Friday morning, around 4 am, the day and time finally arrived! I’d been excited and obsessed and planning for this race since Jenn mentioned it in September. I wasn’t worried about the distance, even though it was the farthest official race I’ve done. I knew I’d carry through no matter what because of the experience and because I was running with a friend! I’d gone over 5 miles in training, so the race itself wasn’t an issue. I know it may not sound like much to all of the Dopey challengers and marathoners out there, but considering that I only really started running again in July, I’m pretty happy with this. 🙂

I posted via Instagram and Twitter on walk breaks, so this is a photo-heavy recap. “Recap.” Ha. Here’s my recap: the weather sucked. It was hot, humid, and incredibly gross (and I’m from Houston, so that’s saying something). I should have brought my Camelbak mini mule. Being a nursing mom, running in high humidity, when it’s that warm … the water stops weren’t quite as much as I needed. I kicked myself because I KNOW THIS from the aforementioned living in Houston. The humidity messed with my breathing, my heart rate, and everything else, but the race was overall just AWESOME. But really, Disney, we could’ve done with some Powerade at the water stops. That would’ve made the race even better.

Posing with the starting line in the background, wearing our Homes For Our Troops jackets. HFOT has raised $32000 toward their $35000 goal through the Marathon Weekend races! Woo hoo!

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“Princess Sofia, at your service!” as my three year old Nora would say. I wore my HFOT tattoo and the costume my donors voted on. The fabulous and fluffy tutu was by Leslie from Greater Fitness, part of her own fundraising efforts for Girls on the Run. Shirt was Tek Gear from Kohl’s (and I loved it!), sparkly silver Sweaty Band for the “tiara”, and my beloved purple Mizuno Wave Rider 16s.

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The first three miles just sucked. I was in the last corral because I’m a slower runner (which is fine by me!), and that meant there were tons of people. We’d been waiting awhile for the other corrals to get started … well, and finish. Someone had already won the race by the time we exited our corral. Yeah, that was more than a little demoralizing. The first three miles were hot, humid, and zero breeze. It was also a challenge trying to politely navigate around people to get out of the herd. Not just because of there being so many people, but also because everything was so wet and slippery. I wasn’t willing to blow an ankle or knee on slick pavement, reflector markings, or mud just to get around a group.

So it was nice to finally get to and enter Epcot. 🙂

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Somewhere in “France”. Since the husband is French, we had to stop and take a tribute picture. Hot and sweaty, damp from pouring water over our heads … we still smelled better than the streets of Paris. We took a few shots in the park but didn’t stop for any characters. Why? Well, the characters weren’t any of my “must have” characters. They were nice – Peter Pan & Wendy, Chip and Dale, Football Goofy, Genie … someone else I’m not remembering – but for me they weren’t worth stopping and waiting in a hot sweaty line. Did I mention that the race was hot and sweaty?

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We did it! We finished the race and were very proud of ourselves. And a huge thanks to Jenn, who slowed herself down way beyond her usual pace to keep me company while we ran.

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So while I had some gripes about the experience, they are so very minor compared to the fun I had. I loved the runDisney experience, and I will definitely do it again. I’d love to do one of the half marathons with Will, although he will not be caught dead doing a Princess or Tinkerbell run. (Darn.)

After a nap, the rest of the day was spent in Epcot. I made sure to get some princess pictures there to impress the kids … including this priceless one with Belle! (Thank you, Adrith, for capturing that!)

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And then there were the beloved race character “sponsors” themselves at the Pasta in the Park party. I cherish these since we didn’t have many character pictures in the race itself:

Dopey, I will likely NEVER run your challenge, but I still love you.

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My men Donald and Goofy …

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And of course Mickey and Minnie. We were at the end of the picture-taking time and had a grumpy Cast Member doing the pictures, or I would have asked for them to do the “Hot Dog!” dance with me for Jude. Oh well! Also: I thought how short they were and now I realize I’m even shorter than they are. Wow.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The best part of the experience, though, was coming home to my wide-eyed children, who asked me questions like “Are they real or are they made of air?” (my five year old, about the cartoon characters) and “Did you WIN, Mommy?!” (because in their minds, I did). They were as excited or maybe even more excited than I was. They worked with my mom to make this very special celebration cookie cake, and that means more to me than any collection of medals or pace record.

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And yes, I told them that I did win – that all of us who ran win because we tried hard and we did our best!

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