Posts Tagged by frontierland

2013 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon: Race Recap

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.

Sooo Sleeeeeepy

Sooo Sleeeeeepy

On the bus!

On the bus!

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!

Me, Amanda, Barbara & Jeff!!   Best bus ride EVER!

Me, Amanda, Barbara & Jeff!!
Best bus ride EVER!

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.

At the Starting Line!

At the Starting Line!

100% humidity + 27,000 runners = HOT

100% humidity + 27,000 runners = HOT

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!!!

Fairy Godmother

Fairy Godmother

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!

007 MK Gates

Magic Kingdom Toll Booth!

(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!

Mile 4 in the TTC

Mile 4 in the TTC

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.

Water Bridge/Tunnel on World Drive

Water Bridge/Tunnel on World Drive

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…

Giant puppets...all lit up!

Giant puppets…all lit up!

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.

Entering the Magic Kingdom!!

Entering the Magic Kingdom!!

Amazing spectators on Main Street USA...simply the BEST!

Amazing spectators on Main Street USA…simply the BEST!

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!

Awesome friends on Main Street!

Awesome friends on Main Street!

Didn't get my medal from Aurora this year, but I got my hugs with jugs!!

Didn’t get my medal from Aurora this year, but I got my hugs with jugs!!

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.

Got all the time in the world...

Got all the time in the world…

The camera man was apparently shaking with excitement too!

The camera man was apparently shaking with excitement too!

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.

Creepster photo of Ali Vincent

Creepster photo of Ali Vincent

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.

Crazy Biofreeze at the medical tent

Crazy Biofreeze at the medical tent

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 😉

Grand Floridian DVC

Grand Floridian DVC

I guess this will do...

I guess this will do…

Katherine, Me & Amanda

Katherine, Me & Amanda

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!

Cup Target!

Cup Target!
I only got 2 points 🙁

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!

Awesome lady in the pink tutu and I think Greg is up ahead in one of those yellow shirts ;)

Awesome lady in the pink tutu and I think Greg is up ahead in one of those yellow shirts 😉

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!

Han Solo & Princess Leia Troublemakers! ;)

Han Solo & Princess Leia
Troublemakers! 😉

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!

Push Ups!!

Push Ups!!

Amanda Salutes!

Amanda Salutes!

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.

Crowds heading up World Drive

Crowds heading up World Drive

Mile 11 and Epcot Toll Plaza!

Mile 11 and Epcot Toll Plaza!

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.

WDW Radio 2.0

WDW Radio 2.0

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.

I think I was checking in to Epcot here...ha!

I think I was checking in to Epcot here…ha!

Random fairy...

Random fairy…

Running Buddies :)

Running Buddies 🙂

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 😉

Team RAD Represent!

Team RAD Represent!

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!

Mile 13!

Mile 13!

Amanda took a picture of me taking a picture of myself! Ha!

Amanda took a picture of me taking a picture of myself! Ha!

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!

Spectators Galore!

Spectators Galore!

More spectators!

More spectators!

 

The Finish Line!

The Finish Line!

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!

Well deserved mimosas!

Well deserved mimosas!

Probably the coolest thing post-race was getting to meet Sean Astin.  Check out the tiara he ran the race in…pretty cool!

Princesses Never Say Die!!!!

Princesses Never Say Die!!!!

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.

2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

So I left of in the days leading up to the marathon recovering from a cold and nervous as hell about this race.  Oh…did I fail to mention that?  Yeah, I was NERVOUS!

01 Marathon Tattoo

My alarm went off at the oh so lovely hour of 2:30 am and even though I only had 5 1/2 hours of sleep, I popped right up.  I didn’t sleep very well and I think I was running purely on adrenaline.  I stuck with my nutrition plan and made an english muffin with almond butter and a cup of green tea.  I also downed one last cup of Emergen-C and took some immune system booster vitamins.

