After a fun filled, yet exhausting weekend at Disney I have to say the past year of planning was totally worth it. My 1st Disney Half Marathon is in the books with the 5th year Anniversary of the Disney Princess Half Marathon and I could not have picked a better one to do. I flew in on Thursday afternoon and met up with Stephanie from Massachusetts at Downtown Disney. Will I live up to her expectations? Will she or I be annoying to each other ? We hadn’t even talked on the phone before only through text and Facebook. Awhile back I posted a message on runDisney’s Facebook page looking for a Princess to share a room with for this amazing weekend and she answered and I am so glad she did. We had a really fun filled trip. The entire weekend was like we were old friends!!!
Friday morning we started our Princess weekend with the exclusive Meet up at Epcot where I finally got to meet the Canadian Princesses Jodi & Alana. They have a blog that I follow that helped me prepare for this race “2princessesontherun”, along with Sarah & Dimity authors of “Run Like a Mother” and “Train Like a Mother”, Elite athlete Rachel Booth, First female winner of the Biggest Loser Ali Vincent, Actor Sean Astin and many others . One unexpected highlight for me at this Meet up was Paralympic athlete April Holmes. Her personal story touched me. Not in a “feel sorry for me” kind of way but in personal enlightenment. She really embodies that there is much more strength inside of us than we realize. April truly is a result of what you can achieve once you get over your mental blocks you can overcome just about anything physical.
After the Meet up we headed to the Expo at Coronado Springs which definitely had the theme of “We Are All Mad Here”. The area to get you bibs was no problem in fact in my opinion it was too large because it made the booths for shopping super cramped. There were long lines for your race shirt and don’t even get me started with the area for the runDisney official Princess Merchandise. Can you say we felt like cattle?? But what do you expect with over 26k runners in attendance? I still didn’t do too bad considering..
After the Royal Family 5k on Saturday we went back to the Expo for the afternoon Speaker sessions and yes I was on my feet way too much. I could feel the buildup of lactic acid on my IT band. I went and got a quickie massage from one of the booths after the Zooma meet up at the Expo. The look on the Therapist face said it all. “You’re doing too much”. Even during the Zooma party that afternoon at Coronado I wasn’t feeling too well. I tend to go-go-go while I am at Disney. I was not eating or drinking enough to stay hydrated. Florida is very dry and it was a warm weekend. At that point I knew my run for the Half was going to have to be at a much slower pace than I normally run but that was ok with me because this weekend was all about the “Experience”. See I was here last February for a family trip but I only got to run the 5k. My husband kept his promise that I could come back this year solo and do the entire Princess weekend this time around. My first Race-cation! I signed up for every meetup that I thought time wise I could be able to attend including a “Princess Tea” that Erin Williams arranged at the Grand Floridian which really blew me away. I am not your typical “spot of tea” type of girl but this beat all of my expectations. I was very happy I got on the list early to attend. Afterwards we headed to the Polynesian for a quick bite for dinner and to watch Wishes on the beach. I think the sunset may have been nicer than the Fireworks. Of course I am partial because for me nothing beats seeing “Wishes” on Main Street in front of the Castle with a Mickey Ice Cream ! (and yes we got to do this on our last night Sunday after a walkthrough of Fantasyland)
A couple of pictures from the Royal Family 5k. It was so much fun. A friend from work graciously offered to help me with my costume “The Incredible Nicole” which turned out great! Luckily Stephanie was a super good sport with all of the picture taking I was doing throughout the weekend.
On Sunday we stayed on schedule and got to Race Retreat in plenty of time to stretch, have a light breakfast and my personal highlight was finally meeting Malinda & Leah of TwinsRuninOurFamily after months of Twitter conversations. Malinda came prepared with pins and bracelets to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight childhood cancer in which I was too happy to wear. Shortly after it was time to start walking to our corrals. I saw off Stephanie and found my friend Amanda to wish her luck then started off in Corral A based on a previous race time. It was about 67 degrees and muggy at the race start. I have to say kudos to all of those in costumes for the Half. I personally decided to go the comfy route with just a touch of sparkle. I am glad I was able to start in Corral A due to all of the character stops I was going to be making for pictures but these delays really caught up with me later on during the race. Several parts throughout the race the roads were narrow and you were practically walking. Any running I could do was in the grass to go around the later corral runners. Even my “run through the castle” by the time I got there was a “walk through the castle” in which I was a little disappointed but I was able to get a quick interview & picture in with Dennis Marsico from runDisney TV. I am not expecting much from my pictures by Marathon FOTO but luckily I got some great ones on my own plus the rain held out for us!! (whew). I have to say I don’t remember my race finish except that I was practically skipping towards the Finish with loads of energy still. I remembered to look up but I don’t recall seeing Minnie and Mickey. My guess since I was more in the middle they must have been off to the side. I will look for the race video once it is online. I made my goal to PR in picture taking by taking both my iPhone and my digital camera with me to both races and enjoyed every moment. (I had a lot of “moments” in my Half considering my Finish time was 4:05:50 almost double my usual Half Marathon time lol) I was sure to tag #TeamRunDisney to capture all of my race updates via Instagram and Twitter throughout the weekend.
A few pictures from the Princess Half on Sunday
On our last morning we finally got our Mickey waffle’s. I decided to bring back one for my husband in my carry on. When I got home and surprised him with it he was smiling ear to ear. It was good to be home (with my Princess bling).
During Wishes my wish was that I get to come back and do another Disney race someday.