In February of 2018 I had yet another opportunity to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Why the Princess Half Marathon Weekend? Well for me it’s the combination of Disney and running or travel and fitness.
First before you can participate in the race you signed up for you must visit the Fit for a Princess Expo. This is where you pick up your race bibs, race t-shirts (which ever race you signed up for) and where you will find the exclusive runDisney merchandise. Also, as I found out in previous years, every race supplies you may have search on google you can find at the Expo. You have popular name brands such as; Sparkle skirts, Raw Threads, The Roosport (running magnetic pouch), LUNA bar, KT Tape, Dannon, and New Balance – just to name a few. Now a couple of things I suggest you do to prepare for the Expo. 1) Go ahead a print out your wavier form at home and bring it with you signed at the expo. 2) If you wish to get exclusive runDisney merchandise you better be at the expo early and on the first day.
RACE DAY: This year Disney decide to give each race a different princess theme. The Half Marathon was a Snow White theme, so we decided to dress the part. My sister was the Evil Queen, my niece was Dopey and I was Snow White.
I like to get to bed at least around 9 PM at the latest the night before. That early 3:30 AM wake up call come so quickly. Race start time is 5:30 AM and they suggest you get at the runners entrance no later than 5:00 AM to get placed in your corral. This time we were actually on the first bus over to the race entrance. I ate my banana and half of snack bar on the bus as I always do but I am usually so nervous I can’t eat.
Once we arrived at the start area in the Ecpot Parking lot we can relax, enjoy the DJ, take photos with characters, use the porta potties and get prepared for the race. You have to listen for your Corral to be called and then you can start walking towards the race start line which feels like another two miles. Once in the Corral you can stretch and talk among your group as you anxiously waited to start the race. The race starts at 5:30 AM but if your in a later corral you end up having to wait until you can move up to the start line. This could take another 10 – 20 minutes.
Once we were able to start we proceeded towards World Drive and The Magic Kingdom. They always have some type of cheering team at the start of the race, this year it was a marching band in the middle of the field to entertain us and cheer us on as we ran by. The start of the race we end of staying together for about the first mile, I say it’s because our adrenaline is pumping through our body but quick leaves after mile two. Well, at least that is what happen to me but I have problems pacing myself. One of my favorite parts of the race is turning onto World Drive from Epcot because you can start to see the Magic Kingdom sign.
I always stop for every water break, especially this race because it was so HOT!! I love going under the Magic Kingdom sign because you know your getting closer to the castle. Did I mention that it was HOT!! After awhile I started to grab one cup of water to drink and another to pour over my head. At some point I didn’t know if my shirt was soaked from sweat or water.
CHARACTERS: There are lots of characters along the course, but I do not stop because of the long lines and I am not fast enough to catch back up. This race course had some heroes Prince Eric, Flynn Ryder, John Smith, Phoebus and some villains Snow White’s evil queen, Lady Tremain, Anastasia, Drizella and Gaston to name a few. Characters were waving at us from the train station as we ran through the entrance and out on to Main Street, USA where a huge crowd of supportive fans with signs and noise makers waited to cheer us on. It’s so breath taking to hear all those people cheering you on and as you round the corner of Main Street, USA you see the beautiful Cinderella castle. It’s really not the same as if you were just walking around in the parks.
After the Magic Kingdom sign I got into one of the pace keeper groups and stayed with them until we went through the castle. **You can see the group in the video below.**
I really wish I could have stayed with that group, the leader was making it really fun. BUT, I did not do the run/walk for so many minutes training and it was hard for me to get into the rhythm.
Before going through or actually during this race it was beside the castle you detour into Tomorrowland, passed the Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear and Speedway and into Fantasyland where Alice and the March Hare are waiting to take pictures. Rounding the corner in Fantasyland I could see the entrance of the Castle just ahead of me.
As I approached the castle I was still hanging in with the pace keeper group but I was losing steam fast and it was then I discovered the hills in The Magic Kingdom. After going through the castle the course then takes you through Liberty Square and Frontierland. We then exited The Magic Kingdom and made our way on to Floridian Way. The course takes you by the Disney Golf Course and the Grand Floridian Resort where Tinker Bell and the Genie are available for pictures. As we arrive back onto World Drive the heat has really hit me and about mile 10 I feel like I am about to die and really feel like giving up. I decide to take a selfie and post it to Facebook and ask my friends and family to cheer me on. As I have my earphones in my ears I can hear the FB notifications and people cheering me on.
It was about this time I started to play my worship playlist music and starting praying to the Good Lord to keep me going. There was a part of the race that was nothing but construction for what seemed like several miles. All along still grabbing two cups of waters, one to drink and another to pour on my head. On the way back to Epcot we cross a bridge (Oh no more hills) and I can hear the green army man yelling hilarious comments at the runners. I also was seeing princesses dropping like files on the course from exhaustion and the heat. I really started to get scared that I was going to be next and I started to slow down. I guess I really slowed down at some point because around mile 11 I saw the balloon ladies go right by me. At this point I did not even care, I was so tired and so hot. Another runner ask if we were going to get swept if they passed us and they said no you just have to keep moving. AND that is exactly what I did, kept moving. Along the final highway stretch before reaching Epcot, the road was lined with pictures of children from the Miracle Network and you realize what you are running for and I got a little pep in my step.
Once heading back into Epcot you can see SpaceShip Earth, that big ball never looked so beautiful to me than this moment. *LOL* I know I am almost to the finish line but it seems to take so long. At the end of the race the Gospel Choir is singing songs of joy cheering you on to the finish.
This was such a hard race for me due to not being able to keep a good pace and the heat. After the finish line you go through another line to get your finisher medal placed around your neck. Then it was to the first aid section ice my feet and knees.
I finally met back up with my sister and niece and we head back to the resort to get ready to pack up and head back home. I don’t know why we always decided to leave the day of the race, it’s just so hard on the body and doesn’t give you any time to rest.