Monday, March 8, 2010

Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend

Not remembering I could pick up my packet on Saturday after the girls' race (and thinking that the girls' race was in a different location from packet pick up), I went down to ESPN Wide World of Sports for packet pick up.  On the way down and back, I practiced for my seminar while driving.  A whole highway of people learning about merger filings. Ahhh.

I didn't realize how big of a complex they had down there... it's quite something.  Fields, a Braves Spring Training Game, some sort of dance and lacrosse competitions, and the Princess 1/2 Expo and Packet Pickup.  One little bone to pick with the Disney group - the only cute running jacket that was not pink and had a hot pink logo only in size small??  I know the stereotype of female runners is small and petite, but not every female runner is 5'3" and 100 pounds.  I ended up buying a cute t-shirt that was pink (like everything else) that has in purple the symbol for peace, love and then a 13.1 with a princess crown.  Oh and I got the girls' packets and mine, said Hi at the TNT table, and then wandered out.

The girls race.  Before the race started, we got there and parked and got to the field.  The Disney edict was be there by 9:45 am or you don't get to race.  So I was a little stressed.  I get stressed about getting the airport and getting to races, but we got there just fine.  The girls used the potty and we hit the field where we danced with the group lead stuff until right before we had to go to the race start.  Angelfish was into the whole thing for 90% of the time... right up until we had to wait for the race and then she started trying to yank off her race number and all sorts of craziness.  Ladybug on the other hand was not into the dancing at all until they played the theme song from "Rocky" and she looked up at me and said "is this the race song?"  I told her yes (because at this point, I just wanted her to be a little bit happy instead of sullen), and she started dancing like a mad little thing.  She waited patiently for the race after that and everything.

I was a bit annoyed with Disney because, well, those princesses that we were promised were no where in sight at the Kids' Race.  In fact, there were no characters anywhere at the kids races.  Hello? Who loves that stuff? KIDS.  Ladybug even asked after the race, where were the princesses?  I told her I didn't know and that I was disappointed too, and she said "I bet they had to go meet the princes or something."

At least we had Princess Ladybug

But the race, after seeing the 1 mile racers finish (and I of course pointed out all the girls running and how they were beating some of the boys), they lined us all up and the girls were excited.  Angelfish asked me to run with them and while I should have predicted it, I was in jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt and shoes that at least were not too bad to run in.  It was only 100m, so I could have probably run in heels if I had been silly enough to wear them.  The girls were in the 2nd heat and Mr. Darcy told them not to run too fast because he didn't want them to fall.  I, on the other hand, wanted them to run like they wanted to run. 

The start with Ladybug, Angelfish and TriMommy ready to go

Finally it was our turn and we were running and I was running slow to keep up with them and realized they were running slow to keep up to me and told them - run as fast as you want girls and they took off in a flash.  Those kids are FAST! And left their Mommy in the dust.
Look at those girls go!

After crossing the finish line and getting their medals, Angelfish told me (in a very excited way) "That was fun!  I want to do it again!"  And then remembering that I had their race t-shirts in my purse (they said "I did it!" on the back, so in good superstitious fashion I wouldn't let them wear the shirts before finishing the race), she asked if she could wear her race shirt and her medal.

Angelfish in race shirt and wearing her medal (which she wouldn't take off until almost bedtime)

After getting the kids a snack and some water at the finish line, we walked up to the expo so I could sign up for the Women's Half Marathon in St. Pete on November 21.  Yup, the medal called to me and I couldn't resist - and after talking to Mr. Darcy he was fine with my signing up. I've even convinced 1 friend already to do it too.  I'm hoping more will jump on the bandwagon too.

As we walked to the expo, I asked the girls if they had fun.  Both said, "YES!" I said "good! If it's not fun, then why do it?"  To which Ladybug responded, "TO GET THE MEDAL!"  Yep, that's my girl!  Later she asked why they didn't get trophies too and I told her they didn't have them at this race.  Already thinking all about the finishers medals and the hardware. Oh yeah.

I woke early.  2:50 for the 1st buzzing of the alarm and 2:59 for the final wake up.  Got dressed, ate, got in the car and drive to Epcot. 4:10 (due to a closed road), I parked, used the port-a-potty and had to mentally soothe myself to keep from throwing up because I can't take the smell of port-a-potties.  Got in line for the "race transportation" and chatted with a nice lady who had done the Goofy Challenge in January and then hadn't really trained that much since and was nervous about the Princess 1/2.  I was just nervous because outside of a Half Ironman, this was my first 1/2 Marathon.  Even though I didn't have a swim and a bike in front of it, I was still a little nervous.

