Yeah, that’s right…I went on Facebook and started b’ing and moaning about how bad my 2nd half marathon was and why this and why that. Poor pitiful me. You know why? Because I didn’t prepare-you know what they say about failing to prepare? That’s right, means you are preparing to fail. And I didn’t actually fail-I finished and I finished 187th out of 21,000+ people (150th female) so I need to stop bellyaching. In fact, I almost tied my first half marathon time but I had done a ridiculous time in a practice run less than 2 weeks prior (1:35) to this race and that was on my mind the.entire.race. I actually started crying a little as Jon & the kids walked up to me right after; maybe it was sheer exhaustion from the trip and the race and the lack of sleep and just seeing them there (they were so sweet) but it was also because I had failed to accomplish what I wanted to. And that is why I am a wimp-seriously, I was mad that I did not kill a run that I did not properly prepare for. And I had been told and told this was not a race to kill anyway-21k people? Exactly.
That being said, I will keep my initial post below because it does have some information about the race for those thinking about doing it and I need to remind myself of what a crybaby I was beingAnd I have a chance at redemption this weekend-that is right, I had signed up for the Seaside Half without realizing they were only a week apart. But this time, I get to control my surroundings a little more and sleep in my own bed the night before and the race is at 7 am and not 5:30 am. This time, maybe I won’t feel like I got hit by a truck for 3 days after the race and I can enjoy it a little more! Stay tuned…
I remember looking at the clock on my phone at 12:23 AM on Saturday night and thinking, maybe I should just get up-is 2.5 hours of sleep better than none or will I just be more tired? Finally the coughing (Presley Grace) stopped and I fell into a deep sleep. When my alarm rang at 3 AM I quickly turned it off. For a split second I thought, why would I do this? Why would I get up out of this bed after only a few hours of sleep (with not much sleep the nights before because the sleeping conditions, early character breakfast’s, etc.), after walking Disney for 3 days refereeing 3 kids, drinking 3 Pina Coladas by the pool yesterday, and basically not preparing the way I should have to run 13.1 miles. For a split second I almost turned back over…but I didn’t. Am I disappointed at my finish? Yes, but I finished! Sometimes that is all you need to doIf my sweet baby can get up to come watch then I could finish!
I registered for the Disney Princess half, to be my first half, about 6 months ago. Then on December 28th (as in a few months ago) I saw that the Biggest Loser Race also encompassed a half marathon. I had just had surgery but, for some reason, without talking to anyone, I signed up only a few days before that race. I didn’t tell anyone except Jon and I got up that morning before the sun (feeling much like the same as this past Sunday morning-almost not going) by myself and drove over to Panama City for the race. I had never even run 13.1 miles-I think I had done 10 miles once. I had taken a week off from running from my surgery, it was cold, as in 28 degrees I think. I remember parking behind Five Guys and sitting there wondering should I do it? Could I do it? I almost backed out then too! No one knew that I was doing it, Jon thought (and rightly so) that I shouldn’t because of my surgery so it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But something made me walk up and get my bib and get ready. I did it-I finished! My time was 1:46:17 and I got first in my age group-not bad for my first half marathon. Someone asked me, a day or two later, did I feel odd doing the Biggest Loser Race as if that 13.1 miles was any different than any other 13.1 miles. No, I didn’t…there were people who were clearly in a weight loss journey but there were also people with Ironman tattoos on their calves. I, myself, had lost almost 30 lbs. I think I did better than I expected on that first one (I wanted to finish in under 2 hours-it was really just an arbitrary number since I had never gotten that far before) because I had psyched myself up that it was going to be terrible and excruciating and it wasn’t. Was I tired? Yep. Did my mind go through the, why am I doing this? thoughts? Yep. But, as the miles passed I felt good, I knew I could finish.
This time, I think I downplayed it. And by downplaying, I mean I didn’t prepare the way I should because I knew I could finish. I did do one long run a few weeks or less ago where I ran 13.1 miles one afternoon and I did it in 1:35-that was the extent of my preparation. And since that was so easy that day, for some reason, I was too confident. For the last three weeks I have eaten terribly – I don’t know why but my diet went to hell all of the sudden. And no, I wasn’t “carbing up” unless carbing up means eating lots of Cadbury Chocolate Eggs (damn them), I was just eating…alot. Then I didn’t plan for success at all; didn’t think the whole thing through. I wanted the kids to see me finish so we decided to do a Disney trip with the race. Perhaps we should have done the Disney part after the race (but didn’t because of school and work schedules). What did happen was this-we got to Orlando and the room we were supposed to have was not the correct room. We were supposed to have a suite with a kitchen and separate bedrooms-what we got was a regular (albeit, nice) hotel room…for all 5 of us. Now that wouldn’t normally be a big deal except that I needed sleep and I needed to get early sleep on Saturday. That did not happen. What also happened was that I was so stressed from taking three kids to Disney World for a few days that Saturday I sat my butt down at the pool and had pina coladas and funnel fries (read: funnel cake in the shape of fries) on Saturday then we all took a nap at 4 o’clock because we were exhausted from the trip already. We got up, went to Downtown Disney (where there was a wait to get on a wait list for the restaurants) and then went to Texas Roadhouse where I ate salty peanuts, cinnamon buttered rolls, and a steak. Not.good. After all that and no sleep the morning didn’t get any better.
