Monday, March 11, 2013

Race Recap: WDW Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Pre-race

5K Race Day: Saturday, February 23, 2013 @ 6:30am
Half Marathon: Sunday , February 24, 2013 @ 5:45am
Location: Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Travel Day - Thursday, February 21, 2013
Well, it really starts the day before travel day. I had decided at about 8:30am not to drive to Albuquerque to stay overnight before my flight because a friend I was supposed to meet had her new grand daughter born the day before. I knew bad weather was coming in due to a winter storm watch/advisory but it looked like the storm was tracking north of us so I didn't give it much concern and went about my normal pre-race/pre-trip cleanup. At about 5pm I saw that the weather had worsened and I began panicking that I would miss my flight, so I decided to go ahead and drive up and just find a hotel when I got up there (had already canceled my previous reservation). So I get on the road shortly after 6pm and immediately ran into severely, thick fog...much like what can appear in the California Central Valley. I ended up having a minor anxiety attack on the road and ended up returning home instead.

The next morning I woke up at 3am to check the forecast and now the last half of the trip was "snow packed and icy." Great! I was out the door by 4am and was not happy to be hit with fresh snow and small hail before even getting out of town! I managed to make my way through somewhat icy roads to the next town over after which the roads became almost totally clear until I reached I-40. After traveling about 25 miles west on the interstate, the roads became slushy but were well sanded/salted and relatively easy to drive on. Once I hit the mountains just east of Albuquerque portions of the interstate were not as well maintained and travel slowed to about 5-10 mph below the speed limit. This slow moving traffic continued even into Albuquerque where the Interstate was mostly clear...go figure. Since I had made the trip just about 20 minutes longer than I normally would have on clear roads I had arrived early enough to stop for breakfast at Denny's before heading to the Sunport (the name of Albuquerque's airport). As I sat there getting ready to eat I received a notification text from Southwest Airlines with the ominous words..."flight has been canceled." Really?? Did I just drive nearly 4 hours over questionable roads and weather to catch a flight that was no longer going to happen? I immediately called SWA to try to reschedule the flight. I had two choices...a mid-afternoon flight with a long layover somewhere or a 6:25pm flight with one stop but no plane change. I went with the latter. When I posted on Facebook the time of my flight I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my running friend/Tink sister, Kathleen, was catching the same flight as a connection from SeaTac. This is the same woman who walked with me so that I could finish the TinkerBell Half Marathon last month! It was pure serendipity that we would be together for the trip to our next race! :D

So, now I had time to kill. I loitered in Denny's for about an hour after I had finished eating then headed over to Barnes and Noble's to loiter there for awhile! Thankfully I managed to walk out of there purchasing only 2 magazines...that store is one of my shopping weaknesses. Since it was just after 11am I went to watch Les Miserables which was just totally fantastic! That will be a definite purchase when it comes out on DVD/BlueRay. By the time the  movie was over it was about 3pm. I made a quick trip to Party City to find a tiara to wear during the weekend then stopped at Jack in the Box for lunch before heading to the airport to check myself and my bags in.

As I made my way to the gate, I met two girls from NorCal who were running the Princess HM as their first Disney race. The dead giveaway was the tutu that they were bedazzling at one of the tables near the gate. We chatted for awhile and I showed them some of the Facebook groups pertaining to the race and costumes. Finally it was after 5:20pm and the plane from Seattle had landed and I waited for Kat to come through the gate (being sure to wear my tiara). There were some muffled squeals of excitement and big hugs going on when she finally appeared! I introduced her to the new girls and we just hung out for about an hour before boarding began. It turned out that the lady who completed our row of seats was also going to run the race. All in all I counted about a dozen Princesses on board.

Run Kat and I reunited at the Albuquerque Sunport
for the first time since the TinkerBell HM.

Once we landed in Orlando after a fairly uneventful flight, we grabbed out bags and headed in the direction that we thought the WDW Magical Express shuttle was. Unfortunately, even though we both had used the service before we forgot that it was located on the other side of the airport. So, after we finally got directions we made our way there along with other runners who also had gotten lost! It was at this point that we had to separate due to being at different Disney properties.

I finally arrived at the All Star Sports resort where my room mates, Dianne and Chris, had already checked in. After unpacking what needed to be hung up and my toiletries it was bedtime according to EST as it was something like 1am and I had an early day planned.

Fit for a Princess Race Expo - Friday, February 22, 2013

All Star Sports Resort pre-Expo breakfast meetup.
Dianne was our Perfect Princes...5 year Legacy Runner, the rest of us were PHM newbies.
(L to R: Eric, Dianne, me & Sandy)

I had arranged a breakfast meetup for any of the Disney's Princess Half Marathon Facebook page that were staying at the same resort. At first we thought no one was showing up until a young man sat down at the end of the table. I knew that there had been a male who was looking to meet other runners and I had invited him to join us if he was at the resort, but I wasn't sure if it was him or not. I asked if he was Eric, the guy I had invited and indeed he was! We had him move over by us, I think I promised that we wouldn't bite, and introduced ourselves. He was from Minnesota and this was his first Disney race. Then another lady, Sandy, stopped by the table asking if we were from the group and she joined us as well. We sat there talking and eating until about 8am when we split up to get ready to catch the first shuttle to the expo at 8:30.

