Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

As I shared with you briefly on Sunday, I successfully completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday morning!

Here's my complete recap of the race.  I had my non-smartphone camera with me during the race, so I will just warn you now: the PICTURES ARE NOT GOOD QUALITY!  I apologize for the blurriness, but it was the best I could do to share the experience with y'all while trying to run in the time I wanted.  Regardless, I hope you'll enjoy my tales of the Disney Princess Half!

After a fun weekend in Orlando and checking in at the expo on Saturday, I woke up at 3:30 am to get to Epcot for the start of the race.  Disney doesn't delay the park openings when they have marathons on property, so they have to start at 5:30 a.m. and enforce a 16-minute pace.
Joe dropped me off at the entrance of the family area (like my sunburn from the Braves game the day before?), and I made my way to my corral.  There were a total of 26,000 runners for this race, and they did a wave start based on predicted finishing time.
Well wishes on the way to the start
I was in Corral F out of H, so I didn't start until about 6:10.  There were Emcee's for the race displayed on big screens, which provided lots of entertainment before the race.  Also, pretty much everyone dresses up in costume for this race (I was going to, but never put my outfit together in time to train with it), so I was really enjoying looking at everyone's creative running wear!

Each time a corral started, they shot off fireworks!
It finally came around to 6:10, and it was time to get going!
My corral's fireworks
The starting line 
I made sure to start slow and steady so that I would make it for the whole race.  There was lots of entertainment along the way to keep me interested!  Not only was I running through Disney parks, but there were Disney characters along the way taking pictures with the runners.
Pirates of the Caribbean ship and Jack Sparrow
Even with the wave start, I still ran in to some back-ups with people walking all across the path.  I spent a lot of time dodging walkers/slower runners, but I tried not to let that get to me too much.

The course took us around Epcot and right past the new Test Track experience, then in to the Magic Kingdom!
The Disney villains were there to welcome us
This is horribly blurry, so sorry!
Around mile 4.5 was where the first group of spectators were.  They came at a great time and provided some much-needed support.  I was able to find Joe on the sidelines, and he took this picture of me.
I had to do some backtracking to find him, but I wanted to make sure I saw him since he woke up really early to support me.  I saw him right before the part of the run I was most excited about:
The run through Cinderella's castle!  I don't know why that's so exciting, but I was looking forward to running through this Disney landmark.
So blurry, but under the castle!
I also got to see some of my favorite Disney princesses while running through Magic Kingdom
Belle (with random people)
Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty with her prince
I didn't stop for any pictures with the princesses.  The lines were very long for most of them, and I knew my camera phone would just cause problems in getting the pictures.

They also had really cute mile-marker signs along the way, and I got pictures of some of my favorites:

One GOOD PICTURE from my phone, finally!
Too bad Princess Jasmine wasn't there, or else I just might have waited in line for a picture with her!  The time you see next to sign is the "gun time."  I started about 35 minutes after the official start, so this was not the time that I hit each mile.

I was feeling great until mile 7.  We'd just left Magic Kingdom, there was really nothing to look at, and this was about the time in training when I started hitting a wall mentally.  I took a few walking breaks (other than the water stations), and my right knee started hurting.  But, I told had Joe waiting on me at the finish, so I pushed myself to keep going.

Surprisingly, once I got to mile 11 (even though my knee was really hurting at this point), I was ready to run the rest of the way and get to the finish line.  Once I saw this, I knew I was going to make it:
The finish line was just on the other side of the Epcot ball, so I knew I had a mile left!  This sign was even more of a welcome sight:
I only had .1 miles left at this point and picked up the pace 'til the finish line!

My Garmin timer matched up with the official time on the runDisney website.  Why did I run 13.45 miles?  Well, as I said before, I backtracked a little to find Joe.  That took about 3-5 minutes, so if I'd just kept going, I would have been under 2:30 like I originally wanted.

After the race, I got my medal, went to the ice station and got my knee wrapped up, and finally grabbed my bottled water, Powerade, and snack box.  I've gotta say, this snack box was DELICIOUS!  Lots of protein and healthy carbs, plus a little chocolate!  My favorites: Perry Seed Orchard Seed Mix (red package) and the Crunchmaster Multi-seed Crackers.
I made it through the crowds and found Joe.  He saw me finish on the Jumbotron and took my picture with my medal once we met up. 
Joe was such a great support for me throughout my training and during the race.  Great Husband Award!

I'm am INCREDIBLY proud of myself for running this race!  I did walk some, but I ran at least 11.5 of the 13.1 miles.  What an accomplishment for me!

My overall experience at the Disney Princess Half Marathon was very positive!  For 26,000 runners, this race was very organized with minimal craziness.  This is a great race to just enjoy the experience in a very supportive and fun environment.  I will say, I was expected more time running through the parks.  I wish there was more time spent running through Epcot, but I guess that would require a lot of volunteers.

The date for next year's race is February 23, 2014.  As of now, I think I'll plan on running the race again!

Up next: I think I'm planning to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach Labor Day weekend.
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  1. Congratulations Amy! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful experience for this race. It's so nice to have a wonderful supportive husband at the finish. It's made so many of my races a much better experience knowing he was there waiting for me.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I'm so glad Joe was there. Knowing he was waiting at the finish line really helped pushed me through!

  2. Great job! I'm glad you didn't let things get to you mentally. That is a wonderful time for a half. Can't wait to see you beat it over Labor Day!

    1. Thank you! I appreciate the encouragement; I'm already working toward improving my time now.