My goal was to PR for this race (as always) with a 1:55:58 or less or to go sub 2 hours. We arrived in Orlando on Thursday, went to the race expo on Friday morning (details to follow) followed by the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and had Little Diva's kids race on Saturday morning (race report to follow) and walked around Epcot on Saturday afternoon. We had dinner reservation at Rose and Crown at England in Epcot at 4:45, so that we could all get to bed early the night before the race. I didn't carb load at all, I had an appetizer salad for dinner, since we had been snacking so much at the parks and I wasn't hungry.
We set the alarm for 2:30 AM (that is 1:30 Wisconsin time!!) and I wasn’t groggy at all and got out of bed. While I was getting glamorous for my race, Little Dude rolled over on Little Diva and we were able to capture this great moment on film. We had transitioned him into a big boy bed in January, after his second birthday, hoping that the two of them would be able to sleep together in Disney. It worked like a charm and both kids were out within 5-10 mins every night (I’m sure the fact that they were exhausted had nothing to do with it!).We headed to the bus stop at our resort around 3:15 AM, Port Orleans French Quarter. There were already several women on the bus and I was the only one with my family on board. They are so dedicated and supportive! We then picked up a group at the neighboring resort, Port Orleans Riverside (the larger of the two resorts). With a full bus, we arrived at the Epcot parking lot shortly after 3:30.
It was freezing (I believe upper 30’s to around 40 degrees). I ended up wearing a long sleeve technical jacket over my racerback tank. It didn’t match the cute leopard print skirt I got to try out from Running Skirts, but I really didn’t care. My legs were freezing, too.
I recalled from Jason’s marathon there in January 2008, that there weren’t any chairs or benches, so I brought along a blanket and a beach towel for the kids to rest on and cuddle up with. We also brought their winter hats from home and some heavier jackets. Thank goodness!
Pure chaos everywhere with everyone freezing. There was a DJ playing some tunes, but not many people were dancing or participating. In my lines at the port-o-potties, several of us were dancing in place just to keep warm. We laughed at ourselves. There were about 20 bathrooms in the staging area.
I was having my first bloggy meet up at 4:45 AM, but that really didn’t happen. There were generators and large spot lights scattered throughout the parking lot/staging area for the race and we were huddled up with some other runners for approximately the next hour. Boy, did that help. I made three stops to the port-o-potties, since my tummy was acting up pre-race, just like my nerves/excitement always do to me. I kept checking up over at our meet up spot and eventually we headed over there at 4:30ish, but couldn’t see anyone from our bloggy group. About that time, Nicole sent Jason a text that they were still stuck on their resort bus and she still wanted to try to make it. At that time, the announcer was announcing that runners should go through the tent/bag drop-off and head to the 20 minute walk to their corrals. This was 15-20 mins earlier than the repeatedly mentioned in all of our email and written correspondence. I started panicking that this meet-up really wasn’t going to happen. At 4:45, I still didn’t see Nicole or the others, and mass groups were heading over to the start line. So, I said good-byes to my family and told them to stay warm and that I’d see them in a few hours. Jason didn't plan on traveling around WDW with both kids so early in the morning to see me during the race, and hoped to catch up with me at the finish line.
They wanted runners to be in their corrals by 5:30 and it was a 20 minute walk to the start line. The race started at 6:00 and I was in Corral A (that is probably the LAST time I will see that!!).
I headed through the bag-check tent and had nothing to check, so I headed for another bathroom. Here, there were about 50 port-o-potties and there were about 12-15 people in each line. I tried to find the shortest line. Finally, had my last trip to the bathroom and felt better, nerves were calmed. I walked out with my hand sanitizer and a cute gal in a pink sweatshirt and tiara walked up to me and asked if I was Jamie. She said she was Nicole and we hugged! I couldn’t believe it. In about 14,000 people, she found me and my leopard print Bondi Band!!! Can you believe we were standing in line for the same bathroom? Thank goodness for my upset tummy! I talked to her and her cousin while they waited in line and we walked to the start line together. The walk warmed us up a bit, but I was still freezing.
As we approached the start line there were about 10-12 more restrooms and the corrals were easily labeled. Nicole and her cousin were running in Corral D. I would’ve liked to have ran with her, and chatted with her more, but I was freezing and wanted to get started as soon as I could (they would be starting 25-30 mins after me).
There were tons and tons of runners still coming to the start line for the next 30+ minutes. I wish I had waited longer for the bloggy-meet up, since they didn't close off the corrals at 5:30 like they said they would. Lots of runners were dressed up in crazy, fun ensembles, tutus, dresses and tiaras. It was so cool. There were a few speakers on the stage and a screen for those to view that were corrals back. The Fairy Godmother gave us her blessing and fireworks went off at the start of the race. I was in the middle of Corral A and it took me over a minute to get to the start line.
