Swimming Through 13.1 Miles: Disney Princess Half 2016

Welcome to all hoppers! For my spotlight post, I decided I’d write my Princess Half race recap; Β racing is what I’m most passionate about and Princess holds a special spot in my heart as it’s the race that first made me want to become a runner! This year’s theme was The Little Mermaid, which was kind of perfect because she was my all time favorite Princess!

Flippin your fins you don't get too far....legs are required for jumping, dancing...
Flippin your fins you don’t get too far….legs are required for jumping, dancing…

In 2013 before I was a runner, I convinced a friend to sign up for the PHM with me- it would be our first event together and my first race! Maybe that was a little ambitious, but I’m known to go “all in” when it comes to things I want to do! However, she backed out of signing up and I didn’t want to do it alone so I never signed up either. In 2014 I had officially become a runner and I signed up for the 2015 event with the intention of making Princess my first half. However, my body had other ideas and I was injured at the end of 2014 with a hip flexor strain, unable to run for about two months. Since I wasn’t able to train properly, I made the incredibly difficult decision to defer my half entry to 2016. It was a very sad day for me, as I had my heart set on Princess being my first half. I ended up doing the Iron Girl 1/2 in Clearwater instead later that spring. While it was a good half, I was still disappointed that Princess wasn’t my first. This year I was finally able finish it!

Despite the fact that we had a 3am wake up call, I jumped out of bed ready to go Sunday morning. I wasn’t really feeling nervous as I typically do before a race; I was more excited at the fact that I was finally going to get to complete the Princess Half. Before I knew it, we were arriving at the race site. Traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be- we managed to get there and park in about 20 minutes. There were a ton of people there! I was trying to find several groups of friends who were also doing the race but only managed to meet up with Barbara. I hadn’t seen her in a while so it was great getting to take pre-race photos together! We walked over to the corrals together but she was in C and I was in G so we split up when we got to our corrals and wished each other luck!

Barbara and I pre-race
Barbara and I pre-race

As soon as we lined up in the corrals, it hit me. I was about to run my second half marathon. I hadn’t even really thought of it as 13.1 miles until that moment. Weird, I know. Disney does a great job with pre-race entertainment, however, and before I knew it they were letting off the front corrals. I waved to the camera when they let my corral off and all of the sudden we were running!

Miles 1-3

The first three miles seemed to pass by quickly. I felt good, although I was so cold I could barely feel my extremities. My weather app had told me it was in the 50s but honestly it felt like the 40s. I could see my breath (that never happens in Florida)! Around mile 1.5 we passed the Princes- I wanted to take a picture with them, but the line was so long and I was feeling good with my pacing and didn’t want to mess that up. Right around mile 3 we encountered Jasmine and Abu. Again, I didn’t stop for a picture because I didn’t want to slow down. I stopped for water between miles 2-3 but that was it. Β Mile Splits: 11:56, 11:39, 12:03

Heading towards the castle.
Heading towards the castle.

Miles 4-6

Still feeling really strong, I was rocking miles 4 and 5. The most amazing part of the race for me was when we were entering Magic Kingdom and we got to see the sunrise over the castle. That was around mile 6, so my time for that was a little slower because I stopped to take a picture of that. Throughout Magic Kingdom we ran into a few characters, but I didn’t stop for any. I think it was the Evil Stepmother and her daughters from Cinderella- I was never a big Cinderella fan so that one didn’t bother me much. If I remember correctly, we also saw Anna and Elsa (not a Frozen fan either) and another character I can’t remember now, but I know I didn’t really care for them either! Mile Splits: 11:51, 11:51, 12:20

Sunrise over Cinderella's Castle
Sunrise over Cinderella’s Castle
This is one of my favorite pictures from the race! Even though there's someone right in front of me, I look so happy here! Totally loving life!!
This is one of my favorite pictures from the race! Even though there’s someone right in front of me, I look so happy here! Totally loving life!!

Miles 7-9

Miles 7-9 were pretty much coming out of Magic Kingdom and heading back to Epcot. I was still feeling pretty good here, though the sun was now fully up and we were running into direct sunlight with very little shade, so that made it more challenging. We saw Beauty and the Beast as we were exiting Magic Kingdom- if there was one character I was seriously disappointed not to get a photo with it was these two. I absolutely love this movie, but at that point I knew I was on track to PR and decided that was more important to me than waiting 15 minutes in a ginormous line to take a picture with characters. I stopped and took a picture of them instead. Mile Splits: 12:10, 11:27, 12:05

