Disney Princess Half Marathon · Race Recap

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap!

Hi everyone!  It’s been a while since I posted but I’ve been busy nonstop!  I am so excited to be writing this race recap right now!  After all the training and obsessive hydrating that I did for this race, I was pretty nervous all day on Saturday.  I worried about all of the “What Ifs” that could happen during and after the race and probably drove my husband crazy!  But 2:30 am came around sooner than we thought and by that point there was no turning back!  We left Andrew’s uncle’s house around 3:45 and took a little shortcut to Epcot.  Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic since there were so many people going to the race!  Parking was pretty easy and we ended up being close to the finish area.

20140225-231221.jpgAndrew might have been more excited than I was!

The race was set up so that everyone started out in the finish area.  There were thousands of people standing around and saying their last goodbyes before entering the runners only area.  They had a DJ, tons of flashing lights, and even some food trucks!  Andrew and I hung out in there for a while because I was too nervous to leave him, but eventually the DJ made an announcement to start moving to our corrals.  The walk to the corrals took about 20 minutes and I kept drinking my water the whole time because it was HUMID!  So obviously before the race started I had to use the porta potties…along with like 10,000 other girls!  I waited in line for about 30 minutes and just made it to my corral about 10 minutes before my corral was set to leave!  It kind of helped me deal with pre-race jitters since I wasn’t standing in there waiting for an hour.  The fairy godmother gave a big “bibbidy boppity boo” to each corral and then set off fireworks to send us on our way!

20140225-231251.jpgBlurry fireworks/start line pic!

The first mile was great – we ran past the spectators (who were set up along the opposite lane so I wasn’t able to see Andrew), ran past a marching band playing the Rocky theme song, and heard the fireworks from all of the corrals behind us.  I had a great pace and was happy that I wasn’t starting out too fast, although I attributed that to the fact that it hadn’t thinned out yet (I had no idea at that point that it would never thin out!).  We were running along the highway from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and every so often there would be some kind of entertainment along the side of the road.  This varied from kites shaped like birds with “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” playing in the background (which was awesome because everyone started singing along!) to characters such as Jack Sparrow and the Heroes, and some music!  By mile 2 I realized that I was completely covered in sweat (TMI I know, but I want everyone to understand how humid it was even though it was only 6:00 am) but I was still feeling good.  What really helped keep me excited was passing through the entrance to Magic Kingdom!  So awesome!

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It was around this time that everyone started screaming and cheering.  I looked up and realized that the lead runner was already passing us on her way to Epcot!  I found out later that she finished in 1:10, breaking the course record!  So crazy!  As for the runners in corral G, we kept on going along at our much slower pace.  I was trying to stay anywhere between 12-13 minutes per mile because my main goal was just to finish the race, hopefully in under 3 hours.  I knew with the humidity and crowding I wouldn’t be able to run a fast time and since it was my first half I was fine with that.  Just being able to run 13.1 miles without dying during or after the race was a big enough goal for me!  Even though I was carrying a water bottle due to the heat I stopped at every water stop for a fresh cup of water because I was terrified of dehydration.  Between water stops I didn’t stop to walk at all except when I had to take some sport beans, which I did during miles 4, 8, and 11.5.  I waited until I saw a water stop up ahead and then walked while eating and then grabbed a cup to wash it down.  There were water stops almost every mile so it was a great motivator to keep myself going strong between stops.

I was loving the first half of the race and enjoyed running before the sun came up, mostly because no one could see how sweaty I was!  But really I was just so excited to run down Main Street towards the castle.  Andrew had texted me to tell me that he’d taken the monorail to Magic Kingdom and was waiting for me at the end of Main Street, and I was so excited to see him!  So when I realized that we were finally running into the park I started to get really excited.  When we ran out of the backstage area and onto Main Street I got chills!  There were so many people cheering us on, and when I turned the corner and saw the castle up ahead I got really teary eyed!  It was an incredible moment that I had been dreaming about all throughout my training.  I saw Andrew and gave him a huge high five, and then started taking pictures of the castle.  A really nice princess runner offered to take my picture, but it came out kind of blurry (although that’s how the castle looked with all the fog).  Still an awesome memory!

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We ran through Tomorrowland and I was so excited to see real bathrooms off the side of the course!  I took a few minutes to wipe my whole body off and fix my hair before my big moment of running through the castle!  I actually used the mens’s room since there was no line and I wasn’t even using a toilet, and found it full of girls  🙂  After leaving the bathrooms I was momentarily tempted to wait in a very long line for a picture with Mickey and Minnie, but once I saw the castle entrance I couldn’t resist running through it!

