Hello again! This will be my official recap of the 2017 Walt Disney World Princess 1/2 Marathon. (Finally, I know). This is going to be a looooong read. So go get that second, or third, cup of coffee and settle in.
It’s taken me a while to find the right words to do this recap justice (and I’m a seriously lazy blogger), but I’m going to try and recount the day as best I can, thankfully there are a LOT of pictures to help paint the picture.
We’ll start with that awful alarm going off at 2am. I did not sleep well (or long) the night before, partly from the heartburn I got from eating too much guacamole but mostly from nerves. My stomach was all jacked up. But I got up and put on some coffee and started getting dressed as quietly as I could so I didn’t wake the whole house. A big part of my outfit involved doing my hair so I spent a lot of time in the bathroom making sure I had hair that would make Lottie proud, and spraying the crap out of it with AquaNet. Then I drank my coffee, some water, and tried to get some bagel and peanut butter down without yakking. Finally at 3am I woke up my husband so he could drive me over to Epcot. The drive over was uneventful and all around quick and painless. As we got closer to Epcot there were more signs up to get us in the correct line for runner drop off. We said goodbye and out I got with my check bag to make the mile long walk over to the bag check and meet up with Arianne.
Bag check was super easy, but I still didn’t know where Arianne was so I texted her where I was standing and tried to nibble on a protein bar but my stomach was all knotted up and I only got a few bites down before chucking it. Arianne texted me back around then saying she was in one of the character meet lines by the stage, essentially she was right behind me! After 3 years of online cheering and texting we were going to meet in person! She was with her friends Chris and Tony, so I jumped in line with them which I’m so thankful for because talking with them while we were waiting for the time to head to our corrals really helped me forget my nerves (for a little anyway)
LeiaBelle and Beast Solo/Tiana and Lottie
First character stop: Pocahontas (she rotated out with Merida) but we were on the wrong side of the stage, Tiana was taking pictures on the left side.
After we got out pictures taken we started the second mile walk of the day, to the corrals. I had read numerous blog posts about it but didn’t realize the truth until we started the walk, it was a slow cattle heard to get there! A lot of that traffic had to do with the last line of port-a-potties before you get on the race course too. The corrals are split into A-P, Chris and Tony were in D and Arianne and I were in O (I felt really guilty because Arianne could have stated up in M, but my POT wasn’t as good as hers so to the back we went)
And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Each corral was set off about 5 minutes apart with mini waves in each one to help elevate some of the mass chaos. I forced myself to eat one of my Honey Stinger waffles while we were waiting closer to the start because I’m so bad about nutrition during a race. And then finally about an hour after the first wave of runners started, it was our turn!
And just like that, we were off on an adventure together! I had my Garmin set to the :30/:30 intervals we were going to keep and Arianne had one earbud in with the intervals connected to her music so we could both be accountable. I had ditched my throw away sweatshirt in the corral right before started, but a lot of other people were still holding on to theirs, and the ground was littered with all kinds of clothing and ponchos and trash bags as we mad our way through that first mile. I saw one woman slip and fall on a poncho, I think she was ok but it did make my dad to see how all the other runners ahead of us were so careless when they disguarded of their throwaways and didn’t think about all the people who would be running after them.
Before we even got to the first mile marker we hit the first water stop. I’m not a huge fan of sports drinks, so I would wait until I got to the wafer and made sure I had some at every stop. And then we saw the first mile marker, and I was so excited, it was Aurora!
That’s a lot of pink…
Between miles 1 and 2 were the first character photo stops of the race, Pirates and Heroes. Arianne wanted this race to be everything I dreamed of, and asked at every photo opp if I wanted to stop, but I wasn’t prepared to stop running and risk facing the balloon ladies before we even got to the 5k mark. So w kept going, hit mile 2and shortly after we heard the sweet sounds of “caution runners, speed bump ahead” which meant one thing, we were entering Magic Kingdom property! Still trying to master running and selfie-omg
Coming up after that was the mile 3 marker Cinderella and nearly done the first 5k of the race!
