2012 Atlantic City April Fool’s 1/2 Marathon (and 7k!)

Being born on April Fool’s day has a few disadvantages.  There’s always the same tired jokes. And there was that time in high school when my friends decided to each bring me Mylar balloons so that by the end of the day, I had about 20 balloons with which I was knocking people down in the hallways.

But then I met my husband in college; one of the first conversations we ever had was about birthdays.  And that’s because we share the same one! Being born on April Fool’s day was looking up.

Another cool fact about being born on April Fool’s day is that there are actually RACES that revolve around the fact that it’s April Fool’s day.  Let’s all get crazy and run on April Fool’s day!

Last year, I ran the inaugural Atlantic City Marathon series half marathon on my 35th birthday with fellow Scoot a Doot chick, Cam. I was obviously the seasoned half marathon runner with preciously ONE half marathon under my belt. Chick Bec was signed up to do the 7k and there was an 11k on the same day as well. This recap was written after the race on my personal blog but I’ve freshened it up to share on Scoot a Doot.

We arrived in Atlantic City the afternoon prior to the race.  My house is less than a hour away from AC but we decided to relieve some stress and get a room at one of the hotels associated with the race. There was no expo for this race but the packet pick-up was quick and easy.

Cam and Bec showing off their numbers!

We raced over to the Tropicana (where we were staying) from Bally’s (host hotel) to check in and get ready for our carb loading dinner… only to find out at the front desk that the “only room they had with two beds was a smoking room.”  That wasn’t going to fly and after sorting that out, we wound up in a large two bedroom suite, which was greatly appreciated.

Shuffling the rooms took a lot longer than anticipated but once we got situated, we went to Carmine’s for our carb loading!

(This is when we were able to breathe again at a normal rate.)  (I think the bread basket in front of us helped immensely.)

We had a delicious dinner and then made our way back up to the suite where Bec took a bath in this amazingly huge tub and Cam and I decorated our One More Mile race shirts for the next day.  Already we could tell that we wouldn’t be sleeping much because our neighbors were pretty rowdy.  We had WOO GIRLS on one side and the Bruce Springsteen fan club on the other.  I wish I were joking but alas… we were serenaded at 4:40 in the morning with a very repetitive rendition of Born in the USA.  At that point there was really nothing to do but laugh.

Despite the non-sleeping, we were up at 5:20 to get ready for the race.  Cam did a kick-ass Katniss braid in my hair and they both sang Happy Birthday to me, with bits of Born in the USA thrown in for good measure.  It was very lovely.

We drove to Bally’s (since we wouldn’t have time to check out after the race) and wandered around a bit before the race.  Met an interesting, still-drunk-from-the-previous-night guy who dubbed us “running nerds” – which was pretty awesome.

Saw a great sunrise over the water and just tried to calm nerves.

Look at these nerds!

I told Cam that I would stick with her and go at her pace throughout the entire race, take pictures, and just have a good time with it.  The race coordinators said they’d gotten a lot of calls about not being able to get to the site by 8am so they were pushing back the start to 8:15.  Honestly, it might have annoyed some but it really didn’t phase us one bit.  More time to dance and be silly.

There were close to 2,000 people running the 7k, 11k, and half marathon with about half of those doing 13.1 miles.  There were no corrals or placements to start, just the start line and the open boardwalk ahead of us.

The race was on the boardwalk for about 3.5 miles, then turned onto the streets of nearby cities.  It was an out and back and honestly, running on the boards was much more forgiving than running on the asphalt.  Being that we don’t get to run on the boards regularly, it wasn’t something we went into the race knowing but something we looked forward to once we got back on the boardwalk.

Throughout the race I would run ahead of Cam and then turn back to take pictures of her coming up, like a rock star!  She had her very own paparazzi.

When we discussed the night before what Cam was hoping to achieve from this half, her goal was simple – TO FINISH.  She didn’t have a specific time goal in mind and she just wanted to run and run HAPPY.  And I could fully support this mindset!

So of course, we stopped for pictures along the way.

The first five miles were happy and feeling good.  The asphalt was sort of a bummer on the legs but not on the spirit.  There were bands and radio stations throughout the entire course and lots of great scenery to look at.

