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half marathons

DC…

Remember that time that I went to DC and ran my 10th half marathon?

Yeah.. life got a hold of me, and I forgot to blog about it.

Friday morning found me traveling to Baltimore, by plane. I then, took the bus to the train station, where I took the train into Union Station. I had the creepiest experience in the train station with an employee, were he was begging me for advice because he had cheated on his “old lady”. Maybe you should stop referring to her as your old lady… and asking random girls for advice… or maybe just keep it in your pants.

I thought traveling by train would be so “Serena Van Der Woodsen”. Turns out, it wasn’t.

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But, Molly picked me up from there and we headed to the Expo…we did all the normal Nike Women’s stuff… like found our name on the wall.

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Upon arrival to Molly’s house, I found that Becca had sent me some Sherrie’s Berrie’s. She used to do this for every race, but then I ran a bunch in a row and they were local, so.. can’t blame a gal for stopping! Anyway, obviously my friends are total rockstars and you should be jealous.

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Saturday, we went to Cooper’s baseball game and Lindsey came up and we went to lunch with Kelly while Molly and Company when to Veggie Tales.

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Lindsey stayed around while we did cake and sang to Cooper.

 

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Sunday was the race, and lots of dancing and champs and naps.

Monday morning B drove me to Baltimore (THANKS B!!!) and I had to battle these….

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Unpacking made me a little sad that it was over…

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But this face waiting on me at the airport made it all better!!

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Nike Women’s DC

Before telling you about my trip to DC, I think I will post my race recap!

FIrst off, the Expo, was sort of lame. You really couldn’t buy anything and it was just nuts. But, the packet pick up was separate and was a breeze, so kudos for that one. With all of the walking up and down hills, my calves were tight and I knew I wouldn’t be running on fresh legs.

I laid out all of my gear the night before….

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The gorgeous sunrise heading into the city…

Molly’s husband drove us into the city, instead of taking the metro. He dropped us off about 3 blocks from the start line. It was awesome. I hope it was awesome for him too.
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We entered into the 9:00-9:59 coral.. which, honestly, was completely pointless seeing as how they didn’t do a coral start.

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We all just started out at once.. and we were behind the 2:10 pacer. I was NOT HAPPY about weaving around so many women in tight spaces. There were 15,000 runners, and a lot of them first timers, (I hate to stereotype..BUT) they probably didn’t know there are rules to racing. We spent the first two miles LITERALLY weaving in and out of people. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get pasted the 2:10 pacer. It cleared a little after mile 2 when we were crossing the bridge to Arlington Cemetery.

We finally caught sight of the 2:00 pacer on the loop by the Kennedy Center.. I knew then it was going to be tough to catch up. Around mile 6, my IT band started making its presence known and I got a side stitch.. I knew I was pushing it too hard. I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t injure myself over a sub 2:00 half. I would run what I could and give it everything I had and I would be happy. At this point, Molly was pushing me and I felt bad that I had nothing to give her except facial grimaces. It didn’t help that around this point, it was completely boring as we were running around the golf course. I tried to find funny signs to help me out. I never realized how hard it was to try to catch a pacer… the mental stress that just adds to the run. That part was misery.

As hard as I was running, this was a very cleansing run for me. I let go of everything else going on in my life, and completely concentrated on the race and the steps in front of me. It was just very… freeing. I had nothing to do but run like it was my job. We saw Molly’s fam around mile 10 and it was a nice change of pace. B got some pictures of us and I realized how bad I hunch my shoulders when I run.. no wonder my shoulder blades go numb!

Anyway, it wasn’t long after that, Molly lost me as I couldn’t continue to beast up the hill. I knew then that I wouldn’t break 2 hours, but I might could possibly PR. Heading back into the tunnel was awful and not near as exciting as it was at the beginning of the race. As we rounded the loop and I could see runners running towards the finish line, I got really pissed off because I HATE when courses do that. We made the worlds longest loop and heading back, I could see the finish line. So, I attempted to push it and completely ran out of gas because I misjudged how far the actual finish line was. At mile 12.5 I was really pissed off. But I got my phone out because I knew I would want pictures at the finish line, and saw all of the Tweets, FB messages and texts that lined my screen. I couldn’t believe it.

