Monday, March 31, 2014

Goodbye March!

Is March over already?  I just lost a whole month of my life. I have no idea where it went. 

Is this what happens after running your first half?  Maybe? It might just be the haze of winter finally ending.  I have no clue.  After my run this afternoon, I will be at 33 miles for the closing of the month.  Low miles, but I was sick the first couple weeks and still babying some injuries. I don't even really want to talk about them right now b/c I feel like I'm always talking about injuries.  I'm pretty happy to see March go, even if I don't know where it went.  I'm also pretty happy to see this neverending cold/hacking I've had go away too.
Looking through my phone for pictures from this month didn't glean any perspective either, I have horses (petsitting), 5K with Rey, Veronica Mars movie day, and cupcakes (naturally)...

 You thought I meant eating cupcakes, right?  (ahem...I did that too, I admit it) but this is for my PHM 2015 costume.  Yep.  Planning has kept me sane, don't judge! ;) 

I'm still working on a  training plan as well.  I'm not sure what said plan will be, mostly because I'm not sure what my body is willing to do right now. I'm just running 3x a week right now, a couple 3-4 milers and then trying to do a long run.  My attempt at a long run this week ended in just 4 miles. For some reason it was just really  hard and I was worried about pushing it more with the foot issues I'm having. 
Confession time as well:  I missed my 1 year Blogiversary.  I knew it was in March, but it slipped my mind and passed me right by on the 12th.  I had wanted to do a giveaway of my very favorite running gear (Sparkleskirts!) but now is not really the time financially to be doing a giveaway, so I'm a bad blogger and I'm just letting March slide away without celebrating it.  Maybe in the summer I will do a "Very-Merry-Un-Blogiversary" post!  
What I do know is that April is always sunnier and warmer than March and I'm looking forward to it!  We're getting warmer weather and all of my runs have been outside and that is SO NICE! Bring on spring!! 

Did March fly by for you? Ever find yourself struggling to figure out a training plan in between races? Most importantly...has spring arrived for you yet?!?!?! I hope so!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tutu Friday

Happy Friday!!!! I won't ramble on about Self Magazine and their complete screw up, I think all of us in the running community are in agreement on this one.  I just wanted to post some tutu love today.  I prefer my Sparkleskirts most of the time, but I've had a blast running in tutu's as well.  If I can't have fun while I'm doing something I love, then why am I doing it???

Have a fantastic weekend and #rockthetutu

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I'm all over the place (weekly wrap-up)

I keep wanting to write this big long post about how I've been feeling since the race and what my plans are, and then I don't.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm unsure of how I feel or there are just too many things flying around in my head to make sense of it all!  I've been in a funk, I've been sick, and yet I have been content and happy that spring has arrived, I've been able to run, and to have a new goal (far) in the future to look forward to.  How do I make sense of all that? Happy/Sad, Funk/No Funk...running with no pain but still having heel/shoe issues... 

I feel a little like a teeter-totter.

I'm not sure I have officially announced yet, but I'm planning to run the Glass Slipper Challenge in February 2015.  For those of you that don't know, it's the same Princess Half Marathon I just ran, but it also will include a 10K the day before the half and extra bling for completing that challenge.  Not only did I love running at Disney, but this half marathon is at a perfect time for me.  It's one of the slowest times of the year for petsitting, so I'm able to get away.  Part of my frustration with racing is that I live in a rural area with very few races, most of them 5K's (what's a long distance runner to do?)  and I just do not get a day off with my business to drive to the nearest city to do a race. My job demands nearly 365 days a year and getting away has to be planned months in advance.  I realized that I will have to plan a year in advance to be able to run half marathons, so what better place than Disney World!  

Naturally I have already started planning because if you know me, you know that I live to plan for Disney.  This has kept me partially out of a funk.  I have been able to run, but not as much as I would like because I cannot seem to kick this hacking cough/cold I have had since the race.  Yes, I should see a doctor, spare me.  I hear it nearly daily from Rey.  It really does seem to be better, it's just slow to go away.  