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On our way out I stayed to the left because that’s what other girls had suggested doing, and was really happy I did that because there were tons of photographers taking pictures!  I felt like a celebrity!  I made sure to smile a lot but it wasn’t hard since it was basically the most exciting part of the race!  We then ran through the side of Magic Kingdom and out through the backstage area.  We were right around the halfway point and I was worried that I was going to lose steam going into the last miles of the race.  There seemed to be less entertainment during these miles, but there were a couple cheer zones (including one where a DJ was playing old school Will Smith which pumped me up so much!) and a few character stops that I wasn’t too interested in doing.  While I was never mentally ready to give up I did begin desperately praying for each water stop so I could stop for a few seconds and refuel.  I was so sweaty and the air was so humid that I couldn’t get comfortable and just hoped that I wouldn’t look too gross at the finish line.  Plus I had heard about all the hills at the end and I was worried they would tire me out.  I kept waiting for the hills to come, and as we ran on an exit ramp and everyone started walking I realized that I was on what was considered a “hill” in the race.  There were 2 or 3 more “hills” but I barely noticed them and was pretty happy about that!  I later found out from a lot of other girls that those “hills” were really tough for them so if you live in a flat state and plan on doing this race you should definitely find some kind of incline to train on.  Once we were back at the starting line we took a right and finally started towards Epcot.  It was too humid and foggy to see the giant ball until we were running into the park, but it was such an exciting sight especially since it happened right after mile marker 12!  I wasn’t super tired but my legs and right foot hurt and I just wanted to cross that finish line so bad.  We ran through Epcot with crowds of cheering employees and had our final turnaround right before the lake.  People kept screaming “you’re almost there!” and I was just so impatient to get to that finish line!  I realized I should probably start trying to speed up but I was too nervous to do it!  We ran past the gospel choir and mile marker 13 before turning right towards the finish line.  I waved and screamed when I saw Andrew, and then began to cry as I crossed the finish line.  I couldn’t believe I’d done it!

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The finish area was kind of crazy – the first thing we got was a cooling towel, which was super tiny but definitely felt good on my neck.  We then walked through ladies who were sprinkling glitter on us and finally reached the medals!

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After I put my medal on I realized that I should probably get some water and food, so I kept walking down the chute.  I grabbed a bottle of water and Powerade and luckily volunteers were handing out mesh bags for us to store all our post race snacks!  I then grabbed a box of food and a banana.  Andrew called me while I was struggling with all my stuff and I ended up dropping and stepping on my banana which seriously made me upset.  I think I was just so mentally overwhelmed and that dropped banana made me want to cry!  I then couldn’t find Andrew for about 10 minutes which made me crabby, so by the time I found him I was ready to leave.  It didn’t hit me until we made it to the car that I was officially a half marathoner!  After showering and foam rolling we went out for the yummiest breakfast ever, and then we hit up Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day!

20140225-231603.jpgOf course I wore my medal and my “First 1/2 Marathon” pin all day!

I think it was the best thing for me because it kept my legs moving and helped me heal pretty quickly.  I was feeling kind of nauseous all day so we only went on a few rides and I spent the rest of the time taking pictures with my favorite Disney characters!

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We also stayed for the fireworks which was nice because I’ve never seen them in Magic Kingdom before!

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After the fireworks we decided to get a massive hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney.  This decision, mixed with the fact that I’d gotten barely any sleep the night before and had run farther than I’d ever run before caused me to throw up as soon as we got back to Andrew’s uncle’s house.  Not the best way to end my day, but overall I recovered pretty well considering that this was my very first half!  And I learned my lesson on sleep/hot fudge sundae ratios for future races.

I also received my race results pretty quickly and totally squealed when I saw my results!  I was almost in the top third of finishers which made me so happy!  These results don’t include men’s results so hey, there’s still a chance I’m in the top third  🙂

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So what did I think of my first Run Disney event?  I loved it, but I don’t know if I would do Princess again.

Pros:

  • Amazing energy from other runners and spectators
  • Lots of distractions in every mile
  • The opportunity to take pictures with characters if you didn’t care about time
  • Getting to wear a costume!  Many girls commented on my tights and my dinglehopper (aka a fork for all of you non-Disney lovers) and I loved seeing all of the amazing costumes on the course
  • Mostly all girls which made for a really fun atmosphere
  • Tons of Disney music
  • Running down Main Street and through the castle!  I’m not even the biggest Disney fan and that still made me cry a bit!
  • Flat course
  • Real bathrooms in Magic Kingdom!
  • Tons of water stops
  • And of course, pretty bling  🙂

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Cons:

