I kicked off Spring running season, and the year of absurd number of half marathons, by traveling back down to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon. I had a great marathon recovery plan/Princess training plan laid out, and then Snowmageddon came to screw it all up. Instead of 10, 12, and 14 mile runs, I was lucky to get one 10 miler under my belt before race day. With the prospects of Princess being my longest run since the marathon itself, my "race plan" quickly took on being more of a training run that anything else. With the crazy race schedule planned for the year, taking it easy, and avoiding doing something stupid so early on, became the plan.
Unlike January when the main plan/goal of the marathon was simply to finish, Princess was more about taking my time and having fun along the way. I was happy to end up in the second corral - there were 5 total with 7 minutes between the starts of each - thanks to taking proof of time with me to the expo, as I had originally been in the third while most of my friends were in the second. This meant we had a really nice buffer between ourselves and the course sweepers.
Disney races mean another 2:45am wake up call and being in the corrals for the initial start at 6am. Fortunately, the weather, while slightly chilly (mid to upper 40s?) at the beginning, was a significant improvement over January's. I didn't need the hand warmers and trash bag, even though I had brought them to FL with me. I wasn't taking any chances. Once the sun came up and we hit mile three or four, I was actually able to ditch my throwaway mittens and long sleeve tshirt. The thsirt was the same I had ended up wearing throughout the marathon, and I actually felt a little sad getting rid of it. It served me well. After a horrible winter though, I realished being in short sleeves and compression shorts while running under the Florida sun.
The race itself was rather uneventful. Katie and I kept up a slow, but steady pace, although we did manage at least one 12-13 minute mile in there. This was the first race I was doing a higher running interval in - after the marathon I switched from my 2:1 to 3:1. Things have been going very well doing it, and my plan to use the higher intervals to help build up more speed in prep for MCM training is on track. Our pace at times was impeaded by congestion on the course, particularly in the narrow areas. This was even more noticeable with this race than it was during the marathon.
The atmosphere for the race was awesome! Everyone was totally into the spirit of the day - the course was littered with folks in costumes, tutus, and tiaras. The on course entertainment provided by Disney was great, too. There were tons of picture opportunities on the course and music to keep us going. We stopped for several photos along the way, skipping the ones with fairly long lines, with Katie holding a picture of our partner in crime Margaret on her cell phone. Although she couldn't be there with us, she was definitely there in spirit.
Our time was 3:17 - my slowest half to date by a huge 15 minutes - but the fun had and memories made, with new friends and old, throughout the weekend mattered more than anything else.
Next up for me is the Marine Corps Run to Register 10K, which will secure a spot for me in the Marathon.