Sooooo...I got rambly there, but I'm thinking no one is surprised by that at this point!  I ran 7 miles this week, a 3 miler and a 4 miler.  My heel feels a little off, but is not in pain and not hurting when I run.  I'm continuing my shoe search, I have sent back two pair already and I'm waiting for my refund so I can send for yet another.  I feel a bit like Cinderella.  Maybe it's more like the evil stepsisters since the shoes don't actually fit right! 

I don't have an actual training plan right now that that feels ok to me but a little strange...I told you I was waffling!  So that's where I'm at.  Didn't make much sense, right?  I told you I had been putting it off because it was all over the place. Yep.

Do you ever feel all over the place? It almost feels a little manic.  One minute I'm good and the next I'm wondering what I'm doing.  I'm sure it will work itself out, I may need a PLAN.  I seem to function best when I have a plan...but I'm kind of enjoying the freedom of no plan?!?! 

I told you.  I'm all over the place. LOL

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring!!!!!!!

Ah, I love love love the arrival of warmer weather.  I hope Spring is arriving for you, wherever you may be! 

 “She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 
~A.A. Milne

I had to edit just to add:  Don't be too jealous, this photo is one that I took LAST YEAR.  Wishful thinking on my part today, not many things blooming, but at least we'll be in the 60's! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The weeks just seem to be flying by, but that is ok with me because it seems like spring has arrived here!  Of course that means warmish days followed by snow and then more warmish days, but I'll take it!  On to Wide-angle Wednesday...

I bet you can guess where in Disney World this was taken. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Best Ever St. Pat's 5K & Weekly Wrap-up!

It's been a while since I've done a weekly wrap-up! Things are starting (and I stress starting) to feel more like normal around here finally.  Only took 3 weeks from the half to get back to normalcy? In any case, my mileage is lower than it has been, but I ran 3 miles 3 times this week and feel pretty good!  No knee pain at all and my heel/achilles issue isn't getting worse, so that's good.  

I finished up the week running the Best Ever St. Pat's 5k (that's the name of it,  not a personal opinion) here locally and Rey (my husband) ran with me!  It was his first 5K and not only that, but he's only ran a few times ever, before.  I even convinced him to wear a St. Pat's shirt, I think he was too nervous to object.

It was a small race (they are all small around here) in the town over from mine, Rolla, MO.

The trash can is there because they had the street closed and blocked for the St. Pat's parade later that day.  St. Patrick's Day is a huge deal around here.  Rolla, MO. is a college town, and S&T is an engineering they go mad over St. Pat being the patron Saint of Engineering.  I was actually surprised there were not more people running, I think they all waited for the parade, which brought out the biggest crowd I have ever seen in this town of 20,000. 

I ran 1/1 intervals with Rey.  There were a few times it was hard, I really didn't want to walk, but this was just a fun run for me and he wanted me with him.  I know I pushed him a bit, but in the end I told him that he had to tell me to slow down or I would just keep pushing him.  I'm hardcore! I've been sick, so I probably couldn't have gone too much faster anyway.  My lungs were on fire there for a bit.  We had a lot of fun, it was so amazing to have him experience a race with me.

 I was really pleased with the photo that one of the race officials snapped of us crossing the finish line.  I feel bad that I bolted ahead of him to the finish, but I was looking back occasionally to make sure he was keeping up!  I just cannot help myself at a finish line.

After the race we stayed for the awards, I was a little miffed that they didn't have a costume award.  The sign-up made it sound like they would...and I totally would have won.  ;) 

This was an Inaugural race and I thought it was well organized for it's size.  The Chamber of Rolla organized the race to raise funds for the local Veteran Park they are building.  The route was marked well, there were a few cute signs, and lots of volunteers at every turn to make sure no one got lost.  That can come in handy in a small race when you can't always follow a large group of people!
 There was one water station at 1.5 miles, which was ample for a 5K and there was only water at the finish, no food, but it was a small race for charity, so I really didn't mind.  No bling or green beer for this race either, but that is the norm around here. None of the races give out medals and most do not have anything special at the finish.  The trade-off is parking literally 20 feet from the start/finish, arriving 15 minutes before the start, no crowds, and no having to weave around people. 
We headed to breakfast and then dropped Rey at home and Savannah & I headed back to the parade.  The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day.  It was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon! One of Savannah's friends met up with us during the parade and they had some green kettlekorn while watching the two hour parade.  Yep.  Two hours!  I told you these people take their St. Pat's seriously! 

