Sunday, June 30, 2013

So how many PRINCEsses are here, anyway? AND Somewhere over the MOUNTAIN!

"Keep your kicks laced, get your grips straight before you quit, you kick, this is the big race"
~~LeCrae, Run

When I last left all of you in the blogosphere, I mentioned the title.  Just what, pray tell, is a PRINCEss?

I'll give you all some hints:


Okay, at least he is dressed like a prince.

This dude had a skirt on:
But I think he gets the prize:

Dude, did you seriously lose a bet?

Anyway, backing up to the dude in the skirt at mile 10. . .just a picture up.  Do you see how we are at the bottom and there are people on the bridge up there.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, between miles 10 and 12, there is an up ramp.  It's a killer.  At first I did great, but I ended up fizzling out:

I promise you, when I saw this sign, I started praying hard. . .

I was sure I'd walk it, but when I started up, the easiest thing to do was simply run it.

It was still wall to wall people.

But when I got to the top, I could see the people coming into Epcot to start their park touring for the day

Is that a golf ball I see!  

Why, yes it is, meaning I'm in the home stretch!!!!

About this time, I want to hug every single one of the volunteers passing out water.

We round about the corner past Spaceship Earth through what is typically only a castmember alley, and I see these people:

You all know what that means. . .

And you all want to know the truth?

I cried harder when I went through this than I did when I went through the castle.

"The Holy Spirit got the breath you breathe,
So if the cramps kick in it's all the breath you need,
Wait on the Lord to renew you man,
Don't stop, keep going, you can do this, man"
~~LeCrae, Run

It's a little thing, running a race.  You get up in the early morning hours, fight the fog and and caffeine withdrawals.  You constantly look for the next mile marker, the next piece of entertainment, the finish line.  But the fact of the matter is, you are never finished.  You start the morning wondering what on earth you were thinking only at the end to want to do it all over again.  You run for the prize that is yours to obtain.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives a prize?  So run that you may obtain it."  ~~1 Corinthians 9:24

In my case, is the prize this?


Your winning prize can be the first place medal, or it can be the feeling that you and only you have when you finish.  That was part of my prize, but not all of it.

I've said this many, many times.  Most of these big races are on Sunday morning.  Starting with the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, I determined what my races were going to accomplish.  While I feel great after them and love how my body is doing things I never thought possible, in the end, these races are in fact 3 hour times alone with God.  I pray every step I take.  I encourage others along the path.  I listen to worship music.  And above all, even with all of the entertainment, I look at the creation around me that God made.  The rising sun over the horizon, the birds flying, and the trees in the breeze and I realize something:  He made this earth so that we can enjoy it, while at the same time worshiping Him.  Every step I take in a long run or a race is one that He determined would happen in His divine providence.

And I'm thankful for every one.

Leaving the race, I was ready for an ice bath.  Nicole carried buckets of ice back to the room and I settled in.  I had a paper to write, because I had not used time wisely throughout the week in order to not have to do this on a Sunday afternoon.

I finished it, and then headed over to the Magic Kingdom, where I indulged in my post race treat of choice:

A bacon cheeseburger.

Man, I could go for one of these right now.

And you know what?!?  I scarfed that bad boy right down!

I have lots of memories of that day, but I remember most going through the castle, taking that massive hill, and the finish line.  Unlike the Isrealites who walked for forty years, my feet DID hurt.  But I am thankful that I had the feet to put one in front of the other in order to hurt.

"Run this is your race, boy, run, don't stop"  ~~LeCrae, Run

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith."  ~~2 Timothy 4:7

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Walking Right Down the Middle of Main Street, USA

Run so hard, don't ya want yer reward
Now run now run now run some more
~~LeCrae, Run

When I last left you all, I was on my way to the Magic Kingdom.

This, my friends, is why many people run the Disney races.  Just a chance to bypass the ticket stiles and run, as the song goes, "right down the middle of Main Street, USA."  

The fuzzy picture of Space Mountain in sight, I felt my blood starting to pump a little harder.

I kept looking for a sign that we were on the right path.  They brought us through an area typically seen only by cast members shuffling through their work day.  And then. . .

Oh, town hall, what a lovely sight you are.

Now, for those of you who frequent Disney as much as I do, you know what is at the next right turn.

I'm told that many women get to this point and completely bawl. 

I'm not afraid to tell you all.

I was one of those women.
Now in my post after the Boston Marathon bombing, I allude to the spectators.  On the left of the rope is the group of spectators and by this time I know I am close to halfway through the race.  I was bawling because I made it this far, because I was running towards the castle, because my body was doing things I never thought it could.

LOL, first time I've noticed the Grumpy Cat poster:  "I ran once, it was horrible"

I found an unsuspecting cast member who was kind enough to take my picture:

When I rant through the castle, I waited in line for a picture.  Which was stupid.  It ruined my time, and the picture never showed up.  But I got my own pretty good picture:

And just like that, the castle was through.  And I still had a little over 7 miles left!

I'm assuming I missed mile 5, as well

Well, my feet were certainly on fire!

Remember in Exodus how the Israelites wandered for 40 years and their feet never hurt?  Yeah, I'm pretty sure I would have given anything for that kind of divine intervention at this point.  What you don't see is this is known as cone alley.  It's the stretch of road between the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian.  I'm pretty sure this is Grand Floridian Way.  There is only one lane of traffic here for people to run--and remember there were 26,000 of us there.  I ended up mainly on the grass here because it really just bottlenecked so that I felt like I was on I-95 rush hour DC traffic.

Yeah, it was really that bad.

By now, I know the odds of me finishing a sub-three-hour half marathon were squashed.  :(

And I sure don't know what happened to Mile 8.