There were eight hydration stations along the route – four in total that we hit there and back.  The turn around was a bit past mile 7 and around that time I called my husband just to check in and see how his birthday was treating HIM.  Yeah, I was THAT GIRL on the cell phone while running. I think I get a pass because it was my birthday.  Right?  Maybe?


Around mile 10, Cam started telling me that she was ready to be finished.  And I told her that was fine, she’d be done in about… forty minutes or so.  She really loved me then.

And then?  Around mile 12 we found DEATH.

And that made Cam EXTREMELY happy.

At about 12.75, I bid Cam adieu and sprinted the rest of the way so that I could get a picture of her crossing the finish line and earning her first 13.1 medal!

Bec took this one of me coming through the end.


My girls were both VERY HAPPY! (Cam swore she needed to get in the Atlantic Ocean.  Bec and I, both east coasters, opted out.)

Bec texted me when she finished her 7k and then I kept her posted throughout the rest of the half and let her know when we’d be coming through.  She got to rest and people watch while we finished up.


All in all, a great race.  It felt really good the entire time and it was so much fun.  If I do another race in AC, I’ll probably opt to stay at my house and just drive there super early in the morning because I didn’t sleep a wink the night before.  But really, since I wasn’t pushing myself or going for a specific time, that didn’t hinder us a whole lot.

It was the perfect way to spend my 35th birthday!

Updated to add: I’ll be running this race again on April 7th, 2013!  There are still spots available so if you’re interested, make sure you check out AC Marathon series and sign up because the price goes up in a couple of days.  And, of course, I’m going to have to eat my words because I will be spending the night down in AC again. The host hotel this year is Revel, which was just built in 2012.  Looking forward to continuing my April Fool’s half marathon streak and sharing my experiences with you.

Everybody’s talking all this stuff about me… A look back at the 2011 Rothman 8k – Philadelphia Marathon weekend

Right now, there’s a lot of talk in the running community centered around the Philadelphia Marathon. Just yesterday it was announced that the race, which is traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving, will be held earlier than normal, November 15th-17th.

This race, in particular, holds a very special place in my heart because it’s the one the gently lured me into running with its siren song.  Anyone who has been to a big race probably knows what I’m talking about… the song that makes you think, 26.2 doesn’t seem THAT far, maybe I should just start running RIGHT now.

I watched Victoria run her first marathon in Philadelphia in 2010.  A year later, I signed up for the Rothman 8k, while she ran the half.  Last year I worked as a volunteer the entire day.  I’d planned to run the half this year but now I’m waffling because the runDisney Wine and Dine is only a week prior.  If I eventually work my way up to a marathon, I’d like the Philadelphia Marathon to be my first.

I’d like to share my old race recap from my very first road because it seems relevant at the moment and this race has always treated me, and the racing community as a whole, very well.

This was the first time that Chicks Vic and Brooke met, which is always fun, because I love when worlds collide. Vic arrived on Thursday night and Brooke flew in on Friday morning.  Both of them were immediately friends (I wasn’t too worried about that) and super adorable. We hit the Philadelphia Marathon expo on Friday and picked up our t-shirts, bags, bibs and sparkly headbands for our Princess race in February.  All of which were absolutely essential.

Started getting (more) nervous on Friday night.  This was my first ever road race and I’d only started running earlier in the year.  My plan, which I had told the girls, was to finish in an hour.  Brooke’s plan, which she told Vic, was for us to finish in under an hour.  Ha!

Took the train in early Saturday morning and lined up.  Since Vic wasn’t running, she held all of our stuff and hung out with us until she needed to scoot to the “spectator” side.  We were toward the back of the pack when we started (no corrals, which was cool for a race of this size) and just sort of took it nice and easy.

The first three miles felt great and I was pretty happy throughout.  Saw Victoria around mile one, which was great and then we headed out to boat house row.  Brooke was chatting away and I was chiming in when I felt comfortable talking but mostly listened to her awesome stories.

Brooke had her Garmin and I wasn’t keep track of our time, which was a good thing.  The clocks along the route marked miles but it was about a minute faster than our actual time (which I didn’t realize because I’m silly and new to racing) so we were actually going faster than I thought.  Brooke took this selfie of us running and it makes me laugh every time I see it!

The turn around point was at mile three and there was a water station there.  Took a cup, drank nearly none of it and reminded myself that I was over half done.

