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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Celebration Half Marathon Race Report 2015

We left home late on Saturday to head to Celebration, and ended up not getting to packet pickup til about 6pm.  I don't like being that late for things, but we had other stuff to do that morning, so it was our only option.

No screaming, but he did continue to stare at us at each red light
Anyway, packet pickup went smoothly, though at first I was sent to the incorrect line (I was sent to the Marathon line, rather than the half). After I got my bib, we went into the expo area to pick up my goodie bag. This year, our bag was a sling backpack, rather than a nice reusable grocery bag. I would have preferred a grocery bag; it would get a lot more use.  Inside the bag was a cool race sticker (I ended up with 3 of them somehow), lots of random papers, a race shirt (by Raw Threads), my shoe timing chip and A HAT!!! Seriously, every racer got a really cool Headsweats hat! 

Sling bag, branded with race logo
Gift Certificate (coupon) to Hot Chic Sports and a Race Sticker
HeadSweats hat, RawThreads race shirt (nice!) and my bib
My bib, some candy from the Expo
After the expo, which was very small again, but was cool enough to have Sparkle Skirts this year (!), we stopped by WaWa for some dinner. I wasn't hungry-hungry, but wanted *something* even if I didn't know what it was that I wanted.  I ended up with some chicken fingers (that left a lot to be desired). The kiddo got some mac & cheese and I think Hubby got a roast beef sammich (I don't have a pic).  

No, I know better than to eat the Hot Fries before a race (they were for the ride home)
Strawberry Fanta Zero with awesome Crushed Ice
Small Mac & Cheese and Mountain Dew for the Kiddo
It took a while for me to get to sleep, so luckily this wasn't a Disney race!  But I got enough sleep that I wasn't too wiped out Sunday morning. As I woke up for the race. it was very cold, so I ended up with tights, SparkleSkirt, tech tee, CuddlDuds base layer and my white jacket.

I had hubby take a photo of me at the start, then he and the Kiddo headed to the spectator area, while I trudged to the back, where the walkers and other slow folks were supposed to line up.

I hate being cold! I can't feel my nose...
I didn't need to potty this time, so I skipped that part, and I just milled around for a bit until it was time to take off.

Just a few folks
Being in the back of a big race means that it takes a few minutes after the gun goes off to get to the front, and to cross the start line.

I'm so fast I blur the camera!
My Garmin was on, as was Nike+, so off I went, on my 5th half-marathon!  

I got to Mile 1 easily, and with the sun rising over the golf course, it was very pretty. This was also a water stop.

Mile 1
 I passed a house that was overly decorated for Valentine's Day (really?)

I guess if I had a kick-ass mansion I'd decorate it too!
I came on Mile 2 quickly as well, and by this point, I was having rundie issues again (just like the Best Damn Race). For the past few races, I'd been wearing a fabulous thong by Maidenform (some type of 'no show, seamless' space age, miraculous fiber).  Well, either my butt had gotten smaller or the undies stretched, because they weren't fitting as well as they used to and they were chafing me in some really intimate places. 

Mile 2
I took a stop at the restrooms, but the line was really long, so I kind of stepped off to the side and stuck my hand down my pants and attempted to adjust my rundies until they were hiked up really high and stayed in place. (Honestly, if I hadn't had on so many layers, I would've waited for a bathroom and taken these suckers OFF!)

Real potties, to your left!
When I got back to the corner of Celebration Avenue and Celebration Boulevard, I saw Hubby and the Kiddo, so I passed them my white jacket, as it had gotten warmer since the sun came up.  I knew that they would be heading to the Publix down the street, and for some reason, as I ran off, I barked out "Get me a candy bar!!!"  I have no idea why I said it, but apparently, I wanted a candy bar!

He takes such flattering photos
Around Mile 3, I took a hit from Vlad (the Inhaler) and had some Honey Stinger chews.

Yes, I DID make a label that says Vlad and stick it to my inhaler!
I also got passed by a chick in Jeggings.

Jeggings. Seriously?
By this time, I had to potty, and luckily I saw these two potties at this overpass.  And no line! Sometimes it pays to be slow.

I'd been pacing this Mouse in the Mix lady for a mile or so, she also stopped to potty
In I went, and looked to see if there was a hook on the door (like the really cool ones at Disney), but there was no hook. There WAS a little shelf in the corner of the potty, so I put my Nathan water bottle on it, turned around and .... whump, thump, ..... splash.

Oh, no!

With a very heavy heart, I looked down into the abyss....

And there was Nathan.

He was swimming with the shits, in the potty hole.

And, sadly, because I did not know what was in the little pocket of my beloved Nathan, I had to FISH IT OUT to see what was in there (luckily, the top of the bottle didn't get IN the, um, liquid, so I felt relatively safe about touching it).  I was worried that my ID or my inhaler were in there, but they weren't.  Only the majority of my fuel, my only lip balm and my only water.

If I had to see it, so do you!
I left Nathan there after I finished pottying (is that a word?), and I kept going.  I really felt a LOSS at not having Nathan - he'd been with me through so many races!

