This past weekend I ran the Disney Princess half marathon! It was really nice to get away to warm and sunny Florida for a weekend.
I stayed with my brother who lives close to downtown Orlando and about 30 minutes away from Disney. I have never actually been to Disney World before, so it was cool that I would finally have a chance to see it during this race. My best friend Natalie was also running it (her first half!) but she stayed with her family at a resort near the park.
On Saturday, my brother and I went to pick up my race packet and check out the expo which was at the ESPN World of Sports. For the race, you literally ONLY get a tee shirt and bib, which is slightly disappointing because this race was twice as much as a normal half marathon usually costs. We then headed to the expo. Every expo I have ever been to usually has tons of free shit and samples. NOT THIS ONE. We just walked around and looked at a bunch of overpriced stuff at booths. I still wanted SOMETHING to commemorate my race, so we headed to the race merchandise building. All I wanted was a damn sticker for my water bottle, but they didn’t even have any!!! So I was like okay, maybe just a keychain or something small. I found ONE keychain and it was uglier than shit. It was SEVENTEEN DOLLARS. PARDON MY FRENCH BUT WHAT THE FFUUUUCCKKK????? I’m sorry does Disney not make enough money orrrr???????????????????????????
After the disappointment of the expo, my brother and I went back to his house where we ate some pizza and I hydrated like a mofo because it was supposed to hot as hell for the race Sunday morning. I tried to go to sleep at 9pm because I had to wake up at 1:45am. Yes. 1 mother fucking 45 in the morning. I literally went to bed LATER than 1:45am the previous Saturday. The race started at 5:30am and I was meeting Natalie at her hotel so we could take a shuttle together to the race start (which was definitely the easiest mode of transportation). They recommended that you be on the shuttle by 3:30am and my brother lives 30 mins away, so we left around 2:45 to be safe. However, I wanted to be up early enough to have some coffee and breakfast (and to take my morning constitutional). Since my brother was driving me, he didn’t even go to bed! He just stayed up, then went to sleep after he dropped me off.
The shuttle service was extremely convenient and easy to use. We didn’t even have to wait for one. The bus drove us about 15 minutes to a large parking lot by EPCOT. Natalie and got there at like 3:30 and just hung out for a couple hours. There was a large stage with a DJ bumpin some sick Disney beats and longs lines for people to take a picture with various Disney princesses. Not to be a super Debby Downer here, but I hate lines and didn’t want to stand in a line to take a picture with someone in a costume. I clearly don’t have the magic of Disney inside of me.
Around 4:45, Natalie and I made our way to the porta potties for one final nervous pee before we went to the starting corrals. The race had more porta potties than I could fathom. Literally it was porta potties as far as the eye could see! This was nice though because we only wait in a line for like 5 minutes. After that, we made our way to the start.
From the parking lot to the starting corrals was a damn hike, seriously it was like 2 miles! But I mean it was a good way to warm up our legs. Natalie was in corral F (because she hadn’t done a half before and didn’t have a proof of time) and I was in the B corral. We parted ways and I got into my corral around 5:15.
Before the race started, various people came out onto a stage and talked about the race. The race director came out and warned us about the excessive heat and to not push ourselves too hard and to just have fun. Um, excuse me? Is this amateur hour?? He also said that for every 5 degrees over 60, you should add 30 seconds to your pace. It was 70 degrees out at that time, so we were supposed to add a minute to our pace (this took me a while to figure out because math). ADD A MINUTE TO OUR PACE???? BRUH. I CAME TO THIS RACE TO GO A BEST TIME AND I WAS GOING TO THAT EVEN IF I DIED OF A HEAT STROKE. But like also, yes it was super humid, but 70 really isn’t that hot? Also let us not forget it was FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING so there certainly was no sunshine.
At this point I was already in the mindset that I was going to push myself as hard as possible but just make sure I keep drinking water continuously throughout. Also, I really think training for the Ironman throughout the hot and humid Ohio summer really helped me during this race.