I was happy I took the time the night before to lay out all of my clothes and the supplies that I would need to get ready.  It made getting ready much less stressful.  I taped up my legs and hip flexor with KT Tape, slathered on a ton of Body Glide (TMI?) and got dressed.  I made sure my fuel belts were stocked and recheck the bag of supplies I was having B bring me later in the race.  I was as ready as I was going to be…let’s do this!

Amanda & I ready to race!

My partner in crime Amanda & I ready to race!

I met up with a bunch of other media folks in the lobby of the hotel and we hitched a ride over to the Epcot parking lot.  We were given the unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of the starting line before any of the runners arrived.  It was so cool to see the event staff getting set up and ready for those 25,000 runners to arrive.  I’m a logistics geek…what can I say?  We were also able to watch many of the pre-race interviews (sadly I didn’t get to interview Joey Fatone 🙁 ) and see the wheelchair racers get set up.

An empty starting line...

An empty starting line…

The Road Ahead...

The road ahead…

OMG what am I about to do?!?!?!

OMG what am I about to do?!?!?!

Marathon Joe interviewing Bob Hitchcock of runDisney

Marathon Joe interviewing Bob Hitchcock of runDisney

I found Joey Fatone again!

Joey Fatone going for Goofy!

The runners started piling into the corrals and what was a ghost town one second was FULL the next.  This meant it was time to get going.  We were brought back to the starting corrals and patiently waited for the race to start.

Runners at the start line!

Runners at the start line!

In the corrals...ready to race!

In the corrals…ready to race!

Before I knew it, the National Anthem was being sung and the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon was minutes away from starting.  The most moving thing I saw during the day happened during the National Anthem.  Just behind me a man stoically raised an American flag and quietly stood there as the Anthem was being sung.  I have no idea if he was a war veteran or just a very patriotic citizen, but it was an amazing show of patriotism.  I was wondering what he did with the flag after the Anthem.  Did he run the entire marathon with it?!

10 National Anthem

Before I knew it Mickey began the countdown, the fireworks went off and the marathon was underway.  Please forgive the foul language in the following video…I couldn’t contain myself!

Mickey, Donald & Goofy counting us down!

Mickey, Donald & Goofy counting us down!

Before I got sick, my goal time to finish the race was 6 hours.  I knew that this might not be a possibility now, plus I knew the weather was going to slow me down a bit.  The forecast had been saying it was going to be in the low 80s with high humidity, which are less than ideal running conditions.  I decided to go at my steady 3 minute run/ 1 minute walk pace for as long as I could and then just go with the flow.  My goal on that day became to just finish.

The first 5 miles went by incredibly fast.  I kept a steady 13 minute per mile pace and I was feeling really good!  Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy that first stretch of World Drive after the first mile of the race.  It’s flat and a great place to really get your stride.  Oh and you have this great sight straight ahead, which always makes me run faster!  (I apologize in advance for any blurry photos and video…I was movin’!!)

Going through the Magic Kingdom toll booths just before mile 3.

Going through the Magic Kingdom toll booths just before mile 3.

I was so excited to see Jack & Sally near the TTC, but the line had at least 20 people and I didn’t want to waste that much time.  I decided that I wasn’t going to stop for character photos if the lines were long (most lines were very long!) because I knew I was going to need all of the time I could get on the back end.

Jack & Sally!

Jack & Sally!

The 5 mile marker was just outside of the Magic Kingdom and I crossed that at 1:07.  I was feeling awesome and was so excited to get into the park!  This was my favorite part of the Princess Half Marathon.  When you enter Main Street USA and see all of those people cheering from you, you can’t help but get a little emotional.  It’s quite amazing…

Entering the Magic Kingdom

Entering the Magic Kingdom

I was so excited to see the WDW Radio crew right ahead of me cheering like crazy!  My friend Suzannah saw me and called out my name…it is so amazing to see a familiar face, so thank you Suzannah for that!

WDW Radio Cheer Squad!

WDW Radio Cheer Squad!

As I turned that corner to see Cinderella’s Castle, I couldn’t help but smile.  They had kept the holiday lights on the castle just for the races…what a beautiful sight!  Further down Main Street, I also saw my friends Jillian and Kelly.  Jillian just ran her first half marathon the day before (congrats girl!) and it was so great to see her out there cheering all of us on 🙂

Running down Main Street USA!

