10:30 p.m. go to sleep.
12:30 a.m. wake up thinking it’s 3:30 a.m.
Stare at my phone and realize I am delirious and it is only past midnight. More sleep.
1:30 a.m. woke up again because I was scared that I would miss my alarm.
2:30 a.m. repeat of hour before.
2:45 a.m. first alarm goes off.
Get up, and pretty much crawl to the bathroom and start getting ready.
3:00 a.m. wake up call from hotel.
3:05 a.m. get ready.
Take picture and post a quick blog post.
3:20 a.m. head out to the lobby to meet some of the other bloggers.
I was obviously nervous, to say the least! I woke up every hour scared I would sleep in and miss the entire race.
Somehow I woke up with ENERGY. Ready to rock this thang
I met up with some of the other women in the lobby around 3:30 and we took some pictures, then immediately headed to the bus.
The great thing about staying in a Disney resort, is they provide transportation on a charter bus for all the people staying there.
Finally we arrived at Epcot! It was pretty chilly out, so luckily I had my throw away jacket to keep me warm for the time being.
There were TONS of other runners arriving at the same time and i t comforted me knowing that we got there as early as we did.
We had quite a way to walk, but luckily we reached our VIP tent – Race Retreat.
Anyone can get this special treatment for an extra cost. I would definitely recommend this because you get food, coffee, water, powerade, a heated tent, bag check, and private porta potties.
Those definitely came in handy since the other ones were completely PACKED.
I immediately grabbed some coffee, which was well needed at this point, and a banana. They had tons of bagels and such, but nothing gluten free.
Luckily, I was prepared with a bunch of gluten free snacks since I figured they wouldn’t have options. I ended up just eating the banana and a Luna bar I packed.
After eating, I went to use the restroom and check my bag. We headed over to the corrals at a quarter to five.
Thankfully we went over there at that time because it took FOREVER. The line was so backed up we were barely moving.
My new friend Colleen and I decided we were going to weave in and out of the crowd of people and book it to our corral. We wanted to stick together since we were both in corral A and it worked!
After a pretty long walk, we made it. Honestly, that was my warm up. It took a good 20 minutes or so to even get to the corrals.
Almost starting time!
We were pretty much up by the 1:30 pace group, even though I KNEW that is not was I was going to be running.
**Warning: Prepare for wordiness since I took no pictures on the course.**
After a five minute delay, we were off!!
I was so excited and had such an adrenaline rush. I felt GREAT. Except one problem.
I already had to pee. WTF. I spotted a porta potty at mile .85 (seriously) and decided it would be better to just go quickly and get it over with now.
I peed at top speed, and ran back onto the course.
I was cruising, jamming to my music, and loving every second of the run.
Four miles passed and I could not believe it had already been four miles! I was astonished but glad everything was going great.
The two-hour pace group came up behind me at this point. Although I didn’t have a time goal, I decided to try and stick with them.
We were running under 9 minute miles, and I felt great. I told myself if I needed to, I could pull back and let them go. Since I was feeling completely fine, I just went with it.
I stayed with them for about 3-4 miles. Up until mile 7 or 8. The first six miles were hands down the best part of the race. So much excitement and so much going on.
Once you go through the castle, things start to die down a bit. I was still fine with running on the roads since I’m used to boring scenery, but I lost the two-hour pace group.
My legs started to ache at mile 8 and told myself it was fine if I let them go, especially since I started before them. I figured if anything, I could make up time later.
There were a couple of “hills” (to me they were legit hills since I’m a natural Florida girl), that I was NOT expecting. I’ll be honest, they were hard!
The first one was fine, but the others, not so much.
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the hills, the absolutely WORST part of the race was when we had to go around one of the slanted curves in a highway that curves for a LONG time. I don’t know how else to explain that.
I thought it was never going to end and my ankles, feet, and legs were screaming at me for running on a slanted surface for a while. And right after, a hill. Ugh.
I wanted to walk at this point but told myself just to wait for a water break. Oh, and I’m pretty sure a grandma passed me so I got really annoyed at myself.
I kept glancing at my garmin and just wanted to stay at a 10 min/mi or under.
Luckily my shot bloks and gu gels kept me energized. I swear they helped!
After that darn hill, right before mile 10, there was a water station. I stopped to drink and stretch very quickly since I wanted to sprint at the end.
I told myself whatever I do, I want to give it my ALL at the very end.
We ran up another hill (while on a big screen?) and eventually ran into Epcot.
Hallelujah! Not sure what came over me, but I said “Screw the pain in my legs, screw those hills, screw that slanty curve thing especially, I’m speeding it up and doing this thing!”
I was SO tired and just wanted it to end. Epcot felt a lot longer than 2-3 miles, but I got through it. I was so happy that I was running my first half and despite the pain in my legs, I loved every second of it.
It was weird because I have never felt this pain in my legs, feet, or ankles on ANY of my long runs.
Anyway, once I turned a bunch of corners, I saw tons of people and new I was getting close to the finish line. Their cheering REALLY helped me and encouraged me to run faster and that I was capable of finishing at a pretty great time.
I saw a choir singing and I almost cried. I didn’t, but almost. And I NEVER cry, so that’s saying a lot.
I glanced at my garmin and knew I could make it under 2:10 and I set a new goal for myself in those last moments. I WOULD run under a 2:10.
Eventually I saw the finish line and literally almost cried again. I just kept a HUGE smile on my face, and sprinted as fast as I could.
Finally, I MADE IT. I crossed that finish line, and a rush of emotions came over me.
I was exhausted, delirious, happy, excited, and most importantly proud.
I ran my first half marathon and loved.every.second.
I wandered around a little aimlessly afterward, took a picture with my metal, and grabbed a snack pack and some free food/drinks.
Finally, I found my mom! Obviously she hugged me and snapped a photo.
Runners high at its finest.
I went back to the race retread and was given flip flops, and a ticket for an alcoholic beverage.
I REALLY wanted a mimosa, but I felt bad leaving my mom standing outside. Like a good daughter, I grabbed my bag and went back out so we could leave and get back to the hotel. Next time I will have a mimosa
After showering and laying in bed for a while overwhelmed by everyone’s kind words of encouragement, food was here. YES.
Veggie omelet with breakfast potatoes.
And an entire pot of hot coffee. Pure bliss.
I ate every last bite. I swear it was the best meal in the entire world at that moment.
I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of this weekend with runDisney and Fitfluential. I can’t thank you all enough! You are both amazing. And thank you to my mom for coming and supporting me of course.
I highly recommend the princess half for all the ladies (and men?) wanting to do it next year. It’s a BLAST. Take part in the other events as well, they are all so much fun and worth every penny.
Another thing checked off my bucket list.
First half marathon, CONQUERED.