Category: Princess Half Marathon Weekend
|March 13, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
Ahh that 2:30 am runDisney alarm… Slightly a bit more rested than the day before, Amanda and I went through the motions of getting ready in the dark and getting all of our running gear in order. Would you believe that 2 days in a row I forgot to put deodorant on for the races?!?! My apologies to everyone around me… We headed to the bus, bleary eyed, but ready for Part 2 of the Glass Slipper Challenge!
This was the 3rd year Amanda and I ran this race together and it really has become “our race.” I have to admit that with my recent miscarriage and other health issues, I was really considering not running this year. I hadn’t been training and I just didn’t think I was up for it. But a few weeks prior to the race Amanda convinced me that it was just what I needed to get myself back in gear and if we had to walk the whole thing we would. So with that added determination we took on our 3rd Princess Half Marathon together
Before I knew it, the countdown had begun and we were off! There’s the start line in the distance from the haze of the firework smoke hanging heavy in the fog…
Oh the fog? Yeah the humidity was thick that morning, just like ALL Disney races. We started off doing the Galloway run/walk approach with 60 second runs/30 second walks, which is what we did most of the the day before for the 10K. Right off the bat, I was struggling. I had no energy and was having trouble catching my breath. I was getting very frustrated and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then just before mile 2 it dawned on me…I didn’t take a Gu before starting the race. I was running on very low fuel, as that half bagel with pb and banana over 2 hours ago was clearly running low. Well that was dumb! I think between the combination of exhaustion and excitement, I forgot about the basics. So I popped a Gu and in about 10 minutes was already feeling better.
My favorite part about runDisney races is “running” into friends along the way, and as we made our way to to the Magic Kingdom we ran into some great friends!
We ran into our pal Shaene in the parking lot of the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC). I was SO excited to see him because it was at this point in the TTC parking lot where 3 1/2 years ago that we all took off on Mickey’s Halloween 5K, our first 5K ever! At that time were were just a bunch of Disney geeks looking for a new way to experience our favorite place on earth…look at us now
One of my favorite parts about being at the TTC for a race are the amazing drummers. They come just after you reach the Mile 4 marker and the energy is amazing!
Another mile and we made it to the best part of the race…the Magic Kingdom! The sight of that castle in the distance with hundreds of cheering spectators NEVER gets old.
Now I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I need to reinforce it. One of the BEST things about Disney races are the real bathrooms. Not only is it due to the lack of hot, stinky port-a-pottiness, but being about to wash your hands and splash some water on your face is so refreshing mid-race. Look how happy Amanda is about real bathrooms!
The best bathrooms to stop at are between Liberty Square and Frontierland. They are large and never have a line. Skip the first few you see and head here.
After a quick pit stop we hit Mile 6…
Then had the worst photo taken at one of the best photo ops on course. Choose your photographers wisely people!
Then we got a good backstage look at Splash Mountain…
And then I hit the wall…
Making that left onto Floridian Way meant the loooooong road back to Epcot and I was getting tired. My lack of training was setting in, my feet started to hurt and I just didn’t want to go anymore. I said to Amanda “I think this is my last half.” I had completely lost all motivation. She didn’t say much, but stuck with me and I sincerely thanked her. Then I heard just what I needed…”Who else would I do this with? This is our race.” Sigh. After all the crap I’d been through the weeks before I basically lost it. I had to hold myself back from ugly crying at mile 8 and I could hardly breath.
That’s what it took me to realize why I was there. I needed this race, I needed to struggle, I needed to wipe away all the hurt. It finally felt great to just let it all go. Damn I love that girl. And that was it…for the rest of the race I had a blast.
I stole Mickey’s golf cart…
Got to see my friend Nicole…
I banged out 5 full push-ups!
And then we finally made it to the home stretch…Epcot!
I have a few favorite photo ops that are now becoming a tradition for me at the end of this race. It’s actually really fun to get the same shot and compare it to the prior year! First is this crazy Fairy Godmother, who shouts jokes to all the runners. I love her!
