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What surprised you most about this experience?
Sage: The biggest surprise to come out of this experience is that I actually enjoyed the race! I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to have fun during the race because 13 miles was such an intimidating distance for me, but I had a blast. Everyone was so supportive of each other -- more than 20,000 runners. It was unforgettable.
What's the best piece of training advice you received?
Sage: The best pieces of advice came from marathon guru Jeff Galloway. At the top of the list was: Conserve your energy -- and that's exactly what I did while running with him on race day and using his run/walk method. I wanted to run at least the first mile, but he wanted to implement his strategy immediately, which was to run 40 seconds and walk 20 seconds each minute. So we compromised, and he let me run the first four minutes before switching to his strategy. I struggled with that ratio at first, but realized after a few miles that this was definitely going to work -- and it did. One of the other good pieces of advice was simple: Have fun! I had to let go of my competitive side for an hour or so and just enjoy the moment, enjoy meeting people on the course, enjoy the amazing Disney atmosphere (running through Magic Kingdom in particular was phenomenal) and enjoy the fact that all of my hard work was paying off. It was a blast, and yes, I am very proud that I accomplished something that I never thought I could accomplish.
What was the most inspiring moment on the course?
Sage: The most inspiring moment on the course was when I passed a woman who had a picture of her son pinned to the back of her shirt. Her son was killed in Afghanistan and she was running the race in memory of him. I spoke with her briefly -- encouraging her to keep on running. It was humbling and inspiring at the same time. I come from a military background, so I am very sensitive to the sacrifices that our troops make for us, and seeing that mother out there running for her son was very emotional, and actually helped me finish strong.
What was the hardest point on the course for you?
Sage: The hardest point for me was the last mile. Although I ran alongside Jeff Galloway the entire race -- using his run/walk method -- he allowed me to do what I wanted the last 1 to 1.5 miles. So I decided to run it hard, and that last 0.8 of a mile was brutal. My knees were a bit sore at that point and I had a few small blisters on my toes, but I refused to slow down. I was close to a sprint for the last half-mile, and it really hurt but it also felt so good. The only reason I was able to pick it up so much during the end is because I listened to Jeff the whole way, which means I conserved energy and gradually got faster as the race went on. That competitive side of me really kicked in, too; I passed literally hundreds of runners that last mile, and it's all thanks to Jeff's method. Awesome. I'm sold!
What was the best costume worn by a runner?
Sage: There were thousands of creative, hysterical costumes, but I liked the men's costumes the best. Husbands, boyfriends, you name it -- they dressed up. Typically, they wore lots of pink. I saw several feather boas and a few tiaras on those brave gentlemen as well. They were quite the good sports -- what man wouldn't want to run with 15,000-plus gorgeous babes?!
Which song on your workout playlist helped get you through your training?
Sage: I didn't listen to much music during my training. Most of the time I tried to run during certain radio shows -- in particular, Colin Cowherd. He always makes me think about things, and I admit, I agree with so much of what he says! However, there were many times that I found myself arguing out loud with him while running on the trail in my town. It took me a bit to realize why people were looking at me like I was crazy!
Any desire to sign up for another race? A full marathon, perhaps?
Sage: YES! I am already in the process of researching other half marathons to run. As for a full marathon? No. Not now. Not later. Never. Ever. No.
Did your daughters steal your tiara yet?
Sage: My daughters actually "let me" keep my tiara. My 9-year-old said, "Mommy, you earned it!"