Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Princess Half Marathon - The Beginning!

(After typing up my Race Report in Word, I realized that it would be FAR too long to be one post, so I'm going to break it up for you. You're welcome!)

Having only gone to bed at 10 or so, the 2am alarm came WAY too quickly!  I snoozed once, waiting for my iPod alarm to go off.  It never did.

I got up the next time the alarm went off and quickly got into Bustling Mode – flitting here to do one thing, flitting there to do another – before forcing myself to sit down and eat breakfast. I’d brought Egg Beaters, string cheese, a plain bagel and 3 Kraft Singles with me. I always eat eggs before my long run, so that was the plan today (the bagels were a back-up plan).

I nuked the egg beaters as instructed and turned them out into a Disney paper bowl and started eating. They weren’t all that fabulous (I mean, what can be better than fresh eggs, scrambled, with milk and a touch of cheese?), but they got the job done. While I sat there eating, Hubby and The Child were getting ready too, and they asked me where THEIR breakfast was.   Um…… at home?  In all my packing lists and to-do lists and don’t forget lists, I forgot to pack breakfast for my support squad!  I offered them my bagel and my granola bars, but they didn’t want them. Suit yourself. Just trying to make a crappy situation better.

I finished my eggs and OJ, chugged a PowerAde and finally began to get dressed and ready to go.  I wasn’t feeling jittery or nervous, which was so unlike me! I felt more like Go Go Go!, we need to get to the bus.  Like, it was any other day at Disney, it just happened to be a day that I was waking up at 2am to run the furthest I’ve ever run!

We got a few obligatory photos in the room, then headed to the bus stop.  

A bus was pulling out as we neared Community Hall, but there was another one waiting, so we grabbed that one. We walked ALL the way to the back of the bus, where there are 3 seats, and settled in for the ride. By this time, Hubby was in full “I hate this” mode – he doesn’t like things he thinks are stupid, and grown women dressed up, talking loud, squealing and generally having fun counts as stupid to him. I told him yesterday basically, that if he had something snarky to say, shut the hell up and say it in your head because I didn’t want to hear it, because all his bitching was already pissing me off, and we’d only been there for a day and a half! Suffice it to say, it was a VERY quiet bus ride!

Once we got to the Pre-Race drop off area, it didn’t look all that busy. Boy, was I wrong – it just wasn’t busy at the DROP OFF AREA.  We had to walk across half the parking lot to get to the Pre-Race area, where we were greeted with huge crowds and bigger bottlenecks.
Night Photos + Walking = Crap
Who at RunDisney thought that a narrow “Red Carpet” area (maybe three people across) with photo op backdrops on both sides was a good idea, when they knew that 26,000 people, PLUS spectators, needed to get in that way!  It wasn’t even time to go to my corral, and I already felt like cattle!

Hubby is still very silent at this point. At least there’s that.

I really wanted to get here before 4:00 AM  to participate in the Princess Posse group photo. I missed it by minutes, and most of the Posse had dispersed or gone into the Race Retreat by then. I did find Rebecca, the balloon holder, and she – very exuberantly – told me about how bad traffic was, coming in from off-property.  I said goodbye to her, and went off to find any other girls. I found Margaret, who (I think it was her) gave me a Team Ted sticker.  Hubby stuck it between my shoulder blades on my tee.  

By this time, I had to pee, so I left Hubby and The Child to basically stand there, while I went to find potties.  OMG, I have never seen so many potties in one place before! There were rows of them, back to back, like book stacks in the library!  

I walked to the furthest section, and ended up only waiting in line for a few minutes (women are like sheep in the bathroom – they see a line and they’ll stand there instead of checking for feet or Vacancy signs!).  I readjusted everything and headed back to the family.  By this time, we were told that Corral D needed to head out through bag check. I grabbed my Clover blanket, a granola bar, gave hugs and kisses to the family and went on my way through the No Bag check area.  Hmm, I think it started to feel a bit more real at this point. But still not, OMG I’M DOING A HALF-MARATHON. What is up with that?

After going through the No Bag line, there were seas of tutus and sparkle, a lot of the girls on the ground doing stretches.  I normally don’t stretch before I run, but decided to give it a go this time around.  Hubby had been giving me crap about taking Clover’s blanket, so I wanted to put it to use before I tossed it. 

See, I'm using Clover's Blanket!
 I worked on my groin area, doing butterfly stretches and the like, but I was too excited to be mellow, and couldn’t stay still for long! I let a few other girls use it to stretch with before grabbing a water from the table near bag-check and began walking towards the corrals (passing another sea of potties as I went!) I don’t know the name of the road we walked on (if I Googled right, we were on Woodpecker Lane), but we went by a Water treatment area (yum) and about halfway to the corrals, there was a DJ there, playing lots of upbeat tunes.  (Later, my Posse said that the walk from the Pre-Race area to the corrals was between 1 and 2 miles!)

As we got to (I think) Woodpecker Lane and Overpass Road, there were big signs in the median telling us which corrals went which direction. It also told us to have a great race!  I remember seeing photos of this from other girls’ recaps, and was so happy to see it, because THIS is one thing that made it seem real.  Corrals were split ABCDE and FGH.  I followed along to ABCDE.

As I came around the corner, just before the corrals, there was a HUGE bottleneck, due to potties (more potties!) on the left-hand side of the road.  I debated going around, but saw Liz in line, so I popped over to meet her and get a photo, then decided to go ahead and pee.

Yeah, it was almost 70* and I'm wearing a sweater. Get over it!

While I waited in line, Hubby called to tell me that he and The Child found a spot, past the start line right by the fence so that he could see me run by. I made a mental note to make sure that I was on the left side off the start so he could see me.

I made my way to the corrals, amazed at so many bodies in one place – it was crazy!  There were a few people getting their photo taken by the sign, so I took their photo in return for them taking mine, then I got into my corral.

Still not feeling ‘racy’.  It’s so weird!  There were jumbotrons and TVs set up near all the corrals so that we could see the action at the starting line, and that was really cool. Sean Astin was in Corral C, and he was talking to Rudy. There were other people up there talking, but hell if I can remember now who! 

It seemed like both forever and only a moment that I was waiting in the corral before the Fairy Godmother gave us the countdown for the Wheelchair racers, and then Elite/Corral A.  With a Menchicabo, a Salamagoo,, and Bibitty Bobitty Boo! The 2013 Princess Half Marathon began, with fireworks and an awesome ‘waterfall’ firework on both sides of the starting line.

Okay, now I kind of feel like I’m in a race. Still not all WOOHOO though.

Corral A took off  and as they passed, Fairy Godmother pointed out costumes and whatnot. As the runners ran past cameras, they were shown on the jumbotrons and TVs, so we could see them go.  And, as Corral A took off, Corrals B and behind moved up.  Mooooo!

Corral B took off and we moved up again.

Corral C took off and we moved up again.  I’m next, I’m next! I made sure that my iPod was on, my intervals were set and my Garmin was locked on to satellites.  I’m next!

Corral D – ME! – took off to “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. I found that fitting and got slightly emotional. That song has been on my playlist since day 1 (back when it was chosen for the 2012 Princess).  It was the perfect choice.  I smiled for MarathonFoto, I smiled and waved as I crossed that start line, and I was off, running my very first half-marathon!