Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Look Back at the Inaugural Princess Half Marathon!

It's a BRAND NEW RACE and this Princess Has Arrived!!!!
 Running through the Castle at the Inaugural Princess Half Marathon!
     It all started back in 2009 when I ran my first Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. I had trained SO Hard and was SO nervous to run my first Half but when I actually started running my race and realized that this was going to be the most fun thing I had ever done...ALL worries went out the door! When I say the words "Runner's High", well that doesn't even come close to how I was feeling after running the WDW Half! I knew at that very moment with my Donald Duck Bling around my neck, I would always be a Disney Runner.
     Enter Princess Half Marathon. What?!?! There's a Princess Race too? It's the first one?? Sign me up. And my sister, my mom, my Dad and my brother in law. (At that time we didn't really realize it was a girls race). 11,000 Runners were expected to run during the Inaugural Princess Half Marathon Weekend. WOW have things changed since then?!?! This race has Doubled in size!
      I really had no idea of what to expect. I kind of thought it would be a repeat of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I was soooo wrong! This race made me embrace my "inner Princess"! Everything was girly, sparkly, Princess-y! I loved it! I ran side by side with my sister and had the most absolute fun that we could have!! Sadly, it was the last trip for the boys....the next few years  Princess Half Marathon weekends would turn out to be the biggest girls trip ever! Sorry Boys! ;)
 Entering the Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports
 When I saw this Princess Sneaker on a Royal Pillow, I knew this was definitely the race for me!!!

 The Inaugural Princess Half Marathon Course

     The course has not changed over the past four years, continuing to remain to be one of my favorite courses. The Expo held at Disney's Wide World of Sports would prove to have so many surprises in store for us! We were greeted with pixie dust and even got to view dresses from the Princesses that were featured during the race. If my memory serves me correctly, there were four Princesses to choose from when we registered for the race. I had no clue that the Princess I chose would be featured on my bib and would coincide as well with the color of the bib. I chose Cinderella because after all, I WAS running through her Castle. :)

 Cinderella's Dress and her Glass Slipper

A closeup of Cinderella's glass slipper

 Snow White's Dress
 Sleeping Beauty's Dress and Prince Philip's Coat

LOTS of Princess shopping done at the Expo.....Ready to RUN!!!
I kind of had an idea as to what to expect as far as waking up early to get to the start line for the race. Wake up call at 2am. Race Start at 5:30. The last shuttle bus leaves from our resort at 4am. Oh my!!That is EARLY for this Princess but so worth it to get out there and run through the Happiest Place on Earth. So here goes...We started in the Epcot Parking Lot and would run towards Magic Kingdom, through Ticket and Transportation Center, Through the Magic Kingdom, down the stretch past Grand Floridian and then back towards Epcot for the Finish! Lots of Characters, Princesses, props, Hydration and fun stuff along the way. My sister and I took lots of pics, ran hard, played and even had a great official Finish time!

Starting the race with my sis and my friend Leigh...#ThoseAlabamaGirls

 First Stop...Princess Jasmine's Seat!
 This is one of my all-time faves.....
     In front of the Contemporary Hotel is the EXACT place where I fell apart in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I was crying and my knee was killing me!! I called the hubby for words of encouragement. He was at the Finish telling me on the phone "you can do it. Push through it. You've only got 8 miles left. You're almost to the Castle. It's what you've been working for". And he was totally right. It was what I had been training for....and more. Those words were ringing in my ear when I made it to the Contemporary and passed this same spot with the Biggest smile on my face. My knee was not hurting in this race and I was doing it! Off to the Castle we goooooo!!!

Running into the Castmember entrance of Magic Kingdom!

We turned the corner and we were running right down the middle of Main Street USA!!
 We've made it to the Castle! Best EVER!!!

Princesses at the Back entrance of the Castle

 Smooches from Chip and Dale!

Pluto in front of the Float from the Move it, Shake it, Celebrate it parade!

The MadHatter...
 So Many Characters...Beast, Belle, Wendy and Peter Pan

 Tinkerbell and the Fairies of Pixie Hollow....Who knew just a few short years later that Tinkerbell would want her own race?!?!
Aladdin and Jasmine striking a pose!
 OMG!!! We've made it back into EPCOT!!! We're almost finished!!!

 The StepMother and StepSisters telling us we're almost a not so nice way. ;)

 Cinderella's Mice and Castmembers pointing us to the Finish line.

 13 Miles.....We're coming up on the Finish line!!!

Got a Thumbs Up from Joey Fatone at the Finish Line! Thanks Pal!
 Getting sprinkled with Pixie Dust as soon as I received my Gorgeous Inaugural Medal!

Aaaaaahhhhh the Bling! It's So Beautiful and Shiny and ALL MINE!!

 Finished with my Mom and Sis....Princess Bling in the Family!
     The race was Amazing, the Bling was Amazing and I knew immediately after this race was over that I would ALWAYS run this race! We made a pact that year that we would block out "Princess Weekend" on our calendars for the forever? Yeah that sounds good. I'm hoping to be able to run this race with my daughters and their daughters. We have completely embraced our "inner Princess" and are "Perfect Princesses". Thank you RunDisney for creating such a fun event for my sis, family and friends to be able to create a lifetime of Princess Memories!

     Don't forget to check out for all of the updates on future races at Walt Disney World and Disneyland!

Happy Running and see you at the Castle!