Friday, February 28, 2014

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2014 Race Recap

After many, many Disney-related posts this week, it's time to get to the true reason I was there: the Disney Princess Half Marathon!
I was so excited to run this race again.  Not only was it my first half marathon ever last year, but this year's race marked my 5th half marathon!  It seems to me that this race is going to be a milestone race for me each year.

Going in to the race, I had two main goals:
1. Beat my time from last year (easy to do, considering I was looking for Joe for about 5 minutes of last year's race)
2. Enjoy the whole experience, including stopping for character photos!
I ran a half marathon the weekend before, and I am not yet an experienced enough runner to race two half marathons in back-to-back weeks.  I had IT band issues at the Daytona Half and didn't want to cause a more serious injury.  This race was going to be a take-it-all-in kind of race without pushing myself too much.

On to race day...

I got up at 3:00 AM in order to catch the bus from the resort to Epcot.  Laying out my race outfit the night before really helped speed things along in the morning!
Last-minute Princess Aurora costume 
I was out of the room by 3:20, and I was able to walk right on to a bus.  I made it to the starting area very early, which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the DJ playing pump-up music, check my gear bag, get in on the Team #runDisney meet-up picture, use the porta-potty, and get to the starting line.  
Photo credit: Linda Ko from Team #runDisney
I was in Corral H, which was much further up than I was last year, thanks to submitting a time/having previously raced with runDisney!  
The start is always a lot of fun, as the announcers comment on different racers' attire and you get to watch the fireworks go off with each corral.  Good times!
Before I knew it, it was time for my corral to go (at 5:56...the first group went at 5:35).  I thought they did a great job with the corrals this year (added more corrals with fewer people), as I was definitely going the same pace as everyone around me.  Not as much weaving around walkers as I did last year!

I'm focusing on starting races at a manageable pace, which I did during this race!  I was just under a 12 minute mile, but I picked it up a little throughout the race.  I really felt great throughout the race.  I knew the course, was used to the weather (even though it was humid and a little foggy), and didn't worry about to many of the walkers around me.

One thing I decided to do this time around was take some character pictures!  I decided to pause my Garmin while waiting in line for the characters so that I could see what my actual running time was.  Here are some of the character pictures I took:
Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!
So sad this is blurry...thanks fog!  Woody is my favorite!
Love Pirates!!
Of course the Princes showed up!
Blurry Princess Minnie
I was happy to get a picture with the Toy Story guys...that's my favorite non-princess Disney movie!  One of the things I was disappointed about was the lack of Disney princesses on the course!  I really wanted a picture with Belle and Jasmine, who were both on the course last year, but I didn't see them this year.  To make up for that, I took pictures with the mile marker signs featuring the princesses.
My favorite!
My outfit inspiration
Other fun pictures I took along the course:
Entering the Magic Kingdom!
Main Street USA all lit up and the Castle!
Cool birds flying
This was a welcome sight...near the finish!
I was prepared for the overpasses at miles 10 and 11.5, so I decided to take a picture with the toy soldier to celebrate making it through that obstacle (and complete my Toy Story trifecta of character pictures!).
This was the point last year that my knees starting killing me, but this year my body felt great until the end.  The only thing holding me back was my head!  I wanted to run for the entire last mile, but for some reason, I gave in and let myself walk.  I'm going to work on my mental stamina before my next half marathon!

Overall, here's how I did.  My unofficial time:
My official time:
I really really love this finish line photo.  Darn you, MarathonFoto, for taking this awesome shot and others throughout the race!
From MarathonFoto
I so enjoyed my time running the Disney Princess Half Marathon this year!
Next up: I'm thinking of running a local half marathon at the end of the April.  Haven't signed up yet, but it's on my radar!  I've got a bunch of races scheduled for later in the year (including sign up for Disney's Wine and Dine half at the beginning of November!), but I"ll share those in another post :)

The final chapter of my Disney weekend will be coming soon, but to give you a break, I'm going to post a recipe tomorrow :)

Question for you: Is there a race that holds a special place in your heart?  Who is your favorite Disney princess/character?


  1. Congratulations! This race is one of my favorites! I'm sad I didn't get to run it this year...I ran marathon weekend in January and couldn't afford to do both. But next year I'll be there for Princess again!

    1. I'm planning on Princess next year too!! It is tough to do two Disney races in a year. I just signed up for Wine and pricy!