I did get in another photo stop

By now, I'm feeling good.  I know my toenail that was hanging on by a thread at the beginning of the race has probably met its demise.  But I also know I'm going to finish.

Coming up. . .So how many PRINCEsses are here, anyway?

"Yeah, we still in it, dawg, we can't quit it dawg,
all my cousins who runnin stick with it y'all
Jezebel is jumpin' your path, you best run
They tempting you puff,
Puff past, just run"
~~LeCrae, Run

"But the one who endures to the end will be saved."  ~~Matthew 24:13

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why, yes, I AM a Princess

The night before any race can be one of nerves.  You check your gear.  Once, twice, twenty-three times.  You put everything together in a nice, neat little pile.

And then you try to sleep.

Oftentimes, sleep is difficult to come.  That held true for the Princess Half Marathon.

I wanted to sleep.

Needed to sleep.


I taped my plantar fascitis.  Then check emails.  Then watched television.

Why on earth was it so hard to sleep?

Thankfully, and graciously, sleep finally did come to me.  And it was a good thing.  The chords of Soarin' were waking me within what felt like minutes.  

What people don't tell you about Disney races like the Princess Half Marathon is how early you have to wake up.  In my case?  It was 2ish am.  

I hopped in the shower after I tore off the KT Tape from my left foot, leaving behind my first blister for the day.  But I sucked it up and put on my big girl britches.  By 3:30, I was on the but towards Epcot, where I definitely was not the first person there:

They were yet again, playing loud music, trying to get everyone pepped up.  I bought a cup of the nastiest coffee ever known to man, but was grateful for the pickmeup.

I checked my bag, and headed towards the start line.  

What they don't tell you about the Princess Half is that before you get to the start line, you walk almost the first 2 miles of the 5K.

If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'.

Yep, saw it the day before

Plenty of sparkle

Sea of porta-potties

Finally in Egypt

Once I was there, I got into my corral, which was E.  I think they went from Elite to A to H.  

One of the amazing things about Disney is the way they start the races.  Every corral began with fireworks.  I've seen races do things only for the first corral and that was it.  Disney does it right:

And although it seemed like it takes forever in other races, I was here before long:

And I was nudged on by the Fairy Godmother herself!

We were off and I was running.  In fact, I ran the first mile.  Before I knew it, I was here:

And although I really thought I'd stop for Captain Jack, I didn't.

I kept on going, and before long I was here:

Now, I don't know why, but for some reason, I was really looking forward to getting to this point of the race.  I think I was looking forward to it so much, that I missed Mile 2.

Because my next picture is. . .

And then:

Somewhere between 3 and 4 I got my first runDisney text that alluded to a sub 3-hour finish.  I got excited and kept running.

Now, we were getting closer and closer to the Magic Kingdom.  And I was starting to be surprised by some of the runners.

I mean, really, are people running after losing a bet?

Hello, NotSoSnowWhite

Hmmm. . .maybe the monorail would have been a better choice. . .

Now how often do you see this while running?

It's the sea of people going under water

I'm told these were from the marathon weekend

One day, I will stay here.

Now, all of you know where I am about now.  Coming up is the real reason why most people run Disney races.  But let me tell you a few things about this particular race thus far:

1.  I was feeling good.  No knee pain, well hydrated.
2.  It was hot.  By this point, my hair is soaked even though I started off with dry hair
3.  The POCKETS of my Sparkle skirt made it worth every penny
4.  Everyone there made me feel like a princess.

By far, as long as I live, this will be the best half marathon I've ever run.  

Coming up. . .Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA

I'll leave you with a few words from LeCrae, who tends to be my best running friend:

Nah, I ain't sweaty and my breath's pretty steady
My feet don't hurt and my legs ain't heavy
I'm still in the marathon, I keep my pace steady
Temptation is quick/but the Spirit stay ready
My eyes on the prize, 
Yeah they fixed on Christ
~~LeCrae, "Run"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Royal Family 5K

Back in December, I started looking at the upcoming races. . .most specifically, the upcoming Princess Half Marathon.  People were talking about talking the Princess Half slow and enjoying the race, and I was all about the training I was doing.  So I came up with an idea.

The Royal Family 5K.

I could take it slow and do it with my friend Nicole.

And then, I talked my husband into giving it to me as a Christmas present.

The morning of the 5K, Nicole and I got up really, really early.

We got dressed.

And boarded the bus with probably the second group.

We passed through all of the groups and went up to the party, where everyone was dancing.  Guess what?!?  I don't dance.  But, nearby:

The start line

And as people started the race, Disney started with fireworks:

Nicole and I were at the front of our corral.  Where an idiot (pardon me) made a snide comment about the two of us being towards the front.

Guess what, dude?  Get to the start a little earlier next time.

Either way, we were off and going through towards the back entrance to Epcot

They were starting off the test runs of Test Track

Don't I look cute in my tutu?!?

There's a lot of beer back here in the UK.

About here, we saw where a lady had collapsed.  It was sort of scary, to be honest.

And before we knew it, we were finished.  We got through in about an hour, by walking most of the race.  I was not about to injure myself when I had the Princess Half the next day.

Post race fuel box full of randomness.  I'd get another one the next day.

And what did I do post-race?  Well, by 10:00am, I was in Hollywood Studios.

And I got into that line.  That ended up being about 120 minutes due to a break down.  I rode with a girl from California who was going to run the half the next day.

I also road the Rock n Roller coaster.

And I like Mickey's new location.

I followed up my 2.5 hours there with a trip to Stormalong Bay.  Nikki and I had a studio at Boardwalk Villas, where the creepy clown pool was out of commission.  We were able to use the best resort pool on property. 

It was getting later, and we'd have dinner coming soon.  The next day was the Princess Half Marathon.

And I was ready.