Posts Tagged by Disney’s Princess Half Marathon
|March 7, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Recaps, runDisney Races|
Of all the runDisney races I have completed in the past year, I think that I was most excited to return for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. This was the anniversary of my first half marathon and this event holds such a special place in my heart. Unlike the bundle of nerves that I was prior to last year’s race, this year I was full of excited anticipation to get back out there again!
My roomie Amanda and I woke up at the oh so lovely hour of 3:00 am the morning of the race. I need much more time than her to get ready, so I
fell out of bed popped up first to tape my legs, put sunscreen on, get dressed, make breakfast, blah blah blah. I have this whole crazy pre-race routine and Amanda simply gets dressed and pins her bib on. I should take a lesson from her 🙂 We were still half asleep when we headed down to meet our group before getting on the bus around 4:15 am.
We were so lucky to have Jeff Galloway and his wife Barbara sit behind us on the bus. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable about running, but they are genuinely two of the nicest people I have ever met. We had an amazing conversation with them which ended with me telling Jeff about my running journey. I almost broke into tears a few times and after receiving some encouraging words from Jeff, I was pumped up to run this race!
We got to the start line and I was so excited that I could barely contain myself. I wanted to record a little video thanking my family, friends and all of YOU for being so supportive of me this past year, but I only managed to get through a few seconds before getting all sorts of emotional and tearing up…sigh, I’m such a sap!
As you can see from that video, I was already sweaty because the humidity was so thick you could see it in the air. runDisney had issued a heat advisory a few days before the race, so we knew we were in for a hot and sweaty run.
Before we knew it, the National Anthem was being sung and the Fairy Godmother took the stage to count us down. Princess 2.0 was about to begin…woohoo!!!
I’m a little bummed that I cut that video off where I did because there was a waterfall of fireworks that went off just after it!
Anyway, we were on our way and keeping a 1 min run/ 1 min walk pace. Amanda and I had originally gone into this weekend with the goal to sub-3 hours for the race, but with the heat and humidity we decided to scratch that plan and just have fun! This worked out well for us 🙂
After doing the Walt Disney World Marathon only 6 weeks prior, that experience was still fresh in my mind. I can’t begin to tell you how different the vibe is for this race. Everyone is smiling and having fun…it just felt like the pressure was off (maybe that’s because it was half the distance) and we were about to have an epic time.
The first 2 miles flew by and before we knew it we were on World Drive and heading toward the Magic Kingdom toll booth…one of my favorite sights!
(As usual, I apologize for all of the seriously blurry photos, but what can I say…I was movin’!!)
We passed over the 5K mark and I was disappointed to see that I hadn’t received a text message with our time. I had signed up for runner tracking, so I was hoping that something wasn’t wrong with my B-Tag chip. We asked around to a few other runners and they weren’t getting anything either. Seems like there was just an issue with that reader.
The character lines were LONG, so we bypassed all of the ones on the way to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). I just love running through here because it is the first time you come across the race spectators. This always gives me a boost!
As we left the TTC, we got back on World Drive and were on our way to the Magic Kingdom. I love that there is a DJ set up on the water bridge that you run under…those GIANT Mickey hands just crack me up. This is one of the hardest parts of the race because of the steep downhill followed by a tough incline so it’s good to have that bit of entertainment.
As we came up the hill, I noticed that the giant puppets from the 20 mile spectacular during the Walt Disney World Marathon were up on our left. These are SO much more impressive when it’s dark because they light up. Maybe that’s why they were a disappointment during the marathon…
We hit mile 5 just outside the Magic Kingdom in front of Space Mountain. We had been texting with our friend Marc and knew he was just about to catch up to us. Perfect timing so we could all run through the park together! This is by far the best part of the race.
We were so lucky to find a ton of our friends and I made it my goal to get as many pictures with them as possible! First we came across Lou and the WDW Radio cheer squad. They are always right at the corner when you make that turn towards the castle, so make sure to stop and say hi during the next race! I also found a ton of other friends along Main Street. Big thanks to Cindy (my #1 cheerleader!), Aurora, Kristen, Kim, Shalon, Steve, James, Jim and everyone else who came out to cheer….it just means the world to me!
