Run a 1/2 Marathon…and try not to die a little! Well, I did “run” it and I did not die…but I did not finish!
“Do you wanna build a snowman?” or more like “Do you wanna run a 1/2 marathon?”, is what I said to BFF Carissa. The idea of doing a Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon has always been in the back of my mind until one day last year, I pulled the trigger and made a call to Carissa and the next thing we know….we are running a 1/2 marathon.
Things I have learned from this 2020 Princess Marathon.
- You need to find someone as crazy as you to do this with you! I can’t imagine doing this race alone. I know 100% when my alarm went off at 2:00 am to get up and get ready, I would have shut it off and went back to bed! So find your crazy friend and run together!
- Costumes! Sometimes your crazy friend is not a “princess” type person, but if you just send them things to wear, they will…because they love you! Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon is all about the costumes…all about the inner princess in you! So costumes are super important! I would normally go with my favorite princess and that would be Cinderella, even though I have red hair. But my friend has blonde hair and I have red hair, so the choice was clear….we needed to be Anna and Elsa from Frozen! Seeing as my friend is not into costumes, I will not post a full picture of her in it, but here are our costumes laid out.
3. Train, Train, Train! I can’t stress this enough! But most importantly train correctly! I only trained with 3-mile intervals, for a 1/2 marathon you should train with 5…who knew? I guess everyone knew but me!
4. Stay in the Disney resorts! People look for better deals to stay off-site but I think it’s foolish! Pay the little extra, you will be happy! Only having to roll out of bed and drag yourself to the bus at 3 AM is much better than having to drag yourself to your car, drive, park, and WALK at 2 AM! Also….pray for the premium room! Trust me after running 13.1 miles the last thing you want to do is walk 1 mile to your hotel room! Because truthfully you don’t just do 13.1 miles. Its 1 mile to the bus, 1 mile from the bus to the check-in, 3 miles from the check in to the corral, 1/2 mile from the corral to the starting line, 13.1 miles for the race, 1 mile to the busses and another mile to your hotel room! So that is 19.1 miles…they don’t give you special metals for that! Pay the extra $30 a day! So worth it!
5. Be smart about the miles you put on in the parks before the race! We hit the parks HARD before the race. When I do this again….I can’t believe I said that….but when I do this again, I will come in a day or 2 before the race and not go to the parks. I will go after. It is so hard because the draw to magic is so strong. It’s almost like you can touch it, but wisdom is, save your feet! Hit the parks after. The whole 5 days we were there we did 51 miles total! Or that is what my apple watch told me. 51 MILES! That is whack-a-do! 30 of those miles were pre-race. So that is a lot on your feet before you decide to run 13.1 miles!
6. Go back to the resort after the race! I am not a runner and I knew bouncing back after the race might be difficult. So we went right back to the hotel after the race. We took a hot shower, some pain meds, and a nap! Carissa went poolside for a rest and I chose to stay in the room. I also had to write a paper for grad school, that was not wisdom! It made no sense when I was done. The professor contacted me and said…what did you just send me? I honestly had no idea! The next morning we hit the parks and I also regret that a little. We should have rested the next day and not do another 13 miles that day. I was soooooooo tired! I was not sore, that I recovered well, I was just exhausted. The idea of laying down in the middle of Main Street and taking a nap sounded like the best idea ever! But that is how a non-runner felt, you might not feel the same way!
7. Smart Shoes over Cute Shoes! I think this might be the biggest struggle in my whole life! I just want cute shoes always and my feet hate me and their life, so they want comfort and not cute. It was a struggle for me to wear the right shoes at the parks before the race, but I did it. I wore Nike running shoes for the race and they were ok. When I came home I bought a pair of Brooks and then I regretted not getting a pair before I left to wear at the race. It was like walking in heaven! I love them! So my advice is to get smart shoes, not cute shoes! Your feet will thank me! Even in the parks, I wore my Nike’s and I think that is how I survived the race as much as I did. I have massive foot issues and it is a struggle! Always my biggest battle.
8. The Expo! This is where you drop off your waiver and pick up your bib. Not the greatest picture of us but here it is! Florida has a way of saying it will be hot and really it is 30 degrees! This day was so cold and windy! It was awful! In true Disney fashion, you have to walk 1,000 miles to get to where you need to go! So we were dropped off by transportation a mile away from where the bib pick up was. The expo was big and spread out. Bib pick up was in one place and expo was in another…typical Disney fashion! But this event has over 20,000 runners, so it made perfect sense. I am a sucker for swag, so it was a candy store for me, Carissa not so much! Things to remember…ALWAYS have a photo ID on you at all times where ever you go in Disney! You never know when you need it….like when you try to pick up your bib! Thankfully Carissa’s husband was able to send a picture of her passport or we would have had to walk the mile back to the bus, take the 25-minute drive back to the resort on a bus that ran on the 1/2 hour, walk a mile to our room and do the whole thing all over again. It made us almost decide not to run the race because the process would be so much to get it! But her hubby saved the day!!
9. Corral waits are long! You wake up, get ready and get amped up! You wait at the bus, get on the bus and get amped up! You get off the bus, get in line to head to the corrals and get amped up! You walk the 3 miles to your corral and everyone is amped up! Then you sit and wait an hour to start! It was so crazy! Never having run a race it was such a mix of emotions. I was high, I was low, I was tired, and I wanted to vomit because I was so nervous….oh and I had to pee! But it was a 3-mile walk back to the bathroom..not worth it! You were also FREEZING! I am so glad I made jackets for us to wear with our costumes!
10. Dig Deep! Stick your courage to the sticking place. Like I said already, we know I trained wrong and have bad feet. About a mile into it I got an awful leg cramp that would not let go. I wanted to stop there, but I pushed through. I continued to push until mile 9…then I quit. I was not sad about this. The balloon ladies came and I left. (Balloon ladies are the 16-minute mile pacers. If they get in front of you, you get swept from the race.) I wanted to finish but the idea of continuing was not possible. I was happy with how far I went and at that moment I decided I wouldn’t do this again and I was happy to get on the bus. I said I wouldn’t do it again, but as I came home and got back into things…I think I might do it again! I think I would enjoy the other parts of the races. I would love to do the 5K and the 10K. The first race ever was a 1/2 marathon…that was a little ambitious.
I always enjoy spending time with Carissa and every time we do something it is ALWAYS an adventure! Someday we will just sit on a beach for a vacation, but until then we will do these crazy things!