March 4, 2013

2013 Princess Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: This is a long post...don't say I didn't warn you! :-)

Our morning started like any runDisney race...EARLY!  Our alarms (yes, there were several) were set for 2:40 in an effort to be on one of the first buses at 3:00 AM.  Yes, it is offensively early, but did we care? No!  20 minutes after getting up, we snapped a few photos and headed out.
Sissies!!  And also mortal enemies as the Queen of Hearts
and "Alison Wonderland"!
We easily boarded a bus at the South Depot at Port Orleans Riverside.  We were surprised to see that it was a normal Disney bus and not a Mears coach bus.  After last year's debacle with the bus getting lost, we were so glad to have a seasoned-Disney employee as our driver.  We arrived in the Wonder Lot of Epcot a few minutes later.  Almost immediately after getting off, Mom noticed a girl and mentioned that she thought it was our blogging buddy Darlena.  We called her name and sure enough it was her!  Funny how I never manage to see her in our town, but on the road at races!  We chatted on the walk over to the family reunion area and snapped some more photos.
Reuniting at the Princess Half

Loved seeing Darlena, aka Run Find Your Happy Pace
There were really cute "stained glass windows" as you walked into the Family Reunion Area.  These were perfect for photos.  We paid less attention to the window design and more on the line and found one that was short!  After snapping a few photos, I checked my watch to make sure we were running on schedule...late as usual! ;-)
Late all morning...
 There was an awesome DJ working the crowd, characters for photos and gazillions of costumes to take in.  Mom dropped off her bag in bag check and we milled around for a bit, waiting for the time to head to our corrals.  I was wishing and hoping that we would run into many of our buddies that were running this race and miraculously we did!  As we started walking towards the porta-potties, we saw Angela - yay!!  After chatting for months and months on Twitter, it was so fun to meet her and she is just as nice in person as I'd imagined!  We even hung out with her for a few hours in MK later in the day...hard to believe it was the same day!
White Rabbit, Sparkly Angela and The Queen of Hearts
 After learning that there was no line for the porta-potties on the other side of bag check, we headed over there, took our turn in the potty and then it was time to walk to the corrals.  At marathon weekend, the walk was pretty easy, without too many bottlenecks and luckily, they followed the same pattern for this race as well.  Before we knew it, we were seeing signs for Corral A!!
Big moment for me - Corral A first timer!!
 The corral was relatively empty and it was easy to move around.  We walked up to the front, hoping to catch Kellie in the elite corral.  We weren't able to find her but got a great (read: unobstructed) view of the starting line.  Soon we'd be running under this archway eek!

As we walked back into the corral, we found more friends from Wonderland - cute!
Wonderland friends!
I texted our buddy Lisa and miraculously she found us a few minutes later!  Stupidly, we didn't snap a photo, but it was great to meet her in person finally!  She is a doll and looked adorable, dressed in a red and white polka dot skirt and Minnie ears.  We had a bit of time for waiting in the corral, so we were all sitting to rest our legs.  We talked race strategies and for the first time, I realized I didn't have one other than "have fun"...that would not bode well for later in the race.

If you've ever been in a runDisney corral, you know how crowded and chaotic they can be, not unlike another big race.  I also had texted our friend Marcia with the hopes of meeting her in the corral.  And soon enough, she tapped me on the shoulder to say hi!  We were so excited to see her since our schedules for the rest of the weekend hadn't exactly meshed.  She looked super cute in pink and purple sparkly running duds...I would have been obsessed with this outfit when I was 4!
Friends - yay! Coach Marcia and I
A few moments later, the Fairy Godmother sent us off with a wave of the magic wand and fireworks.  Mom and I planned to run together and a few minutes into the race, we lost sight of Alison.  She's very petite, so tough to spot in a crowd and her speed-demon tendencies helped contribute to that.  Almost immediately, I noticed how hot and sticky it was.  I was sweating by mile 1 - ugh!

The first few miles went be relatively quickly and after my second walk break (9:1 intervals), I thought it might be ok to try to run the whole thing as I'd done at the Virginia is for Lovers 14k as a training run for the Shamrock Half.  TERRIBLE IDEA!  Two miles later, I was tired and winded and a little annoyed with myself for not being more focused.

At mile 4, you pass the Transportation and Ticket Center which was lined with cheering spectators - love this section of the course.  It was just a short run past the Contemporary to get into Magic Kingdom.  I love running down Main Street - it really is magical.  We wound through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, through the Castle, into Liberty Square and out past Splash Mountain.

