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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2014: Day Four, the Princess Half!

2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap!My recaps continues! I’ve already posted about the Fit for a Princess Expo, Royal 5k, and Enchanted 10k. Today it’s all about the big event and second part of the Glass Slipper Challenge, the Princess Half Marathon. And oh, what an event it was!

Once again, my alarm went off at 2:00 am Sunday morning. Once again, my first reaction was to turn the stupid thing off, because are you serious? Who wakes up so early to run three times in a row? Who DOES these things? But then the fog lifted and I realized that the final day of a weekend I’ve been dreaming about for a year had finally arrived, so get up already! There’s always tomorrow to sleep!

(Which was exactly what I did the next morning–sleep, sleep, sleep!)

IMG_4661Since I’m one of those folks who don’t fully wake without a shower, I grabbed a quick one and washed my hair … which made absolutely NO sense considering the sweaty mess I was soon to become. Thanks to my wise husband’s suggestion after having no coffee before the 5k, I still had half a Coke to ease my caffeine addiction while getting ready.

[NOTE TO SELF: Get rid of caffeine addiction.]

My costume? Because of the expected icky humidity, I was keeping it simple again with just a tank and Team Sparkle skirt but I did make a purple bow to fancy up my hair. (It ended up being a total pain. So was my skirt. More on that later.)

Once again, I headed to the bus stop EARLY. No getting stuck in traffic and nearly having a panic attack like last year for me! I always love walking through a dark, empty resort on race morning, seeing those few excited runners who you’re about to share a wonderful experience with. It makes me want to run up and hug them, but that is creepy and could get me beaten up so I resist.

The bus ride over was joyous and TRAFFIC FREE! (I know, I keep going on about that, but last year’s experience was horrible, okay?) We soon arrived at Epcot’s parking lot and made that happy walk to the family reunion area. After ordering another coffee (using my Magic Band this time,) I stood near the race retreat tent to meet my running group. Apparently, my coffee must not have kicked in yet, because they were already gathered twenty feet away while I stood there like a dumb bunny. Duh.

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It was so nice being there in time for this picture! And isn’t the one gal’s Mulan costume fantastic? Wish you could see how her partner-in-crime in the back row is dressed as Mushu. They were quite the pair. Adore all these folks.

After wearing big girl panties for the 5k and 10k by running solo, I decided to round out the weekend and once again run by myself. As soon as they started calling for corrals, I headed out so I could leisurely walk instead of running along the side like last year. But it was slow. And I’m not good at leisurely walking. And I’m Type A. So once I saw some ladies speed-walking along the side, I feel in line behind them. It felt kind of good to hustle!

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Where? To the left? Oh, okay.

Why, thank you!

Why, thank you!

IMG_4677Now, last year, I was one of those ladies making the mad dash to the woods for a last-minute tinkle. This time, however, they put an end to that with a row of silt fence. (Or maybe it was there last year and I just hopped over it because I really had to go. Can’t remember.) Anyway, I had already forced myself stop at one of their many port-o-pot stations beforehand … only to give a show from the door not locking properly and then having to wait for another bathroom to open so I could get some antibacterial lotion since mine was empty. Geez. The woods were better.

My next stop!

My next stop!

Let's go already!

Let’s go already!

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IMG_4697What a difference from last year – being early enough to stand at the front, having time to chat with neighbors and listen to interviews from the stage! This gal taught me how to go right to camera on my iPhone’s locked screen. Holy cow, how handy!

My excitement grew as each of the first three corrals were set off with fireworks. Of course, it wouldn’t be me without some kind of drama. Like how I decided that my shoelaces HAD TO BE RE-TIED just when our corral got the go-ahead to move forward and getting a whopping case of Phantom (I-have-to) Pee Syndrome. But this was soon forgotten from a close-up view of the sign’s gorgeous changing colors…

From this...

From this…

To this...

To this…

To this...

To this…

And back to blue.

And back to blue.

IMG_5283It was really quite stunning. So was having the Fairy Godmother counting us down with her magical 3-2-1!

She has one of the best jobs in the world.

 

And we were off!

And we were off!

IMG_4719It was tempting to zoom ahead, but I managed to pace myself for the first mile unlike yesterday’s 10k. My plan was to only hit my absolute favorite photos stops during the beginning so there would be less of a line at the castle for Mickey & Minnie.

I also wanted to hold out for a real bathroom in Magic Kingdom but that stupid Phantom Pee Syndrome had other plans. So once I saw a lighted row of port-o-pots at … where was it, mile one? Mile two? … I went ahead and stopped with much inner protest. It was nice how they had a volunteer directing folks to empty bathrooms. It would have been much nicer, however, if I had a mini-flashlight like my one friend did because it was quite dark inside.

