Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hannah's big weekend

I wasn't the only one participating in her first big race weekend. Hannah ran the Disney kids race as well. She was so excited to run. She wanted to dress as provincial Belle, and so I did my best to muster all the craftiness inside me (which is none). I found a blue tutu, a blue tank top, and a white shirt. I was going to get an apron, but I ran out of time. This was the finished product.
Her age group ran the 100 meter dash. I wish I had registered her for the mile, but at the time I didn't think she would willingly do a mile. I was wrong. She has done a mile with us at home so she is registered for a local race to do a mile. Disney has 4 different races for kids. A 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter, and a mile race. They make a big production out of it, and the mile is even timed. We arrived pretty early, and she couldn't wait to get to her corral. Yes, they even have corrals. After the wait, she was ready to go. Once she understood that she could run without me next to her, she took off. I couldn't keep up with her. 



Each child receives a medal after crossing the finish line. Hannah wore hers all day Saturday and Sunday. She was so proud of her medal. It is hanging with all the other race medals on our wall. I loved that the kids ran on the actual course so their finish line was the same one I crossed. I thought that was pretty cool. I was impressed with the kids run, and we have promised Hannah she can do another the next time one of us runs at Disney. She received a medal, a personalized bib, a t-shirt, and a bag of snacks after the race. Plus, Goofy was on the course giving high fives to all the runners. It is hard to beat that.


Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon recap


I think that pictures says it all. Yesterday I ran my first half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon. 5 months of training led to that morning. I had everything planned, and I just knew I would do great. I was a bit too confident and the weather decided to slap me in the face. The only thing I didn't count on was the 100% humidity with temperatures in the 60s. It was hot and humid. This race starts at 5:30 in the morning. It was so foggy it was hard to see. Even my glasses were fogging up which made things interesting. Despite the weather, I enjoyed myself.

Sunday morning I woke up at 2 thanks to Meeghan. My alarm was set for 2:45 so I could catch a bus at 3:15. I tried getting her back to sleep, and she did, until I tried to quietly shut the door behind me. I received a text from E later saying the girls never went back to sleep so he would be meeting me on the course instead of just at the finish line. In reality, I could have slept a little longer and taken a later shuttle from the hotel. I stayed at Caribbean Beach so the drive was short, but it was nice to know I was at the start with plenty of time to spare.
The finish line/area where you are dropped off before the race

Actually, I was bored. I didn't know anyone so I sat on the ground and played with my phone until it was time to move to the corrals. At 4:25 they opened the road so we could make the walk to the corrals. I felt like we were a herd of cattle being moved to the slaughterhouse. The corrals are a long walk from the finish line. Disney says it is a 20 minute walk, but I don't think it took that long. I did stop once to use the bathroom and I wish I had waited. The portapotties there were on a hill, and I was terrified they were going to flip back. I just pictured myself on my back with poo all over me. This is also where I dropped a Gu packet. No way was I going to use it after it touched the floor of a portapotty. (By the way, if you store your Gu packets in your sports bra, make sure you situate them correctly. Otherwise you end up with a nasty raw spot on your chest. Not that I know from experience.)
Corral F was my home (the corrals went to P)

My view of the starting line way off in the distance

I still had an hour until I actually started after I reached the corral. I decided to move up to the front and sit down. Luckily, a nice couple sat behind me and we started talking. That helped pass the time otherwise I may have fallen asleep. They did have music and people to entertain you, but it wasn't working for me yesterday. Around 5:45am my corral started. Each corral gets the same treatment. A wave of the wand from the Fairy Godmother and fireworks. The fireworks were awesome except for a quarter mile in when you had to breathe the smoke. It was also nice to hear the fireworks for the next corral so you knew how many people were coming behind you. The first mile I ran about a 9:30-9:40 pace, but that quickly faded. I was aiming for a 10 minute mile pace. After mile 1, I developed a headache. I had a headache the day before in the same exact spot so I decided not to push myself. The humidity was awful and I knew it was going to be a tough run. Adrenaline carried me the first few miles before I felt the real effects of the weather. I made sure to hit every water station and alternated with Powerade and water.

