|Wearing my medal after 13.1 miles!|
On Friday, BD and I drove down to our vacation rental in Kissimmee. Originally our group was larger, so we had a HUGE house (booked through EasyChoice Vacation Homes via HomeAway) for the weekend. The house had five bedrooms, a pool, full kitchen and dining areas, and was an easy distance to the parks. We each were able to have a bedroom to ourselves with ensuite bathroom, which was really luxurious. It was easy to spread out. After we settled in, BD and I headed to the Magic Kingdom for an evening at Disney.
We got to the park after dark (and during a parade) so we used that time to hit some rides and take advantage of the short wait time. We did the Haunted Mansion and It's a Small World, which happened to be rides we both loved as kids! We then did Snow White's Scary Adventures, one of the original rides from when the park opened, because it is officially closing forever in May. Disney is doubling the size of Fantasyland, so the ride is being torn down as part of that expansion. I'm very excited to head back to Disney once construction is complete, because rumor is they will replicate Belle's village from my favorite, Beauty & the Beast!
We grabbed a bite to eat in Tomorrowland, then met up with my friend MH for the evening fireworks. It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
Saturday morning, BD and I headed to the Wide World of Sports to get our race numbers and see the expo. There were so many 'girly' running things for sale, from running skirts to headbands to snacks! We discovered that our bib numbers featured our favorite Disney princess, and that all three of us running had chosen Belle! The bib number also had our names on them; mine said "Princess Aubrey".
After the expo, we picked up our third runner, VV, at the airport. That was the worst experience of the weekend. I had been at the curbside for no more than 30 seconds, waiting for VV, when the airport worker came up to me and told me I had to drive around. He was aggressive and confrontational, and even though we could see VV running towards us, he was insistent that I move my car and threatened to call the cops! BD scared him off by asking what his name was so we could report him, and we made our escape. As I drove, I could see TONS of other cars parked for way longer than I had been... guess I was his lucky victim that day.
Shaking off that negativity, we headed straight to Animal Kingdom! We looked at the animals, hit up some rides, and grabbed some pizza. It was really great to take in the park at a slow pace, and I got to see a TON of giraffes in action (my favorite!) during our visit.
We left the park early so we could head back to the house for a low-key pasta dinner! I made spaghetti and garlic bread, and we watched Beauty & the Beast on DVD. Then it was off to bed, because we had an EARLY day ahead of us on race day.
We woke up before 3 am, which wasn't a pretty picture! I felt very silly getting into my Snow White running outfit so early. We reached the parking lot by 4 am, then headed towards the bag check and staging areas. There were 17,000 (or was it 19,000?) runners, so it took us nearly half an hour just to walk to our 'corral' to start. It was chilly, so we stretched and danced around to stay warm.
When it was time to start, the Fairy Godmother gave us our cue, and they shot off pink/purple fireworks! It was really a unique experience. There were plenty of portapotties and water stops along the way, and running through the Magic Kingdom was the highlight of the race for me. VV and I ran together the whole way. There were even character photo ops along the way, so we slowed down to catch a couple of opportunities to make a memory.
My advice before running a half marathon? Um, TRAIN. I ran the first 6 miles without blinking an eye, but around Mile 8 I was waning. I was HURTING for a while, and didn't perk up until about Mile 11. It was an incredible experience, and Disney puts on an amazing race, but I was in real pain. My medal was well-earned!
After we showered and napped, VV and I headed back to the parks to check out Epcot. We limped around (haha!), ate pastries in 'France', then headed home early for some sleep. I stayed up all night in bed watching the Oscars, happy to be horizontal for a while.
BD and I took VV to the airport first thing, then made a stop in town to see my friends CG and HG. CG used to work with me, and she's due to give birth any day now! I wasn't able to make it to the baby shower, so seeing them both was a real treat. They made us an awesome Puerto Rican-style breakfast before we had to hit the road.
Driving home was a bit painful, and it rained a whole lot, but BD and I survived. I had some soup for dinner, passed out before 7:30pm, and have been limping around and back at work ever since! It was a great trip (and another task off my Before I'm 30 list!)
(More photos after the jump!)