I've never really been a Disney fan - thankfully my parents didn't raise me on the movies or at the parks (although I grew up just 45 minutes away), but I have to admit, the Disney folks sure know how to organize an awesome race!
My Mom, Grandma (who is a Disney fan) and I left home at noon on Friday to drive to Orlando for Marathon Weekend. We picked up my race number and some goodies at the Expo and then checked into our hotel, The Pop Century.
The Expo had a few things of note. I finally bought a good running storage belt - I've tried the one you velcro to your shoe and I've tried tucking things into my shorts, but I'm pretty picky about comfort, so none of those seemed an ample solution. This belt is a perfect small size, and doesn't bounce! I love it.
Also - I found the premiere issue of Women's Running Magazine! This is particularly interesting to me because in my magazine journalism class two semesters ago, I did my final project on a mock issue of a women's running magazine - because there wasn't one on the market! I haven't read the entire issue, but it's pretty exciting:)
After a pre-race dinner of brown rice, veggies and tofu, I set out my gear for the next day and we found ourselves in bed by 9pm. I needed to be awake race morning by 3am, so I wanted plenty of sleep...
I guess it was excitement or anticipation, but I didn't sleep AT ALL. I mean, ZERO hours of actual sleep...AWESOME.
Nevertheless, I was up and eating at 3 am, on a shuttle to the starting area at 3:45 and at the starting line by 5:30!
The weather was PERFECT. The announcers even called it "No Excuses Weather," which I love, because it really describes it to a T. Florida gave us about 46 degrees at start time (5:50) and up to around 55-60 degrees at the finish.
I was in wave one (of three), corral B (of A-F).
My plan was to run 9 minute miles the whole way, to finish right under 2 hours. The first 10k went perfectly. I felt great. I stuck to my comfortable 9 minute miles and even felt good enough to speed up a little, to 8:45 miles. Miles 5 and 6 run through the Magic Kingdom theme park, which was super cool because it was still dark and the park was all lit up and, well, magical looking. (And since I've really only been there once, it was even more interesting.) All the characters are out in costume, and runners even stop to take pictures with them! Seriously! In a race! (I would never!) But it's all so much fun! (Note: the only time I was tempted to stop, if I'd had my camera, was for Mary Poppins and Bert in front of the Grand Floridian resort. I love Mary Poppins:)
I stopped to use the bathroom right before mile 7, and after that, I couldn't really get back on pace. I started to feel tired and hungry, so I ate two Organic CLIFF shots and felt a bit better. I figured I should just relax and not worry about pace any more, since it seemed to be giving me trouble, so I slowed down to 10, and a few 11 minute miles (yikes!)
The sun came up around mile 10. Mile 12 lead us through EPCOT (which I actually have been to several times. I like the countries;) and then finally I saw the 13 mile marker! To tell you the truth I was feeling pretty spent by the time I crossed the finish line, but was really happy with the race overall!
I finished in 2:10, 13 minutes slower than I planned, but very comfortably. In my next Half, with ample sleep and without a terrible cold the week before, I will definitely be able to finish under 2 hours, like I planned.
After the race, I went back to the hotel and slept for a few hours, and rewarded myself with a huge ice cream sundae that night! If anyone is looking for a super fun race, I would seriously recommend the Disney races. They are so festive!
The Overall Results:
Total Runners 12,434
Overall Finish 3,1086
AG Finish 95 out of 515 (Women, 18-24)
Maybe it's a good thing I didn't do my best on my first Half - now I have something to beat!