Don't I look relieved?

Don’t I look relieved?

From what I could tell, the added corrals seemed like a good addition to this year’s race. It was odd, though, still hearing fireworks going off while at mile two! The first couple of miles were a tad lonely and I missed my awesome partner-in-crime from last year, Linda, who ran the same pace as me and also loved stopping for character photos. So yeah, running solo can have its drawbacks. (Shake it off, Laura, big girl panties, big girl panties!)

And oh my gosh, the humidity! It didn’t seem possible to be stickier than last year’s run but it was. I was covered in sweat and wondering why the heck I bothered to shower earlier.

Somewhere around that point, I also saw the amazing Kimberly from Maker Mother Marathon Runner and I *almost* said hi but my inner Chicken Little kicked in, making me choke with a fear of coming off as a creepy stalker.

(I don’t like my inner Chicken Little. It’s ten times worse than the Phantom Pees.)

Next time, I’ll say hello.

Moving on.

Skipped these guys, maybe next year.

Skipped these guys, maybe next year.

Magic Kingdom!!

Magic Kingdom!!

Cruising to mile 3!

Cruising to mile 3!

There was no line here, so why not stop?

There was no line here, so why not stop?

And now, my absolute favorite character stop of the entire race!

Don't mess with us. Seriously. Just don't.

Don’t mess with us. Seriously. Just don’t.

And look, I’m not one to dictate, but ladies … don’t smile for this character stop. Embrace your badass!

IMG_4737Quick costume report: I had another lesson in “always test your costumes” after discovering that my running shorts were shorter than my skirt, causing the sequined fabric to rub the top of my thighs. Not enough to chafe, but enough to bug the poo out of me. So between each character stop, I’d roll the waistband to make them shorter, which got to be a pain. A gal from my running group, Kristie, was cheering near mile four and was carrying a full backpack with every emergency product possible – powder, chafe cream, snacks, you name it. I should have asked if she had scissors!

I bet the folks by this mile marker seriously regretted their position by the hundredth selfie.

I bet the folks here seriously regretted their position after the hundredth selfie.

Love from the Polynesian.

Love from the Polynesian.

This guy had some energy! Loved him!

This guy had some energy! Loved him!

My pace was rather good, all things considering.

My pace was rather good, all things considering.

This was the best shot I could get by Mile 6!

A crappy shot by Mile 6!

IMG_4752It was soon time for the second best part of the entire race – running down Main Street at Magic Kingdom! (Linda, really missed you here, girl!)

Oh, if only life had a rewind button so I could experience those moments again and again and again. I did shoot video the entire way, but I regret that now because you can never quite capture the magic. I should have just lived it instead. And I forgot to get a picture on the corner with the castle in the background.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to come back next year! 😉

IMG_4756There were some other photos I really wanted to get this year: One with the famous Peggy Sue, in the golf cart, with Mickey & Minnie, and by the fenced alcove near the entrance to Tomorrowland with the castle in the background. Well, I had another dumb bunny moment by not realizing the alcove was only about six feet to my left!

Once again: Oh well, guess I’ll have to come back next year!

I did get one with my honey later on in the week.

I did get one with my honey later on in the week.

Oh Buzz, I'm sorry to run by you once again. Next year, buddy, I promise!

Oh Buzz, I’m sorry to run by you again. Next year, buddy, I promise!

Now, like I said before, one of the photos I really, really, REALLY wanted to get was with Mickey & Minnie, no matter how long the line was! Well, it was long. Really, really, REALLY long. But hey, I wanted to catch up with my running pals on Facebook anyway, so I hopped in line, dripping sweat onto my shoulders and shirt which was really gross but are also marks of honor.

(Here’s where I should say that my decision to drink beer the first few days of my trip instead of properly hydrating was a bit of a mistake. I mean, it was a tasty mistake … but still a mistake. Bad Laura, bad runner.)

My coveted shot with Mickey & Minnie! So glad it turned out nice!

My coveted shot with Mickey & Minnie! So glad it turned out nice!

IMG_4765Up next, the absolute best part of the race, running through Cinderella’s castle with trumpeters cheering you on!

Last year, it was loud with all the echoing woo-HOO’s and cheers. This year, it was oddly … quiet. I like to think that everyone was too stunned by awed majesty to woo-HOO. But it truly was a magical moment as I later explained to Bob while taking him through the castle for the first time. He loved the gorgeous tile work!

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Must come up with a better pose for next year.

Must come up with a better pose for next year’s race.

Now THIS is a pose!

Now THIS is a pose!

Almost halfway there!

EAGLE! (You have to be a Scrubs fan to understand that one.)

