well.

Completed my first full marathon #slay
Completed my first full marathon #slay

My IT band started to flare up and so I started to walk thinking, “I have 7.2 more miles…” If you’ve raced long distances before, you know that it sucks to run by yourself, so I befriend a female runner who was pacing with the 4 hour group and was also struck by the “wall.” We start running again and have a friendly chat. Her shirt says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I use that as my mantra to push me. All is Gucci until she has to use the restroom. I lose my buddy and trot along, a loner once more. I’ve slowed down so much that the 4:15 pace group is on my heels. Eventually I tag along with them. I get to mile 22 before the pacer has to use the restroom and all hell breaks loose on earth. I am alone once more. The 4:15 pacer was a crazy inspiration. He’d run a marathon in every state. Talk about dedication and a slight case of OCD. I will never be that crazy. Insane maybe, but not crazy.

It’s mile 23 and I start to walk again. Another guy passes by me and starts to walk asking, “How many miles do we have left?” I tell him after looking at my GPS watch and my new friend and I decide to start running again. This guy tells me he’s about to turn 39 and wants to complete a marathon before 40. I say, “Let’s do it. Let’s get you there.” We chat it up as we’re running and we get to a point where I just start speeding up. I’ve found my second wind and runner’s high once again. My new-found friend quickly realizes and by about mile 24.5 he tells me “go for it.” After hearing that, I decide to just do it.

I’m running a bit under a 9-minute mile the rest of the way (gotta make up for that walking). I’ve run down this path plenty of times and know what to expect. I see mile 25 and I’m all smiles. The marathoners and half-marathoners walking see me and start to cheer me on. I honestly start to tear up a bit behind my sunglasses. Maybe something caught my eye in the wind.

The finish line is in sight and I see my beautiful girlfriend waiting and cheering for me. I see the gun time at 4:24: and climbing. I speed up and finish in 4:24:26. I received my glorious medal and all is right in the world. I take some pics with bae and wait to see all my new friends finish shortly behind me. The 4:00 pacer had waited for everyone that initially was with her to finish and congratulate them. My pace ends up being 10:06 min/mile. I can live with that and will use it as a stepping stone for next year’s Houston marathon. I get my finisher shirt and all the food I can get.

My bae always waiting for me at the end of every race. Or running in front of me.
My bae always waiting for me at the end of every race. Or running in front of me.

And so began the road to recovery… just kidding. I taught Insanity yesterday, teaching twice today, and one more time tomorrow LOL. This is why I said I was insane earlier. The motivation to push people past their limits and all that adrenaline really pushes me… even through some soreness. Some tips:

  • Guise, this is all you need: http://www.amazon.com/Rubys-Lube-Natural-Anti-Chafe-Balm/dp/B00MH7G8GO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422926390&sr=8-1&keywords=ruby%27s+lube. I will leave it at that because you know why.
  • Prepare and follow a program. It will help you no doubt. Stick to it. I would say to maybe even over train and go past the usual 19-22 miles suggested in training programs. A marathon is no joke and you need to have adequate training.
  • Hydrate early. Even though I drank a ton of water before and during, you really need to hydrate earlier than you think.
  • Have fun while you’re training. Preparing for a marathon is a learning experience. You will have ups and downs. Roll with the punches and don’t stay down.

I’ll end this post with another funny marathon video:

Some of these stages are on fleek. Yeah, I said fleek.

#slay

-Joseph