Tuesday, March 1, 2011

13.1 Miles of Disney Magic!

Before I start writing about my amazing journey towards my awesome medal, I want to thank you guys who have read my blog for the last few months. Thank you for joining, following, and commenting. I know I wasn't as exciting, funny, witty, or adventurous in my writing as I had hoped I'd be but it was really nice to have something I needed to be held accountable for. So, thanks. I couldn't have done it without you!

I'll start at the very beginning ;) My flight left NYC early Friday morning, way before Thomas was even up. So the last time I saw the munchkin was when I put him to bed Thursday evening.  I made it to the airport in record time (duh, it was 5:30am!) and breezed through security with just my backpack and a smaller bag. We boarded quickly and I wound up sitting next to two of the most annoying girls ever. They were 20 years old and I overheard, well, everything, and know pretty much every single little thing about them. Eh, whatever, I just kept telling myself that I'm on a flight without a little boy to have to worry about. I could sit there and stare out the window in relative peace. 

Anyway, let's get to the point.  I was able to check in early at All Star Movies Resort. The room was fine, nothing special but nice and clean and that's all I cared about! Now that we have a son, space is more valuable to us on our vacations so I'm really happy we own Disney Vacation Club.  After I dropped my stuff off I grabbed a bite to eat and made my way to the Expo to check in. 

Disney's Wide World of Sports is HUGE! My goodness! I've never been there before and was really amazed how big it was.  We were greeted with some great welcome signs and I just knew this was a first class event about to take place.  Oh, I should tell you all right now that my pictures are HORRIBLE! I have lots of random people in my shots. I was too lazy to ask anyone to take my picture and most of the time I just snapped and went about my business.  You'll see more what I mean when I post the race pics.

Welcome princesses!

There was a loooong line to get your picture taken with the royal guards so I opted for the Express Entrance

Look at the size of this place! And it was chock full of STUFF to buy!!

I've been reading more and more about Jeff Galloway's run/walk method and I'm really beginning to think that perhaps I should try it.  Then again, once I start walking there's a slim to zero chance that I'll start running again! Still, it was pretty cool to be able to see him speak!

After the Expo I had to go back to the resort since there were no buses running to/from the Expo and the parks.  It was slightly annoying at first and then I remembered that I definitely didn't want to walk around the parks with my goodie bag, bib, and D-tag. How awful would that have been to lose my bib on the Haunted Mansion! After dropping off my race day stuff as well as the "I did it!" shirt that I bought at the Expo (I NEEDED to have it because I knew that if I had paid for that thing I would make sure I finished!)

I let the fates decide which park I'd go to. And sure enough, a Magic Kingdom bus showed up so off I went! I walked over to Columbia Harbor House and got the Lighthouse Sandwich. I love it! Ever since we tried it in January 2010 we've eaten there in each of the next three trips! I am not a vegetarian by any means but this hummus sandwich is delicious. Plus, we usually eat there a few days into the trip when I've been eating burgers nonstop so it's a nice break. I felt the first twinge of loneliness while eating there but quickly got over it when I reminded myself once more that I could eat in PEACE! After I finished my lunch it was close to 3pm and everyone was lined up for the parade. We usually don't watch the parade so what better time than the present to enjoy?? I found a spot between the Hall of Presidents and Sleepy Hollow. What a fun parade! And all the princesses were out so I made sure to wave hello.  Yes, I was waving to fictional characters while standing all by myself. AND I LOVED IT! SO THERE!

Hey there Fairy Godmother! Thanks for the wave!

Belle was my chosen princess for the race so I made sure to get a picture!

After the parade I went to the Hall of Presidents (again, something that's not easy to do with a toddler). I was really starting to get exhausted but it was only 4pm! I needed to keep going just for a little longer so I could go to bed at a more reasonable hour than 5pm! I walked over to the monorail and decided to take a ride to Epcot.

After I got to Epcot I took a nice long time browsing Mousegears and bought two Duffy outfits for my cousin Michael who got his own Duffy bear in January when we all went together.  I went on the Land boatride and headed back to the resort. I got a salad and a snack at the food court and brought it back to my room.  Really enjoyed lounging in the room and going to bed early. I fell asleep around 9pm and was woken up by someone banging at the door at 9:45. I was pissed at first until I saw that it was someone from the front desk bringing me a cute gift basket that John had ordered for me! It was really sweet!