Belle & the Beast
Belle & the Beast

Miles 10-13

Here we are- the final stretch. Most of this was run outside the parks so there’s nothing really special about this part of the race that I remember. The characters were spaced out and the only one I actually remember passing was the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland- again not someone I cared about. At this point, I was getting tired and I had to keep telling myself to keep going. What’s funny to me is that my splits were best in the last four miles, which means I paced myself well in the beginning. Around mile 11 I stopped at the medical tent briefly for a Kleenex because my nose was running so bad I could barely breathe! That’s one downside of running in cold weather; I always get a runny nose. I definitely pushed myself hard in those final miles. As we came through Epcot I kept telling myself I was almost there and the finish line was right ahead. This time when I crossed the finish line I didn’t cry, but I did get watery eyes a little, thinking about how hard I had worked to get to the Princess Half finish line. Mile Splits: 11:33, 11:27, 11:34, 11:25

My "thank goodness I'm done" pose- ha!
My “thank goodness I’m done” pose- ha!
Post race finisher pic with my gorgeous new medal!
Post race finisher pic with my gorgeous new medal!

After the finish, I collected my medal and went to the medical tent to ice my left ankle. I had KT Tape tape up my right ankle the previous day at the expo because it had been hurting but I didn’t get the left one taped since I had no pain there. However, during the race we ran much of mile 2 and mile 9-10 on an incline, which meant my left leg was being pushed inward rather than running on a flat surface. It put some strain on the tendons. After leaving medical I went to the family reunion area to meet up with my family. One thing I didn’t like about Disney races is how expensive spectator packages are- I think it’s way overpriced for what you get. By the time I went online to buy mine they had sold out of the middle priced one, and I refuse to pay $240 for two people to watch me run. That’s the same as a race entry for them!! Anyway, it was impossible for my family to be able to watch me because they didn’t have an area they could get to, so technically they didn’t get to see me finish.

Overall, I had a really great second half marathon experience. My girlfriends and I are already talking about doing Glass Slipper Challenge and a girls weekend for 2017! I think I have PRDSS (Post RunDisney Sadness Syndrome)- anyone else? This was such an amazing weekend I’m sad it’s over! Looking back it feels like it went by so fast, although when I was actually running the half I would have said otherwise (haha)!

Have you ever run a Disney race? Do you get post-race blues? Or post-race “must sign up for another one asap” syndrome?


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68 thoughts on “Swimming Through 13.1 Miles: Disney Princess Half 2016”

  1. Disney Princess was actually my first half marathon back in 2011! Congrats on finishing and it looks like you had a ton of fun! Although, I’m partial to Iron Girl Clearwater (it’s my race, lol) and think you should totally do it again in April! Congrats on finishing your second half marathon!!

    1. Hi Kim! Iron Girl was a great race and I had a good time. I would definitely do it again if I didn’t have the Star Wars challenge the weekend after. Maybe next year πŸ˜‰

  2. I am so envious of you for living right there in the midst of all the Disney magic. I’m in Iowa, so a Disney race has not happened for me (yet!). I will be in Florida next week and am doing a race in Fort Pierce, though πŸ˜‰ Congrats on your Princess half! I would be the dork stopping for every photo op and finishing with the equivalent of a 26.2 time LOL
    Kim Hatting recently posted…Heavy (Racing) MedalMy Profile

    1. Thanks Kim! My first race I did stop for tons of pictures and I probably will at Star Wars too. Typically Disney isn’t a place you go to PR but since the weather was great I thought, “why not?”

  3. Disney races are so fun! I did Wine ‘n Dine in 2013. I tend to get the “I want to do this again” feeling after crossing the finish line, so I try to let it die down before signing up for another race and making sure I really want to do it!

    1. You’re smarter than me! I’m so impulsive as soon as I get runners high I go sign up for several races. I typically plan about one or two “big” events per season and then fill in my schedule from there.

  4. I did do Princess for my first half, and I loved it. I thought I’d cry at the finish line, but I didn’t. I got emotional, but I kept the tears back before getting my medal.

    1. I cried for my very first half but was mainly ok at this one. I was just exhausted by the time I finished!

    1. Lol I’m a Florida girl Deborah! I wonder how long it would take me to acclimate to colder weather? I see your pics on Skirt Sports with the snow and I’m like “nope!” Lol

  5. I’ve never run Disney before, the early wake up scares me however I do want to do one one day, i’m thinking when my kiddo is old enough we can turn it into a vacation πŸ˜‰ their medals are so cool and the challenges sound like A LOT of fun πŸ˜‰

    1. Star Wars will be my first challenge so I’m excited to see how that goes. Disney can be a great racecation for a family!

