Monday, March 14, 2011

Princess Half Marathon 2011 - A Race with Friends!

This was a spectacular long weekend with friends . . . oh yeah, the race was fun, too!

Cheryl and I registered for this race in the late fall.  Somehow, in January, we convinced two other co-workers to join us.  With less than 7 weeks of training, Christine and Deb were on board!  Guess we all needed some well-deserved respite from the day to day life of leading an elementary school!

Cheryl did not train like she would have liked, as life got in the way.  As for me, I had several hurdles as well.  We had some snow and ice conditions that made outdoor running impossible.  About a month before the race, I got hit hard by the flu.  I was out flat for about a week - then came recovery.  Then, a little over a week before the race, I got strep that did not respond to the first round of antibiotics.  The second round was more successful, but it was a little late to get some quality long runs in.  I knew I could cover the distance, though.  I went in with the mindset that this would be a fun race weekend with friends.  I was there to have a good time - not to race for a good time.

We couldn't wait for the end of February to arrive . . . and then, suddenly it did!  We spent Thursday night at an airport hotel in Baltimore.  We had the first flight out to Orlando so that we could spend as much time in the sunshine as is humanly possible!

Cheryl was up and ready to make the short drive to the airport . . . 

. . . and so were Deb and Christine!

The gang:  Christine, Me, Deb, and Cheryl

Our airport chariot awaits!

All went smooth at the airport!

We had fun talking and chatting about our upcoming fun . . . time flew and then we were about to as well!

We had a great flight and were soon in warm and sunny Florida!  We were so excited to begin our magical adventure!  So, we boarded the Magical Express!
As you can tell by the tiara, I got princessy right away!

We got to the All Star Movies Resort and unpacked our clothes and race gear.  Then, we were off the Expo and Packet Pick Up!

We were greeted royally by some coachmen . . . we knew we were in for a trip fit for true princesses!

Once again, the Expo was amazing . . . we got our "shop on" and picked up our race packets.
The Expo shopping experience . . . 

The incentive for it all . . . 

The famous Jeff Galloway

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a drinker.  However, champagne could not be resisted to begin to "Celebrate My Royal Accomplishment".

After the Expo, we hit EPCOT and did some park touring and met some new friends:

The day before the race, we went to Animal Kingdom and got wild!

Then, we headed back to EPCOT and made our way to Italy for some carb-loading fun!

We didn't stay out too late this night.  We headed back to our resort and set the alarms for (gasp) 2:45 AM!  It didn't really matter, as most of us didn't really sleep anyway.  We greeted the early morning with smiles and got all princess-ified!
Princess Cheryl

Me and my "Move Over Cinderella" shirt

Princess Deb

Princess Christine

We boarded the bus to the Start at about 3:30 and headed to the staging area where we took some photos, danced, mingled with other princesses, and soaked in the pre-race excitement!

Then, it was time for the more than 1/2 mile cattle walk to the start line.  Cheryl and I said our "good lucks" to Christine and Deb as we made our ways to our assigned corrals.  Since Cheryl and I had proof of time, we started in Corral B!

In no time, we were off . . . with about 17,000 of our closest friends!

I promised myself I would not take this race seriously and would stop for lots of photos.  At first, I wasn't sure if I would live up to the promise I made myself . . . and then I saw these two hotties near the Richard Petty Driving Experience.  Hey, they weren't really "characters", but they were worth stopping for!

And then, I couldn't stop myself from stopping!  
Two of my favorite Disney characters:  I am assuming we must have been running near the Polynesian for this one.  There were also dancers in grass skirts (male and female) next to these two.

As we were near the Transportation and Ticket area, we were treated by this young drum group.  Got your feet moving to the beat!

They tried to hide the hill of death near the Contemporary by using men in spandex jumping on a trampoline.  I think this would have worked for men if reversed, but it did very little for me!  LOL!

Finally, I made it to Main Street!  Couldn't resist having a Cast Member get my pic in front of the castle.

Near the Haunted Mansion, I met these two "drop-dead" gorgeous ladies.

Smee and Hook

Clarabelle had no line for pictures, so what the heck?

Native American Princess

This was about at mile 8 and I was exhausted.  I stopped for a pic out of sheer physical need!

And finally, I made it to the finish!
It wasn't my fastest - but it was a perfect fit.  I stopped for at least 10 photo opportunities and I was coming off being sick!  I will take it!

Then, I waited at the end for my friends to join me.  It was fun to look around at all the great costumes and the reactions to the finishers reaching such an amazing goal . . . some for the first time and others with repeat performances.  I was so excited for my friends!

We celebrated the accomplishment in the Magic Kingdom, of course, wearing our "I DID IT!" shirts . . . and taking pictures with some of our new friends!

That night, we celebrated with a character meal at the Garden Grill in EPCOT - an all-you-care-to-eat family-style place.  And we were in an an all-you-care-to-eat family-type of mood!

Cheryl and Mickey read us our meal choices.

Mickey and Christine

Christine, Chip, and Deb 
(Oh, I hope I got the chipmunk correct!)

Me, Chip, and Cheryl

Ahhhh . . . Lite Pomegranate Lemonade - there wasn't enough of it that night!

During our final day, we had some lunch at Japan in EPCOT.  I had been having a hankering for California Rolls the entire trip, and my friends let me indulge!  After coming out of the counter service restaurant in Japan, we saw the Candy Art Lady.  We watched her for a while with another couple.  After several minutes, I realized who this unusually smily couple was:  Ethan Zohn and Jenna Murasca - winners from Survivor!  They helped to kick off the race the previous morning and were doing some park touring of their own - with a personal escort, of course. 

Our final farewell meal took place at the Prime Time 50's Cafe where we took part in the delights of pot roast, meatloaf, and keeping our elbows off of the table!

We were sooooo sad to see the fun end.  After all, there was a lot of build up getting ready for this trip.  I am currently having the post-race blues - reading message board trip reports and blogs (and now creating my own) to relive the excitement.  I couldn't have spent the trip with three other more beautiful friends . . . on the inside and out.  I loved the trip, and I love my girls!

PS . . . when I got home, the kids (especially DD) were fuming that they didn't get to come.  DS got over it quickly.  He can be bought easily with souvenirs.  The 10 year old daughter holds more of a grudge!


  1. Great job! I love your race recaps. I'm not going to post on each of them, but since September I have been at every half that you were at! I added the WDW marathon in January too (My first).

    You write very nicely. I'm going to start promoting other blogs over on my blog too, so yours will definitely be one I mention. I look forward to reading more!

  2. Hi - new follower!

    I am impressed. You had a good time with stopping for photos and coming off illness.

    Looks like you all had a fantastic trip and a great race :)!