Did you run a race this weekend? Do you normally run large or small races?  Do you care if races have medals and all the extras? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It's Wide-angle Wednesday! I am here, just still somehow trying to get back in the swing of life after the race/trip.  Spring has arrived and left again, but I was able to get a couple runs outside (BLISS!) and work in the yard (more BLISS!).  I have a 5K coming up for St. Pats this Saturday and new shoes on the way.  I'll have to do a proper update soon, but for now, it's WAW time! 

Has spring arrived where you are yet? We were at a freak 80 degrees yesterday and then 12 hours later there was snow predicted! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Once upon a time there was a girl and her shoes...

 If you haven't been able to keep up with my shoe woes (who could?) here's a little story to get you up to speed:

Once upon a time there was a lovely amazing unique snowflake named Karen who was extremely frustrated with SHOES. 

  When she first started running years ago she had developed runners knee and quit running because she had no clue that her shoes could have possibly be causing it.  That was when she was just running in a pair of shoes she likely grabbed from Target.  

When she started running again, she bought her first pair of Asics, trained for a year or so and developed horrible plantar fasciitis.  She still didn't know much about shoes back then.

 She had to stop running for 10 months and do much taping and slowly building back up to get back to where she could run again.   She researched for hours and hours and knew more about shoes now than she cared to admit.  She decided to try lower drop shoes to fix the problem.  She chose  Brooks PureFlows, which were a 4mm drop minimal shoe and even tried Vibrams for a bit.  She fell DEEPLY in love with her Brooks PureFlows and bought more in every color you can think of. LOL

Her calves hurt a bit in the beginning, but nothing that compression sleeves couldn't help and she went slow. 

 And the calf pain went away and she loved and loved and loved her shoes.  All spring and summer she took selfies of them and rotated them as she trained for her first 10K and started to up her mileage for her first half marathon.

 and then out of nowhere after an 8 mile run, her heel started hurting.  A lot.  It burned when she put her shoe on.  Icing, resting, and the norm didn't really help.  Researched pointed to achilles bursitis in the heel.  She was out for almost 2 months.
 There were desperate acts.  
Cross training and even attempted runs in flip flops. 

and in real desperation to run, the cutting of the back of the shoe.  It worked but wasn't a permanent solution.  Adding the heal seats in the shoes seemed to help a bit though...hmm...

So after accepting that she had to let go of her beloved PureFlows because they were most likely causing the heel bursitis b/c of the low drop, she went back to regular trainers.  Brooks Ghost.

They were pretty, but the love was not there the way it was for her old PureFlows.  They weren't as comfortable, but...they did the job.  The heel bursitis was gone nearly overnight after adding the heel back in.  Yay, right??? Maybe.

Training continued for her first half and although she didn't love her new shoes, she was glad to be able to run again and build her mileage up.  Until her knees started hurting.  More rest...more knee never got better, she had to cut back on her mileage and only got to 10 miles before the race.  There was no way to change shoes right before her race, but in the back of her head, she wondered if the knee pain was caused by these shoes.  Race day came and she was able to push through the knee pain and complete her goal!  

Pain is temporary, however, and after crossing that finish line and recovering for over a week and a half, she decided to run again but this time in the old PureFlows (not the cut ones! LOL) 

Out she went for her run and again fell in love with her low drop shoes within seconds.  2.5 miles later and guess what?  NO KNEE PAIN!!!!!!  No knee pain in these low drop shoes! It had been 2 months since she had run without knee pain.   She immediately went to the computer and decided to use her bday gift card to purchase some Altra Torins (also low drop shoes).  