Miles 1-3 take you from the highway outside Epcot to the speedway. There is entertainment along the way. There was a high school band around mile 1. Later there was Captain Jack and Barbosa with Black Pearl. The heroes and maybe the villains were along that stretch. They had music at every mile marker and mile marker represented a Disney movie. At the 5K point, we left the speedway and cut across the Ticket and Transportation parking lot (mile 4) to head towards the Magic Kingdom. I don't have any pictures of this. E and the girls were waiting for me around this point. It was nice to see them. It gave me a bit of a boost to get to Magic Kingdom. Somewhere around the Contemporary resort I twisted my ankle trying to jump on the sidewalk to pass someone. I had to hop/hobble/limp for a few minutes until the pain subsided.

Miles 5 and 6 are spent around Magic Kingdom. You enter through a backlot area onto Main Street. I took a video of running down Main Street. It is very shaky, but it should give you an idea of what it is like.
video


You turn off of Main Street into Tomorrowland and you follow that around to Fantasyland. This is where I saw a woman running barefoot. 
Terrible picture but hopefully you can see she has no shoes
After Fantasyland, you enter the castle and run through it back out to Main Street. I took video here as well. I thought I had the stop button after exiting the castle, but I didn't which explains the few seconds of craziness at the end.  It is a quick right turn out of the castle to Frontierland where we exit Magic Kingdom in some back areas.

video
I have no clue why this has turned and I can't seem to fix it. 

coming out of the castle

Mile 7 takes you past the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. It is also here that they play the halfway song. You can nominate and then vote for a halfway song. This year it was Let It Go from Frozen. While I love the song, I don't like it as a running song. 

Miles 8-11 are spent on a highway. This can be the boring stretch, and this is where I started to feel bad. I was tired from the humidity. I was feeling a bit dizzy and twirly. Thank goodness they have a ton of water stations. There are two overpasses on your way back to Epcot. I tried my best to run those, but Florida doesn't have hills and my body was pissed. I had to walk half of each overpass in order to survive. I hated walking because my legs don't like to start after they stop, but it had to be done. I felt like I was dead. 

The last of the race was glorious and horrible. I knew I only had a few miles to go, but they felt like they were the longest miles of my life. Mile 12 you enter Epcot through a side entrance and then you run through Future World to the entrance of World Showcase. It is basically an out and back and I was so tempted to hop the cones so I didn't have to run all the way up and back around Spaceship Earth. As you are leaving Epcot there is a choir that sings. It was best sound I heard all day. I knew I was close. I could hear them singing, I could hear the announcers at the finish line. I knew E was waiting around this point with the girls. Looking for them helped with that last .1 mile. I found them and gave them a big wave. Then I ran past Mickey and gave him a huge high five right before crossing the finish line. It was a great way to finish a race. 

There were lots of characters out, but I decided not to stop. I was so tired I needed to keep going. There were also DJs, balloons, and a ton of spectators. I wish I felt better so I could have enjoyed more of it and taken pictures, but I am glad I finished when I did. As soon as I sat for a few minutes and drank more fluids, I felt much better. I finished in 2:20. My goal time was 2:15 so not too far off. I was hoping to go a bit faster and finish maybe under 2:10. I guess I can always try again. 
A bib I wore on teh b

I liked this race. I heard of people having problems with rude runners. I didn't encounter that. I am not sure if I would run this one again, but I do want to try Wine and Dine in November.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My dogs

I don't think I have really written about my dogs. My fur babies were my babies before I had babies. I have two dogs, Rowdy and Pepper. Rowdy is a  6 year old German Shorthaired Pointer. Pepper is a 5 year old Brittany/Pointer mix, but I think there may be Bulldog in there as well.

Rowdy
Rowdy was my baby. I brought her home when she was 7 weeks old. She taught me what life would be like when I had kids. We didn't have a great yard when she was a puppy so I had to take her out on the leash. That meant every 2 or 3 hours when she first came home. She is a high energy breed so she was awake early wanting to play and eat. I tried to crate train her, but I always caved when I heard her whining. Eventually I put her in the bed at night so she would sleep. Now I can't get her out of the bed. When E had his internship and then deployed, she was my companion for those 18 months. When I cooked dinner, I made some for her. She cuddled with me at night. She went everywhere with me. Even now Rowdy is still my baby. She is getting older and crankier, but I still cuddle with her at night. 