I crossed the finish line with my hands held high and a smile on my face and guess what? There won’t be any pictures because Nike didn’t have photographers!! WTF NIKE?!?!

Anyway, as I stood in line to get my Tiffany, I told the girl behind me (yes, I told her.) “Hey, I’ll take your picture with him if you’ll take mine.” She looked at me like a crazy person, but also a genius.

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I found Molly and we had our “WE DID IT!!!” picture.
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Posing with our blue boxes..
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Washington Monument? Yes, please!!!
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What?! It’s the White House, y’all!!
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So, it wasn’t a sub 2. It wasn’t even a PR. But you know what it was? It was my 10th half marathon. And that is nothing to shake a stick at. I ran my 10th half in a time that I never thought possible. That’s 131 miles in half marathons alone. Not to mention training cycles and 5K’s and 10K’s. I celebrated on Sunday. Everything that I have been able to do because of running. It has changed me in so many ways. I cannot thank you enough for the support and encouragement that you have given me on the Internet. From those who wished me good luck, to those who actually tracked my race online, I cannot thank you enough. It’s amazing to have that kind of support.

Now for the bling…

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Awesome, right?

Now, would I run this race again? This race was amazing. The course was beautiful. I did not care for the lack of coral starts. Or the fact that the 2 hour pacer can’t hold up her sign very well. The runner tracking was a complete joke. I want something that posts to Twitter, not Facebook!! The fact that there weren’t any finish line photos royally ticks me off. I also don’t like the lack of information out there from Nike. But, I feel like I got my money’s worth and everything was well organized. I heard there weren’t a lot of port-o-potty’s, but that didn’t affect me, so I am not sure.

I can tell you one thing… I’ve been wearing Tiffany since Sunday!

Rock N Roll USA

This past weekend, I had a blast going up and visiting one of my favorite people in the world and the Internets, Molly.
We ran the Rock N Roll USA half marathon in DC, along with her sister Casey and her friend Ashley.
Molly and I braved the expo with the kiddos to pick up packets and I met/ scared one of my running idols, Skinny Runner. I randomly saw her while staring at her black compression socks with her tan TB flats. I reached out and screamed, ” ohmygod, Skinny Runner!!” I think she was frightened that I was going to make a coat out of her skin or something (I wouldn’t.. But I can’t promise I wouldn’t make a wig out of her hair.) anyway, we ended up on her blog. NBD. I also spied her on race day, but she looked frazzled trying to get to her corral.
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Molly made us some delicious vodka chicken pasta, without the vodka (long story) for our pre- race meal.
Turns out that my best friend is better than your best friend, because somehow I always forget that Rebecca sends me chocolate covered strawberries before each race. I feel certain that Molly is glad she didn’t give her address to a serial killer.

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We all went to bed at a reasonable hour, but not before painting our fingernails with green glitter nail polish.
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We rode the Metro in and it was a lot more crowded than I had expected.
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Casey and Ashley
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Ever had those times in life when you try to do another person a solid and of backfires? This lady pops on the train and says, “oh hey! I’m a photographer and I wanted to get a shot for my project 52.” I’m all, “hey! Rock on sister! Fellow photog myself, feel free to get your shot!” stupid, stupid words. She hopped up on the seat and proceeded to knee, step on, and just generally kick me around in my own seat!
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Have I mentioned that I hate crowds? This was the metro station when we pulled in. Not the best planning to have trains arrive at the same time. But, I won’t complain, I heard some people say their train got stuck in a tunnel and they missed the start of the race.
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Side note- you need your ticket to exit the Metro. Learned that one the hard way. Never in my life have I been more proud to exclaim, “Alabama!” when someone asks where I am from for not knowing something. Yes.. I bet he thought I didn’t have indoor plumbing.

The four amigos pre-race
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I really have a thing for glitter. It seems unhealthy. Loved my SparklySoul headband– it may be my favorite headband ever.