The next character stop was ahead on the right and the line liked pretty long, but I almost cried when I saw it was The Evil Queen from Snow White by herself and MALEFICENT by herself! She’s my favorite villain and was really upset I couldn’t find her to get a picture with her at the Tower of Terror race. But we were still only 3.5 miles into these 13.1, and the line was a good 10 minute wait. So even though it broke my heart, we jumped out of line and I just had to settle for a drive by picture lol
The first cone alley, heading downhill to run under Bay Lake.
I had heard horror stories about this section of the race, but I didn’t feel like it was as bad as others had made it out to be. Maybe it was different than in years past, or maybe I was still allowing the Disney Magic to keep everything positive. Mile 4 is right as you come up by The Contemporary Resort.
Since we were 4 miles in, and it had been nearly 6 hours since I woke up that morning I had to make my first mid-run bathroom break. Arianne said there was a real bathroom when we passed the TTC around mile 4, but they had it blocked off!! Guess I was going to have to wait until we got into Magic Kingdom!
Which meant one thing, it was almost time to run THROUGH The Magic Kingdom! Right around the riverbend, I mean corner, is the backstage entrance to MK! *Also, why is Lady and the Tramp a mile marker for Princess 1/2?*
Running right right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A.!
It was absolutely incredible. All the people lining the sidewalk to cheer on the runners, I can’t even put it into words.
I only wish my bladder wasn’t forcing me to rush through so I could make the turn towards Tomorrowland and finally get to use a real bathroom!This view was worth the waitCastle picture while waiting to use the bathroomArianne was laughing at me trying to position the castle behind me for this selfie before jumping into the bathroom line.
10 minutes later, we were back on track and running around Tomorrowland and around the back way to Fantasyland. There were a bunch of characters out for photo stops, like Buzz Lightyear and the Queen of Hearts, but we had a lot of time to make up so we just enjoyed the sights. The course took us around the very back of Fantasyland behind Mine Train and Storybook Circus.
After passing Voyage of the Little Mermaid there was a HUGE line to wait for a picture with Gaston by his fountain. There was no way we were going to wait for that, although how amazing would that have been to act out as Lottie? So another drive by picture was taken.Lottie was heart broken at not getting a picture with Gaston.
Almost immediately after that line was ANOTHER huge line at Be Our Guest restaurant. Beast was out in his revamped eveningwear. As cool as that would have been, we ran past and on to the castle! And we actually got to run THROUGH the castle!
The Fairy God Mothers of The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique were put sprinkling glitter on the heads of the runners as they ran by, I gladly allowed 3 or 4 to glitter me up.
After making it through the castle we went down to the right and got out of the way to get our picture taken in front of the castle. Then is was back in to the fray as we crossed the footbridge into Liberty Square and up towards Frontierland where we would be exiting Magic Kingdom to head back toawrds Epcot and the finish.
On the way out of the Magic Kingdom, we passed yet another ridiculously long line. I had a feeling it was for the Princesses and their Prince. And sure enough, we saw Snow and Ferdinand and Cindy and Charming out. No thanks. If it had been Aurora and Phillip and Tiana and Naveen I might have considered stopping and risking the sweeper bus, but we had just hit mile 6, and we still had a long way to go.
The next 4 miles were some of the hardest, both mentally and physically for me. I was starting to get hungry, and even with the honey stinger chomps and the gu I took at mile 6, I knew the second half of the race was going to take more mental strength. Thankfully I had Arianne, and she found her groove at mile 7. We somehow got caught behind a Galloway pace group between miles 6 and 7, and our intervals were different than the group, and we kept getting caught in the middle of a very large group of walkers.
This part of the course was my least favorite. It was very narrow, since we only had 1/2 of the road to run on so traffic could still get through on the other side. As we came up to The Grand Floridian Resort, we passed by the greeter of the Grand Floridian (whose name eludes me right now) and the penguins from Mary Poppins. There was also another photo stop that had Cinderella’s Glass Slipper with some footmen. Right before mile 8 we saw the scary “Parade Buses” aka the sweeper bus. I knew we weren’t in danger of being swept, but we still yelled as we ran away and kept plugging along.