We ran through the dark on the closed off highway and took and exit ramp to the highway towards Magic Kingdom. We passed a huge pirate ship with several pirates and Jack Sparrow standing along side the runners. There was another ship from what I recall that had characters like Tarzan, Peter Pan and some other somewhat familiar faces. We passed through what I believe were the entry gates to the parking lot to Magic Kingdom and through the race track. The sun was starting to rise. It must've been around 6:45 AM. I loved the enthusiasm of an "older crowd" of supporters/crew and their upbeat music as we entered a small balloon arch, before turning into the Contemporary Resort area. I then heard Jason yell my name to the left and couldn't believe that he and the kids made it there. That made my day and I picked up pace a bit. We did a sharp left turn and headed into the Magic Kingdom area, up a slight incline and into some larger crowds of supporters, bands, characters and really cool children's drum band from what I recall. We entered the park through some "back lot" area of Main Street. The crowd lined both sides of Main Street as we entered from the front and ran up towards the castle. We then took a right turn into Tomorrow Land where there were some additional characters and crew. Headed past the teacups where Twiddle Dee and Tweedle Dum were gretting us. Entered through Fantasy land and past the Dumbo ride and towards Cindrella's Castle. Several Princesses and Princes were there to greet us and then there were two trumpeters on the upper level of the castle as we entered. This was a moment I've dreamed up for months. I gulped through tears in my eyes, but did not cry. We ran through the castle and came out through the front where there was a huge crowd of supporters and families and several photographers taking photos from all angles. People were posing everywhere. The feeling was overwhelming. We headed off into Adventureland, which was much more quieter and some more characters greeted us, some floats (I believe from the parades) and some characters that you don't usually see in the parks (Pinnochio's father and some others). We then exited the Magic Kingdom through a back way and crossed the railroad tracks, where the train that circles the park was parked with it's lights and bell on continuously ringing. I thought that was a nice touch. The next several miles were not as exciting, but still fun. Characters and music still lined the route ever 1/4 of a mile the entire 13.1 miles. There were several signs lining the course for each princess, giving quick facts about how they each lead a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. We passed by the Polynesian resort and through the back area of some other resorts that I didn't recognize. We eventually got back on the same highway that took us to the Magic Kingdom and passed the same characters going in the opposite direction. There were more photographers and then we took and an on ramp on to the initial highway, where the army men from Toy Story greeted us with their "marching orders". It was finally starting to get warmer as the sun was shining bright now and we were runnign straight into it. We passed a high school band and then did somewhat of a U-turn onto another road, where Tinkerbell and her fairy friends greeted us. I believe it was Tiana that greeted us beyond that, but could be wrong. We then headed towards the Epcot park. I heard Little Diva yell my name and couldn't believe that the family had made it back to see me again, before I finished. All three of them had smiles on their faces. We entered close to the globe and headed down the walkway towards the countries. Before we got to the lake/pond, we turned around and headed back towards the globe. We circled to the right and the crowd was really pumping. We passed the 13 mile marker (There were cute story book mile markers every mile that showed the "actual" time) and I was relieved that I was almost done. There were tons and tons of supporters lining both sides of the chute. I somehow heard Paige and Jason yell my name again to the left. I was thrilled!!! I ran towards the finish line and they called my name after I crossed the finishes mat. Yeah!
Misc photos, courtesy of my hubby ...
As I mentioned, I didn't set a new PR of going sub 1:56, but did meet my Goal B of going sub 2 hrs. I finished in 1:58:34.
Overall: 839 / 10,924 (about 14,000 runners were registerd -- I'm not sure how many actually started)
Age Group (25-29): 180 / 1,938
I walked towards where people were receiving their medals and women from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique were there and sprinkled me with fairy dust ... all over my sweaty face.
My official race photos are available here -- not sure if I can pay the price tag?!?!
Three top finishers receiving awards
I walked up and a woman put my medal around me. It was awesome. I walked to a table and got some red Powerade and a bottle of water and walked my way over to get my finisher's photo taken. Then I got me some grub, which was all very healthy ... banana, cup of pineaple, raisins, energy bar, bagel and some other nutritious items. I then met up with family in the reunion area and we watched the three winners get their trophys and awards and then stood in the very short lines to get my photo taken with Princess Jasmine and Snow White. Little Diva also got her photo taken. I was told that we had to take the monorail back to the transportation center. We thought that we would then get on a bus to go back to the resort, but were wrong. We had to go back up to the monorail and take the one that headed to Magic Kingdom. Then got off and walked to their bus station and got one that took us to the resort area. Since our resort was smaller, their bus wasn't running closer to noon, so we had to get on one for the neighboring resort. We finally made it back to the resort and I showered and we spent the rest of the day back at Epcot and played at the Boardwalk. It was a beautiful day. The kids had gotten a nap on the monorail during my race (he rode with them back and forth several times while they slept), and they were ready to walk the park all day long. It actually turned out to be one of the best days of our trip.
The entire half marathon course is available here.
Along the race, several women stopped to take pictures with the characters, but most seemed to just keep running past them. I'm not sure if these were PR-oriented runners and if it was different in the corrals behind us.
I really enjoyed this race, but am not sure we will do another Disney race (never say never, right?!), because of how much work is involved in getting to the Expo, the early start with the kids and all of the walking around at the parks during the days leading up to the race really gave me problems with my feet during my run. It was an awesome race and definitely worth the money spent. There was entertainment bands, music, characters, cheer crowds about ever 1/4 from what I recall and they all really gave me a boost and made the miles go by. Running through the park was an amazing experience as we are Disney fanatics and travel there every year (This was my 10th trip). There were several water/Powerade stations and one station that offered gels and I believe Shot Blocks. The gel came in very handy. There was an adequate number of stations available to us. The finishers medal was awesome and right up my ally. I love the photos that the photographers took, but they charge an arm-and-a-leg to purchase them. The transportation back to the resort simply was an inconvenience and not something we wanted to deal with.
Mile Marker (Courtesy of AllEars.net)
For more Disney Princess Half Marathon 2010 Race Reports, check out my fellow bloggers:
I would like to thank RUNNING SKIRTS for letting me try out the phenomonal cheetah running skirt that I rocked at the race. It was even better than I imagined. A race report will follow soon. Love the cuteness, the functionality and the fit ... awesome, awesome, awesome!!
Kids Race report and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Expo report coming soon ...