The next day she went on a 4 mile walk with her husband in her PureFlows...and came home with a nagging feeling in her heel.  No!!!!!!

 That's right.  The low drop shoes are perfect for her knees but cause achilles bursitis in her heel.  The higher/regular drop shoes fix the achilles issue but cause horrible knee problems.  And here our story ends because there is no ending to this story.  It's just left up in the air, just like our heroine...with no working shoes. 

I was thinking middle-of-the-way drop shoes? 8mm?  Low drop shoes but with a heel cushion insert that will raise my heels a bit? Other than that, I'm at a complete loss, feeling like I have to choose one injury over the other.  

Anyone brilliant out there who has a suggestion? Do you ever feel like you are choosing one injury over another or that you just cannot find the right shoe?

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Oops!  I missed Wednesday all together.  I have en excuse though, I have totally not gotten back to regular life since the PHM.  Things have been crazy since I got back.  I've been sick, had to jump right back into work, and yesterday was also my birthday, so I should get some sort of pass, right?  I have not run since the race and I'm itching to, but I wanted to really make sure my knee is better.  I think today I will test it out.

Excited to get back to WAW since I took quite a few shots at Disney World while I was there.  Let's hope I took enough to get me through the next year until I get back! ;) 

Does it take you a while to get back into the swing of things when you get home from Disney or a Destination run?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Princess Half Marathon Recap (Part 3)

It's a sickness.  I don't know why, but I'm always compelled to FINISH.  Probably how I ended up finishing the race!  Every time I do a trip report or recap, I just have to finish it.  So, that's what I'm doing! In case you missed any of the previous Princess Recaps:

That took me like ten minutes to do those links. I'm ready for a nap now.  

Ok, Ok, I know you are waiting on pins and needles b/c you don't already know that I finished the race.  :p

So, there I was, in the Magic Kingdom hub, in panic mode b/c I suddenly had severe pain in my knee.  I stepped onto the sidewalk, you know right where the snack cart usually is in the hub?  Yeah, there.  I'll always think of that now.  I thought maybe stretching a bit would help.  I stretched and tried to calm down.  Nothing but pain.  I could see the knee was swollen and realized that no amount of stretching was going to help at this point.  I just need to go. 

So that's what I did.  In the amount of time it took me to run from the hub to Tomorrowland, I had decided that I could not stop again.  As I ran, the pain subsided a tiny bit, but I was still in a lot of pain.  When I looked at the videos I could see myself visible "limp-running". I fumbled with my earbuds and scowled a bit as I ran by a line of MAYBE 4 people waiting for the White Rabbit.  *sigh* I wanted so badly to stop but as I thought back, I realized that each subsequent time I had stopped during the race, the knee pain had gotten worse. I was going to finish this race, I hadn't trained for this long to not finish, so I felt like I transitioned pretty quickly into letting go of anymore photos. 

Until I saw the Castle.  Ugh, my heart sunk a bit as I realized I could not stop for a shot in front of the castle, but I knew I already had the shot the CM took, so I let it go and just focused back on soaking up what I was actually doing!  I was running through the castle!  Who cares about photos!  I was happy to see no bottlenecks or slow down and I was able to actually run through the castle.  I teared up yet again, I was so overwhelmed by being here and doing what I had dreamed of but also had some fear of not finishing because of the pain.  A photographer caught it.  A little blown out from the flash, but I can see what I was feeling written all over my face. 

 I have to mention here that I really didn't care for my photos, but purchased them anyway because it was my first half marathon.  I'm a photographer and I pride myself in finding great angles for  people.  It's not rocket science and I know I'm not a sports photographer, but I will never understand why they shoot UP during these races.  The angle is so incredibly unflattering and adds even a double chin to people who don't have one.  I don't know, maybe their legs are tired so they have to squat down.  LOL. Anyway, I didn't love the angle of my shots, but most of you know what I look like and in the scheme of things it really doesn't matter if this is exactly what I looked like or how many extra double chins that angle gave me.  It's enough for you to get the idea.  They are a record of that day for me, so I'll cherish them, even if my face looks like a watermelon.  ;)

So, I was overwhelmed running through the castle and as I came out and down the side, I looked over and saw a tiny line for the photo in front of the castle.  A photographer caught me right when I was looking:
and then I let it go and kept going! Rey says this is my annoyed face. 