Next is a tradition I now do during all of my half marathons since I did it during my first…take a photo at the Mile 13 marker. I remember being SO EXCITED that I had made it 13 miles and that excitement never seems to get old
We crossed that finish line and I started balling (queue the ugly cry!) because I really didn’t think I would be able to accomplish this challenge. My body was not ready for 19.3 miles, but I managed to squeeze it out. I don’t know how, but I did! I had done this challenge before with the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, but this was so much harder and meant so much more to me.
After getting both of our medals, Amanda and I headed to meet B and watch the rest of the runners cross the finish line. I love doing this and encouraging everyone on.
We also got to see something I’ve always wanted to see…the last person cross the finish line. What I love about runDisney is that they celebrate those that come in towards the end as much (if not more!) than the leaders. We found out that the woman who was last to cross had just lost her two children in a fire. She was arm and arm with her two friends dressed in rainbow tutus and Mickey, Minnie and Goofy joined them for the walk to the finish line. Well if I wasn’t emotional enough…this just put me over the edge. I yelled and cheered for her and I, once again, ugly cried for her…
And like that my 3rd Princess Half Weekend was complete, but this time I had some extra bling and some extra pride to take home with me. Those 2 days were HARD, but I’m so glad that Amanda pushed me to do them. Sometimes you just need that cheerleader to get you over that slump. I’m not done with running, but I will definitely be scaling back this year. However, I do actually think I will continue to do Princess every year…it is our race after all.
Did you run the Princess Half Marathon or take on the Glass Slipper Challenge? Do you have any race traditions?
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|March 12, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Health & Fitness Expo, Princess Half Marathon Weekend|
I’m very excited to welcome Heather to Running at Disney! I’ve known Heather for quite some time in the Disney community and it has great to grow together as Disney runners over the years. Today she has a great recap of the Fit for a Princess Expo with a lot of really fun photo ops! Enjoy
Princess Half Marathon Weekend was my fourth runDisney race weekend. I ran the 5k and 10k, so this was my 4th and 5th race! The corresponding expo seems to run smoother each race weekend. Last year’s Disney Fit for a Princess Expo was held at the Coronado Springs resort, which was a nightmare. The lines were insane, even for the buses to get into the resort! This year, it was thankfully back at ESPN Wide World of Sports, and I didn’t encounter any long lines or other issues. I attended the first day of the expo on Thursday.
Staying at a host resort (which was every resort on property this weekend) makes getting to the expo easy. runDisney is really good with having signs up in the resorts and at the bus stops (even having signs directing you TO the correct bus stop), so you can’t miss it. The sign also has the times the expo takes place and the times when the first bus will run for both the expo and the races.
There’s also a volunteer at the bus stop if you have other questions. The same volunteer at Pop was there EVERY time I passed by, no matter the day or time. When I got on the bus for the 10k, I joked with her, asking if they ever let her sleep…and she was there when I got off the bus after the race too. A reminder to always thank the great volunteers during race weekends!
The buses seem to run pretty smoothly, and there’s usually not much of a wait for the next bus. The buses are all labeled with a number and the resorts it stops at, so you can’t miss it!
Soon enough, you’ll pull up to ESPN Wide World of Sports.
I love all the signs that runDisney has up for the different races ESPN Wide World of Sports. Everyone likes to take a picture with the sign for the race they will be running! And if you’re at the expo alone, don’t be shy in asking someone to take that picture for you! Everyone is just as excited as you are.
There’s also general signs up, with the schedule for the weekend.
They split up where you pick up your bibs and race shirts, so first I headed to the HP Field House to pick up my bibs.
I love the silhouettes on this screen when entering the building.
The overview of the floor. Pretty empty, other than the long line (which thankfully moves quickly enough) for official runDisney merchandise.
Picking up your packet is easy. Just have your signed waiver and ID, and find the correct line based on your bib number. In January, I left my printed waiver in the room (of course I remembered the second the bus started pulling away), but they have computers there to print your waiver. So no worries!
Around the official merchandise area, they have large panels with the race courses. I should have taken a picture with this one!