Molly and I stayed together for about the first 3 miles until I realized I needed to pee and I wasn’t going to make it 10 more miles. Which was major suckage because we were having a blast!
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You just never know who you’ll see out on a race course…
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I thought it was an excellent race. A little hot at the end and more hilly than I was expecting, but it was a good challenge. The finish was on a hill, and had I encountered any race personel, I may have stabbed them after that. My most important lesson here is to look at your elevation charts. :)

My garmin said 2:32, but my official time is a little slower than that since I stopped to greet the portable toilet. I really wanted to break 2:30, and stood a good chance of doing so without all those hills. Which means, I shall train on hills for the next month and just crush 2:30 and possibly even 2:15 in Nashville.

Excuse the wonky eye… Post race.
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Molly made us some Irish Nachos via pinterest
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And I became fearful for my life if I didn’t share my berries with everyone.
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It was such a blast!! Running big races with friends is such a high! Running tends to be such a loner sport for me that it really energizes me to run with friends and huge crowd support.

My only complaints are the Expo… super crowded, not big enough to maneuver through– if crowds make you nervous, it’s not the place for you! My other complaint is the Metro.. personally, I think it needs to open even earlier next year. Runners like to be early and not late.

My Year in Review… 2011.

As 2011 comes to a close, I wanted to look back on the year, and see if I had accomplished my goals that I set out to do. So, I went to my archives posts and realized that I never wrote a goals post for 2011. Cray cray. But, 2011 was a BIG year for me. In every aspect of my life. Let’s reflect shall we? (This is gonna be fun.)

I started and completed a Project 12 (More on this later!).

We took the girls out of school to help pay off some debt– we paid off two credit cards this year, leaving us with only one left!

I met Greg McElroy… AKA my Baby Daddy. Kidding! But doesn’t he look like he could be the father of my children? 

I went to Blissdom- my first blogging conference! It was amazing! And I am returning in 2012 to Blissdom as a Community Leader!! HOLLA!

I ran my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Half Marathons this year.. (That’s a LOT when you say it like that!)

I reached my goal weight.

We had a tornado rip through our town.

We traveled.. hitting VEGAS!, Disney, Penn State, NYC, and numerous Alabama Football games.

I marked several things off my 30 in 30 list!

I became a FitFluential Ambassador.

And I found out this week that I have been accepted as a Nike Fit Tester. Whoo!

2011 rocked my socks off.

How was your 2011??

 

Ruben Studdard Half Marathon Review

 

Before I begin on our fun filled weekend, I thought I would give you the 411 on the Ruben Studdard Half.

This was an inaugural event so, I didn’t have high expectations for it. The Expo was at the Birmingham Museum of Art– pretty cool place. But, it wasn’t really an Expo, it was more like a packet pick up. No vendors. Parking wasn’t a problem. I think they said around 800 runners ran the half and they did a 5K and a fun run around Linn Park.

The course? It was kind of awful. I think that this has the potential to be an awesome race.. it’s a fundraiser for the Musical Arts programs and they could do bands or groups or school choirs at different parts around the course.. otherwise, it’s boring and you are running in a not so fabulous area of town.

I am just going to tell you.. I got super nervous for this race. Savannah seemed like so long ago (WHAT?!) and I was unsure of my abilities. I really hate failure, people.

Anyway, the course started towards Legion Field and I started out WAY too fast. Mile 1 was ran in 8:43. I have never in my life, ran a mile that fast. I reeled it back in, Mile 2 was 10:46. I passed the first water station and me being me, had my phone in my hand and looked down at it, and tripped over a patch in the road. I caught myself before completely tumbling, letting the Otterbox take the brunt of the force. It held up nicely. I, of course, flashed everyone behind me when my skirt came up. Whoops. Anyway,  I was mentally a mess. All over the place. Trying to keep myself in good spirits. I was getting sick and trying not to let that bother me. As we were rounding out through a serious sketch part of town, I am just going to tell you, that the ghetto, has NO road budget. I was going down a slight hill, and tripped over a crack in the road and completely lost it. I barrel rolled at least once, if not twice down that stupid hill. I was in shock. I tried to survey the damage. My hand and knee were bleeding. I checked to make sure I didn’t rip my skirt.. nope. It came up as I fell and I had some nice road rash on my hip. My pride.. was pretty battered. A girl heard me fall.. (yep. That’s what she told me) and came to my rescue. I was so embarrassed. But also? A little disappointed there would be no video evidence, since I love when people fall. I even YouTubed clips to try to show you what I looked it, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Sads for you.

