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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Best Damn Race Orlando

If you're going to call something the "Best Damn Race" then it better live up to expectations. Note: For some reason I dislike typing "curse words", therefore for the duration of this post the aforementioned race shall be referred to as BDR.
I've been racing more than normal this season. I decided to sign up for this race on a whim for two reasons:  It was a quick drive from my house, and when I registered it was only $40.  BDR does a tiered pricing structure, so the sooner you sign up the cheaper your entry fee.  If you're lucky it could be only $1!

Race morning I woke up at 6am and headed to the start early.  I like to have stress free parking and that gave me time to chat with my cousin Taina who was running the 10k.
After 3 (yes 3!) bathroom trips I met up with a plethora of Orlando and Tampa bloggers.  I know Victoria from my MarathonFest running group and have met and hung out with Meghann several times. Michelle and Paula are Orlando bloggers and Beka is a Tampa girl.
Going into the race I didn't have a specific goal.  Coming off The Celebration Marathon with 4 weeks between races there wasn't enough time to recover and train for speed.  I did two 9 miles runs, 1 tempo run, and several shorter runs.  My goal was to enjoy the race and not get injured.  Because of this strategy I decided to start with Victoria, Meghann, and Beka who were gunning for a sub-1:53 PR for Beka.  Yup, I knew that was the opposite race strategy that is successful for me, but I wanted to have fun and run with my friends.  So I did.

Miles 1-3 were all around 8:26.
I made it to the 5k mark at that pace and then slowed a bit.  I kept the miles sub-9 through the 10k mark and was shocked to see a 10k PR on my Garmin at the 6.2 mile mark.  53:44, which is faster than my 10k PR from Disney this year.  Yes, it's unofficial, but it was speedy.

The course was windy and partially on brick roads.  It's very hard to avoid brick roads on a race around Downtown Orlando.  I am used to running on them from my training runs, but it is more difficult.  The race was also very turn heavy.  I read that there were more than 40+ turns on the course.  Not a speed friendly course from that standpoint.
The water stops were plentiful and staffed with adults with autism, which I thought was a great idea.  Kudos on the plentiful water stops.

Back to the race - I was slowing.  I was not surprised at this and I just tried to enjoy running, being at a race, and being able to run.  I was passed and passed to the point where I almost laughed.  I'm the negative splitter and here I was hitting the wall! But it was okay, I was running a race on a beautiful day.  I was a happy (yet tired) girl.
I did a little race math and decided I could finish under 2 hours. I kept pace and finished a sore and aching, but a happy girl.

13.1 miles - 1:59:15 - 9:06 average pace (my 3rd fastest half ever)
After the race I took a sore hip to the IT band stretching area to get a little post-race recovery started.  The post race food was plentiful and I opted for a banana and my Cheribundi Whey Cherry drink that I brought with me.
One cool thing about the race was the PR bell.  It was fun to hear the celebrations of those who PR'd.
Overall it might not have been the "BEST" dang race, but it was a good event that I would run again.  One note was that my Garmin and most others measured the race short.  Most "certified" courses that I run will be long on my Garmin.  I'd hate to PR on a short course and never know how accurate it was.  We did go under 2 overpasses, which may have affected Garmins.

Also....they should work on their spelling of the word "Orlando"....just saying....
For a morning run where I could sleep in my own bed and then rock a medal to my weekly grocery shopping trip, it was a best dang morning for me!

Do you like races close to your home or do you like to travel?
Can you count a PR if the course is short?

Love and expletives,
Carissa & Kyle

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Princess Half Marathon

The 6th running of Disney's Princess Half marathon was a record breaking smashing success!
In 2014 the Princess Half Marathon weekend grew.  There was an extra day added to the expo, plus a 10k, and the Glass Slipper Challenge.  It was also the first race where runners could get a special pink coast to coast medal for doing Tink in January and Princess in February.
Did you know that the first year of the Princess Half we had 6,000 runners?  This year we had 24,000 in the half, 10,000 for the 10k, 10,000 for the 5k, and 6,200 in the Glass Slipper. Talk about growth and lots and lots of tutu's!

The running started on Friday morning with Cinderella's Royal Family 5k.
This year Rudy, John, and I got in on the costumed fun and I loved all of my royal outfits! John isn't a fan, but does Rudy look like a royal Michael Jackson?
After the 5k fun run finished, we got ready for the kids races and Mickey Mile which happened at Epcot.
I've already shared Sarah Kate's emotional story from the Mickey Mile, but if you didn't read it here's another chance.

Saturday morning was the 5k x 2.  Literally  - 6.2 miles and the start of the Glass Slipper Challenge.  The theme was Enchanted and Rudy and I dressed up as running versions of Elsa and Olaf. <embarrassing announcer note - I still haven't seen that movie.  I have the soundtrack and I watch clips on YouTube....womp womp.  I think I'll preorder the DVD>
Before the race I chatted with Barbara and Jeff Galloway (make sure to check out Jeff's first half marathon 12.14.14 in Atlanta!), our RunDisney Nutrition Consultant, Tara Gidus, and Kelly from Team Sparkle!  RunDisney races are always fun, reunion weekends to me.  I get to see so many friends and I just want to run and chat......but then I realize that my job is to chat...only on the microphone! :)
The real Elsa was out on the course casting a spell along the race way.  I would have loved to run by and see that and I heard great things from the runners who did.
Sunday morning we were once again up at 1:45 in time to rehearse and prepare for the 13.1 magical miles of the Princess Half Marathon.
How fun are the Gameday photographers?

The fairy godmother AND Miss America joined us for the start line festivities.
The ladies of Team Sparkle
Miss America 2014
My super fast sister-in-law Kelsey was running from Corral A as was my friend Krystal who is a perfect princess and a group leader for Track Shack's Marathonfest in Orlando.  I interviewed her before the start.  We also surprised an army wife on her birthday before the start.  We tricked her into thinking she was picked for a random interview when in reality her husband had recorded a birthday wish from Afghanistan that we played on the big screen.
There were waves A - P for the race and the time between waves varied depending on the qualifying times of the runners in each corral.  The men started in "B" and after wave D, I had to leave to head to the finish to meet our first finisher.
Our first finisher was a ROCK STAR!  Kim Smith is a team New Balance athlete and a 3-time Olympian for New Zealand.  Kim won in a time 1:11:49 crushing the previous record of 1:17.  Kim also holds the record for the fastest female half marathon ever run on US soil, a 1:07, and is preparing for the London Marathon in April.
We celebrated in all the finishers, the ones who ran a personal best, the ones who finished their first half, the ones who ran for a cause, and the ones who just love to run.

I don't think I can pick just one favorite RunDisney race, but the Princess weekend ranks right up there.

What costume was your favorite: Cinderella, Elsa, or Snow White?
What princess would you dress up as?
Would you dress up and run a race?

Love and be home by midnight,
Carissa & Kyle