Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Disney Princess Enchanted 10K race report

Who's a Disney Princess? Who? Who?

It's no surprise that I have wanted to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon for a few years now. Not from any need to free my inner princess ... but from a simple completion standpoint. It was ... until very recently ... the only runDisney half marathon I hadn't yet completed. (Darn you, Star Wars Dark Side! And I'm not including the Disneyland Paris half because... well... because...)

But the timing never really worked out ... it's not all that close to Wil's birthday, we'd have to take a long break, etc.

But in 2016, the stars aligned, and we decided to include the Princess Enchanted 10K and Half Marathon in our big trip with Tony and Sue (more on that later...).

Wil and I flew down on the Thursday because, well, we'd been challenged with arriving on time before. The expo on Thursday was open until 8pm (awesome!), but we did manage to arrive at exactly the wrong time ... 5:30ish ... when all the locals got off work and went to expo to avoid the tourists. We turned into the Wide World of Sports driveway and just sat.

the sign says "Expo Parking" ... not sure they meant here on the driveway...
But Disney, being so very gifted in the ways of parking, sprung into action before our eyes and we suddenly were swept into an overflow parking lot and on our way to the Field House to pick up our packets.

seriously, can I PLEASE remember to take a better photo next time???
It was pleasantly uncrowded ... though amusing because, once again, the only line was for our corral. A tiny confusion ... I had ordered two "3-packs" of pins plus an extra one for Sue, and a necklace. Only the extra pin was tagged on to my registration ... so I was directed upstairs to pick those up. But first, we picked up shirts ... but the volunteers at the table got all goofy over our TOTALLY AMAZING PIN LANYARDS (which are, truly, TOTALLY AMAZING) so made us pose for a picture. You can see just how empty the expo hall is on a Thursday evening!

We went upstairs, picked up the other pins and necklace (and basically prevented them from forcing an additional pin on us ... "No, see, I already picked it up downstairs. No, really."), and also made a quick stop at the small merchandise store in the Field House. There we browsed in peace and quiet, picked up the three "race medal" pins, as well as a couple of this year's runDisney Vinylmation blind box figures, before heading over to the other hall to pick up our shirts. 

Holy crap, was that a good decision. MAYHEM!

We picked up our shirts (BLACK SHIRT FOR THE GLASS SLIPPER CHALLENGE!!!!), and briefly tried to look at the merch in the main hall. But it was chock-a-block with people ... seriously, we couldn't move in there ... so we ditched. Let this be a lesson to you .... seriously, ALWAYS TAKE THE 5 MINUTES TO LOOK AT THE MERCH IN THE FIELD HOUSE. They might not have everything, but you will not be crushed. And you might find all the things you actually want...

Fast-forward to Saturday morning and it was time to get up super duper early to go to the 10K.

Most times we have been super careful to get on the shuttles 2 hours before race time ... but this time, because we were starting at the back of both races, we took it easy. I mean, there is NO REASON for us to get on the bus at 3:30 for a race that starts at 5:30 ... and that we won't start until 6:30... So we dawdled, not even getting in line until 4am. Yeah, you read that right. We were LATE. (And still had HOURS to kill at the start village...)

Again, we were in the back because I had failed to submit proof of time (and, for whatever reason, Track Shack is unable to look at past performances they have themselves timed... but I know it's my own darn fault). The absolute last corral for the 10K... and third from last for the half marathon. Sigh.

We got off the shuttles with lots of company ...

Went through the bag check ... where we showed them the insides of our little race belts (which we *didn't* have to do the next morning...), and then into the start area. We got a tiny bit lost, figuring the start would be the same for the 10K as for the half, and were faced with this view of empty portapotties, as far as the eye could see...

cue swelling music here... "portapotties as far as the eye can see"
Se stood around feeling a little lost, before finally asking a passing security person. "Oh, no, the start is THAT way."


well, okay, the signage should have been obvious....
We decided there was nothing to do but march to our corrals. To corral F. The land of Far, Far Away. How far? We couldn't even see it when we started heading that way.

"C" is in the distance. How far aways is "F"???
F is for Failed to Send In Our Proof of Time...

F'ing corral.
We got ourselves in this giant corral ... and waited. And waited. And waited. We eventually started 50 minutes after the start. That's right ... the leaders will have long since finished when we started. But we did have Plenty of Time to take the obligatory pre-race photo!

race faces!
Finally, it was our turn to move forward. We did our best to gently move to the front of the corral and snapped this photo.

It was a nice touch that each of the corrals received a full firework sendoff. Much fancier than in Disneyland!

The 10K course was... unexpected. We started on some roads back around the parking lot, and it already felt crowded. But within a couple of minutes, we broke through and had open road ... for a few minutes, before we ran into the back of the corral ahead of us. This was the way the entire run felt ... we could never get into a rhythm because it felt like every few minutes we had to slow way down and maneuver through crowds. We got to Epcot and ran around the back side of World Showcase, before popping out and running the loop around the Boardwalk. It was funny to hit this stretch with fresh legs, rather than at the end of a marathon!

Disney Princess Enchanted 10K Course Map, 2016

Then back into Epcot, a funny little loop around Future World, and then out past Spaceship Earth and out to the finish in the parking lot.

We collected our handsome 10K medal, took our post-race photo, picked up our snack boxes, then headed back to the hotel.

one down, one to go!
Would I run this race again? Probably not -- but it was fun to run our first 10K at Walt Disney World. Would it have been better had we been in a corral with our pace group? Yes ... probably for everyone. But lesson learned, eh?

And, yes, we did get a really pretty medal...

2016 Disney Princess Enchanted 10K medal
2016 Disney Princess Enchanted 10K medal

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