I knew we had an aid station coming up around mile 4.5 (Yep. I wasn’t even half way finished). I stopped and asked for a band aid. This guy, whips a band aid out of his pocket, and pours Powerade in my wound to clean it. In the process, he pours Powerade all in my Garmin and it quits working. Thanks, yo! Then puts a band aid on my dripping wet hand. Yep. It didn’t stay. 

The course continued through more boring parts of downtown, with zero spectators, except for my Dad, Karen, and two adorable little red heads. Oh wait. Black Girls Run had an extra water station for us (THANK YOU!) and Lululemon had some of their awesome peeps out with their signs. I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:02 and basically fell apart. My quads were over it. I needed band aids and mentally, I was DONE. The fall may have helped me get my perspective where it needed to be (JUST FINISH!) Ashley came back and found me and ran/walked with me the last 2 1/2 miles and I’ll be honest, I probably would have just walked the rest of it if it weren’t for her. She helped push me and tell me what was up ahead.

I will say this.. My name got called over the loud speaker.. of course, I was the only person coming through the finishers shoot, but who cares?!

Addison asked me if maybe when she was 7 if she could run with me. I told her she could run with me anytime. 

My boo boos. I won’t show you the road rash on my hip. But I will say, I am still pretty banged up. My legs aren’t that sore. I am able to walk around like a normal person, so maybe my body remembers what it’s like to recover. I’m going to have some gnarly bruises though. Battle wounds, some would say. Becca told me I was making memories on the course. Either way, I’ll take it. Half marathon #4 done. 2nd in 2 weeks. 1st fall. Definitely a runner now.

I think this race has some great potential, but I am not sure I would run it again. It was not flat, like the website said. It needs more aid stations and course entertainment. The bling was nice. You know, I am all about the bling. Finish time 2:46. Not the sub 2:40, I wanted, but with two falls, I will take it and not complain.

P.S. Apologies on the different picture sizes.. still trying to figure all that out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!!

So.. I am starting to think that starting half training during the holidays was stupid. A) I am running around doing other stuff and forget to run. B) It’s freaking COLD outside. 20′s!!! Seriously?? I don’t own enough layers to be out running in that. As for that fleece lined running jacket I saw at the Nike outlet and I laughed at… I am really wishing I have that thing right about now.

I also keep trying to figure out the best times to go running. Since John gets off at 4:00, I am trying to wait until then to go, but I am so tired by that time, I don’t feel like going. We all know I’m not a morning person either, but maybe I could wake up at 5:30 and go? But then, it’s even colder!! I am trying to train outside, but I may have to take it indoors for a few weeks. I hate to ask people to watch the girls so I can go run. I feel like I neglect them when I go for a run. Claire starts Little Lambs two days a week in January, so I know I could do it then, but that’s still several weeks away. I want to train properly and it’s already getting off on the wrong foot.

I am getting in a running funk of, “Why do I do this to myself? It’s so cold! It would be so much easier to sit and cuddle with the girls and drink hot chocolate. Who wants to run 13 miles anyway??” I need to snap out of it!! I’ve still got 11 weeks of training!

I am running a race this weekend that is sure to be the coldest run yet… The high is 43 and the low is 21. Fun times.

How do you snap out of the funks and get on with training? I need advice people!!! How do you talk yourself into those runs when you aren’t feeling it?

The Challenge is set…

Alright. I’ve gone and done it again. I have officially signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon at the end of February. I am so stoked. I truly love this race. To think about it, totally takes me off guard and almost brings tears to my eyes and the actuality of the accomplishment. My goal this year? To run the whole damn thing. Only stopping to pee, poop, or take a pictures with a princess. WALKING IS NOT ALLOWED.

That’s right. You heard it. Absolutely no walking. I am going to follow a training plan. It starts December 1st. By that time, I need to be able to comfortably run 3-6 miles on a regular basis.

 I want to sub 2:45… I have hefty goals for this race. I do not want to have to tell people, “Oh, I didn’t run the whole thing.” I want to say, “Yeah, I ran the whole damn thing.”