After we exited Magic Kingdom, we saw lots of characters lining the road - Mary Poppins and the chimney sweeps, Lilo and Stich and many others.  I loved hearing the spectators by the Magic Kingdom resorts recognized the white rabbit hopping through the course, although someone did think I was the Easter bunny - FAIL!

I was hurting a lot during this stretch.  I was hot, my legs felt like bricks and was having a tough time staying focused.  I never wanted to give up, but I was not having the most fun race ever, that's for sure.  After we passed the Clif shot stop, I started to perk up.  I knew the end was coming.  Get to mile 10, I kept telling myself.  We hit the water stop just before mile 10 and I took the Clif shot.

Race tip: Always wait to take a gel until you can see the next water stop.  It will give you time to open it, down it and then grab some water to wash it down.

I have a love/hate relationship with the mile 10 on-ramp.  I love it because it takes you toward the finish (visibly - you can see Epcot once you get up it).  I hate it because it's a long, slow uphill climb towards the end of the race and my legs were already spent this year!  This year, there were cool inspirational quotes from ESPN women.  I can't remember which one, but one made me tear up, reminding me of the first time I climbed this hill (feeling like death) and all that I've accomplished as a runner and personally since that morning.  In this moment, I finally hit my race stride.  A good song on my shuffle definitely didn't hurt!

We hurdled over the next 3 overpasses...yes, it was brutal on my legs, hitting a sub-10 mm.  Finally I was getting to the pace I wanted to be all race.  I had to remind myself, this was a training run and I was running tired (an unfamiliar sensation for me).  There were tons of cheering spectators as we made our way into Epcot, which was a huge mental boost.  We blazed up to the edge of the World Showcase for the u-turn towards the finish.  I was actively ignoring my physical pain by this point to get to the finish.  We passed the ever-incredible gospel choir and turned to the finish straightaway.  On either side of the course were Minnie and Mickey.  Mom hugged Mickey and I hugged Minnie before we crossed.  2:18.43 was my final time, which wasn't so bad after all...only 5 minutes off my PR from the WDW Half in January.

 And how cute is this girl who gave us our medals?!?!  She even offered to take a photo of us too!

Princess Half Marathoners!!
The bling...up close!!
It wasn't the best race I've ever run, but it was really fun to run in costume and to cross another finish line with Mom! And....we had exciting news later in the day!  My aunt, Alison Wonderland took 5th place in her age category! 

See...told you it was going to be long!


  1. Bummed I missed you guys! Your costumes were too cute :) Great recap!

    1. Thanks Jen....sorry we missed you too! Christine is the costume designer!

  2. It was SO wonderful to meet you all in person and to hang out in MK--yes it IS crazy that it was all the same day!
    I had a pretty hard race, too, and that seems to be the theme of almost everyone who ran it! But I do adore RunDisney races and can't wait for my next one!

    1. We also loved meeting you and hanging out a bit at Magic Kingdom. Disney races are wonderful even if the conditions aren't perfect! Now we are excited about Dumbo Dare. :)

  3. Great re-cap! Love the costumes...and how fun to be in corral A!
    Congrats to Aunt Alison too!

  4. Great recap! I heard it was really hot, so awesome time too! Hope to catch up with you ladies again sometime this fall ;)

  5. You guys looked awesome! What fun! So glad you caught up with Darlena - I ran the Norfolk Marathon Relay with her last years - she's awesome!

    1. Thanks girl! Loved seeing Darlena again! It's so fun going to these races and seeing all of our buddies :)

  6. Great recap! Love the costumes, very creative. So glad ya'll had a good time!

    1. Thanks Monica - we were so pleased with the costumes!

  7. Awesome recap! Congrats on a great race!

    1. Your watch is hilarious, by the way! I love it!!

    2. Thanks girl! I was pretty proud of that watch. Dollar Store find that I stitched to the sweat band the night before the race. I might wear a sweatband in the was great in the heat for wiping my face :)

  8. Love the white rabbit costume, so unique! After reading all these recaps I'm pretty sure there's no way I'll be able to keep myself from doing Princess next year! Congrats to Aunt Allison!

    1. Thanks Danielle, Yes, the Princess is a really fun race and be sure to bring along a few girlfriends or meet them at WDW!

  9. I know I'm late with this comment (just found your blog!) but first up, LOVE your costumes! They're so cute! I may have to steal them for another race. And second, it's so great that you guys got to cross the finish line together! I "made" my dad run the Wine and Dine with me last year and crossing the finish line with him was awesome!

  10. Your costumes are great! Love that you run together!