All I can say is WOW! I went to Walt Disney World last weekend to throw my hat in the half marathon ring. I knew I hadn't trained as much as I should have and with a massive bone spur, plantar fasciatis and IT band pain in my left hip, the likelihood of maintaining the required pace wasn't good. The frustrating part was, if only I had known to fib a bit about my finish time when I registered, I would have been at least 2 or 3 corrals further up and had a 25 minute lead on the damned balloon ladies!
Let me say this first, if anyone knows how to put on an amazing run, it is Disney! Let me explain, but I'm getting ahead of myself, I need to go back and start at the beginning of my day. It all started at the unGodly hour of 2:15 in the morning, as we had to get up and get ready, we were meeting in the lobby of Shades of Green to walk over to the Polynesian and catch the bus to the race start. It is almost a mile walk from SOG to the Poly, but we met some amazingly awesome girls on the way. I was given glow sticks and even a little wand by one of the other princesses. Here's Kara and I on the bus...still half asleep, but ridiculously excited for what was ahead of us!
We got to Epcot and climbed off the bus and began the hike to the baggage check.
Once we got to the Corrals, it rapidly became apparent that while my adrenaline was taking over, I didn't have a snowball's chance of finishing this. There's pessimism, and there is reality, this was reality. I had sabotaged myself yet again, I hadn't done what I needed to do to be successful. Same old pattern, just a new endeavor. Well, that is the VERY LAST time that this will be my reality. My plan was a good one, I would do my best, and if/when the dreaded balloon ladies met me, I would become their new best friend.
Let me explain; there are 2 ladies that are the pace line. They cross the start line with the last person in corral H and the maintain a 16minute/mile pace which is the minimum acceptable pace for the half marathon. I knew they would catch me, I just didn't think it would happen so quickly. Within a few minutes of starting the race, I realized that even though I had been in the front line of Corral H at the start line, I was getting passed like I was standing still. I started to cry about half a mile in because I knew that I wasn't going to make it and it was the loneliest feeling. How could a person feel lonely around 20,000+ other runners, and the answer is, it is definitely possible. Between mile markers 1 and 2, the dreaded balloon ladies passed me. They were amazingly supportive, cheered me on, and coached me to try to keep up with them, but my body just wouldn't go any faster. It wasn't long before I had a guy on a bike pedal up next to me and say, "Excuse me, Princess Krista, are you aware of the pacing requirements?" Understand, my bib said, "Princess Krista" on it, that's how he knew my name. I explained that yes, I was aware of the requirements. He told me I needed to catch up with the balloon ladies before the next mile marker. Then a medic came along on a bike, asking if I was ok. I had been crying for about a mile now, because my reality had set in, and I was definitely not going to finish. I kept telling the guy on the bike and the medics that I was physically fine, just emotionally/mentally demoralized. That was really the only explanation for the tears, and they just wouldn't stop falling! I had lost sight of the balloon ladies, but I wasn't going to give up. At this point I heard a lady behind me crying, and heard her friend say, "I love you, but I have to go, don't want to get swept" as she sprinted away. I felt so bad for this lady. I knew how lonely she must feel, because I had felt it since my sister went to start in Corral G and left me in Corral H. Don't get me wrong, I knew my sister needed to go run her own race, and I respect her for doing so, I just felt very alone. I turned around to talk to this woman, whose name escapes me at the moment. She was participating as a part of "Team in Training" and even the coaches for Team in Training had left her. I tried to encourage her, but as I turned back around, I saw the bus along the side of the road start to move and park across the road. My heart sank. I had hoped I would get caught up before mile 2 and get to at least complete 3 miles, but that just wasn't in the cards. Well, my sister always says, "Dead freaking last is better than did not finish. Did not finish is better than did not start. Did not start is better than did not try." I got on the bus, and I rationalized that "Even Cinderella had to catch a coach to the ball." There were 5 of us in the back of the bus, all a bit heavier than most. The lady who I had been talking to that had cried the majority of the last part of the race, told us that her father had said to her, "You'll never finish, why are you even going to try?" Another girl had had double pneumonia and severe food poisoning leading to hospitalization less than a week before. There was another girl on the bus, dressed as Belle, who said, "Well, I made it 2 miles this year, maybe next year I'll only make it 4, but I'll be here, and I'll be doing everything I can to finish or at least improve!" Her name was Elizabeth, from Miami, and she was amazing! She was so positive while being surrounded by the 3 of us who were bawling. The Disney employee on the bus said, "Well, the good news is, we're going to take you to the finish line, you'll get off the bus and get your medal, and no one will be any the wiser."