  • The price – I think I spent $170 on race registration alone and didn’t even get a discount to the parks.
  • About 75% of the race was done on highways.  They tried to keep us entertained but it definitely wasn’t as magical on the highways as it was in the parks!
  • The early start time.  I’m a night runner so the 5:30 am start time was pretty rough.
  • The crowded course.  I started in corral G and was able to run the entire time (unlike many girls in the corrals behind me – I think the corrals went to P) but I did have to weave around a lot.  My GPS said I went farther than 13.1 due to all the weaving!  The biggest problem was that many girls were doing walk/run intervals in large groups and when they stopped to walk they would stop all together and block up the entire road which made running difficult.
  • The humidity!  I get that it’s Florida but I thought for sure that it would be way cooler and less humid in February.  I was drenched by the end!
  • The finish was kind of anti-climactic since I couldn’t even get to Andrew for like 15 minutes and by then I was so mentally drained that I had lost all my excitement.  This is the first large race I’ve done so they might all be like this, but it was tough since I’m so used to running right over to him and celebrating right away.
  • I didn’t like being a solo runner since it seemed like most girls were running in groups and I felt kind of lonely.  This is definitely a race to hang out and have a good time.

Overall I thought it was a really magical experience for my first half marathon and I’m so glad I did it!  I don’t know if I would run another Princess Half, but I might try out another Disney race or two in the future.  I hear that Wine and Dine is awesome!  And I even hinted to Andrew on the drive home that maybe I’ll be running the Walt Disney World Marathon someday!  I mean, who knows what the future holds!  All I know is that I’ve got this shiny new medal and my awesome new half marathoner status.  Congrats to all the other princesses who finished the race!  We did it!

20140225-231448.jpgShoutout to my awesome husband for taking the monorail from park to park just to see me run by for a few seconds!  He’s the best!

Did you run the Disney Princess Half?  What’s your favorite Disney race?

55 thoughts on “Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Recap!

  1. Congrats on your first half marathon! Sounds like you had tons of fun (minus the highways) and you got some cool gear too! I did my very first half last month, but the only thing I splurged on was engraving the medal. But then again, my race wasn’t at a nearly half as fun location!

    1. Thanks! It was definitely the most fun race I’ve ever run! I totally forgot to get my medal engraved at the finish because I was so tired and ready to leave, but that’s such a good idea!

  2. Awesome job on your 1st half marathon! Are you hooked on long distances now? I’ve never done a Disney race before, but the wine and dine half is on my running bucket list, and you just made me want to sign up for it right now!

    1. I think I am! I had really dangerous thoughts about doing the Walt Disney World Marathon after I was done…not good! I don’t think I can swing Wine and Dine this year but it’s totally on my list of 2015 races! That race sounds like it has way less highway miles and a way crazier after party!

  3. Wahoo you did it Kristen!!! And you got to celebrate at Magic Kingdom (the best park!). You’ll never forget the experience of your first half marathon!

    Some of the problems you mentioned unfortunately aren’t unique to runDisney (crowding on the course, poor race etiquette, and the long finisher’s chute). I really wish other runners would exercise better judgment in terms of race etiquette. It would make for a much better experience for everybody!

    1. Yay thanks! And I agree, MK is the best park 🙂 I figured a lot of the cons were things that happened at longer races, but with everyone doing the Galloway intervals there was soooooo much walking going on even at the beginning! Usually people aren’t walking in the first mile so that was pretty tough to deal with.

  4. This whole post makes me so happy! You did it! And, you did awesome!

    I know Disney races are expensive which sucks! I would eventually love to do both the Princess Half and the Tinkerbell Half (in Anaheim) and get the Coast-to-Coast medal.

      1. Yeah that’s why I’d love to do them both. But I know it has to be the same year so it won’t be happening for me next year. But I’ll just focus on the Princess Half as my first and go from there!!

  5. Congrats lovely! I am so happy for you! I am with you on running alone- it is hard, but sometimes it can be great-you just worry about running your pace and your race…and not anyone elses.

    Oh and as a girl from the flatest parts in Canada (3 hours north of Fargo, ND), I found that I really struggled with the hills in the PHM last year.

    Oh and as for favourite, it would be Disneyland half– it was my first rD race and I have PR’d twice there. I am eager to try Princess again when i am not sick and injured- maybe it will become my favourite.

    1. Thanks! Yeah it was nice to go at my own pace but everyone else looked like they were having more fun than me! I hope I didn’t sound mean about the hills, but I thought it was so interesting how people from different areas can interpret things so differently! I currently do my shorter runs on a loop that has a hill that lasts for an entire mile so my definition of a hill is more extreme than most haha. And I so want to try Disneyland! I heard it’s already sold out this year so I’ll have to wait until next year to try to register!

      1. You didn’t sound mean at all about the hills–I was just saying I was one of those people that struggled. lol. The only hill we have in Winnipeg is an old garbage dump that has been covered in a path and sod. I would probably die on your loop. hah!

        I have run all but one of my dozen or so half marathons on my own as I don’t have friends who run at my pace. And the one I ran with someone was a lovely lady I met at the start line of the race. lol.

