Princess half marathon weekend, race day

Sunday, March 2, 2014
2:30 am, the unearthly time our alarms went off. In just three hours we would embark on a half marathon. We got ready quickly, thanks to our prep and laying everything out the night before, and were heading to the resort bus just a little after three. We met up with Emily and Paige on the bus and were able to snap a few pictures as a big group before we split ways to head to our various corrals. We all ran as different princesses which made for a very colorful group picture.

Part of the reasoning before the excessively early wake up call was the desire to be at the very start of our corral. Because I am a bit of a slacker, and have some lingering pregnancy-brain (how long can I milk that after the baby is born) or mommy-brain, I was one day late turning in my proof of pace and RunDisney wouldn't accept it so I wound up in a really far back corral. Kimmie and Kristen who did get their pace proved in time and were in earlier corrals graciously offered to move back so we could run as a group (thanks again sweet girls). Because we did have the desire to run a lot and knew we would move faster than many in our corral, we wanted to be at the very front. And we were, but it required a good bit of sitting around once we got in position.

The other unexpected part of being at the front, was getting to be right at the ribbon at the start line which was very cool. Eventually we got our bibbidi bobbidi boo send off and we were on our way. The race course was great, very flat (which is good because I definitely had not trained on hills) and lots of entertainment and characters. It is amazing how many volunteers there were working the race and people on the side of the course cheering you on. Most of the run is along roads and highways, with a mile or so stretch around the Magic Kingdom at about mile 5 and then ending with a jog through Epcot. The best parts were running through the parks, I wish those parts could have lasted longer.

I was really happy that even in a late corral we could pretty much run at all times except for the slow shuffle through Cinderella's castle, which is a totally expected traffic jam. We didn't stop for too many pictures and smiled and ran right past the "A" list ones, because it is not good for your pace or your legs to stop and stand in a line for 30 minutes mid-marathon. But we did stop for Woody, Lilo (Stitch left to take a breather right before we got there), the Genie, and the Green Army Man because their lines were really short and because well Kimmie was running as Jasmine and had to meet the Genie.

Stopping even briefly these four times and to potty once at some real bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom definitely added to our time, but that was ok, we were not there to set any records. And I am glad to have the pictures to show for it.

13.1 miles later we finally crossed the finish line. One of the best parts of the race is the gospel choir singing right before the finish. If that doesn't give you the little boost of energy you need to finish a race, I don't know what will.

We got our finisher bling, some much needed recovery food and gathered for some post-race photos. Then, after a minor directionally-challenged moment, and some unnecessary walking, we found our bus and headed back to our resort. Four girls staying in one room that just ran a half-marathon creates a bit of problem with only having one shower. So we did what was fair and played paper, rock, scissors on the bus to determine the shower order. You know because we are grown-ups and all.

We contemplated taking it easy the rest of the day, but then decided "when in go to disney." We had fastpasses lined up in Animal Kingdom that afternoon and evening so after we all eventually got showers, we headed back out.

We had a blast at Animal Kingdom. It is easily one of my favorite parks, it is just beautiful. And by afternoon it was mostly cleared out for the day and was very much uncrowded. First stop was the Kilimanjaro Safari. I love this ride because each time you do it it is a little different. I can remember one ride a couple years ago when a male lion was perched up on the top of a rock roaring right as we drove by. Meanwhile this trip we only saw the top of the lion's head, but got to see giraffes up close and personal (like couldn't stop the jeep from moving because we were so close, up close and personal). We even got to see a baby giraffe and there is not much cuter than that.

We also did some exploring of the jungle trek and looked at lots of other animals, rode Expedition Everest a couple times, Dinosaur just once (which was plenty for me and during which my eyes stayed firmly shut), Primeval Whirl and some of the other kiddy rides in Dino Land.


We had some time to kill between fastpasses and decided to go see how long the wait would be to meet good ol' Donald Duck. And you know how long the wait was...non-existant. We walked up and didn't even know if we could meet him because he was standing there all alone with his handlers. Poor guy, he looked lonely. He was proud of our running accomplishment and our medals.

We had some dinner at the rainforest cafe there at the Animal Kingdom to finish off the afternoon. By this point we had been up for an insanely long time already, but for many of us the night was still young. Kristen and Kimmie headed to Downtown Disney for some shopping and I went to go meet up with KPEM (Kevin, Paige, Emily and Matt) in the Magic Kingdom which was going to be open late (until 1:00 am, exactly 22.5 hours after I woke up that morning).

We rode a few rides and Emily introduced me to "Enchanting Tales with Belle." It is such a cool attraction where people in the audience get to help Belle act out the night she met the Beast. Because it was late at night and small children were hard to come by, both Emily and I got to play a part. Emily was Maurice and I was an armed guard which meant I walked in place for a while and at one point was instructed to make a shrieking noise. It was so fun and made for some cute photos, which a handy Disney PhotoPass person is there taking.


Because of the aforementioned lack of small children in the parks there was also very little wait (for anything really) for meeting princesses. So Emily and I took advantage of the chance to meet Repunzel and her friend Snow White.

Then we called it a night and fell into bed and quickly asleep about 24 hours after we got up that day. But it was so worth it and one incredible Disney day.

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