Monday, February 27, 2012

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 Race Report

The big day has come. And gone. Uneventfully.

Disney Princess Half Marathon: February 26, 2012, 6:27am
Yesterday was the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Before you I get you invested and excited, I didn’t finish. We got to mile 5 and got swept for being 8 seconds behind the required pace.  Let me explain...

I had a toe injury for about 3 weeks before the race. I did some swimming and biking, but no running. On race day, it felt fine. There were no toe issues. But in those 3 weeks, I really lost a lot of conditioning and strength. I could have easily worked back up to where I had been if I had a few more weeks, but I just ran out of time.

My 2-mile run a few days ago left my legs sore for a day or two. I thought I was prepared, but I really should have prepared better.

I think what started my downward spiral, toe injury not included, was participating in the 30for60 challenge in December and January. It was a mental struggle for me, as I was more concerned with getting something in each day, that I didn’t focus fully on each running workout and didn’t give it my full attention. Not to mention, it was around the holidays and I started my own business, which I put 110% into and my workouts slacked because of it.

I’m glad I did the 30for60 challenge, though. I learned a lot about myself and I needed it to push me through the holidays. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably still do it, I’d just be more structured about it and go into it with a better plan. I just played everything by ear and tried to fit things in wherever I could. I should have been more prepared.

I’m not at all using these things as excuses, just lessons to learn for my future endeavors. I knew there was a 16-minute mile and I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with that pace. But I tried. The 5 miles that we did seemed to go by pretty fast. It definitely didn’t feel like 5 miles. Maybe more like 3. Of course now, my legs tell me it feels like 10 miles. I had a good time. Good people, great entertainment and a positive atmosphere.

I planned this race early last year with two friends Gabbie and Amanda. They both live in Florida. We kept in touch as we trained throughout the year and were each other’s cheering squad during good times and motivation during hard times. I wish we lived closer because the training runs would have been a lot more fun as a group since we are all about the same pace.

We all went to the expo together on Friday morning and got some fun race stuff and listened to Jeff Galloway speak. I actually asked him during a Q&A how much conditioning one could lose with 3 weeks off. He told me I shouldn't do the half marathon and do the Royal Family 5K instead. Not an option. Then he said I should just walk the half marathon and jog when I saw the sweepers. Ha. I'd have been swept at mile 1! I appreciated his answer though, because he also stressed the run/walk method which is what we planned to follow.

Expo entrance
Jeff Galloway speaking
I finally got the Spibelt I’ve been wanting. As well as a t-shirt that says, “I did it” with the race course on the back. A little premature, yes, but I had high hopes. I plan to get a patch or decal to put over the word “did” that says “tried”, so it reads, “I tried it”. Then I plan to circle mile #5 on the race course picture and add another decal or lettering that says, “There’s always next year”. Or something to that effect. It was the experience that matters most to me, and it certainly was an experience, that’s for sure.

We all met up at my hotel at around 3 in the morning to board the bus over to Epcot.

Excited at 3am, even on little sleep.
When we got to the race area, we checked out the amenities and got the lay of the land. After checking a bag, we started our walk to the start/corral area. My friends were gracious enough to hop back a corral into H with me since they were all in G and I was in H. I appreciate that more than they realize. It wouldn’t have been as much fun by myself and I’m glad they were willing to stick with me, even if it meant that they got swept in the race because of it.

We used the bathroom about 3 times each – I could not stop peeing! The port-o-potties weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be. We hung out in our corral for about 45 minutes before the race started. As the first corral took off, they counted down and shot off fireworks! Gabbie wasn’t a fan of them and tried to hide under my tutu.

Protecting Gabbie from the fireworks. My tutu was good for lots of things!
As each corral took off, we got to move up closer to the start line. Finally, it was our turn! It was very exciting.

The beginning of the end.
Each mile ticked by really quickly. By mile 2, we saw the lead runner on her way back towards the finish. Wow. She was quick!! I knew my mom was waiting to view us at mile 4.2 so I was constantly texting her letting her know where we were. I also had other friends texting

Hi Mom!!
Right after we passed her we noticed a bathroom with no line. At this point in the race we were one minute ahead of pace and we figured that it would be the best opportunity we’d have to go to the bathroom with little to no line. All of the other port-o-potties that we passed had crazy long lines and I was getting to the point where I couldn’t hold it any longer. So we stopped. By the time we finished, the dreaded balloon ladies marking the back of the pace pack had passed us and we were now a minute behind pace. A 2-minute bathroom break was our downfall.

There were people on bikes riding near us letting us know that we had 5 minutes to get to the next mile marker or we’d be picked up. I appreciated their warnings because I knew how much I needed to pick up the pace to get to where we needed to be. But we just couldn’t do it. We went from one minute behind pace to 8 seconds behind pace by the time we got picked up. If we had just a little bit more distance, we’d have been able to catch up.

We were RIGHT outside the gate entrance to Magic Kingdom, missing our chance to run through the castle by a half mile. Sad. I’m grateful that my mom at least got to see us once on the course. She had originally been planning to wait outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom to see us enter the park, then go back to the finish to wait for us. Instead she decided to go to the spectator view point at mile 4.2, and then walk a 10 min path to see us again at mile 7 near the Polynesian Resort. I’m glad she decided to see us before the park!!

We got onto a bus where they took our names and bib numbers so they could keep track of us and drove us back to the finish area. They gave us our medals and we took a few “non-finisher” pictures.

