Just over a month ago, I ran a half marathon at 14 weeks and 3 days pregnant! Not just any half marathon. I ran the runDisney Princess Half Marathon which is an annual tradition for my girls and me! This was my 7th Disney Princess half marathon and my 9th runDisney half marathon. No, it doesn't get old! Each year get's better and better. It helps that Disney puts on an amazing event!
Like all Disney races, it started dark and early. Our alarms went off at 3:30am and we were dressed and at the bus stop by 4:00am. The buses drop you off at Epcot where the finish line area is located. Here you can check a bag if you have one, use one of the many port-o-potties, meet up with friends and jam to the music they have trying to wake everyone up.
The start line is nearly a mile walk from this drop off point. It seems like a lot, but it's a nice, easy way to gradually wake up. There are several potties right before the corrals too which is important info for us runners! The corrals are all labeled very clearly. Just make sure you get to your corral at least 30 minutes prior to the race start if you're in an early corral because they do close them. Once in our corral, we had the chance to stretch and get excited to run 13.1 miles!
Disney is awesome about starting their races right on schedule! 5:30am Fairy Godmother was there to bippity, boppity, boop us on our way along with some fun fireworks. Rachael and I were in Corral D which meant we had about 10-15 minutes before we were actually on our way.
We started off our race nice and easy. Rachael was running on a bum foot and I was running with child, so we weren't trying to get a PR. We just wanted to run together and have fun. Around mile 3 we saw the princes and were originally anticipating being able to get a picture with them when we looped back around on mile 10-ish. Unfortunately the road construction going on meant they were in a different place. We stopped in the line for a minute, and then decided it would take us way too long to get through. Instead we took awkward selfies in front of them and went along our way.
Shortly after that this pregnant lady had to pee. I decided to take a potty break between miles 4 & 5. I told Rachael to keep running but just slow down a bit, and I'd catch back up to her eventually. Post potty I had a surge of energy and really kicked it into gear to catch Rachael. It was fun running faster for about a mile, but I was happy to slow back down when I caught her. Right after that we were running into Magic Kingdom!
This year the race course was a bit different and we came in the main park entrance. We ran straight down Main Street USA with a surge of energy!
After running down Main Street, you hang a right into Tomorrowland. I spotted Buzz with a short line and had to grab a picture with him!
There were several other characters like the Queen of Hearts, Alice, Gaston and Tiana, but they had long lines or we had already met them just the day before. We decided to just head straight for the castle! And then we saw the Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters and couldn't say no! I've never seen them out at a race. The line was a little bit longer, but it was a 3 for 1 deal. Completely worth it. Plus, we got a fabulous picture out of it!
Sassy! And then we really did just head straight through the castle.
We got the cutest castle pics! The photopass photographers there are awesome. They get everyone in and out super quick. We even were able to get two pictures: jump and posing!
As we left the park, there was a crazy long line for Cinderella & Prince Charming and Aurora & Prince Philip. We didn't want to wait over 30 minutes, but we were willing to wait 1 minute to snap a picture in front of the dragon! When they said we could run up and get a picture with it, we were all in.
Unfortunately, as you leave Magic Kingdom, you're only about halfway through the race. The rest is along the many roads and overpasses that connect the Disney parks. When we first left the parks, it was starting to get warm and we wound up right around a very large Galloway pace group. Now I'm not knocking on Galloway training or pace groups, but this group happened to be a tough one to run near. It was very big and the roads were narrow. We were trying to pass and there wasn't a lot of space. Sadly, a lot of the runners in the group weren't very considerate of passing runner. Also they were running 0:30/0:30 which meant they were walking 0:30, running 0:30 over and over and over again. That meant they were shouting when to go and when to stop every 30 seconds. It was just a lot to deal with around mile 7-8 running into the sun.
The good news is that we did eventually get far enough away from them that they didn't bother us anymore. It took a couple of miles though. Other than that, the run kept on keeping on. We saw a couple of characters along the golf course including golfing Genie and the wedding pavillion men, but again, no one that we just had to stop for.
Miles 10 and 11 were ROUGH. We were hot and the course was very hilly and banked. It makes for incredibly achy feet, ankles and knees when you're already quite tired. The banked turns really took a toll on Rachael's foot, so we slowed down a bit more. I was able to encourage her and push her to keep going a couple of times when she was ready to just walk. I really wanted to finish the race hand in hand despite her injury! We made it through thanks to extra water stops along the course. Disney really is ready for everything! When they saw how warm and humid it would be for the race, they added extra water stops through the whole course. This helped keep us hydrated throughout. Plus we were able to dump lots of water on our heads to cool us off.
Around mile 12, we got to head into Epcot! You run in through one side of Future World, all the way down to the lake, u-turn and head back out by the Epcot ball and to the finish line.
Being in the parks again and knowing that the finish line was so close gave me quite the surge of extra energy. I may have started picking up the pace quite a bit, and Rachael had to reign me back in. You can see me being the rabbit in the picture above! I just get so excited!
One of my favorite parts of the race is about a quarter mile until the finish line. There is an amazing gospel choir! They really lift you up and make you feel amazing. You just want to clap your hands along with them. Then you turn the corner and you can see the finish line.
As we approached, we grabbed hands, threw them in the air and finished it hand in hand just like we had planned.
It was definitely one of the harder Princess races I've run because of the heat, humidity and the fact that I was just out of the first trimester of my pregnancy. I think Rachael definitely agrees with me. We're not too keen on hot, nasty runs. Despite everything we had going against us, we did it! And we got the picture to prove it.
Not only did we finish the half marathon, but we completed the Fairytale Challenge which was the 10K and the half marathon together. Baby Boy Gougler finished his first Disney race like a champ! I can't wait to bring him and Chloe back to run the diaper dash and kids races in the future.
After we got all of our goodies, we met up with Ali and got some princess pictures! That's one of the best things about the princess half marathon. After the race, there are TONS of princesses out to take pictures with. It's a great opportunity to meet your favorites. The lines look long, but they move pretty quickly!
Anna is one of my favorites and Snow White was the leading lady for this year's half marathon medal and shirt, so I had to see both of them.
After finishing the half marathon, I ran 22.4 miles and earned 4 medals in just 3 days. That is definitely something to be proud of, and I can't wait to do it again! Call me crazy, but waking up at 3:30am, dressing up like a 5 year old and running crazy distances is just so worth it!
Have you run a Disney race? Which one?
What Disney race would you try to run if you had the chance?