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Monday, October 3, 2011

A recap of my first half marathon

My first half marathon is over and I did it! I wouldn't say that I ever doubted myself but, there was a fear that I would get picked up by the "too slow" van or get injured. It was a very interesting run and a true test of my physical ability.

I started running at 10:15 and I felt great! I was so excited! I ran with a friend so it was so nice to have company. Devin and I had an equal pace so it worked out for both of us. The race started at Disney's Wide World of Sports. As we rounded the corner on to Osceola Pkwy, I got a cramp on my left side. We hadn't even run 5 mins and I'm already getting a cramp?! I don't get cramps anymore. I used to when I first started running but not anymore. I knew what it was. I was dehydrated. I stopped drinking water hours ago so I wouldn't have to pee during the race. Well, that was a mistake. I had water and a little Powerade at the first water stop but I had cramps on both sides. I was so nervous they would continue the rest of the race. Fortunately they only lasted the first 2 miles and then went away.

The first 3 miles flew by. It felt like only one mile. They had SpectoMagic floats along the road as well as live bands and people on stilts. There were random people that had parked their cars and ran to the road to cheer people on. I love having people there cheering. It really helps. When Devin and I were at about mile 2, we saw a few runners coming back down Osceola Pkwy which was about mile 7-8. It was crazy!

It was great running through Animal Kingdom. I like having so much to look at and the uniqueness of running in Animal Kingdom, especially at night. (The park typically closes when the sun's still up.) We stopped at the restroom in DAK and I fueled myself with Sport Beans as we had run about 50 mins at this point. We hit mile 5 as we left Animal Kingdom.

So the run from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios was long, and painful. I've never had knee pain before but my knees were killing me. I couldn't wait to make it to the next medic station as they had huge pumps of Biofreeze. Devin and I kept going, walking a little more than we had but we were doing well. There was a medic station at about mile 7 and I globbed the Biofreeze all over my knees. It helped just a little bit. We kept going. It was great running with Devin because we were always encouraging each other to keep running.

The ramp to the Studios was difficult. It was at about 8.5 miles at that point and the ramp was uphill and slanted, very awkward. They had a fuel station. I thought they were going to have Cliff Blocks but instead they were giving out GU. I've tried GU before but I didn't like it. Kerri said she likes the vanilla one so I tried it. Well, I will never try it again. I had about half of it and I felt sick. My knees were hurting really badly at that point so I pulled off to the side to squat so I could stretch out the muscle. I could barely stand up afterwards. I was so disappointed that I was having so much difficulty with the race. But I knew we were almost to the Studios and I would hopefully see people I knew. That would help for sure.

We made it to the Studios and it was like 9. It's funny that I was surprised seeing miles 1-3 cause it went by so quickly but now I was seeking out each mile marker. I increased my speed a lot at the Studios. It was nice knowing where I was and seeing friendly faces. I saw 2 of my CPs by the Monument restroom and Soundstage 3 restroom. I didn't realize what time it was at that point until I saw the FastPass return time at Toy Story said 12:23am. So weird to be running so late. I then saw Joey on Pixar Place and he ran with us a bit until we went through the costuming tunnel. It was so great seeing people I knew and hearing people cheer for me. We walked a bit in the tunnel. Then there was a water stop with more of my Cast. I had to say it was a little weird running past Ops 3 and seeing my desk. I don't think that happens for most people running half marathons. I was thrilled to see mile 10. It meant we only had a 5K left. The Christmas lights were on on New York Street and they had Christmas music playing. It was nice to see. There was another medic station where I lathered up with Biofreeze again and had Tylenol. After that was a water station where I saw more of my Cast and peers. I needed them to help me get through the last 2 miles.

By mile 11 I was done. I didn't want to run anymore. I knew the path of the rest of the race so that helped but my knees were screaming. I kept going though. I ran the whole way. We went through the Boardwalk/Epcot resort area. Once we got backstage at Epcot it was just kind of a blur. I ran the whole way and I didn't stop. At mile 13 I finally realized I was actually going to make it. It was a tough battle but I'm going to finish this race. I started getting emotional but it made my start to hyperventilate so I had to pull myself together to finish the race. And there it was, I'm getting chocked up again as I type this, the finish line. I ran through it with my hands in the air. All I could think was "I did it!!! I did it!!!!" I was a little dizzy afterwards too. I couldn't wait to hug Kyle. I was so far away though. Once I got my medal I had to take a picture. I had to see it for myself. I did it. I ran a half marathon. A year ago I weighed 70 pounds more and had never run a mile in my life. And I had just conquered 13.1 miles. My time was 2:57 which was a lot higher than I expected but I am in no way disappointed. In fact I'm thrilled!

It was a long walk to Epcot and it was almost 1:30am at that point. They were handing out free beer. I don't care for beer too much but I took one for the novelty of it. I drank about 3 sips and then I was done. The long walk to Kyle continued, my knees still killing me, but I think it was good to keep walking. I chance to stretch out and cool down. We made it in to Epcot and I met Kyle at our meeting spot in front of Club Cool. I wanted to run to him but my legs wouldn't allow it. I was so happy to see him! He was so proud of me! It was great!

I changed my clothes so we could walk around epcot. I bought a shirt that said "I did it" and wore it proudly. We made it to Canada for some Cheddar Cheese Soup. I had to sit because of the pain in my knees. I was feeling very sick as well. I just wanted to go home. So we did. I cried again in the car. It's so emotional accomplishing something like this. Honestly, the best part was the outpouring of love and support by my friends and family. It was incredible how many people called, texted, and wrote on my Facebook. Sadly, my Nike+iPod app didn't post to Facebook so I couldn't hear applause but I actually checked my FB a couple times while running so I could see peoples posts. To those of you that did, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you know how much each of you mean to me. Thank you.

Here are some photos from the race...
I dedicated a mile to everyone that has supported me throughout my journey. I wrote them on my hand so I could remember. It was a great idea because I pictured each of them during their mile running beside me cheering me on.

All of my gear for the race.

Minnie was there to cheer me on too. (BTW- look how skinny Kyle's getting!)

Devin and I right after the starting line. Kyle got to see us start! :)

All done. I did it!!!!


  1. Great job Eileen! Devin was thrilled to run with you! Trying to talk her into running the half in January. My race recap is going up tomorrow at

    We had such a blast with you guys!!!

  2. I just found your blog and I loved your race recap! Great job on your loss and accomplishment! :) I also love how you wrote out your mile dedications on your hand; I might borrow that for my half this weekend :)