But mile four was rough.  Brooke continued to entertain me, as did the juggling runner who was near us.

I think the reason I didn’t like mile four too much was because the road was sloped, the right side of my body was higher than my left.  So it felt uneven and… off.  I’m picky about my streets.

There was a stupid hill right near the end (hi, who put that there?) and I’m pretty sure that’s when I told Brooke that I felt like I was going to throw up.  She was concerned until I got over that, and the hill, and we booked it to the finish line.  I was pretty happy to see 58:35 and even happier still that it was OVER!

Overall, it was a great race.  I was so fortunate to run my first race with a great friend who was supportive of me AND to have a cheering friend on the sidelines!  This was the third time I’d ever run five miles in my life so the fact that it went so well, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

The Rothman 8k is a great race for beginners, like myself, or people who want to be involved in Philadelphia Marathon weekend but aren’t looking to run a half or full marathon.

Swept off our feet! 2013 Tinkerbell Half Meetup

Meri and Vic here with our Tinkerbell Half Meetup recap!

Our trip to CA had been months in the making so when we heard about the opportunity to be a part of runDisney’s TinkHalfMeetup, an exclusive running party to kick off the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland, we jumped at the chance! For those who haven’t heard of or experienced a runDisney Meet Up firsthand, a little overview: selected runners are able to join the runDisney crew for a short early morning run/walk around the park and then are treated to meeting special folks and doing special things.

Amazing, right?  We were thrilled to be able to participate and talked about it non-stop the week prior!

We arrived at the Sorcerer’s Hat by the Disneyland Hotel bright and early, shortly before 6 a.m. We had rented a car and allowed an hour to make the trek from our bestie’s West Hollywood bungalow to Anaheim. We flew there mainly because no one in their right mind is on LA’s highways so early… that’s about the ONLY time those highways aren’t jam-packed!


We were not the first to arrive as many other excited runners were already gabbing – and shivering.  We quickly donned out new runDisney shirts (thanks runDisney!) and joined the crowd.  It’s always a little awkward starting up conversation with people that you’ve just met but once we got started, it was easy to fall into easy conversation.  After all, they aren’t just RUNNERS (which already gives you something to talk about), they love Disney just as much as we do!

(Photo credit: runDisney- we are on the left, next to the woman in the pink jacket, that’s Ali!)

Actor and Runner Sean Astin, Season 5 Biggest Loser winner Ali Vincent and Marathon training expert (and former Olympian) Jeff Galloway were also on hand.  Soon enough, we set off to run-walk through Downtown Disney and the parks!

(Photo credit: runDisney)Moments later, we were running along the still-dark Main Street USA in Disneyland, chasing a golf cart with an official photographer as he snapped some pics for the parks.We ran in and around Frontierland, New Orleans Square, through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to Fantasyland where we ran into Tinkerbell at Pixie Hollow.
Vic snapped this pic of sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Seeing the park before opening was such a surreal experience; we waved to the workers who were getting ready to open the park and start the day. Yes, NYC might hold the title of the city that never sleeps but we’re fairly certain that Disney gives it a run for the money.

(Photo credit: runDisney) There’s Vic, on the right, in all black.


(Photo credit: runDisney) Meeting the fairy of the hour with some new friends!

Along the route, Meri chatted with Tara Gidus, runDisney’s nutrition expert, about pre-race fueling, treats, and running as therapy.  She spoke during our breakfast about the importance of making good decisions when it comes to food, both before and after workouts.

Everyone taking a twitter break…

After the Tink meeting (and tweeting) we followed Jeff Galloway back down Main Street toward the California Adventure park.

We took over Main Street USA. Did we mention that it was REALLY COOL to have the park to our little group?  IT WAS REALLY COOL!

We ran all over – past Tower of Terror, the Paradise Pier and Mickey’s Wheel and Cars Land.

Look at all of the colorful shoes, including many of the new Disney-inspired New Balance sneakers!  There was a New Balance rep. at the meetup and he told us all about the launch of the much-coveted shoes.  Hot ticket item (which sadly neither of us have)!

With the running portion of the morning over, we paused in Carthay Circle for a water break, and saw some familiar faces.


I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse. – Walt Disney (We swear, we’re not sisters/twins/cousins separated at birth…)

We also got the opportunity to mingle a bit and chat with Ali, Sean, and Tara. Now, normally Mer is a little nervous/awkward/unsure when it comes to chatting with people she’s only just met but she followed Vic’s lead. Everyone was very down-to-earth and approachable.

