Let me start by saying it was a very busy 5 days in Florida!
My husband and I flew down to Tampa on Wednesday. My husband threw his back out - literally right before we left the house to fly down! We weren’t sure how he was going to do on the trip! We went straight to my grandmother’s house. She is 90 years old and we had not seen her since summer.
We took her out to lunch then took her to Walmart for groceries. She had just gotten back from visiting my Aunt for 3 weeks in Alabama. My husband worked on different things she needed done at her house (with a bad back) and I worked through her bills. She is at the age where she gets overwhelmed easily. She still lives by herself and drives! Anyway, we never had time for dinner. I was glad I had brought breakfast bars! Wednesday night I hardly slept. I didn’t want to knock into my husband, we were sleeping on a full size bed (he is 6’3) and I wasn’t comfortable. I felt exhausted.
Early the next morning, I went on a 3 mile run around her development. I was tired but it still felt good. We had breakfast together and then my husband and I left for Disney World.
We met my parents at the hotel in Disney World. They drove up from Punta Gorda, FL. My father's 71st birthday was the following week so Disney gave him a "It's my birthday" button. What a way to celebrate #71! Everywhere we went he was wished or sung happy birthday! And he got free desserts at every restaurant!
We went straight to the Wide World of Sports to pick up our race packets,shirts and shop at the Expo. It was jam packed with runners - literally elbow to elbow. I bought Disney Marathon wine glasses, a t-shirt, a 13.1 sticker for my car and a running shirt for my husband that says “I run for beer”. He loved it! I also bought another 13.1 bead for my pandora bracelet. Everytime I run a HM I add one on! That night we went to sleep early, we were exhausted and we had to get up at 4 AM to get to the Family 5K.
My mom, husband and I ran the Family 5K. We had a blast. 10,000 people ran the family 5k. A lot of runners were dressed up in various Disney costumes, wings, etc. It went around Epcot. Here is a picture of us before the start:
Here is the starting line:
Here we are running the 5k:
We stopped to get our picture taken in front of the Epcot ball. My husband was sweating profusely, and decided to rub his underarm on my head! Ewwww!
Of course, he thought it was hysterical!
Here we are after I finished gagging:
We had a lot of fun during this race. Thankfully, my husband’s back didn’t hurt at all. Here we are at the finish line:
And here we are with our “medals” (really rubber)
Some of you may remember me blogging that my husband said he keeps running hoping he will get the "running bug"... I figured that if a Disney 5k didn't do it, nothing would. Well, guess what?? He said he enjoyed it! Yayyy!
Maybe I will have someone to run with now!!
My mother has run 9 marathons and countless 5ks. She stopped about 5 years ago because a Doctor said she was going to hurt her knees. Another Doctor recently told her she could keep running, so she has been practicing again. She said I have now inspired her to start training again for races. Maybe we will end up running a half marathon together!
After the race we decided to go to Epcot for the rest of the day. My father doesn’t like crowds so he stayed in the hotel. Here is a pic of me and my mom:
We ended up walking around Epcot twice. We went on lots of rides and went shopping. We loved the hang gliding ride and the Spaceship ride in the Epcot ball the best. We had a great meal in Mexico and my husband surprised me with etched Epcot wineglasses and celebration tile. We ended up not getting out until late and went to dinner with my dad at 9 PM. I was really tired since I hadn’t slept at my grandmom’s and then had gotten up at 4 AM for the 5k. I debated just going to sleep with no dinner but decided that wouldn't be good nutritionally for the next day. I went back to the hotel and to sleep right after dinner...
Saturday morning I got up at 3 AM. I hardly slept – I was worried I would oversleep and miss the Half Marathon. I sat on the bus next to an ultrarunner and running coach. He called one of the runners he was coaching for the Half Marathon and woke them up! I was amazed! I asked the ultrarunner how he managed time to train (he works full time). He told me that he doesn’t get a lot of sleep. Depending on how many miles he has to run each day, he gets up earlier. He gets into work at 7 AM!