In that shot I still had the camera in my hand but as I ran past mile 6 mile marker, I tested taking a shot while running and it was blurry.  I decided to let it go as well (see a theme here?) and put the camera away.  

I found more biofreeze and had some water on my next walking interval.  If I kept moving I was ok.  This was the first time I had fear of being swept.  Looking back (and when I saw all the people behind me at mile 11) I realize this was silly, but at the time I was worried that if I had to walk the rest of the race (or crawl) I might be so slow that I would get swept.  This had never really been a fear during training, so it was hard to swallow.  I briefly got mad as well.  I was angry that I couldn't just enjoy my race like everyone else.  I wanted to have FUN and enjoy but instead I was just trying to push through this pain.  

And then there was cold air...
I knew it was coming but hadn't looked up what song had won.  I knew immediately it was Frozen.  It was funny, I had not watched the movie because I knew I would want to change my costume last minute! LOL.  I was sort of out of it, but I think they had cold air machines??? I thought I was delirious at one point.  And then Let It Go was blaring, and I was singing...and sobbing.  I was going to finish this race, pain be damned.  It was at that point that I decided that if I couldn't have exactly the race I wanted, that I at least wanted to finish in a time that I had hoped for.  I just wanted to get under 3 hours.  I normally run 10 miles in 2 hours, so surely I could run those 3 miles in an hour?! 

As I passed many short lines for photo ops, I wanted to stop and at least take a pic of each of them, but I couldn't.  I was too afraid that the pain would worsen, so I just kept going.  I put both my earbuds back in and blared my music.  I thought it might take away from the experience, but I still felt the energy of all the people around me, even if I couldn't hear anything but my music.  I needed to zone out.  I'm pretty sure that was about the time a photographer got this shot.  I look pretty happy for someone in pain. 

Somewhere around mile 8, I saw the 2:45 pacers pass me.  I was trying to keep up with them, they were doing intervals as well but not the same ones as me.  I lost them when I had to stop for more Biofreeze somewhere between 8 & 9.  I was bent over slathering my leg when I heard a familiar voice!  April!!  My twinkie! I'm not sure what I looked like to her, I was relieved to see a familiar face but afraid I would just spew all over her about pain, so when she asked how I was, I just said IN PAIN.  I think.  It's all such a blur.  What I do remember is her asking me if I had gotten any tylenol yet and showing me that they had it.  I promptly took it while they marked a big red X on my hand.  

As I started back up, I think I was rambling about pain.  I'm unsure. I was pretty out of it.  Sorry Twinkie!  She asked if I wanted company, she said she could pace me to the finish.  I was so taken back, I didn't want to hinder her race, I knew I was moving slower than my usual pace, and I was worried I would make a fool of myself by crying or complaining the whole time...but oh how the company was needed.  So I said yes.  Good choice Karen!  We started back up doing my 5/1 intervals, which seemed to be ok. 

That was the moment I knew.  I knew I would finish the race.  

It was funny, the previous day at the pool April and I had been chatting and she said she wasn't a "caretaker" type of person.  That couldn't have been farther from the truth.  It was like having my own personal trainer and cheerleader!  She would say things like "You are strong, just 3 miles to go, you can do that any day! Look at that...remember how close that was to the start?  You are almost there."  I knew she was trying to help me and knowing that made all the difference.  My mantra in my head became "Pain is temporary".  I had heard this so many times before but never really understood it until this moment.  

At mile 10 we both wanted to stop for a picture.  I had not gone more than 10 in training and April was dressed as Aurora, so she had to stop for the Aurora mile marker! 

