Monday, February 25, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Recap

Wow! What a fun weekend! The Disney Princess Half Marathon was everything I expected and more! It was well organized, had TONS of characters along the way, there were lots of encouraging fans, plenty of aid stations, and just tons of fun all around. I still can't believe I finished my first half marathon yesterday! :D Here's a recap (complete with lots of pictures) of my entire weekend!

I got into Disney World at about 11:30 am and waited to meet up with my cousins. After we got checked into their hotel room (I was crashing their pad for the weekend), we headed off to the race expo. There were a ton of runners and vendors there, and it was a very cool atmosphere. Even though there were a million people, it ran pretty smoothly and the lines moved relatively quickly. I bought a t-shirt, a tumbler, and a magnet to commemorate my weekend :D Belle and Jasmine were there, so naturally, I had to spend some time with my fellow Disney Divas. After the expo, we went to Epcot for dinner, where we went on the Finding Nemo ride and had dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant. I had a lot of yummy desserts this weekend, and it all started at the Coral Reef restaurant.

 Outside the race expo

 Minnie Mouse New Balance shoes
Chit-chatting it up with Belle
Epcot as the sun was setting

 Dessert from the Coral Reef 

 I also set my sight on these babies and decided I'd get one on Sunday

We got up and had an early lunch before heading to Hollywood Studios for the day. We did a lot of walking, but went on a ton of rides. We tried to get as many fast passes as possible, and ended up getting them for Tower of Terror, Rock 'n Roll rollercoaster, and the Toy Story ride. We went to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid (which should be the real name of my blog because I'm obsessed with the Little Mermaid and am convinced that I am Ariel), where we saw a 4-D shortened version of The Little Mermaid. I was singing all the songs and my cousin's daughter politely asked me to sing quieter (oops) and I thought that was pretty hilarious. We had dinner at Mama Melrose's in Hollywood Studios where I had an amazing pasta dish with rotini, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and a four cheese sauce. I'm having the leftovers for dinner tonight :D I also continued my carbo-loading by eating another beautifully delicious dessert. We went on the Toy Story ride and the Rock 'n Roll rollercoaster after dinner, then we went home so Tracy and I could go to bed early and be rested for race day!
 The real name of my blog
Ah-mazing cheesecake 

Sunday (Race day!):
Tracy and I woke up at about 3:30, but neither of us really slept. We both were awake all night, stressing out about what could go wrong/the race in general. We toasted half a bagel and were on the monorail by 4, which took us to Family Reunion area of the race. After we got into the race area, we walked through the tent and walked about 1/1.5 miles to the starting line. I had originally told them my time was going to be roughly 3 hours (I had no idea about my pace and hadn't trained at all for it when I signed up, although I was a regular runner) and was placed in corral E while Tracy was placed in Corral D, but she went back to Corral E with me so we could start together. The race started at 5:35, but we didn't start until 6:03. There was a ton of energy at the beginning of the race and it really pumped me up to run my hardest. Tracy and I separated almost immediately after we started because there were a TON of people around. I was dodging people from the beginning, but after I broke away from the initial crowd, I was able to set myself a nice, slow pace. Throughout the race, there were tons of opportunities to stop and take pictures with characters and props. I didn't stop and take as many pictures as I had anticipated because the lines were really long, I often didn't realize which characters were coming up until I passed them, my favorite characters weren't on the course, and I was feeling really good and didn't want to stop. I did stop for the princes between miles 9 and 10, I think (only because Prince Eric, my first crush, was there) and for Pocahontas at mile 8 (who is one of my top fave princesses, next to Ariel/Cinderella). I also stopped to have my picture taken in front of the castle at mile 5.5. Running through Cinderella's castle was so cool! There were people playing trumpets as we went through so we felt like real royalty :D King Mickey and Queen Minnie were there, but the line was too long so I just took pictures of them and not with them. The aid stations moved smoothly, and those were the only places where I walked (only about 10-20 steps). At mile 11, when we crossed into Epcot, I dug deep and ran my heart out. I have no idea what my pace was the entire race, but I knew that I was so close to the finish line and I just ran my fastest. I was shouting words of encouragement to the women who were beginning to walk now and I was dodging in and out of runners like it was my job. I sprinted to the finish line after I reached mile 13, and it was an amazing feeling! Donald and Goofy were waiting at the finish line and I was promptly handed my medal from a volunteer. I felt like a rockstar. I finished in 2:30, which I'm happy with, especially because it was my first half marathon, there were so many people, I stopped to take pictures, and I took a bathroom break. There's nowhere to go but up, right?! I felt amazing at the end, although my legs were sore. They felt much better after I foam rolled them, and I was ready for 8 hours at Magic Kingdom. I'm honestly surprised that Tracy and I made it that long.

