Welp, here we are! Almost a year since my last post. I find it kind of ironic my last post was talking about my most recent surgery and here we are 11 months later talking about running 22.4 miles around Disney World, yet again. A lot has happened since then. The one way I would describe it would be a rollercoaster of great highs and super lows. I plan to do an update post to let y’all know what’s happened in the last few months, so be on the lookout for that either this week or next! But on to what you’re here for Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2020! How is it possible that I waited so long for this weekend for it to go by in 2 seconds?! Not complaining because I have some of my best memories from last weekend.
I flew into Orlando on Wednesday night after my class because who needs school when you have Disney right?! The next morning was dedicated to shopping at the Expo knowing it would be crowded. We weren’t there as early as I hoped cause sleep. I think we got there around 10:00 and the expo opened at 9:00. Thankfully, I preordered the weekend jacket, so we were able to bypass the extremely long and slow line to get into the merchandise area! Pro tip – preorder merchandise for race weekends if getting the merchandise is REALLY important to you. It is a much faster way in than waiting in the regular line. While I did not actually see the line, I am using a friend as a point of reference. She got there about 30 minutes before mom and I, so there’s your reference point, and mom and I were done shopping and checking out when they were let into the merchandise area. The expo was super crowded, but also keep in mind we were there the first morning and it’s princess weekend – the busiest weekend of the year for runDisney! Once I bought way more than I said I would, mom and I went and met the footmen in front of Cinderella’s carriage. The line was semi-long. I’d say about 15 minutes, but it was worth the wait because it was such a unique and fun experience! The rest of the expo went along the same as always! Each race weekend, I am noticing that runDisney is making an effort to add more photo opportunities throughout the different areas, so I definitely suggest taking advantage of these photo ops – they make for the cutest pics!
Let’s talk about the 5K now, L O L. I feel like that just sums up the whole morning. The forecast kept showing showers and cold, and Mother Nature made sure to deliver on it. Mom, a friend, and I were the three good fairies from Sleeping Beauty, but nobody saw our costumes because we had so many dang layers on. I personally had on leggings, a throwaway jacket, a blanket wrapped around me, and a poncho. It was rough yall. The rain and wind never let up throughout the entire course. I will say, and I’m sad to say it but that was my worst runDisney race to date. And to be clear it wasn’t runDisney’s doing at all – the weather just truly made it miserable. Please enjoy these rough pictures of mom and I walking the course. I am honestly so surprised that Photopass was able to link these to me because I was not concerned if they could see my bib number or not – I just wanted to get back to the room as quick as possible!
Thankfully, we came prepared the next morning. After we finished at the parks Friday – we headed to Walmart and the outlet malls to pick up some cold-weather gear because the rain the day before brought in a cold front. Oh Florida, I loathe your bipolar weather. The cold weather gear helped, but I won’t lie y’all it was COLD, and I had to stop mom from going back to the Swan to our room when we were on the boardwalk loop of the 10k way too often. We had such a better time than the day before though. We didn’t stop for many characters except towards the end of the course we spotted Flora and Fauna. They had a pretty decent sized line, but so worth it because when have you ever seen them in the parks before?! Unfortunately, Flora had to leave before our turn, but we still got our picture with Fauna! Sidenote to add that mom and I ran as Cinderella and Fairy Godmother. I feel like my mom being Fairy Godmother is SO fitting because she has always made my dreams come true, and I am so thankful to share these experiences with her.
Finally, the half! Truthfully, the only training I did for this was a 30 minute run the Monday before I left to make sure my body still remembered how to run. I have been dealing with injuries on and off since Dopey in January, so training just wasn’t in the cards for me. I also went into the half with this mentality that I just did 26.2 miles in horrible conditions – the half was going to be a piece of cake, in comparison. I am so happy to report that it stayed true. This was my favorite half marathon I have ever run! Everything fell together – the weather was PERFECT running weather, I had no pain, and I was just genuinely excited to enjoy the run. I will say this is the first half marathon I have felt confident in my abilities since I had hip surgery in March. There has been this anxiety filling my head ever since my surgery every time I go for long runs that something bad is going to happen, and I feel like this was the race I needed to get into a new mindset. My one disappointment was that there were no princes on the course. I have been kicking myself in the butt because I didn’t stop for the huge group of princes on the course last year, so I was determined to stop for the picture this year and of course, they weren’t out. Other than that little missed opportunity, this was my favorite runDisney race to date, truly.
Now I am going to answer some questions I got through my Instagram stories! Thanks to everyone who submitted!
- Best tips for registration?
- Honestly, just signing up as soon as possible especially for Princess. If you are an annual passholder or Disney vacation club member you get to sign up a week early, so definitely take advantage of that if you can! Also, you could buy a bib before they go on sale by booking a vacation package through a travel agent, so you could get your registration, tickets, and room all in one!
- Are there multiple balloon ladies for different paces? Massive fear of being swept!
- Nope! The balloon ladies are the very last ones to cross the start line, and they will hold the 16 min/mile pace from that point. Also, don’t fear being swept. I learned especially during the marathon running is all about the mindset you hold. Just believe in yourself and follow your training, and you’ll be good to go. I will be doing a whole post about the Dopey Challenge with an injury – I walked at least half of the marathon, and I was so scared of being swept, but I wasn’t! So if I can do it, so can you!
- Do you cross-train as well as run train? And how many times a week?
- So I have been with my coach (@runningwithstrength) for over a year now! She sets my running and cross-training schedule each week based on what I’m training for! Typically, I’ll run 3 or 4 days a week and cross-train 2 or 3 days with a rest day on Sunday! I wholeheartedly recommend cross-training. So crucial for helping prevent injuries but also the strength helps when you run too!
- Best or most memorable moment?
- I feel like it’s too basic for me to say the whole half marathon even though it’s 100% true, so I’ll pick my favorite moment from it. Obviously running down Main Street headed towards the castle is everything. I get chills just thinking about it right now, but it was extra special this year because my mom was waiting at the end of it. Last year she couldn’t attend Princess because she broke her leg. It was the hardest thing to not have her there when she is always there. I ended up facetiming her while I ran down Main Street, so she could be there with me. We both ended up bawling like babies, so to have her there cheering me on was everything for me because I would not be running if it wasn’t for her and her constant support.