A couple of weeks ago, I ran my first Disney race: the Enchanted 10K. And then the next day, I did my second Disney race: the Princess Half Marathon. This meant getting up at 3am two days in a row (yawn…). Add to that, it meant that before, after, and in between those two races, I walked around the Disney parks all day long. Talk about tired legs. It was exhausting, but I had a blast.
I was going for the Glass Slipper Challenge – you run both races that weekend and get a special extra medal. Running 19.3 miles in one weekend sounded like more-than-a-half-marathon-and-less-than-a-marathon type of challenge. I had always wanted to do the Princess Half Marathon, and when I saw they announced the inaugural year of this challenge, I knew I had to sign up for that.
I’m a signer-upper, did ya know that? [umm, if you’re here and have read my blog title, then yes, you knew that…]
Did I mention it was only 11.5 weeks after major surgery, 8 weeks of which were strict exercise restrictions? As in: no running, no exercise at all for 8 of those 11.5 weeks. As in: I had 3.5 weeks to train for these races. I almost deferred, but I didn’t, and I am glad I did the races. I had this planned since last summer, before I knew about the hysterectomy, and I really wanted to go ahead with my plans, because I was ALL IN: mother-daughter trip to Disney with my 8 year old for her birthday, meeting friends at the race weekend, wearing costumes to the races. Yep, all in.
I didn’t die. I didn’t keel over. Bonus.
So, on to the Enchanted 10K race recap!
For a costume, I honored my 4.5 year old who felt left behind and dressed as one of his faves: Sulley from Monsters, Inc.
All it took was:
- a Sulley headband
- a turquoise Sparkle Athletic running skirt
- some purple duct tape sheets (more on that purple duct tape and later…)
On the morning of the race, I got up at 3am (3am!!!) and got ready in the dark hotel room where my daughter, my friend, and her son were sleeping soundly. Setting out the “flat runner” the night before was the key to the 3am wake up success. I had multiple alarms set, and popped out of bed at the very first one since I was so excited and nervous I’d oversleep and miss the race. Phew.
We were staying at the Pop Century Resort, and like all the Disney resorts, it had bus transportation to the races. I headed out to the shuttle at 3:30am, a bit confused about the quickest walking route through the resort complex to the bus pickup – that place is huge! I managed to find my way to the bus pickup and got in line.
I thought the line was pretty long, but I hadn’t yet seen the Princess Half Marathon bus line I would encounter the next day.
I knew I had enough time to comfortably be at the 5:30am race start on time, so I just enjoyed myself – took pictures, chatted with the other people in line around me. We waited a while for a bus, which made me a tad concerned, and then when one came it filled right up – and the line cut off right in front of us. And so we waited some more.
A bus arrived and I was one of the first people on – off to the race! It was pretty exciting pulling into to Epcot – I could see the corrals as we approached. I had heard there was a long walk to the race start, but there really wasn’t – the next day I realized that info is true for the Princess Half Marathon. For the 10K it was a short walk and soon we were just on the other side of the starting line.
Everyone wanted picture time, and I was no exception – the Disney staff was great about having you move to the side if you were taking pics, to not block the walking path. Everyone was nice and taking each other’s picture.
There was a bag check, as there is at most races I attend these days.
And the signage was very good overall.
We walked right by the charity tents, which was nice to see. My friend was running for St. Jude and I thought that was fabulous. Seeing St. Jude and Ronald McDonald House charities warmed my heart, since we have a personal connection to both because of my daughter’s medical issues.
I found the wall with Glass Slipper Challenge runners’ names in the finish area. I had seen other names at the Expo, but not Glass Slipper – kinda cool it was at the actual race!
I was impressed with all the great costumes – there was lots of chatter on Facebook after the race about these ladies in Dooney & Bourke purse costumes. I finished right before one of them and she was pretty hot and sweaty, but a total rock star to run the 10K in that costume!
Pre-race they had some Zumba and a warmup. I joined in a little while and it was fun to get moving with the crowd.
They had water before the race, which I didn’t expect and was thankful for since I hadn’t brought anything with me.
The port-a-pottie lines weren’t too bad – and they were right next to the corrals (this is not the case at Princess half, FYI!).
I met up with my friend Cindy for a quick hello and a pic before the race. She had flown in from California to do the 5K, 10K, AND the Princess Half. She got the Coast to Coast medal after doing the Tinkerbell Half in CA and the Princess Half in Florida. She is amazing!