I got up this morning, at 5 am… (YES, I FINALLY DID IT!!)  I really didn’t want to, but I made myself. And I ran/walked 2 miles… I didn’t pick the best spot to run in the dark. I parked in the Warehouse District here and ran down around the high school and back. It was right at 2 miles. But, There aren’t a lot of sidewalks around there, and a lot of the ones that are, are all jacked up and with crazy overhanging trees that I had to duck under. Also? A good amount of people out! I saw numerous cars, several walkers, a couple of runners, and the CHS track team was getting ready for a run. Crazy.

I am trying my hardest to talk my best friend, Becca, into doing it with me. The feeling of accomplishment is like no other, when you do something that you thought you never could. I don’t want to do this by myself again. I really want a running buddy, but I’ll be okay without one.

Is anyone out there planning to do it??

Disney World 2010 with a half-marathon twist!

Disney World was a blast this year!! Now get ready for a long story and a LOT of pictures!

We had a pretty good flight… Addison was a little iffy at times, but overall did really well. That may or may not be due to the fact that she fell asleep. We were supposed to take the Disney Magical Express to the hotel since we were staying the resort and lots of wondering around the Orlando Airport later found us in about a line with about a two hour wait to sign in to get on the Magical Express. We quickly decided that a taxi ride was in our best interest. We got the hotel( we stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside). Went to the room, got our bags and headed to the Wide World of Sports where the Expo was for me to pick up my packet and get my race info.

This was right before Addison shook up her drink and it spewed all over the place.
The entrance for the Expo… this is where I will tell you that the hotels had no idea what was going on with the Expo and they told us that there weren’t any buses going from the host resorts to the Expo.. you had to go to other places and get on other buses to get there… not cool. But, we happened to ask a bus driver and he informed us, that YES there were buses going from our resort to the Expo…


The entrance to the Expo
Mom walking into the Magic Kingdom for the first time
Of course we walked into the park when a parade was going on… Don’t BoomPa, GiGi, and Nana look excited to be here?
John, Dad, and I went and rode Space Mountain first and Dad lost his sun glasses.. he was a little bitter about it. We went and ate at Tony’s Italian Restaurant for a lupper, and then went to see Princesses.
Waiting in line for Ariel
Me and Mom
BoomPa and Gigi
I’m not gonna lie.. this Ariel was a little scary looking.

Then we went to see the PhilharMagic which was awesome!

And rode the carousel
And then watched Wishes… can I talk about how cold it was? It was COLD.
P.S. This picture is so freaky I had to share it with you… Look at the ghost man!


Beautiful sunrise on Saturday Morning!
We went to Hollywood Studios on Saturday

Me and Minnie Mouse… Addison and Minnie’s pictures disappeared from this post…

Me and Mickey
Mom and Minnie
Addison watching the High School Musical parade
We ate lunch at the 50′s diner which was awesome! P.S. Order the pot roast.


Dad trying his hand at photography

Delicious onion rings!


We ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney.. somehow Karen worked her magic and got us seated right away, I think wait was somewhere around an hour or longer… she wouldn’t share her secret. This was how we felt about Addison during dinner… She ended up not eating and passing out on John.


Sunday was race day. I had to wake up at 3:30 am and get ready to get on a bus at 4 am. EARLY. It was probably in the 30′s when I was waiting outside. It was COLD. I ended up taking John’s windpants from the 90′s to wear to the race and I was SO glad to have them. I wore those pants, a long sleeve t-shirt and a sweat shirt over my race outfit. We got dropped off around 4:15 or so and I waited in line for a port-a- potty for 20 minutes or so. I had to drop off my bag of crap and said goodbye to my sweatshirt and John’s windpants and was super sad about it. I kept the long sleeve t-shirt with me. We then had to walk another 20 minutes or so to our corrals. There were 5 different corrals which had different start times. There were over 13,000 people registered for the race. I was in corral D which meant I started around 6:18. My legs were so cold they were numb. My joints were numb. I don’t think I mentioned that I had almost completely lost my voice and sounded like a 12 year old boy going through puberty. Our fairy godmother was there to start the race and they did a fireworks start for every corral. It was a sea of people. I couldn’t really start running until mile 2 or so because there were SO many people, but I couldn’t feel my legs moving anyway. There were port-a-pottys about every 1/2 mile or so, and there was always a line! We ran the four lane headed into the Magic Kingdom. Between miles 3 and 4 I stopped and took off the long sleeve t-shirt and tied it around my waist. I didn’t want to just toss it if it wasn’t going to bother me. The family was at the Magic Kingdom waiting for me and I gotta tell you, it was so awesome running through there! I must say that they had characters about every mile and you could stop and get your picture taken with them. I didn’t take a camera and was super sad about it. I saw everyone you could imagine!
The guy with the spiky hair ran in a blue tutu. He passed me about mile 2 and John said he came through the Magic Kingdom a good 45 minutes before I did.
Hey look!!! Here I am!!!