Then they let us start walking.  Turned out race transportation was our own two feet and I was already at the start for the 20 minute walk to the corrals, which probably only took 10-15 at most to walk.  So, by 4:45 I was standing at the front of Corral C making friends with the people around me.  They had music blaring and were getting people to dance.  I was not dancing.  I am a morning person just fine, but I wanted to keep as much energy as I could for the race.  I did bob around and move my body so I didn't get stiff in the 43 degree weather, but dancing was not on my list.  I enjoyed watching people dressed in their costumes though.  The best was Cruella DeVille and the runner up the man dressed like Goofy... who if he had the goofy mask would have been the cartoon character.

I'll give it to Disney, the music and the interspersed people talking made the time pass.  Next thing you knew the anthem was being sung, the wheelchair racers were started, and then the 1st corral. And each corral was started with fireworks.  It was pretty cool. 

I took off and was dealing with my usual 1st mile aches and pains and trying to keep myself from taking off too fast.  I hit the 1st mile at 12 minutes even.  I was happy with that because I was hoping to do the 1st half at 12 minute mile pace and then kick it up a notch for the 2nd half.  It didn't quite work that way, but I'm not disappointed.  I should have known my muscles were going to be up to something because once I made it past the 1st mile I didn't have the usual aches, etc. and those don't usually go away until around 3.5 miles.  But I kept chugging along.  I was at 12 minute mile pace up through mile 4, and then I kind of lost track.  I was doing 5/1's the whole time but once I ate my 1st gel at the 49 minute mark (I started my watch 1 minute and 3 seconds before they started us), I lost track of things.  I actually was enjoying the race and watching how some people passed me and how I passed some people and how I played leap frog with others while they did their run walks too. (In fact there was one woman who I played leap frog with like that the entire race until mile 12 and she kicked it in like no body's business - if she could run that fast I don't know why she was doing her race like she was, but anyway.)  I was amused by the characters lining the roads here and there and how people would stop and take their pictures with them, stop to take a picture of each of the mile markers.  When all I was thinking about was that I had a sneaky feeling I was starting to slow down a little bit and needed to find a way to pick it back up.  I would drink a swig of Gatorade at almost every 1 minute walk after I hit the 2nd mile marker.  I passed a lot of people along the way, and I got passed by a lot of people too.  As we ran down main street USA in Disney and toward Cinderella's castle, I teared up.  I could hear that super cheesy show that Mr. Darcy and the girls love so much in my head "Dreams do come true!" and I started to cry.  But I stopped myself.  Who needs crying while in a race?

Somewhere during mile 6, my left arch started to hurt a little and then I got a pain shooting down my arch to the top of my 2nd toe.  I thought through it and kind of leaned in a little as I ran so it stretched my calf muscle a little more and it went away, so I just kept on truckin'. By mile 7 my left hip flexor or IT band (not sure which) decided it was angry and only got angrier as we approached mile 8.  It was kind of funny because I didn't even think about how far I had run already until mile 8 when that left hip was not being my friend.  Somewhere it didn't register that the medical tents were handing out biofreeze until I saw a woman shove her hand down her pants and rub some on her hip.  So I was on the look out for the next tent as I ran.  Luckily, the next medical tent was right after this awful causeway that had literally no flat road on it - it wasn't the first of the race and it wouldn't be the last) and by this time, just past mile 10.  My left hip conspired with my right hip and by mile 9, it was in revolt as well.  But as I got to the medical tent, I didn't want to waste time so I only got enough biofreeze for my left hip and forgot about my right. Silly.

I kept going though.  At this point, I thought I might be able to make the 2:40 goal, but it was going to be close.  I was trying to pick up speed but my hip flexors were not on board with the plan.  And then there were 2 over passes with no level road.  I positioned myself where it was the flatest and just kept on going. I told myself there was less than a 5K left and I'd already done way more than that, I could definitely do this.

I hit mile 12 after finally getting back on to level ground, and saw a little girl and her brother dressed up like a prince and a princess with signs that said "Go Mommy!" and "We're proud of you!" and I started to cry again.  But I made myself stop crying.  I wished that Mr. Darcy and the girls were magically on the course somewhere to cheer for me, but knew darn well that they were not.  And I told myself, there was only 1.1 miles to go.

I got to the last water station where they told us, only 1 mile from here and I tried to turn it on.  I was definitely going faster than I had been, but it wasn't enough.  I heard one of the volunteers shout out only 1/2 a mile to go from here right as my watch turned 2:41:00.  I almost started to cry because I realized that I missed my A goal.  And then something in my head told me, so what, you can still beat your B goal.  My hips were shouting at the top of their lungs (even with biofreeze on the left) in language that was not appropriate for the Magic Kingdom, but I ignored them and tried to go faster.  I was able to do it for about .25 and when the "finish line is right around the corner" turned out not to be right around the corner, I slowed a little.  But then I rounded the 2nd corner and the finish line was in sight.  And I tried my darnedest to dig it out.  I was going faster and while I'd like to say it was a sprint, it was all I had left and I just kept going as fast as I could until I crossed the finish line (which I'm not sure which one it was the 1st blue and orange bump or the 2nd one) at which point I choked up yet again, but got myself under control and headed straight to the ladies with the medals (just like Angelfish... or is it that she's just like me?). 