 My take on Ariel at 3:30 am
 Fireworks to mark the start of the race
 [photo credit: run Disney]
 Running into the Magic Kingdom (poor photo quality)
 More Ariel obsession

 Sweaty, mile 5.5 near castle

 Running into the castle
 Half way point!
Love Pocahontas as well :D
 My shirt is changing color....

 Standing next to Prince Eric, my first crush. Trying to win me some men
 I did it! Notice how dark my shirt is now....

 My loot
Post race reward..sadly, I only finished half of it.

Race review:
There was a ton of support along the sidelines and I high-fived so many random people. A lot of the women who were running next to me were shouting words of encouragement. The aid stations moved very quickly and efficiently. Things were a little chaotic at the end, because after you cross the finish line and are handed your medal, you're funneled through an area where you're handed water, Powerade, snacks, and get your official picture taken. Then, you either stand there and look for your family or head back to the finish line after exiting the family reunion area. I tried to find my cousins and it was difficult, but I eventually found them and we went together to find my cousin after she crossed the finish line. If you're looking to PR, however, I don't think this is the race for you. There were over 23,000 racers and it was often difficult to get around people who were running together. There were also tons of distractions along the sidelines, which serve as an amazing mental break, but if you don't want to get out of your zone, I would suggest choosing another race. I had a blast though, and it was an amazing way to spend my first half marathon. I'm planning on running it again next year if anyone wants to run with me!

Sunday afternoon:
We spent the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom, where I met Ariel (my twin), went on Dumbo for the first time ever, went on Space Mountain, a Monsters Inc. ride, a Goofy rollercoaster, met some characters, and watched the fireworks over Cinderella's castle. Somehow I went the whole trip without seeing Cinderella though, so I'm kind of bummed about that, but that just means I have to come back soon! Surprisingly, our legs held up after running 13.1 miles and walking 8 hours, but when we got back to the hotel, we had a quick dinner and then I passed out. I was exhausted!
 Obviously, we're obsessed with each other. BFFs.
 The castle is my favorite color!
I finally got my cupcake! Sadly, I only ate 1/4 of it (brought the rest home)

Sadly, my weekend at Disney came to an end this morning. I had breakfast with my cousins at the hotel and it was a character breakfast, so we got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy. It was tons of fun and the food was really good. I had oatmeal, vegetable quiche, cheesy hash browns, lots of pineapple, and a little Mickey waffle. I left right after breakfast so that my cousins could get on with their day, but I was really sad to leave. It was such a fun weekend. The hour drive back to my house really took a toll on my legs, though, because I was SUPER stiff after I got out of my car. It was really difficult to carry up all of my luggage with super stiff legs. 
How cute is this?

I'm going grocery shopping in the near future, so get ready for some new recipes! I know I've been slacking. I'm taking today of in terms of exercise, and I'll probably let my body tell me when it's ready. if I do any type of exercising this week, it'll be some form of cross-training. I'm going to let my legs recover before I go for a run, but I can't wait to get back out there! I also got something exciting in the mail today, so get ready for a product review in the near future :D 

How did you spend your weekend? Who's your favorite Disney character?