A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Race Recap: Princess Half Marathon 2014 (Part 2)

on March 4, 2014

For Part 1 of this story, see yesterday’s post here.

While I was in the Magic Kingdom, I took out my earbuds as there was so much music and cheering but I replaced them once I got back on the road outside again. Things got narrow again immediately after leaving the Magic Kingdom, while we were on a narrow stretch of the road (thanks to a thousand cones).

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Someone is making a fortune on renting orange cones for runDisney events.

I was still on a post-Magic Kingdom high so I didn’t mind the congestion much. I did start stopping for walk breaks every half mile just to conserve enough energy for the rest of the race, but overall I feel the second half of the race went a lot easier than those first few miles. I felt like I had accomplished so much in running through the Magic Kingdom itself and finally had the certainty that I would in fact be finishing the race! At mile 7, they were playing “Let It Go” from Frozen and I really feel like I did let go of a lot of self-doubt in that moment.

While the second half of the race is less exciting because it is just out on the road and you don’t have the high of the castle to anticipate anymore, I enjoyed it because there was so much less crowding. It was a lot easier to run and to chat with people. I found myself chatting with other “pink heart” ladies from the PHM Facebook group and listening to the couple running near me, in which the man was frequently offering encouragement and support to his running partner (I thanked him at the end – his cheering her on helped me immensely!).

Everything you’ve heard is true – there are some evil hills in the last few miles thanks to Florida overpasses. They aren’t evil in terms of height or grade, but it’s just a really tough time to climb a couple of hills! Lots of people slowed to walk during those sections (I ran/walked them) but the road was wide enough, it was easy to get through. This was also where the toy soldier was stationed:

imageThankfully he let me take a pic with him without doing pushups. It was damp down there!

The overpasses did allow me to get some nice views of the course and the runners as well. Lots of tutus down there!

imageIn addition to the characters on the back half of the course (I remember Stitch, Mrs Incredible, Princess Atta, some guys in tuxes and others), there was a big banner with all of the princesses and these awesome bird kites:

imageThey were gorgeous and I’m impressed with the arm strength of the guys who operated those for the entire race! We also passed a Hess gas station at one point and I cannot tell you how much I wanted a Diet Coke in that moment. A giant one.

It was exciting to go up the last hill, knowing that Epcot was in sight at the bottom. I loved seeing Peggy, with the famous “Complete stranger I’m proud of you sign”. At that point, I was so excited to be on my longest run ever (incredibly motivating to remind myself of that every step after mile 11!) and so close to the finish, I didn’t work my way across for a picture with her or to say thanks but she really did help me feel like I’d succeeded. Coming around a corner into Epcot, I was surprised to come across Princess Sofia.

Totally unexpected character along the course - I had to stop because I knew O would love to see her!
Totally unexpected character along the course – I had to stop because I knew O would love to see her!

Her line was super short and from my conversation with the women around me, full of mothers of toddlers as we were the only ones who realized just how cool she was (that amulet lets her talk to animals!).

I won’t lie, in the last mile my spirit was willing but my legs and body were getting tired! I kept wishing and hoping the finish line would just hurry up and be in front of me! I knew I was finally getting close when I saw these gorgeous singers:

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I stopped for a quick little walk break at this point so I had the oomph to run across the finish line, which I knew was just ahead! Thanks to spectating the 10K the day before, I recognized the section of the course that immediately preceded the finish line and started scanning for my guys. I’d gotten a text from Darrell to let me know that he and O were in the stands waiting for me. I never saw them, but they saw me and my husband was so proud that he got a photo of me crossing the finish line.

imageHe and O had sat and watched finishers for a while, with O clapping wildly the whole time. It’s easy to get him to go along with celebrating (that’s why he comes to Weight Watchers meetings with me some days).

image

After crossing the finish line, there were lovely ladies with wands sprinkling glitter on our heads as we passed and then it was on the medal. I asked one of the volunteers to take my picture with my medal as I expected O to take it from me as soon as I met up with them again.

imageI’d done it! I had finished a half marathon! I still have to remind myself of the enormity of it because it was so fun (and recovery has gone so well) that I tend to minimize what a big deal it was.