On one wall, they have a banner with all the runDisney WDW races throughout the year.
And there’s lots of other fun backdrops to take pictures in front of.
Two princesses were meeting in a corner of the floor, in front of cute backdrops. You meet both after standing in just one line. For a character hunter like me, the line wasn’t too bad. On the day I went, Jasmine and Belle switched out with Snow White and Mulan. On the other days, a really cute Princess Minnie was in the rotation (I almost went back to the expo on Saturday just to meet her!) I had a fun interaction with both princesses, and I was glad to see they weren’t rushing you!
Then it was time to go to the Jostens Center to get the race shirts and check out the vendors.
One of Cinderella’s Coachmen was by the entrance (other times during the weekend, you could meet 2!) In the past, the coachmen met in front of Cinderella’s Coach, and it was a great photo spot. Since last year’s expo was at Coronado, they met inside in front of a fake castle backdrop that was a little cheesy. I was hoping the coach would be back this year, but sadly no. I still never turn down a chance at meeting a fun character.
After walking on a red carpet, you go downstairs to pick up your race shirt. Usually the 5k shirts aren’t that great, but I loved the one this year! It’s probably the best design of any of the runDisney shirts I own. The 10k shirt was a tech shirt, but it is white, so it’s kind of see through. This was also the first time I exchanged a shirt for size at the expo, and it was a really easy process. I just brought it over to a practically empty stand, and they exchanged it for me. And if that still wasn’t the right size, they said I could keep exchanging. So no more worries about entering the wrong size when registering for a race!
I then checked out the official runDisney merchandise. Both buildings have a runDisney official merchandise area, and the one at the HP Field House is usually less crowded than the one on the main floor at the Jostens Center. Some merchandise, including the “I did it!” shirts, is only at the Jostens Center, though. Of course I didn’t realize this included some pins I wanted, so after buying a few things at the HP Field House, I got to stand in a runDisney official merchandise checkout line twice. I think that deserves a medal itself!
Here’s all my runDisney goodies, including the 5k and 10k shirts I mentioned. I ended up only getting a few pins and the cute medal for the runDisney vinyl I bought in January. I’m looking forward to adding several more medals to that vinyl by the end of the year!
The shirt they sold for the WDW 10k in January was much cuter than the Enchanted 10k shirt. I bought the WDW 10k shirt without a second thought, but passed up on the Enchanted 10k one. And I’m not one to pass on something like that! The “I did it” shirts for the half and glass slipper were both cute.
I really liked all the Glass Slipper Challenge merchandise. Good thing I wasn’t doing the challenge. I would have wanted too much of the merchandise, so I saved a lot of money! I’m in trouble if I do the challenge next year, though!
Now that all the “official” stuff was out of the way, it was time to check out all the vendors!
The first thing I did when I got to the expo was to try to sign up to buy the runDisney New Balance shoes. I had tried to sign up online at 6am, but it kept giving me an error and then said it was sold out after 3 minutes. So I went to their booth to ask if there were still spots available, and was told yes, and to go outside and sign up.
Of course once I got there, they told me the line had just closed (this was around 10:30a.) I chatted with them a bit, trying to decide if it would be worth trying to go back to the expo immediately after the 5k or 10k over the next few days. Did I really need the shoes that badly? (Silly question, they are Disney AND they are pink!) It seemed like too close of a call so I figured I probably would be trying for them at a later runDisney race expo. But while roaming around the vendor booths, a friend asked if I still wanted the shoes. Uh, of course! She had a friend that wasn’t going to make it, so she was able to give me her confirmation number. I was so excited…until I saw on the board that they didn’t have my size in the Minnie shoes. I signed in anyway, just in case, and was taken to a super cute bench inside the New Balance area.