Soon enough, we walked over to Cars Land where we had the chance to ride the new Radiator Springs Racers. (It opened last year.)  We were thrilled as we knew this was a hot new attraction and would likely have a long line once we made our way into the parks.

Here were are, LOVING the ride. (An added bonus was that our new friends Anya and Heather were in the rear seat of our car!)

Breakfast was at the very beautiful Napa Rose in the Grand Californian and on the walk there, we had the very special opportunity to chat with Jeff Galloway!  He showed off his bling (perfect 20 ring) that he received at the 20th Anniversary WDW weekend the previous week.  There are 95 runners who have ran every single marathon since they first started in WDW in 1994 so they honored those runners.

Jeff offered run-walk words of wisdom. Vic told him how she’d used his run-walk-run method the previous weekend (during the Goofy challenge) and was thrilled with the results.

It went something like this:

Jeff:  So I bet you passed people left and right in the last few miles of your marathon. Am I right?

Vic: YES! I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with myself. I high-fived everyone I saw!

Jeff: That’s what I like to hear. Well done.

At Napa Rose, Sean spoke of his #Run3rd campaign in which you run first for yourself, second for your family and third for the cause of your choice. Ali told the story of her weight loss journey spoke about the importance of relying on each other for support.

Jeff Galloway spoke about his run-walk-run training technique and runDisney nutritionist, Tara Gidus, shared tips on pre-race meals, hydration and snacks.

As a final treat, Napa Rose executive chef Christine Weissman treated us to a delicious (and healthy) black bean cake with poached egg to round out the morning.

We are so fortunate and very grateful! Thanks for an incredible experience, runDisney! See ya REAL soon!  Why?  Because we like you!

(Photo credit: runDisney)

Rock n’ Roll Marathon’s 2013 St. Pete half race recap

A foot of snow fell in upstate New York last weekend, completely blanketing much of the region and wreaking havoc on everyone’s travel plans, mine included. I was headed to sunny Florida with my colleague and friend Traci to race her first-ever half marathon. Nothing would stop us from getting there. Not even Snowmaggeon 2013, which blessed me with a 70-minute commute home Friday afternoon. (It normally takes about 15 minutes)

Somehow, our flight south was not canceled. It wasn’t even delayed! We headed to Buffalo (with a generous snow-buffer delay) early Saturday morning. By early afternoon, we were in Tampa. We cast our snow boots aside and welcomed the sunny skies.

We stopped by the Rock n’ Roll Marathon race expo at Tropicana Field and collected our bibs and a few other choice goodies. We also stalked the PowerBar booth for their delicious new banana blueberry Performance Energy Blends. Apparently, it will be sold in stores soon, but I haven’t been able to find it just yet.

Fast forward to race morning:

We left our beachfront hotel around 5:30, which allowed plenty of time for us to drive the 12-mile route back to Tropicana Field, battle any potential race traffic and park before the VIP parking lot closed out.

Purchasing VIP parking tickets was hands down one of the best race decisions we made. We arrived minutes before the lot closed and parked within a 100 feet of a row of portable toilets. I know, that doesn’t sound stellar at all. But it WAS! We hit the bathrooms not once, but twice without waiting in any lines. Anyone who has been at the start of any race knows what a luxury this was.

We soon dropped off our shared check bag, and anxiously awaited our 7:30 am race start. Soon enough, we hopped into the corrals.

At the starting line

We’re so excited! And we just can’t hide it! (pre-race, of course)

Before we knew it, the race was underway and our corral was released.

We were off! We took the first mile a wee bit too fast. We were excited and ready to go, go, go! We rounded the first turns, which looped us around the baseball stadium, and up a hill to our first water stop.

It was going to be a warm day, so we had to hydrate early on, I told Traci as we headed toward the water station.

Then, Traci was body checked by a massive linebacker reaching for water. I dodged around more arms and legs. Grabbed water, drank water. Didn’t trip.

But I lost Traci.

I am the worst coach ever.

I repeatedly yelled her name. I frantically scanned the crowd. Then I finally realized she must’ve kept running. I start running again, whipping out my cell phone and I prayed. And yes, I was the jackal talking on my cell while running a race.

