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Disney Princess Half Marathon


Race Day Morning

Kendra and I had dinner at 3:30pm on February 25th. Huge plates of spaghetti at Pastamore at Universal’s City Walk, super delicious.

We were in bed by 7:30 all because the next morning our alarms were set for 2:40 am. I repeat, 2:40 am. Luckily, I was exhausted anyway so 7:30 was just fine by me. What wasn’t fine was my phone alarm at 2:40. Even with the excitement of wearing our matching fairy tale running outfits and running so we could get these gorgeous medals (and get back to the hotel in time for breakfast so we could go back to bed), 2:40 was still not ok. Luckily, the cab we had set up the night before arrived right at 3:15 (even sent me a text to let me know he was on the way!) and we even met a new friend in the lobby who shared the cab with us. And we looked ridiculously cute. Even if it was 3:15 am.

We got to the area for bag check dubbed the family reunion area for post race still hanging out with our new friend and there was a DJ getting everyone pumped up – at 3:30! 3:30!!! I did the Cupid Shuffle at 3:30 in the morning people! It was awesome. I knew from then on it was going to be amazing.

After about 45 minutes we checked the bag and made our way to the corrals which was about a 20 minute walk from the family reunion area. We were in corral D out of H! How did I get up so high? Crazyness. I was super nervous. Kendra kept saying we’re just going running, no big deal. And I was going to get a medal! That was really my only goal so what in the world did it matter? I worked hard for this and knew I could at least finish. No expectations. And I had briefed Kendra the night before – if I run way to slow for you then stick with me until the castle and then bolt!

Start line! Ahhh!!!

The first two groups of runners went off to fireworks at the wave of the Fairy Godmother’s magic wand and of course the magic words!!  At about 6:10 a.m. it was our turn – we got fireworks too!! The course took runners along the road from Epcot to Magic Kingdom, through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Cinderella Castle, and Frontierland before heading back to Epcot through Future World and past Spaceship Earth to the finish. The first mile few miles was spent passing a lot of the people who end up not getting medals. I felt bad for them.


Around mile 5 we finally reach the Magic Kingdom. I heard someone behind me say “Soak it up!” and “This is why we do this race.” Super motivating for some reason. I almost felt like crying. Mostly because I am the most emotional female on the planet I have decided. I could cry at the drop of a hat. We entered the park through Main Street USA, which was lined with cheering spectators holding signs that said amazing things like “Hi complete stranger! I am so proud of you!!” Cinderella Castle loomed ahead, then we headed off to Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and through Cinderella Castle. This was by far the highlight of the run. I was literally giddier than a 5 year old child. Leaving the magic kingdom was super depressing because there was still a lot of race to go but that was definitely the halfway point I needed.

For some reason right after the mile 7 marker there was a sign that said half way and speakers blaring Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (which side note: I totally need to add to my running mix). Seeing the halfway sign was super sad because I had thought I was already halfway and that these people didn’t know math very well. It was mile 8 where I had to walk. I walked for this mile and mile 10 before I started running again (by then it was more like a really brisk walk) in fact, I bet walkers were passing me. Mile 11 though is when it started to pick up with music, DJs, a gospel choir, a barbershop quartet, marching bands, drum corps, stilt walkers, acrobats on a trampoline, tons of Disney staff handing out high-fives, and where there were spectators, I had to run. I was so much more motivated when they were watching for their loved ones and seeing all their signs, it was really amazing.

Only a 5K left!!

The last thing you want to hear when you have already run 10 miles is that you only have a 5K left. Jesus, I wanted to die. I just ran 10 miles! I have to do a 5k? That is a whole other race! While the course was pretty much pancake flat for the most part, but then out of nowhere there were a series of highway ramps which were evil and just piled on minutes to my time. Totally stunk. I was super prepared for flat roads the whole way. 3 crazy highway ramps later we finally reach Epcot and I can see Spaceship Earth! OMG! Thank God! Only I know that we have to run past Spaceship Earth to reach the finish line because our new friend told us that in the cab. Ok, fine. I can do that I decided.

I loved turning the corner at mile 12.5 and seeing this gospel choir made up of teenagers singing the Hallelujah chorus, seriously made my day – again, I was near tears. I was almost done!!

The Finish

Oh wow! There is the finish line, just a pink and pretty as the starting line. Mickey and Minnie, Donald Duck! I did it!! I finished!! OMG! I just ran 13.1 miles!! I have a medal!!! And it is so pretty and shiny that I am totally ignoring the fact that I am super not walking right and my hips hurt and my socks are raw on the bottom of my feet and my big toe is probably bleeding. So pretty!!

I was so surprised by the post-race snacks, which we received in a cute purple box. “Congratulations Princess! Your 13.1 mile royal quest was an inspiration to the entire kingdom,” the box read. OMG! An inspiration? To the entire kingdom?? Seriously, Disney thinks of everything. Rather than the usual boring bagel and banana, we got edamame, hummus, crackers, fruit snacks, Luna bars and trail mix (shouldn’t hummus be refrigerated?). I found Kendra who finished well before me, we hugged, and took a celebratory photo that I am in the process of finding the best princess frame for. We even made it back to the hotel in time for breakfast. We spent the rest of the day resting so we could make a full day of it at Sea World the next day. It really was a Dream Come True!

  • March 1, 2012 - 5:05 pm

    Mom - Geez, you must have gotten the crying gene from me…I cried through this whole post! Congratulations, Dan, I’m so proud of you!!

  • March 1, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    Jenn - What an amazing experience! I truly think they should pay you to advertise for them. If I ever decide to become a runner, this is what I would want to do. Awesome!

  • March 1, 2012 - 5:51 pm

    Kendra - Your mom’s comment is my favorite! OMG! WE ARE PRINCESSES!!!

  • March 1, 2012 - 6:33 pm

    Sharon Winer - This was wonderful to read & see the photos–you should be incredibly proud!! (And you two did look SOOO cute!)

  • March 1, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    Ali - SO SO SO proud of you!! You are amazing!! YAYYYYY!! xoxo

  • March 1, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Sarah - Yay congrats!!!

    ps: They gave us hummus at the Food & Wine half too and I had the same thought!!

  • March 1, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    Dani Leigh - So glad we weren’t the only ones who had that thought. 🙂

  • March 1, 2012 - 8:38 pm

    Erin @ Until You Tri - Looks like sooooo much fun!! So happy for you!!!:) I love the costumes and the scenery and the medals and the food…awesome!!

  • March 1, 2012 - 9:37 pm

    Victoria - So proud of you! …not just for running soooo far but for getting up at 2:40! Love you sis!

  • March 8, 2012 - 9:04 pm

    Colleen Aloise - So glad I got to meet you two! I am super proud of the fact you took pictures along the way. I hope the info I gave you helped. When I got to Epcot, I was not prepared for how much was still left, and I warned you!!! 🙂

  • March 14, 2014 - 9:48 am

    High Five for Friday!! » Dani Leigh Photography - […] to pass me and then wait for me to get an after photo with our medals – Kendra! Who I ran my very first half with and promised to never ever run another one again. Jokes on me, kids. This is now my 5th. I am […]

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