Princess Half Marathon; a Rocky experience by guest blogger- Faye Stillman

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I approached the starting line of the Disney Princess Half marathon with motivating mantras and expert advice running through my mind, because I knew that making it to the finish would be a challenge. “Relax, power, glide,” “Just keep running,” “run like a T-Rex,”  “I control my mind, my mind controls my body,” etc.

 

I trained for the Princess Half using the Galloway method, run 4 minutes, walk 60 seconds, in the hopes that taking frequent walk breaks would give me the stamina I needed to go the longest distance I’ve ever run. Before the race, my longest training distance was 11 miles, and I had moderate to severe knee pain every time I ran 10 miles or more.

 

Some of my Princess-experienced friends had total confidence that I would be able to go the distance on race day and advised me to let the Disney magic carry me through, and I was truly hopeful that my mantras, my pumped-up tunes, and the Disney magic would do just that.

 

The first five miles seemed to fly by, with tons of fun Disney distractions, fellow princesses in fantastic costumes, great weather, and great music. The throngs of people who were cheering at the sidelines for their runner, and the rest of us, was awesome inspiration to keep going. I saw two people with signs that said, “Hello, Stranger. I’m so proud of you!” Seeing my Husband cheering from the sideline filled my heart with happiness and motivation, too!

 

At mile 7, I started to feel tired, but good. But, at mile 9, my left knee started to hurt me badly. By mile 10, both knees protested taking any further steps. “Eye of the Tiger,” started playing on my iPod, a tune which always gives me a mental picture of Rocky training harder and stronger than ever before, gave me a mental picture of Rocky Balboa beaten and battered, trying to stay on his feet.

 

I let myself slow down and walk, feeling disappointed in myself when my knees hurt too much to resume running at the end of interval walk breaks. When I reached mile marker 12, I was able to start jogging again in intervals. I was so elated and happy, that I high-fived each member of a gospel choir singing at the bend to the 13-mile marker. With the finish in sight, I saw my Husband cheering me on, and I ran thru the finish-line, high-fiving Mickey Mouse himself  as I reached the end!

When I started this journey, by registering for the race, I knew it was a huge goal to attain. I had never run in a race longer than a 5K. I prepared myself that I would probably have to walk a lot of the distance, and my primary goal was to simply finish the race, period. When I found out that there is a time limit, my primary goal was to “beat the sweep.” Now that I’ve met both of those goals, I have to remind myself that I did it! I have the medal, the finisher’s certificate, and photos with my Princess friends, but I can’t help the thought that hopefully, I’ll do better next time. 🙂