Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon recap

I think that pictures says it all. Yesterday I ran my first half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon. 5 months of training led to that morning. I had everything planned, and I just knew I would do great. I was a bit too confident and the weather decided to slap me in the face. The only thing I didn't count on was the 100% humidity with temperatures in the 60s. It was hot and humid. This race starts at 5:30 in the morning. It was so foggy it was hard to see. Even my glasses were fogging up which made things interesting. Despite the weather, I enjoyed myself.

Sunday morning I woke up at 2 thanks to Meeghan. My alarm was set for 2:45 so I could catch a bus at 3:15. I tried getting her back to sleep, and she did, until I tried to quietly shut the door behind me. I received a text from E later saying the girls never went back to sleep so he would be meeting me on the course instead of just at the finish line. In reality, I could have slept a little longer and taken a later shuttle from the hotel. I stayed at Caribbean Beach so the drive was short, but it was nice to know I was at the start with plenty of time to spare.
The finish line/area where you are dropped off before the race

Actually, I was bored. I didn't know anyone so I sat on the ground and played with my phone until it was time to move to the corrals. At 4:25 they opened the road so we could make the walk to the corrals. I felt like we were a herd of cattle being moved to the slaughterhouse. The corrals are a long walk from the finish line. Disney says it is a 20 minute walk, but I don't think it took that long. I did stop once to use the bathroom and I wish I had waited. The portapotties there were on a hill, and I was terrified they were going to flip back. I just pictured myself on my back with poo all over me. This is also where I dropped a Gu packet. No way was I going to use it after it touched the floor of a portapotty. (By the way, if you store your Gu packets in your sports bra, make sure you situate them correctly. Otherwise you end up with a nasty raw spot on your chest. Not that I know from experience.)
Corral F was my home (the corrals went to P)

My view of the starting line way off in the distance

I still had an hour until I actually started after I reached the corral. I decided to move up to the front and sit down. Luckily, a nice couple sat behind me and we started talking. That helped pass the time otherwise I may have fallen asleep. They did have music and people to entertain you, but it wasn't working for me yesterday. Around 5:45am my corral started. Each corral gets the same treatment. A wave of the wand from the Fairy Godmother and fireworks. The fireworks were awesome except for a quarter mile in when you had to breathe the smoke. It was also nice to hear the fireworks for the next corral so you knew how many people were coming behind you. The first mile I ran about a 9:30-9:40 pace, but that quickly faded. I was aiming for a 10 minute mile pace. After mile 1, I developed a headache. I had a headache the day before in the same exact spot so I decided not to push myself. The humidity was awful and I knew it was going to be a tough run. Adrenaline carried me the first few miles before I felt the real effects of the weather. I made sure to hit every water station and alternated with Powerade and water.

Miles 1-3 take you from the highway outside Epcot to the speedway. There is entertainment along the way. There was a high school band around mile 1. Later there was Captain Jack and Barbosa with Black Pearl. The heroes and maybe the villains were along that stretch. They had music at every mile marker and mile marker represented a Disney movie. At the 5K point, we left the speedway and cut across the Ticket and Transportation parking lot (mile 4) to head towards the Magic Kingdom. I don't have any pictures of this. E and the girls were waiting for me around this point. It was nice to see them. It gave me a bit of a boost to get to Magic Kingdom. Somewhere around the Contemporary resort I twisted my ankle trying to jump on the sidewalk to pass someone. I had to hop/hobble/limp for a few minutes until the pain subsided.

Miles 5 and 6 are spent around Magic Kingdom. You enter through a backlot area onto Main Street. I took a video of running down Main Street. It is very shaky, but it should give you an idea of what it is like.

You turn off of Main Street into Tomorrowland and you follow that around to Fantasyland. This is where I saw a woman running barefoot. 
Terrible picture but hopefully you can see she has no shoes
After Fantasyland, you enter the castle and run through it back out to Main Street. I took video here as well. I thought I had the stop button after exiting the castle, but I didn't which explains the few seconds of craziness at the end.  It is a quick right turn out of the castle to Frontierland where we exit Magic Kingdom in some back areas.

I have no clue why this has turned and I can't seem to fix it. 

coming out of the castle

Mile 7 takes you past the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. It is also here that they play the halfway song. You can nominate and then vote for a halfway song. This year it was Let It Go from Frozen. While I love the song, I don't like it as a running song. 

Miles 8-11 are spent on a highway. This can be the boring stretch, and this is where I started to feel bad. I was tired from the humidity. I was feeling a bit dizzy and twirly. Thank goodness they have a ton of water stations. There are two overpasses on your way back to Epcot. I tried my best to run those, but Florida doesn't have hills and my body was pissed. I had to walk half of each overpass in order to survive. I hated walking because my legs don't like to start after they stop, but it had to be done. I felt like I was dead. 

The last of the race was glorious and horrible. I knew I only had a few miles to go, but they felt like they were the longest miles of my life. Mile 12 you enter Epcot through a side entrance and then you run through Future World to the entrance of World Showcase. It is basically an out and back and I was so tempted to hop the cones so I didn't have to run all the way up and back around Spaceship Earth. As you are leaving Epcot there is a choir that sings. It was best sound I heard all day. I knew I was close. I could hear them singing, I could hear the announcers at the finish line. I knew E was waiting around this point with the girls. Looking for them helped with that last .1 mile. I found them and gave them a big wave. Then I ran past Mickey and gave him a huge high five right before crossing the finish line. It was a great way to finish a race. 

There were lots of characters out, but I decided not to stop. I was so tired I needed to keep going. There were also DJs, balloons, and a ton of spectators. I wish I felt better so I could have enjoyed more of it and taken pictures, but I am glad I finished when I did. As soon as I sat for a few minutes and drank more fluids, I felt much better. I finished in 2:20. My goal time was 2:15 so not too far off. I was hoping to go a bit faster and finish maybe under 2:10. I guess I can always try again. 
A bib I wore on teh b

I liked this race. I heard of people having problems with rude runners. I didn't encounter that. I am not sure if I would run this one again, but I do want to try Wine and Dine in November.


  1. What an amazing experience! Running a Disney race is on my list. Great job!!! :)

  2. WAY TO GO!!!! What an awesome first 1/2 to run. And, your time was great!!

    I've heard that a 1/2 is 10 miles of warm up and 3 miles of hell (which I find to be totally true). Those last three miles always seem to take more mental strength because by that point the legs are basically jello. :)


  3. Congrats! And what a "magical" way to run your first half!!!


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