Bummer. My favorite ride, Splash Mountain, was down for refurb again!

Bummer. My favorite ride, Splash Mountain, was down for refurb again!

One of my favorite pictures from the race. The conductor was such a great sport!

One of my favorite pictures from the race. The conductor was such a great sport!

The line for Sleeping Beauty was super long but eh, why not stop?

The line for Sleeping Beauty was super long but eh, why not stop?

Hopelessly addicted to this song.

Hopelessly addicted to this song.

Enough with the arms, already!

Enough with the arms, already!

Mary Poppins was so squeaky clean. I felt very grungy and disgusting standing beside her.

Mary Poppins was so clean. I felt very grungy and disgusting standing beside her.

Finally! Scored a golf club photo!

Finally! Scored a golf club photo!

Let me take a break from that photo frenzy to talk about crowds. Okay. It was crowded. There were several bottlenecks that kicked my claustrophobia into high drive and made me fantasize about jumping up and leaping from head to head like in the subway scene of Crocodile Dundee.

(Wasn’t that an awesome movie? “That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife.”)

Many times, run/walkers broke to a walk without warning, either because they didn’t know or didn’t care or were too excited to remember. Many times runners clipped too close as they passed or forgot to call out “on your left.” As for myself, I mostly stayed on the left, going off-road to pass and then hopping back on the pavement when it was clear – which suited me fine since I’m the one who chose to stop for characters instead of keeping pace. And Lord knows I wasn’t without flaw – like when I accidentally elbowed a runner by zigging when she zagged, but I apologized profusely and she accepted with a smile–life goes on.

But what was disheartening … and downright depressing … was the complaining and many negative stories of extreme rudeness that trickled in after the race. Like how one runner chastised a gal named Beth over her speed, causing her to break out in tears. And how a running pal of mine actually got pushed by someone after she passed on the right instead of the left. And how a slower runner told a friend of mine, “You nearly ruined my race,” after she was passed.

(Um, honey … I bet there were lots of folks on the pick-up bus who would have gladly been passed if it meant they could have finished.)

IMG_4792Thankfully, I either didn’t notice much rudeness or didn’t dwell on it. I chose to run happily ever after like the sign says, embracing the amazing experience and crazy crowded comraderie.

(Well, when I wasn’t fantasizing about Crocodile Dundee-ing on people’s heads, that is.)

And look, I don’t like going negative in this recap and I’m certainly not one to preach … and yes, it’d be nice if some folks were more aware of proper running etiquette … but really. If you don’t like crowds and have a low tolerance for improper etiquette–whether accidental, uninformed, or intentional–than perhaps runDisney events aren’t for you. And wow. Pushing? Really? Unacceptable. Don’t try that with me. I have friends, remember?

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Okay, enough of that. Let’s shake off the negative – la la la – and bring back the happy! Oh, and about Beth … from what I heard, she was embraced with hugs and encouragement by nearby runners after that doofus made her cry. See? There’s tons more good than bad at the Princess.

An awkward photo, but eh, awkward happens.

An awkward photo, but eh, awkward happens.

Getting close to the end...

Nearly two-thirds down…

Kind of like how the picture turned out.

Kind of like how the picture turned out.

Captain Jack mumbled something to me, followed by "love." No clue what he said - I just focused on the "love."

Captain Jack mumbled something to me like “Blah, blah, blah, mumble, mumble, mumble,” followed by “love.” No clue what he said – I just focused on the “love” part.

Chugging along!

Chugging along!

Sarge was hilarious! He did not approve of those walking up the hill.

Sarge was hilarious! He did not approve of those walking up the hill.

I loved how faster runner cheered for us below from an overpass. I was sure to later return the favor for others!

I loved how faster runner cheered for us below from an overpass. I was sure to later return the favor for others!

Only 2.1 more miles to go!

Only 2.1 more miles to go!

IMG_4814-002While nearing the overpass bridge between mile 11 and 12, I saw an amazing sight – Angela and Anna, the free selfie ladies! They got up super early, risking life and limb to cheer for us runners from that spot – and probably having just as much fun as we were! Oh, and that square thing by my right temple? It was part of my hair bow that stuck to my face for about two miles. Next year, no bows.

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What am I doing, trying to surf?

LOVED this sign, and those ladies for holding it for hours!

LOVED this sign, and those ladies for holding it for hours!

IMG_4817I was so excited to finally get a picture with the lovely Peggy Sue, who’s famous for cheering at nearly every runDisney event with her trademark, “Hello complete stranger, I’m proud of you” sign. What an amazing gal. She also gave me a Twizzler.

She cheers?

She feeds?

How could you not totally love her?

