written by: mrs. duhamel
happy saturday-ness kittens!
shirt and bib ♥♥♥
so it’s been almost two weeks since i ran this — my first — half marathon; so i have had ample time to really think it through on how and what i wanted to write about this race and my experience overall… honestly, it’s still a jumbled mess in my head. it’s surreal… exhaustion… elation… feeling overwhelmed… and pride — above anything else i am proud! but it’s a bevy of other emotions all rolled into this big ball of mush that i almost cannot make sense out of? imagine running your first half with 25,000 other runners – 20,000 of which are other women – most dressed as princesses in tutu’s no less — in the heart of disneyworld?!?!? yeah – it’s unreal! so in order to make some sense i think i will just jump in and try to write what i can recall (honestly there are parts of that race that i think i was SO focused on running that i can’t distinguish one thing going on around me?!?!?) in a semi-chronological order…
up and at ‘em — go team ariel ♥ got my crown and donning the ariel colors — let’s do this thang!!!
the morning of the race was sketchy. sketchy in that i was tired — had about 2-3 hours sleep, was feeling really sluggish (AKA fat — i swear i ate more in disney than i ever have in my life!), and not digging anything i brought with me in regards to my ariel costume. but i was determined to put the bad attitude behind me — don the green and purple, STFU and get my butt to the race! oh and i had purchased these green tights (shown in upcoming pics) to wear for the race as part of my costume (ahem, ariel’s fish tail of course!) in a hasty moment in target right before our trip. i have never ran in actual tights (made for a fashion statement NOT running) before. what ever possessed me to purchase them for my first half is beyond me? but never the less i did, i had them on, and i figured the worst that would happen is that they would cause me to chafe or be uncomfy and i would be stopping along the way to remove them? after the 5k — that was ridiculously hot and humid — i was totally prepared to have issues with the heat and what i was wearing — but a little problem such as a wardrobe malfunction was truly so far off my radar… i was just consummed with whether or not i would be able to run this sucker… NOT what i was wearing!
what i was not prepared for was the line to catch the bus at our resort…
i was literally 100+ people deep…
and i had, of course, waited until the last minute to go and catch the bus.
but it actually moved faster than i thought it would and i got to chat with some really awesome runners from all over the country while i waited.
i was also NOT prepared to walk a mile plus to get to the starting line. and by walk what i mean to say is powerwalk because the bus took much longer than expected and the corrals were already packed!
but i got there, found at least one friend, nicole, and i tried to just be in the moment and not think about the run, the distance or the fact that i was letting that bit of self doubt permeate my thoughts!
there was SO MUCH going on around us…
excitement and just this intense vibe of 25,000 giddy runners ready to run 13.1 miles through disneyworld!
it was easy to be in THAT moment!
the corrals were alphabetized — myself being in H — and it was shocking just how fast rundisney got the corrals going… literally 5-8 minutes between each corral and every single corral literally started with a bang!
as in fireworks!
for every single corral — A through O !!!
and before i knew it i was here…
at the starting line — OMG!
and this happened…
fireworks set off at the start of each corral — the race has officially begun!!!!
and i was off running!
i had my plan in place — the walk run method — run for five minutes and walk for a minute and for the first few miles… four to be exact… that plan was SUCKING!
once again it was VERY humid for being SO early (the race started at 5:30am) and i felt fatigued VERY early on.
i was paying careful attention to my pace — trying to keep it slow (for me) and not overwhelm myself early on.
but the way i was feeling overall wasn’t helping me at all.
at each corral is a pacer — a runner who runs with a cluster of balloons — that you can keep up with to finish in a certain time frame. my corral had the 2:45 pacer and i hadn’t seen her since the start of the race and i was trying to not let that factor into my run — but i won’t lie — it was!
as i mentioned earlier — the run was surreal.
there are parts that are so vivid but overall there are mostly times where i was so self-consumed that i couldn’t tell ya what was going on.
i know i passed aid stations (where people were standing with tongue depressors with some goop on the end to hand out to runners that i didn’t realize until over half way through the race that it was vaseline to ease chafe!)…
character greets (sorry didn’t stop at a one!)…
mile markers with the clock that i was trying like hell not to look at…
and there was music all along the route.
but i was totally in MY ZONE!
but before i knew it i saw this…
the entrance to the magic kingdom!!!
and what a beautiful sight it was.
i knew cinderella’s castle was at about mile six and at that point that became my driving force.
just get to cinderella’s castle cyn before you totally lose it and need to walk for more than a minute!
because i will be honest — i was so not feeling my run AT ALL and that fact that i wasn’t even halfway done was weighing on me heavily.
i was feeling pretty defeated just four miles in!!!
but then something bizarre happened.
i got about another mile in and the entire climate changed.
we were closer to the lake that surrounds and weaves through disneyworld and i swear to all that is holy that it felt like the temperature dropped ten degrees and the humidity just virtually disappeared!
in my head all i could think was, “it TRULY is a magic kingdom!”
