Disney’s Princess Half Marathon 2013 was my first half marathon and my first race since I ran cross-country in high school a looooong time ago. My husband and I went for a short weekend without the kids so we could focus on the race. Who knew if we’d be alive by the end of it? (Yes, I’m being overdramatic; drama runs in my family.) We stayed at our favorite value resort, Pop Century. I love the transportation, the cookie ice cream sandwiches, and the quick jaunt to the Art of Animation resort. My husband loves the chili cheese fries. It was perfect for our race weekend.
We went to the expo on Friday morning and had a great time! I’m not going to lie; it was crowded and cramped. The expo is usually at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, but Spring Training games were being held there, and it was moved to the Coronado Springs resort. We kind of wandered like lost children, but we just soaked it all in. My husband got in line to get taped at the KT Tape booth and then I got in line for these beauties!
I probably stood in line for a good 2 hours, but it was so worth it! I had been ogling them since seeing pictures from Marathon Weekend. The process to pick up our race bib and shirt was pretty easy as the lines had diminished by then. We then listened to the wonderful Jeff Galloway! I was able to train with his program for the Princess Half Marathon with only 3 running days a week. It actually made it feasible for this mom of 5! On our way out I had to get a picture with these guys-my face says it all!
Saturday my husband and I did parks all day. We hit 3 parks in our new shoes, and they served us well! No blisters, no achiness. Phew, I was worried I would overdo it before the race the next day. We went back to the hotel, laid out our running costumes (half the fun of running at Disney is dressing up), and set three alarms for 2:45 a.m. Yup, that’s early!
The next morning we got dressed, and headed for the bus stop about 3:15a.m. I was excited, nervous, scared, electrified. I loved seeing all the costumes in line while waiting for the bus. Transportation was plentiful and efficient. When we started the walk to the corrals, there were tutus a plenty! Better yet, the women in the tutus looked like they were about to kick some butt! I felt empowered. I was Mrs. Incredible!
First we made a stop at the wall of port-a-potties. My husband found it so funny. I’m not sure what it is with men and bathroom humor.
Then we found Corral D, our home for the next 45 minutes. The Fairy Godmother waved her wand and started the race. We waited for our fireworks and joined the rest of the runners! I love that runDisney starts each corral with their own fireworks.
My husband and I had spent some time weaving in and out of people. We tried to stay left and ended up running off-road most of the race. We weren’t trying to intentionally pass people; we just wanted a comfortable pace. The miles did seem to go by quickly. It was very congested and I had to concentrate on what I was doing, so I didn’t trip on anyone, and they didn’t trip on me. This focus actually made the time go by faster even though it wasted more energy. Before I knew it, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived. I was running down Main Street towards Cinderella’s Castle. I had goosebumps; the energy was incredible! Spectators were cheering, people would scream, “Hey,The Incredibles!;” adults and children would high five you like you were a rock star.
We were coming around the castle and saw Mickey and Minnie in their royal outfits. Decision time: do we stop or keep our momentum? Duh. We stopped and waited in a very long line.
At least we were able to come up with a game plan for the rest of the race. After about 10 minutes, we ran through the castle and headed out of the Magic Kingdom. We made one last bathroom stop at real toilets in Frontierland. No line! Yes! Pretty soon we hit the halfway point! Wow, halfway. I was still feeling strong, on fire, even. Get it?
The next miles got a little boring as far as scenery goes. Thank goodness for the distractions of the characters. Even though we didn’t stop for all of them (too many to count), waving to them put me in a good mood.
One picture stop I knew I wanted was the Disney Heroes. I was the princess after all. This picture did not turn out the way I imagined, but it was still one of my favorite memories. As soon as Prince Eric saw my husband he yelled, “Hey, you’re strong! Come pick up this rock!” All the rest of the heroes started cheering him on, encouraging him to pick up on the big boulder prop next to them. My husband had a big goofy grin and loved the attention. So what’s a girl to do? I did what any loving, supportive, non-jealous wife would do…I photobombed him! Those heroes did not care one iota that I was there, but I honestly loved that they made my husband feel cool in a sea of women, especially since his home life is a sea of women, too. My husband got a moment, and it still warms my heart.
Mile 11 is when I was really starting to feel it. I was angry at the Green Army man for lying to me about one more hill. I was starting to doubt myself and my training. Now my race had become 100% mental. I looked to my husband for something…words of wisdom, a doughnut…something. He just smiled and kept running. What got me through was thinking about my journey and being inspired by those around me. I mean there was a girl with a cast on her foot in this race. Come on! If she could push through, so could I.
Luckily around mile 12, I saw Mrs. Incredible-my twin- and stopped for our last photo-op. I knew I had one more mile in me! We approached Epcot, and I loved running around Spaceship Earth. Just a little bit further I could see the finish line!
I grabbed my husband’s hand and we crossed the finish line together. When I envisioned the moment in my head, I thought I would have burst into tears. But I didn’t. I was just thrilled! I had just finished my first half marathon 6 months after having my 5th child. I was proud and could not get the smile off my face. A few more steps and a lovely volunteer handed me my medal! The picture of this medal was what started it all! I kissed it; it was perfection. This one was for me.
Was the race perfect? No. The weather was hotter than it should have been, and it was way too crowded. It was like childbirth though; you forget about all that yucky stuff and are just grateful for the end product. It was a great first race for me in a fun, non-intimidating environment. Thank you, runDisney, for an awesome race and awesome volunteers. I accomplished a major goal and you left me wanting more. My training continues for my next race, because it’s true what they say, “Every mile is magic.”