The Disney Princess Half Marathon. Oh, Disney was a glorious place for a race. There is so much to say about my race yesterday, it’s going to be hard to express everything in this post, but I am sure going to try. Let’s start at the beginning.
My day yesterday started earlier than any other race had before. My wake-up call was at 3:15 am. I tried to lay out my stuff the night before, because I pretty much knew what I was going to wear, but you never really know what it’s going to feel like that early in the morning until you are up.
The race started near Epcot. It was crazy to see the ball lit up so early in the morning. I guess it stays on 24/7!
As expected, it was cold. Very cold. I tried my best to layer as much as possible, but I didn’t bring anything with me I wanted to throw away. I did however bring my Zensah running arm and leg sleeves, which kept me somewhat warm and my gloves, which turned out to be a total savoir. I also had a towel that I had wrapped around me until it was time to get running!
We had to check our bags by 4:30 and the race didn’t start until 6:00 so there was lots of time to get in some pictures while we waited in the cold.
After a long walk from bag check to the start area we all got in our corral and waited to start. I made the mistake of not paying attention to my corral number when I picked it up at the Princess Expo the day before. They definitely screwed up my bib and corral number.
I signed up for the race THE DAY it opened, sent in my previous race times (which are good times) and expected finishing time (under 2 hours) and they put me in the last corral. The last corral was filled with people who were mostly planning on walking and lots of people who had never done a race before. This totally cost me some time later in the race, but more on that in a few.
It was fun when the race officially started to see the fireworks going off as each corral got running!
We were all getting pretty excited as we made our way up towards the start line. Kelly and I decided we were going to try to run together since we both run about the same pace. I was pumped to have a running buddy!
Finally we made it up to the start line..almost 30 minutes after the race had officially started!
Our fairy godmother gave us some luck before the guns went off.
And then it was our turn to run. I love this picture.
Starting in the last corral was a bitch. There, I said it. It was a nightmare. Kelly and I had to maneuver our way around hundreds of people, most of which looked like they had no intention of running the race at all, which is fine, but since it was lots of people’s first ‘real race’ they were not aware of proper running etiquette. I spent a majority of the first part of the race running on the side of the road on the grass running around people while trying not to sprain my ankle. I wish Disney had done a better job either a) separating the walkers from the runners and putting the walkers in the last corral or b) instructing people who were going to walk or who had to stop and walk to do so on a specific side of the course. It was pretty much a free for all yesterday!
Aside from my initial frustrations of the mass amounts of people, I did enjoy the entertainment throughout the course. It was nice that pretty much each half mile throughout the course there was a different entertaining sign or cast members or bands or random pirate ships with pirates cheering for you!
The first two miles are always the worst for me. It takes me a little while to get going and to get in my groove, and bobbing and weaving around the masses threw me off for a bit. But then I was feeling good, and when I saw this sign, I began to feel even better!
I think I was a bit more excited than I should have been at the moment of passing through the Magic Kingdom sign. It was another good 2.5 miles or so from passing the sign before we got into the park. The course was mainly on back roads and through the parking lots around the parks. This was initially a little bit deceiving to me.
I just ran my pace with Kelly and enjoyed the entertainment. It was great to chit chat with her while running. She totally helped make the time fly by for me!
And then after a few miles we were in Castle Country! Cinderella’s Castle to be exact. We rounded a corner and then were plopped right out onto Main Street in Magic Kingdom. This was where the race course got pretty tight.
Kelly and I were hardcore. Neither of us wanted to stop and take pictures with any characters or for any of the sights. We just wanted to run the best we could and finish the race strong. It was awesome running up to the castle like that though.
But right before the castle the course took a right turn and we were making our way into Tomorrowland, right as the sun was rising in the sky. I was blinded by the sun at this point.
It was fun running through the park when no one was actually in the park. All the rides were closed and it was quiet and peaceful, except for the hundreds of princesses running through.
Running through the Castle was lots of fun, but it did get congested in there and it was over in 10 seconds. This was about 6 miles into the race, so not even halfway through yet.
There were so many photographers as we were coming out from the Castle. I hope someone got a good picture of me!
And then we headed into Adventureland.
