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2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Info

2015-princess-half-marathon-logo

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is only a few days away!!  Do you have your tutus and tiaras ready??  This is such a fun race weekend and since it was my first half marathon it is my favorite!  But sadly for the first time in 3 years I will not be participating in the festivities.  🙁

Because I won’t be in WDW this week I’m calling on YOU!!  If you are interested in writing about any part of Princess Half Marathon Weekend, send me an email to sarah@runningatdisney.com and I’ll send you some additional details.  I would love to have you!!

PHM Contributors

Now let’s dive into some of the details about the weekend!  The theme of the races this year is the oh so popular Frozen!  Not only has the 5K been renamed the Frozen 5K, but all of ribbons now have the addition of beautiful snowflakes.  I just love these designs!

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Medals

Fit for a Princess Expo

The weekend starts with the Fit for a Princess Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, February 19th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, February 20th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 21st: 9:00 am – 5:00 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 gEAR bag.  The gEAR 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.  Transportation will be provided to and from all Walt Disney World Resort Hotels 30 minutes prior to the Expo opening and 30 minutes after closing.

When you arrive at the expo, your first stop will be the HP Field House for Packet Pick Up.  Remember that you can no longer have someone pick up your race packet for you.  Everyone MUST turn in a waiver, show ID and pick up their own packet. (Thanks to Julie for the reminder!!)

This race weekend has really grown in size and because of that, packet pick-up is spread out over the two levels of the HP Field House.  On the Entry Level you will find: Kids Races, 5K, Glass Slipper Challenge and Runner Relations.

Entry Level

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On the Lower Level you will find: 10K, Half Marathon, Castaway Cay 5K, Marathon, ChEAR Squad, Race Retreat, and Family Reunion Breakfast Pick Up. The Lower Level is also where shirt pick-up is for Glass Slipper Challenge participants and where great backgrounds are for some fun photo ops!

Lower Level

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After visiting the HP Field House, head over to the Jostens Center to visit with vendors and pick up your race shirts, visit with the vendors, listen to the speaker series and pick up all that great runDisney merchandise!

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Expo

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.

Bus service to the Expo will run during the following times:

  • Thursday, February 19th: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 8:30 pm)
  • Friday, February 20th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, February 21st: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 5:30 pm)

On February 19-21, bus transportation will be provided for runners and spectators to and from the races at Epcot.  For those staying at a Magic Kingdom resort on the monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian), the monorail will begin running at the same time as the buses each day to take guests to and from Epcot.  Here are the times the busses will run:

  • 5K & Kids Races, February 20th: 4:15 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 11:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 5:00 am for the 5K, 8:00 am for the 1-miler and 8:30 am for the Kids Dashes)
  • 10K, February 21st: 3:30 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Half Marathon, January 10th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:30 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)

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.

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 as early as 11:00 pm the night before! 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 for the Half Marathon from the parking lot and you must be in there by 5:00 am.

Costumes

It’s so fun to see the creativity of all the runners for these races!!  Since this is Princess Weekend, you are guaranteed to see more tutus and sparkle then you’ve ever seen before!!  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 prior to walking over to the start corrals. 

Tip for you: Put a small, lightweight backpack or duffle bag inside your clear gEAR bag to transfer everything into after the race.  The strings on the gEAR bags make them horribly uncomfortable to carry around.

Staging Area & Start Corrals

When you arrive at the Epcot parking lot, you will be directed to a large staging area before the corrals open.  This is where you will find bag check, water stations, photo ops and most importantly Port-a-Potties.  The corrals for the 5K & 10K will be located in the Explore Lot (see map below) and you will need to be in those corrals 30 minutes prior to the race.

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Staging-Area

The start corrals for the half marathon are located on Epcot Center Drive.  It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the half marathon 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.

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Corrals

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Corral-Assignments

 

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-GSC-Corral-Assignments

If you are participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will have two letter on your race bib.  One for the 10K and one for the Half Marathon.  Here’s a look at last year:

2014-Princess-Half-Medals

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 🙂

If you are participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will be given one bib for both races.  Take good care of that bib throughout the weekend!

