The Disney Princess Half Marathon: Not Very Fast, but Still Mostly Fabulous

The local running club that I am a part of asks that we write race reports for all of our races. This was a request that I routinely brushed off until recently. But after a particularly fabulous racing experience as a part of an especially great team, I decided I would jot down a few lines and send it out to the list serve, mostly as a tribute the awesomeness of my teammates, and to make everyone else jealous of how much fun we had together. “Hmmm”… I thought to myself, “this race report thing is kind of fun and it feels an awful lot like blogging, something I am striving to more of in 2013 anyway.” So I figured why not combine the two and start posting race reports on the blog…  After all, all the cool kids are doing it. I still want The Fast and the Fabulous to be more about product reviews than my personal running experiences, but just for shits and giggles (both of which are mentioned in the report you are about to read) here’s a little recap of my most recent running adventure, the Disney Princess Half Marathon…

It All Started with a Pre-Dawn Dance Party:

My 32nd birthday started off with a new waking up early PR of 3 am. On birthdays gone by I might have stayed up until this hour, but setting the alarm for this time was a first for me. I was hopeful that today would be a day that I would also set a half marathon PR, but I took one look at the outdoor temperature and humidity level (72 degrees and 90%, respectively), and was immediately consumed with feelings of doubt. I tried my best to stay optimistic as I donned my tutu and tiara and headed off to the happiest place on earth for the race. We were required to be in our corrals by 5 am for the 5:35 am race start, and as we made the long trek across the park to the starting area I realized this was going to throw a serious wrench into my warm up plan. Upon arriving at my corral I debated in my head how important it really was to warm up for a half marathon and calculated the risks of leaving the corral to do it. I didn’t see anyone else warming up and in the end I settled for some half-ass drills, the Cha-Cha Slide, Gangnam Style, and the YMCA dance in lieu of my original warm-up plan of 1 to 2 easy miles. This did nothing to bolster the feelings doubt I was experiencing on account of the North Carolina/ Florida climate difference. Furthermore, my little dance party warm-up left me feeling downright hungry, which brought on additional feelings of doubt that my modest breakfast of a mini Luna bar and a banana might be inadequate for getting me through 13.1 miles without bonking. I tried to ease my troubled mind by consuming one of my two raspberry Hammer Gels about 10 minutes prior to gun time.

Early AM Princess

That’s right friends, Bigs and I are in full-on party mode and it isn’t even 5 am yet!

The Good…

Eventually, after numerous line dance numbers, interviews with a sundry Disney characters, and some pep-rally style crowd involvement cheers the fireworks went off and fairy dust rained from the sky (no seriously, there was fairy dust) and the race began. My first order of business was to get the hell out of the starting line mayhem and settle into a decent pace. I was really hoping to keep it around 7:10 today, but I tried not to be too hard on myself when I came up with 7:25 for mile 1, and 7:20 for mile 2. After all, I had not properly warmed up…

By mile 4 I had managed to settle into a 7:15ish pace, which felt like work, but also seemed manageable. At this point I decided that my new plan was to hold on to 7:15 until mile 10 and then see if I could push the final 5K.

The Fabulous…

Suddenly, at approximately mile 6 after winding through mostly desolate access roads and parking lots, the course turned onto The Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA which was packed with cheering crowds, and complete with a close up view of Cinderella’s Castle. Caught up in the magic of the moment, I loudly verbally expressed the joy I felt at the sight of all of this by quoting a line from the chorus of the popular Macklemore song “Thrift Shop”. The particular line that I exclaimed contains adult language so I will refrain from mentioning it in this post, as I know my mother will be reading it. We were then diverted through the Frontier Land portion of the Magic Kingdom before looping back for the climax of the Disney Princess Half Marathon experience: Running through the castle. When I signed up for this race, I remember thinking to myself rather nonchalantly “Oh cool, you get to run through Cinderella’s Castle. Whateves.” But I swear to you as I ran through that castle my inner child (which makes up a significant portion of the core of my being) had an orgasm. My apologies for not putting that more delicately, especially to you, Mom.  It was just really that fantastically amazing.

Castle

This is f@#$ing awesome!

The Ugly…

Unfortunately, the castle marked the end of the awesome part of my run and I quickly crashed from my Magic Kingdom high. As I came through mile 7 I choked down gel number two, which was a bit of a struggle made even more unpleasant by an ultra-concentrated dose of Powerade that I snagged at an aid station. At mile 8 I officially began to experience symptoms of GI distress, including but not limited to slowing down. Sigh. I thought back to my spontaneous episode of swearing on Main Street USA and wondered if this was some sort of karmic punishment for saying the f-word in The Magic Kingdom on Sunday. I prayed for forgiveness and digestive cooperation as I pressed on, willing myself not to walk. Mile 9 was about 15 seconds slower than mile 8 and mile 10 was an additional 15 seconds slower than mile 9. Rats. So much for picking it up at mile 10.

There were thousands of porta-johns on this race course. Thousands. And yet at the moment when I absolutely had to have one (circa mile 10.5) there were none to be found. I soon as I was out of sight of the army man from Toy Story who was shouting out orders of encouragement on the side of the road, I dove for the bushes in what I am sure was a most un-princess-like fashion. I will spare you the rest of the details of this part of the story.

porta john

So many here, yet you can never find one when you need one.

Getting started again after that little pit stop was perhaps the most miserable thing I’ve done all year and I was actually surprised and relieved when my split for mile 11 popped up as 7:43, seeing as it felt like every bit of  12:43.

Then somehow, by the grace of God I managed to slog out a 7:20 for mile 12, and despite a ridiculous series of twists and turns through Epcot, a 7:06 for  lucky number 13. “WHERE THE F IS THE EFFING FINISH LINE?!?!?” was the mantra the resounded in my head as that last mile split flashed up on my watch. When I finally found it, Praise The Lord, the Garmin read 13.26 miles and 1:37:33. Unfortunately, they don’t stop the clock for bathroom breaks, so my official finishing time was 1:38:51, a good 4 mins slower than my goal time. However, all feelings of disappointment quickly vanished when I was reunited with Allie, Carter, and Colleen for the most important part of race day… The photo shoot, featuring shots inspired by great Olympic athletes such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farrah, and Ryan Lochte. Here are a few snaps for your viewing enjoyment…

Usain Bolt

It all started with a little Usain Bolt….

MoBot

…which was naturally followed by the MoBot…

A little medal-biting love for Ryan Lochte...

A little medal-biting love for Ryan Lochte…

Brush ya shoulder off

Then things took a turn towards gangstaville with the brushing off of the shoulders…

And you know gotta tho up some signs cuz we'z from D-Town... You get the idea. The photo shoot was really fun.

And you know we gotta tho up some signs cuz we’z from D-Town… You get the idea. The photo shoot was really fun.

Despite a less than stellar performance that can most likely be attributed to high levels of humidity and self-doubt, the fun and fabulous aspects of the Disney Princess experience and the wonderful people I got to share it with outweighed all the running unpleasantries. Big thanks and much love to Allie, Carter, and Colleen for a lovely birthday weekend get away, and to my friend Cindy who made me the most awesome running tutu of all time especially for this race. Also, extra-special congratulations to Carter who rocked her very first half marathon!  Looking forward to some sweet 13.1 redemption and more great photo shoot fun in a few weeks at Wrightsville Beach!