Dreams really do come true! I cannot pinpoint the day I actually decided to run Princess but I can honestly tell you life has been a roller coaster ride since. I would not trade one single moment for anything. I endured many many miles through a harsh upper Midwest winter and I now believe that it made me a stronger runner. With HM #2 looming far ahead into the future I trudged onward.
Fast forward to Wednesday February 23 when we departed Moline for Orlando via a rotten 3 ½ hour layover in Minneapolis which was going in the wrong direction LOL. We finally arrived to our room at Disney’s All Star Music and we truly loved our room’s location. It was is the very same location where we stayed years ago for Matt’s senior year graduation trip which was in itself an awesome trip. At about 11pm we finally go to bed because the next morning would be very special.
A few days before leaving for our trip I discovered that the Space Shuttle Discovery would launch the day after arriving in Orlando. I scored Grayline Bus charter tickets for the entire day at Kennedy Space Center’s visitors center to witness the launch with great viewing. Score! Jim and I are HUGE NASA nerds and this was a dream come true. The bus picked us up at 8am and we headed east. We reach KSC and find the perfect spot to plunk down my $5 fleece blanket I purchased just for this. As the day proceeded and after trying at least 25 different spots we find our final destination.
Long story short and after about 15 bottles of water we are about 10 minutes away from launch. It was not until we got back home and we watched all the hours I recorded did we realize just how close we came to a launch scrub. With mere seconds to go the crowd became alive as we had both video and audio feed at our spot. At launch it took a few seconds for us to finally see Discovery as it cleared the treeline. Our hearts were pounding with excitement and even though it was not nearly as loud as we thought it would be, it was a thrill of a lifetime. Godspeed Discovery!
The traffic leaving was AWFUL and we did not arrive back to our room until midnight after the 5pm launch. We still feel blessed to finally witness a launch and wouldn’t trade the day for anything.
Its Friday and it is Princess expo day. I am very tired from the day before but I shall trudge forward. Jim and I head over to the expo and he is obviously ootzy as he is constantly rubbing that spot on his head. That is when I know he is not comfortable with this whole thing yet he is being as patient as he can. All of this is making me feel rushed and I was not getting out of the expo what I wanted but that’s ok. I get my race packet and Jim gets his chEAR Sqaud packet including his folding stool that is quite cool actually. I then get a chance of a lifetime to meet Jeff Galloway and thank him for all that he has done for runners like myself that use his running methods. We head back to the room with our loot.
We finally head to the parks for awhile and headed over to the Boardwalk to enjoy a cigar, adult beverages and the beautiful scenery. Its times like this that brings us back to Disney so many times. Its just pure fun and relaxation.
We come back to the room for the night. I fall asleep immediately only to wake up at 3am to hubby’s snoring. That would be it for my sleep for the night and was a sign of things to come.
Saturday is the day Jim decided to get some work done so I head back to the expo by myself. I was giddy! I met Mary (lightningrunner) and give her my trademark hug. Anyone that has met me and received one knows what that is LOL. Then I get a chance to get my photo taken with the Fairy Godmother at the Expo entrance and then get Bibbity Bobbity Boo’ed with my sprinkling of Pixie Dust!
I make my purchases and head back to the room. It was now about time to head over to Downtown Disney to meet up with my fellow Spark Princesses. So many were there and it was such a thrill to finally meet them. Unfortunately, I do not have the photo that was taken. So many hugs and stories were exchanged and that is what it is all about.
We head back to the room and I lay everything out that I will need in the morning. I get my wakeup call from Mickey Mouse at 2:30am and I perhaps received about an hour of sleep. Hubby’s snoring woke me up prematurely. I get dressed, Jim gather his chEAR Squad gear and we get on the bus. So many bleary eyed yet excited Princesses were everywhere!
We reach the staging area and Jim and I part ways. I hit the potties and ready to make the infamous trek to the corrals. In the meantime, I meet Raine and Jen. Obviously we were not in the right spot for another meetup but that was okay.
I simply follow the Princess ahead of me and after what seemed to me miles I reach Corral C and I feel the excitement and fun is everywhere! The dj and entertainment was great! Finally, we are beginning the start process. After warming up nervously and heart now pounding Corral C is released and I am on my way to become a Princess!