I would absolutely recommend the Princess Half Marathon as a first half marathon for anyone who is new to running. It’s low pressure, not competitive and a really supportive environment. There’s a good mix of runners and walkers (and lots of run/walkers) and for the most part, everyone was polite about letting others do their own races in my experience. I’ve seen a lot of chatter on social media about people being rude to walkers or people feeling crowded by people passing them, but I only encountered one person with a noticeably bad attitude toward walkers (and really, if you don’t want to deal with walkers, submit a time that gets you up in a higher corral or don’t stop for so many things that you fall behind your pace group!). I think passing is something that’s going to happen in a race like this, with so many people moving at so many different paces. There were definitely times I passed on the grassy shoulder because there wasn’t space anywhere else, but that didn’t bother me and I didn’t mind having to pass around walkers because I knew someone would have to pass around me when I was the one walking. I noticed  a lot of people using hand signals for when they were planning to slow down to walk, which helped a lot. I just tried to look around me when I was moving over to the side to walk and to be aware of anyone in my immediate vicinity when I slowed down. I did nearly plow one poor lady down because I didn’t realize she was stopping to film the gospel singers for a while, not just to take a picture and she didn’t move on when I was anticipating! Oops! For the most part, everyone seemed to play well together.

As far as the humidity was concerned, I ended up being really glad I’d done all that research about how to handle it and tried to put the things I’d learned to use. I stopped at every water station offered (and runDisney had provided a lot of them) and took water (not Powerade as I hadn’t trained with that and didn’t want to try anything new race day). For the most part, the Powerade was in Powerade cups and was offered first, with water further down the aid station. There was plenty of both at the times I came through and the volunteers were quick to answer if you asked which they had. I dropped my anticipated pace down to 12 minute miles (instead of the 11 minute miles I’d trained at) so I didn’t overheat and took more walk breaks. All of that helped me finish without feeling overheated and I tried to drink my water with Nuun aggressively for the rest of the day. I did hear that one runner got hospitalized for heat exhaustion, which was definitely a risk with that kind of humidity.

At the end of the day, I’m incredibly glad I did this and I’m definitely going to run another half marathon to see what I could do on a less crowded course, without a broken toe and with less humidity! This was about proving to myself that I could keep up with running, that I could maintain my weight loss and that I could achieve a big running goal in running 13.1 miles. Check, check and check. There is nothing more that I could ask!

(Other than having someone provide me with some kind of ironclad rationale to justify registering for the Avengers half marathon that’s going to happen in California this fall – so tempting for this Hulk loving girl, but I don’t know that I can justify runDisney expenses twice in one year)

Thanks to all of you for your support along this journey!

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35 responses to “Race Recap: Princess Half Marathon 2014 (Part 2)

  1. GREAT GREAT JOB!!! So excited for you and so proud of you finishing your first half marathon! I totally get what you mean by having high spirits but tired legs nearing the end of a race. As magical of a race Disney puts on, 13.1 miles is a long way and, by the end, it can be tiring! I am so glad you enjoyed your experience! Time for Wine & Dine later this year now, right?! ;0)

    • So tempting! I think I’ll pass this year (don’t think I can commit to – or sell my husband on – another RunDisney event just a week out from my first one!) but may very well be meeting you for Avengers 2015!

      On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 8:16 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

      >

  2. oooh I love this! Way to go! You did so fantastic and you deserve that 13.1 medal! I’m hoping they announce a Star Wars themed race soon! I’m already tempted with the Avengers but I’d pick the WDW one over DL any day.

    • I know what you mean! I am so tempted by the Avengers race. If it was back in Florida, I’d definitely go but I’m not sure about going all the way out to California.

      On Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

      >

  3. Shelley B says:

    Your race recaps and experience have me grinning like a fool…so happy for you!!!

  4. leannenalani says:

    Woohoo you did it! You have and had such a positive attitude about the whole experience which I love reading about. Congratulations!

    Anyone who had a problem with the crowds or the walkers or anything – Maybe they should have been at a different kind of half-marathon. Like you mentioned, it’s a supportive environment and it sounds like it is appropriate for those who are new to running or those who will be doing some walking. Were there also people who walked the entire time?

    • I’ve heard there were people who walked the whole time. As long as you could stay ahead of the 16 minute mile minimum (which they didn’t start counting until the last person crossed the start line), you could walk as much of it as you wanted.

      On Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 12:03 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  5. Congratulations, Jessica! I am so proud of you! What a wonderful experience for you! I teared up seeing the picture of you crossing the finish line (you look jubilant) and the one of your son clapping for you. 🙂 You worked really hard for this and I hope you are still reveling in your accomplishment!

