You may want to start here: Princess Half Race Recap Part 1
When we last left off, I was on my way out of Magic Kingdom and ready to head back towards the finish at Epcot. I was still running slowly and solo at this point. Around mile 8, I heard my sister-in-law call out my name and there she was. We had finally caught up to each other. This meant two things: 1) I was going to have to pick up pace and 2) I was going to get pushed and hard.
If you want proof of just how hard she pushed me for the last miles of the race, look at my phone. I didn’t take a single photo after we met up. We stopped exactly once to take a photo with a Green Army Man and that was it. So you’re about to get a lot of words and not a lot of photos to go with them.
My SIL encouraged me every step of the way, reminding me at the start of our minute runs that “You can do anything for a minute”. “Go slower and you’ll just be in pain longer, get there faster and you can rest.” So, for the last 5 miles, I turned it on. We did strict 1min run/walk/run intervals (except on hills, she was kind to me and let me double up my walks on the uphills), but we also did 2 minute runs towards the end.
And it hurt.
In fact, the last two miles? I was crying. My legs felt like lead and I popped something in my hip flexor. And I’m not talking a few tears. I’m talking big, ugly cries. Between the pain and the overwhelming emotion of knowing I was about to accomplish something I never would have thought possible a year ago, I shed big crocodile tears.
Marathonfoto didn’t capture any photos of me on the course, but I’m in the background of SIL’s photos, and you can clearly see the pain on my face. Not pretty, y’all.
But, we rounded a corner in Epcot and heard the sounds of the gospel choir. We turned around at World Showcase and headed back towards Spaceship Earth. We made it out into the parking lot. There were people everywhere (probably laughing at my horrendous crying face) and I made it across that finish line in 03:08:56. Well below my 03:25:00 adjusted goal time and only a few minutes over my original goal.
The pain? Totally worth it. While pain isn’t exactly magical, knowing I accomplished something I once considered to be impossible is about as magical as it gets. For me, having my first half marathon experience at Walt Disney World was perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted to run anywhere else. I didn’t stop for photos with characters this time, but just seeing them along the course helped push me through. Running through Magic Kingdom Park was breathtaking, even if my “castle moment” wasn’t what I had hoped.
I ran along side runners and walkers of all abilities, shapes and sizes. Women who were running their first race cancer-free, husbands in tutus along side their wives, moms and daughters holding hands, best friends, new friends, internet friends, seasoned marathoners and race newbies all crossed that finish line on Sunday. The woman who won the race, did it in costume. That right there? That’s the magic of Disney, 13.1 miles at a time.
I can’t wait to do it again (and faster) at Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. I’m doing the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge (1ok and Half Marathon) and earning my Coast-to-Coast medal. I’m looking forward to more favorable training conditions and really stepping up my pace before Labor Day Weekend. I’m also hoping to do a couple of other races before then so I can earn my spot in a higher corral. I definitely don’t want to start in the back at Disneyland Half.
Still, I’m proud of my times. I’m proud of my effort. I followed through and finished my first half marathon. Now I know I have it in me to do things I never thought possible. That’s a pretty damn awesome feeling.
My final stats for the 2013 runDisney Princess Half Marathon:
5K Split: 44:37 (14:21 pace)
10K Split: 1:34:35 (15:13 pace)
15K Split: 2:18:08 (14:49 pace)
Finish: 03:08:56 (14:25 pace)