This is what our coach looked like:
When I stood up to get off the bus, I could barely walk. My foot/ankle were in horrible pain, and I could barely move. It was bad enough that the finish line medic sat me down and gave me 1000mg of tylenol to help with the pain before he handed me my medal. A few minutes later I ran into Elizabeth again, and she handed me a rose with Mickey hot glued to one of the petals. She said she bought it in hopes that she would find me again. She said that my encouragement of the other ladies was inspirational to her, and that she hoped I had an amazing birthday!
Now comes the crazy part. Neither my sister, nor I, brought our cell phones. We decided that our cameras, ipods, gels, tiaras, were enough. So we didn't take them. Massive fail! You see, I had no way of knowing where on the course she was. I contemplated trying to jump on the bus back to the Polynesian and see if I can get to Shades of Green before Kara runs by...but I wasn't sure I would make it, and I didn't know that her husband was going to make it to the finish line. If she actually got to finish, I didn't want her to have no one there waiting for her. Then I didn't know whether to go to the finish line, or wait by the medical tent. I chose middle ground. I stood by the exit to the baggage check for the section where Kara's bag was checked, and rotated between watching the baggage check exit and the jumbo-tron of the finish line. Then I realized I was so tired, that I didn't even know what my sister was wearing to run. This is not good with over 15,000 people crossing the finish line. I had finally stood there for so long, the cop started talking to me, and the volunteer working there was going to walk me to the medical tent. I had told this volunteer that I was concerned because Kara had bad knees, and I was concerned that she was in the medical tent. You see, I had seen numerous people come by saying, "I just got a call that my wife/mother/sister is in the medical tent." I knew Kara didn't have her cell phone and I didn't have mine. I also knew I hadn't seen my brother-in-law, the kids or my mom, so I was the only person there to be there for her if she needed someone or something. As the volunteer took me toward the medical tent, I heard my name get yelled out. I know, there were over 15,000 people there, but not many were krista's. (Okay, I just checked, there were 30 Krista's that finished, and at least 1 that didn't.) Also, I caught the bus back to the Polynesian while my sister got more ice for her knees and went looking for a "lost and found" since she had chucked her jacket on teh side of the road and forgotten to take off her Garmin before doing so, and was hoping someone had found it and turned it in. I mentioned to the genglemen around me, there were 3, that I was impressed by their willingness to wear tutus and skirts, because I was 100% certain that even if I got my husband to run the race, we had a better chance of seeing Satan selling snow cones than seeing him in a tutu or a skirt. Prince Lance, who was wearing a smashing white skirt with different colored heart on it, talked to me on the bus, and even on the walk all the way back to Shades of Green. He was a nice, guy, from Northern California, an Engineer, much like my husband. He told me that he didn't know that he would be back next year, but he was going to look at the results for a Krista from NC who finished the race next year, and he hoped he would see my name. Well, Prince Lance, from northern CA, you will see my name, I WILL FINISH!
All this is to say, that I had fun, even if I didn't finish. So, I have already started planning for next year. I have made a training calendar for next year. I customized it through shutterfly.com.
I will be doing a half marathon here in NC in November. I will be doing the Battleship half marathon, the purpose of which is to do another half marathon and complete it before heading back to Disney. I will be hoping to finish it in under 2 1/2 hours, so that I can get a really good corral for next year's Princess Half Marathon. I believe that with a 2 1/2 hour finish time at the Battleship half marathon, I would be in Corral C or D, which, if the princess is as large as it was this year, I would have corrals E, F, G and H behind me. That is 30 minutes between me and the balloon ladies at the very start...maybe more. And the time limit is 3 1/2 hours, so I would beat those mean old heffers by a whole hour.
This has been an amazing learning experience for me, one that I will never forget! I will never again set myself up to fail in this way. So While I originally started this blog to document my weightloss journey, I'm instead going to start to focus on working out and getting healthier, and weightloss will hopefully be a collateral response to my half marathon training. I am going on record now and saying that my current weight is 257 pounds, but my weight won't be mentioned on the blog again until next year's Princess half marathon re-cap. Rather than focusing on a number on the scale, I intend to focus on my training plan, and making it to all of my workouts.