Not sure why it took me so long to share my story about Disney Princess Marathon Weekend. Shock? Tired? Not really sure. Perhaps just because it felt sort of like a weird, misplaced weekend for a race I never felt really ready for despite the fact that I trained more in the past year than I ever had on any previous year.
It started innocently enough, pretty much like my annual February junket to my favorite place, except this time I rented a pint-size car for the trip and for a woman standing almost 6 ft. tall, it was constant challenge to maneuver, but it was fun. Perhaps it was the extra-long, 45 mile per hour maximum speed through all 198+ miles of South Carolina. This was particularly painful since there isn’t a stop light or sign on I-95 for its entire approximately 1920 miles.
I digress, back to the race at hand. I had originally signed up for the marathon, but knew that was not going to happen, so when RunDisney opened up spots for the half, I immediately jumped on it. Most people complain that RunDisney does not give refunds, but imagine my surprise when my transfer was actually approved and money refunded despite the fact it was after the proof of time cut off. The only drawback was I was assigned to corral P because my registration for the half was after the cutoff, therefore my proof was entered after the cut-off. Despite many warnings to contrary about the lack of willingness to allow corral changes, my wishes were granted and they agreed to move me up a corral. Sometimes miracles do happen. A refund and a corral change! What next? Wrong question.
For the entire week leading up to Saturday, threats of impending inclement weather threatened race day. The forecast called for lightening right around the time volunteers would be setting up for the half marathon. Despite the fact that we were assured by the many seminar presenters there would be no chance of cancellation (and of course they couldn’t be wring, right?) the lightening started as predicted so the race was cancelled. While it gave me the opportunity to sleep in, it was kind of sad. I was feeling pretty positive about the race and wasn’t even too concerned about the corral. RunDisney was a champ, not only would we get our medals, but they also offered reimbursement in the form of a free registration to a future half marathon, $180 gift card (the cost of registration), a chance to run the full or even two-one day park hopper tickets. What amazed me is despite their generosity, considering the waiver we all signed about non-reimbursements, people still complained. There were even some that wanted taxes and Active.com site registration fees and travel fees reimbursed. What can I say…. It takes all kinds.
After the overnight storm, Saturday dawned clear and cold…and what sight did my well-rested eyes see? Hundreds of half marathon runners running the lake around the hotel wearing their costumes and bibs getting the miles in to earn their medal. Hotel guests and staff set up water stations and cheered runners on. Of course, I couldn’t be like everyone one else (besides I wanted to get in and out of ESPN to collect my gift card).
Sure, I wanted to be different. I waited after dinner, about 30 minutes after eating a steak and egg sandwich with double fries, to embark on my 13.1 miles in the cold, dark night. My sister came out and ran a mile with me and brought Powerade. I got to watch fireworks in the distance. It took me forever – possibly my longest 13.1 EVER, looping and looping around the hotel well-lit pathways, the parking lots and the lake. I actually got cramps at mile 3 until my sister gave me Sportlegs which I HIGHLY recommend.
My Garmin threatened to run out of battery at mile 12.75, so I stopped and restarted it and ran for another half mile. Even though there were other runners on the lake, it was cold and dark in spots, but I finished. One thing I can say about this medal? #medalearned! Next month? Disney Princess Weekend! Bring it! Congratulations to my sisters for running their marathon the next day!