Princess Half Marathon: The Race

Yes, I know this is overdue. Buckle in…this is going to be a long one.

After the amazing start, I was off and running at a nice 12-minute mile pace. I was feeling good, surprisingly good. Awesome! Let’s do this!

During the 1st mile is when the shedding of the clothes began. I had heard about this and was even wearing my own throw away shirt to get rid of. Because there is a lot of standing around before the race and it was a chilly morning, most people had an additional layer of clothing on. Once you warm up it’s time to get rid of that layer and you simply just throw it to the side of the road. Along the way VoluntEars were picking up the clothes, which are then donated to charity. It was crazy – clothes were flying everywhere! I loved it. So I tossed my shirt and kept on running.

Tiffany and I parted ways after about a mile as she hit the first group of porta potties on the course and knowing that we would meet up later, I kept going. I guess the line at the porta potties was too long for some because just soon after I saw a bunch of women running off into the bushes and pulling their tutus down. It was quite the site.

All of a sudden, I was on World Drive and could see the Magic Kingdom toll plaza in the far of distance. That was fast! Here is where the real Disney entertainment began and why doing a Disney race is like no other. Right in the middle of World Drive was a giant pirate ship – it was incredible! Music from Pirates of the Caribbean was playing, mist was in the air, and Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa were posing for photos. The line for pictures was very long, so I just stopped to take a picture of the ship. As I turned around a very nice woman offered to take my picture in front of the ship and I happily returned the favor. This was just the beginning of all the generosity and kindness I experienced throughout the day.

Before I knew it, I was at the toll plaza. Wow, I couldn’t believe it! Amanda had told me about the speed bump warnings here, which were both comical and annoying. “Caution, Speed Bump Ahead” was playing over and over and over. And if that isn’t enough, there are cast members in every lane pointing them out to you.

After the toll plaza, the course goes to the left into the Magic Kingdom parking lot. This is where one of the coolest photo ops was set up. Many of the female villains were there, including Cruella De Ville, the Queen of Hearts, the Evil Queen, Lady Tremaine, and the evil stepsisters. As I ran past, two runners dressed as Anastasia and Drizella had their picture taken with the stepsisters. All of the characters were cheering when they came up – it was great!

As we entered the Transportation and Ticket Center, we were greeted by a huge crowd of spectators. The cheering and all the support of these strangers overwhelmed me, and this was just the beginning. The course continued on past the Contemporary Resort with a great DJ and the tumble monkeys from Festival of the Lion King along the way. This is where I could sense everyone’s excitement beginning to really build – we were about to enter the Magic Kingdom!

Spectators waiving from the monorail

Crowds at the TTC

Tumble Monkeys!

You enter through a backstage service entrance located between Space Mountain and the main entrance. Runners are then led onto Main Street USA through the gates next to The Chapeau and Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. If I thought the crowd at the TTC was overwhelming, this was completely mind blowing. There were more people on Main Street then during the parades! Right before making the turn up to the castle, I saw a sign off to the left with the Be Our Guest Podcast logo on it that said We <;3 Our Runners –I knew it was my friend Jay. I made a beeline for him and I was so surprised to see a ton of people I knew! Kayla, Melissa, Kristen, Todd, and Lou were all screaming my name as I ran past. As I turned the corner and saw Cinderella’s Castle, I was overcome with emotion. I couldn’t believe I was actually here doing this!

Entering the Magic Kingdom!

Running Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA 🙂

The Castle!

I still had my eye out for the Sparkle Check Point that was set up by my friends Nicole and Suzannah. I finally found them at the hub and took off towards them screaming “Check Me Off!!” Suzannah put together this great photo of many of us checking in.

As I entered Tomorrowland, I lost it. Seeing everyone cheering me on was just too much and I began to cry. I had to walk for a while just to catch my breath. I got up ridiculously early to run this race, but all of these people got up voluntarily to cheer me and all of the other runners on…mind-blowing. This was the first time I began to cry during the race. Note that I say first time…first of many after this point.

We ran through Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland. One of the best things about running this race was the excitement of running through the castle. I don’t know how I ended up being so lucky, but a pair of trumpeters welcomed me into the castle. Simply amazing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub3CCMnTHTY&w=560&h=315]

After running through the castle, we went through Liberty Square and Frontierland, which is where I stopped for my one and only bathroom break. I figured there would be less people in the men’s room since the race was mainly women, so I went straight for that. I walked in, said “hello gentleman” and proceeded to do my business. No one seemed to mind – fabulous. If you can hold out and use the bathrooms in the park, do it. No porta potties for me!

