16 March 2009

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Back in October, I invited my friend Katie to run the inaugural Princess 1/2 Marathon at Walt Disney World over spring break. We rented a car, a condo, bought a flight and our park tickets and anxiously awaited for March 7 when we would leave cold Illinois for warm, sunny Florida.

We arrived Saturday at lunchtime and headed to the expo to pick up our race packets and do some shopping. Katie had never been to Walt Disney World, so when we drove through the park gates, she got that wonderful Disney feeling. At the expo, I found a Pearl Izumi shirt that I'll blog about later. We looked for some princess gear, but, as I would continue to remember, I'm really not a princess kind of girl.

On Sunday morning at 4:30am, I woke up drenched in sweat. I grabbed a quick shower because I'm pretty sure that your not supposed to be stinky before the race starts. I put on my race clothes, grabbed my poptarts, and we headed to Epcot for the race. Of course, we made our porta potty trip. I was hoping to get rid of a deposit before the race, but of course, no such luck. There were tons of "princesses" everywhere and some were not very nice or even pleasant. We headed over to the start and made one more porta potty stop. Some of the things that I heard were "Princesses don't pee on the side of the road" and "Princesses use kleenex to blow their noses." I, of course, rolled my eyes and thought to myself, "It's a good thing I'm a runner and not a princess." We made it to the start, the gun went off, and we crossed the start line with the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella telling us how wonderful we were.

Miles 1, 2, and 3 were not fun for me. I felt like I needed to poop when I ran, but every time I stopped at a porta potty, my body said, "nope, no pooping for you." I finally got rid of whatever was bugging at mile 3. It is not fun running when the defecator is in overdrive.

Oh, I should probably mention that I forgot my HR monitor, so I didn't have a way to monitor my pace. Coach Chris asked me to "race" the race and use it as a long hard training run, so I was mad at myself for forgetting the HR monitor. When I started running and felt not so great, I wondered how I could actually race, but at mile 3, I started feeling okay, so I decided to try and run a negative split. Anyways, back to the race.

After mile 3, I started to feel okay, but I didn't feel like pushing the pace too early. The course was almost exactly the same as the 1/2 marathon in January, so I was familiar with it and knew what was coming. I didn't run with my ipod and I was absolutely amazed at how quiet the course was. I was expecting these women (about 7000 of them) to be chatting but they were mostly silent. It was so weird. Around mile 4, I took my first gel and at mile 5, I took a couple of endurolytes and an anti-fatigue capsule. Mile 6 was through Magic Kingdom, so it was fun to check out the park and run through the castle. There weren't many characters out on the course, except for the princesses, which gave me a whole other topic to blog about.

After mile 6, I decided to start picking up the pace (I'll share my splits at the end) and I was feeling good until I got to mile 9. I started feeling alot of pain in my hips. This wasn't surprising because I haven't run that long in months. I stopped at a medical tent and grabbed a couple of Tylenol, which started kicking in around mile 10. I also took some gel and endurolytes and an anti-fatigue capsule at the water stop. At mile 10, I was still pushing the pace, but my legs started to cramp up. I was having cramps in my left glut and calf, and both quads. I felt not good, but I kept going and kept working hard. I knew there was only a 5K left and that I have a 1/2IM in June and I needed to be physically and mentally tough enough to work through the cramps. So, I did it and I'm very proud of myself for doing it!

The last mile was around and through Epcot. There was a good crowd and I was able to feed off that energy. I did see Mulan, my favorite Disney princess who is not really a princess, and that was cool. I felt good and was somehow managing the cramping. I crossed the finish line in 2:30:30, which was slow. While this wasn't a fast 1/2 for me, it was fun and I learned some stuff (like I always do) so it was a productive race. I learned that I can be mentally tough, and that sometimes my mind is stronger than my body. I learned that I am a runner and not a princess and that some women who act like princesses may not be very nice to be around. I thought it was very cool to see all of the men supporting the women during the race. I realized that I can do a 1/2 marathon with very tired, heavy legs, and still run a negative split. Oh, and I learned that I will definitely be doing this race again.

Mile 1 - 11:06
Mile 2 - 13:06
Mile 3 - 13:18
Mile 4 - 11:41
Mile 5 - 11:19
Mile 6 - 11:36
Mile 7 - 11:40
Mile 8 - 11:06
Mile 9 - 10:53
Mile 10 - 11:14
Mile 11 - 10:53
Mile 12 - 10:54
Mile 13 - 10:35
Mile .1 - 1:06 (the longest .1 miles of my life)