So, the bus dropped us off at the entrance and we walked about a ¼ mile to drop bags off, etc. We then walked about another ½ mile to our designated corrals. I was in “B”. Before the race started, Joey Fatone spoke. It was his first ½ marathon. Jeff Galloway gave us a "pep" talk and spoke about staying hydrated. Florida was having a record breaking heat wave and the humidity was at 90%!
Here I am before the race:
Yes! It was dark!
Now, there were 20,000 runners in the Half Marathon. The corrals were set A through F, with wheel chair and ultrarunners going first. There were A LOT of runners!
The wheel chair group went first. Every time a new group got ready to start, fireworks would shoot out. Our group "B" left at 5:36 AM. I started my running music. My list starts with Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga. The next song is “Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris. I LOVE the lyrics to that song! I think it was written for Sparkers! It was 72 degrees out, but at 90% humidity - oh, did I already say that? - I have to say I have never sweated more during a race.
My brother and mom warned me about the on/off ramps during this race. When I came up to the first one, I ran at the top on the grass – it was flat. The second one didn’t have a flat spot. My left leg and knee started bothering me. All through mile three my leg and knee were killing me. I had to slow down. Disney had gallons of biofreeze at each water stop (about every two miles). I coated my leg with it and kept going. At mile 4 it stopped hurting. I resumed my normal HM speed. We ran under the Walt Disney World sign. It was all lit up. This is the sign when I drove through the day before:
About this time, we saw wheel chair participants headed back. They were ssooo fast!
Disney had the Pirates of Caribbean Ship set up in the median. It was huge and all lit up. There was a big line of runners waiting to get their picture taken with the Pirates. Disney had various bands and DJ’s playing and at one point a whole bunch of BIG kites flying – glowing in the dark. They had lines of runners through out the race waiting to get their picture taken with various Disney Characters. Goofy, Chip and Dale seemed to be favorites. They were also taking pictures at one point next to a race track with a race car and driver. I don't know who it was, but, when men saw it they stopped! I didn't stop for pictures - I was scared I wouldn't be able to get going again!
I did have an "embarassing moment". I had to stop at a portapotty around mile 5. It was still dark. I ran in, started doing my business and some guy opened the door! I was so out of it I forgot to lock it! I screamed and he stood there shocked - felt like eternity, then shut the door! I locked it quick. All I can say is when I am running like that I evidently don't think to clearly!!
When we entered the Magic Kingdom there were a lot of people cheering us on. It was an awesome feeling. I had told my parents and husband to sleep in, so I imagined they were out there. We bottlenecked (not real wide inside the Magic Kingdom) and boy, did it slow down. Here is a couple pictures:
Running though the castle was cool. There were knights playing trumpets overhead, and tons of spectators. The castle was glowing in all pastel colors - it was still dark!
We then came back out on a wide road. When we got to the next ramp my leg really started to hurt again, and I knew the slanted road was to blame. So, I walked up the ramp and then ran again when the road was even. I did this again at the next ramp.
As I got close to the finish line, people kept yelling out “you are almost there”. I must have heard that twenty times!
I finally saw the finish line and gave it all I had left. I heard my husband and dad yell my name – it gave me the extra push I needed to finish.
At the end, I finished it in 2 hours, 20 minutes which is the slowest Half Marathon I have run to date. Between my leg/knee hurting, being exhausted, not eating properly beforehand, as well as not training as much as I did for the last 2, I knew why. I also felt that Disney should have spread the runners out into more corrals. There were way too many runners trying to get through the Magic Kingdom with limited space.
I know that these races are a lot more fun when run with a friend or relative. I had a lot more fun running the Family 5k the day before with my mother and husband, AND I enjoyed the Disneyland ½ more with my brother.
Don't get me wrong - I would do it again in a heart beat. To think that this time last year I had never run one is amazing to me! I never would have imagined that I would end up running 3 Half Marathons in 4 months!
I did it!!
And, this goal did help me with weight maintenance, especially through the holidays!
So, what is next? I am getting an MRI to check my knee this week! I have signed up for the Delaware Half Marathon in May. I am totally motivated to beat my Half Marathon PR of 2 hours, 6 minutes at that race! I know several people running so I think I will enjoy it. I am also looking at running in the Philadelphia Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon in September with KarenNY (one of my sparkbuddies).
And...here is what we bought in Disney for Roxy...