It was humid yet cool and I was confident I had everything on my Amphipod I would possibly need including my camera. Mile 1 and 2 was awesome and magical. Only Disney knows how to do things right. After bonking HM #1 (yet finishing) I applied all of the lessons I had learned and I felt so confident that this would be a success.
It is still dark yet getting lighter and lighter as the miles tick off. We are now getting ever so close to Magic Kingdom with the highly anticipated run through Cinderella’s Castle! After passing by the Contemporary Resort we enter the magic Kingdom via the Cast member’s entrance. For those that have often wondered what it looks like back there…this is it.
I am now running down Main Street U.S.A. which is my favorite place!
We are now behind the Castle about to make our run through the Castle!
What a thrill it truly is for a Disney freak like me. I will never forget it as we run through to a throng of awesome spectators!! I am riding high! As we make the run through Frontierland to exit magic Kingdom I finally get to see what it is like behind Splash Mountain.
We now enter what would be the toughest part of the course but I was prepared and I am feeling strong. What I haven’t mentioned is that I am making several stops to take photos and I fully realize this eats up time. It doesn’t matter though as I am running this for the experience and not time. It is the phot stops that is helping me immensely with the humidity and the ever rising temps.
I reach down to put my sunglasses on only to discover that a lens fell out somewhere along the course. Damn! Those weren’t cheap AND the sun is now shining brightly in our faces. I shake it off and trek forward. We are now reaching miles 8, 9 and 10 and all is still great in my running world and I am feeling good. By now, if my left knee were to start hurting it would BUT it is not!!! I now believe I am going to make it through HM #2 pain free!! That is a huge boost.
By now we have passed the “hilly” loopty loo and on the final stretch to EPCOT, the Ball (Spaceship Earth) and alas..the finish line. I am still feeling strong although I am getting hot. I have now emptied all of my water and Powerade and take in my last GU. My fingers are completely swollen with all of the sodium I needed to consume but I know it is what I needed to make it. After training in the cold harsh winter, I am running Princess in the extreme opposite conditions. My body is holding up so well!
I am now running past the Ball around the bend, past the Ball one last time to exit EPCOT proper to the finish line. I am now experiencing a first ever…a HUGE burst of energy and a kick! I love it. I am now passing the awesome Gospel choir and head to the finish! You cannot wipe this smile off my face nor wipe the tears out of my eyes! The spectators are incredible and the music so wonderful!
I now become a Princess as I receive my beloved Tiara medal!
After catching my breath, guzzling water and making a few phone calls (LOL) I meet up with Jim to make our way to the bus to take us back to Music. We run into Holly, Sueann and their friend for yet another photo op.
I take a shower, don my gorgeous Tiara medal and head to the parks which is a moment I have always dreamed of. So many new Princesses so proudly wearing the hard earned Tiara medal are everywhere with smiles. So many miles and hours of running are included in the many smiling faces. So many dreams have truly come true for all of us!
Since we arrived back home I found myself utterly exhausted to the point where I could barely think. I have never felt like this ever. It took me most of the week to recover and I did not run until this morning. I felt so strong for the 4 miles as I reflected back on Princess and all of the memories. I am now ready to proceed forward as I prepare for HM #3...JASR near Pittsburgh. I look forward to sharing a wonderful weekend with so many of my Spark running peeps. Lets do it!
I needed Princess badly. I needed it for a huge confidence boost since I bonked HM #1 and I was VERY successful. I ran a flawless 13.1 miles and did everything right. I have a full schedule ahead of me in 2011 and I now know that if I do this right, I will have so many special memories awaiting me. I want to bring Emily (emilyrose1244) with us next year so she can experience the pure magic that Princess truly is. She has MS and we never know what the future will bring. Princess is something she will cherish forever.
It was a long hard winter but now I can honestly say that MY Dreams have come true and I feel so blessed that God has given me the gift of a healthy body and mind. I thank my husband for putting up with me through all of this. I thank ALL of you for giving me so much support. I love you all!
Princess Half Marathon
Calories burned: 1223