Sunday, February 24, 2013

Florida 2013 - Race Day!

It's 2:30 am and we're ready to go!

We wore "Team Tiffany" logos on our backs in honour of my cousin Tiffany who battled (and beat)Leukemia not once, but twice!
After a short bus ride we arrived at the race area with plenty of time for pictures. I am amazed by how well the cast members get into their characters.

After what seemed like an eternity, it was finally time for our corral to start. The Fairy Godmother sent us off with a "Bibbity Bobbity Boo!" and fireworks. Even though we were one of the last groups to start, Disney made us feel just as special as the elites.

The first few miles were on a stretch of highway leading up to Magic Kingdom filled with entertainment and cast members waiting to take pictures. Since we had to start in a slow group, we decided to wait to take pictures and try to pull ahead of the crowd. We were doing great....until we had to stop for a bathroom break. We waited in the porta-potty line so long that we fell a full mile behind the group we were trying to pass! Now, we were stuck amid hundreds of walkers who refused to follow the "walkers on the right" rule. We passed on the curb/grass/mud when we could but now we were concerned about finishing before the cut off time. We didn't stop for pictures with any cast members during the race, but we still got some fun shots thanks to volunteers and other runners.

The coolest thing about running a Disney race is you get to run through Cinderella's castle while the royal trumpeters above announce your arrival!

This picture was taken on the way back from Magic Kingdom along the highway.
 I had a rough time around mile 9-10. The blisters I had gotten the day before had grown and every step felt as though I had a handful of thumbtacks in my shoes. (I later realized I had developed blisters inside blisters that would take months to heal!) I was hot, tired, my costume was heavy with sweat and I was stuck in a stop-and-go crowd. I wanted to quit. Until I heard this guy yelling "Move, Move, Move!" and "Keep it up Blue Eyes!" Forget Cinderella's Castle, my highlight was the Army Man!

We were only a few miles from the finish line. The last few miles were tough, but there were plenty of spectators and marching bands to keep us distracted. We crossed the finish line exhausted, emotional and holding hands. (Sadly, no pictures so you'll have to take my word for it.)

Did I mention I have an amazing family? Not only did everyone plan their Florida vacation around this race, but they also braved the crowds to wait at the finish line with 7 (and a half) kids in tow. It was a 2 hour car ride to and from the condo, plus nightmarish parking. I am so grateful to have you all in my life.

Brian, Thank-you for all your support through months of sore muscles, hours at the gym and long weekend runs. And for the beautiful Mickey Mouse roses you gave us each at the finish line. I love you!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Florida 2013 - Disney Drop-off

I mentioned a while back that running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon would be a dream come true. The idea first came to me on Pinterest (the source of all my creative "ideas") What could possibly be better than running through Disneyworld in a princess costume amid thousands of like-minded-tiara-adorned princesses? The more I read about it, the more I wanted to do it....someday maybe I could plan a trip to Florida that coincides with the race. But wait! My parents were planning to rent a beach condo in Florida around the same time. I persuaded Michelle and Yuli to join me (Jenn would have done it and beat us all had she not been expecting a baby) and we started training and making travel arrangements.
One issue we encountered was that the condo we were staying in was 90 minutes from Disneyworld. To spare everyone else from getting up insanely early on race day, I booked a room at the Disney All Star Movie resort for the racers so we could take advantage of Disney's on-site transportation. As excited as I was to run the race, I felt like the worst mother ever for staying in a Disney resort without my kids. For months I had visions of kids wailing while I waved good-bye with Mickey and Buzz Lightyear in the background. As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The resort was huge with tons of outdoor statues and stuff to play on, so the kids got to walk around and play for a while before they had to get back in the truck and continue their drive to the beach.


Once everyone else was on their way to the condo, it was time to head over to the race expo to pick up our race packets! This is when it hit us - that we were really going to do a half marathon in less than one day.  

We visited our Fairy God Mother to receive a wish complete with fairy dust - we figured we could use all the help we could get!  
Next stop: visit with Ali Vincent (first female winner of the Biggest Loser) - She was so sweet, and looked amazing!

Yikes! Less than 13 hours till start time!

Michelle arrived almost the minute we got back to our room with Baby Luke and friend Chantelle in tow. We caught another Disney bus and headed to Downtown Disney for a late dinner. What better place for a girls night than Planet Hollywood?

We got back to our room and tried to catch a few zzz's before our 2am wake-up call.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Florida Vacation - Ready to go!

It's 3:00 am and we're ready to go! (All except Cameron, but let's face it - it's early!)


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