Pepper

Pepper joined my family about 6 months before Hannah was born. I was pregnant and hormonal. I was feeling guilty that Rowdy was going to lose attention so I thought it was a great idea to get a playmate for her. Looking back, it was a bad decision. Luckily, Pepper is a great dog especially with the girls so I can't complain. Pepper was adopted from the shelter and I think she came from a bad home. She was very skinny and had a huge scar on her side. She is still territorial over food which makes me think that she had to fight for her food. Pepper should know by now that she won't starve. Poor girl is about 10 pounds overweight. We are working hard to get those pounds off of her. Other than the food issues, I couldn't ask for a better dog. She follows me everywhere, and also sleeps in the bed. Some nights Pepper and I sleep on the couch because Rowdy is hogging my side of the bed.

Those are my other babies. I love them like I love my children even when they bark all night long.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

One week

This time next week I will have completed my first half marathon (hopefully).  My knee has been bothering me, but with some extra stretching it seems to be better. My ankles, however, are pissed at me. I have been taking Pepper with me on my 30 minute runs during the week, and she is pretty fast. I set a new record for my mile when I allowed her to set the pace. I think my body is angry that I went faster than normal for so many runs. For now Pepper is staying home so I don't hurt myself. I ran an 8K yesterday to break the routine of my usual weekend runs. It was nice to be in a race environment so I can learn how to deal with the jitters. It was so freaking cold (for Florida). However, the route was along the river and it was gorgeous. I wish I had taken pictures. I was happy with my time, and I finished 5th in my age group. I'll take it.

The half marathon is also my first Disney run. 24,000 people will wake at 2:30am to jump on a bus by 4am for a 5:30am start. I am pretty nervous about the size of this race. That is a lot of people, and I have heard that some of the course is narrow. My body does not like to start and stop. Once I start, I need to go until I cross the finish line. Also, I feel like a dud because I will not be in costume. I am running the Princess race because it was the next half marathon to open at Disney. I am not really a fan of the princesses. I don't like tutus. I am definitely not girly. They ask you to choose your favorite princess when you register for the race, and I chose Jasmine because I like the music in Aladdin. I almost sucked it up and made a girly costume, but decided against it. I don't want to run in a tutu, or I should say, I don't want to try to pee while wearing a tutu. I will be wearing a personalized bib on my back. I made one since I have dedicated the race to my mom.

Now I need to find a way to carry my stuff since I usually use the pockets on my hydration vest. E has asked that I don't spend anymore money on running stuff so a belt is out of the question right now. I may be shoving Gu packets in my bra.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weekend fun

This past weekend I made a very quick trip to Kansas City for a friend's wedding. I booked at the last minute due to E's health issues and money. Luckily, he is feeling better and  I found a ticket I could afford so off I went! It was my first trip without kids. I hadn't spent a night away from my kids since November 2010 when Hannah was 5 months old. I took full advantage. I had to wake up at 3 Friday morning to catch my flight, and after 3 flights, it was nice to be in KC so I could relax. An ice storm moved in which sucked, but it made it feel more like home. Friday night I slept for 10 1/2 hours. It was glorious! No kids, no dogs, and the bed I slept on did not hurt my back. I wanted to stay there all day. Unfortunately, I had to make myself all pretty for the wedding. Of course I didn't take one picture because I forgot.

The ceremony was interesting. The bride is Egyptian and she practices Egyptian Coptic Orthodox religion. They flew in priests and bishops from Egypt to perform the ceremony. It was crazy!  My friend was the groom, and he had to convert in order to marry her. Although he converted, it looked like he didn't have a clue what was going on. Some of it was in Egyptian while most was in English. I was sorry I wore my cute shoes because it was an hour and a half long, and we stood for probably 75% of it. I thought Catholic ceremonies were long! It was neat to see a different faith's rituals even if it meant freezing my booty off. (You can read more about the religion here.  I had never heard of it until my friend told me about it.) The reception was pretty nice. It was open bar so I was happy. I rarely drink because I usually have kids around, but since I was on my own for the weekend I decided to cut loose. There was food, free alcohol, cake, and dancing. That is pretty much all I need to enjoy a reception. It was so nice to make a trip back to KC to see everyone. I know it is going to be a long time before I am able to go back.