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.

Aid Stations

There will be 2 water stops along the 5K course and 3 water stops along the 10K course.  No PowerAde or fuel will be provided for either of these races.

For the Half Marathon, there will be 9 PowerAde and water stops along the course and there will be one food station at mile 8.7 that will have Clif Shots available.  Aid stations will be located approximately 1.5 miles apart from each other.  The PowerAde flavor is lemon-lime, so if that isn’t your thing you should carry your own.  Same goes for the fuel stop…don’t rely on those if you have trained with other products.

Coast to Coast Race Challenge

Participants in the challenge will be given a wristband at the expo that must be worn during the race.  After completion, proceed to the Coast to Coast tent to claim your super awesome medal!  If you ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January, you will be able to get the exclusive PINK Coast to Coast medal!

Course Maps

Frozen 5K & Enchanted 10K

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Princess Half Marathon

2015-Princess-Half-Marathon-Map

Kids Races

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I LOVE how the Kids Races are in Epcot.  What an exciting 1-Mile Run for the kiddos to go through Future World!

Other events for the weekend include the Pasta in the Park Party and the Happily Ever After Party at Downtown Disney on Sunday night!  More information is available over on the runDisney website including the Official Program for the weekend. Also, check out my packing tips as you get ready for travel…sadly we don’t all have a Fairy Godmother to do that for us.

And make sure to check out my experience from the last 3 years at Princess Half Marathon Weekend…it’s a BLAST!

2014

2013

2012

Make sure to tag me in your photos from the weekend and I will make sure to share them!  You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get all the latest info from the race weekend.  Have a magical time!!

RAD Signature 100x75

2013 Dumbo Double Dare Recap Part I – Disneyland 10K

001 DL10K-Castle

I was really enjoying my first trip out to Disneyland, but after 2 days of park touring, then a long day at the runDisney meet up, the expo, park hopping and dinner on Friday, my legs were TIRED.  My feet felt a bit swollen and I was getting slightly nervous for the 2 days of running that were ahead of me.  I did almost 10 miles of walking that day alone!

002 DL10K - FitbitMy friend Danielle had told me about a great way she helps her tired feet before races.  Lie on the floor with your legs up the wall for about 10 minutes to let all the blood distribute back into your body.  It has a similar effect to compression socks.  So that’s what I did before bed and boy did that help!  This will be a go to for me before every race going forward!

003 DL10K-Tired-Feet

My alarm went off way too early, as it does for most Disney races, I went through my usual pre-race routine of tape, tea, body glide, etc… and headed downstairs to catch the bus.  I was staying at the Hilton Anaheim which is next to the Convention Center.  The ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation) was very convenient from here and all runners and spectators had complimentary service Friday – Sunday…score!

01 DL10K-On-BusI ran into my friend Liliane on the bus (check out her great recap of the weekend here!) and we walked over to the Disneyland Hotel to meet Amanda (read her awesome recap here).  On the way, we spotted these interesting shoes…was she running the 10K in those??

Photo is a bit blurry, but I believe those are Kanga Jumps...

Photo is a bit blurry, but I believe those are Kangoo Jumps…odd

I found Amanda and we made our way over to the pre-race area to get some water and see what as going on over there.  Not much was happening so we decided to head to the corrals after meeting up with our other running buddy Sarah-Irene (Sid).  But there was no clear direction on where to go so we just followed the crowd…

03 DL10K-Start-Area

04 DL10K-Ready-to-RaceOh you want to go to the corrals??  So does everyone else.  It was like a heard of cattle trying to get to one tiny barn door.  I actually sat down for about 5 minutes because we just weren’t going anywhere.

04 DL10K-Traffic-to-CorralsThis was the first time runDisney has held a 5K and 10K race back-to-back, so it was expected that there would be some congestion.  I was actually surprised the transition ran as smoothly as it did.  However when we finally made it over to the corral area it the National Anthem had already started and the volunteers were just funneling us into any corral and we followed the crowd into D.

05 DL10K-CorralD

Which I’m really happy about because I ran into a bunch of my runDisney friends!  Check out the awesome costumes!

