What can I say about the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon, other than the race and the weekend exceeded my expectations in almost every way possible?
I went to Florida expecting to have a lot of fun with some very good friends. I know my friends, and we pretty much always have a ridiculous amount of fun, but Princess weekend ended up being an epic girls weekend. And then there was the race. I went into the race with very low expectations. As I mentioned, I had only been running again since late December, I had done zero speedwork (or faster running–most of my runs were in the 10.30/mm range), and I had run 9.5 miles as a long run. Not exactly a recipe for a strong half marathon.
Elizabeth and I had talked before the race and decided that we had somewhat similar goals (survival) and that we wanted to start the race together. Elizabeth is actually pretty naturally fast–she ran her first 5k at last year’s Kelly St. Patrick’s Day race, and then ran a half six months later! Princess was her second half and first Disney race. I was so happy that she agreed to go, that I wanted to make sure she had a full and fun Disney experience. It was really fun to leave the hotel and head to the start together (I’ll talk about the hotel in another post) and to have someone to be in the corral with. Or okay, be in the portapot line with when the race started before sprinting to the closest corral. We were in C, and I think we started with E?
The first couple of miles were uneventful. We weaved. We got headed out onto World Drive and had a little more space. I babbled at Elizabeth. We paused a few quick times for pictures. I had decided before the race that I would run with my camera, and take the opportunity of being out of shape to capture the pictures of a Disney. And also because I was running in full costume, I wanted to have my own pictures of the day for any character stops we made. As we approached the Magic Kingdom, two things happened. First, we decided to stay together until at least the Castle, so we could take each other’s pictures. Second, I noticed our time was good. Quite a bit faster than I expected, as we were averaging sub-10mm. Pretty good!
Soon we were at the TTC and I was loving life. Lots of people recognized that I was dressed as Mary Poppins, and I got a ton of shoutouts. I also started high five-ing random people, which is always fun. This continued into the Magic Kingdom, where I pretty much floated down Main Street USA. Elizabeth and I stopped and got a few pictures there, including the coveted Castle shot.
umm what is up with my eyes?
yes, it really was that foggy!
Magic Kingdom always goes by fast and soon we were on the access road heading back towards Epcot. I was really hoping Mary and Bert would be in their normal spot by the Grand Floridian and they were! And with a shot line! As I waited, Bert looked up and saw me and winked! I about melted! Such a boost! This is possibly one of my favorite pictures ever. Seriously.
As we headed back toward Epcot on World Drive, both Elizabeth and I took turns at displaying wavering strength. We had decided just after Mary to stay together, and I’m so glad we did! I would fade and then she would, but we did a really good job of keeping each other going. We met a few pirates on the way–Captain Jack complimented my hat, I complimented his eyeliner!
Before we knew it, we were in Epcot. I’ve run this same course 4 times now (3 Donalds, one Princess) and this was the strangest approach to Epcot I’ve ever experienced. It was so foggy, we couldn’t see Spaceship Earth until we were right under it. I told Elizabeth we were almost there, and I don’t think she quite believed me. In Epcot she turned to me and asked if I wanted to finish together. I told her yes, so we sprinted across the line together in 2.12.17. A course record for me, and MUCH faster than I expected to finish this race!
I was ecstatic in the finishers area. And that feeling hasn’t left me yet. I’m ready to train hard again, and ready to race this spring! Also, Princess overall was so much fun. I really enjoyed seeing all of the costumes, and the whole girl power vibe of the weekend. Definitely something I will be doing again! I was also happy with my costume, which I made. I’m going to have a hard time topping that one!