I broke the cardinal rule of running-I did something different on race day-I ate before the race which I never do; a Fiber One bar to be exact. Then the bus picked up at the convention center (which we had to be ready for at 3:30 am) instead of the lobby. A hotel employee walked over to us eventually and asked if we were all going to race-yeah a dozen women in tutu’s, sober at 3:30 in the morning in a hotel lobby-obiously dude, obviously. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was in the right spot because the women in the right spot had the door slammed in their face by the Wyndham bus driver because he said he was full. He never told them if someone would come back, Disney had roads closed, and traffic was terrible. After a few complaints they had the guy come back for us-at least 45 minutes later. We had to be in our corrals at 5 AM and my start time was 5:35 AM since I was in the first corral. We got off the bus at about 5:10 AM – I was so mad at this point and just sick to my stomach. I had decided to save my last bathroom trip for right before I headed to my corral but had to skip that (looking back, that was a terrible, terrible idea) to get there in time-I had to run the mile or so to my corral to get there in time for my start. I finally got there and settled in-they were doing the anthem and all of that. I started to get excited for the start, more so for the finish. I was so wrapped up I didn’t even stretch-not one single stretch before taking off for 13.1 miles…
It was quite a sight-tons of women in the dark dressed like various princesses. Me? I didn’t dress up-I had a costume but that went out the window with the rest of my preparation. It was really neat-I got all my tracking and music set and the fireworks went off signaling the start. As usual, I was pretty quick out of the gate. Obviously with thousands of people around you, you can’t be that quick and the dodging and everything is terrible but I was satisfied with my starting pace. It went through my mind how disappointed I was that I had been looking forward to this for 6 months and I had just let my preparation go by the wayside but I pushed that aside and just ran. I did well for the first half-the first half went to the castle. I have to say that this is a disappointment. I know logistically (time wise and for the park to open) that Disney can’t make the finish line the castle but honestly they should figure that out-it is very motivating to get to the castle and would have been much more motivating to have that as the end instead of the just almost halfway (speaking of the castle, how about the photographers for the race get a fisheye lens so you can actually see the castle behind you when you come out?). It seems like the pinnacle of the race to go through the castle but its not, distance-wise. However, it is where I went downhill. I fought hard to get to the castle because the kids and Jon were waiting to see me there and cheer me on (that was the best moment of that race beside the finish-seeing the kids waiting on me in the dark on Main Street yelling and cheering for me) but after that I just lost it. First, I finally had to stop and go to the bathroom and then I needed to go again. Jon was getting text updates on my progress and he said he noticed that I was falling offMy 10k split, which is almost halfway, was 47:38 so I was doing well. Just to show how much I dropped off in the end, my first 3.1 miles of the race I did in 23:34, my last 3.1 miles it took me 33 minutes. That sucks. I just gave out-between stopping to go to the bathroom (which I had always been amazed that people did-I mean weren’t they prepared on race day to NOT have to do that? Yep, then it was me!) and the exhaustion from the trip and the humidity (boy I was so not prepared for that for some reason-I guess its been a while since we had it that bad-it was 94% that morning) I was just done. It literally took all I had to finish that race, especially knowing that my time was not what I wanted it to be.
What I have realized is that I am very competitive-not with others-with myself. I knew what I could do and was so disappointed that I didn’t. And even more mad that it was my fault for not being more prepared. My time wasn’t bad in the grand scheme of things-out of +/- 21k I was 187th. But knowing I could’ve done so much better just did me in. When I crossed the finish line I may have smiled because the torture was over but I didn’t jump for joy. When I finally saw Jon and the kids I started crying a little-it had been a long 4 days and it wasn’t how I wanted to finish it but having them there made it better. They were excited and I was honored that they had gotten up at 4 am to come watch me and Jon said they were perfect angels the whole time
Will I do another Disney race? Probably. Will I do the Princess Race again? Probably not. I am not at my best that early in the morning; 5:35 AM is just too early for me-even if I had prepared it would have been hard for me to get to bed early and get up like it was nothing. Also, the heat and humidity this time of year was too much for me. Obviously I am used to the heat and humidity since I live in Florida but its been winter here for months in NW Florida so my body is out of the loop on that-apparently it is already summer in Orlando in FebruaryIt is not in Santa Rosa Beach-I am still wearing cold weather gear here most days (given, I am a wimp when it comes to cold weather). What I may do is the Wine & Dine Race in November-it will probably be hot then too but its at night and I get wine afterwards, right? That sounds like more my speed. I am not a huge fan of the big race thing-it is crowded, even ahead of the crowd. You have to dodge people and everyone is trying to get as close to the turns and curves as possible and you can’t or you will run into people so you end up going out of your way. I know its only seconds, but it is something and its exhausting.
Next time, I will stay at a Disney property so I will be sure to get to the race in plenty of time to prepare, I will not bring my kids, I will not “do” Disney for days before the race, and I will prepare for the race like I should. Those are my pointers. If you do a Disney race be prepared to be put out-as in driving to Downtown Disney, to park, to board a bus, to take you to a Disney property that you could otherwise drive to, in order to pick up your race packet-took an hour to pick up my information even though my hotel, that hotel, Downtown Disney were within 2 miles of one another.
And then, I ended the day by doing something dumb-getting in the car and riding for 6 hours straight! It was nice to get home from Orlando at 2 pm after running a half marathon in the same day but boy was I sore!