I slept ok that night but my neighbors kept slamming their door at 11pm which was fairly annoying. But, whatever, no biggie.  I showered and dressed and headed over to Hollywood Studios.  I got a FastPass for Toy Story Mania but it wasn't for until 2pm so I wound up not using it. I walked around the park and sat to watch the Disney Channel Rocks show. I've never seen it before and don't know any of the songs but it was still very good and fun! I loved seeing the kids dancing around and singing along.

I left Hollywood Studios and walked to the Boardwalk. It was such a beautiful day and it's so peaceful walking along the water.  I waved to the boats that went by too. At the Boardwalk I sat on a bench and looked at the Beach Club.  We just purchased DVC points there so it was nice to be looking "home". Can't wait to be there January 2012!  I walked to Epcot and then talked to my mom on the phone for a while.  I had lunch at the new Counter Service place at the Mexico pavilion.  The chicken tacos were delicious!

After lunch I went back to the resort and sat by the pool for a while. It was so nice to feel the hot sun for once instead of the freezing cold temperatures we've been dealing with at home! Before I knew it though it was time to head to All Star Sports to go the The Dis W.I.S.H. team's meet and greet! I was nervous about going at first but SO glad I did.  The women there were really great. So nice to meet each and every one of them!

Go team!!!
I left the girls and walked back to my resort where I got another chicken salad for dinner. I went back to my room, laid out all of my gear for race day, took and Ambien and went to sleep. I'm not a good sleeper so I was grateful for the little help I did get falling asleep.

Before I knew it I had woken up and it was 2am! I set three alarms for 2:45. I laid in bed until about 2:30 and finally got up.  I took my time getting ready and was hopeful that I'd, ehem, go to the bathroom before I left the room. No such luck.  I made sure to get a shot of myself pre-race:

Very strange and dorky smile! It was early.

I got on the bus at 3:30am and talked to two girls from the Dis Boards, Summer and Betsy.  Both were really sweet.  It was nice to talk to them as it helped calm my nerves a little more. After we got off the bus we had a bit of a walk to the area where everyone was. It was nuts! There were SO many women and SO many tu-tus! I made my way over to the porta potties, went to the bathroom, and got right back in line. I knew my nerves would get the best of me and I needed to pee alot. I checked my bag and grabbed a water and some medicine that they had at the medical area.  I put a Tylenol and Pepto Bismal in my fanny pack thingy just in case. In yet another line for the porta potty I saw two Dis Boarders, Lisa and Kathy, who I had met the day before. We wound up all walking to the corrals together. The walk to the corrals was very long. They weren't kidding when they said it would take 20 minutes.  I was wishing out loud that they would count the walk as part of the 13.1 mileage!

After making my way to Corral D I snaked around people to get to the front. I was really nervous about finishing and wanted to give myself as much leeway as possible. I met two girls who were running together. One had a shirt that said Bride and the other one's said Bridesmaid. They were best friends from Orlando and the Bride was getting married on Thursday in Hawaii! She is probably on her way there right now! What a fun thing to do before saying I do!

Finally it was race time! Fairy Godmother wished everyone good luck and good race and each wave got their own fireworks!!!
Here we go!!

As I've posted before, I've been using the MapMyRun app to track my runs and also play my music on my iPhone. It has my playlist all set up so all I need to do when I start running is hit play!  Yeah, well, that is unless I'm about to run my first half marathon and it decides not to play anything!!! COMMENCE FREAK OUT!!! I have always run with music because when I can hear myself huffing and puffing I start psyching myself out! The app was recording the run but it wouldn't play a song! OMG. I'm iPod illiterate and so while I was running I was trying to get music to play on my iPhone which was on my arm. Awkward! I finally got some music to play but it started playing the same song over and over! Ahhh!! Finally I got it off repeat and then listened to the whole Ben Kweller album. That was fine but once the album ended it started playing over again! Gah! I finally got it on a shuffle but it wasn't my playlist. It just played whatever. And let me tell you, I have some TERRIBLE songs when it comes to keeping a beat! Like, I love Elvis right? Yeah well owning his albums on there means I also have the sloooooow Gospel songs of his! Oh well. At least I had something to listen to.

The next set of pictures are really blurry. I was too afraid to stop and take photos with the characters. Now that my first half marathon is over, I think I'll actually stop and take time to get photos next year! After about a mile or two I saw the pirate ship!
Can you see it? It's a pirate ship!

Then we saw the Epcot hot air balloon! How very cool! That hot air balloon really pissed me off in the second part of the race though. I saw it thinking it was the real Epcot ball and was angry at Disney and the world for teasing me.

