Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Path to Princess Half: The Journey Ends? Recap Part 1

It is probably not surprising to hear that the night before the half  Was not the best night of sleep.  Probably even less surprising to hear that from the Wednesday night prior to Saturday I had serious sleep issues.  Now granted part of it was due to storm and travel anxiety but part of it was just a combination excitement, dread, and sadness that the day I had been planning for was coming up.  That all of my planning was coming to an end.  Add on to that the nerves about my new knee injury and my hip flexor issues from the previous weekend.
When my alarm when off I actually hit snooze once or twice before I got up  and then I went into panic mode and rushed around to get ready as I was supposed to meet my friend at the monorail at 3a.  I hopped in the shower threw my costume on and attempted a little bit of make up, even though I knew with the humidity it would be gone relatively shortly.  

I was a few minutes late but the first monorail hadn't made it there so it was all good.  We got in line for the monorail and headed out to Epcot.  Even that early it was a mass of people and we made our way down the red carpet to the waiting area.  So, so many beautiful Princesses were there even at that crazy early hour.  I loved looking at all the costumes and the activity.  I enjoyed the energy of the warm up and just the sheer excitement of everyone there.   I went in to the Race Retreat long enough to have some coffee and to bring some out with me.  

Shortly after I came out it was time to head to the corral holding areas.  I had decided the night before I would start with my friend in the D corral even though I was assigned to B.  I did this because it was nice to hang out with and because I was afraid of not being 100% and getting behind.   It was amazing to watch the people before me and behind.  It was just an ongoing stream of people.  I knew that there were 26,000 people that had registered.  I just wasn't sure what it would look like or even what the procession would like on the way to the corrals.  It was until after I got home that someone pointed out to me that we were only about 5,000 runners off from my town's entire population.  So crazy to me.  

When we got to our corral I started to obsess a little bit and the pre-race jitters hit.  I stretched I watched the interviews and all the commotion and just anxiously waited to start.  I couldn't believe that I was finally there and that very very shortly my first half marathon would begin.  I took pictures, I checked Twitter and Instagram so much that by the time the race started I was already down to 44%.  

Finally, the race began.  The Fairy Godmother made her appearance and the fireworks and the corrals started moving.  I got so caught up in the magic of the moment that I even forget to get my Garmin ready.  Which I am thinking now may have been a blessing in disguise.  
Next thing I know it was our turn to take off.  I think I may have hugged my friend, but in all honesty those moments leading up to the fireworks that sent us on our way are a blur of nerves and happiness.  It was shortly after we crossed the start line that both my friend and I realized that we forgot to start our Garmin and it took both of ours awhile to get the location.  I would say a good five minutes had passed before I could start it. 

I will admit initially I was irked, how would I keep track of my time?  How would I know my pace.  How could I be so silly as to not to remember my Garmin needed to be started.  After a few minutes more my friend started her intervals and I took off on my own.  

I had decided fairly early on that I most likely would not make any stops until I reached the castle.  I had formulated in my head who I would and would not stop for and when and where I would stop. I was amazed with all of the entertainment along the route between character stops.  I wish I would have made better mental notes because everything was just so awesome. Every time I came upon something new I would just soak it in.  

The one thing I realize now in retrospect was that I was so focused on my goal that I missed some good photo opportunities, but at the same time I was so absorbed in people watching and my own thoughts that it was usually after I passed a character stop that I realized it was even there. I didn't want to disrupt the flow of traffic so I kept going or the lines were longer than what I wanted to stand in.  Probably a disadvantage to starting in D.  At any rate, the single focus kept me pushing forward.  

Finally we entered the toll gates for Magic Kingdom and the adrenaline kicked in.  I was so excited to get into the park because I knew the castle was so close.  For me the idea of running through the castle was the biggest draw of this race.  I got goosebumps just thinking about it.  We edged up the hill (that just the night before on the way back to our room I had commented that I hoped we didn't have to run) towards the park and then a few short minutes later I hit the park.  

Words can not even describe what I was feeling at that moment.  The site of the Magic Kingdom and Main Street, the crowds cheering people on that they didn't even know.  I saw my first real "go random stranger go" and continued around Tomorrowland, past Buzz Lightyear, past the Tea Cups.  It was at the tea cups that I got giddy, because I knew what was right around the corner.  Literally.  Finally, it happened.  I saw the castle.  I saw THE CASTLE.  I was about to run through that castle.  It was then that all of the training, all of my hopes were realized.  And then it happened.  I cried.  Yes, I got all teary and tried to keep my composure because I wanted to have a decent castle picture  I ran through the castle and there I was passing by crowds the likes of which I have not seen in any of my previous races. I briefly scanned for Lisa who was ChEARing me on but didn't see her so I kept moving.  

As I rounded the corner from the castle it was then that I spied Mr. runDisneytv himself, Mr. Dennis Marsico.  Guess what?  I stopped.  I waited for him to finish what he was filming and when he walked by I stopped him.  You see I have a sweet five year old girl who is obsessed with the run Disney channel on You Tube.  This same girl thinks he is awesome on all sorts of levels and so running into him was one of my goals for the weekend.  If I could come home with a picture with him, my cool quotient would multiply exponentially with her.  I also thought it might buffer the blow that, well, Mommy went to Disney World without them.  When I stopped him, I introduced myself by my Twitter name/blog name.  I found myself doing that several times throughout the weekend and it was very surreal.  At any rate, I asked if he would mind taking a picture with me for her.  He was an extraordinarily good sport.

I went a little further and ran into Tiana and Naveen from Princess and the Frog.  I was on a roll and stopped for them also  This was an unplanned stop but significant in the sense that the same sweet five year old, shares a name with a song from the movie.  My sweet girl is Evangeline, and since we discovered the song Ma Belle Evangeline, that has been one of our favorite parts of the movie.  I may or may not have that pegged as a good father/daughter dance song at her wedding in about forty years. 

I ran a little further and then had to make a stop of a different kind.  I will add at this point I was horrible with my Garmin.  I forgot to stop and start it several times over so I just gave up and let it run. Again, it was so nice not to be so obsessed with my time that I was truly able to absorb and just experience the moments as they were happening.  

This seems to be a good stopping point for now.  I have so much to say but don't want to just ramble on.  So be on the lookout for part two.