Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Yes, I’m aware it is almost 11 months later, but hey-I figure if a year hasn’t passed yet, I’m okay posting my recap.

This was my first time doing the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I’d actually been to the Princess Half Marathon Weekend may or may not remember that the Royal Family 5K in 2009 during the inaugural Princess Weekend was not only my first Disney race, it was my first race of any kind-ever.  I remember when I was getting ready to check out of my hotel that Sunday (the day after the 5K), runners had already started coming back to the hotel with the shiny Princess Half bling hanging around their necks and that was the first time I thought, “I want one of those!”.  And thus this whole crazy ride started.

I was originally going to be heading up to WDW by myself, but then turned it into a mother-daughter weekend instead, bringing my mom along with me.  If you think I’m a huge Disney fan, I’ve got nothing on my mom.  Plus this would be the first time she’d be there for one of my I was looking forward to a fun weekend.

The expo on Friday was just like most other Disney race expos, though not quite as large and crazy as the Marathon Weekend expo can be.  Packet pickup went smoothly as always, and I wound up in corral G.  Since the corrals went to H that meant I’d be in the next to last at least a little cushion there.  Erica from ROTE was working at the SparkleSkirts booth and after introducing mom, Erica continued calling her “Carra’s Mom” for the weekend.  After, mom and I spent time at Magic Kingdom getting lots of Photopass pictures taken and enjoying our favorites-the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes.

Saturday we checked out Animal Kingdom, taking more Photopass pics until a little after lunchtime, then headed back to the hotel for relaxing and an early bedtime since those 3am buses on Sunday would be coming up pretty quickly!

I brought my mom along to the family area where I met up with the other Running of the Ears peeps at the H tent.  I introduced her to some of my friends and asked if she could follow some of them who would be cheering over to the Magic Kingdom until it got light outside (thank you so much Steve!).  Once it came time to head to the corrals, I made my way over while mom hung with the cheering ROTErs until they went to catch the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  It was a bit cool out...I also did have a cheap poncho in my pocket just in case since the forecast was looking like it could rain.

Once in my corral I got as far forward as possible.  My speed was not really where I wanted it to be and I wanted to make sure I got as much cushion as I could to avoid those pesky sweepers.  Once we were on our way, the race was pretty uneventful...I didn’t stop for any characters and I was already familiar with the course from the Disney Half Marathons I’ve done.  The cool temperatures made it easier to keep up my pace.  I did start seeing the bicycle people with their little orange flags around mile 7.5 or so.  Around the time I got to mile 9 the weather had gotten a bit misty out but I didn’t bother breaking out the poncho.  There’s one lady from the bike people who would ride by letting us know how far ahead of pace we were.  I’ve seen her at previous WDW races and she’s pretty good at keeping the runners informed.  

Once I hit about mile 9.5, I was just so tired of trying to keep my pace up-I’d stopped doing any intervals a couple miles before.  I think after doing the back-to-back halfs during Marathon Weekend, then the ING Half three weeks later, then Princess was just taking its toll.  But I kept going and pushing because what was foremost in my brain was the fact that my mom was going to be at the finish and I didn’t want to get swept at a race she came to see.  Between mile markers 10 and 11 was the hardest...because just after 10, the pace girls with those blasted balloons passed me at that point.  During mile 10 my pace had dropped to around 17:30/mile.  

As I and my fellow runners/walkers were pushing through mile 11 towards a looping turn that would take us toward the final approach to Epcot, a couple of us asked one of the male bike guys if there were any more sweep points.  He said ,”Nah, no more” and looked very relaxed just hanging out on the side of the course as he was watching us go by.  We made a looping turn toward our last overpass when the lady bike person came around again.  She wasn’t saying anything about how far behind pace we were, so we asked again about sweep points.  She kind of fumbled her response with a ,”Um, well, you just need to keep on going, keep on moving forward”.  We looked at each other (us runner/walkers that is) and we knew we were safe--you could tell she was trying to say something to keep it vague so we wouldn’t just slow to a crawl without actually saying there were no more sweep points.

And so yes, I did slow a little, maybe by 15 seconds/mile until I passed the 12 mile point-knowing by then I was definitely not getting swept.  At that point it was kind of drizzly out and I was not going to rush it anymore.  I wound up finishing in 3:45 and some change...and finally got that Princess bling around my neck!

Once I stopped moving I got chilly and the line for the bus back to the resort was waaaaaaaaay long so mom and I hung out in the empty bag check tent to stay warm (mom was freezing from mostly standing in the wet and cold) until the line went down, then hopped the bus back to the hotel.  We both wound up taking a nap for a couple of hours to rest and warm up before heading out to a celebratory meal at Outback.

Sunday night was Epcot, then Monday was Hollywood Studios and a little more Epcot (taking lots more Photopass pics of course!) before finally heading home.  It really was a great weekend, especially being able to spend it with my mom, so we had a fun girls’ weekend-appropriate for Princess, don’tcha think?  As we were driving home, mom asked if I could let her know when we could see the Photopass pictures online after we got home since she would probably want to get some of us.  That’s when I sprung a little surprise on her...that we’d be getting ALL of them since I’d be getting the Photopass CD (thanks to a bunch of ROTE friends sharing discs!).  While it took me a while to get around to copying the pictures over onto a disc for her, I did finally get it to her along with a framed 5” x 7” of one of my favorite pics from the weekend (no, not the one pictured here).

So, have you ever had a race weekend away with your mom ladies (or dad for the guys)?  Did you have as much fun as I did with mine?  :-)  Cherish those memories!

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