As we exited the Magic Kingdom next to Splash Mountain, there was a great photo op set up with all of the Fairy Godmothers from Sleeping Beauty. Again the line was very long and I was much more interested in the medical tent just beyond. Seriously, when someone offers you free BioFreeze, take it! My calves and ankles were really starting to bother me at this point, so I rubbed some on and felt much better.

Once I left the Magic Kingdom, I knew this was where the mental challenge was about to kick in. It was a long road back to Epcot to finish this thing and I was only half way through. I was texting with Tiffany and Amanda throughout the race so we could keep each other aware of where we were. Amanda was only about a quarter mile behind me, so I decided to slow down a bit so she could catch up. I wanted to finish with her since she was the one who really motivated me to go on this journey. So what’s the best way to slow down during a Disney race? Take pictures with the characters of course!

I was so glad to finally catch up with Tiffany around mile 9. It was great to have someone to talk to on this long stretch of World Drive. It seems much longer on the way back. Plus, this was the farthest either one of us had ever gone before since our longest training runs were 8 miles, so we needed to pull each other along. We stopped for a photo with Atta from A Bug’s Life and kept going to the dreaded overpass back to Epcot. I had heard stories from other runners about this horrible, never-ending hill during mile 10 and I was really not looking forward to this. But once again, Disney knows how to get you through it. Stationed right in the middle of the hill is one of the toy soldiers from Toy Story yelling at everyone like a drill sergeant to keep moving and get up that hill.

Runners on World Drive

Amanda was right behind me, so I decided to stop on the overpass to take in the sights and stretch for a few minutes while she caught up. I was so glad to see her. We could see Epcot in the distance and knew we were almost there. Her husband and daughter were waiting to cheer her on in the Epcot parking lot. It was so perfect that a band was playing “We Are Family” right as we got close to them. We both started tearing up – it was a really special moment.

Right near the bus stops I was surprised to see the WDW Radio group there cheering us on! They had taken the monorail over from the Magic Kingdom and had set up camp here to keep cheering. It was so great to see all of those familiar faces once again. Then a little farther up was my BOGP family again! Jay, Kayla and Melissa were screaming my name and surprise, surprise, I began to cry. Who knew a half marathon could be so emotional?! Melissa got this picture of me as I came by.

WDW Radio Group

1 mile to go...

We entered Epcot and a cast member said we had less than a mile to go. I wanted to hug him. We ran around Future World, still managing to have a good time.

You exit out past the old dog kennels, and there they were, an amazing gospel choir. Totally blew me away. Take a listen…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPjbiGvtflY&w=560&h=315]

As we rounded the corner, we could see the finish line in the distance. This was it. I was going to finish! All of a sudden I seemed to forget about that pain in my legs and the blister on my toe. I just wanted my medal!

Only .1 left!

The finish line!!

I grabbed Amanda’s hand and we took off to the finish line. I am so glad we finished together; it was one of the most special experiences of my life.

We did it!!

We immediately burst into tears and just hugged each other. We did it. We found our friend Aurora who was giving out medals and both got giant hugs (hugs with jugs) to go with our new Disney bling. This made me cry even more – I was officially a mess. But I didn’t care, I was now a half marathoner.

Amanda getting Hugs with Jugs

Pure Awesome

45 Responses to Princess Half Marathon: The Race

  1. Great race recap! 🙂

  2. What a GREAT experience! My sisters and I did the Princess 5K last year and it was so much fun. I am not a runner, but your story makes me want to do this even more.

  3. SO proud of you!!! Excellent recap! Hope to do this one next year 🙂

  4. What a great report !!!! So great crossing the finish line with Amanda,,,,
    And wonderful to get your medal from Aurora!!!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!!

  5. I teared up reading your story!! I just started training for my first princess marathon next year and also just started my Disney blog – http://sharingthedisneylove.blogspot.com/ I’m gonna check out your site for training tips for my run! Thanks for
    sharing!

  6. So proud of you! Told made me tear up. Can’t wait to experience this me self and with you! 🙂

  7. Love, love, love this! Reading it made me cry again!!! I wish I could have crossed the finish with you and Amanda, next time for sure! ToT HERE WE COME! Oh, and thanks for not mentioning the toilet paper. 😉

  8. So freaking proud of you! And SO extremely happy that you slowed down so that we could finish together. I think I got a faster time cause of our texting and me trying to push through so that I could catch up with you and Tiff. You can do ANYTHING now! Congratulations half marathoner.!!!! xoxo

  9. OK…I’m sitting here crying as I read this! Such a wonderful recap and I am TOTALLY DOING THIS NEXT YEAR! 🙂

  10. So glad to read a report from someone who had a lot of fun. The first report I read complained about all the crowd of runners & how they interfered with her race time, how she didn’t take pictures & wished she did & how long the lines at the potties were & who that interfered with her race time. Sounds like you had a much more enjoyable race.

