Back in the fall my sister began researching ALZ Stars because since our Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's we have wanted to support the cause. There were several calls/texts/emails between us trying to figure out the magical number of what we would raise. We decided on $7,800 since he was turning 78 that October. Our mission was set and the four princesses began the process of not only training, but fundraising.
One of the cool things about fundraising with ALZ Stars is that we were able to represent this amazing organization by wearing singlets on race day. This photo kind of sucks because it's blurry, but you get the idea.
This was also the first time the three of us completely separated for the race and the first time I went left while Cathy and Lorren went straight to get to our corrals. I landed myself in corral H for this race and could not believe it. It was such a small corral!
Lorren was behind me in I and Cathy was in K. I knew where I wanted to end up and tried to stay near the 2:45 pacer. My best time for a half marathon is 2:42 and change and my best time for princess was 2:55 and change. I was confident that I could beat one or both of these times. The corral was small, the weather was great and I had to do it, not just for myself but for the cause.
Melissa was going to be on the course cheering us on and thanks to the magic of text alerts would be able to find us easily. Plus we were all head to toe purple, we couldn't be that hard to miss, right? I found Melissa at the transportation and ticket center but I was completely on the other side of the path. I did the crazy wave and kept going. Lorren managed to snag a picture with her when she passed.
One of my favorite parts of this race is running up Main Street. There is just something special about running towards the castle with a ton of strangers cheering you on.
Once I hit the 10k mark I knew I was picking up the pace. 2:45 was a definite possibility at this point, now I just had to hold steady to come under 2:42. I was able to keep cruising along on that back stretch, which normally if you're in the corrals further back is a hard feat. Normally during that 6.2-7.5 mile stretch you are walking. Thankfully, we were all running at this point.
The sun was starting to come out around the 15k mark and it was starting to warm up. The on ramp at this point is my least favorite part of the race, but I had to push forward if I wanted to hit this time. I gave the drill sergeant the side eye as I jogged past and pushed forward. Cresting the hill I heard Bruce Springstein telling me that "Baby you were born to run" and I pushed forward. I only had a mile and a half to go and I was ready to be done.
As I approached the back side of EPCOT I sent Melissa a text to let her know I was on the way. Her response? "You're too fast! I'm not there yet!"
I clipped through EPCOT glancing at my Garmin every couple of minutes. I knew it would be close. As I came down the stretch I put everything I had into my finish. Arms raised as I crossed I was proud of myself. I didn't beat my best time, but I only missed it by seconds. I came in at 2:43:04 which is not bad seeing that I raced the previous two days. But the best part? Having Scott there at the end to give me my medals.
I met up with Melissa and we waited for our other princesses to cross. Lorren was next and we celebrated with some beer and champagne.
It was really starting to get warm by this point so we hung out in the shade and waited for Cathy. Fun fact, Cathy met up with another ALZ Stars member, Kayla Anderson along the course!
This was actually really cool because ALZ Stars is not one of the official charities of the race, so it is not a common one that you would see. Normally you see Children's Miracle Network, Team in Training and oh gosh...some other one that I cannot think of.
Once Cathy crossed we were ready for some kit kats and champagne, the Bednarek girl tradition.
We also Skyped with Mom and Dad, which is never dull. Dad asked at least a dozen times is we had been drinking. Well, yeah.
And yes, this is how my parents Skype with us. You could probably hear us giggling.
After we cleaned up we headed to EPCOT for a celebratory German feast at the Biergarten. But first we had to take favorite "all the medals" photo.
And yes, we wore matching shirts that said "Run Your Shells Off."
I still cannot believe we raised more than $8,000 for Alzheimer's (we can always raise more though, the link is still live...hint hint). Thank you to everyone that contributed and shared our page. We could not have accomplished this without you!