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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My 1/2 Marathon: A Race Recap

If I were to say that this blog post was a tad overdue - that would be an incredible understatement. I've been waiting to get the pictures from race weekend from my mom, but unfortunately life got chaotic for us as soon as returned and she is now out of the country. So I've decided to write my re-cap before I forget all the details, and add the pictures in later. Here goes...

I am going to use the most cliche word possible to describe my Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon experience, but it's the only word that best suits it: Magical. It was amazing. It was really everything that I had imagined it to be, and then some.

Let's start at the top.

Mom and I stayed at Disney All Stars Sports resort, one of Disney's "Value Resorts" and it was fantastic! Clean, fun, relaxing with reasonably-priced, good food. It was one of the host-resorts for the race weekend which meant that it had shuttles going from the hotel to the race weekend events all weekend long. So convenient. 

The first night we arrived we attended that Pasta in the Park Party. This was a party held in world showcase of Epcot. We walked in and were in awe. The decor was amazingly beautiful, you really felt like royalty. There was a DJ playing music, Disney Princess's were there to get your picture taken (yes, we did), and the pasta buffet was very yummy! The price of the ticket included VIP seating for Epcot's firework show, but mom and I decided since we'd already seen that we would take in a few rides. And pastries (because we weren't full enough from supper....right....)

The next morning was the Fit for a Princess Race Expo where we picked up my race kit, and heard Jeff Galloway speak. I was excited to see him, I had followed his training program throughout my whole training and had read a lot of his training materials. So it was fun and motivational to hear him speak in person. There were a lot of great expos, speakers and vendors at the Race Expo, but mom and I didn't stay long...we were more interested in lounging in the sun, by the pool. We went to bed that night at about 7pm with the alarm set for 3am...RACE DAY!

The alarm went off in the morning and it was so strange to be getting up at 3am...and being excited about it. I put on my race skirt and tutu, my hat, my GPS watch, my ipod, my sweatpants, running shirt, tshirt and sweatshirt (that took forever to get all those layers on - haha!) then we stepped outside...and it was almost eerie. It was surprisingly hot and sooo quiet but yet there were people coming from every direction in their tutu's heading towards the shuttle. The line up wrapped around the pool and we thought we would be waiting forever - but nobody knows how to move people like Disney! 

Waiting in line outside the hotel for the shuttle...trying to capture a picture of all the people, but it just didn't do justice.  This was at 3:30 AM!! 
 In no time we were getting off the shuttle and making our way towards the race site...and we were amazed at the amount of people (picture 26,000 runners plus at least one spectator per runner) was insane. We hung out for a bit, I took some layers off, took some pictures, ate my protein bar and drank my gatorade...then it was time to part ways. My corral was being called to head to the starting line and mom was heading to Magic Kingdom to watch me run! The walk from the spectator area where we were to the starting line was looooong...about 30 minutes long!! But once I was there the DJ was playing music, the hosts were talking and getting everyone excited and the 45 minute wait time was over. The fairy godmother took stage and fireworks started letting the corrals go. I was corral D so had to wait a bit to start. But once we were on our way - I couldn't believe it. I just kept thinking "I'm here! I'm doing it!"

30,000+ Runners and Spectators - There were more people then I have ever seen in one place in my life.

Waiting to be called for my corral...feeling anxious and excited!

My corral was called! Here I go on my trek to the starting line!

There was so much entertainment enroute. Characters, bands, etc. The first part of the run was up world drive to Magic Kingdom and was mostly still in the dark. It was about 6 miles to Magic Kingdom and flew by - I was feeling great. Even better once we made our way into Magic Kingdom. It was unbelieveable - this was the moment I had visualized forever. As I made my way up Main Street towards the castle I even saw my mom! I stopped, gave her a hug and she snapped a few quick pictures and then yelled "the best part is coming up!" - so true! Running through that castle was my dream come true. I had goosebumps and got a little misty-eyed.
This was such an amazing moment in the race. Right before running through the castle - I actually saw my mom in the crowd and stopped long enough for a quick hug and her to snap this picture and then encourage me saying "the BEST part is coming!". That really reminded me to take it all in as I ran through Magic Kingdom and the Castle. Even just thinking about it now gets me feeling overwhelmed - it was such an unbelieveable moment for me.

And then we came out of Magic Kingdom at about mile 8. On a long stretch of World Drive. Once we past the halfway marker (with "That Girl is on Fire" blaring) it became long. "You mean I'm only half way there?". That's when it really became mental..."I made it halfway" "Only halfway to go!". There were a few brutal hills (they were turn pikes that were uphill and sideways slanted) and it was really hot at this point (37 degrees with humidity!). I couldn't get enough water dumped on my head! At about mile 10 I stopped to take my picture with the row of Princes...and wasted a lot of time. But I convinced myself this was the one stop I wanted to make and I needed to make the most of the experience.

At mile 11 my glutes were killing left hip was I stopped and slathered my hips up in biofreeze. That was exactly enough to push me the last 2 miles. Just after that we entered Epcot and I knew "This is almost it!". Rounding the corner into Epcot was a gospel choir singing and was breathtaking. And then we ran towards world showcase and everyone was yelling "ALMOST THERE! ONE MORE CORNER"...the last 0.5 miles I didn't know if I could finish. And then I remembered a positive mantra that my mommy had given me to push me to the end...laughed and smiled to myself...and ran to the finish line!

What an AMAZING feeling to cross that big pink finish line, all those people watching and cheering, Mickey and Minnie high-fiving people at the end! Getting pixie dust sprinkled over your head. It was magical.

My goal was to finish my first ever 1/2 marathon and still be smiling - I was more then smiling! I was sore and ready to be done, but feeling SO good! And so proud!

This medal was SO worth the 13.1 miles / 21.1's hanging on my dresser at home!

I went and got a snackbox (amazing) and headed over to the family reunion centre...soon enough I saw my mom, who started to cry, hugged me and told me how proud she was of me. And that meant the world to me. I always know my mom is proud - but my mom knows how tough this was for me, how running so does not come naturally to me (and never has) and how hard I've worked! And her proudness made me even more proud! All those evenings I missed tucking Gabe into bed, or Saturday mornings I'd sacrificed to get a long run in...were all worth it in that moment. Not to say I'd do it again right now - but it was so worth it. And now, I call myself a runner. :)


  1. Great post! Especially the part about rounding the corner and seeing the gospel choir...that would have been so cool!! :) What an accomplishment...great job! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Nancy! The choir was awesome!! (and they were totally singing a song that I knew...which made it even better).

  2. Thanks for letting us all in on your experience. It does sound fun (even though, yes, grueling). What a fun place to do a race like this. There's something about those races (and sports in general)....people cheering other people on and encouraging them to push through and do the thing...too bad life isn't more like that. We all need more cheerleaders!
    Great job, Candice!

    1. Interesting perspective Pam - it would be nice if everyday life was like that for sure :)

  3. Ahhh! I am tingling. Awesome recap. Awesome bling. Now I totally know that this will have to be a someday-goal for me too.

    1. Laura - definitely keep it as a "some day goal" - and I would totally be right there to do it with you! I "need" to do the Disney World 1/2 Marathon "someday" now...and then maybe the Wine & Dine...and then maybe if I'm REALLY bold...the Doopey Challenge. It's during the Disney World Marathon do a 5km on Thursday, a 10km on Friday, a 1/2 Saturday morning and then a full Sunday morning! ACK! You get 4 medals for each race, plus a "Goofy Challenge" medal PLUS a "Dopey Challenge" awesome is that?


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