(source: oiselle running)
It’s about 10 AM on Saturday, January 15 – which means at this time, last week, I was headed on a resort bus, back to Saratoga Springs resort with the hubs to take a shower (and a nap!) after my first half marathon experience!
To be perfectly honest, it is still surreal that I ran 13.1 miles – sure, there were athletes at the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend that did the Goofy Challenge (it’s a race-and-a-half: the half marathon on Saturday, then the full on Sunday!) but – they are just that: athletes! I feel that I am just a regular girl that started to run a few months ago… =D
It really was fantastic, though – it was my third Disney race (I had done a 5K and a 10K recreationally in 2008) and as always, the event staff was organized and everything ran smoothly. The weather was amazing (low 50s – and sunshine – when it actually came up!) and I was surrounded by more than 21,000 of my closest friends – how could it be anything but a blast?
Yes! There were fireworks at each corral start (I was D – I think I *just might* be moving up to a higher one next time, too!) and so after waking at 3 AM, getting on the shuttle by 3:15 AM, arriving at the race site at 3:45 AM and lining up somewhere between 4:30 and 5 AM, my 13.1 mile journey began a little before 6 in the morning – barreling down World Drive, up to the Magic Kingdom area, past the Contemporary, through the park, around behind the Grand Floridian, back down World Dr., back through Epcot, and finishing in the Imagine lot. Whew!
My goals, as it was my first 1/2, were simple:
- …preferably in less than 2.5 hours
I am pleased that I not only completed Goal 1 (modest, I know, but hey, I was also battling a persistent cold – and still had jetlag from my awesome trip back to Japan) but my chip time was 2:04:22! Definitely not too shabby…
I know there were tons of things rolling through my mind that morning, but the one constant that pushed me was a friendly voice that said, “do what you can.” I think it was a mix of talking to my mom, who cautioned me that it was “okay” if I had to stop or walk (since I was sick) and my own voice, that reminded me that this was just half of the experience, since September will bring the second leg of my 2011 Coast-to-Coast challenge. So, with that in mind, I ran…and ran…and ran…and…well, lookie there, there’s the finish line!!
…and as you can see, for this race, I tried out a few new things; namely, a CamelBak (filled with a mix of Powerade + water) and a lightweight running cap (mine was from the Adizero line by Adidas) and I brought back my iPod nano (first generation, black, 1G model) as it fit perfectly in my back zip pocket and did great with a custom iTunes playlist! My mix included an eclectic arrangement of anything from current guilty pleasure pop hits (like Ke$ha and the Far East Movement) to the fast drum beats in Blink-182 and Zebrahead, to a smattering of Glee covers and more!
Of course, what made the race truly special were the signature Disney touches – tons of character meet and greets (yes, people stopped for photos!) and fun surprises – like a Spaceship Earth hot air balloon, high school bands and cheerleaders on the sidelines cheering, gospel singers, cute-themed mile markers…you name it, Disney did it! That $100+ registration fee does go somewhere, it seems =D
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I was so glad that I was peer-pressured into signing up for this race. I enjoyed the training, and as of now, am on the hunt for some good maintenance training until I start buckling down for the next round of preparation for the Fall – so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way! Also, I wanted to send a big THANK YOU to everyone that supported me on this journey – friends, family, my blog community and pals – it means a lot!
Oh…and if you click on the link that I credited for the photos (thanks Angel for capping these for me) you can also see a video clip of me crossing the finish line – 2:22:53 on the official clock, you can see me “in the zone!” 😉
Have any other questions for me about my experience? Want to share yours? Send me a comment!