This post could also be called "my first time running a non-Disney half marathon."
Up until this point, my race experience at the half marathon level had been limited to Disney races. There's a lot to be said about all the entertainment and spectators involved when you're running on Disney property. The adrenaline that kicks in as you see tons of people in ridiculous costumes and parade floats with your favorite characters on board really helps push you from mile to mile.
So what happens when you don't have those things to depend on?
I will say it helped that I had run up to 18 miles through regular residential areas while training for my full marathon. So I wasn't completely oblivious to the idea of running without constant cheering. Not to mention all the mileage I put in on a regular basis when I'm not doing a race.
So piece of cake right?
To be honest, I was a little nervous about it.
My sister and I signed up for Best Damn Race here in Orlando as part of our goal to run one race every month. She added the stipulation that the race needed to involve receiving a medal and what better way to insure that than by picking a half marathon rather than just a 5k.
Did I mention this half would be just 6 days after we had run all the Disney Princess weekend runs?
Meh! You only live once, right?
We actually had a few friends signed up to run it as well so at least we were in good company!
Right smack in the middle of a very busy week for both my sister and I (she headed to the run straight from an overnight rehearsal!) but we were still pumped and ready to take on the race.
The course was centered around one of my favorite spots in Downtown Orlando- Lake Eola. Its gorgeous, the houses are adorable, there's tons of trees and neat side parks that the course went through, and there's tons of brick roads... Yeah that last part- not so awesome.
Seeing as I still hadn't taken time off since the full marathon, I was still having some IT band knee trouble. That combined with the brick roads meant we had to stop to stretch and walk a bit more than I had planned because I was hurting so bad.
"You can do it Kryssi!" "OH! Oh! I'm GONNA do this!" What would I do without her?
And so we got to the finish line! Despite the pain and lack of extra "pixie dust" encouragement- we P.R.'d! Imagine that. New best time for a half- 2:22:55. Maybe slow for most people, but for us? This was a huge accomplishment!
AND BEER!! Another upside to non-Disney races- free beer at the finish line! Ignore the fact that its 9am. This little finish line treat kicks serious booty.
All in all- I've gotta say running a non-Disney half marathon was pretty awesome. There was so much more natural beauty to look at as opposed to having to run a lot of big highways. The price tag is WAY easier on the pocket and the amount of runners out on the course actually allows you the space to try to set personal records. I'll definitely be looking for more of these in the future.
What a great way to spend a Saturday morning! Running with my sister through parts of our city that we ordinarily don't get to see. Perfect.
But let's not get crazy... I'll still be doing Disney runs. :)