We made it through Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland. Amanda was getting tired at this point, so she stopped to take a little rest… 😉 She managed to get herself up so we could get an obligatory castle shot.
And now for my favorite part of the race…running through the castle. I just can’t help taking a video of this every time!
As we were heading into Liberty Square, we caught up to Ali Vincent of The Biggest Loser. I had just seen we speak at the runDisney meet up a few days prior and she was so inspirational…it was great to see her out on the course.
We headed through Frontierland passing mile 6 and out of the park. I was feeling really hungry at this point and realized that I hadn’t taken a Gu since the start of the race….I was just having too much fun! I try to have one every 45 minutes or so, so I was way over due. I threw that sucker down and immediately felt better.
I knew there was a medical tent up ahead so I ran ahead of Amanda who was taking so fun backstage photos to get some Vaseline to avoid any chafing issues. This was something I did during the marathon and it was a life saver, so I made sure to take full advantage during this race. The medical stops also have Biofreeze and Tylenol available.
The next mile or so is very tight and you really just need to be patient and expect to walk a bit. Runners are confined to one lane and must stay inside the cone. I heard that a women went on the other side of the cones and actually got hit by a car in this area. Apparently she got up and finished the race, but come on…the cones are there to keep us safe.
A few weeks before the race, runDisney asked people on their Facebook page what song they would like to hear during mile 7. The winner was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. I like this song and it has a great message, but it was a little sloooooow for this stretch of the race. Let’s pick something more upbeat next time ladies!
We passed the Grand Floridian and checked out the new DVC resort (this was my first time seeing it in a while and was shocked at the progress!) and also past the golf courses. My favorite picture (and my Dad’s favorite) from last year’s race was me with golfer Donald. Sadly, there were no golfer characters out there, so I snapped a picture in front of the sign for my Dad…total bummer. This is also where our friend Katherine (my Marathon running buddy!) caught up with us…she had a killer Merida costume. How she ran in that wig is a mystery to me! I’m sure she’ll let us know in the comments 😉
Around mile 8.25, a very cool thing happened. A woman yelled out “It’s my daughter’s 35th birthday and she’s running through the castle! Can we all wish her a happy birthday?!” To which all the ladies around screamed HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! She had her daughter on the phone and I can only imagine how that made her day. This led to someone else saying that it was her daughter’s 6th birthday and another woman saying that she was going to be 31 in a month and a half…which gave us all a good laugh 🙂 This just showed the fun spirit of the Princess Half Marathon…what a great memory!
As we came upon the next water station, we saw these super fun cup targets that someone put up. I’m not sure if it was one of the volunteers, a spectator or a runner who put them out the night before, but thank you to whoever did! So clever!
We were back on World Drive and making our way back to Epcot. Two incredibly memorable things happened here. First, I got to meet a RAD reader! Greg from South Jersey stopped to say hi, which was just beyond cool! He was running the race with his wife…I hope you guys had a great time! Then after he took off to catch up with his wife, a wonderful woman in a pink tutu came by and was just telling everyone that they were doing a great job and to keep going. The camaraderie of all the women in this race is simply amazing!
Before I knew it, we were at mile 10 and about to go up the dreaded hill to the overpass to Epcot. As we started up the hill, I started feeling what I thought were rain drops which were a relief from the heat, but I really didn’t want to run the next 3 miles in the rain. I quickly realized that it was not rain, but just Han Solo shooting everyone with his water gun. Ha!
If you have run a Disney race, you will know that this is where the Green Army Men from Toy Story are positioned. After seeing my friends Jenn & Danielle do push ups with them during the Marathon, I knew I had to put my CrossFit training to the test and give it a try. Yes, my form sucks, but hey I just ran 10 miles…give me a break!
We were in the home stretch and we were actually feeling GREAT! I remember that at this point last year I wanted to die. It’s amazing what a year can do for your fitness and how your perspective can change after having some races (especially a marathon!) under your belt.
As we entered the Epcot parking lot, we saw that the WDW Radio cheer squad had moved there! It was great to see some familiar faces again.
Yes! We were now entering Epcot feeling strong and knowing that we had this thing in the bag! We were still having a blast and managed to get some great pics.