06 DL10K-Sarah-Pam

Pam

07 DL10K-Sarah-Kinnereth

Kinnereth

08 DL10K-Dan

Daniel & the Cars Crew

Thanks for making me feel lame in my black running tank guys! 😉  Before I knew it we were at the starting line and the race had started!  We didn’t even here Carissa & Rudy count down our corral!

09 DL10K-Start-Line

runDisney Announcers Carissa & Rudy

runDisney Announcers Carissa & Rudy

I managed to start my watch and the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge had officially began!  Yikes!  What did I get myself into…  Oh look it’s Jillian & Kelly!

011 DL10K-Jillian-Kelly

Oh look it’s Daisy Duck!  Girl must have been HOT!

012 DL10K-DaisyDid I mention it was hot?  No?  Well it was HOT….Florida hot.  I was hopeful that this would be the one Disney race I would be able to run in cooler temperatures, but no such luck.  Bring on the humidity!

The first 2 miles were pretty uneventful as we ran past the convention center, my hotel and back up Harbor Boulevard towards the parks.  We entered Disney California Adventure through Carsland which is so gorgeous as the sun was rising.  Here we stopped for a quick character photo..basically because there was no line.  But I think this turned out to be one of my favorite race photos ever!

013 DL10K-CarslandSid & I stopped here for a quick bathroom break (LOVE Disney races for the real bathrooms!!!) and Amanda kept on going with the expectation that we would catch up.  As we were leaving Carsland, I noticed my friend Daniel sadly picking up one of his cone brethren that had been knocked over.  Perfect opportunity for a photo bomb!

014 DL10K-Photobomb

I look like a lunatic!

The course wound around Paradise Pier and all of the World of Color fountains were going.  Even though it was too light to see the color, it was a breathtaking sight!  Or was that just because I was running??

015 DL10K-Paradise-Pier

The course wound through Grizzly Peak, Condor Flats, into Hollywood Land and through a few backstage areas before heading to Disneyland Park.  I hadn’t been through many of these areas, so this was a great way to see the park for the first time.

016 DL10K-DCA

017 DL10K-Grizzly

018 DL10K-Hollywood

019 DL10K-Backstage

We had caught up with Amanda at this point and she had ran into Ashley from FiddleDeeMe who I was super excited to finally meet in person!  Girl had an awesome costume…she was one of Minnie’s Fly Girls!  I was happy to have the group back together as we entered into Disneyland…there’s nothing like running down Main Street USA with your friends.  🙂

020 DL10K-Entering-DL

Entering Disneyland

021 DL10K-Main-Street

Such a tiny castle!

After the hub, we entered Tomorrowland and were already at Mile 4!  This race was going by quickly!  From there we entered into more backstage areas where the Disneyland Railroad Steam Engine and the Monorail were waiting for us and honking their horns….super cool!

021 DL10K-Mile4

021 DL10K-Train

And look…animals!  They looked so tired and confused why they were out there, but it definitely made my morning.  Remember during the WDW Marathon when I hugged that goat and then smelled like goat?  Well I almost went in for a sheep hug but quickly flashed back to that moment and thought better of it.  So I just took their picture…cuties 🙂

022 DL10K-Animals

023DL10K-Sheep

Sadly we had to leave the animals and keep moving.  We entered back into the park in Toontown and got a a great shot in front of It’s A Small World…I love the facade of the attraction here!

021 DL10K-Toontown

024 DL10K-Ladies

We headed into Fantasyland for my favorite part of any Disney race…a run through the castle!

Video fail as I was holding the camera upright, but you get the gist.  It’s definitely a much shorter run through and doesn’t have that great echo that Cinderella’s Castle does, but still pretty awesome!

025 DL10K-Sarah-Castle

From here we headed into Frontierland, through New Orleans Square and into Critter Country, another area I hadn’t been in yet!  The course went backstage again and out into Downtown Disney as were entered the home stretch.

My friend Cindy (my #1 running cheerleader!) had been texting me encouragement throughout the race.  During the WDW Marathon, she started texting me song lyrics to get me through some of those really hard miles.  It got my mind off the suck and helped me laugh along the way.  This has now become an awesome tradition that we keep up for every race I run and I always look forward to it.