If I can figure out how, I really want to make an Oscar-Style "In Memoriam" video here.  I think I spent a good mile thinking about it!

Trying to throw off my funk, I kept going, letting the fun signs cheer me up. A lot were repeats of last year, so I won't add them, but I did like these.

"All it takes is all you got" - I don't have a lot right now...
"Life is short... Running makes it seem longer" - yeah, no kidding!
A bit before Mile 6, I was finally able to get some water to 'wash' my hands!  I felt so grungy.  But by Mile 6, I was pretty alone out here.

Mile 6, where is everybody!
I checked my Garmin around Mile 7 - I was keeping a pretty good pace, at least.  It was at about this time that the first Marathoner passed me (a mile earlier than last year!)

Official "This is the time the first marathoner passed my slow ass" Garmin Shot
Finally, I reached the "Boardwalk" area. This is where I promised myself that I could walk, IF I'd been doing my intervals since then. I had (for the most part), so let's enjoy the walking break!

Mile 7 - time to walk!
Mile 8 was in the middle of the boardwalk area.

Mile 8 - No one to be seen!
Once past the boardwalk, there was a good amount of marathoners passing me. Most were in their own world; some would encourage me.

Go marathoners Go!
Here we are at Mile 9, which shall forever be known, no matter WHAT the race, as the Motherfucker Mile, thanks to my first half-marathon at Disney's Princess Half Marathon.

Motherfucker Mile 9!
I made it!  I conquered Mile 9 and we're at Mile 10 - look how beautiful the sky is!  The weather was about as perfect as you could wish for a Florida winter race.

Mile 10 - really just a gorgeous day!
Wow, we're at Mile 11 already?  Can I be done yet?

Mile 11 - Really, can I take a nap on that beautiful yard
Once you see these beautiful houses with their HGTV backyards, you know you don't have too far to go.

The picture doesn't do it justice - these MUST be million-dollar homes
See, told ya! We're at Mile 12!  We're only a mile away from the finish line. Again, just like last year, I got a little choked up at this point.  I was doing it, I was REALLY doing this!

Mile 12!  I'm crying!
I got passed by a lot of marathoners here, including some pacers with their groups.  It's a nice wide sidewalk, though, so it's not that bad.

Lake Reinhard!  Celebration Hotel on the left, I'm aiming for that empty area between the teal and peach buildings
Once you get to here, you know that you are really close to being done.  All you have to do is run around Lake Reinhard and you are there!

My official time was 3:54:58, which is a few minutes shy of my 2014 time (3:54:41).  I was really hoping to PR this race, and if not for Nathan falling in to the Pit of Despair, I just might have done so.  Oh well, I still finished under 4 hours, which is always a goal of mine. I came in 1773rd place (out of 1808 finishers). I beat 35 people!  I was the 1187th female to finish, and came in 200th out of 205 in my age division (F35-39).  My pace was 17:57, which made me wince. My 10k split was crazy slow at 1:50:06, but my 15k split was actually a few minutes faster than my Gate River Run official time, at 2:44:36!

Strike a pose
You can go here to see all the results.
At the finish line, they also gave out these weirdly cool Tyvek-like jackets.  I guess they were supposed to be in place of heat sheets.  I just folded it up and stuffed it in my bag for later.

Also near the finish line, they had a fun photo booth set up. It had a background and props you could use (signs, glasses, boas, hats, etc).  The line was really long, but I did it anyway (I didn't realize it had the signs and stuff til I got up there - I thought it was just the backdrop).  The Kiddo snuck in for one of the photos with me (you can tell by the jacket that it was cold that day!)  It was a cute thing to have, but if they have it in the future, I think I'll skip it.

"WHOOMP! There it is!" "Nice!"
After the photo booth, I picked up my Food Card.  Last year, they had all the food booths lining up the Finisher Chute area, and it was really congested, so I'm glad they moved it this year. It was closer to the Lake this time. There was more space for everything.  Too bad there still wasn't a lot of food...

I grabbed some Natalie's juice and lemonade, but that was it.  If I ate anything, I must not have taken a photo of it.  But it didn't matter, because Hubby, who is awesome and has smarty-brains, got a King Size Snickers for me when he and the Kiddo went to Publix!  He remembered that Snickers was "packed with protein" and I might need some after running all this way.

I don't remember any of these places having food
We hobbled our way back to the car, and headed back to the hotel for an ice bath and to check out.

Not so icy ice-bath
Because we had no lunch reservations at Disney (SHOCKER!), we grabbed some quick lunch at the McDonald's right next to the hotel.  I got a Happy Meal, and it actually came in a BOX!

Tiny Coke (yeah, the real stuff) to go with my tiny burger and tiny fries
Generally speaking, kid's meals at fast food places are just the right amount of food for me. If I get regular combos, I find that I stuff myself and feel uncomfortable afterwards. I especially love to order kid's meals at Disney - they're smaller, they're cheaper AND I get a cookie! 

