Archive for February, 2013

Fear of Failing…AGAIN

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago I had a really deep conversation with an really awesome friend.  We were discussing weight loss and our past and present journeys and what may or may not be holding us back.  I believe deep down that one reason I ended up back sliding in my weight loss before was a fear of succeeding.  Believe it or not that is very common in the weight loss world.  But I don’t think that is what keeps holding me back from successfully restarting my journey.  Through this conversation I determined at this point in my life it wasn’t a fear of succeeding that was holding me back rather a fear of failing again.

So many things have changed in my life since I made that first journey.  I am a wife.  A mother.  A tech lead.  My responsibilities have grown exponentially but I can’t use that as an excuse to drop the responsibilities I owe to myself. To take care of and nurture my body so that it will take care of me in the long run.  I hope you will join me as I try to turn a new leaf and discover how to balance my life and figure out who I am in this new and amazing world I have created.

Half 51: 2013 Princess Half Marathon – The Race

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

We treated this race morning like we did any other Disney race morning.  The alarm went off at 2:30 AM with the intention of leaving the house by 3:15. Everything went as planned and we were out the door on time.  We went our usual route only something was very different because no sooner did we pull onto Lake Buena Vista Blvd and we hit a long line of traffic.  A ride that normally takes us 30 minutes tops turned into a 1:10+ minute ordeal that had me starting to sweat.  I could seem my “Perfect Princess” disappearing before my very eyes.  Steve could feel the stress and did what he needed to do to get me closer to the start.  I kept in touch with the folks I planned to run with and told them to go ahead and we were determined to find each other.  We made it into the lot around 4:37, I gave Steve a quick kiss and speed walked my way to the runner’s area.  I slid through the “no bag check” line and started eyeing up the port-a-pot lines.  I kept going as I knew the closer you go to the walk to the corrals the shorter the lines got and having passed a dozen or so lines with 30 people in them I found several that had only 7, so I picked the shortest and hoped for the best.

I am still sad that I missed making it to the “H” tent in the family reunion area to see my friends from Running of the Ears.  It is a pre-race tradition and one of my only opportunities to see some friends during race weekend.  Believe me, next year, I will be leaving extra early so as not to miss it.

The line moved very quickly and I could feel my stress subsiding as I started making the walk to the corrals.  I kept looking for the path of least resistance and managed to make it into the C Corral and find my friends before the 5 AM requirement.  I made to sit down with them on a nice blanket they had laid out on the ground and no sooner did my knee hit the ground then the corrals started moving forward, lol.  As we made our way towards the start we made our way to the right like the good little run/walkers we are.  Right off the start things felt very crowded.  I was looking forward to things opening up when we hit World Drive, but the clearing never came.  Unfortunately my now routine nose bleed did.  I unfortunately have had enough experience to know how to manage them and didn’t let it slow us down any on our run.

As we made our way towards the Transportation and Ticket center our little trio grew as we found three more friends on the course to run with us.  We waved to Steve as we ran through the TTC.  Unfortunately he was cheering from the left and we were trying to be good and stay to the right for our intervals.  We exited TTC and started making our way towards the Contemporary where we normally see our wedding DJ, Scooter.  We yelled and waved as we ran past.  People had started jumping the cones and actually running in the car travel lane, which was very different from years past and was a symptom of the overcrowding on the course.  We turned into the Magic Kingdom and found another symptom, where people usually just run on the street people were hopping onto the sidewalk and running down that way.  We joined them so as not to need to transition into our walk on the street itself.  At this point I had my sights set on one thing only, the bathrooms, and I knew which ones to go to – Pinocchio!  It is slightly off course so the crowds stay down and any time you spend running the extra 1/10th of a mile you gain by not waiting in line.

We were back on our way with only a minute lost in the potty itself.  We exited the Magic Kingdom and again waved at Steve as we past him at the Grand Floridian because again he was on the left and we were being good and sticking to the right.  Unfortunately we dropped back down to a trio shortly there after as part of our party needed some extra walk breaks.  We were entering the area where the roads were opening up again and we tried to take advantage of it but again course crowding made it a slow go.  As we progressed we hit more and more areas where there was no option but to walk.  We found ourselves having to move towards the left to have any option and then we would hit a wall of walkers and stop.  It was very frustrating but we all tried to stay in good spirits and enjoy the ride as much as possible.