  6. […] am a big fan of girl-themed races (see Princess Half Marathon here and here, which got me into long distance running) and of my beloved SparkleSkirts for races but I have […]

  7. […] have to talk about today’s run. 5.5 miles in a new park and my first 10+ mile week since the Princess Half Marathon at the end of […]

  8. […] has been the first week I’ve run more than 10 miles for the week since the Princess Half Marathon. That definitely feels like something to celebrate! I think April is going to be a lot more […]

  9. […] a half marathon and a virtual half, both with lots of swag and perks, for less than I paid for the Princess Half Marathon. The prices of Disney races are absolutely insane and yet they sell out quickly, so why […]

  10. […] 1. So far, what is your favorite race that you have run and why? The Princess Half Marathon in 2013 was definitely my favorite. It was such a huge goal for me, so crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles felt huge, and the whole trip was such fun! See my recaps and pics here and here. […]

  11. […] Cross the finish line of my first half marathon – done! See here and here, but really this photo says it all […]

  12. […] that I did with my last training plan where I focused more on just getting the mileage in. Having crossed a half marathon finish line once in my life already, this time around I know I can do the distance – I want to do it a […]

  13. […] and special occasions. I took a week off tracking when we were at Disney World in February for the half marathon but otherwise haven’t missed a day or a meal. Do I really want to do that for the rest of […]

  14. […] event for a first 5K but went with (and would absolutely recommend) RunDisney for my first half marathon! I think for the half marathon, all of the distractions are a necessary thing, not a negative, and […]

  15. […] course, my recaps of the Princess Half Marathon (1 and 2) were high on the list of views and comments. Knowing how many blogs I read when I was looking for […]

  16. […] medal maybe just a smidge more. I will never forget how it felt to cross the finish line of the Princess Half Marathon, knowing that I could run 13.1 miles and really, that I could do anything. That race did exactly […]

  17. […] Not only did I run that half marathon, I’ve got two half marathons on the schedule for the next 6 months and one of those is […]

  18. […] can I not start with Princess? It certainly dominated the first of the year, with planning, running and basking in the glow of my […]

  19. […] Not only that, I’m about to run my third half marathon in less than 365 days (between the Princess Half Marathon in February 2014, the Des Moines Half Marathon in October 2014 and the Star Wars Half Marathon in […]

  20. […] 5K and think how easily I see the 15 pounds I’m carrying now as opposed to a year ago at the Princess Half Marathon. Maybe instead I should be reminding myself that what I’m seeing is a woman who was excited […]

  21. […] Up Here” poster I passed in the last mile (I’m convinced it helped!). My favorite sign at Princess was Peggy Sue’s “Hello Complete Stranger I’m Proud of You Too”, undoubtedly. After months of […]

  22. […] The Princess Half Marathon 2014: I can’t believe that was only a little over a year ago! This race continues to stand […]

  23. […] favorite is still my recap of the Princess Half Marathon (here and here) because every time I re-read them, I am struck again by how happy I look in those pictures and the […]

  24. […] read her story and look into joining the CMN team for the Princess Half Marathon. I loved the Princess Half Marathon and can’t think of a better race to run for fun and for a good cause. Also, the lovely Mary […]

  25. […] at me because back in summer 2013, when I first decided to take the plunge and register for the Princess Half Marathon in February 2014, I told him that I thought I could handle a half marathon, but if I ever suggested […]

  26. […] the list for both of those reasons has to be my Princess Half Marathon medal, which is both beautiful and so important to me because it was my very first half marathon. I […]

  27. […] biggest race mishap has to be breaking my toe right before the Princess Half Marathon. There’s no way I was skipping my first half marathon after all of the work I’d put in! […]

  28. […] I spent a lot of time thinking about this as I was flying today (safely arrived in New Orleans!). I’m not a big believer in regrets, so I don’t really dwell on “bad” races. They’re all things I can learn from and I try to look at them as such. However, if I had to redo one race in my life, it would be the Princess Half Marathon. […]

  29. […] helpful! It also helped that I was coming back to the site of success with my first half marathon (Princess Half Marathon at Disney in […]

  30. […] was so reassuring to be running essentially the same path that I’d taken in the Princess Half Marathon in my first half marathon years ago. Places of prior success can be so powerful mentally. When I […]

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