I Did It!!!   Recap of 5th Anniversary Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

I Did It!!! Recap of 5th Anniversary Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

After a fun filled, yet exhausting weekend at Disney I have to say the past year of planning was totally worth it. My 1st Disney Half Marathon is in the books with the 5th year Anniversary of the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I could not have picked a better one to do. I flew in on Thursday afternoon and met up with Stephanie from Massachusetts at Downtown Disney. Will I live up to her expectations? Will she or I be annoying to each other ? We hadn’t even talked on the phone before only through text and Facebook. Awhile back I posted a message on runDisney’s Facebook page looking for a Princess to share a room with for this amazing weekend and she answered and I am so glad she did. We had a really fun filled trip. The entire weekend was like we were old friends!!!

Friday morning we started our Princess weekend with the exclusive Meet up at Epcot where I finally got to meet the Canadian Princesses Jodi & Alana. They have a blog that I follow that helped me prepare for this race “2princessesontherun”, along with Sarah & Dimity authors of “Run Like a Mother” and “Train Like a Mother”, Elite athlete Rachel Booth, First female winner of the Biggest Loser Ali Vincent, Actor Sean Astin and many others . One unexpected highlight for me at this Meet up was Paralympic athlete April Holmes. Her personal story touched me. Not in a “feel sorry for me” kind of way but in personal enlightenment. She really embodies that there is much more strength inside of us than we realize. April truly is a result of what you can achieve once you get over your mental blocks you can overcome just about anything physical.

dsc09113 meetup
april

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After the Meet up we headed to the Expo at Coronado Springs which definitely had the theme of “We Are All Mad Here”. The area to get you bibs was no problem in fact in my opinion it was too large because it made the booths for shopping super cramped. There were long lines for your race shirt and don’t even get me started with the area for the runDisney official Princess Merchandise. Can you say we felt like cattle?? But what do you expect with over 26k runners in attendance? I still didn’t do too bad considering..
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After the Royal Family 5k on Saturday we went back to the Expo for the afternoon Speaker sessions and yes I was on my feet way too much. I could feel the buildup of lactic acid on my IT band. I went and got a quickie massage from one of the booths after the Zooma meet up at the Expo. The look on the Therapist face said it all. “You’re doing too much”. Even during the Zooma party that afternoon at Coronado I wasn’t feeling too well. I tend to go-go-go while I am at Disney. I was not eating or drinking enough to stay hydrated. Florida is very dry and it was a warm weekend. At that point I knew my run for the Half was going to have to be at a much slower pace than I normally run but that was ok with me because this weekend was all about the “Experience”. See I was here last February for a family trip but I only got to run the 5k. My husband kept his promise that I could come back this year solo and do the entire Princess weekend this time around. My first Race-cation! I signed up for every meetup that I thought time wise I could be able to attend including a “Princess Tea” that Erin Williams arranged at the Grand Floridian which really blew me away. I am not your typical “spot of tea” type of girl but this beat all of my expectations. I was very happy I got on the list early to attend. Afterwards we headed to the Polynesian for a quick bite for dinner and to watch Wishes on the beach. I think the sunset may have been nicer than the Fireworks. Of course I am partial because for me nothing beats seeing “Wishes” on Main Street in front of the Castle with a Mickey Ice Cream ! (and yes we got to do this on our last night Sunday after a walkthrough of Fantasyland)

A couple of pictures from the Royal Family 5k. It was so much fun. A friend from work graciously offered to help me with my costume “The Incredible Nicole” which turned out great! Luckily Stephanie was a super good sport with all of the picture taking I was doing throughout the weekend.

epcot 5k

Did anyone call for a Superhero?

Did anyone call for a Superhero?