Dianne and I at the Expo...
the volunteer taking the pic was a little shaky!
A little Princess nuttiness at the New Balance booth at the Expo! LOL!
Dianne and I got into the line at about 8:20 or so and were able to get on the first bus that was running about 15 minutes late. By the time we got to the Coronado Springs resort the line to get into the expo was probably close to a couple of hundred people deep already. Once we got in, we walked around the vendors area for a while to see what there was then headed to the runDisney Official Merchandise store. That was pure craziness! The line to get in wound in different directions outside the entry way to the booth. Once we got in it was literally packed like sardines, trying to get to items on either side was near impossible because the line to pay for items was winding around inside the sales area. I knew what I was getting so I got my stuff and got into line since it would take awhile Dianne grabbed some last items then joined me in line.

For some reason I had the bright idea to have my debit card ready to go even though we would be in line for at least another 20 minutes. At some point while in line I dropped it and didn't notice. When I did notice, I went walking up and down the massive line looking on the floor to see if I could find it. After a couple times doing this I finally went down the line literally yelling over the din for people to look at their feet to see if they could see a lost debit card on the ground...yes, it was that packed there was no way that I could see all of the floor so I enlisted the help of the people in line. When that failed I asked Dianne if she could cover my purchase for me while I called the bank to make other arrangements. I stopped at the registers to see if anyone had dropped off the card with no luck, I then went to the lost and found booth and they didn't have it either. I called the bank and suspended the card and found out that they couldn't get me a new card until Monday...not good since I didn't have any cash. I told them to hold off on canceling the card and I went back to the booth and asked again at the entrance (they were restricting access by then) and the lady came back with my card in her hand. Talk about a sense of relief!! I then went in search of Dianne who was unable to print up her 5K waiver so while she went to the runner's service booth I picked up my race packets for both the half marathon and 5k. We finally got back together and had an animated gif photo shoot done then headed over to join the DPHM Facebook group's meetup. We met a few of the other members and then went back into the vendors area one last time before heading back to the resort.

Race packet swag and Expo purchases.
When we went out to the shuttle pickup area, I noticed that there was a shuttle to the military resort, Shades of Green. I had planned to go there to do some basic grocery shopping because the prices in their c-store were more like normal off resort prices plus I needed to get my military special park ticket. So we hopped on the bus and were whisked away straight to SoG. We both got some stuff in the c-store and I purchased my ticket and we caught the next shuttle back to the expo. Since the c-store didn't have fresh fruit/vegetables we briefly went back into the expo to get some bananas from the Chiquita banana booth. This was the first time I actually had to play a game of Plinko in order to get a banana! Usually you can just go up and ask for them. Anyway, I actually won 2 bananas and a cheap pair of sunglasses...just the perfect number of bananas to get me through until race day.

After the expo, which was strictly for the bananas, we got on the bus back to the resort and Dianne and Chris headed out to Downtown Disney to eat. I wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom but was so tired that I decided to take a nap. I ended up sleeping for 3 hours.When I finally awoke I ate some dinner and caught the shuttle to the Magic Kingdom. It was overcast and humid and I arrived at the park literally at the tail end of the Light Parade. I made my way to Thunder Mountain Railroad, It's a Small World (a ride I hadn't been on since my kids were little), Under the Sea, Space Mountain, Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape, the Haunted Mansion and lastly Pirates of the Caribbean. My waits for any of the rides was no more than 15 minutes and just before I went to the Haunted Mansion it began sprinkling and by the time I came out a full blown tropical rain had started and most people were trying to stay out of the rain and I ended up basically walking right onto Pirates of the Caribbean.

Arrived just in time to catch the end of the Electrical Light Parade...
Thunder Mountain second fave ride behind
Space Mountain. Yes, I do love roller coasters!
The fireworks started right as I got onto TMR.
Woot! First time on It's A Small World in probably over 15 years!

By now it was just about closing time, 11pm, and I decided that I wanted to get a churro as I left the park but because it was so late all the vendors had already packed up. So the back up plan was going to Downtown Disney to get a sundae at Ghiradelli's which meant taking the shuttle back to the resort and catching a shuttle from there to DTD. I arrived back at All Star Sports just around 11:15pm and had to wait a few minutes for the next shuttle to DTD to arrive. It finally got there at about 11:30pm and left about 5 minutes later to make the rounds at the rest of the All Star resorts. I had begun to watch the time because while I was waiting I had looked up Ghiradelli's hours and found that they closed at midnight.  This literally had to be the slowest shuttle ride I've ever had at WDW!! It seemed like other shuttles were zooming by us as I watched the minutes tick away.We finally arrived at DTD I headed at a pretty fast, but not running clip to Ghiradelli. I was happy to see that it wasn't shut down yet and that there were still people in line...but I walked up to pull the doors open and...LOCKED! I looked at my phone and I had missed getting into the store by 4 minutes...four lousy minutes!!

Since I still had that craving for sweets I walked all over DTD looking for somewhere that had sundaes. The only two places were the bowling alley and I think House of Blues where it was a 2 person sundae...didn't need one that big for myself. So I headed to the bowling alley restaurant only to find out that the only thing they were serving were pizzas. Really, you can't make an ice cream sundae? Sheesh!! Luckily I remembered that I had a Snickers in my purse so I had to settle for that to quench my sweet tooth as I headed back to the resort after my epic fail for a Ghiradelli Treasure Island Sundae (warm brownie hot fudge sundae). I decided that it would definitely happen the next day.

When I got back to the resort I pretty much just got ready for bed since it was about 1am since we had to be at the Mickey & Minnie Royal Family 5K at something like 5:30am which meant a 3am alarm to wake up to...the story of my no sleep nights prior to a race! lol!

No comments:

Post a Comment