 Haha, I look nearly insane!  Right after this was the ramp up to the overpass.  When I started back up running it was really painful, but I knew if I kept going it would loosen up a bit like the past few times.  Up, up, up we went!  I'm good with up. These last 3 miles were some of my favorite, even though I was in so much pain.  As we were going up, Rachel came up to us!  Different Rachel than from my meetup.  This Rachel lives in Florida now and works for Disney.  I follow her on Instagram, she takes fabulous photos.  It was great to have another person with us, April and Rachel chatted and I listened but didn't talk much.  

Anyone who knows me will find this hilarious.  It's hard to shut me up.  I know, you are shocked.  Well, 10 miles of pain and I finally shut up!  Now we know what it takes.  As we passed Sarge and got to the top of the overpass, I asked April if she would take a picture and catch up to us.  If I can't take them myself, I make other people do it for me!  Brilliant.  Loved seeing all the runners below headed up and around the ramp I just ran up.

 I think we went down and then back up, I'm unsure, but I remember being up on another ramp into Epcot when I saw 11.  More tears when I told the girls that this was the farthest I had ever run.  I could see Epcot (barely) through the fog!  I was almost there. I also knew there was a bit to go from reading other race reports, so I continued to pace myself and just focus on putting one foot in front of another.

Rachel had to stop for a bit and we kept going.  I was nearly there!  We came down into the Epcot parking lot and I saw 12!  April told me that if I could run a mile in 20 minutes, I would do it in under 3 hours.  As if!  I can walk a mile in that time.  Let's DO THIS!  She also asked if I wanted to run the whole thing and she must have read my mind, I was so ready to do this.

The last mile was like a dream. The pain was still there, but it just didn't matter now.  I was going to finish!  We ran into Epcot and past Spaceship Earth.  There were a bunch of Starbucks people outside waving Starbucks signs (noted to self: have one later!) and A Fairy Godmother was on a mic saying something to us about how we should yell out any word, doesn't matter what it is.  I bit my tongue.  LOL. I hammed it up for the photographer I saw as we ran past...

 April doesn't even look like she's sweating.  Oh, number one lesson I learned from this race?  NEVER.EVER.EVER. wear my bangs down again.  Never. Say goodbye to them, you won't see them again during a race.  

We ran out to World Showcase and then turned around, April ran ahead to snap a picture of me.

  We headed back to Spaceship Earth where we turned right into a back area.  I knew they were coming, I felt like I was holding my breath to see them...and there they were.  The Gospel Choir, singing.  More tears, I was almost there!  I so wish I had gotten photos of this, but I'm Letting it go...LOL

We came around another corner and I recognized it from photos,  and before I knew it, there it was.  The finish!  I was completely overwhelmed but I sped up a bit. Pharrell's Happy was blasting but I barely noticed.  I heard names being called, heard the cheers and saw that line. There are just no words to describe the relief, happiness, pain and accomplishment I felt all at that moment.  

 I love it! I know at first glance I look all sassy, but if you look again, there's some pain and relief in that face too.  That's what I love about it.  It was miserable and magical at the same time!  (yes, Taylor Swift lyrics fit perfectly) That was the last shot like that, because I couldn't hold it together any longer, I was a sobbing mess.  You have to know how important this is to me to post this photo because I hate the way I look, but love that it captured that moment when I realized I had done it. Trying to hold it in...

 I had imagined this moment so many times but your imagination cannot capture those emotions the way the real thing can.  I cried for the finishing, for the training, the pain, and the overwhelming pride I had for myself. 

They handed us wet towelettes and had us continue to walk.  I felt a little confused and dazed but April helped me find ice and they strapped it onto my knee.  I felt a bit like a zombie at this point, I took a picture of my medal (priorities!) and then I was up hunting for water but could only see Powerade. 

 April ( BRF!) handed me a water and I drank.   We took pics of each other quickly before saying our goodbyes, she had to go a different direction for the GSC and Coast to Coast medals!  

 I was still a zombie for a bit, I had my backdrop pic taken and grabbed a banana (don't even know where it went) and a box of food and headed out to the reunion area.  Kim and Savannah both texted me saying they got ALL the updates all at once, after I had finished. Bummer. It took them a while to find me but they came bearing a rose and I burst into tears when Kim gave me a hug.  I asked Kim what the time was that they sent, that's how I found out that I made it under three hours!  2:51:41.  Not bad for a Disney Half with an injury!

