Well, Princess Half Marathon turned out to be an epic weekend of firsts:
1) my first HALF (yippee);
2) my first time at Walt Disney World on my birthday–which just means you’re never too old to wear the birthday button or a cool “It’s My Birthday” ear hat a friend gives you (more on that one later); AND
3) my first time staying Club Level in a 2 bedroom SUITE at the BoardWalk Inn (heck yeah, you read that one right-we scored an UPGRADE which Cast Members just called a “Magical Moment”–I’m still not sure how that happened but I know one thing: It.Was. Awesome). More on that in my next post, where I lamely attempt another HGTV wannabe tour of the suite on checkout day (hey, it’s the best I could do!)
OK, so the weekend wasn’t ALL firsts: it WAS actually my 2nd runDisney event, and also my 2nd girls weekend at Disney since the inaugural Disney Divas last September in conjunction with Tower of Terror 10 miler and the Moms Panel luncheon weekend. But suffice it to say that I will continue to keep going back with all the amazing experiences I had. Staying with wonderful girlfriends? Check. Awesome location at the BoardWalk Inn overlooking France and the Eiffel Tower at Epcot? Double check. You know your vacation is starting off on the right foot when your bestie gives you a birthday ear hat as soon as you set foot off the Disney Magical Express! Then we bumped into Lou Mongello from WDW Radio in the lobby. I’d say we were off to a FAB start to the weekend. Then again, it WAS my birthday, so I was stoked to be there and looking forward to dining at Be Our Guest that evening and getting to finally try the “Grey Stuff.” (Stay tuned for my recap of New Fantasyland and Be Our Guest in a later post).
So fast forward to Sunday morning, and when I say morning, it feels more like middle of the night! OK so waking up at 2:45AM isn’t my idea of a good time, but a necessary evil in order to participate in the Princess Half. One of my perky suite mate bounded out of bed and cajoled me into getting my bum outta bed to don our Princess attire: she with her Ariel cuteness (complete with Flounder to swim alongside her as she ran, while I in my Belle golden garb and naturally the red rose. My third suitemate traded her glass slipper in for running shoes, but was ready to hit the ground running as Cinderella.
In my humble opinion, Princess Half really stomped the Tower of Terror on entertainment value. Tons of character stops, some of which are quite hard to find in the parks. Plus how can you beat getting to run down Main Street USA with Cinderella Castle in the background? (I would say we also ran through the castle but by then the crowds were so heavy that we settled for walking. Oh well. I couldn’t pass up posing with Minnie and Mickey in their royal attire!
Another great photo op with Cinderella and Prince Charming…
My only complain about the Princess Half? Too many people. I started in Corral B, which wasn’t bad until I started stopping for photos with the characters along the race route. I made the decision to take full advantage of all the pixie dusted opportunities along the course, which were plentiful. However, every time I paused to grab a photo op, I had a 5-10 minute wait. But hey, I never intended to do this half marathon for time, so I wasn’t using that as my benchmark for success. (Good thing). By the time I exited Magic Kingdom and began really running again, it was a sea of people. As in, 23,000 people-ish. To run, you had to get into the grassy median and bob and weave through the obstacle course of Princesses and tutus. Hey, at least everyone was well dressed!
But that one small detail aside, it was a awesome feeling to start and complete my very first half marathon and feel good doing it. Sure, my legs hated me later that day as we walked all afternoon in Epcot and my body is still peeved that we didn’t take a nap that afternoon like I said I would (getting up to run a 13.1 mile race at 2:45 AM is seriously certifiable). I have pushed myself beyond what I ever imagined I would be capable of. I was never a runner girl growing up. More the swimmer and church league basketball player. Having started running last May was initially a whim that frankly I thought would fizzle out. But I started getting better. Testing my limits. It felt good. I even began looking forward to my training runs.
When I crossed the finish line after just giving Minnie Mouse a high five, I felt what can only be described as pure joy and a sense of accomplishment. Now I see why so many people clamor to run these races and put so much time and energy into their costumes. And the Princess medal was simply the icing on the cake!
Of course, I didn’t mind rewarding myself at La Cava del Tequila with a delicious jalapeno margarita afterwards 🙂
Which begs the next question: Will I do the Princess Half again? The answer is a resounding YES! Definitely this was the race that really hooked me on runDisney. My only dilemma is which race will I do next? Perhaps a Family 5K is in my future too-my daughter has decided she wants to run also (but probably because she knows she’ll score a trip to her favorite place if she does!) Smart girl!
In short, the Princess Half Marathon weekend earns 4 1/2 out of 5 running shoes (on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the absolute best) for fun, fitness, and fantasy!