Holla! I made it to the Magic Kingdom sign! I have to say, I was feeling pretty good! I didn't hate life at that moment which says alot because of how much I hate running! Seeing that sign was a great pick-me-up!  The only thing that sucked was the fact that that sign is actually pretty damn far from the Magic Kingdom!

Lovely sign in the early morning

Hey! Check out Lilo and Stitch. It was really funny to me that Stitch was dressed like Elvis considering I was at that point listening to THE MOST BORING Elvis songs EVER! I definitely took out the earbuds and listened to the fun and upbeat Elvis songs that they were playing. The hula dancers were so fun!

And then there were these guys. They were AWESOME! What a joy it was to see these drummers. I think everyone picked up their pace when passing them!
Just totally completely awesome.

It was now daylight and I was getting pretty hot. Also, I know I was only at 5 miles but I was getting tired! But I was still pumped up and just told myself that I had run 5 miles already and that was 5 miles that I didn't have to run anymore! I ate two of these little PowerBar gummy thingies. I never really did the whole eating and drinking while running thing right. I need to improve on that. Still, I was getting a little tired and thought that a little nibble would keep me occupied for another minute!

We passed the Contemporary Resort and I could see Space Mountain! Joy! I'm getting there! I'm getting there!! The path for the runners was a bit narrow at this point but still not too bad. I passed people and people passed me and at only one point did I bump into someone. I'm pretty sure that was my fault. Oh well.
Hard to see but that spire in the back is Space Mountain
We went into the Magic Kingdom through the side and when we turned the corner....AAAAHHHHHH!!! There it is! Queue my tears! I'd been waiting for this moment since August when I signed up for the race. I had made it to the Magic Kingdom! In all my training runs I would imagine once I'd gotten to about mile 6 that I was entering the Magic Kingdom and somewhere on Main Street USA. And finally, there I was!
Hello old friend. Aren't you a sight for sore eyes!

Now, I must pause here to do a little complaining.  I was actually fairly disappointed with the folks on the sides who were cheering, or should I say NOT cheering.  The volunteers were amazing and always clapping but I can't tell you how many people with great signs like, "Go Mommy!" and things like that who were just standing around. I understand that they were there to cheer for their mom/wife/sister/daughter/whatever but it would have been nice if they had cheered for not only just them.  I feel that if you're there to cheer for the half marathon you should cheer for everyone! We all could have used the extra oomph! That being said, I've already instructed John that if I do the full marathon and he and Thomas are there, he is to cheer for EVERYONE!! Ok, end rant and back to the magic!

Here is another blurry pictures of the castle. I think the sweat from my hand got on the lens. Whoops.

We went into Tomorrowland and then off to the left towards Fantasyland. I was sad to see the pathway to Toontown all boarded up as some of the best memories of Disney that I've had so far have been there with my son. Oh well. Change is good!  We made our way into Fantasyland and it was just awesome. Just a completely awesome feeling to be running this race with all these women. I felt really empowered. Oh, and tired too. But definitely empowered.
Such a great feeling!
Mickey and Minnie were waiting right before you went through the castle to take pictures. The line for that was insane! I just told myself "you'll do it next year" and kept moving. It was great to have the trumpets fan-faring us in and through the castle! 
Can't figure out why this is sideways. But you get the idea.

We turned right after going through the castle and went through Liberty Square and off to Frontierland. This part just went way too fast!
Off towards Frontierland
And before I knew it we were heading out of the Magic Kingdom. It all went so fast I can't picture exactly where we went out. We saw the "coo coo" as my son calls the train so I was sure to get a picture of it! The train was tooting its horn and it was so cool to see it so close!

Soon we were backstage and saw some floats from the parade! Fun! Captain Hook and Smee were there among some other great characters.
A glimpse backstage

I have to take this opportunity to thank "Britney" as I named her. This sweet young girl was in front of me for MILES! She didn't know it but I was following her and trying to stay close! And yes, her shirt had "Bieber Fever" on it which gave me a giggle. She was like my own person pacer. I didn't finish with her. I started to walk through the water stops so I'm sure she finished WAY before me. But, thanks Bieber Fever, you kept me going!
I don't know much about Justin Bieber but after following this shirt for so long I should probably thank him :)
Around Mile 10 or so I was HURTING. And it felt like we kept running uphill! Then I heard something weird through my headphones. Bouncing? I turned around and saw this girl! She was dribbling for the whole half marathon. I told her that she was my hero! How cool is that!? I could barely put one foot in front of the other and she's dribbling a basketball for 13.1 miles!
You go girl!!