They were good tears but I also missed Rey and wished he had been there.  

He sent me a text, I thought I would share it.  

I was looking at pics and reading everyone's comments.  I always knew you could do it cause YOU can do anything.  I wish I could have been there when you crossed but probably for the best because I teared up like a big baby looking at your pics, I wouldn't have been a good sight at the finish line.  I truly mean it when I say you are an amazing, beautiful, smart, determined, inspirational woman. I love you and miss you and can't wait to see the rest of the pics.

In the next few days I will have a Final Thoughts post on my first half marathon and you'll see how I feel about doing another!

Princess Half Marathon Recap (Part 2)

Ok, so I lied.  I got it finished and want to post it today, I don't want to wait!  At this rate I might finish the whole thing today. 

This is the second part of my recap, I'm hoping to fit it into three!  Part 1 of my Princess Half Recap.

So where was I?  Oh yes, out to the corrals we went!  I will say that I was super impressed at this point with how RunDisney organized all this.  20+ thousand people and everything seemed to run really smooth.  This could just be my perspective because I have spent the last couple years reading about this race and have come across some horror stories, so I was happily impressed.  

When we arrived to the corrals, we got in an actual line for the PP's this time.  It looked big, but moved pretty fast.  The smell wasn't pleasant, but I'm oversensitive to smells already. 

This was what it looked like when I turned back to where we had come from.  Masses of people still coming into the corrals.  I thought this was so cool.  Crowds usually bother me, but I was on cloud nine and loved the energy that all the people brought to this event. Everyone was in such great spirits, I've never just struck up conversations with strangers like I did during this race. Yes, even in the port-a-potty line!

So if you aren't a runner, this may be TMI for you.  If you are...then TMI doesn't exist and you'll be ok with this next part! I get up to the front and realize that I do have to go...uh...#2.  No problem, I was just happy that I decided to get in line when I did.  I go in, sit down, do my business quickly (I'm fast like that, don't hate me) and reach for the toilet paper.  Nothing.  WHAT THE F*#$*@!!! NO TOILET PAPER?!?! I actually yelled that.  LOL.  It never occurred to me for some reason that the toilet paper would run out? I briefly panicked, thinking I would have to run a race after not using toilet paper, but I figured it out pretty quickly.  I ripped the cardboard roll off and used that.  :p  Just to make it a bit worse, Kim, being the amazing thoughtful friend she is, had woken up in the middle of the night to add toilet paper to my list of things to bring.  What had I done with it?  I blew my nose with it.  Doh!

When I got out of the PP, April said "Was that you?!"  LOL...she heard me from the stall she was in.  Just like me to cause a scene at the port-a-potties!  We headed right over to corral F after that.  

   Behind me:

 It was pretty full already and I was happy to stay where we were, near the back.  It was not long and they were sending off the wheelchairs and first corrals!  I was shocked at how fast it went.  We must have just had good timing, I thought we would be waiting in the corrals forever.  I cannot explain how excited and overwhelmed I was. 

April and I were running different intervals, so we wished each other good luck and I popped in one earbud.  It was our turn and I had to giggle as I went over the starting line that I was already tearing up.  If I was crying already, I would probably be a blubbering mess by the end!  The smaller corrals but shorter wait for each to start must have helped because from the get-go I didn't feel overcrowded at all.  I was so elated, the moment was here, I was doing it, and it didn't feel real!  

I loved the dark.  I paced myself and just soaked it all up.  I passed the 1 mile marker before I even realized it!  April and I played leapfrog for a bit and then I got into my groove and lost her at some point.  I had no interest in stopping for pictures or waiting in lines, but LOVED seeing all the festivities. 