I wanted to stop and talk, but there were too many people in my way to get over to the side.
I wasn’t able to run as fast as normal, A- because of all the people and B- my legs were so numb I couldn’t feel them . I hit the wall around mile 8. It was so weird. Mentally, I was fine through the whole race. I knew I could do it, because, I am going to honest, there were some women in there that looked like they hadn’t ever ran a day in their life. But, my legs wanted to run away from my body. My hips ached, my knees ached, my ankles ached. My neck muscles were so tight. I stopped and got some Bio-Freeze for my knees a couple of times and that seemed to help. I stopped and got a couple of Clif Shots and those seemed to help. I also stopped and stretched and that felt amazing!!! Mile 8-10 were on a 4 lane headed out of the park and there were TONS of people coming through the other way since the parks were opening. They would honk and stuff. Don’t you know there were thinking, “What the crap are all those women doing running in tiaras and tutus?” Mile 12 was through Epcot and it was the hardest one. There wasn’t a big running area and the park was open, so people where trying to get places, but also there were a lot of people cheering us on! It weaved a lot too. Knowing how close I was was always an inspiration. I was hurting all over, but tried to give myself that physical push. As I saw the finish line, I was looking for my family. I wanted to be able to see them. My dad and Karen were the first I saw of the group and I’m going to be honest, I teared up. I didn’t run the whole way, was way past the time I wanted to finish in, but I did it and not a lot of people can say that. I ran 13.1 miles and have lived to tell the tale. I missed the medical tent with the ice and I could have definitely used some. My mom was the first person I spotted after the finish line, when they were coming to see me. I was proud that she got to see me do it. I was surprised she actually came because she hasn’t been that supportive of the running. Karen has probably been my biggest cheerleader about it. The first thing Addison said was that I didn’t wear the shorts that she picked out. I guess you can’t please everybody!

Minnie and Mickey at the finish line!
How cute are these girls? Who’s with me for next year?

What about this guy? He passed me at some point. The back of his shirt said “Running 13.1 miles for a kiss from a Princess.”
Oh look! There’s me!

All in all, it was an awesome first half marathon. I would totally do it again. I am already thinking of my next one… maybe Nashville at the end of April?
I gotta tell you this awesome story. Before the race, they showed a girl would had broken her ankle and couldn’t run. They let her husband, who was in the Army, run for her. He ran in his Army fatigues with a sign on his back that said he was running for his injured Princess.
Also, something else I must share. There were 3 men to cross the finish line before any women did. I think that is super tacky, as it was a Princess race and no men got a medal of any kind. Most men were running with their wives. Stay with your wife and let a woman cross first!!!

After the race, we went back to the room and I showered and told my muscles and joints how sorry I was. Then we headed back to the Magic Kingdom. We headed to see TinkerBell.
Addison and Tink.
Addison was scared of Terrence, but I wasn’t!
Me and Addison in Minnie Mouse’s house.
John and I rode Splash Mountain, and the Big Thunder Railroad and I gotta say, that may have been my last Splash Mountain. The water was COLD and I got soaking wet. Not a fan.

John and Addison getting some candy before we left.
Monday, I felt and looked like an old lady walking around, but it was totally worth it. I’m ready to do it again. So, I think I can officially call myself a runner and say I am quite addicted. A BIG Thank You to all of you who supported me, tracked my progress online, and all of your well wishes. It is an accomplishment, but I think with running there is always a longer race or a faster time. I wanted to finish sub 2:45, but my official time was 3:04:58. I was 8237 out of like 11,000 finishers. A full hour ahead of dead last. I finished!!!

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