Although I have run many races at Disney World, this was my first time running the Princess Half. Last year I volunteered at the race and it stoked my fire to run it this year. Plus it was part of my plan to earn Disney's Coast to Coast Medal.
I headed to the Expo after the Meet Up. I arrived just after it opened and there was a line to get in. I had never waited to get in before. While waiting they had this photo op. I didn't have time to wait in that line too since I had to get to work.
The place was packed, and there was a lot to see. I told myself I was just going to pick up my packet and NOT browse...
That didn't work out exactly how I planned. I saw a great blue Coast to Coast shirt and was set to get it until I saw the length of the line. I didn't need it that badly. The Luna Bar booth had yummy samples of their Mint Chocolate Chip protein bar.
I ended up buying a shirt from Foot Locker and then had buyer's remorse. I should have stuck to my original plan.
I am very happy with the t-shirt we got for participating! And they have made changing sizes so much easier. Once again I ordered, the wrong size and had to switch for a larger one. I was excited to see I would be in corral A! It is so much nicer to be near the front. Shorter lines for photos, less people on the course and less waiting until start time. All good things!
I was also given my bracelet for the Coast to Coast Medal. They had to put it on me right then, so I sported my "I went to a bar last night" bracelet for a few days.
Race day started for me at 3:15am. I wanted to leave the house by 3:30 in hopes of beating some of the traffic headed for Epcot. I've been in worse, but it was still a hectic ride once we hit Disney property. I hate that part, it can be stressful, but I like to sleep at home before a race and didn't want to pay to for a room.
I waited in the car until I had to make my way to the starting line and gave myself 20 minutes, but it was so crowded and the group was not moving. Our path was blocked by people waiting in line for the rows of bathrooms along the way. It ended up taking me much, much longer. The national anthem began playing and I had not yet made it to my corral!
I made it with a few minutes to spare. I worked my way to the front half with the 1:50 pace group in sight. I didn't think I could run it in that time, but I wanted to see myself in comparison. Within the first mile, they were already out of sight. They ran so fast and I thought I had a quick starting pace for me.
There were tons of photo ops in this race, with almost any character you could imagine. Some I hated to run by without taking a picture, but I told myself that I was running for a time and couldn't stop.
My goal was to beat 2:00. I ran my last half in 2:06 and knew I needed to start off a little stronger. The first 5K felt good, but when I hit the first hill coming up from the underpass at about mile 5 I felt so winded! I knew I needed to slow down and catch my breath. It took a while to recover and I felt slow throughout the Magic Kingdom. At this point, I figured I had lost my chance to beat 2 hours, so I decided to stop for a photo outside the castle. If I didn't make my time, I wanted to have pictures. I have seen some really great castle photos before, but I know now that they don't look good in the dark. I suppose that's a downside of an early start time. I did get a few good photos, though.
I spent miles 9-12 with the 2 hour pace group. I knew I started a little before them, and really needed to stay ahead of them, but this was the best I could do. The pace runner was great and kept the group updated on how much longer to the next mile, upcoming water stations and details of the course. It helped me keep going until we reached the second hill somewhere near mile 12. I made it up the ramp and then walked through the water station. When faced with the second hill, I started to walk and just then a passing runner told me not to walk and run the hill with her. I did. Princess Emily saved me from exhaustion and got me through that hill. She was a lifesaver! I had fallen behind the two hour pace group, but did my best to keep a decent pace for the remaining miles.
I was so tired! I just wanted to be done.
I gave one last push to the end and ended up finishing with 2:00:03 four seconds past my goal! If I had known I was that close, I wouldn't have stopped for photos! Although unofficial, it counts for me. Now I won't have the pressure to make that time.
I picked up my Princess medal and then got my Coast to Coast! It is beautiful! I am so excited to have it.
The after race snacks included those delicious Mint Chocolate Chip Luna bars, fruit snacks and this snack box with crackers, hummus, edamame and trail mix.
My husband brought my Tinkerbell medal for photos and made this awesome sign! He is my biggest fan and always gets up early and comes to cheer me on in races if he is not running in them too.
I'm glad I had the experience of running the Princess Half. It is the most relaxed Half that I have been in at Disney. I would say the majority of runners were there for the costumes, the pictures and the socializing. If I do it again, I will take many more photos and just enjoy the run.
5K Pace - 9:11
10K Pace - 9:08
15K Pace - 9:08
Finish Pace - 9:10