Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Disney Princess Half Marathon race report

It was the dawn of another day... the dawn of another time ... it was Princess Half Marathon day!

Up early, again ... but again we dawdled, not even leaving the room until just after 4am. Why? Because we knew that A) the start village is super close to our hotel and B) we wouldn't start until nearly an hour after the gun would go off. We even had to wait in line for a bit, finally getting on a bus around 4:30. Still, we had PLENTY OF TIME. Plenty.

We did stop to use the porta potties, though the woman in front of me and I nearly forced a couple of NOT VERY ATTENTIVE WOMEN to PAY ATTENTION AND TAKE THE DAMN PORTA POTTY. I can honestly say I wasn't even the meanest person. I thought the woman in front of me was going to frogmarch these women into porta potties. Seriously.

Then it was time for the loooooong march to the corrals...

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Keep moving toward the light... we had to walk around the back of L to then walk past P and O to get to N in another column.

Our journey was EXTRA long because, of course, we were waaaaaay back in corral N. Third from last. Neverland. Never again will I fail to submit proof of time!

Never have we been so far back. Except maybe at the New York City Marathon.
This is the view from the front(ish) of corral N. The start line is a very long way away.

Almost before we knew it, the first corral started. With fireworks. It was another typically nice Disney touch that EVERY corral had a firework sendoff.

Corrals were being released every 3 minutes (at first), then every 4 minutes. But because we weren't all in one massive line, our corral didn't even start moving until almost half an hour after the start. Of course, we just had PLENTY of time to take pictures!

Today the role of Ursula will be played by Carol Channing.
However, we did eventually get closer to the start, enjoying the burst of fireworks every few minutes and finally being able to hear the chatter from the hosts.

Look! The start line!!!
I do love that Rudy and ... umm ... the other host ... get dressed up differently every day. I also like that they have oriented the stage a bit differently so that people don't try to take pictures in front of it as the race starts... Here's one thing we definitely noticed ... when we're in the front half of the pack, the corrals are quiet and focused. Here in the back of the pack, we heard tons of chatter about balloon ladies, fretting about being swept, and lots of singing along with the music. It was actually kinda nice ... the singing, not so much the fearful chatter...

Then, finally, OUR TURN!

This race was super bizarre. We managed to separate from our corral really quickly after the start .... only to run smack into the back of the previous corral. With corrals spaced by only 3ish minutes, this happened THE ENTIRE RACE. We ran, in traffic, the entire time.

One amusing side-effect of starting so late ... we took a DAYLIGHT PHOTO in front of the Magic Kingdom parking gates!

This was super weird ... it has always been dark when we ran here before, so it was surprisingly disorienting.

Our late start also allowed for a daylight photo in front of the castle. Or the bottom half of the castle...

It was pretty fun, running through Magic Kingdom in the daylight ... until right about here, as we prepared to run through the castle.

Oh.My.Goodness. The path through the castle is surprisingly narrow ... AND there were so many ladies all trying to get through ... we had to come to a complete stop several times. It wasn't until we were well on our way to Liberty Square that we were able to break free again.

I had heard that the castle was a bottleneck ... and it is always a slow point ... but I had never had to come to a complete stop before. Judging by the bibs of the folks around me, we had caught up with the H - I - J corrals at this point. Crazy.

2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon course map
Once we left the park, things didn't get any easier. We had to run on a single lane past the Grand Floridian... but it was crazy crowded. I thought a woman was going to punch me when I brushed against her to pass her. (No, I didn't even use a RunBell. I promise.)

But then, bliss -- we were back on wider roads, and things were pretty uneventful to the finish. We got a lot of love from spectators and other runners for our costumes; I met two women running as Flotsam and Jetsam (adorable!); and I clearly PWNED every other Ursula on the course. No, really. Oh, and Wil was seriously the best Triton. (Well, okay, the woman running in the white beard and wig gets some props from me.) And it was funny to hear "merMAN! merMAN!" called out on occasion.

Even the little out and back in Epcot was easy peasy... even though the park had opened by the time we got there. (Sheesh!) And, of course, I do love the gospel choir!

We held hands as we ran through the final stretch, got a nice shout out from Rudy ("look at the six pack on that guy!"), and finished in 2:38:57. Amusingly, that's good enough for 369/1644 in my division. Wow.

Pretty medal? Check. 

We also, of course, picked up our Glass Slipper Challenge medal, a couple of snack boxes, and then simply made our way to the buses where we only waited a minute or two. It was interesting to be around a lot of people who were clearly hurting, but to not feel all that tired. Perhaps the forced pacing and slowdown kept us from tiring ourselves out?

Amusingly, we went back to the hotel and then decided to walk through the cafeteria before going to our room... and then bumped smack into Tony and Sue (who hadn't seen our costumes). We were greeted as returning heroes, which was fun, and told that everyone else "looked so tired". :)

Will we run Princess again? Probably not -- too far to go, timing not right, etc. etc. But I'm super glad to have run it once. I do wonder how things would have gone for us if we had been able to start with our pace group ... but maybe I would have gone out too fast and then gotten tired at the end anyway? Still, the key takeaway from this race is SUBMIT YOUR PROOF OF TIME, DAMMIT!!!

1 comment:

  1. Your reminder to submit proof of time is even more timely (ahem) as runDisney seems to be moving up the provable finishing time from 3:15 to 2:45. That's a lot of folks that are now going to be dumped into random back corrals. It looks like they made the change with the Disneyland Half. If ever there was an impetus to improve my time...

    Congratulations on becoming Princesses! Did you receive your fairy dusting from Fairy Godmother after the race?