it made that next mile through the backlots of the magic kingdom so much easier and i distinctly remember running down an underpass into the employee entrance and a cast member standing on the overpass with the BIGGEST mickey gloved hands i have ever seen dancing and cheering us on!
i hope whomever that fella is that he knows that what he did was MUCH needed.
i actually caught myself smiling and my entire attitude changing.
i was running in THE MAGIC KINGDOM (aka mickey’s house according to my daughter) and this was no place for self pity, doom and gloom and shitty attitudes!
we wove through the backlots a bit and ended up coming out the right side of main street and that is a moment i will NEVER forget.
the streets were lined with the chEAR squad and cast members holding signs and just cheering us on!
and then i rounded the corner and there it was…
the view of cinderella’s castle — one of the most amazing moments of this race!!!!
it’s cliche and cheesy but it literally took my breath away.
i instantly became vaklempt and it really hit me that i was just mere minutes away from running through cinderella’s castle and being VERY close to being halfway done with my first half marathon!!!!
about to enter the castle
running through the castle and clearly ON CLOUD NINE!!!! one of the best moments as a runner EVER!
O M G look at me!!!!
after exiting the castle we ran a bit through frontierland and back into the backlots and back out onto the back roads of disney on our way back to epcot where the race began…
this is where the true testament of your strength begins!
other than other runners — which i admit is a joy because about 90% are costumed and AWESOME — the aid and water stations, the occasional character greets that are far and few between in the latter half, and some music… it’s ALL open road.
running the long stretches of open road…
but hitting mile seven was heaven (cheesy i know…)
first off all they were BLASTING “let it go” (from frozen!) and it was here that i decided to down my second GU gel and take some powerade in my water bottle to regroup!
and i admit that i allowed myself to walk about 5-6 minutes at this point.
i wasn’t sure how it would effect me overall.
might be good or VERY bad.
but it ended up being VERY good.
i got back to running on plan and literally the last half of the race whizzed by and i felt INVINCIBLE!!!!!
almost to the finish!!!!
i had HORRID phone reception the entire trip and i knew by mile eight that i would never have enough battery to get me through the entire race and the usual anal retentive me might have had a breakdown over this but honestly — i just didn’t care.
i just “let it go”…
it was just what it was and not a damn thing i could do about it.
the worst was not having a timer to keep my running pace but even that wasn’t anything i was overly fretting about.
i texted dean between mile 10 and 11 to let him know my phone would die before i finished and i would see him back at the hotel and then i just continued to run….
i had read many blog posts about the HILL at mile 10/11 and i kept waiting for that to happen but all i encountered were two (one bigger than the other) overpasses to travel up and after running two months in my new hood (aka HILLTROPOLIS) it was NADA!
so thank you new hood for that much!
on the second larger overpass is where runners began dropping like flies and where my phone went adios!
knowing i had to run basically blind the last two miles was nothing to me after i passed two guy runners who had been running neck and neck with me almost the entire race.
but it was also where i was passed by the 2:45 pacer balloon lady!
that floored me as i assumed she was MILES ahead of me!
all that self doubt for those first few miles and i was obviously smoking her and doing WAY better than i thought.
seeing that pacer — albeit passing me — just charged me on!
and i ran that last mile back into epcot like i had places to be…
as in THE FINISH LINE!
the happiest moment of my runner existence!!! i was bawling — and so wishing that my husband was there to see me!
HAPPIEST RUNNERS ON EARTH!!!!!
finishing my first half — especially THIS half which has been on my bucket list since i got my first real pair of running shoes — was magical.
i don’t know if i have ever been more proud of anything i have personally done.
i didn’t get under my original goal of 2:30 — but i did finish at 2:46:23 which is nothing to scoff at considering my lack of hard core training the three months prior to this race.
and for the record — the pacer balloon lady only finished TWO MINUTES ahead of me!
I DID IT!!!! one of the proudest moments of my life!!!
there it is — mine all mine and in my hot little hands!!!
minus those first really tough four miles i felt really good most of the race.
i stuck to my plan…
hydrated at EVERY water station past mile five!
even the green tights were a blessing — they were surprisingly breathable and i never chafed or even sweated!?!?!?!
i loved them so much with shorts that they will be a staple for all my long races from here out!
the entire rundisney experience surpassed my expectations.
it’s like you’re instantly inducted in this secret club.
you ran a disney race — you’re one of the cool kids!
silly yes, but that’s how it feels.
never mind FINALLY being the half marathon club!
i am a HALF MARATHONER people!
i wear that title with the most immense pride imaginable!
the official results ♥
i started running in late september of 2012.
i ran my first 5k in november 2012.
my first 8k in janaury 2013.
my first ten miler in april 2013.
my first 10k in october 2013.
and my first half marathon in february 2014.
i am amazed and beaming by what i have accomplished as someone who started out not being able to run a minute straight.
i have always told myself that if i can see it i can attain it.
and on february 23, 2014 i attained it!!!!!
YES I DID!!!!
peace, love and margaritas,