On Sunday we stayed on schedule and got to Race Retreat in plenty of time to stretch, have a light breakfast and my personal highlight was finally meeting Malinda & Leah of TwinsRuninOurFamily after months of Twitter conversations. Malinda came prepared with pins and bracelets to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight childhood cancer in which I was too happy to wear. Shortly after it was time to start walking to our corrals. I saw off Stephanie and found my friend Amanda to wish her luck then started off in Corral A based on a previous race time. It was about 67 degrees and muggy at the race start. I have to say kudos to all of those in costumes for the Half. I personally decided to go the comfy route with just a touch of sparkle. I am glad I was able to start in Corral A due to all of the character stops I was going to be making for pictures but these delays really caught up with me later on during the race. Several parts throughout the race the roads were narrow and you were practically walking. Any running I could do was in the grass to go around the later corral runners. Even my “run through the castle” by the time I got there was a “walk through the castle” in which I was a little disappointed but I was able to get a quick interview & picture in with Dennis Marsico from runDisney TV. I am not expecting much from my pictures by Marathon FOTO but luckily I got some great ones on my own plus the rain held out for us!! (whew). I have to say I don’t remember my race finish except that I was practically skipping towards the Finish with loads of energy still. I remembered to look up but I don’t recall seeing Minnie and Mickey. My guess since I was more in the middle they must have been off to the side. I will look for the race video once it is online. I made my goal to PR in picture taking by taking both my iPhone and my digital camera with me to both races and enjoyed every moment. (I had a lot of “moments” in my Half considering my Finish time was 4:05:50 almost double my usual Half Marathon time lol) I was sure to tag #TeamRunDisney to capture all of my race updates via Instagram and Twitter throughout the weekend.

A few pictures from the Princess Half on Sunday

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I am going that way!!!

I am going that way!!!

belle

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My home away from home!

My home away from home!

On our last morning we finally got our Mickey waffle’s. I decided to bring back one for my husband in my carry on. When I got home and surprised him with it he was smiling ear to ear. It was good to be home (with my Princess bling).

bling

During Wishes my wish was that I get to come back and do another Disney race someday.

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Sometimes all you need is a little pixie dust…

meetup 2012

How did I get so lucky?? I am in , I am in!!! I got my meetup invite to start off a Fantastic weekend at Disney for the Princess Half Marathon/5k. I cant wait!!

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/02/fairytales-to-come-true-at-princess-half-marathon-meet-up/

“Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo! And with that, Fairy Godmother has cast her spell to reveal the next runDisney Meet-Up. Planned for Friday, February 22 at Walt Disney World Resort, the early morning running event will celebrate the inner princess in all our runners, as well as share training and health tips.
Actor and running enthusiast Sean Astin (“Rudy,” “The Goonies,” “The Lord of the Rings”) is planning to attend, along with fitness star Ali Vincent (“The Biggest Loser”), runDisney’s official training consultant Jeff Galloway and dietitian Tara Gidus. Two celebrated runners will also be on hand, with defending Princess Half champion and back-to-back Disneyland Half winner Rachel Booth, along with two-time Paralympic track and field medalist April Holmes”

It’s more than a race, it’s an Experience. “The Louisiana Marathon Weekend”.

The Race Directors go all out for this one. Starting with the Kids multi week 26.2 mile program, 5k, Half and Full Marathon there is a race distance for everyone. Even the Spectators & Volunteers can come and enjoy the Finish Line Festival for a small fee to soak up the many local delicacies and music.
With a slogan like “Run-Eat-Dance-Laugh” everyone is sure to enjoy.
1apledge 5k
(Above picture from the start of the 5k)

Since I started running two years ago I said I would try to different races each year but since the Inaugural race started in 2012 I have already broken my rule on this one. I do believe it will continue to be an exception. The Full distance of this Baton Rouge race is a certified Boston Qualifier so it continues to draws runners from 46 + states and 12+ countries. When you are at the Start line in front of the State Capital that Sunday morning for the Half/Full you will see the diversity of runners for this race. It is quite surreal. Be sure to come down early so you don’t miss the Expo that starts on Friday with lots of vendors to load up on a wide variety of running merchandise.
4start
(Above picture from the start of the Half & Full)

Don’t miss out add this one to your annual Race Calendar. For more information: http://www.thelouisianamarathon.com/ or on Facebook

Pros: So far this race has been blessed by Mother Nature with great cool, comfortable weather, scenic course (downtown Baton Rouge, LSU campus area, etc), ample water stops along the way and an awesome Finisher medal & Festival awaiting for you when you complete your race.

Cons: Mostly flat course. There is one incline that I personally call the “IT Band Band Buster” but for anyone that runs hills regularly it is a breeze. I won’t tell you where on the course. I will let it be a surprise!

See you next year!
my finish bling
( My Half Marathon Finisher Bling from 2011 & 2012)

My week is off to a fabulous start!!

My daughter is on the Women’s Running Magazine website how cool is that??!!  Proud mom, gotta gush!!

