Today, I’m finally chatting about the grand finale of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The half marathon, 13.1 magical miles through Disney World and day two of runDisney’s Glass Slipper Challenge!
Picking up with my Princess Enchanted 10k recap, I was feeling very … apprehensive about walking yet another half marathon. I had survived the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, (wearing a boot, no less,) but the experience was stressful and exhausting, both mentally and physically. For a moment, I had even considered pulling out and cheering instead. But I’m a runner. Temporarily sidelined and injured, yes, but I’m still a runner at heart and runners don’t quit.
I had to go for it.
Since the theme for the weekend was Beauty and the Beast, I had decided to revive my Gaston costume from the 2014 Tower of Terror 10-miler. This was such a fun costume, but had some flaws, ones I was excited to fix time around.
My intentions were to sparkle it up a bit, but it was hard finding both yellow and brown sequined material for the collar and belt. So I stuck with my original look by buying a fresh red v-neck, sewing on a new felt collar, (thank goodness I saved the pattern,) and pairing it with the same black Lululemon skirt. The belt I had worn the first time rode up like crazy, so I tried making one from felt. I should have pinned it to my shirt, however, since it rode up as well and in some pictures, was too high on my waist. I also forgot to tack down the corners of the collar to keep it from blowing in the wind, which means one thing.
I need to try this costume again one day and really get it right!
As usual, we left Bay Lake Towers early in hopes of getting character photos and have time to visit with friends. This time, we rode the monorail which does have some great perks, like no road traffic. But there’s still drawbacks as well. We had to switch from the resort to the parks monorail plus there was a backup on the tracks, costing us some time. The walk also seems longer to the start compared to the buses, but I’m not certain about that.
One good thing, however, is being able to use a real bathroom after getting off the monorail at Epcot rather than a port-o-potty!
It was very crowded when we finally arrived and the character lines were huge! We knew we’d only have enough time for one character photo and it had to be Belle! So we got in line with a bunch of ladies from our running group.
TIP: If you’re with a group but still want individual pictures, come up with a solid game plan before it’s your turn so there’s no confusion and less wait for those behind you! Our friends got their small group photo first and then we joined them for a large group one.
Then the gals in my room stayed for our picture …
… then I got a solo one with Belle, my absolute favorite photo of the day!
Character pictures are serious business, y’all!
Afterward, Kelly, Stephanie and I headed to bag check and took one last bathroom break before walking to the corrals.
TIP: the potties on the other side of gEAR bag check are usually shorter!
During the long walk, I ate a Nature Valley granola bar, my go-to pre-race snack. I had already eaten a wheat bagel with peanut butter plus oatmeal at the resort, since this gal needs a lot of fuel and I’ve already learned my lesson about not eating enough.
I was bummed about not being able to run with Stephanie and Kelly again … we had such a blast last year! But I was determined to not ruin my race experience by being depressed over something out of my control. So I gave them big hugs and headed to Corral C. (They started in D but I didn’t move back since I needed all the time I could get. My Balloon Lady encounter from the 10k was still fresh on my mind!)A very long, photo-heavy #PrincessHalf blog recap! #werunsocial #rundisney #disneyworld… Click To Tweet
I wanted to take some video and pictures, so I headed to the front since the corral wasn’t crowded yet. I have a policy that as long as I can walk without having to twist my shoulders and scoot by others, it’s okay to move forward. At the front, I was so happy to run into Angie, a gal from my running group!
How could I not be excited from this view!
Sigh. I want to be Carissa sometimes.
Once it was time for our corral to move up, I walked to the rear to avoid being trampled, with a couple of folks telling me I was going the wrong way. Going the back was hard for this Type A gal!
The guy who sang the National Anthem had a great voice, making me wish I had taken note of his name.
TIP: If you take video of the singing of our National Anthem, be prepared for some gorgeous fireworks afterward!
Soon it was time for Corral C to start!
Once again, it was hard having to watch everyone take off running with me hobbling behind. During Wine & Dine, this was made easier from the spectators who cheered me on after seeing my boot, but there was silence this time. It was rather cool, however, getting some video of the fireworks going off behind me!
The fun wore off when I had corral after corral run past, reminding me of what I was missing out on and feeling like being stuck eating carrot sticks while everyone else eats candy. Yes, I know, I’m sounding really whiny now. But during the time of this race, I was on my fifth month of no running without any hope in sight. I was grateful my doctor had cleared me to walk, however, so this Gimpy Gaston shook off her blues and carried on.