  6. Sounds and looks like such a fun race! I’ve never done any of the Disney races although I’ve run 2 half marathons and a 23.1K. I always have a “big race” I’m gearing up for so I definitely look forward to the next one after finishing one.
    Wendy Hammond recently posted…Use the Fancy Sugar #AddJoyMy Profile

  7. Hi, I’m stopping in from the hop. Congratulations on your second half marathon! I love those Disney races. They certainly know how to keep you entertained. I just ran the marathon in January and it was 70 degrees and humid. You got really lucky with the weather. They capture a GREAT castle picture of you. Sadly, I’ve never had a good one. It has always been dark. I’ve never bought the spectator package. My family still “spectates”. I’m not sure why you would need it. It’s nice to meet you.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…ABCs Of MeMy Profile

    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by! I heard marathon weekend had some iffy weather. I have toyed with the idea of running my first full but the weather at Disney makes me not want to do that one. There’s just no predicting the Florida weather!

      As far as spectators, I’m not sure how it was for marathon weekend but apparently Princess finish line was so crowded my boyfriend had a hard time getting through. He met me just past the finish across from the medical tent. I’ll probably purchase a pass for him for Star Wars only because I’m doing both days and feel bad about making him come so early in the morning and have no where to sit!

  8. I’m glad you finally got to do Princess after all of that! It sounds like you had a good time πŸ™‚ I know a lot of people think they’re overpriced but I enjoy Disney races. I’m not doing any this year but that means I’m already dreaming about adding some to my list for next year. I see you’re doing the Star Wars Dark Side challenge. That’s one I’m thinking of for next year so I look forward to hearing about it.
    Chaitali recently posted…Baja inspired tofu tacosMy Profile

    1. Yes! I’m so excited for Star Wars! Huge fan of Wookiees here. I’ll definitely have a lot of posts regarding that weekend. Disney is such a fun place to run!

  9. Hi Montana! So happy to connect with you via the blog hop. Wow, this race sounds intense! Especially after getting up at 3am – you’re dedicated! I’m not a runner whatsoever, so marathons don’t really strike my fancy, but something fun like this with costumes and a theme would be fun to try! Great to connect with you here. Looking forward to reading more. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Ellyn! Glad you like it so far! At first I didn’t think half marathons would be my thing and sometimes I still don’t like distance running but at Disney there is so much entertainment you really don’t feel like you’re running that far!

  10. Yay! Great job on the Princess half! The Disney runs always look like so much fun, and I love your outfit! (That 3 a.m. wakeup call sounds terrible to me, but I get up at 4 these days, so I guess it’s not too far off, hahaa. ;_; ) I’m glad you had an awesome experience! :]

    1. I thought it would be rough waking up that early but like you said: 4 isn’t that far off and that’s when I wake up!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Dressing up is one of the best parts of Disney races. Disney is definitely a race to add to a bucket list- totally worth the experience.

  11. Smart not to stop to take pictures since you were feeling good. I can’t believe that the lines were SO long! I think I cry at the finish line of every race – relief that it’s over and knowing how much hard work I put in to get to that point!

    1. I knew if I stopped I’d lose my rhythm. Princess was much more crowded than the other Disney race I did, so I knew the lines would probably be crazy. Finishing a half is definitely emotional- so much work goes into getting you to the start line!

  12. Congratulations on you Disney Princess Half! I just ran in my very first Disney run and Marathon all at the same time! I had a wonderful experience and Disney does not disappoint in the over the top production! I am hooked and I hope to do another one! I love all the pictures of you and especially the one by the castle! You do look like your are having a wonderful time! Coming to you from Kristy’s hop, isn’t it the best? Have a wonderful spotlight day!!!

    1. This hop has been great! I’m enjoying getting to know new bloggers I hadn’t interacted with before. Disney definitely doesn’t disappoint- they are a great company to do your first distance of any kind with. Although some complain about the pricing, I feel they are worth it!

  13. The Disney Princess half is my absolutely DREAM half! I haven’t yet even run a half marathon (it’s on the list for this year) but I’ve dreamed many times about running the Disney Princess! And YOU looked like a Princess doing it! Sounds like you had a blast! I look forward to keeping up with your running!

    1. Aw thanks! My favorite part of Disney is being able to dress up. I love to dress up so any excuse to is a good one in my book! Definitely do the Princess half- it was an awesome event.

  14. Love your costume. I have never run a Disney race…yet.

    Have fun at the Sarasota Half. I ran it in 2013 and ran the Music one this past Feb – loved it.

    I am also a skirtsports & sweetpink ambassador. We rock!

    Glad to get to know you!