IMG_4819Seeing Peggy Sue near the side entrance at Epcot meant one thing: The race was almost over. By this time, my sweat was sweating its own sweat and my calves ached, thanks to all that treadmill training. (They felt great until mile 5 but once I stopped for Mickey & Minnie? BAM, they cramped. My muscles would recover after another half mile or so but then I’d stop for another character and BAM, they’d ache again. I was a total Emeril out there.)

And for the love of God, who is this fairy chick?? I’ve yet to figure it out. Love her dress, though.

IMG_4822Dashing around Epcot past cones and cheering CM’s was a magical as ever. I’ve never been a big Epcot fan before, but now that I’m older, I appreciate its charm and ingenuity. By that time, I was sprinting pretty hard, ready to finish, ready to see my awesome hubby, ready to celebrate completing the first-ever Glass Slipper Challenge! Oh, and about the above picture with the always-awesome gospel choir. The BIGGEST drop of sweat fell in my eye seconds after this was taken! Wish the camera would have caught that. It would have been hilarious!

Almost there...

Almost there…

My forbidden selfie with Mickey. They hustled me along soon after!

My forbidden selfie with Mickey. They hustled me along soon after!

FINISHED!

FINISHED!

IMG_4832*Sigh.* It was another great ending to another great Princess Marathon.

After gathering my gorgeous blue Half Marathon medal, I made my sweaty way toward the reunion area, gladly accepting water, PowerAde, and the handy purple backpacks to carry them in! I followed the crowd to where they gave out the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge medals and tried to not get OCD about the small scratch on mine. (I seriously have issues, let it go, let it go, let it go.)

After getting the above picture, (with a borrowed 10k medal from the photographer – wow, that thing had to be filthy,) I got a call from my sweetie Bob:

“Hey, did you just cross the finish line a few minutes ago?”

“YES! Why, did you see me?”

“I think so. You’re in a purple skirt, right?”

“Yes, did you get a picture?”

“Well…”

IMG_4834We then played a long game of cat and mouse, with me trying to explain how to get to the family reunion area (where he had met me last year) from the spectator viewing bleachers. This part was a tad annoying, (lesson to be learned: make better meet-up plans,) so it was awesome to finally find him, and get that delicious, icy-cold beer!

He’s the best runDisney husband ever.

And the beer came in a *pink* souvenir cup. It’s like … they know me, you know?

 

IMG_4840-001Oddly enough, I didn’t see anyone from my running group in the reunion area. (At least … I don’t think so. I don’t know, my memory ain’t what she used to be.) We then had some awkward, don’t-quite-know-what-to-do-with-ourselves moments afterwards, so once I got the above photo, (missed it last year, wasn’t missing it again!) we decided to head back to the resorts.

Okay, this is gross – but I knew perfectly well how sweaty I got during the race. The odds of me stinking was very high. So tell me why I found it necessary to smell my running gear before throwing them in their own dirty clothes bag, huh?

(Wow, that confession really was gross. Raising boys must have rubbed off on me. NOTE TO SELF: Delete that before anyone sees it. I mean, honestly.)

IMG_4844Okay, so to wrap up this incredibly long, picture heavy recap part, let me finish off by saying that I had the most amazing time, running around, getting pictures, feeling like an excited kid on crack. And a part of me still hasn’t quite acknowledged the huge accomplished that us Glass Slipper folks made: We ran 19.3 miles in two days! And for those of crazy ones who did the 5k as well, we did 22.4 miles in three days!

I don’t normally like to sound boasty … but that’s pretty freaking awesome. (Of course, I ached for days, but I’ll save that for another day’s post.)

After a very, very long shower, it was time for some fun!

Epcot is the best post-race park!

Epcot is the best post-race park!

Meeting up with friends at Epcot wearing that gorgeous Glass Slipper medal!

Meeting up with more friends at Epcot wearing that gorgeous Glass Slipper medal!

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Epic group dinner at ‘Ohanas!

I binged. Lord, Lord Lord, did I binge!

I binged. Lord, Lord Lord, did I binge!

There's a long story behind this...

There’s a long story behind this…

And an even longer one here...

And an even longer one here…

Don't even ask.

Don’t even ask.

What happens when Bob pretends to be a fashion photographer.

What happens when Bob pretends to be a fashion photographer.

Crazy things happened when Bob went to bed and left me with these ladies at Magic Kingdom...

Crazy things happened when Bob went to bed and left me with these ladies at Magic Kingdom…

And finally, the start of a gorgeous week with my hubby!

And finally, the start of a gorgeous week with my hubby!

So count me in for next year’s Princess Half Marathon weekend. Hope to see you there and thanks for reading my recap! Here’s links to my previous posts in case you’re curious:

And recaps from last year if you’re really, really curious:

Happy running!

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