So, for those of you who have read my previous entries, you'll remember that I'm kind of an angry runner. I just seem to be swearing in my head nonstop. All the time! "F this! I hate this! F that". Well, just because I was at Disney World didn't mean I wasn't going to be a very hateful runner! Haha! Around mile 9 or so I was thinking that if I could just see Spaceship Earth (you know, "The Golf Ball" as I like to call it) then I'd at least know where I was and how much longer I had. I kept repeating to myself (and perhaps out loud a few times, hehe), "Where the F*** is the Ball? Where the F*** is the Ball?" Then I saw it! Then I realized it was that damn hot air balloon! Gah! Foiled by Disney! Meanies!

But finally, there it was! The real golf ball!
Love it!
I was so tired and had allowed myself to walk for 100 steps. Then I saw a water stop up ahead and ran to it telling myself that I could walk through the pit stop. Then back to running. Well, shuffling really at that point. But seeing the 12 mile marker and knowing I only had 1.1 miles left to go was great
Almost there!!

We were getting so close and I saw the Gospel Choir! Hallelujah is right! Amen and praise God! I was so close to finishing! It was amazing to hear them! I didn't get a picture of them though as I was too busy waving to them and saying THANK YOU!!

Once we made it into Epcot I could barely keep a forward motion. My feet were killing me and I so badly wanted to stop. Then a lovely volunteer said, "You can do it Nancy!" and it made me so happy I had my name written on my t-shirt! It was so great. And I knew I could do it! I saw Phineas and Ferb by Innoventions and snapped a picture of them since we like that show.
The question must be asked: Where's Perry?

I didn't snap any more pictures of the race. I should have but I just was focused on finishing strong and getting that medal.  Let me tell you the feeling I had when I finished was indescribable! I felt so choked up once I received my medal that I actually felt like I couldn't breathe! I immediately got a text message from my dear friend Lauren congratulating me! She and John were signed up for the text updates and they were following me the whole time. Very cool! I waited in line to get my official picture taken. I'm pretty sure when I see it I will be scared - the combo of sweaty, cry baby, and ultra red face will most likely not make for an attractive picture.

My first goal was to finish. My second was to finish around 2:45-2:50. And my time was 2:22:15!! 

After getting the official picture taken, they had tables and tables of food and drink for the runners. Full sized water bottles and Powerade (which, by the way, is pretty disgusting, especially when it's warm but it's still totally hit the spot!) as well as bananas, oranges, muffins (they looked SO unappetizing. I'm sure they tasted fine, I just couldn't imagine a muffin right then), and Luna bars. I ate half a banana and took an orange with me to the bag pick-up tent. From there I headed to the family reunion area and over to the T-Z area where I met up with some W.I.S.H. teammates from the Dis. It was SO nice to be able to see SOMEONE I knew after that finish. Even though I had just met these people, it was great to hear someone say "Great job!" I hung out with the group for a while and decided to make my way to the buses and back to the resort. But not before a final group shot:

I'm looking forward to next year and running with them again! Maybe I'll get a lime green shirt too! The line for the bus to the resort was insane. And of course there were two women who totally cut the whole line. I was really annoyed but way too tired to even say anything.  The bus finally came and we boarded. And it was HOT. It felt as if the driver had the heat on! It was really terrible. We were all so hot and so sweaty and many of us were probably slightly dehydrated (me!) that it was just very uncomfortable. A woman actually ran off the bus at the first stop and collapsed. Luckily there was a VERY nice woman on the bus who was a nurse who helped her and she was a-ok. 

I made it to the resort and rested for a little. My stomach was bothering me so I just hung out in the room for a few. After my shower I put my "I Did It!" shirt on.  My medal and I went out and headed to Epcot but not before stopping at the food court for a little snack and some more water.  

I hobbled off the bus at Epcot and had my picture taken!

I headed straight for the sweet sweet nectar of the gods - the frozen margaritas in Mexico. I got the Wildberry one and it was amazing.What a treat. What a great weekend. What an accomplishment. What's next???


  1. CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN Nancy! That was a great re-cap of the race...I knew you would do it and way to go making BOTH of your goals! <3 Angela

  2. Congrats again Nancy! maybe we can meet next year at the Princess Half Marathon! I think I gotta have that medal! All that bling is too hard to pass up!