“Oh thank God!” I gushed when Traci picked up.

“I lost you,” she replied.

We chat for a few more moments, she tells me where she is on the course and I realize I am way behind her, so I tell her I am on my way and speed up to catch her.

Huff huff. Puff puff.

Damn, my legs are not pleased about this sudden sprint.

Where is she? There’s mile 2. Annnnd queue Traci’s smiling face. THANK GOODNESS!!!

Sadly, though, I am basically wheezing since I ran at 8:30 pace to find her again. And this was just a few weeks after my Disney marathon. Phew! It took me several miles to get my breathing pattern back to normal. Well, as normal as I was going to get for this run.

We didn’t chat much as we ran those next few miles — ya know, since I was trying not to die and all. We passed a few bands, some less-than excited spectators and repeatedly dodged a runner who stopped dead in the middle of the course to snap pics.

We also honored our wonderful nephews. At miles 6 and 10, we thought of Traci’s nephews and at 3 and 8, we thought of mine. It’s a wonderful way to pass the time while paying special attention to those you love most. Right, smiley Riley?

Soon enough, we passed an air field and dreamed of flying to the finish. Next, we raced onto The Pier, which was quite breezy. Stellar views but boy was it getting HOT.

Soon after we left The Pier, we started dumping water on our heads instead of drinking it. We were hurting. But let’s be realistic, it was in the teens yesterday and we were racing in 75 degrees. Given all that, we were still on pace for our projected goal time. Not too shabby.

Three more miles and we started to fade a bit. But we kept plugging away.

As we rounded a corner toward final mile – mile 12 – I encouraged Traci to run ahead. She was close to her goal and had a bit more spring in her step than I did. She didn’t want to, but finally did.

That last mile was rough. The cramp I’d been harboring much of the race felt like a dagger in my side. All I wanted to do was walk. But I didn’t I kept going. Soon enough, the finish line was straight ahead.

I sped up, at least that’s how it felt. I can’t even imagine how I must’ve looked at this point. But soon enough, I crossed and moments later Traci and I found one another.

We collected our post-race treats and sat along the beach. A slice of heaven.

Our view. I like oceanside runs!

Traci conquered her first half-marathon and is weeks away from her second race. I’m so proud of her!

PSA: I am not one to endorse running with a cell phone, since running is truly my only time to unplug. But our cells saved our butts here.Hands down. I will never run a race without my cell in tow again.

runDisney’s 2012 Princess half marathon race recap

The Princess Half Marathon aka Mer’s first half marathon!

Our bibs the night before

The night before the half, I basically didn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned and generally tried to rest my mind and body as much as possible because I knew we’d be waking up at 2:45.  Except I “woke up” (can it be called that if not technically asleep?) at 2:30 and we arose soon after.  Threw on the race attire, Glided (and of course, I missed some key areas – which I learned later on), and bundled up in our throw-away clothes.

The bus stop was directly outside our hotel so we made our way there a little after 3am.

Brooke looking pretty at 3:10am

We were the only ones at the bus stop for a couple of minutes which was a little disconcerting but another girl wandered up soon after and she and Vic realized that they were from the same area so they chatted for a bit.

Then the buses started going past us.  They were completely full and the time was ticking away.  The stop filled up with more and more Princesses waiting for their chariot and there we stood.  I’d say about five buses went past us.

Scary, right?  We tossed around the idea of just driving there (Brooke had her car) but we decided to wait it out and finally, close to 4am, we got on a bus.

Me on the bus – don’t I look calm, cool and collected?  I wasn’t, for the record.  But I was happy to be on the bus.

There was a LOT of race traffic and that was ALSO disconcerting because they had said we should be in the corrals by 5am.  Disconcerting was definitely the watchword.

We stopped to go to port-a-potties outside of the heavily populated area and then made our way to bag check.

Yep, this is the place!

Since we were sticking together, we checked one bag and then got into the line to get to the start.  At this point, I’m pretty sure that it was after 5am.

The line to the start.  Yeah.  Yeah.  That’s a lot of Princesses (and a few Princes too!).  Honestly, I feel like things could have been different over here.  The people around us assured us we were in the right place and that we were headed to the start but it felt very cattle-like.  We were moving at a snail’s pace and there was really no telling exactly what was going on.