After lunch, we ended up at the Beach Club resort. We have business here later, but first, it was a potty stop.

Yes, this is a DISNEY bathroom! Complete with cloth washrags (you can just see the hamper in the middle of the photo)
We headed out to the Friendship boat dock for a beautiful 20-minute ride around Crescent Lake and the Hollywood Studios area. We had time to kill, and I can't resist a Disney boat.

Tower of Terror hiding behind the trees
All ashore that's goin' ashore!
Our Disney boat trip, however, caused us to miss our ADR for Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, so we had to sit outside for awhile until a table became available.

That bling!
After about 15 minutes, though, a table came up so we were brought inside to what is seriously the smallest restaurant on Disney property!  There are 4 tables (maybe 5?), 3 booths and about 10 seats at the bar. We unfortunately got a table (I love booths so much better).

We put in our orders, and not 5 minutes later, lights started flashing and there were all sorts of noises - ah!  It's the World Famous Kitchen Sink!

I love the look on her face and the fact that I caught the photo in The Kiddo's phone as well
Oh, but what is a Kitchen Sink, I can hear you asking?

We'll it's about the biggest damn dessert you can get at Disney World, but actually not one of the priciest (it comes in around $30).

Wow, THIRTY bucks for ice cream?  Yeah, but just take a gander at the ingredient list (courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog) of this glorious dessert:
  • ½ cup fudge topping, warmed
  • ½ cup butterscotch topping, warmed
  • ½ cup peanut butter topping, warmed
  • 1 medium banana, sliced in 1/2 –inch slices
  • 1 cinnamon spice cupcake (2 ½ x 1 ¼-inch), quartered
  • 1 angel food cupcake (3 x 1 ½-inch), quartered
  • 2 4-oz. scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops strawberry ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop coffee ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • ¼ cup marshmallow crème
  • ¼ cup strawberry topping
  • ¼ cup pineapple topping
  • 1 14-oz can dairy whipped topping
  • 1 brownie (6-inch x 6-inch), quartered
  • 1 regular-sized (2 ounce) candy bar, quartered
  • 4 chocolate cookies with cream filling
  • 1 tablespoon sliced toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon dark and white chocolate shavings
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate cookies with cream filling, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jellied orange slices (approximately 2 large slices)
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ cup drained maraschino cherries
It's meant to feed a group (like 10 people), so if you look at it that way, it's only $3 per person!  Alas, since we're all picky eaters, we would probably never order this (I don't want the bananas, strawberry ice cream, coffee ice cream, strawberries, pineapples, almonds, or cherries).

Once the fanfare was over, the restaurant went back to normal, and our waitress brought our beverages as well as very large spoons.

I don't know if you can really tell the size of these spoons, but that glass is probably a 24-ounce glass.

Sorry, there was no banana for scale
And then....

Then these glorious sundaes came out.

Milky Way Sundae (3 Scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Caramel, Whipped Cream, Mini Milky Way bars)
No Way Jose (Chocolate Ice Cream, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Morsels, Peanut Butter Sauce, Hot Fudge)
Kiddo's - Fudge Mudslide (Gooey Brownie covered with Chocolate Ice Cream, Hot Fudge, Oreos and Whipped Cream)
Mine again - gratuitous Medal Shot with the Milky Way Sundae!

Each of these sundaes will set you back about $8.49 or so. If you know me at all, you know that I can pinch a penny until Lincoln squeals, and boy - these sundaes were worth every single penny (and every single calorie!)

Do you remember that scene in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure when Napoleon to Ziggy's and ate the big sundae? Yeah, we all kind of felt like that.

While we were pigging out, this awesome group of seniors behind us also got a Kitchen Sink, as well as another group behind us at the bar! It was a very busy day for Sinks!

You GO, old people!  They were taking photos of it, too!
Back at the Pig-Fest, I had slowed way down and was unable to finish my sundae. I only made it halfway through.

Photo of Shame - Only finished half of it (but man, I tried!)
The Kiddo very easily finished hers.

She would've licked the bowl if she could've gotten her face in there!
As did The Hubby.

I cleaned my plate mommy!
Pregnant with a magnificent Food Baby, we paid our bill (around $45 bucks with tax and tip) and wandered around Crescent Lake.

I never noticed the Imagination Pavilion peeking through the trees before
Not to be outdone, Spaceship Earth had to photobomb!
So artsy
Sunset on Crescent Lake
This is what the family does while I take photos!
As with all trips to Disney, it eventually became time to go home.  On our way back to the parking lot, the sun on the villas was beautiful so I had to stop and get a bunch of photos.

Beautiful glass-like water!
Location: Celebration FL
Host: Raw Threads
Race Fee: $65 ($55 after a $10 Promo Code)
Packet Pickup: at Expo (a small-to-medium size Expo)
Parking: Very limited Parking Lot parking; lots of on-street, random parking
Support: Excellent support, both with water/Powerade and spectators
After Party: Better than last year; food was moved to a much better location