After crossing the 2nd blue and orange timing bump, I looked down at my watch and I had finished and subtracting out the 1 minute and 3 seconds off of my watch that I started before my fireworks began, I finished in 2:46:08.  A 12:40 average pace. I beat my B goal, even if I didn't make my A goal, and I was happy.

Another beef to pick with Disney.  For the expensive entry fee, the massage tent should be free. Not $1 per minute.  And if you are going to charge $1 per minute, take credit card like you do for everything else at Disney.  It's not so magical not to be able to get a massage before the 45 minute car ride home because you only have $6 in cash on you. 

Instead of a much needed massage, I ate a banana, a bagel and drank a coke while waiting in line to get my bag from bag check (it had the car keys).  I called Mr. Darcy and told him my time.  I wandered through the parking lot for a bit trying to find my car, but felt better when I saw other people doing the same thing.  Stretched as good as I could in the lot and then drove home while talking to my Dad.  Drank chocolate soy milk as I drove home.  It was a good thing I ate like that after I finished because for some reason, I didnt' really want to eat much the rest of the day until much later - despite having burnt 1975 calories during the race (of course, I replaced a little with the Gatorade and the 2 gels I had during the race, but at most 500 cals).

Got home and Mr. Darcy took my picture with a real film camera (Disney provided it - I've got more pics of the girls on it too) and I took some pictures of my medal to finish off the roll.  (I hope to take it to get developed later today).  Stretched and talked to the girls.  I could barely walk.  So I stretched some more, talked Mr. Darcy into going to get me ice for an icebath and preparation H for the ugly triple blister I have on the side of my left inside heel.  Played with Angelfish while Mr. Darcy and Ladybug went to the store.  Finally showered (I really was stinky) and then took an ice bath only to get a call from my Mom.

My Aunt had another massive pulmonary attack (she’s been smoking again) and her heart stopped again. They’re not sure how long it took the paramedics to get there but we know that when they got there she was not breathing and that they didn’t get her breathing on her own again until they were already in the ER, which was some 20 minutes later (and they could only get her to breath on her own off and on, pricked her with a needle to see if she would react and there was no physical reaction). Her blood pressure skyrocketed during all of this and to prevent her from stroking as well as to prevent any further lack of brain damage from further lack of oxygen to the brain (and she was non-responsive anyway), they pulled her body temperature down to 94 and induced her into a coma. She’s on a respirator and everything. My cousins are supposed to be in town in a few hours and they’ll make further decisions about what to do after talking to the doctors, etc. (They’re her power of attorney.) My Dad is supposed to call me either this afternoon or this evening after he knows more.

At this point, I am still planning on going to Boston to teach my work seminar but depending on her condition will depend on whether I skip my visit with my best friend and go elsewhere.  These things never happen at the easiest of times, but then when is there really a good time for things like these?

The whole thing really re-emphasized for me why I do what I do... not only do I love the tri stuff and now even the 1/2 marathon races and training, but I also do it because my genetics are not the greatest and I want to choose the healthiest route so I can be here a long time and see my girls have their own babies and lives and enjoy life the best I can.

I am a little stiff and ironically the sorest place is the part of my leg where it meets the back of my butt and then a little on the left hip/IT.  The Trigger Point set makes me cry to use it, but I feel so good afterwards that it's worth the pain.

A bit like my race.  A shiny medal, 13.1 miles down, and a great feeling of accomplishment.  Mr. Darcy telling me last night before bed he was proud of me for doing my race. Definitely worth a bit of pain.


  1. You are raising your children well - first, they don't wear the race shirt until they earn it; and second, going for "da bling" (decent variation on a blog title perhaps).

    I hate overpasses too, especially the Disney flavor near the end. Congrats on a job well done!

    Sorry about your aunt.

  2. What a weekend!! Congrats to all. Yes, no wearing race shirts till they cross the finishline.

    Massages should be free at big races.

    Your such a rockstar with rockstar youngins!!

  3. Proud of you, Training Buddy.

  4. Kate,

    I am super proud of you! You did your training and you ran a good race.

    I understand about the muscle thing. That is what they do and only experience will teach you the stretches that work for you best.

    Congratulations to both you and the girls!

  5. What a weekend full of win! Congrats to all!

  6. Great work, congrats to all. Thank you for you blog, its real and i can relate. Great mental work working through the pain. congrats again. ox Trace