I find it almost overwhelming to blog about such an important accomplishment of mine, so I guess there is no better place to start than at the beginning. So here it goes.
We boarded the buses from our resort about 3:30 a.m., but I promise you I had been wide awake since about midnight, I was just so pumped up and ready to go. I was so excited when we got to Epcot, as that was my first real life glimpse of Spaceship Earth. I've been curious about what that thing was since I was a child, I always thought it was some big golf ball!
We all three posed for pictures. Jana and I in our costumes, and Adam dressed as none other than my husband! Oh well, he may not be one for dressing up, but he makes a pretty cute husband. We also got to hang out a little bit with Ivonna Dream, who basically is a poor man's Fairy Godmother, meaning she was HILARIOUS.
Soon it was time for me to part from the group. We were all in 3 different corrals. I was in Corral K. In a way, I was glad to be headed to the start line by myself as it gave me time to get centered. The walk to the corrals was about 20 minutes, which was a nice little warm up. When I got to the corral, I talked to one or two people around me, got my iphone ready to go, and sat down to listen/watch the announcers of the race. I could not even see the start line until several of the corrals had started ahead of me, and we moved up.
I surprisingly did not have the nerves I have had at the start of other races. I felt prepared and ready.
My corral went off about 30 minutes after the first corral. There were a lot of people, and it slowed me down quite a bit. I also did a lot of weaving around people, but that didn't really bother me. I just had to be really aware of my surroundings. The first mile came up really quick! But my pace was like 2 minutes slower than I usually go. But I decided not to worry about it. This race was never about personal records for me. In the first couple of miles, I also saw the first characters on the course. I made a choice I wouldn't really stop for characters unless the line was short and it was worth it. But I did love seeing Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, and the big old pirate ship.
After about mile 3, we ran past the entrance sign to the Magic Kingdom, which was so exciting! But it would be two more miles before we actually got into the Magic Kingdom. We also passed by one of my favorite character groups, the villains group! How awesome is the Queen of Hearts?
Around mile 4, the cheering crowds were electric, and I loved reading their signs. They had funny ones that said, "Have Fun Storming the Castle," and "Worst Parade Ever." But also motivational ones like, "Remember when you thought you couldn't do this?" That one almost made me cry.
Mile 5, I glimpsed Space Mountain and I knew we were almost there.
Running through Magic Kingdom was exhilarating. Seeing the castle for the first time was mind blowing. And I loved, loved, loved seeing Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff sending us well wishes from the castle balcony. When I was showing Adam the picture I took of them from the race, he said, "Oh, I saw them too!" But he had no clue who they were. I guess Frozen fever hasn't reached Adam.
Unfortunately, we couldn't stay in the Magic Kingdom forever. And it was a bit of a long slog back down the highway to return to Epcot. Just outside the Magic Kingdom, I saw Mary Poppins, Bert, and the penguin! I almost stopped, but I just wanted to keep going. So I did.
The next three miles went by step by step. I never stopped running the entire race, except to take pictures. Around mile ten, we had to go up an on ramp for an overpass. On top of the hill, the toy soldier from Toy Story was barking orders. I decided to take a picture with him. After I took the picture, he said I had to run fast because I had to make up the 30 seconds I had stopped to snap the photo.
After posing with the green soldier, there was nothing left to do but keep going. The race definitely got harder at this point, but it never felt impossible. I never felt like I had to stop. I was so very happy to finally enter Epcot though, knowing I only had one mile left to go.
I stopped and posed with royal Minnie, right before crossing the finish line. I wanted to soak up that finish line moment. It felt so very good. I was so happy I made it. One year of planning and training and I made it! I finished in 3 hours 36 minutes. Not a stellar time, but I stopped for a lot for photos, and I had to go slower than normal due to crowds. But I was still so proud.
My first goal was just to finish. My second goal was to run the whole thing. I accomplished both.
Adam was already at the finish line. Yeap, he passed me during the last mile, because he didn't stop at all. What a show off. But I was so incredibly proud of the both of us. I think we both felt like rock stars.
My run tracker app clocked me as having run 14 miles. Yes, all the bobbing and weaving added an extra mile to my race. Which is kind of awful, but now I know I can run 14 miles.
After the race, we hit up the hotel food court, swam a little, and then took long naps. That was a much deserved nap. It felt so good.
I'm already eying a marathon in 2017. Probably in Walt Disney World, because why would I do one elsewhere? Yes, it seems impossible and scary to me now, but so did a half marathon once upon a time.
I got the kindest comments and responses to my announcement that I had completed the half. These are my two favorites, my husband's and my niece, Kayla's facebook statuesus.
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