Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon - Part 4 It's the End of the Race as I know it

After exiting the Castle tunnel I veered over to my left to wait in a line to get my pic taken....look how brilliant the light was...it was around 7 am at this point.   THIS photo is what many do the race for! Yeah I get red in the face when I exercise...and I have to say, my legs have NEVER looked better!  This is what running does for ya.


I ran off into the Liberty Square area I believe next.  There was Tiana, Prince Naveen and Louis, look how cute Amy looked in her pic!  It was so surreal running this course in the happiest place on earth.


Next to the Haunted Mansion were 2 Ghost ladies who were a RIOT.  They sounded like Paula Deen - you think I was hungry or something with second thought of Savannah's first lady, in very sarcastic southern voices saying "Go Y'all. Run".


We headed through Frontier Land and Sarah Cate's FAVORITE Ride was going... Splash Mountain, though no riders.  At some point by the shooting gallery I see Jessie from Toy Story AND a professional photographer...line was short may 6 people so I hopped in.  Yeeeeee Haw! After this I decided it was a nice place to stop and stretch out the old calves, so I did the runners stretch up against a wall by the shooting gallery - some lucky princess has a picture of me in the background stretching like these ladies behind us.



Somewhere we hit 6 miles just before we exited the park.....my time from mile 5 to 6 was 14:52 minutes, not bad for potty break, 2 pictures and some stretching!  My total time for this leg 6 miles was an hour and 30 minutes. Next thing I know we are running down a hill an by all these floats that were in storage or garages between parades.  Aladdin's Genie was down there as was Captain Hook with Smee and Pinocchio with Geppetto.


As we ran past the train, over a little bridge I knew our time in the Magic Kingdom was over, it was a little sad. I could feel my heel more than before but I wouldn't say it hurt at this point. I told myself, make it mile 11 and you are home free!  Between now and then no parks, but a run through Epcot awaited at the finish.


There was a firetruck out with a DJ and some fireman dancing on top of the ladder truck. That make me laugh. We hit mile 7 and things started to hurt on my foot, I was DEFINITELY slowing down.  Between now and the end of the race I know I stopped like 4 times to stretch out my calves, but not sure exactly when. The sun was up and it was hot, I couldn't believe all the people who passed me in polyester full costumes or long running tights - some ariels, some jasmines, the incredibles.  But there was PLENTY of Powerade and Water stops which I took water EVERY time not being used to the heat and humidity.  They also had a few Biofreeze stops which I BATHED my calves and ankles in..that stuff feels great!


While we weren't in a park, shortly after mile 7 we passed Belle, Gaston and the Beast; Cinderella's Carriage - glass pumpkin one they use for weddings; and  Prince Phillip and Sleeping Beauty.  I was looking to see if I could spot a professional photographer for pics, but decided I just needed to focus on finishing..the castle shot was my only MUST have. There were spectators on the side too cheering us on.  We were by a golf course and Donald Duck decked out for Golf was there next to a Mickey golf cart.  GREAT photo ops for those who remembered to put the charged battery IN the camera.     We hit mile 8 and saw Meeko from Pochahontas.....and at some point we got our free Powerade Gel...I think I had chocolate...it def gave me some energy.  Oh I had been eating my Cliff Blocks every 45 minutes, so its not like I was passing out, but what the heck, it was free.


It was really starting to get hot at this point and the foot was hurting worse.  I chatted with some friendly princesses to try to take my mind off of things as it seems this leg from my memory was boring and I knew we had that freeway ramp style hill coming up.  Plus it was in my mind "the longest I made it training was 10.5"....oh that is ABOUT where that hill is located too.  The whole mental part of running was kicking in full force.  Just get to mile 11 I told myself, you see that is AFTER the ramp! 

Mile 9 to 10 was tiring as we had direct sun, but you know it was the familiar back side of the race, saw the Epcot big ball balloon again and the familiar sights from the beginning of the race....how different to run in the early morning dark and full sun!  The pirates were still out for photos as were the princes....lines were ALOT shorter too...mental note for next year!  I was still hopeful about finishing, but ready to be done.


We hit 10 and at some point I see princesses and a few princes going up the ramp which was shaped like the clover leaf.  THANKFULLY I had read on the disboards that it was very banked and for anyone with any joint or feet issues to stay on the left as the inside - the right was the shortest distance and would be intuitively where you would want to run was really banked and hard on the joints. I think I walked the entire ramp on the side off the road as the ground was softer and relatively flat. I was shocked very few were on the ground.  About half way up, they had a green army guy from Toy Story shouting "Move it move it civilians....Get to the top of the hill" in the army man fashion from the movie. I tried to take a pic with my phone but that sucker is small and I couldn't figure it out.  I made it to the top of the hill and when on the overpass expected to look back and see a trickle of people, but it was still a sea of humanity, so felt good I wasn't last.  Are we there yet in my mind.........ouch my foot really hurts. Then "Dig a Little Deeper" from Princess and the came on Frog came on the old IPOD Shuffle!
I made it to mile 11 where they had guys on stilts from my favorite street party "Move It Shake It Celebrate It".  I high fived the stilt guy and said "Move It Shake It - Best Parade at the Kingdom". He smiled and said "you know it girl".  Yes, another giddy moment - see I have this weird thing about how much I love that parade! 


