Disney’s Princess half marathon is a wonderful experience for novice and experienced runners, and those of us in between. It is the perfect girlfriend getaway vacation, filled with the magic of Disney.
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon was the race I first ran back in 2013 and the race which sparked my love for running. A few weeks ago, I went down for the 10th Anniversary of run Disney’s Princess half, but also my 5th running anniversary, where I met up with my best running girlfriends for a weekend of eating, drinking, and running Disney. I booked the hotel rather late, and all that was available was All-Star Movies. While it isn’t my favorite resort, I’ll take staying in the parks rather than outside. It’s so much easier to get around and not have to rent a car or Uber.
Unless there are items I am interested in buying at the expo, I typically avoid going to the expo on day one. The crowds are insane everywhere! Once you arrive at ESPN Wide World of Sports (there are buses running frequently from all Disney World resorts), there are two stops: one is to pick up your bib and race shirt; the other building has the expo merchants. This year, I noticed they had a building dedicated to carrying all runDisney merchandise.
I’ve been extremely busy and had no time to put together a race costume and most likely will not have one for Star Wars, which is a bummer. I looked around at the expo and did see a few items that would work well for a costume but being that I didn’t go on day one to the expo (wasn’t planning on buying a costume), everything in my size was sold out. My friend was coming down a day later, so I asked her to pick up an Eagles hat at the airport, and I quickly threw an outfit together – a dark green Lululemon top and black skirt. Combined with the hat, I decided I would run as an Eagles Princess; fitting since they just won the Super Bowl. Go Eagles!!
I spoke with Jeff Galloway, Olympian and creator of the run-walk-run injury free program and asked for his advice. If you’re ever at the expo, please pay him a visit. He is truly the most genuine and nice person and gives great advice. I explained to him that I’ve had my share of injuries in the past 2 years and that my last run was 6.5 miles on Christmas Eve. His suggestion was to run 15 seconds and walk 30 seconds.
Race morning came and my friend and I had some fruit, coffee and some carbs. The resort had free coffee on race morning, which was really nice. Disney suggests runners taking bus transportation to the start line board buses no later than 3:30 AM, and monorail passengers board no later than 4:00 AM. Since my friend missed the expo, we had to stop at runner relations in the morning to pick up her bib, so we boarded the bus at 3:00 AM. The weather was a bit cool, but it was expected to be warmer than usual for February, and warnings were placed everywhere reminding people to hydrate and dress appropriately for the warm temperatures.
Corrals were going off every 5 minutes or so. Race announcers Carissa and Rudy were great at keeping the crowds entertained and informed when their corral would take off. My corral took off 45 minutes after the elites/A corral. My Gymboss timer set for the run/walk ratios that Jeff Galloway suggested and started run/walk after a quick 5 minute warm up.
I was feeling great and decided to increase the run intervals to 30 seconds (bad idea). I felt my hamstrings start to burn a bit, and before it got worse, I stopped at the first medical tent and rubbed Biofreeze on my hammies. Once that kicked in, I was good, until my right foot started to ache. I’ve never had issues with my feet while running, so this struck me as odd and concerning. I stopped at the second medical tent briefly, sat down and massaged my foot for a minute and was back on my way with no other issues, thank God!
I was doing great time-wise. Aside from those two medical tent stops, I stopped to use a real bathroom (wait was over 10 minutes but SO worth it), because let’s face it, no one wants to use a port-a-potty unless deemed necessary. Stopped for a photo op shortly after mile 11, because Jack. Enough said!
It sure wasn’t my fastest half time, but it wasn’t my slowest either. I’m extremely proud of myself for finishing despite the fact that I didn’t train for it. I really have not been motivated, and the fact that winter doesn’t seem to want to leave doesn’t help either.
I have two races coming up so I am training for those. They are: Star Wars half and the Broad Street Run, America’s largest 10-miler and one of my favorite races ever. Stay tuned.
P.S. What’s on your race calendar for 2018?