It's hard to believe that I started this crazy running obsession only a year ago. A year ago I started couch to 5k, and couldn't run a mile without stopping. When I first thought about running the princess 1/2 marathon, I had nightmares about getting lost on the course, or falling behind and not being allowed to finish. It's amazing how much a year changed things! Going into race weekend my nerves were pretty cool. I knew I had run the distance before, and was mainly there to have a good time. After running the second leg of the wine and dine 1/2 marathon relay in October, I was really excited to run a full race at Disney. I was so sad watching the starting line fireworks from a couple miles away at the relay exchange area in October. You better believe my camera was ready when the fireworks to start the princess 1/2 marathon went off!
My princess morning started early. At precisely 3am, two cell phone alarms, and the hotel room phone were ringing. Luckily I was already so excited about the race that the early wake up call wasn't an issue. By 4:15 the Epcot ball was glowing close by, and it was really starting to sink in that I was actually getting ready to run a 1/2 marathon at Disney!
Shortly after arriving at Epcot, it was time to walk to the corrals. I read about the corrals being a 20 minute walk from the staging area in the Epcot parking lot, and always thought that it was an exaggeration, but it literally took 20 minutes to walk to the corrals. I heard a lot of people around me joking about how they wish Disney would count the walk as part of the race distance. I didn't have my GPS going on my phone, but it had to at least be a mile walk to the corrals. Once we got to the area where the corrals were I still had more to walk to get to corral B.
You can see the start line in the distance!
Luckily the time went by really quickly. I was very thankful that I only had to wait 8 minutes to start. The people in the last corral had to wait 40 minutes after the first corral before they got to go. I would have been going crazy! 8 minutes later we were off and running!
Mile 1 was still pretty crowded. We passed a DJ, and these guys on stilts around 1.5 miles in.
Mile 2 was probably my longest mile of the race. When I started becoming interested in running a Disney race, there was always one picture that I saw in race recaps that I had to have. I told myself before the race that no matter how long the line was, I was going to stop because it was a once in a lifetime photo opp. When I started running down world drive and heard pirate music playing, I got very excited. I saw the pirate ship, and knew my picture was coming. I was finally going to get my picture with Jack Sparrow, and his crew of pirates!
Right after I ran away from the pirates, there was this hot air balloon that would totally fool me later on in the race.
I was really ready to start running again after so many stops during mile 2. I love the pictures I got, but it was hard to stand in line when I just wanted to run. Right after I left the princes, I saw this sign- we were finally getting close to Magic Kingdom, sort of...
17 minutes later, I finally made it to mile 3!
I was glad I didn't have to stop and use these, the line was long!
There were some drivers from the Richard Petty driving experience out taking pictures in the parking lot. They were very complimentary of everyone taking pictures with them, and were yelling "run princess, run" between pictures.
Right after we passed the Hawaiian party, we were approaching the Ticket and Transportation center, and the next mile marker.
Running down main street was just as amazing as I always imagined. I can't wait run through Magic Kingdom twice in January!
After passing through fantasyland, it was time to run through the castle. I thought I took a video of the trumpeters playing as we ran through the castle, but I must have accidentally deleted it. Total bummer, because it was so awesome! My mom was waiting outside the castle, but there were so many people in that area that I missed her, and was passing the mile 6 marker before I knew it.
Right after I took this picture I saw Princess Tiana, and Prince Naveen.
7 miles down, we're over halfway there now!
Beauty and the Beast were out taking pictures right after the 7 mile mark, and I was super bummed the line was so long. It had to be at least 3 times as long as the pirate line I waited in. Belle is my favorite princess, but at this point in the race I knew if I stopped for a long character line, it would be really hard to get back into a decent pace. I took a picture of what I was missing as I ran by.
I rode in this carriage at my wedding! Too bad my prince is a lot cuter than this guy...
There were definitely fewer characters in the second half of the race. I started running negative splits because I wasn't stopping for pictures.
The course took us up one of the overpass ramps to get back to Epcot, so one of the green army men from Toy Story was positioned on the hill encouraging us to "keep moving soldiers."
Only 2 miles left!
The last couple miles were relatively boring. I was glad to finally see some more characters before the 12 mile marker.
I meant to video the gospel choir at mile 13. They were awesome, and motivated me to run a little faster to the finish.
After the finish there are fairy godmothers in training that sprinkle you with pixie dust, then you get your medals!
As a bonus, guess who I found in Epcot later that day without a line?