A fun thing about the Princess Half Marathon is that you can register for the race as a team. As a team, you get a 2nd bib to wear on your back that has your team name…how cool is that?!? During last year’s race, Amanda and I decided that we were going to run 2013 as a team so we could run the whole race together. We were Team RunningatDisney.com this year. Next year, I think we’ll be Team DisneyEveryDay.com 😉
Heading out of Epcot, we came across another favorite thing about Disney races…the Gospel Choir! Are you sick of seeing these videos yet? It never gets old for me…
Mile 13 was upon us and I had to get another of me in front of mile 13 just like I did on my first race 🙂 Told you I was a sap!
Another sight that never gets old for me are the crowds of spectators at the finish line…I am always just blown away by this!
With the finish line in sight, Amanda and I grabbed hands and crossed that line just like we had before. It was pure awesome. We both broke into tears and just hugged. It’s one thing to complete a half marathon, but it’s another to complete it with your best friend. This race is all about strong women and damn were we strong!!
Now what do 2 princesses do after finishing a half marathon and getting some pretty awesome bling?? Drink mimosas of course!
Probably the coolest thing post-race was getting to meet Sean Astin. Check out the tiara he ran the race in…pretty cool!
We took some time to watch people cross the finish line, which was insanely inspiring. To see the determination, anguish and pure joy on the faces of these athletes (yes you are ALL athletes!) brought me to tears once again! I will leave you with this video of their final moments of the race. If you’re not inspired by this to get out there and start moving, I don’t know what will do it!
Did you run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon? Is this on your list of must do races? It should be!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|February 11, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney Races|
Runner tracking is now available for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. Click here to sign up and follow your friends and family who are participating in the 5th anniversary of this magical race!
You will be able to get email and text notifications at every 5K point in the races and then for the finish. This makes if very easy for spectators to find your runners and know when they will be finishing the race. It’s also great for the runners who can get the notifications to their phones during the race so they can keep track of their pace or my favorite use is to find friends along the course!
You can also automatically tweet the results to your followers and post status updates on Facebook. Even if you can’t be at the race, you can still support all the runners and virtually cheer us on! Trust me, we all REALLY appreciate your support…it’s what helped push me through the WDW Marathon!
If you’re a spectator, you should also check out this nifty spectator tool. Here you enter pace or finish time of your runner and it will tell you approximately where they will be a what time and the best locations for you to view them. It will also give you approximate travel times to the various spectator points so you can figure out what will work best for you. This is really cool!
Who will you be following? Leave a comment below so we can keep track of everyone!
|February 11, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney Races|
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!
The following are instructions for the Princess Half Marathon and include all of the information you will need about the race, transportation and other events around the weekend.
If you are looking for information on any of the other events happening during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, you can find them here:
- Mickey and Minnie Royal Family 5K & Kids Races
- ChEAR Squad & Race Retreat
- Pasta in the Park & Princess Breakfast
This year, the Health & Fitness Expo is being held at an all new location…Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. I’m actually really excited about this change of venue for the Expo. If you’ve ever been to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for packet pick up, you’ll know that it is a serious trek to get around the facility. I’ve never been to the Coronado Springs convention facility, but from maps I’ve seen it looks much more manageable.
The Expo will take place on Friday, February 22nd from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturday, February 23rd from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. All race participants MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick-up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and goody bag. The goody bag also doubles as the bag to use for bag check during the race. This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration. If you are unable to attend the expo, instructions are included on how to have someone pick-up your packet for you.
Because of the new location, it is very important to note the transportation restrictions for getting there. There will be no parking and no Guest drop-off at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort during Expo hours. You will need to take the event transportation provided at all Walt Disney World Resorts to get to the Expo. If you are not staying on property, you will have to park at Downtown Disney West Side and take the transportation provided from there.
Here is all of the information you will need for Race Day.
- Host Resort Transportation All Walt Disney World resorts, including Shades of Green and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, will have transportation available to bring participants to and from ALL events during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
- On race day, bus service will begin at 3:00 am and runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am to ensure they make it into their corrals by the 5:00 am cut-off time.