We made our way into EPCOT and found a little more space to run as we made our way through were able to start out intervals up again unfortunately we had already passed the 3:30 mark thanks to the crowding on the roads in.  We ran for the finish line and raised our hands in victory as we crossed.  It was a fun race with some great friends and I will remember it fondly.  We made our way down through the finishers area and grabbed our special 5th anniversary medals.  In this picture you can see how it compared to the previous years.


I had one more stop to make than my friends as I headed over to the “Perfect Tent” to get my special “Perfect Princess” lanyard.  This picture you can see the 2012 lanyard, the 2013 standard lanyard and the 2013 “Perfect Princess” lanyard.


We grabbed our drinks and food and headed back over towards the “H” tent to try to catch some people after the race.  I noticed the hubby was missing but he came up and surprised me with cupcakes from our favorite food truck, the Yum Yum Truck, instead of flowers.  Now the weekend is over, and though I still have some cupcakes left, I am sad to see all of my friends heading back to their respective homes.  As prices go up and races get more crowded I find people making the decision to skip Disney races more and more.  I look forward to anniversary years like this that draw the crowds in so I can see everyone.  Now the dust is settling and we are back to real life, but I do have some shiny bling representing some great memories to keep me company.  Hopefully runDisney will be able to find a way to make the course less congested and maybe to freeze the price increases so that they don’t continue to push away some of their more loyal consumers of their races.  Fingers crossed!


Half 51: 2013 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon – Expo

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

This was my 5th running of the Princess Half Marathon, which in Disney’s books makes you a “Perfect Princess”.  With it came some fun swag including a pink sash that said “Perfect Princess” on it and a crown to wear.


One big change this year was that the expo was moved to the Coronado Springs resort instead of Wide World of Sports.  This made travel to the expo tricky as they were not allowing parking or guest drop off directly at the resort.  To get to the expo you needed to park at Downtown Disney West side.  Steve and I were talking about doing lunch at the Polynesian so we went there with the intentions of parking then using the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom then we were going to use resort transportation to get to Coronado Springs.  As luck would have it as we were walking into the Poly we saw a woman holding a clip board that said “Disney’s Princess Half Marathon” on it.  We asked if we could use the resort transportation from there to the expo and she said yes, so we joined the growing group of runners waiting for a bus.  The bus took maybe 10 minutes to arrive and we were on our way.  We made a new friend on the bus so the ride went by very quickly.  We pulled into the Coronado lot and about 30 minutes after the expo opened and the line was still very long leading into the ballrooms.

Our usual routine when we get to an expo is to head for the Official Merchandise first, but it seems almost everyone had the same plan so they line was already an hour long when we got there.  I left Steve in the merchandise line with one direction, to get me the medal replica pin, then I headed over to pick up my packet.  Of course my line was the longest in the room, but once again I made some friends and the wait wasn’t bad at all.  When my turn came I walked up and announced myself as a “Perfect Princess” as the runDisney twitter had told us to do.  The volunteer looked a little disappointed and said she was going to surprise me, then showed that we had a little pink oval on our bibs that said “Perfect Princess” on them.  She handed me my crown and sash and I was on my way to collect my swag bag.

Things had taken a drastic turn when I left Steve and the lines for the swag bag pick up were now running into the line for merchandise as well as the vendors opposite them.  I felt really bad for the vendors as lines had swarmed their merchandise and they were looking a bit stressed.  I weaved through the crowd to make my way towards my shirt size.  This is one even where being a big girl had its advantages because I was able to walk right up and get my shirt with no line.  I didn’t want to even attempt to go into the merchandise tent so I met up with a MD friend and started texting Steve to see where he was.  Luckily he was checking out and he remembered for me that I needed a mini-medal for my runDisney Vinylmation and grabbed it while he was in there.  Yup, he is a keeper.