Running down Main Street USA!

Look at that castle :)

Look at that castle 🙂

The course winds through a lot of the Magic Kingdom.  From the hub you head right through Tomorrowland and through New Fantasyland where there are a TON of character meet and greets!  Of course the best part of the Magic Kingdom is running through Cinderella’s Castle.  And what better way to do it than to be greeted by trumpeters!!

I just ran through the castle!!

I just ran through the castle!!

From there we wound through Liberty Square where I saw this guy with the best costume of the day…full on Snow White!

Yes, that's a dude

Yes, that’s a dude

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but the best thing about Disney races are the real bathrooms!  When you go through any of the parks, all of the bathrooms are open so make sure to make a pit stop here instead of at one of the Portalets.  My favorite restroom in the Magic Kingdom is the one between Frontierland and Adventureland.  It’s very large so you have less of a change of waiting in line.

The next few miles were fairly uneventful as we left the Magic Kingdom and headed toward the Walt Disney World Speedway.  The course did get very congested here as we were down to just one lane, so I had to stop and walk more frequently than I would’ve liked.  People were actually going on the other side of the cones, which was very dangerous because of oncoming traffic.  Don’t do this during a race…

The Speedway was a new element to the marathon for this year and was just after mile 8.  To get into the Speedway, there is a very steep downhill and uphill that proved to be a bit difficult for some runners.  But when we entered the track, we were greeting to the beautiful sight of the sun rising.

The sun rising above the WDW Speedway

The sun rising above the WDW Speedway

I’m not a big car person, so I didn’t think I would enjoy the Speedway all that much, but it was actually one of my favorite parts of the entire course!  It was a completely different experience from anywhere else I have run before.  All along the track vintage  and race cars were lined up and their owners were out there cheering…it was really cool!  As you could expect, various stars from the movie Cars made an appearance here as well!

Walt Disney World Speedway

Walt Disney World Speedway

Runners along the race track

Runners along the race track

Mile 9 came at the end of the race track and I knew we were now in for a long boring 3 miles up to Animal Kingdom.  The course goes up Bear Island Road which is pretty secluded (were we still on WDW property?!), but runDisney did a good job of placing various photo stops and entertainment along the way.  Santa’s reindeer and the toy soldiers were even out…they must be on their post Christmas vacation.  We also ran past the water treatment facility, which was just a gorgeous sight 😉

At this point in the day, the sun was starting to peak over the trees and the heat was creeping up.  We made the approach into Animal Kingdom and to my surprise there were a ton of animals out!  Now I’m a big animal lover and I have a small obsession with goats.  So of course I bee-lined for one of the goats and asked the handler to take my picture with him….he looked at me kind of funny due to my excitement and how I hugged the goat, but whatever…

GOAT!

GOAT!
I look totally crazy here

I immediately regretted this because now my hands smelled like goats.  Kind of gross when you want to wipe the sweat off of your face.  As soon as we entered the park, I stopped at the bathroom just outside Expedition Everest to wash my hands and splash some water on my face.

I made it to Everest!

I made it to Everest!

I had seen in prior marathons that runners have stopped to ride Expedition Everest during the race and I so wanted to do this!  This is one of my favorite attractions and where else can you ride a roller coaster during a marathon?!?  I was sad to see that the attraction wasn’t running yet so I had to just keep going 🙁  I know that is was open later in the day because I say ride photos.  But looking back, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t ride because I’m not sure I could have gotten up afterwards!

Good Morning Animal Kingdom!

Good Morning Animal Kingdom!

As we exited Animal Kingdom, we reached mile 13.  I had reached the halfway point in the race in 3:08 and was really happy with that time.  It was a little over my original goal of 3 hours for the half and I was still feeling good at this point.  No major pain, no chafing, still had energy…yeah!  Oh how things were about to change…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Walt Disney World Marathon recap!! 

 

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.