Princess 2016 marks my quickest Run Disney vacation yet. I had one goal: run 13.1 miles then come home. To be honest, I considered deffering this race because I just run the WDW Marathon and it became a bigger financial stress than I had originally considered. I drove from Atlanta to Orlando on Friday, visited the expo on Saturday then drove home after the race on Sunday. It was a whirlwind trip to say the least!
To cut back on costs, it wasn’t a family vacation this time. I stayed at my Sister’s house, 45 minutes from Disney property and didn’t visit the parks. I’m forever grateful that she let me stay with her. I don’t think I could’ve gone if it wasn’t for her hospitality.
This meant that my race day started out extra early. I had to take into account the drive to WDW, which I had never done before a Run Disney race. So I woke up at 1:45AM, got my
running clothes costume on and headed out the door. I was extremely nervous about making the drive to Disney (especially dressed in a red wig at 2 am. Is she coming home from a bar or going to run?) but they had everything clearly marked. That made it so much easier!
I actually set my alarm in the Epcot parking lot and took a nap prior the race! Perks to having a car with you. At 5AM, I set off for corral D and waited for the race to start. I ran into my BRF’s Kierstn and Jennifer and took a quick pre-race picture! Around 5:42, I was off and running to the Magic Kingdom.
I didn’t have any set goals for this race except to have fun. After I felt warmed up, I had a pretty quick pace going. My Garmin decided not to cooperate that day (totally sucked…Garmin will hear from me soon) so I paced myself with my iPhone stopwatch. I used each mile as a “lap” to watch my pace.
There are several character stops along the way to the Magic Kingdom, but I really enjoyed running through the Transportation Station. It’s a great spot to pick up some energy from spectators and Polynesian drummers. Since I was running solo, I made sure to grab high-five’s from all the kids and read the creative race signs they made. Run Disney race spectators have the best signs and give off tons of energy.
Running into the Magic Kingdom is truly the highlight of the Princess Half Marathon course. I take off my headphones and enjoy the sights and sounds of the park. The park music plays, the spectators are cheering and Cinderella’s castle and sunrise is a beautiful sight.
I went from a 11:00 Min/Mile pace to an 18:00 Min/Mile pace going through the park. There’s so many photo opportunities and characters located between miles 5-6.5 on the course. Clearly, I took my time to enjoy it! I found some creative photo spots at the Sword in the Stone and in Liberty Square. I love photos that nobody else thinks of because there isn’t a line.
I left the Magic Kingdom feeling strong and in great spirits. The weather was perfect, my costume wasn’t bothering me and I was having a blast. It’s amazing how quick it felt after last month’s WDW Marathon. I was already half way done!
Heading back to Epcot is probably the more boring part of the course, so I hunkered down and focused on my intervals. The course narrows before the 15k mark which makes it feel tight. You’re kind of running elbow to elbow with other runners. I got a few photos and tried to be creative with them. If you run Princess Half consecutively, you tend to get the same pictures. My favorite photo from the day was taken with the Heroes… “sorry boys, I’m Married”.
Before I knew it, I was almost back to Epcot. I give myself props for keeping my red Ariel wig on the entire race. I talked to a few runners at this point who were feeling distraught and tired. The best thing to do is focus on the finish line in Epcot. Listen to the park music, take a deep breath and imagine that medal around your neck with a drink in your hand. If you don’t take time to enjoy the race, you’ll regret it.
I grabbed one last photo with Donald Duck and sprinted across the finish line for my pixie dust and bling! Princess Half Marathon 2016 was my 13th half marathon and one of the most fun I’ve run. I love the sisterhood of that race. Everybody is so positive and the energy is invigorating. I didn’t miss running the Glass Slipper Challenge, but I have my eyes set on it for 2017.
The rumor is that Run Disney sets the mile 13 mile marker as the princess theme for next year’s Princess Half Weekend. This year, the mile13 marker was Snow White. So grab your tiara and running shoes to join me for February 23-26, 2017! Registration will open Mid July. You can sign up for an email reminder on Run Disney’s Princess Half page.
Did you run this year’s Princess Half Marathon?
Who is your favorite Disney Princess?