Then, they introduced the princess who was on the medal up on the stage. Apparently, it was Aurora. Who the fuck is Aurora?? I looked to the girl next me and asked her. She looked both appalled and offended that I didn’t know. In a half sassy, half annoyed tone she informed me that Aurora is Sleeping Beauty. I don’t even think I have ever seen Sleeping Beauty. IDK I thought her legal name was Sleeping Beauty. Also, why is she on the medal? I thought she would be too tired to run. Apparently I need to #getwoke.
OH, ANOTHER THING I NEED TO TALK ABOUT BEFORE I GET TO THE START OF THE RACE. The lady who sang the National Anthem was Miss America and she completely butchered the words. Yes, miss AMERICA messed up the National Anthem. It was super awkward, but she owned it so well that I’m not even sure that she knew she messed up?? Everyone was looking around at each other like what the hell. I really wanted to scream out “RE RE RE REMIXXXXXX” but I thought that would have been disrespectful.
OKAY NOWWWW I’ll talk about the race. So, it started on a road near EPCOT and we ran down this road to the Magic Kingdom. If you don’t know, the Magic Kingdom is like 5 miles away from EPCOT, so we were literally just running on a highway most of the time. I mean, it was super flat which was nice, but I was kind of bored. I was holding my pace pretty steadily though and I wasn’t dying of heat stroke, so I was happy.
We finally got into the Magic Kingdom and you could see the castle in the distance. That was kind of cool since I hadn’t seen it in person before. We then ran through the Magic Kingdom and got to run through the castle. After that, we pretty much just ran back out onto that same road again and back towards EPCOT. Again, there were about 4 pretty uneventful miles, but I was still feeling strong. At mile 11, just before we got into EPCOT, there was a pretty long hill which kind of sucked, but I’m from Cincinnati, so I’m used to the hills! During the climb though, I did start to burp up some of last night’s pizza.
We got into EPCOT around mile 12 and there were some small crowds of people cheering along the sidelines. When we got near the finish, there was another crowd cheering which is always fun. I finished the race with a 1:52:08, smashing my previous best of 1:56. And guess what?? I didn’t die. I kind of wish I had just gone 8 seconds faster to make it a 1:51, but I truly gave it everything I had. I think I came in 314th place out of 20,000 people so I feel pretty #blessed.
Once I finished, the Disney people rushed us through a long road with tables of water, Powerade, and snack boxes. The snack boxes were trash. They had a small bag of pretzels, a bag of nacho chips, a little thing of that nasty fake nacho cheese, squeezable apple sauce, and a little granola bar. I paid $200 for this race, they couldn’t have given us pizza or bagels or something? Honestly so rude.
Then, I was herded like a cow alllllllll the way back to where the buses were, which is where we were allowed to stand to wait for other people to finish. I get it, they didn’t want a bunch of people crowding near the finish line. But I was a little mad I didn’t even have the chance to see Natalie finish her first half marathon.
Once Natalie finished, we got some pictures together and headed over to the buses to go back to her resort. I then Ubered back to my brother’s house after that. Then we went to the beach!
All in all, I would give this race a 6/10. It was very well organized, like I had no clue there were 20,000 runners!!! It’s impressive to have that many people and have it not be a total mad house. It was also in Florida which automatically scores some points in my book! And the medals were really awesome. The biggest disappointments were the price of admission, boring route, no crowd support, horrible snacks at the end, and the expo kind of sucked. For $200 I just kind of expected more. I mean, I’m not mad that I did it at all! It’s cool to say I’ve done a Disney race now, but I don’t know if I will ever do it again. The only reason I could see doing it is if I am wanting to do a race during this time of the year, since there really aren’t any in Ohio at this time. And it’s easy for me with my brother in Orlando.
Someone told Natalie that this race is so fun that it would ruin all other half marathons for her since it was her first one. I just don’t think that’s true. Maybe I’m biased, but the Flying Pig scores a 10/10 for me. It’s half the price, an interesting route, you get a ton of free shit at the expo, and there is crowd support nearly every mile. This just makes me even more excited to run the Pig in just over two months. HOLY SHIT. That’s sooner than I thought! And I’m doing the full! I should probably start training…