I also realized pretty quickly that I had to let go of the photographer in me.  This point and shoot, covered in sweat, was not going to take the kind of quality shots I'm used to.  I did decide for a quick pic of mile 2, I think I saw April again at this point, but I was in a haze of excitement and euphoria.  And sweat.  A haze of sweat.  Note about the weather.  Florida is humid and I trained in the cold, but I didn't have a single problem with the weather.  I sweat buckets no matter what weather I run in and heat/humidity doesn't seem to bother me, other than being soaked in sweat!  It was foggy and I really loved it.  It helped with the heat and it just made everything a little more *dreamy* for me somehow.

For those of you that don't know, I was running with a knee injury and a bit of foot tendonitis? I had only gotten up to 10 miles in my training because of my knee pain and my taper was a BIG taper because I was trying to rest it for the race.  It was bothering me at this point and the foot as well, but nothing I couldn't handle. I arrived at the Magic Kingdom toll booth and was so excited to take this picture! I actually think this is when I realized the shots wouldn't be the quality I really wanted but I was ok with that.  Oh and a side note I just was SO COOL to have the monorail drive by as we were running.  It was dark and foggy and the monorail would pass by and it blew my mind for some reason.  I was running, at Disney, and monorails were passing by!  Surreal. 

 My attempt at a selfie. LOL. I had already taken off my glasses b/c they were sliding, which was a bummer later because I couldn't read any of the fun signs!

When I started running again there was noticeably more pain in my knee.  Luckily there was a med tent right after the toll booth and I grabbed some Biofreeze as I ran by the slathered it on my knee.  That helped a little. It was about this time I started to have the urge to yell SPARKLESISTER! at every runner I saw with a Sparklekskirt on.  I eventually just started doing it.  Some people would look at me like I was nuts but most would realize what I was talking about and we would briefly chat about how fabulous they are and how I had one on under my petticoat. I'm sure I looked like a lunatic yelling Sparklesister at people and lifting up my skirt!  ;)

I was feeling really good, just the nagging in my knee for the moment and enjoying it all.  I had to go back and look at the order of these shots b/c it gets a little muddled in my brain.  
Speedway area...

 Villains!  These were a consideration to stop for when I was planning the race, but I just wasn't feeling that line and I really was just enjoying my run.  I loved seeing them from afar and they were playing a Selena Gomez song (Cruella DeVille) that made me think of Savannah. <3

 I had taken my earbud out at this point, it was slipping out of my ears from all the sweat and annoying me.  I didn't really feel like I needed them and decided I could pop them in after the Magic Kingdom if I needed to.  We came to the underpass and I had to laugh when I heard another Princess exclaim how happy they were for a downhill.  I laughed b/c I had to immediately stop and walk down it because downhill is not a good thing for knee pain! Ouch.  Up was much better! Loved the DJ, everything about this race was just so much fun, always something to see and hear.

I was grabbing water at every stop, there was no shortage, although I kept repeatedly asking for water instead of Powerade until I realized that at each stop the water was at the end.  No idea why it took me a couple stops to figure that out. I took a GU some point?   Then I realized I had been enjoying myself so much that I missed mile 4 all together!  I thought that warranted stopping to take a picture of mile 5!

 It was coming now, that moment I had thought about so many times in training.  I remember rounding a corner backstage and BELLS. Cow bells. Bells ringing everywhere.  I turned the corner and it was all that I imagined and more!  The cheering, the lights, the castle...I tried to take a pic while running and it was all blurry.  It's about what I experienced anyway b/c I was crying! 

I decided to pull over for just a second and take a less blurry shot.

I ran down farther to where I wanted to take a selfie, these castle shots were really the only ones I wanted for sure during this race. 

My attempt at a selfie was pretty pathetic I looked a wreck, but on the inside I was beaming, I swear!

 You have no idea the amount of editing it took to get my face not totally beet-red.  :p  

A CM offered to take my picture luckily!  YAY!!!!!  

(you know you said you wanted me to post a lot of pics, it's your own fault if you are getting tired of seeing my face!)

Elated, I turned around, stepped onto Main Street, started to run, and was hit with searing pain in my knee.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.

How's that for a suspenseful end to Part 2?!?!  *maniacal laugh*

Princess Half Marathon Recap (Part 3-Final)