DL10K-Cindy-Text

She’s pretty awesome right?  I was so excited to see her at near the finish line cheering everyone on.  Cindy’s been battling an injury, but I hope to be running through Disney with her soon!

025 DL10K-Sarah-Cindy

And there it was…the finish line!  The first leg of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge was done baby!

026 DL10K-Finish-Line

028 DL10K-Medal

029 DL10K-Wristbands

This was nowhere near my fastest race, but it was probably the funnest!  Funnest…is that a word??  The course was great since most of it was run through the parks and running with my awesome friends meant we were laughing the whole way.

027 DL10K-Garmin-Time

The one downfall of this race was the lack of water stops.  There were only 3 stops and none of them had Powerade.  Given the high heat and humidity, this was definitely not enough.  Cast members were actually pointing to water fountains in the parks so people could fill up their bottles.  By the end of the race, I was seriously thirsty and was thrilled to see Powerade in the finisher area.  Even though it was the yucky blue flavor, I downed one whole bottle and grabbed another to take with me.

030 DL10K-Post-Race-Snacks

After we were sufficiently hydrated, it was time to head back to the hotel for a shower and a nap.  Sid and I took off through Downtown Disney towards the buses and were able to see some of the last runners coming through.  It was great to cheer them on for that last stretch!

031 DL10K-DTD-Race-Course

We also passed the Mile 6 marker which I saw during the race and thought was super cute because it was set like the Mad Tea Party.  There was a line during the race so we didn’t stop for photos, but now that the race was over it was the perfect time for one!  And look who had the same idea as we did…Sean Astin!  Sid asked if he’d take his picture with us and he was totally down…super cool guy!

Tea with Sean!

Tea with Sean!

So that’s 2 races with a Sean Astin pic (first was Princess this year)…maybe this will be come a race tradition!

Overall this was a great way to start the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.  This was my first 10k and I have to say that I really love the distance.  It still feels like a challenge, but it’s not as daunting as a half marathon.  I’m really excited that runDisney has added more 10Ks to their race weekends and I think it will be a great opportunity for new runners to take that next step before working into halves.

When I got back to the hotel, I showered and took a quick nap before heading back out to Downtown Disney for some lunch and my RAD Meet Up!  Big thanks to everyone who stopped by…I LOVE LOVE LOVE meeting all of you 🙂

DL10K-RAD-Meet-Up

After the meet up, B and I headed into Disneyland for a bit, but it was so hot that we decided to head back to the hotel and relax.  Disneyland is so different from WDW in that there are hardly any indoor areas to get away from the heat!  It was a sweat fest for sure!

Later that night we met Amanda for dinner at Tortilla Jo’s for our pre-half meal and headed back early so I could get a good night sleep.  Round 2 was fast approaching and I had another early wake up call!

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 Half Marathon Recap

Big congrats to my good friend Jillian Hoffman for completing her first half marathon!  We ran our first 5K together back in 2010 and look how far we’ve come!!  I am so excited to have her here on RAD to share her experience.  Take it away girl…

Hi All! I’m Jillian and can’t wait to share my experience of running my first ever half marathon during Marathon Weekend!

Let’s go back to Marathon Weekend 2010. I participated in the 5k that weekend, my first race ever! I had so much fun and knew that I wanted to run a half marathon…eventually. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2012 just a few weeks before my 29th birthday. Every one kept asking what my resolutions were. Without even hesitating I said “to run the DisneyWorld Half Marathon in 2013 right before I turn 30.” And here’s my story of doing just that!

I spent all year training and even dealt with a severely strained psoas (hip) injury that sidelined me for almost 2 months back in Oct/Nov. So needless to say leading up to the race I had tons of anxiety about my injury and of course like so many others, came down with a cold the week before the race.  Thank goodness that by Friday morning when I hopped on a flight down to Florida I was feeling much better.

