Run Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend is my absolute favorite race weekend that they host. I think I’m partial to it because it holds a special place in my heart as my first half marathon that I ever completed. Last year, I had so much fun running around as Ariel that I didn’t even hesitate to sign up when I was 3 months pregnant. This year’s princess race fell exactly 90 days postpartum and I thought that was plenty of time to train.
Well- as it turns out, It really isn’t.
Going into this race, I was recovering from some issues after giving birth and I had a stress fracture. So it wasn’t the best situation for training, on top of the baby weight that I had gained. This was the first Run Disney race that I was slightly nervous about. But it’s part of my Coast to Coast Challenge (Pixie Dust Challenge in May will be the second half) and I had to run it and finish.
You can barely call this trip a vacation for me. I left on Saturday morning from Atlanta and returned after the race on Sunday! Call me crazy, but I also took the baby and toddler (I know. I’m nuts). I went to accomplish the 13.1 miles and that’s exactly what I did…
Princess Half Marathon Start
I lined up in Corral H, a lot more nervous than usual. This was the furthest back I’ve been in a Run Disney race and that only added to my nerves. I started out with 30/30 intervals which seemed to keep me at a 12:30ish pace. My goal was to finish, so I didn’t pay attention to the character stops. Of course, that made it less fun and I was bummed out that I needed the time instead. But when you aren’t well trained, focusing on the task is best. I didn’t want to waste any time that I needed to finish the race.
I started to notice how packed the course felt this year. Maybe it’s because I started further back. Passing the Contemporary Resort and running through the Magic Kingdom was crowded. I kept getting caught in a pace group too, which was unintentional.
I found a few photo opportunities that I created on my own. No characters means no lines! I highly recommend using the scenery in the parks as photo backdrops if you don’t have the time to wait in line. I’m a pro at this!
I felt pretty strong until the half way point. That’s when my pace started to wean. Made sense to me though- my longest run postpartum was 6 miles.
Running Back to Epcot
After the 15k mark, the Princess Half Marathon is a little boring. You make the long trek back to Epcot and don’t see many characters along the way. After the infamous mile 10 overpass, I looked down and realized how many runners were behind me. I couldn’t see the end of the race! I might’ve misjudged my time and could’ve stopped for photos. But since my Coast to Coast Challenge was on the line, I don’t regret my decision to focus.
Once you enter Epcot, you’re safe from being swept. By that point, I was walking more and I had a 13:45 pace. I was relieved to know that the finish line was close! When you aren’t properly trained your body feels it so much more.
The Finish Line
I took the opportunity to take a Donald Duck selfie, because I knew I was going to finish by then. Crossing that finish line felt like such an accomplishment. I ran the Dark Side Half while pregnant and then completed the 2017 Princess Half only 3 months postpartum (even if there was a more walking than I would’ve preferred).
Every runner gets some pixie dust, from a Fairy Godmother, and your medal after crossing the finish line. It’s part of the race magic!
I learned a lot from that half marathon. I might second guess signing up for a race so soon after having a baby. But it gave me a confidence boost that I needed so I could start training again. I have my work cut out for me for the Pixie Dust Challenge in May. I came home and jumped on Jeff Galloway’s training plan for my next Run Disney race weekend. I hope that I’ll be feeling stronger by then. The key to having fun at Run Disney races is to be trained beforehand, so you’re strong enough to stop and have that fun!
P.S. I don’t recommend driving home and sitting in the car for 7 hours after a half! NEVER AGAIN!
Tell me! Did you run the 2017 Princess Half Marathon Weekend?