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/02/photos/cheer-station-race-celebrations-21113_10039

 Cypress 5k January 19,2013 

#36   Picture from the Advocate Cypress 5k  January 19,2013

On a side note the Disney Parks Blog will be posting the opportunity for the Princess Half Meetup later this week. I am flying in a day early for the Disney Princess 5k/Half Marathon next weekend just in the “hopes” I will get an invite to attend. I am looking forward to my race-cation next weekend at the Happiest Place on Earth! Wish me luck!! 

My heart…

Before I go into any more of my race recaps and runner highlights it may be a good idea to tell you a bit more about a big part of my motivation.

One word  “motherhood”.

Growing up I didn’t have the best childhood (not the worst by any means) but not the best. I especially didn’t have a healthy relationship with my mother or food. Food was my crutch. Always there for me when I was sad or bored. There was always a box of Little Debbie snack cakes around to help satisfy. My mom treated me like I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough. I knew one day I would be a mom and I would not treat my child like that. Luckily I was blessed with my daughter Alaina. Currently at age 13 she is more creative, self-confident, smarter and funnier than I ever was.

In the winter of 2011 I invited Alaina to come run the local Girls on the Run 5K with me. During the race she struggled, got side cramps and swore that she would never do it again but when she got her Finisher necklace she was hooked! Last month she completed her 8th 5k race at the Louisiana Cypress 5k and the first thing she asked me after she crossed the finish line was if she PR’d (she did !). Last year we volunteered at a local kids Triathlon for ages 3-8. We were both so inspired by the kids gusto we did our own the very next month.

My job as a mom is to be good role model for my daughter and encourage her that she can accomplish anything she sets her mind too. Having local groups around like “Girls on the Run” and “Rocketchix” is encouraging because that is exactly what they are all about. I will touch more on these groups and the Triathlon’s we accomplished in future posts but I just wanted to share this with you.

My cup runneth over..

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The Color Run New Orleans – November 2012

When did you have your  “I’m a Runner” moment?

When did you have your “I’m a Runner” moment?

Mine was mile 10 of my first Half Marathon the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Half Marathon in New Orleans. I was feeling strong and had that “I can do this” momentum going strong. I even had that brief moment during the race when I thought “Hmm. maybe I can switch and run the FULL??!!” OK, I chalk that up to temporary insanity & endorphin’s..lol.. But seriously I finished my first Half at 2hr:18min on 2/13/11 on a serious runner’s high. I ran this one with my friend Laurie whom I had heard about this race from at the gym a few months prior. Going into this I had never ran outside & just a few miles on the treadmill but something about running a Half Marathon intrigued me. We started training 3 months prior to the race. For additional preparation we signed up for our 1st run so we could learn about race etiquette before our big race coming up.  We choose the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k in Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2/5/11. It was a chilly morning but it was a great course and I finished in 1hr:2min 10:02pace- (My 1st 10k & group/timed run!). I felt more prepared going into my first Half by doing this race.

What I liked about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in New Orleans: Organized well from the expo to baggage check, great bibs , Tech finisher tees, great scenery, comfortable cool weather, New Orleans style finisher necklace, runner & spectator costumes, crowd support is PHENOMENAL for the Half!! including creative support signs & chalk writing in the street. LOVE IT! Keeps you motivated! Plus the Finish Fest has merchandise and lots of food & drinks. (bring extra money stashed in your race gear)

What could improve: During the race you have to watch your step!!!. Lots of road dangers. I almost busted my butt several times, Very crowded at the beginning, Of course you have your slow people who really should be farther back and some that need to learn race etiquette but that’s with most races, I would definitely put the streets of New Orleans as #1 on my con list, I hear there is not a lot of race support on the 2nd half of the course for people doing the Full. One last con is the shuttle service is very crowded upon leaving. I am tempted one day for this race to be my 1st & maybe only Full. If I do so I’d probably need a backpack of supplies to get me through it.

I started running as a way to maintain my weight loss and as a new challenge. Surprisingly it has given me so much more than that….In which I will be sharing in posts to come…By the way I ran this race again in 2012 (3/4/12-Finished in 2hr:7min-My 4th half. I would be running it again in 2013 but it happens to fall on 2/24/13 which is the day I will be running my 7th. The Disney Princess Half Marathon!! Yes, I am hooked)

You dont have to be an athlete to be a runner. Just go out there and enjoy!

Picture courtesy of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

15k of your closest friends!!

Picture courtesy of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

My 1st bling!!

My 1st bling!!