The day before the race was a whirlwind! My friend Jen was joining me on this trip to run the half as well. After our flight landed in Orlando we hopped on Magical Express, checked into our room, and headed over to the Expo. We quickly got our race bibs (anxiety set in big time right there), then headed over to the Expo for some shopping. We dropped everything off in our room and it was already time for dinner with my parents who were down to cheer me on. We ate at Delmonico Italian Steakhouse, which isn’t too far off property and I can’t recommend it enough. We filled up on pasta & Lasagna Chips, the most amazing thing we’ve ever eaten!!

Lasagna Chips!

Lasagna Chips!

We got back to the room 7:30pm and had just enough time for showers, stretching (you bet I brought my foam roller with me!), and putting out our race clothes before we went to sleep.

Race clothes ready to go

Race clothes ready to go

At the cruel hour of 2:30am the first alarm went off. After hitting snooze twice we finally got out of bed around 2:45am. Both of us did some more stretching, chugged down bottles of water, and I ate my breakfast of 2 slices of whole wheat bread w/natural peanut butter and honey drizzled on it. We got dressed, put together our bag, and headed out the door. Since Jen is a way more experienced runner than I, we planned to just check her bag with both of our things since she was going to finish about an hour before me.

03 JH_Jill & Jenn

After making sure we had everything, it was off to the buses. One was pulling up just as we were getting to the stop so we made a quick run for it to make sure we got on. We were staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort so it was a quick ride over to Epcot. On the long walk from where the buses dropped us off to the pre-race area, I started to get really emotional! Everything I had worked on all year was about to be put to the test. As Jen saw me starting to tear up, she said exactly what I needed, “Stop being a whiney (insert expletive here haha), suck it up, you’re gonna rock this! Look how far you’ve come!!” We laughed but that was exactly what I needed to get me pumped up and ready! We met up with some friends to say hellos and good lucks.

04 JH_Pre-Race

We took a few bathroom breaks and checked our bag.  Once through the bag check, insanity ensued! You could barely move! It took us over 20 minutes to walk from the bag check to our corral!

HUGE crowd walking to corrals

HUGE crowd walking to corral

06 JH_Corral Sign

07 JH_Sign 2

Jen was supposed to start in corral C but was awesome and moved back to start with me in F. God bless that girl because I would have freaked just standing around by myself! While waiting we stretched some more, chugged down more water, and started taking GU & Shotbloks.

08 JH_Corral F

Stretches!

Stretches!

Pretty soon fireworks were going off all around us as the race had officially started!!!

10 JH_Fireworks1

11 JH_Fireworks2

About a half hour after that first start our corral started moving on up to the start line!! Ahhhh here we go!!

12 JH_Moving1

13 JH_Moving2

This was it!! I was about to start running my first half marathon!! I was excited, nervous, elated, you name it!! Goofy & Donald were there and all of sudden it was time to go!!!

14 JH_Half Start

15 JH_Goofy&Donald

16 JH_F Start

I was doing intervals of 2 mins running/2  mins walking as per my doctors instructions since this was going to be my longest run since the psoas injury. As soon as I hit my first walk interval Jen gave me a big hug and was off running!  Side note: That chick finished in 2:16:05 and that was with 2 bathroom stops! Yeah girl!!

The first few miles went great!! So great in fact that I did my fastest 5k since before the injury! I was happy and taking pictures of things as I passed. I just couldn’t believe I was running a half marathon!!!

17 JH_MK Toll

 

18 JH_C&D

19 JH_Bikes

Heading into the TTC at mile 4 I was still feeling good and getting really excited that I wasn’t too far from the Magic Kingdom!

20 JH_TTC

21 JH_Mile4

Coming down the hill just before the Contemporary there was a DJ in duck wings cheering us on! I couldn’t help but smile running down that hill!

Quackin Your Pace!!

Quackin Your Pace!!

Then we passed mile 5 and started making our way into the Magic Kingdom! I was already getting emotional. I took out my camera to take some pics as I was coming down Main Street…

Main Street USA!

Main Street USA!

Once on Main Street, I started looking for my friends Shelley & Betsy. I soon spotted them but Shelley started pointing at something. I looked over and my best friend Kelly was there!! I started bursting into tears because I could not believe that she surprised me!! Thank goodness my friend Shalon caught this moment on video. I cry every time I look at it!

