Ok, Part 2 will, obviously, focus on the Half Marathon, and you will see why this had to be in two parts! BUT I forgot to mention our luggage and flight disaster. Well, not disaster, more like inconvenience. We got detoured to Jacksonville because of a storm in Orlando. The detour and refueling resulted in a delay in our arrival time (obviously). It was not a HUGE delay, but it was enough that we were right on the edge of the Disney Magical Express luggage cutoff, but we had plenty of time, or so we thought, so we bypassed baggage claim and let the Magical Express do its thing. We grabbed a bus and headed to the resort. At this point I was starving. It had been about 19 hours since I had eaten last (not counting a granola bar I had on the plane from Moline to Atlanta.) Laurie called to check on our luggage and they told her that it was on a truck on its way to our resort. I just wanted to get some food so we dropped our carry-ons in our room and got me some food. We got back to the room about an hour later and still no luggage. Its now around 11 pm. We have no pjs, no nothing. So she calls again, and this time they tell her that we had missed the cutoff and our luggage was at the airport. They told us it would be there in the morning. The cast member on the phone was slightly less than magical and I could hear the patience leaving Laurie’s voice. She has a VERY distinct ‘phone voice’ (I have one too. My mom calls it my Wal-Mart voice. Sugary sweet and super polite) and her phone voice had disappeared. No luck with Cruella on the other end of the line. Awesome. So we made do with what we had, and crawled into bed. I had just fallen asleep when there came a knock at our door (just after midnight). Our luggage!! Cruella had been mistaken and the first guy had been correct. Our tutus had finally arrived in Disney World! However, when I started to unpack my suitcase, some of my stuff was wet. My best guess is that it must have fallen open onto the rain soaked ground at some point. I eventually located everything but a bottle of vitamins (which must have rolled away). I was just happy to have my pjs!!
Saturday after the 5k we headed back to the resort, showered and then went back to the Expo for a little bit. We met up with one of Laurie’s old friends who were running the HM also. Picked up a few more freebees, and then went over to Epcot. We took a little journey around the world. There was a lot of live entertainment going on, and it seemed that we would always walk up just at the end of the performance. My favorite was in Canada. I had never seen bagpipes played live and this band did Johnny Be Goode with guitar and bagpipes. I REALLY enjoyed that! I love World Showcase because I am kind of nerdy in my desire to learn. I think Epcot my be my favorite park BECAUSE it is more educational. Anyway, I always enjoy watching the drum performance in the Japanese pavilion. I would have liked to see all of the performance in Italy too, but like I said, we always seemed to come up right at the end. After we made it around the world, and stopped to take some pictures for a group of ladies who were down for the HM (pay it forward to the people who stopped to take our pictures), we decided to head back to the room and have supper and head to bed early. It was an early morning, and the next day was going to be even earlier!!
Sunday morning we rolled out of bed at ----am. We had to catch a bus to Epcot for the race start. We met up with some fellow Sparkers Christina (PHDMAMA06), Meg (RICEANDBEANS), and Kelli (KELLSOUTH). It was a nice, lengthy walk to the corrals so we all trekked it together. It was slow and chilly and dark. We posed for a group picture before splitting off to our respective corrals (and/or porta-potties). Laurie and I were in Corral D. I firmly believe that if we were back in my ORIGINAL corral, I would just now be crossing the finish line. Which brings me back to why it is important to remember to submit your expected finishing time, if you, say, forget, then they put you in the last Corral. Instead of being in Corral B with Laurie, I was in H. H! So at packet pickup I was able to submit a time, but could only move up to D since it was so late. Oh well. Corral D worked out just fine. We stayed in the back of our Corral which worked out because we weren’t being trampled, and were able to take a few more pictures before the race started. I think we stopped at just about every photo op between Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Right outside Magic Kingdom there was already a runner down. We passed by her and I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s not just a cramp, she is really hurt.” I could tell by the vacant look to her. We found out later from some friends who were there when she fell that she had actually broken her collar bone. My heart still hurts for her. To work so hard and to not only get hurt, to get hurt so seriously, right outside the gates of Magic Kingdom… Heart breaking. I truly hope she gets another chance at that Tiara medal. I think it is a good thing we stopped for so many photos because, I will be honest, I hadn’t trained properly for this race. I wasn’t ready for it. I was hurting. My foot was hurting. It was definitely the frequent photo stops that helped me keep my composure. We were also pushing a little harder to stay under 3 hours even with all the stops. It was a difficult race for me because of the sheer number of people. I had my first experience with getting tied up with another person. There was a group of walkers walking shoulder to shoulder across the only open lane of the road and I went to pass them and one of them stopped. STOPPED! I got tripped up, needless to say. It was scary. I had never had that happen before. That was coming up the road by Contemporary, right before entering the Magic Kingdom park. I’ll tell you what, there is NOTHING like rounding that corner and seeing the Castle right there. Laurie and I hadn’t gone to MK yet, and now, looking back I am glad that we had chosen other parks to visit because that meant that the first time I saw the Castle on this trip was at that moment. It made it that much more special for me. I have stood in front of that castle many times. I have stood there in the midst of the depths of the darkest time in my life. I had stood in front of that castle as a newly wed, as a mother, as a broken soul… This time, I wasn’t standing. I was running. Running. I was doing what I love to do in a place I love to be with the person I love to run with, I mean, how blessed am I? We made it in less than 3 hours. We took LOTS of pictures along the way, and I finally had my tiara medal! I think that is a job well done! We met up with Christina and compared notes while we stood in a SUPER long line for a bus back to the resort. It started to sprinkle as we waited, but at that point it felt pretty good. After we cleaned up and changed we went to the food court for lunch and then headed back to Magic Kingdom. We wore our Princess shirts and Tiara medals and took in the fun atmosphere that is the Magic Kingdom. We WERE celebrating after all. We decided to head back to the resort to hang out at the Silver Screen Spirits. We had a good time. Our bartender took an AMAZING picture of us. We got overloaded with celebratory libations. (There was a double tequila shot involved LOL). We will leave it at that.
The next morning we headed over to Animal Kingdom. (Hangover and all!) We actually probably spent more time there than we did at any of the other parks, which is VERY unusual for us. We went on the safari and Laurie rode Everest. We watched some street performers in Africa that were a lot of fun. We ended the day in Downtown Disney. We wanted to get another salad from Fresh A Peel and hit up Raglan Road again before we left in the morning. It was going to be another early morning so we could get the Disney Magical Express back to the airport.