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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2014: Day Two, the Cinderella Royal Family 5k!

2014 Disney Cinderella Royal Family 5kI got a bit chatty in my Fit for a Princess recap, so I’ll try to keep this one more brief.

(Oh, who am I kidding? It’s impossible for me not to be chatty. You’ve been warned.)

So, after last year’s fiasco with Port Orleans’ bus service, I had decided to be at the bus stop early for each race. Like, EARLY early. Transportation started at 3:30, so when my alarm rang at 2:30, I was up, out of bed … and in desperate need of coffee. My darling, wonderful, amazing, love-of-my-life husband went down to the food court to get me some, but they weren’t open yet. Ugh.

[Note for next year: Pack a mini Keurig!!}

IMG_4254Despite a severe lack of caffeine, I was soon dressed and ready to go. Now, about my costumes. Despite good intentions to have them ready weeks in advance, I was scrambling to finish days before leaving. I had planned on making a tutu but after buying $30.00 worth of tulle, it was clear the fabric would drive me nuts! So I went with pink Minnie instead, seeing as how I was going as red Minnie for the 10k. Here’s my last-minute creation, a Team Sparkle skirt covered in removable yard sale stickers – which led to a bet in my running group over how many would fall off during the race. (Results to come later.)

Anyway, I ended up sitting in the first row of the first bus, trying not to get sick from someone’s heavy-hitting cologne, (too early, dude, too early,) and being careful not damage any of my stickers. (Couldn’t lose the bet. I’m competitive.)

We soon arrived at Epcot’s parking lot and I made the walk to see this glorious sight with all my stickers intact! (It was very humid so many of my pictures turned out crappy.)

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IMG_4298An even more glorious sight? Coffee! Coffee coffee coffee COFFEE!! Sure, it wasn’t the best tasting brew and I’m not a fan of creamer packs, but I was grateful for the caffeine.

There were more concession stands near the stage that *might* have let you pay with your Magic Band, but at this station, they only took cash. Thank goodness Bob told me to pack a few bucks just in case!

(For those who plan on running in next year’s race, here’s the price list:)

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IMG_4304With coffee in hand, I was one happy lady! And I was the first one from my running group to arrive, so I spent the time checking out costumes, people watching, and becoming caffeinated.

Some back story: At first, I was hesitant about signing up, since I was running the Glass Slipper challenge. But I love the 5k. And I’m addicted to bling, so I broke down and registered early, avoiding last year’s mess where folks were reporting how it had sold out which, of course, made me panic with an INSTANT desperation to run it.

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Soon the lovely ladies and gents in my running group arrived in time for this group photo before heading to our corrals. (Tip: A great place to meet up with friends was the RV by the stage!)

IMG_4312As I said in my 5k report from last year, I felt a little lonely running alone. I’ve since gotten to know my running pals much better and made plans to run with a sweetie named Maria and her Frozen crew! We headed to Corral B, feeling very excited. (And for me, feeling like I had to pee for the tenth time. Darn that coffee!)

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Pay attention to the tiara I’m wearing with my homemade Minnie ears. More on that later.

Before we knew it, we were off and running!

Before we knew it, we were off and running!

Maria’s daughter needed to take an emergency walk break after the start so on a whim, I decided to keep on running solo. Now. About those ears … oh my gosh, they were all over the place because I had very un-wisely chosen to not test them out first.

Big mistake.

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Wearing a tiara over the ears was an even bigger mistake. So while I was in line for a photo with Princess Alta (really happy with how it turned out,) I did some serious readjusting by using extra hair clips to anchor the head band. The tiara? There was no saving that sucker. I had to carry it for the time being.

[Note for next year: Take your own dang advice and test all costumes first. Geez.]

One down, three to go!

One down, three to go!

Sticker Update: None of them have jumped ship yet!

Pretty soon, I was hauling into Epcot’s World Showcase, an awesome sight! So was the BEST WATER STOP EVER, where three gals from my running group were volunteering … and possibly having more fun that me! One of them offered to take the troubling tiara off my hands. Oh, and the gal in the tank top? She’s one of the awesome Free Selfie Ladies from the 10k and Half Marathon! (#freeselfies, #princessselfies.)

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Hanging with Mulan and Mushu

Hanging with Mulan and Mushu

IMG_4327Now. About this picture. That is not me. I don’t know who she is, but I love her pink-trimmed pants and happy smile. The camera guy must have messed up and taken her photo with my iPhone, so I’m posting this with wild hopes that she sees it and says, “OH MY GOSH, there it is, my picture with Dopey that I’ve been dreaming of getting for YEARS! Thank you, thank you, Laura Bowers!!”

(Okay, that’s a little dramatic. But shouldn’t wild hopes be dramatic?)

My own photo with Dopey that I've been dreaming about for YEARS! (That's a lie. I got one with him last year.)

My own photo with Dopey that I’ve been dreaming about for YEARS! (That’s a lie. I met him last year.)

Sticker Update: Even they were having fun and hanging on!

My awful "The Hills are Alive" pose.

My awful “The Hills are Alive” pose.

IMG_4337Okay, here’s what’s awesome about running solo: You can follow your own pace, (I don’t do walk breaks,) pee when you gotta, and stop for as many photos as your heart desires without feeling as though you’re holding anybody back. And finding someone to take your picture is never a problem – there’s always a CM or another lone runner that you can pull a camera switch-a-roo with.

Oh, and speaking of cameras, this year I carried my iPhone rather than hauling both camera and phone. I wasn’t as happy with picture quality, but it was super convenient. Attaching a wrist strap to my Otterbox cover also worked out well in case I dropped it. Which I did. Three times.

