Hello! I’m back in chilly Maryland, and recovering from one of the most fun half marathons. This past weekend I was able to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Florida….yes. FLORIDA!
The land of palmtrees and sunshine. Oh I needed the warmth.
I flew down Friday evening to meet up with my Aunt Traci. We were staying at Port Orleans in Disney. We had run the inaugural Disney Princess in 2009 and found staying outside Disney to be a big pain in the butt. Staying on the resort gave us access to transportation to alleviate race morning stress.
It was a beautiful resort, and one of the smaller Disney properties. Again much appreciated for a race…less distance to get to your room post race!
I was definitely a happy camper to be in Disney, in warmer weather, and getting ready to run 13.1!
This year’s expo was held at the Coronado Resort. In 2009, it was in the Wide World of Sports and I found it be a better a layout than this year’s. Coronado felt crowded and cramped. Although, in my usual fashion, I had a blast roaming the vendors and getting my fill of running paraphernalia. Oh and Aunt Traci totally got into it too!
After a morning spent roaming the expo and eating a high calorie lunch (runners need their fuel), we took a little walk around Port Orleans and enjoyed some sunshine. We also acted like bums for an hour before finally deciding we should probably eat early and get to bed early…hello 3am wake up!
Right outside Disney were plenty of places to grab food. We hightailed it to Carrabba’s (along with the other 22,000 runners it felt like) and ate our body weight in carbs. Carbo-loading at it’s best
By 8pm we were snuggled into our beds ready to run 13.1 through the most magical place on earth.
Well 3am came early. But lucky for us, getting on the bus and to the race start didn’t require much thought or coffee. Speaking of coffee, this is my biggest grief of the whole weekend. Disney – listen up – you have 22,000 runners, you will require more than 1 concession stand at the start line. Or at least open up the cafes in your host resorts so that runners and spectators can grab something quick.
So yes, Traci and I ran this entire race minus coffee and breakfast. Waiting in our corral, I dug into one of my Hammer Gels and I have to say, it was the tastiest energy gel I’ve ever eaten!!!
After about 30 minutes of waiting in our corral, it was finally time to kick off the race. Traci was in corral B, so I moved back to be with her. Each corral had it’s own count down and fireworks display to send them off in style.
Time get run like a princess!
Every half mile or so there would be a Disney character, DJ, or cheer squad ready to motivate and cheer you on. It was probably the best race entertainment out of any race I’ve run…including the Rock N Rolls!
A lot of runners would stop and take pictures with the characters, but for some reason, that’s not really my style. I enjoyed seeing them along the route and having the entertainment, but coming in at a much later time due to multiple stops doesn’t appeal much to me.
But documenting significant race checkpoints was a lot of fun. Like entering the Magic Kingdom!
And of course coming up to the castle! Sorry for the fuzzy pictures, I could only slow down so much
This was the biggest mile marker in my head. It is in between mile 5 and 6 and for some reason, even though it’s not technically, this was my half way point.
From there, we winded back down World Drive and then into Epcot.
The Luna Bar company supplied a cheer squad, and I must say, they were fabulous and so sweet!
There were about 5 of these signs (very Lululemon-esqe) lining the route and this was by far my favorite one. Who doesn’t want a pedicure post race? Hey Disney, can that be in our SWAG next year????
At the 10 mile mark, you know that you’re going to make it, even if it’s just because of this sign.
The hardest part of the race for me was Epcot. I knew the finish line was there and thought “when I see that stupid ball, I’ll be done”. Well, nope.
I had 1.5 miles to go once I saw that ball. C’MON! I didn’t see the finish until I rounded the corner from the 13 mile marker. The finish was perfect. Not crowded, and plenty of room to move about, get your medal, take some pictures, and get your post-race grub.
I was happy to be done. It was humid for me (last long run was in 25 degree weather). But running in Disney in 70 degree weather in February cannot be beat. Plus, the bling is kinda awesome.
The post race food was yummy and just enough to get some much needed fuel in your body.
Bananas, water, Powerade, hummus and crackers, Luna bars, gummies, trail mix, and chocolate. Some women were even walking around with champagne. It was for purchase, but I’d must rather have some bacon than champagne…that’s just me.
Despite the lack of coffee before the start, this is still a race I’d return for and recommend to everyone. It makes a heck of a girls weekend and one hell of a reason to go to Florida in the winter. And you feel like a princess every step of the way!