The New Balance worker was very nice, and double checked in both the store and on the truck, but they didn’t have my size. But then he said a kids size 4.5 or 5 is comparable to a womens size 7, and asked if I wanted to try. I asked if there was any difference between the adult and kids shoes, and he said the kids version just had more pink on it (bonus!!) I figured I had nothing to lose…and they fit! He was very patient when I couldn’t decide between the two sizes, and let me walk around the expo floor for a bit trying them out. When I finally decided on which size to get, I got a second bonus…the kids shoes were $50 cheaper than the adult shoes! So YAY for them not having my size! I can’t wait until we finally are rid of snow and ice so I can wear them (I’m not about to wear them through the slush to mess them up!)
The area by the registers has more fun photo spots, though I think Cindy should be wearing her running shoes here!
Though these glass slipper sneakers probably aren’t as comfortable as my favorite pair of running shoes.
After acquiring my beloved pink Minnie shoes (after everything, carrying around the New Balance bag felt like a badge of honor!), I headed over to the Sparkle Athletic booth to get a sparkle skirt for the 5k. Kelly was so helpful when I was trying to decide on my first sparkle skirt at the expo on January, I decided to ask for a picture this time. I have to laugh at the girl’s face behind me though!
I always seem to miss the Chiquita Banana lady at the expo, but I caught her this time! They were also giving out free bananas or apple slices after getting your picture. Since I hadn’t eaten all day, the apple slices tasted delicious!
I’ve never taken a picture with my bib before the race, so I finally did that in front of a nice photo spot of the castle.
It’s always fun to check out the runDisney booth. In January, this is where I got a picture with Jeff Galloway and talked with him for a while. It was a huge boost to someone like me who has just started running. I also love how they have the medals for past races. I will be doing my first half marathon at Wine & Dine, and just seeing this medal made it all the more real!
You can see in that picture the new buttons runDisney had this year. One said “my first 1/2 marathon” and another said “I’m celebrating.” Hopefully they’ll have these at every expo, because I didn’t even think to pick up the “first half marathon” one for the future!
I’m hoping to get all these medals next year (yes, I haven’t even done my first half, and I’m already looking towards my 2nd and 3rd! runDisney is some addiction.)
I’m holding off buying a fun rack for my medals until after I finish my first half. I can’t wait!
One more fun picture before leaving the expo. They provided the tiara and wand.
And runDisney wishing all runners good luck on the way out.
It was kind of funny to hear some people complaining about the long walk back to the buses after the expo. You’re going to be walking or running at least 3 miles during the weekend…this is nothing!
I always end up spending a lot longer at the expo than I expect. There’s so much to see, take pictures of, and buy! I’m already looking forward to my next race weekend and expo in August at Disneyland!
Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. She started doing runDisney races for the characters, but then found out she actually loved running. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter and instagram.
|March 5, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
When your flight gets indefinitely delayed the afternoon before you are about to take on a back to back race challenge, the panic begins to set in. Will I make it? Will I have to forego my registration for the first race? Most importantly…will my vacation be cut short?!?
I found myself in this exact predicament on the Friday before I was about to take on the Glass Slipper Challenge during Princess Half Marathon Weekend. A thick fog had rolled into White Plains, NY and no planes were landing or taking off from our tiny little airport. Our plane was diverted to Syracuse and we were patiently waiting for the fog to clear so it could come pick us up and take us to warmer climates. Sigh… After about 5 hours of waiting at the airport and frantic texts to Amanda who was waiting patiently to pick us up in Orlando, B and I finally got on the plane and headed south.
By the time we landed, grabbed a bite to eat, got to our hotel, unpacked and settled in, it was about 11:30 pm…MUCH later than I would’ve liked given that my alarm was set to go off at 3:30 am the next morning for the Enchanted 10K. Luckily we had thought ahead and I had Amanda pick up my race packet earlier that day…phew!
We wearily rolled out of bed, got dressed in record time and headed over to Epcot for day 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge. Because we didn’t have time to stop at the store the night before, I didn’t have any food to fuel up with that morning and I was starving. Thankfully there were food trucks! I grabbed a banana and was good to go…I don’t know how that egg and cheese bagel would’ve sat during a 10K!
