disney princess half-marathon weekend

John and I arrived in Orlando around 5pm on Friday evening. I had been awake for 48 hours at that point and was looking forward to dinner and sleep. After collecting our bags, we headed to the Disney Welcome Center to get our shuttle to the hotel. We boarded "Mickey's Magical Express" and off we went! Annie and Heather met us at the entrance to the hotel and showed us to our room.


After a quick wardrobe change, we headed out to find some dinner. We needed up eating at the ESPN Sports Bar on the boardwalk. After dinner I went to bed while John, Annie, and Heather went out for drinks.


Saturday, after the rest of the gang arrived, we headed out to the Expo to get our bibs and t-shirts, had a quick lunch and then headed back to the hotel until dinner. We ate dinner at Portobello's, which was good food with not so good service. We had reservations but still had to wait 45 minutes to be seated, even though the restaurant was less than half full. Then our server pretty much ignored us. We got our own water from the pitcher that was sitting on the ledge next to our table. After we had eaten our salads, it was another 45 minutes before we got our entrees. It was obvious that it was an issue with the server because the food was not hot, clearly it had been sitting for a while before he managed to bring it to us.


After dinner we headed home to bed. We had to get up at 3am, so we wanted to make sure we got as much sleep as possible.


Sunday morning we got up, had some breakfast, and got our stuff together to head out to the race. We arrived at about 4:30, made a stop at the bathroom, dropped our bags off and headed to the start. I have never seen so many porta-potties in my entire life...I guess 19,000 women (with a few me mixed in) require a lot of bathrooms! The weather was perfect for the Alaska girls...probably upper 50s with a breeze. Everyone else seemed to be freezing, but Annie and I were excited that we weren't going to roast to death while running!


Heather and I dropped Annie off at her corral and headed to ours. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait very long before we started, maybe 5 minutes or so. There were fireworks when we started and tons of people lining the road. I honestly don't remember a whole lot about the actual race. The first couple of miles were pretty boring, we were on road around the parks. Somewhere after mile 3 we entered the park and mile 5 or 6 we ran through the castle. After that I remember even less. I remember that sometime around mile 7 I realized that it was completely light and was very thankful that it was overcast and breezy.


When I crossed the 15k mat, I looked at my watch and discovered that I had beaten my 15k time from Turkey by about 2 minutes. That gave me a little boost to keep going, because at that point I was feeling like it was never going to end and I just wanted to be done. I kept telling myself that if I ran faster I would be done sooner, but at that point everything was feeling very heavy and slow. However I managed to keep my pace pretty steady (~10:30 min/mi), despite the fact that I felt like I was going more and more slowly.


I reached 11 miles right at 2 hours, which gave me hope that I would beat my goal of 2:30, and possibly even be close to my last half-marathon time of 2:21. When I hit the mile 12 marker, I tried to pick up the pace a little and tried even harder not to look at my watch. My watch hit 2:21 just before I made it to the 13 mile marker, so I knew I wasn't going to beat my last time, but I was close. My time ended up being 2:23, which I am pretty happy with. The only problem is that now I have to do some serious work to improve next time. I was also slightly annoyed with myself for walking through the water stations, because if I hadn't, I could have beat my 2:21 time!


After I finished, I collected my medal, got some snacks, water and Powerade, and collected my bag. Then I headed to our designated meeting spot to catch up with everyone else. Heather and Annie hadn't finished yet, but we knew where they were thanks to the racer tracking that posted their 5, 10, and 15k times as well as their projected finish time on Facebook.


Once everyone was done, we limped our way back to the car and went back to the hotel for showers and lunch. After an hour nap and lots of Advil, we went to check out Epcot. The size of everything at Disney World is kind of overwhelming. It doesn't look big until you start walking around and it just keeps going and going. We got fish and chips from England at the World Showcase (?), dessert from France, and drinks from all over. I ended up heading back to the hotel around 8:30 because everything was starting to hurt...running 13.1 miles and then walking around for hours is probably not e nicest thing I have ever done to my body.


Monday, we slept in, checked out of the hotel, and headed out to Hollywood Studios. We rode some rides and ate some food...and enjoyed the fact that there really weren't that many people there. It was pretty nice. We narrowly avoided a rainstorm when we got back to the car to head over to the Magic Kingdom. We rode a few rides there, ate dinner at the Polynesian Hotel, and then got in the car for our drive back to Miami. We hit the sheets at Heather's house at 3am!


Tuesday morning, Heather drove John and I to Ft. Lauderdale so we could get on our cruise!


It was a whirlwind weekend, and I hope that I can do it again sometime! I am glad that I have two weeks to recover on a cruise ship before I have to go back to the real world.


Martha Rosenstein, FNP