We survived race day/Disney weekend! I have to say, I have participated in a lot races, but the Disney Princess Half Marathon was definitely one of a kind. Not going to lie though, after running the half and then trekking all over Magic Kingdom the next day, I am still one big ball of sore. But it was such a great experience, and worth every little bit of “ouch” that I may still be feeling.
All right, let’s dive into our Disney Princess race recap!
Okay, so I have decided race runners are a special kind of crazy. And I’m including myself in this grouping, because we pay good money to put ourselves through months of pain for training to ultimately run this ridiculous distance, and to add insult to injury, we almost always have to get up at an ungodly hour to participate in this crazy event. My tortuous wake up call came at the lovely hour of 3:50am.
Oh the joys of having to pump before the race…
But between the coffee, the excitement, and my girl friend who was racing with me, we made it to the race on time. For anyone unfamiliar with the race, it is a predominantly female race, but men are allowed to participate. But the fact that you are surrounded by all these awesome women, there was a great girl power feel going on as you’re getting pumped up for the race to start. And it was pretty hard not to get excited when every coral that went before you had fireworks going off as they ran across the starting line.
I mean come on, it’s Disney…
The race is set up to start with runners leaving Epcot and going towards Magic Kingdom. You make your way through a good portion of the park, including running through Cinderella’s castle, and then make your way back to Epcot.
Let’s face it, 13.1 miles is a really long distance no matter how you slice it, but running a race in a really cool setting can help alleviate some of the monotony. And I would say Disney World is a pretty cool setting. I mean how many other races out there have some of your favorite fictional characters waiting along the course cheering you on and ready to have a photo opt with you?! And I’m sorry, there is just something about running through Cinderella’s castle that really is magical. Definitely helped take my mind off the miles I still had left to go.
Now, I will say one of the highlights for me was around mile 7 (guestimating at its best here), I was getting a little sluggish, and I was feeling the miles for sure. And low and behold, like angels from heaven, Clif (the brand that makes the energy bars) had a station set up handing out their energy gels. If you remember from How I Pack for Race Day, I am not a huge fan of energy gels, so at first I ignored them as they were yelling out all the different fruit flavors they had. Till the guy at the end yells out he has a mocha flavor with caffeine in it.
I immediately grabbed one, and wished I’d snagged two. Holy cow it was amazing!! Total game changer. It was delicious, and I felt the pick me up from the energy shot within minutes. And it was mocha flavored, I mean come on! Now, the only thing is it did make me immediately thirsty, so if I hadn’t had my water belt on that may have been a problem.
The hardest part for me was towards the end of the race (around mile 10). There were a few “hills” left to run, and by hills I mean on ramps and bridges. First of all, Florida doesn’t have hills, so as runners were used to training on nice flat surfaces. So not only am I not a fan of incline, but those ramp hills were nice and slanted which made my knees absolutely love me, let me tell ya!
In a perfect world, I would rather get the hills out of the way in the beginning, and then enjoy the excitement of Magic Kingdom later on in the race to help carry me through some of those extra tough miles. But I guess they can’t keep the park closed to the public just for my running preferences…
Overall, this was a great race. With all different athletic levels represented, and all the fun stuff on the sidelines that you would expect from a Disney race, I would absolutely recommend this as a perfect choice for a first time racer.
And the family and the champagne at the end weren’t a bad prize to receive at the finish line either. 😉
So I’m eager to know, would you ever try running a Disney race??
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