Nice try.
I didn’t put my medal on. I just carried it around. I don’t feel right wearing it. I may have registered, trained for and started the race, but I didn’t finish it. They gave us finisher medals. I didn’t finish, and I certainly didn’t earn a medal. I’m grateful they still gave us a medal because it’s going on my wall at home as a reminder to keep trying so I can earn that medal another year. It’s hard to see other people walking around the resort wearing their medals, knowing that I got one too, but I can’t wear it because I didn’t finish. Hopefully the disappointment will turn into more motivation for my future races and challenges.

Better luck next time!
Throughout this entire half-marathon experience, I have discovered that I really appreciate the sport of triathlon – sprint triathlon, that is. My sprint triathlon last year was a total of 13.63 miles. Just over the distance of a half marathon, yet there are 3 sports to break it up instead of constant running, which for the record, I still hate. I haven’t yet signed up for the Title 9 Sprint triathlon again for 2012, but I think I will now. I was turned off by all of the horrid hills on the bike ride, but I think if I continue to train and work on more strength training, I can do better than last year!

As far as the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I don’t doubt that I’ll do it again. I didn’t reach my goal – to finish. So I have to keep trying until I finish. I won’t lie; it was disappointing not to finish. I would have loved to cross that finish line. I would have loved to even get to Magic Kingdom and run through Cinderella’s castle. But this time, it just didn’t workout. I don’t know if I’ll do it next year or not, but eventually, I will. I want to make sure I can be under the time limit and know confidently that I will finish the race, not just hope for the best.

Despite the disappointment of being swept on the course, I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for having the guts to try it. I’m proud that I kept up with my training plan the entire time (minus the 3 week injury period), I’m proud of myself for not quitting. I’m proud of myself for thinking those 5 miles that I did complete, were easy. I’m proud of myself for doing my best. And I’m so lucky to have so much support in my friends, family, and those who read my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you and thank you so much for cheering me on throughout my journeys. 


  1. Great attitude and effort! Be proud to have made it past the start line, you made it further than a lot of other people. I love that you haven't given up either. You are a real inspiration! I'm registered for the Tower of Terror race in September and plan to register for Wine and Dine. Training just started last week. Hopefully I'll see you there!

  2. Great attitude girl! You should be proud of yourself for trying ... I have a friend who tried and got swept two years in a row.. she finally got it at the third try! You can do this.... you know you can!

  3. Good for you! I just found your blog this morning as I was looking at half-marathon training suggestions. I'm planning on doing the Princess half marathon next year. I trained for a triathlon a couple of years ago and now, just would rather focus on walking/running.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  4. Good for you! I completely feel your pain (having been swept at last year's Princess AND W&D - sigh). I'm on a Disney break this spring but am going to try Expedition Everest. My goal is very much to finish next year's Princess for the 5 year anniversary. Hope to see you there at the Finish Line, too! :)

  5. Sorry for the DNF, but yes you should be proud that your tried!

  6. I ran the half, too. I got to mile 12.5 and collapsed, earning me a visit to the ER and a night's stay in the hospital. I have no recollection of what happened. Was way ahead of pace until those bathrooms before you enter magic kingdom. I had an 8 minute wait and came out to find myself 45 seconds behind pace! From there I struggled the rest of the race. Got myself back up to a minute ahead of pace Until I collapsed. Between severe dehydration (I felt there was a lack of stations for 100% humidity) and low blood sugar, my body just couldn't hang. Anyway, saw your blog and wanted to know what an inspiration it it to me to keep trying! Run Disney brought my medal to the hospital, and I have been so bummed that I didn't finish. Your blog has given me spirit to Keep going! Thanks and good luck with your training!

  7. Sorry I'm so late to reply! I was MIA for a bit and never fully caught up. Saw you on DM and remembered you were running Princess. Anyway, sorry to hear that things turned out this way. So frustrating to be so close! But you know what, I think the hardest part is STARTING. Nice that they still gave you a medal and that will be a great reminder to keep working at it. Congratulations!

  8. I just decided to try for the 2013 Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon and have been looking all over for blog accounts of the race. Thank you so much for posting! I am totally inspired by you and even running 5 miles to me seems like a lot right now. Congratulations Princess! Maybe I'll see you next year?!

  9. I came across your blog while searching for reviews/accounts on the Princess Half Marathon. I've just decided that I'm going to participate next year, and I'm getting a little nervouc. Thanks for sharing your story. I am inspired by your great attitude and effort! Best wishes on your future races! :)

  10. Just found your blog, LUV IT!! I am planning on doing the Princess 1/2 in 2013 and I am terrified of being swept. I’ve started my own blog to keep myself accountable for my training and I hope I am able to complete the race. I hope you register again, with all that you’ve learned I’m sure you will do great 2nd time around!

    Gina –

  11. I love your blog. You are truly inspirational. I was searching for ppl's Princess Half Marathon blog recaps and came across yours. As weird as this may sound, it feels good to actually hear (or read) of someone actually getting swept up. It makes the run seem more real as opposed to all the blogs i read of ppl finishing, etc. If you do plan on doing it next year i'll be the weird girl dressed up as Jasmine running up to hug you. Im proud that you actually even tried this. I myself am a super non runner LOL but i've been doing my own type of training and by training day 2 i ran a 12 min mile (we'll see how long THAT lasts when i actually get there). I hope to see u next year! :D And stay motivated cuz u rock!

  12. Thanks for this post!!! I am registered for the Princess half Feb 2013 and am SO NERVOUS about getting swept!

  13. While I am sorry you didn't finish, this is truly a GREAT post, thanks for sharing.


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