My mood was significantly brightened after the first mile when Nicole stopped to say hello! She’s a loyal subscriber who we greatly appreciate, so it was fantastic chatting with both her and her mom.
Now, about the course:
The first four miles were mostly highway until we entered Magic Kingdom at around Mile 5. There were some character photo opportunities and entertainment along the way, but since my goal was to keep far ahead of the Balloon Ladies, I planned on skipping and settling for selfies instead.
And what do you know, I ended up seeing my friend, Donna again! Despite living only thirty minutes away from each other, this weekend was the first we’ve gotten to meet in person. She’s my kind of gal, so I have a goal of running a race with her and another adventurous spirit, Celeste, one day! The fact that we were both dressed as dudes still cracks me up.
Somewhere in this screenshot are the Princes. I wanted to get a screenshot, but crossing the highway was difficult and I wasn’t holding out for a hero at the time.
I always love, love, LOVE seeing this sign!
These gals had the CUTEST costumes!
Now, remember me saying how I wasn’t going to stop for any character photos? Well, when I saw Mrs. Incredible, I just had to, despite the long line. Look at her colors! They matched mine perfectly!
(Btw, I will later regret this decision. Just saying.)
Stopping for the Villains … however wonderful that photo would have been … was seriously out. The line was insane! So another over-the-shoulder selfie for me. It does look like the Evil Queen is giving me some love, though, right?
As we neared the Ticket & Transporation Center, a popular place for chEARleaders to spectate, a few of us noticed how some guys were drinking beer already despite the early hour. Talk about commitment!
By then, I seriously needed a bathroom but with barricades lining both sides of the path, I couldn’t find a way to get to them. Word is there was a break, but I’ve yet to figure out where!
These signs were fantastic, and reminded me to keep going, full bladder and all.
I always love seeing the Polynesian drummers!
And here are the Parade Buses … aka, sweeper buses. Not today, sweethearts!
While looping around the back streets toward Magic Kingdom, I noticed a gal wearing a Beast costume stopping for a photo in front of Space Mountain. Sometimes in life, you gotta create your own character opportunities, so I asked if she’d mind getting one with me!
We tried to look nasty at each other, but that didn’t work. Our Beast and Gaston interpretations were peaceful ones.
There were some minor changes to the course and one definite improvement was moving the Mile 5 marker away from a tight corner. It used to be hard getting a photo there and potentially dangerous, and this was a much better place!
Soon it was time for one of the absolute best moments of any runDisney race … entering Magic Kingdom and running down Main Street!
I will never, ever tire of running down Main Street with the cheering spectators, park music, and that first gorgeous glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle!
And being in Magic Kingdom meant bathrooms! Thank goodness! I hopped off Main Street and made a dash for the ones near the Plaza … many folks go to Tomorrowland instead, so the line was very short.
Whew. Back in business!
Something else many runners also miss is a photo with Buzz Lightyear, since the course veers sharply to the left and he’s on the right. I wasn’t going to stop … but the line! It was short! I just had to!
(Btw, I will later regret this decision. Just saying.)
While heading toward Fantasy Land, the Queen of Hearts was near the teacups, but I couldn’t get a good shot of her. Then when walking past Ariel’s Grotto, I saw a tremendous character line and asked a gal who it was for.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Gaston! I should have known he’d be out with the Beauty and the Beast theme! Darn my decision to stop for Mrs. Incredible and Buzz. Despite the ridiculous line, I had to get in. It moved very slow, so I asked the gal behind me if she’d mind me getting a closer look. Gaston was chatting it up with everyone rather than just standing there looking pretty, like we wanted him to!
But still. Gaston. Gaston!! I needed a picture!
While continuing to wait, however, my anxiety started to sky rocket, especially when I noticed runners wearing bibs from the M and N corral. The last thing I wanted was to have the Balloon Ladies on my tail again, so I had to leave the line.
I did make a mistake afterward by walking too fast and even running for a few test strides thanks to my BLF. (Balloon Lady Fear.) I made up for the time spent in line, but it exhausted me. Before the race, I trained as much as possible on the stationary bike to raise my endurance, but it wasn’t the same as walking. So after putting in a safety cushion, I slowed back down.
I couldn’t get my traditional railroad picture, since the area was apparently being renovated. And the line for Sleeping Beauty? Oh my goodness. Insane. Another selfie it was!
Finally! .9 miles over the halfway mark! And if you think it’s taking forever reading this recap, imagine walking it.
