Glass Slipper Challenge – Princess Half Marathon
Another day, another race. Transportation for the half marathon started half an hour earlier than the 10k did. There were about 9.5 thousand runners for the 10k. Conversely, there were 25 thousand runners for the Princess Half Marathon. We set the alarm for 2:00 to get on the 3:00 monorail. I actually slept that night, well if you call getting up at 2:00 AM with my alarm as sleeping. I think the 10k took something out of me.
Different race, same routine. We set everything out the night before and were on the 3:00 AM monorail. For this race, I was wearing new balance (no not the Disney shoes) 1400 v2s based on a recommendation from Pete at runblogger.com.
This course is the normal half marathon course at Disney World. We got through bag check and then waited in the holding area until they let us through to walk to the start. The walk is a very slow half mile or more walk to the corrals. We took a left to head to the front corrals. Once we got there we noticed a part of the highway that was free. We were alredy being passed by two women who looked like twin runners warming up.
We started warming up by running back and forth along the corrals. About 20 plus people started warming up with us. After our warm up, The Blonde headed towards a corral with the elite women. I headed towards the D corral. Yes, the D corral. I screwed up my entry and put down a realistic finishing time, but a bad supporting time. I figured that runDisney would realize that it was a hot half time based on Goofy and I had ran a full the next day. Unfortunately, they did not see it that way. I was not able to talk my way up to B corral.
Since this was the Princess Half Marathon geared towards women I was not eligible for any awards as a male. And since I was in D corral and my right calf was still bothering me from my charlie horse the day before, I was not sure how hard I was going to run the race. I was tempted to just treat it like a decent training run and stop and take some pictures, etc.
The only problem with that plan was that we had signed up as a coed team, which was eligible for an award. I did not want to let down the team. And Caleb had already called us out on the Internet for competing in it. I figured I would see how it goes.
I got into D corral and made my way to the front. I was one layer back as I did not want to shove any women out of the way since this was their race. We waited patiently for the race to begin. Meanwhile they were were trying to get people to dance and showing emotional videos making everyone cry. Finally, after a long time of waiting, it was time to start.
First went the wheelchair athletes. Then the runners were off with A corral and The Blonde. I wasn’t keeping track of how long it was between the corrals to be released. My final time seemed to be seven minutes off of clock time so maybe a minute and a half between corrals?
Finally, D corral was up. I was right behind two women. We got the release and the fireworks and we were off. I waited until there was a little bit of separation and I darted ahead. Again, it was very odd as I was basically running by myself. A couple of people from D corral started fast as well, but I dropped them pretty shortly.
Within half a mile I had reached the end of C corral. There were already some Gallowalkers going. It had been mentioned that runDisney had started implementing smaller corrals. That certainly seemed the case as there was not a whole lot of congestion. I only had to get on the grass once in the first three miles. I did try to stay on the left side and just passed people. It was certainly lighter from when we ran Goofy the year before and we were fighting the crowds.
I think by mile four I passing people from B corral. By mile five, I was probably hitting A corral runners. We did the dip under the canal between Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. I hopped up on the sidewalk for that section. We were getting close to the Magic Kingdom. We turned in past the bus entrance and headed in right before Main Street. I was expecting a mental boost at this point seeing the castle and hearing all of the crowds. For some reason, it just never clicked on.
As I was running through Fantasy Land, I passed the 1:50 pacers who were in the A corral. I figured as long as I was ahead of them, I was going to do ok. I was not destined for a PR today based on the level of effort from the previous day or even close to my original goal time, but I had decided that I still wanted to do well.
As I was getting ready to go through the castle, I was cut off by a woman who stopped to take a picture. She apologized which I appreciated greatly. As I was running through the castle the woman in front of me kept weaving for the cameras and almost ran into me. We ran out of Frontier Land and hit the water stop. I think that this is when I started pouring water over my head to cool off.
I hit the road to go back South towards Epcot. This is one of the dull parts of the race course. We were staying at the Grand Floridian and when I was running past that I was thinking it would be nice to stop there. But I soldiered on. I kept on past Shades of Green and the golf courses. I then hit the pirate ship again and watched the group of runners still within their first few miles as I was wrapping up the last quarter of my race.
I hit 10 miles which is where I was supposed to kick up the pace. It was not happening for me today. This is also where I was passed for the first time. However, I did not feel too horrible about it as I had passed him several miles beforehand and he looked about half my age and weight. I was passed by one woman a bit later, but I passed her back up later.
I could tell that the heat was getting to me as every time I poured water on myself my pace picked up. Unfortunately, it was brief relief. My right hamstring was tweaking a bit on and off throughout the race. I did a stutter step through a water stop and irritated it further. Fortunately, my calf was not bothering me while I was running.
I hit the overpass with the camber that I hate. I should have known it was coming up as the green army man was standing there shouting at everyone. I had enough energy to throw him a salute and plow up the bridge. I was not going to stop and do push-ups for him.
At the end of the overpass heading towards Epcot is a u turn. I was wondering if I would see the blonde. I did not. So, I figured she was having a decent race as we were about two miles from the finish. I headed into Epcot and hit the last water stop. Not much left at this point. I believe it was less than a mile from the finish line. I managed to pick it up at this point. I headed past the fountain and towards the World Showcase to do the u-turn. It was at this point I saw The Blonde. She was about 800 meters in front of me. I shouted her name, but I got no response, so I ignored it and kept on running.
I did my u-turn and headed towards the ball. Once I got past the ball, I gave it everything I had and started picking people off. At that point I hit the bandstand area where the spectators were. I heard a couple of shouts of encouragement about great kick, which just pushed me a little bit further. I finally hit the finish line. My finish photo says it all. I look like absolute crap. I tried to raise my arms in celebration and I have three angles of me looking like I am trying to fly. No pictures with my arms over my head, just at chest hight. Shortly after I crossed the finish line, The Blonde came flying into me and practically tackled me. We both agreed that the race was tough.
We did the usual grab liquids, take pictures, and get some snacks. I got some bio freeze for my hamstring and sat for a bit. I did learn my lesson and did not kick off my shoes, but untied them and gently removed them. We also went directly to the monorail. We did not pass Go.
Our cumulative time put us into second place for coed placing. We were pretty happy with that result. First and third were anchored by men who placed in the top ten with much slower time for the women on their team.
I saw that the overall winner, who was female, won with a 1:11 time. Knowing that is pretty darn fast for a female, I figured she was someone elite. So, I did some research on her. It turns out she is a three time olympian from New Zealand sponsored by New Balance. She is considered one of the best female half marathon runners in the world with a PR of 1:07:11 which is the fasted female half marathon on US soil. She set the course record. I read an article where she said that the heat and humidity affected her, so I don’t feel so horrible. Oh, and those two women who were warming up at the beginning of the race, they were teammates who ran cross country at Clemson. They came in second and third female overall.
As a male, I officially don’t in the numbers, but that won’t stop me from calculating them up. I was 22nd male, third in my age group, 62nd overall with a total time of 1:40:08. The Blonde placed 102nd female, 23rd in her age group, and 142nd overall with a total time of 1:45:46.
Apparently, I did not run the vectors very well on this race. Strava gave me a best half marathon effort of 1:38:47.