  11. Reading this almost brought me to tears Sarah! What a great recap and awesome experience.. you are amazing!! and wow @ ladies peeing in the bushes.. that’s hilarious! I can tell I am going to get addicted to running Disney races once I do the TOT 5k in September! Maybe someday you and I will be running a half or full marathon (gasp!) together! Thanks for blogging about this and Disney running in general!

  12. […] continued to train in them, even though it was minimal, and I even ran my first half marathon in them.  But still, something was off.  I felt like I was walking and running on the outsides of […]

  13. […] And last but not least, if you are interested in running a half marathon in Disney, this is the read for you. I’m so proud of Sarah from Running at Disney for all she accomplished a few weekends ago, and she chronicled so many details (and pictures!) during her Princess Half Marathon recap. […]

  14. […] 7 weeks since my psoas injury and my recovery is taking much longer than I had hoped.  Running the Princess Half Marathon in the middle of my recovery time probably didn’t help, but it had to be done!  No regrets […]

  15. […] in Walt Disney World.  As I predicted in that post, I made Via Napoli my pre-race dinner for the Princess Half Marathon.  This was my first visit to Via Napoli and since I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about […]

  16. Welcome to the club – you’re a half marathoner! It’s such a great group to be a part of.

    Congratulations!

  17. […] be a wide array of entertainment along the way.  Check out my recap of the Princess Half Marathon here which is on the some course.  This race is also the first day of the Goofy Challenge, where […]

  18. I cried for you reading this!! I will be running my first 1/2 marathon in September (The Rock n Roll Half) and then the Disney Half for my birthday next year! You have truly motivated me to keep going! Love your pictures and how much fun you had.

    • Thank you so much…that really means a lot to me! 🙂 Good luck with your first half…are you doing Philly? How’s your training going? Hopefully I’ll see you next year at the Disney Half!

  19. […] before I ran the Princess Half Marathon, I knew I wanted to eat at the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room after the race.  I figured a […]

  20. […] I did my longest training run since the Princess Half Marathon.  8 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes.  That’s an average pace of 13:07, which I’m […]

  21. […] the longest to recovery after long runs.  It took about 5 days to get back to normal after the Princess Half in February and I don’t want to go through that pain again next weekend.  I tried on […]

  22. […] about it back in November.  I hesitated to sign up since the race was the weekend following the Princess Half Marathon since I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling afterwards.  My legs started feeling normal […]

  23. […] I was most interested in how many people were actually registered for the race.  When I ran the Princess Half Marathon, there were over 20,000 runners and I couldn’t imagine that was the case for this race.  Not […]

  24. […] here: Tangled Royal Family 5K, Fit for a Princess Expo, Princess Half Marathon – Pre-Race, Princess Half Marathon – The Race, Post Race Snacks, and my full recap on the Be Our Guest Podcast. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the […]

  25. […] experiencing all of the entertainment along World Drive and leading up to the Magic Kingdom for the Princess Half Marathon, this was a serious let down.  There was only a DJ, a few puppets from Animal Kingdom and […]

  26. I found your blog after wine and dine this year! As I was reading this post, I wondered how you got my picture!!! My twin sister and I were Anastasia and Drizella! So funny to se us on your blog :). Thanks for sharing, and congrats to you!

    • OMG!!! That’s so awesome!! I was jut passing by and saw their reactions to your costumes and had to get a pic!! I’m so glad you found that 🙂

  27. […] around my neck.  She gave me a huge hug and I just started balling.  Aurora had given me my first half marathon medal at Princess less than a year before and now she was giving me my first marathon medal.  Couldn’t be […]

  28. I just read your recap for this race in preparation for this year’s 2013 Princess Half – my first half! Thank you for inspiring me and getting me even more excited! Less than two weeks to go now! Maybe I will see you there! I’ll be dressed in a Maleficent tank and tutu! 🙂

  29. […] Final race instructions are now available for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon!  It’s only 11 days away princesses (and princes)!  I can’t believe this race is here again…it has been a whole year since my first half marathon! […]

  30. […] After breakfast, Amanda and I were headed over the the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Golf Tournament being held at Shades of Green to cover the event.  This was a lot of fun and a great way to spend an easy afternoon.  I’ll have more to come on the event soon.  Oh and look who I ran into there, I haven’t seen Donald since the Princess Half Marathon! […]

  31. […] got home from that trip and immediately started training for the 2012 Princess Half Marathon and haven’t looked back.  Since then I’ve taken on a healthy lifestyle of exercise and […]

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