24 JH_J&K

After hugs & tears, I ran off with a renewed sense of spirit! I seriously loved the time in the Magic Kingdom!! I took lots of pictures and was able to use the bathroom in Tomorrowland with a very minimal wait! I also was able to get in a quick photo with Alice & the Red Queen since it was the only short line I saw the whole race!

25 JH_Castle

26 JH_ Queen & Alice

27 JH_Ariel

 

28 JH_Belle & Beast

Running through the castle was amazing! It got a little congested but seriously, it was so cool!!

After that I passed by Tiana & Louis…

29 JH_Tiana

On my way through Frontierland…

30 JH_Fronierland

And out the back entrance…by the garbage! They tried to spiff it up with Cinderella and the castle float…

31 JH_Castle Float

But the 10k mark, the water/powerade station, & port-a-pottys were all right there by the garbage! Seriously Disney?! It stunk so bad and I had such a hard time getting down my water. After that it got very tight too. I tried to keep to my intervals as best as I could but my running ones were almost as slow and my walking because there was just nowhere to go. A little after mile 7 it opened up but my hip started to hurt a bit. I stopped right after the Clif Bar station to stretch a little then continued on. Then next 2 miles were the worst of the whole race for me. It was just a long straight road with no entertainment, the sun blaring hot in my face, and trying to push through the pain. I want to give you all an honest look at how I felt so please try not to laugh too hard at my mile 8/9 pictures.

32 JH_Mile 8&9

I had a serious moment of “OMG I’m not going to finish.” But just as I was approaching mile 10 I got a text from Jen saying “Babe, ur right on track to finish!!! Ur doing AMAZING!! Keep it up, almost done!!!” It was what I needed; I perked right up and hit a few awesome spots in the race! As I was coming up the overpass the Green Army Men were shouting at us to pick it up and get to that finish line! So I snapped a quick pic and got on up that hill!

33 JH_ArmyMan

As we were running over the bridge I saw nothing but a sea of people running where I had just come from. I know this may sound awful but seeing that gave me confidence that I was going to finish; I wasn’t last! The next confidence boost came from this fabulous woman right before mile 11. She ran up next to me and tapped me on the shoulder. I pulled out my ear buds and she says “Can I just say that you look amazing! You barely look like you’re sweating and I’m such a hot sweaty mess. You go girl! You so got this.” I laughed and thanked her and told her I could just hug her right now but I can promise I’m as sweaty as you and I’m sure you don’t want to feel that! Folks, this is why I love runDisney races! The camaraderie and all the encouragement! So if that lady was you, THANK YOU, you got me through those last 2.1 miles.

Honestly, I was really feeling great at this point. The pain in my hip wasn’t so bad, I know that I had properly hydrated and fueled along the course, and I knew my parents were going to be there at the end to cheer me on! Now we were coming into Epcot. Phineas & Ferb were rocking out and cheering us on with a DJ…

34 JH_P&F

And I had just 1 more mile to go!!!!!

35 JH_Mile12

I called my parents & Jen to let them know I was making my way into Epcot and to find out where they were standing. Hearing my Dad’s voice and him telling me I’m almost there was all I needed. I was about to be a half marathoner!

36 JH_Epcot1

37 JH_Epcot2

38 JH_Epcot3

The time in Epcot went so fast!! Before I knew it I was coming up to mile 13 and the sounds of the Gospel Choir.

Just past mile 13 was my parents and all my friends!! They were all jumping and cheering!

39 JH_Running

It was so amazing and I knew that finish line was coming! I started tearing up! I did it! I set my goal and I accomplished it!

40 JH_Half Finish

My friend Rora was the one to give me my medal and a huge hug!! She let me have a good cry, gave me another hug and sent me on my way to get my powerade and food. I couldn’t believe it! I did it! I really did it!!

41 JH_Medal

I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I’m ready to take the next step! I’m already signed up for the Double Dumbo Dare in Disneyland and I have a feeling my friends are going to convince me to run the full marathon next January!

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.