So anyway, while it’s equally awesome running with friends, I had a TOTAL BLAST running solo, unlike my needy self last year! Look at me, finally growing up and finding some independance. Good thing. I mean, I am almost forty-five. ‘Bout time.

Me and the Beast. He's tall.

Me and the Beast. He’s tall.

What happens with you stop for every single character. Worth it!

What happens with you stop for every single character. Worth it!

With each stride, the mile-wide smile on my face grew larger. Running through Epcot is simply gorgeous. Throw in the cheering cast members, wonderful character stops, excited fellow runners, and Disney music and you have one memorable race. So glad I signed up!

Good Lord, I do need to work on my poses, though!

Good Lord, I do need to work on my poses, though!

Me trying to center Spaceship Earth between my ears.

Me trying to center Spaceship Earth between my ears.

IMG_4348Last mile! This is what I call my “goober smile.” It comes out when I’m extremely overjoyed. Which I was, even though the race was almost over. That part sucked. But seriously, I highly, highly recommend the 5k for anyone who loves character photos, enjoys running at a leisurely, less-stressed pace, and wants to let their goober smile shine! 😉

Sticker Update: Those little buggers were not giving up!

Sigh. All good things must come to an end eventually.

Sigh. All good things must come to an end eventually.

Getting my adorable medallion with my Olaf face!

Getting my adorable medallion with my Olaf face!

IMG_4536After grabbing a PowerAde and a much-needed bottle of water, I headed to the backdrops for a photo, sharing the feeling of accomplishment with my fellow runners. While in line, just as I spilled a considerable amount of water between my boobs while taking a sip (which actually felt wonderful) … I heard this, “Laura?” It was my friend Leslie, what awesome timing!

I always love hearing other’s accounts of their race. And come on, isn’t her hat adorable?

IMG_4358Because of the photographers policy to not take pictures with your camera, Leslie and I pulled camera switch-a-roos for this picture. We then headed off to get our goodie boxes, (good thing because I was starving by that point,) before going off on our merry way.

All in all, this year’s Royal Family 5k was absolutely lovely. Great course, great character stops, great atmosphere, I’m so glad I signed up! Next year, I’m registering right off the bat.

Oh, and as for my final Sticker Update? Every single one made it to the finish line! So for all of you in my running group who had no faith and predicted I’d lose at least half? Suck it, doubters. (Said with love, of course.)

Okay, now I’m having a total brain-fart because I can’t remember if there were any character photos going on in the family reunion area. There must not have been because knowing me, I’d be hopping in line. Instead, I headed back to All Stars Music for a much-needed shower and change.

IMG_4368Like last year, Bob and I had planned on hitting Animal Kingdom for the day. It’s such a lovely, relaxing park – our second favorite behind Hollywood Studios. I’m usually not a big tee-shirt wearer, but the Cinderella 5k ones were so cute that I couldn’t resist!

–> The photographer tried to get Bob and I to kiss for this shot. Love my man dearly, but we’re not a kiss-for-the-camera couple. Pass. As for the rest of our day, I’ve already been chatty enough for one post, so I’ll summarize in pictures.

We finally saw DiVine!

We finally saw DiVine!

My very unhealthy lunch. Hey, I was on vacation!

My very unhealthy lunch. Hey, I was on vacation!

Yeah, I know. It's so not smart to drink beer between multiple races. Don't do as I did.

Yeah, I know. It’s so not smart to drink beer between multiple races. Don’t do as I did.

My very first photo of a ride photo. It made me feel oddly sneaky.

My very first photo of a ride photo. It made me feel oddly sneaky.

My man was tuckered. I had to resist the urge to tickle him.

My man was tuckered. I had to resist the urge to tickle him.

Everyone stops for a parade!

Everyone stops for a parade!

I like to believe that Mickey is reaching out to me for a knuckle-tap.

I like to believe that Mickey is reaching out to me for a knuckle-tap. You rock, Mickey.

We had our BEST Kilimanjaro Safari ride EVER! Tons of animals.

We had our BEST Kilimanjaro Safari ride EVER! Tons and tons of animals.

Why is it that despite the many, many zoo trips and safari rides, you always feel the need to photograph each and every animal? But come on, this one is cool.

Why is it that despite going on countless zoo trips and safari rides, you still want to photograph every animal even though the pictures always seem boring later? But come on, this hippo one is cool.

So is this one.

So is this one.

And this one.

And this one.

And this one. Okay, I'm done. Please don't leave.

And this one. Okay, I’m done. Please don’t leave.

Balloo totally kissed me. Don't tell Bob.

Balloo totally kissed me. Don’t tell Bob.

For dinner, we ate at Tusker House, something Bob’s been wanting to do for some time. It was … eh, not good. I’m not a big buffet fan to begin with and the food was a tad lackluster. And now, one more thing before I wrap up this long, long post.

IMG_4375Okay, have you ever seen a picture of yourself that makes you realize–holy cow–I seriously need to get back in shape?

Welcome to my picture.

Last year, I went to the Princess in fairly good shape but my personal life and career was a mess. This year, despite a brief brouhaha right before we left, our business was starting to sing again and I had recently submitted a novel to my agent that is my best work ever, something I’m very excited about. (Still being shopped, fingers crossed!) But I’ve only been doing bare minimum training and it showed. So I’m getting back to a workout routine. Hard. Tomorrow. And hopefully next year, all aspects of my life will be looking good!

Well, okay, that’s it, I’ve rambled on for long enough. Up next, the Enchanted 10k!

Happy running! 🙂

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