I have a secret. I never finished this race recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and thus Part 2 of the Glass Slipper Challenge. I left you hanging.
Now my secret is out.
It’s been sitting half done in my Drafts folder for a while but I got crazy-insanely busy after that fabulous race weekend, with our au pair moving back to France and another moving in. Work was busy, home life was busy – I let a lot of things slide. I’m all caught up now and figured what better time to finish it up and publish it than the week that registration opens for the Princess Half Marathon!
[Be warned, there are a lot of photos in this post.]
So let’s set the scene with a look back – click the links to refresh your memory: I took a fabulous Mother-Daughter trip with my 8-year-old, first enjoying a few days in Tampa seeing old friends from when I lived there.
On Thursday, we visited my friend at the Ironman Offices and then drove over to our Disney hotel, the Pop Century Resort, to meet up with my friend and her son in our hotel room. Then Sabrina and I headed to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo, where I was duly impressed with all it had to offer, and picked up my race packet and shirts.
(see recap of the expo for more pics)
That evening, we had a great time at dinner with other friends who were there for the race. I highly recommend incorporating a social aspect to your Disney weekend!
On Friday, we spent the day walking around Magic Kingdom. It was an absolute blast. But it occurred to me – 19.3 miles of running was to come this weekend, and the rest of the time I’m walking all.day.long at the Disney parks. How is this going to go?
On Saturday, I ran the Enchanted 10K for Part 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge - you can find that race recap HERE. The rest of the day was spent walking around Animal Kingdom.
So here we go, the big race on Sunday, the long-awaited, bucket-list race, the Princess Half Marathon Race Recap!
So wait: I had just walked around Disney for two days, plus ran a 10K on Saturday morning. And you may recall that I was newly recovered from major surgery – this race weekend was less than 12 weeks from my hysterectomy. Yikes. So the goal was to enjoy, to live in the moment, and to soak it all up and take pictures.
PRE-RACE: Yes, another day up at 3am to get to the bus line by 3:30am. That’s going to hurt for a second day in a row!
We had all our costume pieces and running necessities laid out and we were ready to go at 3:30am. I was ready to rock the Rapunzel Running Costume after running in a Sulley from Monsters Inc. costume for the 10K!
The problem? The babysitter for my friend’s son was LATE by 20 minutes. YIKES! We dashed out the door as soon as she came and got in the long line for buses to the race start.
Bus line for the Princess Half Marathon at the Pop Century Resort
Waiting for the bus gave us plenty of time for a few pictures, but it was a bit dark out at 4am!
My friend was dressed in a Princess Leia race costume. I had originally intended to be Rapunzel and have my daughter dress alike, and then got this Princess Leia idea. So I bought a white tennis dress and planned to do the Leia costume. Then I thought about my mommy-daughter trip and went back to my original Rapunzel plan. I sent the dress to my friend and was so happy she dressed as Princess Leia – it was perfect for her, and she executed it way better than I could have!
The bus ride was fun, with everyone in costume and all a-twitter about the big race. I was already having fun and of course it was a blast to be with my daughter on the bus, dressed alike as Rapunzel.
Then we hit tons of traffic. Umm… I didn’t want to stress out too much, but I needed to drop Sabrina off with my friend’s husband and get to the start!
I get this question all the time: What did you do with your daughter during the race? My friend’s husband was kind enough to have her join him and his two sons to watch the race. THANKS, MIKE! So our bus arrived and we dashed off to the meeting spot.
And took a few pictures in our race costumes!
Everyone had told me that it was a long walk from the bus dropoff to the race start, but at the 10K it hadn’t seemed very long at all. HINT: it’s a different starting area for the Half Marathon than it was for the 10K! It was indeed a very long walk to the race start and I was in a hurry. I said goodbye to my friends since I was assigned a different corral, and headed up to Corral C.
RACE START: First, the obligatory pre-race selfie! I’m really here – I didn’t defer, I am at the Princess Half Marathon!
And one more check of the costume and Rapunzel braids. It was still pitch black out, but it was pretty hot and humid already. Would these long braids hold up? How would they be for running 13.1 miles?
It was very festive – pre-race announcements, accolades, and the Fairy Godmother giving us a send-off.
Corral A & B went off and then it was our turn.
I really liked that each Corral was treated the same – the Fairy Godmother sent us off too.
And we had our own Fireworks!
