Ok, here we go. It's going to be a long one, so, get a snack, settle in. I once again drove down to Orlando with K. Along the way, we stopped in Tifton, GA to have breakfast with one of my dearest friends... Lisa! It was such a treat because I so rarely get to see her because she's so busy with work and school.
We were having a great time on the drive down there, and even making great time. Once we crossed into Florida, we were bombarded with signs for stores selling oranges and one even advertised having a giant alligator. We stopped to see said stuffed gator, and I have to say, they may have lied about the size of their gator. Is that a common thing in Florida?
We managed to make it to Orlando, found our sad little hotel and headed to the expo. This year, the number pick up was in a tent across from the Jostens Center, and we then had to head inside to pick up our shirts... REALLY?! I mean c'mon, I like the fact that pick up was in a separate place but t-shirt pickup couldn't be in the same place? Oh we didn't even get an even bag like last year, just a plastic runDisney bag, I felt slightly robbed. Also, there wasn't any swag, there was a virtual race bag, but it was lack luster at best. I pay a lot of money, throw something fun in there for me....pretty please, I love swag.
Saturday morning, we hit Downtown Disney and like a big dork, I was mesmerized by all the stuff outside of the lego store. I love legos and so does B.
K and I also did a little exploring outside of the touristy part of Orlando, and hit up a local running store called Track Shack. Saucony was there with their trailer full of shoes to try out, and I might have found a new love... the Hurricane 14 shoes. They felt like a little slice of heaven on my feet, I am going to look into getting a pair to put into rotation. I was supposed to meet up with some people from a Facebook running group, but when it came time to get ready, I had to make the executive decision to stay in that night. I won't get into the details here but it was just for the best. I did manage a trip to the store to buy myself a beer (to calm some of the nerves), some sour gummies (because I love gummies), and a powerade.
Then came race morning, believe it or not I had a half decent night's sleep. K and I got ready and headed to Epcot bright and early. She and I parted ways after we got there because she had purchased the Race Retreat package and I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much money on it, and the weather was wonderful, so there wasn't a huge need for it anyways. I headed over to the dj booth, and got my groove on. I was dancing with some people from the massage team and some other random princesses. I even got on the tv screens, I'm sure because I was droppin' it like it was hot! LOL I even got to meet up with an FB running friend who is just an amazing woman, she had some clothes for me because she has lost an incredible amount of weight. It was wonderful to meet her even briefly because she's just such an inspiration.
|This fabulous Drag Queen was there for the festivities.|
I was texting back and forth with my friend Danielle, because I wanted to catch a picture of us before the race, and we ended up chatting on our walk from the little athlete's village are to the corrals. Somewhere in the conversation, Danielle decided to drop back so she could run the race with me. I know it's selfish but it totally made me day.
|You can just see bits of my tutu, which didn't stay on me long.|
This year I got to be up close to the starting line when our corral went out, and even managed a picture of the Fairy Godmother, who did a much better job of sending us out this year.
The first half of the race went by pretty fast, we chatted. We were snapping pictures with our phones, and stopped for a few pictures inside the Magic Kingdom.
|Even though I'm looking down and doing something funny with my hands, this is|
one of my favorite pictures.
Then it happened, because of all of our stops the dreaded balloon girls caught up to us as we were leaving the Magic Kingdom. No, we weren't swept, but those chicks sure were bossy. I know that they were trying to be helpful but fear of being swept that always haunts me didn't let the rational part of my brain work. The intervals went out the window, I was feeling sore, and then when it started to drizzle, I fell apart. I was a wreck and had it not been for Danielle who pulled me, I am not sure I would have been able to make it. That being said, it was still a fantastic time, especially getting to spend it with a dear friend. Oh did I mention that we ran into a dude that was bedazzled?! Yup, he was totally bedazzled, from his face to his chest, down his legs and even his running shoes were bedazzled. To make the whole thing better, he was wearing a tutu, and had his hair up in spikes... it was AWESOME! Once we hit mile 10 or 11 (can't quite remember), Danielle reminded me that Bella and my parents would be at the finish waiting for me, and that was all I needed. Every time that I started to want to quit, I remembered Bella, I wanted her to see me finish strong. This time when we approached EPCOT, I managed to not have a panic attack....SCORE!! Although, I did manage to cry like a baby when we got to the gospel choir, and the tears flowed as we neared the finish. Not even sure why. Danielle again, got me to get it together, so we danced a little, high fived and jogged it across the finish. I would have loved a sprint across the finish but I just didn't have it in me. The lovely volunteer handing out medals was in tears, so that just set me off crying again. I was a mess to say the least. Half marathon #5 was DONE! Guess who missed it?! Yup, Bella and my parents were stuck on the bus on their resort to Epcot, so I didn't get to see them until after I had settled down.
|Second half marathon together|
|#5 for me!|
After the race, K and I headed back to the hotel, got cleaned up, packed up the car and met Bella and my parents. We had a little lunch and I got to see my family for a little while before we headed back home. All in all, a pretty wonderful race weekend. Can't wait until next year, it'll be the fifth anniversary of the race and one of my dearest friends is considering as her first half marathon.