I tried really hard to be zen-like during this walk.  Apparently a 20 minute walk took about 40 minutes.  But really, what was I going to do about it?  Freaking out wouldn’t change the mass of people in front of me and they were in the very same boat that I was.  So I did the best I could to just take everything in, give myself pep talks, and know that soon enough I’d be wearing a beautiful medal around my neck.

We got to the corrals at 5:43 (I remember making note!) and joined corral C.  Vic and Brooke were both seeded in A but jumped back to C so that they could stay with me throughout the race.  The start for corral A happened as soon as we got into our corral so it was perfect timing, even if it didn’t necessarily FEEL perfect at the time.

At nearly 6am, the fairy Godmother gave corral C a lovely benediction and then we were off!

Our fireworks!

Fun fact – men aren’t allowed in corrals A and B so we got many of them in corral C!

Just after we past the start line there was a high school band to our left, playing us into the race with the Rocky theme, which was pretty kick ass.

And right after we started running, the three of us realized we ALL had to pee.  Awesome, right? I mean, we basically stopped at the first line of portapotties we saw (my aversion to them had to cease to exist this weekend – blah!), which was only a mile and a half into the race.  And, of course, the line was about ten minutes.  Great, right?

Oh well!  As Annie says, “When you gotta go, you gotta go!”

After that, we jumped back into the fray.  The course was pretty packed, from start to finish.  It felt like there was a bit more room at the beginning (of all places!) because the road was wider.  Along the route we saw a pirate ship, hot air balloon and other fun stuff.  I took pictures from the road and continued on because I was trying to pay attention to not falling or running into someone else.

And soon enough, around mile 4, we saw…

The Magic Kingdom ticket booths.  Running through there was pretty cool!  Around that time, right after we passed the booth was when we saw Rachel Booth on her way to winning the race.  You know, nearly 20,000 participants and there’s the one that is going to pull into the finish line first.  And?  She won the Tinkerbell 1/2 in Disneyland in January.  Just really cool stuff.  Yeah, I totally teared up seeing her.

My first of many tears, by the way.

Right around the entrance to the monorail, we saw the villains.  At least, I think it was near there.  Things are a bit hazy.

I have to say the the first six-seven miles were pretty amazing.  Just when I started to drag a little (around mile five) we turned into the Magic Kingdom and I saw THIS.

And then there was pep in my step once more!

Running through the Magic Kingdom was definitely the highlight of this race.  It was… incredible.  Really, no other word to describe the feeling that came along with it.  As we approached the castle, we saw a (long) line to meet Cinderella and Prince Charming.

Now, my kiddo had asked earlier in the week if I’d gotten permission from Cinderella to run through her castle.  I saw my opportunity to “ask.”  So we jumped on the line, I ate a Gu and we got permission.

We made our way through the Magic Kingdom, stopping to take a picture with Jessie and Woody too.  The entire race, we were looking for things that our kids would get a kick out of.  I took pictures with mile markers 2 and 7 in honor of my kid’s ages.  It was just a lot of fun and easy breezy.

Until we reached mile 8.  Mile 8 through 11 were pretty… dull.  I mean, they have things along the route here and there but it’s sort of sparse and a lot of it (since you’re running back up the other side of the highway) is the same as on the way there.  I think since I hit such a high in the Magic Kingdom, it was just a little meh.

And then around mile 10 is when my IT bands started to really hurt.  I was disappointed because I was doing a lot more fast walking than running, even though I WANTED to run.  And every time I started running, they were complaining loudly.

That’s where the pain tears came in.  🙁

And that’s where Victoria and Brooke gave me the pep talks and the hugs that I needed.  My arm kept hitting my shirt (the part I forgot to Glide) and I was getting a pretty wicked chafing burn.

Wah wah wah.

I think that’s the point where I started talking about 5ks and my love of 5ks and who really needs half marathons anyway?  And Victoria pointed out the we only had 3.1 miles to go and that WAS a 5k.  Logical girl, she is.  She also suggested I put my music on for a bit, which I did, and it helped get me through about a mile.

And then?  We were at EPCOT.  And right before we entered EPCOT there was a woman on one of those scooter things holding a sign that said, “I’m cheering for you, too, complete stranger!”

It meant the world.

I pushed the knee pain aside, as much as I could, to finish the race.  And even smiled while doing it.