I enjoyed the wide race route at this point. The masses were starting to slow down and space out and I felt I had more room.
Then we passed Splash Mountain, which I never got to ride on this year. Next time! Running through Magic Kingdom only took up about 1.5 miles. From after mile 5 to right after mile 6. We weren’t in the park long at all, but that mile or so went by lightning fast!
As we exited the park and continued on our way, we saw some more Disney floats – the genie from Aladdin and Pinocchio. It was funny to run by everyone posing with the characters!
In case you were wondering there were guys running this race too! I loved this guys shirt that we passed by. The shirt says “ This skirt raised $1,000 for breast cancer research.” He was wearing a pink running skirt, that looked a lot like mine. The front of his shirt said “I Heart Boobies.” He was a good sport for sure!
Side note – Check out Kelly’s awesome tutu she picked up along the way! Someone ditched this the first half mile in and she picked it up and put it on! I loved it! I was totally jealous and wanted one!
Miles 7-10 were pretty rough to me. I felt like we still had so long to go and there wasn’t much entertainment along the way. I was starting to feel very tired from the last few days of walking around Disney the entire day. It was starting to affect me, but Kelly and I pushed on.
We finally hit mile 10 (which is my favorite distance to run!) and I knew we only had a few more miles to go. I knew I could do it!
After that there was no time left for taking pictures, neither of us were able to talk anymore, we just wanted to finish strong. I turned on my iPod, which I hadn’t used yet in the race, and went into the zone, pushing through each mile, running towards the finish line.
And then we saw the Epcot ball, and knew we were almost there! At this point my Garmin decided to freak out and would only show me the compass, so I was running blind. I had no idea of the time, or pace or actual distance. I just pushed forward and did my best!
Kelly and I were knew we were looking for her sister Meghann between mile 12 and 13, so when we finally spotted her, and her awesome sign, we knew the finish line was right around the corner.
Meghann managed to get a picture of Kelly and I coming around the corner together. I was pumped to have a picture of me running the race! I love race pictures!
After that we rounded the corner and made our final push for the finish. It felt amazing to cross the finish line and have Mickey and Minnie cheering us on at the end!
Like I stated in yesterday’s post – I re-PR’d – I am still in disbelief that that actually happened, considering I had no idea of time at the end of the course without my Garmin.
Kelly and I crossed the finish line at the exact same time together – a new PR for her! – at 1:51:37! Abby told me yesterday I should play those numbers in the lottery! I might do that when I get back to Philly!
It was so awesome to have a running buddy the entire race. I have never ran with anyone in a race before, but it was lots of fun. Kelly pushed me and hopefully I pushed her a little bit too. She was amazing to run with! Thanks for the awesome support Kelly!
Here we are in all our post race glory.
Michele wasn’t too far behind us. She did awesome at her second half marathon as well!
Then we found Ashley too! She did amazing as well! It was a great day for Princess runners everywhere! It was sad to say goodbye to my new blog friends and running buddies! I had such a good time with these girls and it made such a huge difference having someone to run an entire race with! Hopefully I can convince them to come run a race with me up North (on some hardcore hills!), either that or I am sure I’ll be back in Florida to run again sometime soon!
After that it was seriously time for some Recovery Sock action. I love these bad boys.
Then our group was reunited and all ready for some more finisher pictures.
As we were exiting the race area I randomly saw Megan waiting by the Finish line. She did awesome in the race too, and it was great to finally meet her in real life! I am sure I will see her in NYC soon!
All in all it was a great race. The course was fun and challenging. Disney did a great job with the entertainment throughout the race route. Despite the initial drama with the corrals and bobbing and weaving around the walkers, I had a lot of fun. I felt I pushed myself and am pleased with my time. Sure another second could have given me a new PR, but I wasn’t running the race with that goal in mind. I ran it to have a good time running through the Disney parks with friends. Which is just what I did!
I also must admit that I pretty much only entered this race for one reason:
Oh yea! This medal was my motivation throughout. I wanted the gold crown medal to add to my race board. Isn’t she a beauty?
She is the perfect addition to my collection. I am already making plans to get another one next year! I want to run it again!
Next on the agenda – NYC Half Marathon in 13 days and counting!