Well, it has been exactly a week since I last posted. I am going to get better about posting more often I promise! Can I just tell you how awesome this past weekend was! Run Disney events are incredible and I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in running a half-marathon or full marathon. It was a great first race experience and it is going to be difficult to surpass! We flew out early Friday morning and hit the ground running once we landed in Florida. We were staying on Disney property which made transportation to and from race events a breeze. Once we were checked into our hotel we boarded a bus and headed to the Fit For A Princess Expo to pick up our packets for the weekend events!
I quickly learned that race expos are heaven on earth for runners! I could have easily spent my entire paycheck in 30 minutes, you can ask Brandon I was like a kid in a candy store.
We spent about an hour at the expo and I picked up a shirt and some protein bar samples. Once we arrived back at the hotel we went through our race bags. Since Brandon and I were also participating in the 5k we received our race bibs and t-shirts along with a few other goodies. The half-marathon also included a duo-dry race shirt and timed race bib. When I picked up my bib I could not believe that I was actually going to run 3.1 miles on Saturday and then turn around and run 13.1 on Sunday!
If you register in time you will get a personalized bib with your name on it! Also, during registration they ask who your favorite Disney princess is, of course I said Belle! Your favorite princess determines what color your bib will be, for example Belle was yellow and Rapunzel was purple. After setting our stuff out for the 5k the next morning we were off to the park!
First up was the Magic Kingdom, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the parks were not crowded. I have been to Disney over twenty times and never have I been able to walk without bumping into someone but not this time. Brandon and both could spin in a circle and not hit anyone! After we spent a few hours at Magic Kingdom we hopped over to Hollywood Studios. If you are going to do Disney the best way to get the most for your money and see everything is to get a park hopper pass. With a park hopper you can hope back and forth between parks as many times as your heart desires. Once we had had our fill of Hollywood Studios we hopped back to the Magic Kingdom to close the park down and watch Wishes! Wishes is a firework show and it is the best that I have ever seen. We arrived back at our hotel around midnight and quickly went to bed because we had an early wake-up call!
We arrived at the starting line around 6:00am but had about an hour to kill before the start of the race. One thing great about run Disney events is that they now how to keep you entertained. There was a DJ and of course Rapunzel, Flynn and none other than Maximus! I wanted to take the race slow since I was running on Sunday and enjoy a nice run with my husband who never runs! The best park of the race was running the Epcot. As you ran through the worlds the music changed with each country you ran through and there were also characters throughout. Around the 2.5 mile mark you ran around the Epcot ball while the opening ceremony music of the Olympics was playing, which made me feel like I was an Olympian! After the race we headed into Epcot to ride a few rides and then hopped over to Animal Kingdom. We ended the night early and I was in bed around 8:00pm. My wake up call came all too early! I was up and dressed around 2:45am. The only down fall of run Disney events is the early start time. The race starts at 5:45 and you have to be on the shuttle by 4:00am or you don’t make it to the race.
We arrived at the pre-race area around 4:15am, Brandon was able to hang out with me for a little bit but we eventually parted ways as I had a 20 minute walk to the starting line from the race village. By the time we arrived at the starting line we were herded into our corrals. I was in corral H, which was the last corral since I did not have proof of a previous race time.
Each corral was started by Cinderella’s fairy godmother wishing us well on our race and then fire works went off! At each mile there was a Disney character and music. All along the course there were volunteers cheering and encouraging you to keep pushing through. My goal going into the half-marathon was to just run the entire race without walking but I also had a goal of wanting to finish under two hours. Another down fall of run Disney events is that they are so large. Since I was in the last corral I spent a lot of time weaving in and out of walkers and running on the grass. Despite all the crowds and weaving I did, I accomplished both goals. I ran the entire way and finished in 1:51 minutes!
When I crossed the finish line so many emotions were going through me. I had spent the entire race praying and praising God for the ability to run and do what I love. The course was beautiful and seeing the sunrise reminded me of how great our God truly is, plus running through the Cinderella’s Castle only intensified my runner’s high!
Overall, the race was amazing and I highly recommend any Run Disney event. You might be wondering why there are not many pictures of me running. Well, Brandon did not see me the entire race, he even missed me crossing the finish line. I was kind of sad at first but now I just can’t help but laugh about it! Now that I am back in Raleigh I have been looking for my next race! My next goal is the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge. In order complete the challenge you have to run a half-marathon in California and Florida in one consecutive year. If you complete the challenge you get this little baby.
I apologize for any rambleing but there is no way to describe how great Run Disney events are until you actually participate in them! If you have hesitations about running a half-marathon my advice would be to go for it, you will never regret it and it will be one of the best experiences of your life!