We arrived very close to the start time so after inhaling the banana and making a quick pit stop, we headed into our corral. I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling great about this race. I had hoped to be better rested, but things don’t always go as planned. So we decided that we were going to tackle the Inaugural Enchanted 10K with smiles on our faces no matter what!
All of a sudden, our corral was moving, fireworks were going off and the race had begun!
The first half of the course was boooooooring. These are always the most difficult miles for me as I get moving and all I kept thinking about was how I couldn’t wait to get into World Showcase. However we did see Elsa from Frozen soon we left the starting line…
And the sight of thousands of runners pouring out of the Epcot toll booths was pretty cool…
But that was about it until…
Yay! World Showcase Lagoon! Can you see the humidity in the air? Yowza
From here on, the race was a blast! There were sights to see and characters everywhere.
I even snuck in a photo with my favorite character Marie without standing in line! Amanda has all the tricks
A quick tour around the Boardwalk and Crescent Lake made for very tempting pit stops…
I said hi to a few friends, including my girl Cindy, in front of the Beach Club before heading back into Epcot and back out into the parking lot for the big finish.
And like that we were done! It started sprinkling very soon after we crossed the finish line, so we grabbed our medals and made a bee line for the car.
This was my first 10K at Walt Disney World and I really do love the distance. I’m so glad that they have added this to many of the race weekends. It’s challenging and can be completed fairly quickly, but there really needs to be some sort of entertainment added to Epcot Center Drive…that long stretch was painfully boring. Plus with the shorter distance, you still have a fair amount of energy left over to get some good park touring in after the race. I headed over to Animal Kingdom for a few hours to say hi to some animals and get in some fun character time.
Later that day we headed to the Osceola County Fair to support Amanda’s daughter at the steer auction. It was actually a really fun experience for this Northeast city girl! The big bonus was that I got to hold her 2 week old goat!! I look like a crazy person…
After the fair we went to Splitsville for dinner where the service was severely lacking, but the food was good. We also stopped in the new Fit2Run store in Downtown Disney for some KT Tape. That place is nice…definitely check it out next time you are in the area.
Day 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge complete! We headed to bed fairly early to get ready for day 2…my 3rd Princess Half Marathon!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|March 3, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Guest Posts, Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps|
Sarah Norris is back for her fourth and final 5K recap of this runDisney race season. It’s been great to follow her journey since October when she ran her first 5K ever and to see how much she’s improved. What makes this recap even better is that she shared this race with her family…wait til you see how her brother joined in on the Princess fun!
I can hardly believe that this is my last race recap for the 2013-2014 runDisney season. Thanks again to Sarah for all of her words of encouragement and for letting me share my race experiences with you all. It’s been an exciting year, and I’m already signed up for races in the 2014-2015 runDisney race season.
The Princess Half Marathon Weekend was an extra special one for me, as my family members were also running the race. Both my brother & my stepdad were running the Cinderella Royal Family 5K with me, and it was exciting to share the race experience with them. It was even more exciting to see them dress up…more on that later!
Like the Family Fun Run 5K during Marathon Weekend in January, the Royal Family 5K race course was at Epcot (in fact, the same course). Running through Epcot is a really cool race experience and this one proved to be no different.
Before the race, we had to head to the Fit for a Princess Expo at the Jostens Center to pick up our race bibs and shirts. Packet pickup for the race was in the HP Field House, as it has been for most of the races I’ve participated in this year and really easy to find. I also did the race pick-up for my stepdad and that was the first time I’ve ever done that. Disney really makes it easy, and I got his bib faster than you can say “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!” I was nervous to see what race corral I was in because my number was a little higher, but I was thankful to see that I scored corral B.
Once we got our bibs, we headed to the expo, and I have to say, Disney really pulls all the stops out for this one! I loved the photo ops with the handsome footmen and the red carpet that lined the path to the expo. Fit for a princess was certainly a fitting name for this expo!