Because I knew who was waiting for me right near the end.  Not a Disney character.  No, no.

A gospel choir!

They started singing Joyful, Joyful right after I went by and was I ever!

Because .1 later, I finished my first half marathon.


Then we got our beautiful, beautiful medals.  And Victoria medal’d me, which I’m pretty sure means something significant in some cultures.

The medical tent was wisely placed right after the medal area so we swung by there and got my IT bands the ice that they deserved.  Really, I’m sure that was their medal for a job well done.

At the end of the race, they gave out boxes with crackers, hummus, chocolate, and edamame.  We headed back to the hotel and showered.  I was pretty frozen as my body tried to regulate what had just happened to it.

But hey, I DID A HALF MARATHON.  And?  Despite my claims that 5ks are the only races for me during the half marathon…

I’m doing another one on my birthday, April 1st.

I can and I will!

runDisney’s 2012 Princess half weekend – Tangled 5k race recap

Note – I wrote this recap last year after the Princess half weekend.  Since we’re getting Scoot A Doot up and running, I thought it would be fun to revisit recaps (and this one in particular, since the runDisney Princess Half 2013 weekend is coming up!). –

Victoria and I arrived on Thursday night and Brooke took us to her lovely abode.  We were both pretty exhausted so rather than drinking their extensive collection of wine (it was tempting!) we opted for bed.  Especially because we had a full day/weekend planned.

The Princess Expo at the Wide World of Sports was the next morning.  You want to see us there, don’t you?  Well, okay!  Here’s Shaina (wearing her daughter, S!), me and Brooke.

Princess half expo - Shaina, S-baby, Me and Brooke

After we bought some shirts and attire, we made our way through the expo and checked out some of the booths.  Like this one, for example.  WANT WANT WANT.

Bought some adorable compression socks from the ladies at Runningskirts, which we wore the next morning at the 5k (you’ll see those in a bit).  Bopped over to the next building and picked up our bibs for the races and then back to get our shirts.

Disney’s like a well-oiled machine and we really didn’t have any troubles during all of this.  There was one line for the half that was just SLAMMED; all the people seemed to show up all at the same time.  But all things considered, it was great!

I had gotten our park tickets through runDisney and since we were staying at Port Orleans, we had to go over to the resort to get our tickets.  They seemed a bit confused as to where I could pick them up – I was told the Guest Relations booth would be able to give them to us but they weren’t able to dole them out since it was part of a pre-paid package.  Thankfully it wasn’t too much trouble to go to the resort.

We spent the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom, wrapping it up early since we had the 5k the next day.

Or should I say morning.  As in, before the sunrise.

Brooke, Me, Shaina and Victoria

Brooke, me, Shaina, and Victoria sporting our awesome socks!  They are still my favorites.

Brooke, her husband (Josh) and Vic went off ahead, placing themselves further ahead in the open corrals, because they are speedy speedsters while Shaina and I hung back.  It was Shaina’s first 5k and I wanted to take it easy since the next day was my first half.

While we were waiting to start, I got the nervous pee feeling.  You know the one, where you’re like… Oh!  I’m nervous and naturally that means I feel like I have to pee.

Except that we started the race and at the same time Shaina and I realized that it wasn’t going away and we actually HAD to pee.  Awesome.

Our view of the start from where we were in the corral.  We should have moved up, for the record.

So we stopped at the first row of port-a-potties and took care of that.  😉

Lots of people walk the 5k, which is awesome – but they also placed themselves at the 11 minute mile corral.  There was a lot of bobbing and weaving but we just stuck together, tried not to run into/trip anyone and had a great time.

I’ve always had this vision of running around the Epcot World Showcase – it stemmed from a conversation that I had with my dad one summer while we were there on vacation.  So when we entered the loop at Mexico I was super excited and kept exclaiming to Shaina, “Isn’t this FUN?!?”  I’m not sure she thought it was as fun as I did but she said she did.  😉

Headed into Germany

It was just fantastic – I loved everything about this run!  Sure, it was crowded but I went into it thinking that it would be so I wasn’t expecting anything else.

The last mile

After we crossed the finish line we got our Tangled medallions and met up with the rest of our group.  Josh just finished the C25K program and was able to finish under 30, which was his goal.  HOORAY!

Vic and I after the race

Good times!