Running Recap: Princess Half Marathon Weekend

22.4 miles.

That’s how long this weekend was. I can’t even count it in hours, just miles.

And let me tell you, my body is feeling every single one of those miles today.

This weekend was my 3rd Princess weekend and my 4th Challenge course/Half Marathon.

It was also my dad’s 2nd 5k!

Like father, like daughter.

We walked the 5k, since his leg is still adjusting after his injury. But we still kept a brisk pace, and frankly outpaced some runners.

The 10k the next day was….humid. Like, really humid. Obscenely humid, even for Florida.

Accidental shirt twins.

We made pretty good time. I may or may not have been that asshole that started running uphill through Epcot. And we definitely finished drenched in sweat, despite there being a relatively cool breeze going.

Aren’t we adorable?

After the 10k, we actually got to help out with a proposal by one of the other charity runners to his girlfriend. She said yes, there was confetti. It was a good time.

Then came the half marathon.

I started out with very little sleep, despite going to bed at 5pm the night before. Then, on the way to the corral, I realized I didn’t have my phone. Fortunately, the lovely lady above was able to call my phone so we could make sure it was still at the charity tent.

This wasn’t a problem since I was running with two other people, so we could entertain each other for 13 miles.

Except I lost them at mile 2.

I tried. Really, I did.

I tried for a mile and a half to find them again. But the sea of thousands of runners made that pretty impossible. Eventually I had to resign myself to the fact that I would be running the rest of the half marathon without music. Alone.

I had gone into this race without any goal time because it was so muggy out and I had been pretty lax on training. Now that I no longer had any other form of entertainment, I decided to just power through the race as quickly as I could. I wanted to finish in 3 hours. My final time was 3:03.

The fateful picture I was in the middle of posting when I left my phone at the tent.
I had more than enough of the Jonas Bros by this point.

Once I finished, I honestly felt like my knees had been rammed by a car. I think I sat at the tent icing my knees for a good 20 minutes.

On the plus side, I did get a wonderful glass of champagne as a congrats for getting accepted for my PhD. (SURPRISE!)

Look at this beauty.

What did this run teach me?

  1. I can’t pace for shit without music.
  2. Silence is better than Jonas Bros and Miley Cyrus on repeat.
  3. WEAR SUNSCREEN. (I forgot mine, and now I look like a lobster.)

Preparation is Key

The final stretch before the Princess Half Marathon Weekend is here!

One week left before I die trying to do back to back 5k, 10k, and half marathon runs.

I decided this is a good time to go over pre-race prep, and what my normal routine looks like.

The first crucial part of prepping for a race, especially one as intensive as I’m doing, is HYDRATING. This is so important. Don’t just wait until the day before to start drinking more water.

Typically, I drink at least 80oz of water per day anyway. The week leading up to a race, I tend to up that at least another 20oz a day.

I also try to be careful about my food during this time. A lot of people think that if you’re running long distances, you get to eat whatever you want. False. I try to maintain a decent amount of protein, veggies, and complex carbs. I steer clear of eating anything new, simply to avoid stomach upset. This is especially important the morning of a run. I don’t do anything new. No new drinks, no new foods, no new running shoes or clothes. Nothing. That is how you end up in misery two miles into your 13.1 mile trek.

To give an example, I went for a training run that was around 8 miles. I stopped in at WheelWorks to grab an extra energy gel, and decided to try a new brand they had. BIG MISTAKE. About 10 minutes after consuming it, I wanted to vomit. The whey protein did not settle with my stomach, and I ended up hating myself the rest of the way back to the car.

Since then I have stuck only with GU gels and Sports Beans. They’re dairy free, I know how my stomach reacts to them, and they taste great.

I may have a small GU obsession…

Around this time is when I make sure to plan out my running gear for the weekend. I don’t plan out anything I haven’t already run in. My usual outfit consists of dry-wick compression leggings, compression calf sleeves, and a dry-wish tank or shirt. For socks, compression foot socks with built in arch support are my godsends paired with my Under Armour shoes.

It’s incredibly important to run in something you are comfortable in. After 13 miles, you may very well end up hating that cotton t-shirt that is chafing under your arms. Many people during Disney races wear tutus, ears, or full costumes, and I have no idea how they do it. I would be readjusting my clothing every few feet. It took me about two years just to find a good running belt to keep my phone in, let alone trying to run with Mickey ears.

One thing I have added to my running gear is a CamelBak to not only keep extra water with me, but also store my snacks, phone, inhaler, etc… Something to note, though, is that I train with my CamelBak on and filled. This is key, otherwise your back will be at war with you spontaneously deciding to run with 5lbs of water strapped to you.