Here's where the end of the race the mental highs and lows hit me like a ton of bricks.  Mile 11 I thought - this is as farther than I made it on my training run.  Cue the tears again, I am gonna finish...well I hope I can as my feet are KILLING ME.  I would try to jog, but my jog was as slow as my walks. But I said, ONLY 2 more miles, then I thought gosh I hope I can finish them unlike that bad last long training run.  I think I cried the whole mile.  I was just overcome with so many emotions - pride in how far I had come, fear I wouldn't make it, loneliness like no on was going through what I was, I wished my family was going to see me finish AND I just was ready to be done with it all.  I would say "You are going to do this" and that would bring on tears of how hard I had worked to get up to this distance, then the stupid foot problem that stopped my training and all those weeks of "Will I or won't I finish".   I am telling you I was a bit of a hot mess I think but I kept plugging along.  Literally THOUSANDS had passed me, but hey I wasn't last.


They did have some more characters to pass the time and distance...Jane from Tarzan, The Little Dragon from Mulan - I love that movie, Mrs Incredible and the chick from Hercules.  Well we made it to mile 12 and I think the wave of emotion calmed a bit.....  AND then the shuffle on my IPOD starts to play "I'm Almost There" from Princess and the Frog!  "Trials and Tribulations, I've had my share...." Sing it Tiana!


Most of the last mile is through Epcot and when I heard someone say "Welcome to Epcot" as we ran in, I now had tears of joy. There was a group of 2 next to me and the one girl was STRUGGLING and her friend was pushing her to finish....but I think it was making the girl having a hard time mad, her face was down as her friend said "Run, finish strong". I tried to help by saying, "not much further per my Garmin - You can do it, just finish your race".  She looked a me a little weird and I decided,hmm,better back off. 


With a little over 1/2 a mile left, I saw a girl limping along. I decided to try the encouragement thing again as I NEEDED IT TOO!  She told me her foot her she had Plantar Faciitis....hey ME TOO! We chatted about our ailments and treatments.  We discussed how we were happy we were going to finish but honestly disappointed in our times and that this was NOT the way we imagined it would be, we knew it would be hard, but never envisioned being in pain.     
This is around the time I met my finishing friend..she is next to me with red bandana. Could I look any happier? Um, yeah I could! 
The Gospel Choir singing before mile 13 turned all my emotions to SHEER JOY!  They sounded great and looked so happy! 


I told my new foot problem friend as was saw the finish "come on, we have worked too hard not to finish strong.  Not only did we get up at 3 to do a half, we are doing it with an injury...we deserve 2 medals".  She said OK and we started to jog tot he finish.

My last bit of energy jog with a smile...SLOW but got it going on. Could I have more stuff on me...garmin, spibelt, Ipod Touch and the tiara bow hat .   I had my Team Sparkle Skirt which if you look good you feel good!  
I saw Minnie and Donald and Daisy..and I cut over to high five them all just before I crossed the line.


As I crossed that finish line I was SO happy I had my arms up high and  a huge smile on my face. 

That is me on the left, my last mile Plantar Faciitis finishing buddy is in the center in purple shirt with bandana.

 Proud of my accomplishment, but SO happy to be done. I told my last mile buddy whose name I don't know, she was from Chicago...."Good job". She told me "thank you so much for talking to me and getting me through the last mile, you really helped me".  She helped me too.  Then it happened...I got my medal and some pixie dust for the heck of it and got my finisher picture taken...which by the way, this is a wake up call picture, I am now trying to lose my middle.  Sheesh, stand up straight and suck in your gut would you.  Oh, the medal is Princess Tiana Colors SO pretty with some diamonds and an emerald. Amy had someone take her pic and its below.... she had finished WAY ahead of me!
And on my high from finishing got a message Jackie was at the designated meeting place with ice...I had started to go to medical, but decided to just get back to Jackie.  I called Andy and left a crying voice mail "I did it, it was so fun but so hard at the end, I love you thanks for your support in getting me here".  He called me back and tears flowed as I briefly chatted with him and Sarah who asked me "did you win mommy?".  Yes sweetie, I finished and they gave me a shiny medal with jewels....."OHHHHHH - Daddy mommy got a medal"! She was excited my sweet little 4 year old. My finish time is an embarrassing 3:29:51...but hey, I beat my 3:30 goal! 


I made it to Jackie and realized I had to go...Dear Disney, come on, the potties were quite a walk from the end and I was going SLOW!  We made it our car...you know when you park in the dark, it sure looks different... I had memorized the row and section but there was no one out there to direct us back.  When we found the car, getting out of the parking lot was a nightmare...but we made it.  Iced my feet in the car with Jackie's leftover ice pack for her knee.  I took a nice cold water bath to soak my legs and feet and rested up for our after the party...and party we did.

(Disclaimer:  This is from my memory and reviewing some of my training buddies trip reports and pictures. To be honest, the last 5 miles are kind of a blur, particularly mile 9-12.)

to be continued.......afterparty is next.  Princess After Party

3 comments:

ter@waaoms said...

Julie, I can't help but feel your excitement as I read through your post. :)

Donna said...

Julie. What a wonderful experience! Loving all the photos. You are awesome!

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