Jennica! You just finished your first half marathon! What are you going to do now?!
I am going to Disney World!
I did it folks! I ran my first half marathon last Saturday! I got up at 2:00am to get ready for the day. As I was spraying half a can of hairspray on my hair to make sure my pixie hair stayed in place, I couldn't believe that the day had finally come. I was here to run 13.1 and today was the day! And it would be in Florida! At Disney World! In a Tinkerbell costume! I stopped and thought about who I was - and how very different this person is from who I was just a couple of years ago. I don't know if I really understand who this new girl is, but I will tell you that I like her!
I was up so early because I had to the drive to Epcot and pick up Ashley and her mom on the way there. I was worried about traffic and Disney did a great job of freaking us out about long delays. The timing ended up being perfect. We did run into some delays, but it wasn't too bad. Seriously, we got to the race just as they were shutting the early morning party down and moving everyone over to the corrals, and there was nothing to worry about.
We were in the last corral, as I never submitted an official placement time. There were 27,000 runners in the half marathon. The energy and excitement was incredible! Because we were in the back, that meant we got to hear the race start 8 times! More cheering! More fireworks! More excitement! It took almost 45 minutes after the official race start for us to cross the finish line. About 2 miles into the race we saw people from the first wave who were on their way back. Wow. Props to them! About 2 miles in we also had our first character photo stop!
I will tell you what, Disney knows what they are doing. There were bands, and characters, and cheering people along the entire course. At one point they even had a screen playing classic Disney cartoons. Seriously?! It was great. If you want to get the most out of the experience you really cannot worry about your time. That was nice. I ran with Ashley for the first half of the race and she has two herniated disks in her back so we took it nice and slow. It was so great to have someone to chat with, joke with, cheer with, and take advantage of photo ops with. There is just no way to feel guilty about resting when you are in line to get a picture with a character in the Magic Kingdom in freaking Disney World!
Ashley and I stayed together through the Magic Kingdom and then we split off. I had trained for a faster pace and I really wanted to see if I could finish fast and strong. I kept a fairly steady pace for the last 6 or 7 miles of the race and felt really good about my time overall. The last 2 miles took me past Jim and Val! They are the couple that I stayed with for the week and I will tell you that I LOVE them. They are such dear friends and were so awesome to get up early and to come cheer for me! The very end of the race took us through Epcot and on to the finish line! Before the finish line there was an AWESOME gospel choir that sang us to the finish. I ran hard and finished strong! I felt so great!
It is funny because I was tired and sore and happy to stop, but I never felt like I wasn't going to finish. EPIC. WIN. After the race we spent the rest of the day in the parks. I think that over the course of the day I probably covered 19 or 20 miles on foot. Whoa.
Overall, the entire day, early morning, race, and Disney World, were absolutely perfect and magical. I could not have asked for more. In fact, I am thinking about signing up for the Disneyland half in September...
Who's with me!?