Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Princess Half Marathon - Race Recap

Are you ready to read about the most grueling, scary, exhausting, frustrating and FUN 3 hours and 27 minutes of my entire life?  I'm not ashamed to state that it took me 3 hours and 27 minutes to complete the Princess Half Marathon. In fact, I am proud to declare that I did it!

Grab a cup of coffee, and read all about my very first half marathon!

Since we stayed off of property, we had to get up EXTRA early. My Ursula costume wasn't working so I changed to a "Cinderella inspired" option. Upon checking the weather I realized it was probably going to rain and I didn't really want to be wearing white if it did.

So, ... I snapped a picture  and changed into a pink shirt and went with a Princess Aurora inspired look!

We left the hotel and headed to Epcot!  We may have left a little early because the roads were not blocked off all the way yet, and our gps (and the traffic directors) directed us right to the STAGE! Yep. ... the stage. The bad thing is, we were IN OUR CAR!!! haha So, we got turned around (yelled at by some other traffic people) and headed to find the runner parking!

Finally at the race (about 3:30ish a.m. a.k.a. 1 hour after we left our hotel room that was literally 5 minutes away) we made our way to the stage. I really wanted to meet up with some princesses and be calm before the race but that lines were REALLY long and so I opted to stand in the potty line instead.  After a little bit of dancing, and sneaking in shots of the Princesses between pictures with the runners it was time for us to start walking to the Corrals.

Hello Nerves ...

On the way to the race I had eaten my traditional handful of nuts and right when we got there I ate my apple. So, at 4 a.m. I felt great! My tummy was full, I was excited, I was in the zone.

We finally made it to the Corral (after what felt like an eternity) and I began to realize that I was about to run a half marathon. After months of training, a wisdom teeth extraction nightmare and starting my whole training plan OVER after 2 months of not running, the day was here and I was ready!

FYI - we were originally scheduled for the very last Corral (H) but with our 10K time were were able to get moved up to E!!!

Anyway - we sang along to the music, took some more pictures and before we knew it, it was our turn!

I was so thankful to have my husband there with me, he has been my coach, my cheerleader and my bestie and I couldn't be more thankful to have him in my life (His blog. )

With the sights and sounds of fireworks, we were off.

Miles 1-5 weren't exactly anything to blog about, a lot of smiling, a lot of happiness and a lot of running! In FACT we were running at about a 10 minute pace. For a girl who averages 13 - 14 minutes, i'd say
 that is PRETTY GOOD!

We entered the Magic Kingdom, and just about the time you'd THINK I would start to pick up the pace, my body began to crash.

Remember when I told you I ate right when we arrived (at like 4?) Well, we didn't start running until 6. Therefore, my food was practically gone so I was relying heavily on my cliff shots, water breaks and power aide.

I held it together through the Magic Kingdom, and had fun stopping for some pictures along the way. As you can see, I was super happy and excited to be inside the Magic Kingdom. I got a little wave from Minnie, and continued on my way.

As I continued, my pace began to slow down and my body began to shut down... I needed food. That apple and those nuts were GONE.I  was dizzy, my head was pounding, my cheeks were as bright as a red rose. With rosy cheeks, and chills I refused to let it beat me! I grabbed my husbands hand and asked him to please let me walk.

As we walked and I refused to tell him what I was experiencing (because I didn't want him to take me to the medical tent) I felt the tears begin to come. We had sacrificed so much to be at the race. Hours upon hours of training, hours upon hours of reading and researching how to be a runner. Hours of planning and budgeting. How could mile 9-12 be this hard? How could I have been so stupid not to eat enough?  Why was this happening?  All those thoughts filled my head and a few tears began to fall. Just as I was getting ready to act like a big girl, I felt someone rub my back, look me in the eye and tell me "good job!" She made sure I saw her, because she then grabbed my elbow and repeated herself. With tears in my eyes I thanked her and hoped she would move on so not to see me cry.

We finally made it to Epcot, and my darling waited in line to meet Pinocchio. After a few pictures in Epcot it was time to finish what we started. So, we took a picture at mile 13 grabbed hands and ran it in!

As we ran it in, my husband got a big high five from goofy, and I was dusted with some pixie dust! A beautiful pink, gold, glittered, Princess Half  Marathon medal was placed around my neck and the realization hit me.

We did it! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013 Princess Half Marathon Expo

Today is the 1 year anniversary of my career as a runner and I'm feeling a little emotional about it.

On February 27th, 2012, I laced up my sneakers, put the leash on my dog (one of my dogs) held the hand of my husband and began a journey. We had been walking each morning for a couple weeks, and were starting to see some weight loss results. Motivated to continue, we woke up at 5 a.m. and headed out the door for a walk.  If you know my story, you know that on that particular morning, a larger man ran by me and inspired ME to run.

I, Erin (former swimmer, current couch potato) began my journey. If you are new to my blog, you may not realize that this is my transformation. ...

In one year, I lost an estimated 60 pounds through running, eating less, drinking water, and sleeping. That's it. No special diets, no special pills, no schedules, just the good ol' fashion hard work. Pictured to the left you will see my husband and I at Epcot (on Vacation) in 2012 and at Epcot at the end of the Princess Half Marathon (2013).

I began my post with this information, because I truly believe that if I can run 13.1 miles, YOU can run 13.1 miles (or walk).

This weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to meet so many of the bloggers I follow.  Meeting someone you follow on social media sites in real life is quite the experience. During the Marathon Weekend, I was only able to meet one person, so this trip I was determined to meet as many people as possible!

I met, Lena from The Beginners Runner. This girl is adorable! We first met at the TeamRunDisney ice cream social, and then I tagged along to another meet up. I LOVED talking to her about running, training, energy supplements, life, The Dumbo Challenge ... Um, yeah. It was GREAT and I love reading her blog on Thursday's when she posts the songs she's currently jamming too!

I also met Erin from For the Love of Disney Running I have followed her since my early running days, and also LOVE her running costumes and LOVE for Disney. She and I also share the same name, so be default she's cool and you should check out her blog!

Let's see, I met Marcia from Travel, Run Eat actually. ...I am fairly new to her blog, I just started following it in January. She was extremely kind, and i'm looking forward to reading about her traveling adventures.

Finally ... I met Kat. I started following her blog after Pretty Muddy Tampa and just really never stopped. She's a lot of fun to follow on instagram, and her blog. She even gave me a little shout out on her blog today (blush!). So, check out Sneakers and Finger paints! 

In addition to ALL those wonderfully inspiring ladies I met, I ALSO experienced the Fit for a Princess Expo! 

Oh. my. word.  was THAT an over crowded mess!!!  Due to the Baseball Season, we were not able to have the Expo at Disney's World Wide of Sports. Therefore, we were crammed into one ballroom with packet pick up, t-shirt pick up, hundreds of vendors and of course 20+ thousand of our new best friends. 
For some reason, ... we went both days. 

I was glad we did because I got the opportunity to meet Jeff Galloway (twice) and tell him about my
 blog, my running anniversary, and my weight loss story. I got a side hug and a bow from Jeff Galloway. Seriously, I think I glowed for HOURS after that - I was just THAT honored to meet the man who helped me train!!  I also got to meet Ali Vincent (First Female Biggest Loser). She was pretty inspiring to talk to, and encouraged me a LOT.

Even though it was crazy crowded, and a lady offered to buy my tiara OFF MY HEAD, and another lady tried to steal the mug (out of my hand) in the Disney Merchandise tent, I LOVED the expo. The energy, the excitement, the tempers. ... Oh the magical memories.

Question: What's your strategy for Run Disney Events, and Expos? 

The Florida Everglades for Kids!

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