Today, I ran the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. Of course, I wrote this post on Friday, so I can’t tell you how I did, but I didn’t think I’d be in any state to write a post after running 13.1 miles, so I’m writing it early.

I love running. Funny thing, five years ago I could barely run a single mile. I certainly would never have believed that I’d be running my fourth half-marathon. I’ve become a bit of a running geek along the way, because, you know, that’s what nerds do.

The husband and I finishing the Halloween 5k

I started in the fall of 2008 with the Couch-to-5K program with a plan to run a local race called the Hot Chocolate Run. You run 3.1 miles, and you get hot chocolate at the end. It sounded good to me. My plan that first time was simply to run the whole 3.1 miles, and I did. Then, I got my husband involved and we ran three 5K’s between summer and winter of 2009, and started doing Disney races with the Halloween 5K in 2010. That’s when Dawn’s friend who was running with us suggested that we run the Disney Princess Half-Marathon in February of 2011. The real kicker was that the race was the weekend of my birthday, so I agreed to train for it. After surviving that, I ran the Disney Wine and Dine half-marathon in October 2011 with my husband, the Princess again in 2012, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler this past fall.

Almost there! Our first Princess Half-Marathon

This will have been my third Princess half-marathon, and hopefully I did okay. My running pace is about 12 minutes per mile, which makes the whole 13.1 miles about a 2.5 to 2.75 hour race. If that seems like a long time to be running, yeah, it really is. I really enjoy it, though. I have a running playlist that I put together specifically to include music at a beat that is similar to my running pace. It includes some geek favorites such as Jonathon Coulton’s Fancypants, the Star Wars main theme, and MC Frontalot’s Final Boss. I mouth along to the words and sometimes even through in hand motions when Buffett’s Fins comes on.

Disney gives you great medals! Wine and Dine Half 2011

Disney gives you great medals! Wine and Dine Half 2011

The Disney races are particularly fun, because they line the track with scenes, characters, and cast members. There’s never much more than a half-mile without some kind of fun thing to look at or listen to. Also, you get to run around places like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Sometimes, that’s enough of a rush to get me going for a few miles. Sure, by mile 11 I’m usually a little tired and that’s about where there’s always a big hill up the overpass, but then we swing into Epcot and it’s all worth it. I love to plow across that finish line with whatever I’ve got left in me.

Almost at the end!

Almost at the end!

This will be my first year running with Vibrams, which are the shoes that have a super thin sole and spots for your toes so that it’s like you are running barefoot. My regular shoes were giving me bunions, so these really help with that. They also help keep me up on my toes which decreases the stress on my knee and hip joints.

I so have some general tips for runner or those who want to be runners. Start slowly and work your way up. I didn’t run a half-marathon overnight, I trained for nearly four months the first time. Drink water. We stop at all nine water stops along the 13.1 mile track. it keeps me from over-exerting but also makes certain that I remain hydrated. Don’t ignore the mental aspect. Being active and on your feet for nearly three hours with no motivation other than your need to finish (and maybe pick up a really cool medal) is tough. You have to be just as mentally prepared as physically. My final suggestion, don’t run if you don’t enjoy it. Running isn’t for everyone, and after a run you should feel good, maybe not during it, but afterwards. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Even Minnie thinks that we did an awesome job!

So, it’s the weekend of my birthday, and my plan was to run a 5K on Saturday, a half-marathon on Sunday, turn 31 on Monday and fly home back to work on Tuesday. Sounds like a great weekend to me.

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