I was thrilled to end up in Corral A for the 10K – it was so exciting for me!
They led those of us in Corral A out to the starting gate. Glad I didn’t miss this while in the potty line – I’m so paranoid after my Army 10 Miler experience starting line disaster fall.
And we were lined up and ready to go. I positioned myself near the back of Corral A since I didn’t want to overdo it and ruin myself for the half marathon the next day.
It was exciting seeing the crowds of people waiting for the start, and I was soaking it all up. Behind me in Corral A:
The other Corrals waiting for the start:
The Fairy Godmother wished us well, here’s a video of the start of the race:
And we were off! My plan was to run the whole thing, but to step off to the side and take pics, soak the whole experience up, smile, not to overdo it for the half marathon the next day – and have fun!
So in the first mile when we saw the much coveted Elsa, I knew I had to get a picture. It was pretty exciting for a Frozen fan like me – it was even “snowing” on us!
Okay, here’s where we get into the nitty gritty of the race recap – the potty situation. Let’s be honest, it’s important to a lot of us. And my experience in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon DC last year was not good in this regard – I lost at least 7 (?) minutes in a potty line. So imagine my happiness when there were plenty of potties without lines, and even two women assisting the traffic flow – telling you which one was open so you didn’t waste any time. There may have been lines for later corrals, but I guarantee you having those helpers made a difference.
I didn’t take pictures at every mile marker, and some of my pics are too blurry to share since I was running while snapping, but I loved seeing Ariel.
Yep, character stop photos are blurry – oh well.
I loved all the entertainment on the course – they had a screen playing music video/film clips and it was really fun to watch and listen to while running!
And running through Epcot was just fabulous! It was so pretty!
There were REALLY nice volunteers, and they were so kind to take my photo when I asked. I love this Epcot pic!
It was super crazy hot and humid that day – and I was starting to sweat. It didn’t help that my shirt wasn’t performance/exercise material. My duct tape spots started to fall off. I took a breather when I saw Rapunzel – I as dressing as Rapunzel for the half marathon and just had to get this bad selfie.
After that stop, I decided to stop messing with my spots and trying to salvage them, and caring about the humidity. I focused on the running and the enjoying.
I stopped for one formal character photo during the 10K – Tiana. I loved that they had one official MarathonPhoto photographer, plus someone else working who grabbed your camera and took it for you. It was a great way to move the lines along and avoid having every runner asking another runner for a favor and shuffling their cameras back and forth.
This was really cool – these are PEOPLE in these getups! Seeing this and hearing “Be Our Guest” definitely gave me an extra boost as I was nearing the end of the 10K.
Everyone was Frozen-crazy – I heard lots of chatter about Elsa, Anna, and Olaf during the race weekend. I loved seeing the Frozen characters on the Mile 6 marker!
Then it was a sprint to the finish!
A few finish line pics so that you can see how well organized they were – lost of people waiting to assist, and a medical tent on the right:
They hung your medal on your neck – love it.
And volunteers offered to take your pic with the medal. Notice my lack of spots compared to the beginning of the race?
And snack boxes. This kept the finishers moving easily.
Here’s a glimpse of what was inside my 10K snack box.
They have a “Race Retreat” tent that you can pay extra for, but I didn’t spring for it. The Disney experience already cost me a chunk of change. I hear it’s nice, though.
A place to rest your legs.
Hot, humid, and almost spot-less, I was glad to have done the 10K.
Overall I thought the 10K was fabulous. Keep in mind, these are my experiences being in Corral A, and later corrals may have had longer bathroom and character photo lines. I loved the race, it got me really excited to come back the next day for the Princess Half Marathon. I loved running through Epcot and thought everything was really well organized. I highly recommend it for someone looking for a fun 10K with a lot of entertainment.
A quick edit because I realized I didn’t put my finish time in here! While I wasn’t going for speed, I was happy with my finish time of 1:08:28 including pictures, character and mile marker photo stops, etc.
[Also, here is the recap of the Princess Half Marathon Expo if you want to backtrack to the packet pickup and expo details!]
Do you enjoy the 10K distance? Why or why not? What’s your favorite race distance?
THEME ALERT – Tomorrow’s Friday Five linkup theme is “OFF TO THE RACES” – anything about races or racing, in honor of Courtney’s marathon this weekend!