- Shuttle service will be suspended between 5:00 am and 7:00 am because of road closures, but will recommence for spectators after 7:00 am. Traffic into the Epcot parking lot will also be suspended at this time and all cars will be routed to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot where spectators can take the monorail to Epcot.
- After the race, buses will be set by resort in the Family Reunion Area to take all participants back to their resorts until 10:30 am.
- Driving Directions If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events. As usual, Disney says to EXPECT SIGNIFICANT DELAYS so make sure you leave yourself enough time. Road closures will begin at 3:30 am, so you will want to try to arrive at Epcot before then. If that isn’t possible, be sure to arrive at Epcot and be parked by 4:30 am since it is about a 20 minute walk to the starting corrals from the parking lot and you must be in there by 5:00 am.
- Costumes This is one of the best parts of Disney races…the costumes! Runners get so creative and it’s so fun to see. Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated. Who are you dressing up as?
- Bag Check Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside. The bag check tents are located in the Family Reunion Area in the Epcot parking lot. All bags must be checked by 4:30 am prior to walking over to the start corrals. Bags must be picked up by 10:30 am at the same location. I checked a bag for the Princess Half Marathon last year and the process was seamless, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned by the process if you are new to runDisney events.
- Start Corrals The start corrals are located on Epcot Center Drive. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the starting corrals from the holding area, so you will want to head over there no later than 4:30 am. Your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or one behind you. You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.
- Starting Times The following are scheduled start times for the corrals:
- 5:30 am – Wheelchair Start
- 5:35 am – Corral A Start
- 5:42 am – Corral B Start
- 5:49 am – Corral C Start
- 5:56 am – Corral D Start
- 6:03 am – Corral E Start
- 6:10 am – Corral F Start
- 6:17 am – Corral G Start
- 6:24 am – Corral H Start
- Race Bibs Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt. Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo. Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time. If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly. Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible and smile for that camera 🙂
- Team Bibs If you registered as a team, you will receive a second commemorative bib with your team name on it. This should NOT be worn in place of your individual bib or your time won’t be tracked.
- Pacing Requirements Remember, you must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line. Keep this in mind if you a planning to stop for character photos. Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time. Pace cyclists will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.
|November 1, 2012||Posted by Running at Disney under runDisney Races|
Women are now leading the pack when it comes to the sport of running! According to Running USA, the percentage of female participants in running events across the U.S. has increased by nearly 8% in the past seven years to a majority of 55%. This is a pretty amazing statistic for a sport that didn’t even have women specific apparel until the late 1970s when three friends stitched two jock straps together to create the first sports bra. Thank you ladies!
Women-only running events (95% or greater female) are on the rise as well, with over 200 events in 2011. Women of all ages, all shapes and sizes, and all athletic abilities are coming together to take on the challenge of conquering a long distance run. There is a sense of camaraderie and a lack of inhibition at these events that have women flocking to run. In fact, Disney’s Princess Half Marathon had over 13,000 women finishers last year, making it the second largest women-only event in the country.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Tammy Jacobson from runDisney‘s marketing department about not only the popularity of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon, but also the increase in women participating in all runDisney events. Like many runDisney events, Disney’s Princess Half Marathon began as a way to fill the attendance gap at the Walt Disney World resort during a slow time of the year. Building on the success of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, this event combined the growing trend of women participating in running events with the popularity of Disney’s Princesses to create a one of a kind race. Participants not only get to don tutus and tiaras, but they can run through Cinderella’s Castle and meet Prince Charming while running 13.1 miles. This race has now become THE event for a fun girls weekend and is also the race of choice for many first timers. I know from experience, since this was my first half marathon. There is something a little less intimidating about running a half marathon when you are surrounded by smiling ladies in tutus 🙂
This popularity of runDisney events among women runners has sparked other events, such as the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in Disneyland which debuted in January 2012. This event is also centered around women and the 2013 race sold out to over 14,000 runners in just under a month this past summer. That is record breaking time! But this increase in popularity among women is not just for the women-only events that runDisney holds. For the first time in it’s 20 year history, the sold out 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon has more women than men participants…amazing! I’m so proud
and terrified to be one of those women!!