Mile 8 brought a med tent and I thought about getting some advil for the headache that was brewing due to the serious hunger pains, but I headed towards the water station instead and this time I got a poweraide and a water to try and get some electrolytes into me. Mile 9 I had to stop and flip off the mile marker which was Elsa and Anna from Frozen (I also gave them the finger in the Magic Kingdom, they were positioned at the castle but not as a photo stop, I just had to get some aggression out and they are my most hated thing as Disney). Arianne thought it was hilarious.
And right when I thought I was going to have to start walking more, we saw that the Heroes photo stop was right up a head and Arianne ran to get in line. When I caught up we only had to wait a few moments, but it was nice to stop and stretch out my old lady hips. As we got closer Arianne asked who I wanted to stand with, Prince Eric, Flynn Rider, John Smith, or Phoebus. I figured NO ONE knew who Phoebus was (the officer from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by the way) so I announced as we were going for our picture “I want to stand with Phoebus!”, I’m pretty sure I made that guys day because I’m sure everyone wanted Eric or Flynn.
With that photo stop done, I would have been a happy Princess and just kept going to get to the finish. But then we saw the Pirates photo stop had NO LINE! So OF COURSE WE STOPPED! And I may or may not have swooned when Captain Jack Sparrow smoldered down at me and called me love.Lottie almost became a pirate…
And back onto the highway, coming up towards mile 10 and another round of Parade Buses. Again, we yelled at them to go away and ‘not today!’ as we ran past, and started the first of multiple uphill parts as we were finally getting towards the entrance to Epcot. I was fading fast, and as we rounded a turn, we could see the dreaded balloon ladies too close for comfort. Arianne was so incredible, pushing me to keep moving forward and to keep giving my running intervals everything I could until we got inside Epcot where we would be 100% safe from getting swept. Right around there, we picked up a third person to our party. Her name was Jillian, and this was her very first 1/2 marathon and asked if she could run with us.
I swear, we just kept running up and up for mile 11. And right around mile 12, we started the desent to get into the Epcot parking lot and enter the park! We made it! We were safe!
You enter Epcot from the side, and we saw one last character stop with Mushu from Mulan, but I was ready to get to the finish line! It was around that time that John asked where I was. He was still trying to find a parking spot with Ashlee and Heather. I was so happy that all three of them (and Hope of course) were there to see me finish! But we weren’t there yet. It was around 10am by then, and the park was open to the public. They had the race course roped off for the runners to go around Spaceship Earth and circle back around to the other side before exiting the park at mile 13.
We stopped for one last picture, and we even jumped for joy at being so close to the finish!
Then we it that last .1 miles and saw the finish line!
We did it!
(That’s Jillian behind me in the black, she finished her first 1/2 marathon!!)
John, Ashlee, and Heather got there JUST in time to see me cross the finish line, and John was wearing the shirt I bought him at the expo too. Arianne and I then continued walking to get out medals and got a finish photo before getting that amazing food box and a bottle of water.
I then went to get my bag from bag check and met up with my husband and friends. There was not shade at the family reunion area, and I was not feeling great. So Arianne and I hugged like 8 more times and said goodbye, she to the busses back her resort (where she ran into the #PrincessMen group! I was so jealous!!)
and we made our way to the car and started the drive back to Ocoee.
There are times when I can’t believe that it happened, but it did! And I learned a lot during that race.
- I need to eat more before I run longer than 6 miles.
- The 10k is my ideal race length.
- I have the best friends and husband in the world to support me.
- It’s time to knuckle down on my weight loss program and weight training before I try to tackle another distance race.
- I WILL be back to run Princess again, but only when I’m ready.
If you’ve stuck with this incredibly long post, I thank you. And if you’ve stuck with me from the beginning of this crazy journey, your support means more to me than I’ll ever be able to express.
What’s that one race on your bucket list? Have you been able to cross it off yet? How did you feel when you finally crossed that finish line?