Above are examples of my normal race gear. The atrocious creases at my knees are the compression sleeves under my leggings.

The last thing to make sure you do is SLEEP. I know this can actually be a daunting task when you have to be up at 3am to get to the corrals in time, but it’s super important. Put up some blackout curtains, get an eye mask, do whatever you need to do, but try to get as much sleep as you can. It sucks when you don’t plan accordingly, get off work at midnight, and have to essentially turn right around to run a 5k. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

Running Recap: Everything Hurts

Quite simply, I’m an idiot.

My kickboxing partner/boyfriend is down with a cold, so we decided to skip Muay Thai today. Instead, for some godforsaken reason, I opted to run 13.1 miles.

It seemed like a great idea at the time.

Jean’s exact words were, “…..good luck with that….”

I blame the energy drink.

I grabbed my running belt, some energy snacks, and a bottle of water and set off to West Orange Trail. (Do me a favor and imagine that like a cut scene from a Simon Pegg movie. It’ll just make it seem cooler.)

Before: So young and full of hope.
JK, I’m 28 and a cynical mofo.

The first couple miles went pretty well. I felt like I was pacing myself, and though the cold air was not doing my lungs any favors, I was getting pretty well warmed up.

The beginning of my false sense of hope.

The next few miles were easy, since they were through the small “downtown” area. This is one of those downtowns that is about a mile long (if that) on one main street. There was the usual Saturday farmer’s market, so it was a pretty busy stretch. My right shoulder was really starting to hate me, though, since I opted to carry a water bottle instead of bringing my CamelBak like I normally would for this mileage.


It was at this point that the runner’s high kicked in. I sent a smug text to Jean with the picture of my watch going “Halfwaaaaay!”

I took a brief stretch break (Please do this. You’ll thank me later.) and consumed my Gu gel. I then turned around to start the last half back to my car.

Don’t I look so enthused?
Side note: It was 62° outside and I was down to a tank top and shorts.

By around mile 7, I started sprinting the downhill because, well, it seemed like fun. And it was, until I started to feel myself tipping over as I reached the bottom of the hill. Then it was slightly terrifying.

You’ll be happy to know I did not fall over.

I was also at this point impervious to cold. LAYERS ARE IMPORTANT. I was practically overheating in my sweatshirt, and thanks to my forward thinking, I was able to tie it around my waist and run with the tank top. BECAUSE I LAYERED.

It was around this point that I really started to actually feel like a runner. Don’t ask me why, but in the last two years I’ve never truly felt like I can call myself a runner. I’ve done three half marathons and I still just never entirely felt right. But this run I actually finally accepted myself as a real distance runner. And it felt great.

Then came mile 10…

Fuck mile 10.

It was at this point that both of my big toes started hurting. I came to realize that my shoes were not as broken in as I thought, and I became increasingly convinced I was going to be blogging about my two black toenails. The farther I ran, the more I was sure I was going to lose those toenails.

Every. Step. Hurt.

Amazingly, my legs were doing fine. Normally this is about when the jello feeling sets in or my hip locks up. But no. I was able to keep trucking along, despite my toes.

Eventually they just went numb. I kept looking at my watch and groaning every time. “It’s just two more miles.” “It’s just a mile and three quarters.” “You only have a mile and a half.” “-incoherent whimper-“

Finally I could see the end of the trail. My Spotify was really motivating and let me finish off with Red Hot Chili Peppers “Can’t Stop.”

Once I got to that last 0.1 mile, a cyclist saw me as he was going the other direction, chuckled at my desperate facial expression, and let out a supportive “Woo!” as he rode by.

The sunglasses hide the pain in my eyes.

The second I sat down in the car, EVERYTHING STARTED HURTING.

I was thrilled to find I left my sandals in my backseat, so I quickly threw my shoes off.

Then came what seemed like the longest drive home ever. I was tired, sore, hungry, and direly in need of a bathroom.

I live for Chick-Fil-A’s southwest salad.

As soon as I got home and did my bathroom run, I finally got to eat. I cared about nothing else in the world other than my food.

I have since soaked in the tub with what has become my miracle bath bomb. If you’ve never tried Fluffy Fizzies, you’re definitely missing out. They make the best running recovery bombs.

Currently, I’m laying on the bed with my calves on ice, and I’ll be soon using my foam roller to try and ensure I can walk tomorrow.

That’s it. No cute heartwarming story. Just the harsh truth about distance running.