        ~Lisa

    1. Ahhhh you are not helping me here! I said I would never run a marathon but I’m now realizing that Disney races make long distances way more bearable! Did you do it? Was it really hard?

  6. Congrats on your first half…so special! Your comments on the run/walk group runners were spot on–I think I’m going to write a snarky post on all the things that bug me during races, and that would be at the top of the list!

    1. Thanks! I feel like such a hater, but it was pretty bad. I distinctly remember a group of 6 girls wearing matching outfits stopping and blocking the entire road. I didn’t get angry during the race but looking back on it I’m a little mad they did that because it really isn’t fair to anyone running behind them!

    1. Thanks! It was a lot of fun and it was nice to know that I didn’t have to worry so much about my time and could just focus on finishing. I’m definitely hooked on Disney races now!

  7. congratulations on your first half! it must feel amazing to have had this princess dream for so long and to have completed it! i’ve read a lot of comments on rundisney’s page about poor walker’s etiquette on the course, so hopefully it’s something they work on.

    1. Thanks! Your comment reminds me that I need to change a lot of things on my About Me page because it says my big goal was to run this race! It’s definitely been my dream for so long, now I’ve got to think of an even better one!

  8. Congrats!! I was wondering when you’d get around to posting the recap 😉
    Again, your outfit was amazing- you seriously ran with a fork? So funny, but way to dedicate yourself to the costume!
    That humidity sounds like a nightmare, I wonder why they don’t do the race in January (or if it’s even any cooler in January…).

    1. Haha I know, I thought about doing in Sunday night for Monday but I was so dead tired (and had just thrown up) and then Monday we didn’t get home until almost midnight! I’ve been waiting to write this post forever so I wanted it to be perfect 🙂 The fork was in my hair and it was a plastic fork, but people still thought it was awesome! They actually do the Walt Disney World Marathon/Half/10k/5k in January which I am totally going to try to do asap. It sounds like it would hopefully be a bit less humid at that time, right?

  9. So happy for you!!! As you know, I did Princess as my first too and while I haven’t returned to that particular race, I have really enjoyed other Disney races too. Each one is fun in their own special way – so far I think my favorite was Tink, although I’m headed west for the Dumbo Double Dare so we’ll see what I think of that one. 😉 Love your medal – seriously impressive!

    1. Oh I am so jealous you are doing Dumbo Double Dare! It sounds like so much fun! Yeah I think Princess was a great first Disney race but I’m not sure if I’d do it again, at least alone. It was pretty magical though!

    1. Thanks! I got those pants on eBay for $3.50! I feel mean saying they weren’t real hills (since I guess technically they had an incline) but I’ve done races where I was running uphill for a long time so I can’t really call those hills. I guess that’s one good thing about training on super steep hills, they definitely help me with the smaller ones!

    1. Thanks! Ahhh I know, I’m so excited! No offense to Disney Princess, but I feel like that was a good training race and the Love Run is going to be my first “real” race. I’m actually going to try for a better time on this one! We should totally try to meet up at the race! Also, I’m glad I learned about the hot fudge situation now so I can avoid it in the future 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’ve got another one in 5 weeks so we’re going to see how much I love them after that! I did like it and think I’ll be doing quite a few more in the future!

  10. CONGRATULATIONS!! I ran the princess half, too! Honestly, though, I didn’t think it was that humid before the race (I was actually cold) and the humidity stopped bothering me after the first few miles. But, other Floridians did not have the same response. Maybe I’m weird?! Congratulations again on your first half! LOVED your outfit!

    1. Thanks! And congrats on running it too! Are you from Florida? I’m from Philly and it was soooooo much more humid than I was used to and I think that’s why it affected me so much. Plus I hate heat and humidity, winter is seriously one of my favs! I think the humidity actually started bothering me after a few miles so we are totally the opposite! I’m pretty jealous you were able to handle that better than me!

  11. AWESOME recap and I am so glad you did the pros and cons list too! That humidty sounds insane! I am so excited to try out a Disney race…running down Main Street sounds like a dream! And of course that bling is absolutely amazing. GREAT JOB, my friend!

    1. Thanks! I forgot what humidity felt like so that was a total shock to my body! The full tights were probably not the best idea 😛 You should totally do one – with your killer times you’d probably get into corral A or B and you wouldn’t have any lines at the characters! Plus you could finish before the sun came up probably 🙂 I think everyone should do Wine and Dine together, that one sounds like a blast!

  12. Congratulations!!! I never get around to reading blogs until the weekend, so I was super behind. The huge smile in your pics shows how proud you are, and you should be!!! 🙂

  13. oh no, is it really humid in february? that sucks. i did a 10 miler in september at Disney a couple years ago (at 10pm at night) and it was the worst run ever, especially because of the humidity. i was hoping it would be better in feb. bugger.

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