THE RACE: I absolutely loved the race. I just loved it. I loved that there was so much to see, and I didn’t know what was coming next. I am someone who doesn’t like surprises – I even snoop at Christmas presents - and so I had tried to find out in advance what character stops were when. But in the end? I’m so glad I didn’t know! It was a complete thrill to happen upon each character photo stop, visual entertainment, and musical entertainment.
Near the beginning was the music of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” playing while people flew gorgeous kites on poles.
I stopped for my first character photo pretty quickly – I mean seriously, Jack Sparrow? The line was semi-long but moving.
But still, I had to get that one!
They had other interesting things to entertain us along the route:
I didn’t stop at all the character photos but I did take a bunch of pics as I ran by:
When we finally reached the Magic Kingdom and Main Street, it was a thrill.
I looked for my daughter, knowing she’d be on Main Street with my friend’s family. FOUND HER!!!
I’m still working on taking video while running, but you get the drift:
And then it was CASTLE TIME!
I even took a video as I ran through:
I enjoyed running through Tomorrowland:
My son was obsessed with Monsters Inc. at the time, so I took this for him, check out Mike Wazowski above my head.
Another view of the Castle as we rounded around Magic Kingdom:
Pretty carousel all lit up:
No line (maybe since Princess Tiana was taking a break?), so I took another character photo!
And some I just had to snap while running to show my kids:
Sophia the First is another purple princess! I think my camera was getting humid or had fingerprints by this point.
Hey, it’s me! Sort of…
THE COURSE: I liked the course – we got a taste of several Disney parks and there were plenty of spectators at various points. There are some parts that weren’t that interesting like the highway and overpasses, but come ON, when else do you get the green Toy Story army man yelling at you up one of the overpasses? We could hear him in the distance for a while leading up to it, wondering what was going on.
And any race you run is going to have boring parts, but I’ve never had as many things to see as this Disney race to get me through a half marathon.
Everyone was really into Frozen that week:
THE FINISH: Fit for a Princess. I felt fabulous as I crossed the finish line in 2:26:11 and was thrilled with that result for a race less than 12 weeks after major abdominal surgery (which mandated NO exercise/running of ANY sort for 8 weeks), plus stops for character photos, and followed by two days of walking around Disney parks, AND RUNNING A 10K!
I finished right in front of the Jeff Galloway Pace Group for 2:30 finish time. I ran near them for quite some time and it looked like a great experience!
The finish area:
Glass Slipper Challenge finishers went to a certain area to get our third medal, with a wristband to verify we had finished the 10K the day before.
Every finisher got a snack box and a handy bag:
POST RACE ACTIVITIES: The first order of business? Try and get a photo with my twin, Rapunzel. They had two Princess photo areas and you pick a line to wait in. But the princesses swap out to give each other breaks. So you don’t know which princess you’re going to get. I was lucky.
There was an individual finisher pic area too:
I watched them give out the awards the winners:
I didn’t buy post-race champagne – I was hot and didn’t feel very good, but it was a neat idea:
I met up with my friends and we snapped some pictures.
My braids and flower had stayed put, but were soaked with humidity!
We were overheated, exhausted, feeling a little sick, and the bus line was VERY LONG. That was actually a horrible experience. I won’t dwell on that, but it was not good. The line took a really long time, not sure how it was for other hotels but Pop Century is a huge resort so there were a lot of people waiting.
Later on, we went to Epcot for the day to eat and enjoy the park.
And if you’re wondering, the answer to “Do I wear my medal in the park?” is YES! But I only wore one of the three.
Hooray for the Epcot Starbucks for having coffee, I needed it after waking up at 3am for two days in a row. And I was a Princess to them!
MY TAKE: I loved the Disney Princess Half Marathon, loved doing it as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge, and would definitely do it again. However, I don’t have the money to allocate to a Disney vacation every year, so I’ll be skipping it in 2015 and hoping to plan for another Disney race in 2016!
BONUS: Disney used my picture on their blog, posted it on their Facebook page, and tweeted it out as an example of a Princess race costume! It’s pretty obvious I was hot and sweaty… Let’s just assume I had dumped a cup of water on myself, mmmkay?
Have you ever done a Disney race?
Are you registering for the 2015 Princess Half Marathon?
PS – I’m nearing the halfway mark on my fundraising for the NYC Triathlon for the Ronald McDonald House, where we stay with my daughter every few months, but my donations have slowed down this week. Help support a great cause by donating here or buying a tech/running shirt here. Here’s another glimpse at the shirts that will be made – train or race in a fun shirt while supporting a worthy cause!