If you didn’t read Part I, scroll down and read it. Then come back up for Part II. ‘kay? Great!
Alrighty, now on to the races! Here is GSC 2014, Part II. I will admit, some of the details are really fuzzy, but I’ll try to fill in the blanks as much as I can.
I spent this racecation off-property, and race-day transportation was a hot topic. I had NO idea how I was getting to the race, except via taxi. But spending that sort of money in Florida on taxi travels was a major pain. I was lucky enough to run into a woman (her name was Kat) at breakfast on Friday that had run the 5K. We decided, “Hey! Let’s eat breakfast and talk stuff!” So we did! After bonding for about an hour, and learning that she, too, was doing Glass Slipper, was able to offer me a ride to the start lines.
SUCH. A. RELIEF.
Lesson #1: Make all the friends. You never know who can help you out. I had the exact same thing happen this year for GSC, only it was 3:15 AM in the lobby of the hotel and new friend, Jennifer, offered me a ride.
The Inaugural Enchanted 10K was around 9,000 runners strong. There were five corrals, A-E. I was back in D. We got into our holding areas in the parking lot, and we were led around in front of the other corrals on our way to the staging area. It was awesome listening to the other corrals cheer for each other. We were all the there for the same purpose: to race.
I had met several Twitter friends in real life the previous day at a #runnerslove meetup at Polynesian for meeting, greeting, and winning lots of stuff. I found Jess in my corral and we agreed to run a little bit together.
Once the fireworks went off for us, We ran Galloway intervals for the first couple of miles. Well, I tried to, at least. First mile…totally fine. Second mile was an ascent onto an overpass with a downhill lead into mile 3. I couldn’t keep up with Jess at this point, so she went on ahead and I slowed up my pace, which was fine with me. I was going to enjoy the sights and whatnot.
The weather was fine that morning, and would be the same for the half the next day. I felt comfortable heading into EPCOT, which I found to be the COOLEST part of the race. Running through the nations was spot on, as was heading along the Boardwark and Yacht Club. At these incredibly photogenic spots, all the pictures were taken.
I finished the race in 1:28:40, which I had expected considering I was dodging people and taking pictures. I also wasn’t overexerting myself because I knew I had to complete the second half of the challenge the next day…
Princess Half 2014:
Sunday morning comes and it’s Princess Half day! Just like 2013, we all arrive at EPCOT and the party is going full force. After potty breaks and coffee and stretching, the mass of runners began to file towards the starting corrals, with the faster runners heading left and not-so-faster runners to the right. As I chilled out in Corral J, I thought about my race plan: stay strong, steady, and not take as many pictures as last year. Since I had gotten my “It’s your first race so take pictures of all the things” out of my system last year, I could focus more on actually running.
Once the corrals were released, I fell into a steady rhythm with some excellent song selections. I do believe that “Chasing the Sun” by The Wanted was the first song to come on, and I fell in tempo with the music. My first two miles were incredible. Just how I wanted them to be.
Then Mother Nature Called just before the 5K mark.
There were a couple of close-by potties by the course, but after waiting five minutes in line I could feel my legs getting tired. Some of us caught sight of portapotties all the way across this huge field, so we all decided to run over to those. (I ended up pulling a Julie Andrews and belting out, “The hiiiiills are aliiiiive with the sound of muuuuusiiiiiic!” This enabled laughter.)
So with this little detour, I had missed the water stop. As I hit the 5K timing mat, I felt dead. And I hadn’t even reached Magic Kingdom yet! The weather was overcast and humid, which was perfect for me coming from the snowbelt of Northwest Pennsylvania. I paced myself and hit Magic Kingdom, swearing five ways from Sunday that I wasn’t going to stop as I ran down Main Street USA. I turned through Tomorrowland, stormed through the castle, and made my way backstage. This is around the halfway point of the race, and coupling the 10K from the previous day, I had already run a half marathon!
At this point our halfway song, “Let It Go”, was booming through the speakers; the perfect mid-race pick me up! You could hear the runners singing along as we stopped to pose next to this nifty little sign:
My legs were feeling the toll of the mileage, but I kept going. I had to finish this. I wasn’t about to crap out now. I fought my way to get here, and come hell or high water, I was going to finish with some new shiny bling!
Up and down the hills, around the overpass, down through EPCOT….and there was the finish! Woohoo! 19.3 complete, finally! I was tired. I was sore. But damn…I finished.
I finished in 3:06:48, which was a 19-minute improvement from 2013 PHM. After receiving the medals, I was elated. I knew that this was going to be my race, and I couldn’t wait to return in 2015.
- For anyone completing the challenge, do NOT go all out during the Enchanted 10K. Take your time and enjoy the sights. Multi-day races, such as GSC, Goofy, and Dopey to name a few, require discipline and training to conquer. What I did in the weekends leading up to race time was do a “Mock Glass Slipper”, where I’d run a 10K on Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday. This was a huge benefit when it came time for race day and I knew what was coming.
- Don’t have coffee at the holding area. Even if you’re a coffee junkie like I am, don’t have coffee less than an hour before a race if you’re not used to it. Otherwise, you’ll be singing The Sound of Music while running across open fields en route to the potties far too early in the race.
- Pick songs that get you moving! Music empowers the soul…and your feet! Tunes with a pulsing tempo can help set your pace and give you a boost when you hit the mid-race slump.
- Take the time to walk around and stretch out after. This was critical. After being on a plane immediately after 2013 PHM, I was determined to not have that happen again. After the half, I came back to EPCOT and spent the day walking about (quite slowly). Then on Monday, when I checked out the hotel, I spent the day in Magic Kingdom. I felt a lot better in the days following the challenge than I had the year prior, and kept this EPCOT/MK tradition in 2015.
- Beware: accomplishing fitness goals may lead to the registration of more races. After I got back from EPCOT that Sunday night, I thought, “Hey, let’s do another race!” So I ended up registering for the Marine Corps Historic Half marathon!
Thank you for taking the time to read about my Glass Slipper experience, and the quintessential reason why the blog is named the Glass Slipper Catalyst. This race came a pivitol point in my life, even though I didn’t see it at first. By training for and conquering the challenge, it became the catalyst that I needed to continue on this fitness regime. My love for running and my runDisney community has expanded tenfold, I’m so glad I get to share my enthusiasm and experiences with all of you.