This was a special race for me because one year ago, the runDisney Princess Half Marathon was my first ever half marathon. I trained for over a year for the 2012 runDisney Princess Half Marathon. I worked so hard to achieve that goal, it was so cool to go back as a runDisney four time veteran. I did not have to deal with any of the first timer worries--would I be able to find my corral, would I be fast enough, on no--what about the sweeper, ect. This time, I got to just take it all in an enjoy the experience.
I stayed at the Beach Club this trip. I woke up at 3 am and tip toed around my room so I would not wake my husband or my kids up. I put on my Cinderella inspired race day outfit, got all of my gear and I was off to catch the bus. It was not until I was on the bus that I noticed I left my breakfast on the bathroom counter in the room...huge bummer! I texted all my running friends but no one had anything extra. Oh well, I would have to make the best of it. I got off the bus at the Epcot parking lot and meet up with a few friends. We walked to the corrals together. After no time, it was time for the race to start!
In true runDisney style, each corral got there very own Ready! Set! Go! followed by fireworks. Cinderella's Fairy Godmother gave each corral their very own "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo"! I started in corral C, so I did not have to wait very long to start running. For the first mile, I could hear the corrals behind me set off. Their fireworks lite the sky. After no time, I could see the arch way to the Magic Kingdom! That is one of my favorites parts of the race.
Race day was so hot! For those of us from up North, the heat was a huge change from what we were used to training in. Combined with the 97% humidity, this was one of toughest race for me yet. With no breakfast, combined with the heat and humidity--I knew I would have to take this one easy. At a runDisney race--this means lots of pictures!!!
The first place on the course we had a lot of spectators was at the Ticket and Transportation Center. There were so many people there! This was mile 4, but I was having a tough time. It was so great to have all the spectators there cheering us on. It was just what I needed to keep me going. After the TTC, we ran under the water bridge. This always fascinates my kids--cars go underneath a water way for boats. There was a really fun DJ on top of the water bridge with HUGE mickey hands on. He was so funny and a great distraction!
It was time! Time to run through the Magic Kingdom! We entered the MK from a backstage area, then turned a corner onto Main Street USA. I glanced up, and there it was--Cinderella's castle! I always get a little emotional when I see the castle. At the top of Main Street, we made a right into Tomorrowland. I was hoping we would run through the new Fantasyland but we did not. One more turn and I was at the castle! This year, they had trumpet players standing on the castle balcony. This was a really cool touch. Everyone was so busy taking pictures and videos that we came to a standstill and then walk inside the castle. Of course I stopped for several pictures at the end of the bridge. After I was sure I had enough castle shots, we ran toward Frontierland. This is where I ran into my friend Malina. We did alot of training runs together, so it was great to see her on the course.
After a few more picture stops in the MK, it was time to be on my way. We exited the Magic Kingdom and headed back toward Epcot to the finish. There were lots of spectators as we passed the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian and Shades of Green resorts. After this is the toughest part of the course for me--the two miles of highway before we get near Epcot. Disney did a great job at keeping us entertained with some characters, a huge princess balloon and music. Before I knew it, I was at the dreaded overpass. This is the part of the course most people consider the toughest. For me, its not that bad. The hills is my neighborhood at tougher, but if you are not used to hills I can see it being tough. Sarge from Toy Story was there, along with his soldiers to "motivate" runners.
After the overpass, I could see it--I could see the big "golf ball" inside Epcot. It was about mile 10, but knowing the end was getting close always gives me a second wind. It was getting very hot and sunny by this time, so I was ready to be done. We entered Epcot from a back stage area, then we ran right past the big ball. I knew the only thing between me and the finish was a jog to the entrance to World's Showcase and back. I usually hate the word jog, but that is really all I had left in me. The last half mile felt like forever! I left Epcot and could hear the choir singing. At the PHM that means you are almost done!
The finish felt so surreal this time. I was so ready for it to be over, but I wanted to take it all in. The first time I was so proud I had actually done it. This time, I just wanted to hear the crowd, feel the excitement. I looked around and could see huge smiles. I saw lots of women crying. It was amazing to be part of something like this. I crossed the finish and went for my medal! This years medal is so pretty--I could not wait to have one in my hands that was all mine. After getting my PHM medal, I went to get my Coast to Coast medal (for doing a runDisney half on each coast in one calendar year.) After getting my medals, I got some water, some snacks and meet up with some friends.
My second runDisney Princess Half Marathon was everything I had hoped it would be. I was afraid that this being my second, it would some how lose some of it's magic. I am so glad I was wrong! All the Disney magic was still there. I can't wait to run the Princess Half Marathon again next year.