Mary Poppins must have been on a break!
The line for the Wedding Guys, (I’m sure there’s a better name for them,) near the Grand Floridian wasn’t too terribly long, so I regret not stopping. They’re always fun!
Genie? Forget it.
I might be smiling at Mile 8, but by this time, I was pretty exhausted. My foot didn’t hurt, but my quads sure did. Plus it had gotten very congested with walkers and I was having a hard time maintaining my goal pace of 16mm. I needed a serious pick-me-up, so when I saw there was no line for these guys, I had to stop!
Slowly, very slowly …
Another long line for the Princes. No hero photo for me!
But Captain Jack. CAPTAIN JACK! Despite the line, I just had to say hello considering he wasn’t out for last year’s Princess Half. And daggone it, I needed to have some fun during this race! I’m glad I stopped because my husband thinks I look sexy in this one. Meow.
Where I wanted to be:
Again. Not today, Parade Buses!
Some encouragement from Serge!
Where I soon was!
Thank you, ladies!
And many thanks to you awesome volunteers!
By this time … I must admit I was ready to end this race. I was having a blast by making the most of it, but still. I was ready.
And I wasn’t exactly sure where the final sweep point was. Some folks had said the last hard sweep was at Mile 10, but I saw more Parade buses after 11.
Yes. See that gorgeous globe in the distance?? That could only mean one thing. We were getting close to Epcot with only 1.1 miles to go!!
Once we were nearing a back entrance to Epcot, I knew there’d be no more sweeps and I was SAFE, thank goodness! So I would have stopped for Mushu even if the line wasn’t rather short.
Somewhere around this point, I ran into my good friend, Jackie, who was having some issues with her knees. I needed another bathroom break, a consequence when you must walk a long time and take both a water and Powerade at each water stop. So we made a plan that while I ducked into a bathroom, she’d go ahead to the next character stop who turned out to be a duck of a different kind, Daisy!
We stuck together until the end and soon heard the most glorious singing from the gospel choir. Hallelujah!
And then we saw another glorious sight. The Mile 13 marker!!
And then came the most glorious sight of all. THE FINISH LINE!!
Hello, Mickey, you gorgeous, gorgeous mouse.
Must admit. Getting this medal felt really, really, REALLY great!
We had to stop for pixie dust from a fairy godmother-in-training!
So I did it, I finished my fifth Princess Half Marathon, (which was also the fifth anniversary of my very first half marathon.) Time to celebrate!
I headed to the beer stand, where I got to meet another viewer! Hey, Bob, thanks for saying hello and congrats, again, for finishing!
Having some fun with another Belle who didn’t appreciate the awesomeness that is Gaston. As if.
The character and Princess Half Marathon backdrop photo lines were too crazy for this tired gal, so I headed to the bus lines instead. I soon met up with my friends in the room and we shared a beautiful cupcake, celebrating our finish together!
Now. Remember me whining … err, I mean, mentioning my disappointment over not getting a picture with Gaston which turns out, could have been a mistake and maybe I did have time?
With Magic Kingdom only a walk away, I figured that this Gimpy Gaston deserved a picture with the one and only, so I freshened up a bit … which really didn’t do any good, and headed out. I had just missed him, however, which made me even more determined to stay. So I got some lunch, got in line, and soon, this happened!
Afterward, I hustled back to Bay Lake since we were having an early dinner with the others in my group at ‘Ohana, our tradition for the past five years. I couldn’t wait to see everyone and hear how their race went!
All in all, I had an amazing time during the Princess Half Marathon and the entire weekend. Had it not been for my injury, it definitely would have been my absolute favorite, thanks to my wonderful friends!
And even though it’s still not certain when I’ll be able to run again, I have already registered for next year’s Princess Half Marathon because I’m determined … DETERMINED to be running by then! Hear me now, folks, it’s gonna happen. I demand a redo!
Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed this long, long recap! If you missed my others, here’s the links:
- Arrival and Park Fun
- Fit for a Princess Expo
- Princess 5k
- Princess Enchanted 10k
- We Run Social PHM Meetup
Are you thinking about trying a runDisney race one day, maybe the Princess Half? Awesome, be sure to leave any questions you might have in the comments below and subscribe! I will be sharing lots of tips in the months to come. And be sure to visit our Joyful Miles YouTube channel where I share video race recaps, more tips, and our weekly Jammin’ On The Run chat sessions!
Again, thanks for following along with my journey and as always, have a joyful day!