Friday, February 28, 2014

Run Like a Princess!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up."
Hebrews 12:1-3

 It has been several months since I last posted, but that's mostly been because of lack of training! After my first half marathon in Pensacola in November, our family stayed busy with traveling, holidays, the flu, and abnormally cold weather for Florida. With the Disney Princess Half Marathon quickly approaching, I was filled with more dread than excitement. I knew I hadn't trained like I need to and I was terrified!

Between the two races, the furthest I ran at one time was five miles. On the morning of the race, I woke up nauseous because I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to finish! My whole reason behind running Pensacola was so I could submit a time to Disney. What if I couldn't make it? What if I got swept by the balloon ladies?!

Luckily for me, I was able to exchange my nausea for excitement by the time we reached our corral. When Disney does an event, they do it big! It was so exciting to see all of the awesome costumes and the amount of people who showed up for the race was overwhelming!

By the time our corral reached the starting line, I couldn't wait to begin! Disney made each and every runner feel special by shooting fireworks for every corral. As the sky turned red overhead, at 6:04 a.m., corral J was off!

Until I'm right there in the race, I always forget how exciting the race feels. A half marathon is no longer 13.1 miles in its entirety. It's one mile at a time! And these weren't your average miles. These were miles seasoned with Disney magic!

For the majority of the race, I jogged half mile intervals. I didn't wait in line for characters on the journey toward Magic Kingdom, although it was interesting to see who all showed up to cheer us on! Hercules, Aladdin, Flynn Ryder, Prince Eric, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts were just a few of the many characters I passed along the way.

After five miles, the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. Magic Kingdom! In all of my many trips to Disney, I have never experienced anything like this. Running through the heart of Main Street USA, traveling through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and finally running right through Cinderella's Castle!

 It took me over twenty minutes just to make it through Magic Kingdom. There was really no rush. I wanted to enjoy it! I stopped to pose with mile marker six before passing Splash Mountain and exiting Magic Kingdom. It was time to enjoy halfway and make that journey toward the finish line!

At the halfway mark, dozens of speakers lined the course, playing "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen. I think it gave everyone that boost of energy they needed to keep going! We passed Mary Poppins and Bert outside of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Lilo and Stitch posed for pictures near the road to the Polynesian Resort. Somewhere near miles 8 and 9 were the Incredibles. Just taking in the surroundings made me forget that my legs were starting to get a little sore!

Around mile ten, I made the decision to start walking. I knew I could walk and finish within the time limit. I didn't want to overdo it, especially considering my lack of training!

I could see Epcot as I approached mile 11 and it finally became real that I was going to finish my second half marathon! We passed mile marker 12 before entering the park and there was finally one character I was willing to wait in line for: Sofia the First! My daughter loves Sofia and I didn't mind resting my legs to get a picture!

For the last mile of the race, there were so many people cheering us on! I passed the Fairy Godmother doing interviews and taking pictures. I passed Spaceship Earth. Finally, after seeing an awesome gospel choir, I rounded a curve and there it was! Mile marker 13! And just beyond that, THE FINISH LINE! I started to jog again and made sure to smile this time for the Marathon Foto people! ;)

 My official time was 3:29:04. Was I disappointed? No way! Running for time was never my intention! I wanted to Run Disney for the experience! It was the best birthday present ever and I can't wait to spend my 27th birthday running through Disney World next year! February 22, 2015, here I come! :)