    1. Yes! Skirt is one of my favorite groups! Everyone is so awesome and encouraging. πŸ™‚

    1. I think that does help. I’m iffy on long distance running but I find it much easier when there’s plenty of entertainment to distract me πŸ™‚

  15. Hey girl! What a fun recap! I did the DPH in 2012! I really enjoyed running around Cinderella’s castle, but that was about it…oh and the finish line! LOL
    As much hype and $ the Disney races are, I was a bit disappointed with how little of the race was actually in the parks. But I did have an awesome team I ran with, and a charity that I ran for, and those were the most important parts to me.

    1. It’s true that not much of the race is in the parks, but the entertainment and crowd support more than make up for it in my opinion. I don’t remember a single mile station that didn’t have someone cheering for us! That’s awesome that you ran for charity! I’d love to do that one day.

  16. First love your race outfit, so fun!
    I can tell in the pictures how fun your having, you’re smiling like you’re not even running a half marathon:)
    I can’t believe spectator packages are so pricey, I think I’d be more than okay with prices like that with no one at the finish, they can find me later:)
    I ran the Disney World Marathon several years ago (2005). This was when they were still trying to figure out the best ways to organize and run these. I had a good time, but it was so crowded and stuff I didn’t get that itch to go back and do it again. But they organize them so much better now I imagine if I had the experince you did I’d be wanting to enter another asap too!!!

    1. Thanks! That’s my favorite part is dressing in costume! It makes the race experience that much better for me.

      I love Disney and their races are very well organized now. I have only been running for two years so I don’t know much about how it all started but I’m sure it’s much better now πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ yeah those were some tough miles but they had crowd support so that part was good.

  17. I’ve always wanted to do a Disney race but haven’t done one yet. They sound like such fun and it sounds like you had a great experience! I had no idea about the spectator packages though – good to know if I ever get around to running one πŸ™‚ Congrats on your race!

    1. Thanks Sun! They are an awesome experience. Definitely do one if you get the chance- just remember to sign up the day of because they typically sell out in hours.

    1. I think it’s because Disney is full of overstimulation! Everyone’s on a runners high and then it’s done and were like “what next?”

      That would be two of us then! My girlfriends and I are planning on GSC for Princess weekend. Maybe we will see each other!

  18. This sounds so fun! So many of my friends run Disney races and I get a surge of excitement every time I hear about them. I love Disney and would love to do one of these races one day!
    Congrats on your finish!

    1. The sunrise was definitely worth the early wake up call! I’m up at 4am for work normally so 3 isn’t that bad.

  19. Reading your recap just brought me back in time to when I ran it last year…I really thought I’d be one and done but I so want to do this, and by this I mean the GSChallenge next year…can we please start saving now?!?!

    I’m glad you had a great run, you look really happy in your pictures and congrats on the new PR πŸ™‚ I think the weather must have really helped.
    Krystal recently posted…St. Pete Beach Classic 10K 2016 Race RecapMy Profile

    1. The weather was awesome- couldn’t have asked for better.

      Yes we are so going next year! I also told myself I was taking a break from Disney next year but it was a lie lol. I want the GSC medals!

  20. I ran the WDW half 5 years ago. And I had that early wake up call too…I’ll never forget it! It was crazy. I loved the race, but I won’t do another Disney race. They’re too expensive and too popular. Glad you enjoyed yours! You looked so cute!

    1. Overall I’ve always had a good experience at disney. Yes it’s overpriced and crowded but the experience outweighs that for me. My costume was awesome, thanks!

  21. Hello from the blog hop! I love this recap! My first half was Disney Princess in 2014, and it was such a crazy experience because it was the whole reason I got into running! I’m so glad you finally got to run it, and did it with a PR! Great job!
    Kristen recently posted…Starting Back at Square OneMy Profile

  22. I am a central Florida girl too! #loveFL πŸ™‚ My love for the girl’s race-cation started with the princess half in 2012- I walked the whole thing! But I loved the whole weekend! I do think Disney is over the top expensive for runs but I know they are so popular! Check out the Celebration half next year- lots of bang for the buck!

    1. Thanks for the tip I hadn’t heard of that one! Another company I love is Best Damn Race- they put on great smaller events and have awesome prices.

  23. I did the princess 1/2 last year as my 2nd half marathon and I am pretty sure I was the most miserable princess there. I guess I should have dressed up!
    Awesome job on the race!

  24. WOO! What a race! I’ve only done one WDW race (Wine and Dine, 2012) but would love to come back for another. Maybe it’ll be Princess one day! πŸ™‚ CONGRATS on an awesome race lady! <3

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