I have seen so many blog posts on the inter webs about experiences at this years Princess Half Marathon (known from here on out as PHM). So, I thought that I would post my recap. It is detailed because I want to remember it.
August 2012 Amber (my bff) and I were talking about the PHM and decided to register. I started training just by walking a couple of miles here and there. I decided to do the Galloway run/walk method according to the PHM website and I started to train on that path later that fall. Then I burned out. Stopped training all together after a late October 10k that I did. I started back up in December on the treadmill and then started training outside on a hilly course at a park near my house. Then, on January 11th, 2013 I herniated two discs in my back and I was unable to train for a while. Once the PHM came along I had only gone 6.82 miles total for my longest walk. I never got to do the run/walk training.
Because of my lack in training and my back issues, my goal for the PHM was to get to the castle... about mile 6. I thought if I could get to mile 7, that would be great. Then I was planning to sit down and wait to be picked up.
Amber and I got to the Expo at about noon on Friday. We were excited to see there weren't long lines to print out your waiver since we both forgot ours. I was bummed that I forgot my proof of time to get my corral changed. I was in corral H and I was hoping to get moved up to G just to give me that little bit of extra time to stay away from that Balloon Lady! (She is the pacer and if you get behind her you risk being swept off the course and taken to the finish, without being able to finish) Then there were a couple of computers to get your proof of time. I was so excited! After we printed those off, we headed into the Expo room. We were shocked to see that there were no lines at all for bib pick-up and no lines at runner relations. We picked up our bibs and then headed to runner relations where the amazing worker there placed me in corral F!! :) Oh I was just so thrilled!!! Thrilled. I couldn't stop beaming! Then over to get our shirts and to shop. Not a lot of lines for us at all. We were surprised as we had been reading all morning how horrible the Expo was in terms of lines. We had nothing at all.
The night before the race we went to dinner and then made our way back to the hotel to relax. The guys went and played mini golf and Amber and I went back to the room. We went swimming for a bit. Then we started to get all of our stuff ready for the next morning so we wouldn't forget anything.
We woke about 2:50am. I got dressed, put on the body glide. I had a bagel with peanut butter on it. We took some very horrible looking photos that said how tired we were and not awake yet. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in one of the Royal Rooms. Loved it! We went to the bus stop which wasn't far from our room at all. The busses were fast and lined up. No waiting at all. Everything ran so smoothly.
The bus let us off in the parking lot of Epcot. We got off and followed the droves of people to the staging area. The adrenaline was already going for me. All of these people, how exciting!! We had many photos taken along the way. There were stops here and there for photos. I just couldn't believe the amount of people!! At the staging area everyone was either using the porta potties or stretching. Now, this is when I handed Todd (my husband) my camera and never got it back. I was so upset. I texted him to meet me at the castle to give it to me...
Through the bag check area I went, no bag to check since Todd would be at the end. Amber and I walked to the corrals. She was in A, I was in F. So they had us V off at a certain point and we said good bye and good luck! I got to my corral and I was near the front, perfect! Everyone was sitting which was good because my back really hurt when I stood still for long periods. I met a girl and we talked for a bit. Things started to ramp up, everyone stood and we started moving forward. Finally the corrals started to be called one by one and once E got up we were able to move up. The excitement and emotions were running high. I stayed to the right since I was walking. The Fairy God Mother did a spell and the fireworks went off and off we went!!
I had decided I wasn't going to stop for any characters at all to take photos with them. I did decide to stop for water and powerade. I ran three times and it felt so good when I did run. I wish I had run longer. I was trying to keep pace with three people and then I passed them. Seriously, in no time, we were at the castle. I was walking down Main Street, looking for Todd, which slowed me down. And then I saw him and felt amazing to see him. I had made it to the castle, my goal. And I was feeling good, except I had to go to the bathroom. There was a 15 minute wait for the bathrooms and because of the sweat and humidity, it felt like putting on a wet bathing suit when I was done with my business. It took forever! But then I was back on course.
I passed mile 6, then mile 7... before I knew it, I was at mile 9! I was shocked. Mile 10 was the famous exit ramp that was supposed to be hard. I didn't think anything of it. Maybe because I was walking? The army man (like the ones in Toy Story) said it was our last hill of the race. It wasn't... there were two more and they were not easy as they were overpasses.
My hips started to hurt but I was so far along that there was no way I was going to stop. I had no clue how long I had been out there. The weather didn't bother me at all, even after only having walked in the freezing cold the past few months. I didn't even notice the humidity. I was walking, waiting for mile 12 to come as I heard you wouldn't be swept after mile 12. I don't know if it ever came. I don't remember it. It was after the last hill, I know that. There were people cheering us on and that was awesome! I finally got into Epcot and I couldn't believe it! I knew I wouldn't be picked up at that point and I was in awe!
Not far from the finish line I saw my husband, bff, Amber and her husband. Amber and I looked at each other and I just kept saying "I did it. I did it." And we were both in tears. My husband got a photo of me at that moment and it sums it all up for me. It is below, I am in the one in the back right in purple with the weird look on my face. I was crying in joy. And then... I did it... I crossed the finish line. I was in so much pain once i finally stopped and thought about it all. I could barely move. But I crossed that finish line upright.
After the race we all met outside of the finishers area. We hugged, took photos and got a box of snacks to eat. I was starving. I finished in 3 hours and 53 minutes. A long time, a lot of sweat. I needed something to get my blood suger back to normal.
The race was amazing and I swore I would never one again. 4 days later I vowed to do it again, only after I lose this weight. And so I am motivated now to do it. I am going to lose this weight and I am going to run/walk the race next year. I want the before and after pictures and time for the race. I can do it!!