Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catching Up - Disney Princess Half Marathon - Feb 2011

A group of us from a bunch of different locations decided to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I felt a little guilty since I didn't have to juggle flights and hotels and packing suitcases, but then I also felt a little sad that I didn't have to juggle flights and hotels and packing suitcases!
The races starts outside of Epcot, then runs down to and through the Magic Kingdom and then back to Epcot. As I was driving to Epcot at 3am (yes, 3AM!), I was thinking how surreal it is that I was planning to run 13.1 miles and to actually be running from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom - and back! My longest run prior to the half was 11 miles, and so I was hoping the excitement of the surroundings would carry me the extra 2.1 miles.
Armed with my cliff bar, water and a banana, I arrived at the Epcot parking lot hours before the sun came up.

I decided it would be wise to take a picture of where I parked, because I knew I was nervous and excited and that in a few hours I wouldn't remember where I parked. I'm now convinced to just keep the little dent in the back of my minivan bumper because red minivans are pretty common.

There were over 17,000 runners at the race. Not everyone starts at the same time. We are sent off according to our corral. I was in corral D which means that I did not submit a time to RunDisney predicting how fast I would finish the race. I knew I would finish, I just didn't know how long it would take me. We were such a diverse group that some friends has serious running times submitted and were in corral B, and some friends were back in corral E. I wasn't brave enough to jump back a corral, and I wasn't fast enough to jump forward a corral - nor is it allowed. So I started the race by myself.

Waiting patiently in my corral, I watched the other corrals take off. Each group gets their own countdown and burst of fireworks.
With some words of wisdom from the Fairy Godmother, it was finally my corral's turn to take off!
It was very exciting being at the Start line. There were 15 minutes between each corral, and so I actually didn't even begin running until a full hour after the first runners took off.

The majority of the runners were women. Although, I did manage to find a few men. Oh, yes, perhaps I failed to mentioned that I ran in a yellow tutu skirt. Most runners dress up for this race with some sort of bling. There were more tutus and tiaras than I'd ever seen before.
I was so happy to see the Magic Kingdom sign. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that the sign and the actual Magic Kingdom are very far apart. I think it took another mile and half before actually running in the Kingdom. I was *this close* to sprinting over to the Contemporary Resort for some pancakes from Chef Mickey's. I was soooo hungry.

The course is amazing with all sorts of entertainment along the way.

I loved seeing these ladies cheering for everyone along the way. I liked their messages alot.

I did manage to grab a cast member and ask her to take a picture of me on main street in front of the castle. I knew if I made it to the castle, then I was half-way to the end. That might not be 100% accurate in terms of miles, but for me, it worked for my mind.
There was a bit of a bottleneck running through the Magic Kingdom, so while waiting to run into a rest room (hey, all that water needs to go someplace!), I ran into Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
Every mile was clearly marked and usually had some sort of entertainment around it. I stopped here to stretch for a minute because my legs were feeling sore.

I ran into Mrs. Incredible and had a few words with her about the last time I saw her putting the moves on my man....remember this? Just kidding - the photographer said to be strong and that was the best pose I had.

I stopped to drink a couple of cups of water heading into the last mile and ran into Phineas and Ferb. Our kids love this show and so I wandered over to say hello and get a quick picture. Yes, I stopped running about 6 times in the last 3 miles. The heat was crazy and the crowds were tough to maneuver around.

In the last mile is the sound that everyone talks about....the choir singing Gospel music. I could hear them before I turned the corner to see them and it sounded heavenly.

I ran into Minnie and Mickey right at the finish line and stopped for a quick hello. My disclaimer is that the time on the clock is not mine - the timer starts when the first runner crosses the start line.

It was very fun! I hope to run it again next year without struggling through the last few miles.

Here is a cute video that I did not make, but has some race highlights.

Whose with me for next year?

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