This expo was really busy and packed with great vendors. I have to say that I think this race expo might have been the busiest of any that I have attended this race season. Kinda crazy! We made sure to pick up our t-shirts first (which were my favorite of the season) and then look at the official runDisney race merchandise. I loved the tutus that you could purchase. I always make sure to visit a few of my favorite vendors: Sparkle Athletic and Sparkly Soul. A girl’s gotta have some bling when she runs! I had originally planned a Merida themed costume but not all of my gear arrived in time, so I went with a purple sparkly outfit and needed to pick up a purple sparkle skirt and purple sparkly headband.
If you visit the expo, definitely take your time to wander. There is so much to see and do at them. And make sure to also check out some of the seminars. You can hear some great tips on running and nutrition from some of the world’s top experts including Jeff Galloway.
Once we finished exploring the expo and getting all of our official gear, we took the day to relax and chill. My brother and I hit the Animal Kingdom Park for a few hours and just took it easy. Dinner was low-key at the Mara, and I even saw runDisney announcer Carissa! Bedtime was early because I had a very unpleasant 4 a.m. wakeup call. One tip that I always tell people is to get their race gear around and ready for the race the night before. It helps so much when you wake up early and are groggy. I pretty much just throw on my clothes, down a protein shake and go.
Getting to the race was easy but we got there a little later than we should have (around 5:15 a.m.). So, it was definitely packed at that point. Again, this felt like it was even more packed than the Family Fun Run 5K which is weird given how many people run those races. One of the fun parts about this race was the “flash mob” style dancing that was happening before the race. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to think about “Thriller” “The Fox (What does the Fox Say” the same way again!
Oh and remember that outfit I mentioned about my brother? Well, he was all sparkly and blinged out too! Check out this great photo with his sparkle skirt & headband (which he borrowed from me!)
Before we knew it, we had to rush to our corrals. My brother was in corral A and he was literally in his corral for about 10 minutes before they started staging. Corral B was released soon after, and I just love how festive the race start is. They shoot off fireworks during each heat and that’s just such a magical touch.
Having run this race course a month earlier, I had it in my head to PR this race. I really wanted to improve my time and pace. There were a lot of people walking, so navigating through everyone was challenging but manageable. I’ve learned a lot of strategies for making sure I have a clear path or where to run in case of crowding. The first mile is really the only crowded time and then it levels off. It also wasn’t raining this race (like the Family Fun Run 5K) so it made the experience a lot more enjoyable. It was a bit humid though!
My favorite part about the race is running through the World Showcase. It’s just so beautiful and relaxing. I admit, I didn’t stop at any character spots because there weren’t very many, and they weren’t that appealing to me. I really wish Disney would do more race entertainment at these smaller races. It seems like it wouldn’t be that hard given what they provide at the other races. I was pretty jealous after seeing what was at the 10K! (and yes, I’ll be running that next year!)
I pushed hard during this race, and I have to say it paid off. When I got to that finish line I was so excited to see that I had PR’d my race! I improved my pace time immensely (by 1 and ½ minutes from the previous race) and had beat my best race pace by 30 seconds. Pretty exciting! Of course, you can tell by my photos I ran hard!
Overall, I was really pleased with this race experience. Sure, I would have liked to see some extra atmosphere but having family and friends running the race made up for that. runDisney races are so much fun and this one was extra special. I can’t wait for the next season, planning my race costumes, and achieving some new running goals!
Sarah Norris is the owner of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW. She began her firstrunDisney races in 2013 with the Happy Haunted 5K and has had the runDisney bug ever since. She writes about her experiences as a newer runner, as well as running with Crohn’s and a special diet.
|February 28, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend|
Something about race weekends makes me disappear off of the blogosphere…I feel like I’ve said this before. Well do you really blame me when I’m in Walt Disney World?!?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Princess Half Marathon Weekend is by far my favorite race weekend! This year I took on the Glass Slipper Challenge of the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. I will have full recaps coming up this week, but here are some highlights!
Such a great event and an amazingly fun weekend! This is my 3rd Princess Half Marathon Weekend and even though it was a difficult race this year, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I love this event! Stay tuned for more details
Did you run a race over Princess Half Marathon Weekend? How was your experience?