On Sunday I ran the Disney Princess Half-Marathon for the second time. It was so special running on my birthday and achieving a new Personal Best!
But let me start at the beginning. Since the Princess Half-marthon is run in the parks – specifically Magic Kingdom and Epcot, it is necessary for the race to start early long before the parks open for the day. Buses started leaving the Animal Kingdom Lodge at 3:30am and we boarded the third bus. It was a very simple process, there was no line and once the bus filled we were off!
Lorraine and I on the bus in our matching Minnie costumes!
When we arrived we walked to the Race Retreat, which is set up for pre and post race pampering. All Princesses can purchase the Race Retreat package for $99, as bloggers we were given complimentary admission. This temperature controlled tent had before race fuel- and I enjoyed a bagel with peanut butter and a banana.
The meal I always eat pre-race. A few other important highlights – bag check (no lines after the race), the numerous restrooms- so much better than waiting on long lines with 20,000 other princesses, a stretch area, comfy couches, and a kiddie corner for after the race.
After my breakfast I made my way over to the corrals. It is about a 20 minute walk and it was slow going but we got to the corrals in more than enough time. The race started with the wheelchair athletes and then each corral was released every 6 minutes. It was wonderful watching the fireworks as each corral was sent out.
The beginning of the race was pretty crowded but I tried to get on pace. It was difficult especially with weaving around folks but I was able to find my stride. The first few miles were off to Magic Kingdom and we passed Jack Sparrow and friends. I saw my friend Katye stopped on the route, she was helping keep a fallen Princess from getting trampled. She encouraged me to enjoy my birthday run and I continued on to Magic Kingdom.
I cannot tell you how amazing it is run down Main Street with the crowds cheering you on. And the sight of the castle was totally amazing. I didn’t take photos but trust me, absolutely beautiful. The highlight is running through the castle with horns playing to welcome you.
I rounded a corner and expected to see Princess Tiana but I must have been moving too fast because she wasn’t out to greet Princesses yet, I did see Prince Naveen but chose to continue running. I quickly moved out of Magic Kingdom and soon hit the half-way mark. The sound of Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” was playing and I turned down my music to listen as I passed the half-way point.
Next up on the course I ran into several Prince Charmings with a sparkly running shoe. I was cracking up as two of them ran with me on the course and proposed marriage. But I had to keep running, no time for romance!!!
photo by Lorraine, I wasn’t stopping!
I was pleasantly surprised at mile 8 when I heard my name called by Sharon’s husband Barry who snapped my first in motion race photo ever!
Clearly I was happy to see him no time for hugs I just kept moving!
There were numerous characters along the way and entertainment. I was particularly happy to see the soldier from A Toy Story on the “hill at mile 11″ his motivation as I ran up the ramp was just what I needed to keep going and not walk as I’m known to do when hills come into play!
I did stop for a quick photo here and at the Magic Kingdom castle. BRIEFLY!
The next few miles were pretty good, although I totally forgot that there were three not two hills. And although the hills are nothing like Atlanta hills, it is still challenging running the hills at the end of the race and they are grouped together!! LOL
I finished the race pretty strong, I didn’t sprint to the finish but I ran in comfortably and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:24:44. I averaged an 11 minute mile during the face. Pretty good!
At the finish I returned to the Race Retreat where ten minute massages were available for $10. And of course, post race food, a celebratory mimosa and a much needed cool towel and flip-flops.
Cheese eggs, home fries and fruit. Yum!
After eating I said goodbye to my blogger friends and headed back to the bus for Animal Kingdom. The transportation was easy to get to and I stepped right on the bus, no line!
Overall, I had an amazing Birthday! I must extend a big Thank You to RunDisney for providing me with the opportunity to experience everything a RunDisney weekend has to offer!
Disclosure: My food, lodging, and entry to Race Retreat were provided by Disney. As usual all opinions are my own.