So what is making these runDisney events so appealing to women? Well the most obvious answer is the bling…we all love that bling. But there is so much more than that. Women have the ability to build family vacations around these race weekends and incorporate their family into the fun! Most race weekends include a Family Fun Run 5K and Kids Races that can get the whole family involved.
runDisney has also created many strategic partnerships over the years to make the sport of running more accesible to the everyday woman…someone (like me!) who may not have a ton of time to devote to training but is determined to conquer that 13.1 (or 26.2) miles. There is now a runDisney mom on the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel to answer any of those travel planning questions around the events and they have also brought a nutritionist, Tara Gidus, on board to provide valuable nutrition tips for training and during the races.
By far the best partnership has been with Jeff Galloway. His Run-Walk-Run method has proven to be INCREDIBLY successful in helping people finish these races, myself included. It helps to ease fatigue and save muscle strength in order to push you though those long miles without getting tired. He also provides many valuable tips on training, running night races, and how to stay motivated.
But in my opinion, social media is what has played the biggest part in the growth of the runDisney brand over the past few years. There is a constant dialogue over networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram between runners reliving past races, sharing photos, and building up anticipation to the next race. runDisney is jumping in the social media game as well with the recent creation of the runDisney Twitter account and Facebook page. As Jacobson says, “Our runners are our family” and the daily interaction they have with participants through these mediums helps to make that more of a reality. They have also launched numerous interactive campaigns to get the fans more involved, such as the Choose the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Shirt Design, the Great Medal Caper for the reveal of the 2oth Anniversary Marathon Medal, and most recently the Run Like a Princess Sweepstakes to win a night in the Cinderella’s Castle Suite over Princess Half Marathon Weekend. I can’t think of a better way to entice more female runners to participate in a runDisney event than a chance to stay in Cinderella’s Castle!
Running has changed my life in the past year and I know I can say the same is true for many of my female friends. It started as a way to get healthy, but has turned into so much more. runDisney has obviously played a huge part in that journey for me and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the chance to run through those parks, there is NO WAY I would even attempt to run a marathon elsewhere. I’m just happy my girls will be there to support me 🙂
So ladies, I want to hear from you! Why did you start running? What is your favorite race? Do you prefer women-only events?
Running USA (2012, May 9). 2012 State of the Sport Part I: Growth of Women’s Running. Retrieved October 30, 2012 from Running USA website: http://www.runningusa.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=334&returnTo=annual-reports
|October 24, 2012||Posted by Running at Disney under Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney Races|
The 5th Anniversary Princess Half Marathon medal has been revealed! It’s sparkly and full of bling…perfect for any princess!!
Princess Half Marathon Weekend will be taking place on February 22 – 24, 2013 and is sure to be a sea of tutus and tiaras! This race was my first half marathon and I can’t wait to run it again!! Oh and that brand new sparkly medal makes it even better!
Check out what is included in the Grand Prize Package for four:
- Race entry into Disney’s Princess Half Marathon, Disney Royal Family 5K, orrunDisney Kids’ Races
- Pasta in the Park Party at Epcot at the Princess Half Marathon Weekend
- Platinum level ChEAR Squad/Race Retreat at the Princess Half Marathon
- Meet & Greet with Olympian andrunDisney Training Consultant Jeff Galloway
- Round trip airfare
- $800 worth of Disney Dining Gift Cards
- 3-Day Magic Your Way Theme Park Ticket
- 2-Night stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- And the ultimate royal retreat the evening after the race… one night in the Cinderella Castle Suite at Magic Kingdom Park
Does that say a one-night stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite?!? The rest of the package is amazing, but that just blows it out of the water. How cool would it be to stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite with your brand new Princess medal?!? You can enter to win everyday until November 20, 2012. A bonus every time you enter is the chance to win an instant prize, including race entries, runDisney merchandise, Lady Foot Locker gift cards and more! Visit www.runlikeaprincess.com to enter.
The Princess Half Marathon is now 78% full and with the reveal of this new medal, it is sure to fill up quickly. If you’ve been hesitating to register, what are you waiting for?! You have 4 months to train, which is PLENTY of time! This was the time I started my training last year and I did it…so can you! You definitely won’t regret it!