Welcome to all hoppers! For my spotlight post, I decided I’d write my Princess Half race recap; 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!
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!
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!
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. Mile Splits: 11:56, 11:39, 12:03
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
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
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
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?