We decided to only make one more stop in the expo and that was at the runDisney booth to register for two more 2013 races: Tower of Terror 10 Miler and Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  We made our way back out to the buses and happened to run into more MD friends on the bus and decided to have a nice lunch with them back at the Polynesian.

Overcrowding at the expo was my only real complaint about our overall experience.  There were lots of complaints about transportation but we got lucky with our stop at the Poly and being able to use their report transportation to get there.

Half 50: 2013 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon

Monday, February 18th, 2013

26.2 with Donna has been one on the bucket list since early in my running career. The problem before now is it has always been close on the calendar to Princess so the travelling never worked out. It wasn’t an original addition to my race calendar. In fact I had been holding out so that my 5th Princess race would be my 50th half marathon. A friend of mine that is a cancer survivor reached out to me in December about running the Disney Marathon with her and unfortunately I had already planned to not run the race at that point. That same friend said she was doing the half at Donna and I felt like it was a great opportunity to spend some quality miles with her.  Compound that with another awesome friend offering a room to stay in and a ride to and from Jacksonville Beach and how is a girl to say no right?!?

Here are the highlights of this race:

  • The expo was surprisingly far away from the beach area where the race was actually run.  When I pulled out my GPS and saw 35 minutes to the expo I was shocked and started to get concerned given evening traffic that we wouldn’t make it in time.  Thanks to my travel partner’s excellent driving skills we made it there with plenty of time to spare.  The expo was very impressive given the size of the race.  The packet pick-up process was painless and the goody bag was very nice.
  • This year they changed courses and the start moved.  There was ample parking and once you were in the lot things went very smoothly however the roads in and out left something to be desired.  We left with over an hour and a half to spare to make the 10 minute drive and park and it took us over 45 minutes to make the trip.  In the end the traffic delays caused a delayed race start.  Hopefully this is just a growing pain and they will be able to work around it next year now that they have this experience under their belts.
  • Once in the parking walk to the corrals was short and sweet.  The set up they had with warming tents, coffee, water, dj was all very nice and welcoming before heading to the start line.
  • The course was a little crowded, but nothing like Disney.  I was really impressed with all the directional signage on the streets as you were running to ensure you didn’t get lost.  Unfortunately the first GU stop was empty before we got there, but the rest of the course was well stocked with water and sports drink.  The volunteers were all very nice but there were a few too many non-gloved fingers in cups for my comfort.
  • A small stretch of the race was on the beach running through sand.  Thanks to the traffic my RP was not able to use a port-a-pot before the start so we had to stop at the first set on course.  After a 22 minute wait we were left in the back-of-the-pack.  By the time we hit the beach finding packed sand became difficult because of all the runners before us that churned it up.  Unfortunately I ended up with some sand in my shoes that made for a raw spot on my heal I didn’t notice till after the race.  The big problem however was with the sustained wind picking up the sand and throwing it at us as we ran.  Luckily you could see it coming and duck your head to prevent it from getting in your eyes.
  • At Mile 12 you ran over the intercoastal water way.  Whew talk about a bridge.  OMGoodness.  At that point I decided it was time to just walk it in so that I didn’t end up overdoing it and risking Princess next weekend.  They did however have an awesome cheering group at the top to encourage you, which was cool.  Just couldn’t have imagined that being mile 25 of a marathon if I was doing it, lol.
  • The runner’s village was nice with lots of options for food and drink.  We had coupons on our bibs for two drinks and a soup.  The soup was Panera!  I ended up with the cheddar and broccoli which is a favorite and it did a lot to warm us up after the race.  For beverages I could get a Diet Coke while others were able to get beer so I was happy.  The signage to find your way out and towards the buses was non-existent so we ended up having to ask for directions.
  • As we started heading for the buses back to the start we found that our buses were the furthest away.  We passed probably at least 30 buses back to the host resorts or UNF Lot 18 (Not sure what that was.) and walked I would say a good mile till we finally found a warm bus to take us back to our cars.

In the end I am happy I did the race.  It was a good time though I am not sure from this experience that I would put it in my top 5 half marathons.  I want to go back and give them another chance on a year that they didn’t just change the course and I have a feeling it will change my mind.