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Disney Princess Half-Marathon 2013 Race Report

Pre-race interpretative Dance of the Tinkerbells (Dimity = right; me = left)
Pre-race interpretative Dance of the Tinkerbells (Dimity = right; me = left)

In the dark, muggy Florida pre-dawn stood Merida, the Scottish heroine of “Brave,” her red curls falling around her shoulders clad in a shiny teal top. A blue-ish green skirt fell from her waist. On her feet—running shoes. Standing next to her was Princess Tiana, replete in a shimmery purple top with a plush frog crouching on her shoulder. Tiana and cerulean-clad Cinderella were deep in conversation, debating if they should slow their pace due to the heavy humidity. And behind these strong women, as far as the eye could see under tall pillars of lights, was a sea of women runners, eagerly awaiting the start of the 5th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon.

One of the many things we love about Disney races: every corral gets magical treatment. At Princess, that means every corral gets their own introduction, countdown, fireworks. Every runner goes 13.1 miles, regardless of their speed, and Disney honors every runner's effort.
One of the many things we love about Disney races: every corral gets magical treatment. At Princess, that means every corral gets their own introduction, countdown, fireworks. Every runner goes 13.1 miles, regardless of their speed, and Disney honors every runner's effort.

I looked to my right, and there stood four other tall Tinkerbells, dressed exactly like me in Sparkle Athletic lime green skirts over boy shorts, green fairy wings, and screaming yellow tanks that read, “I run things.” Unfortunately, the tallest of us, Dimity, wasn’t about to run, due to a small fracture in her big toe, but Kristin (a Portland pal who’d helped work our AMR booth at the exuberant Fit for a Princess Expo), Krista (a somewhat shy mother of three from outside Philadelphia), and Amy (a mother runner from Wisconsin whom we met at a ZOOMA half-marathon last fall) were ready to take on 13.1 miles. Fireworks lit up the morning sky.

We spotted these BAMRS, who adjusted their outfits after suiting themselves up in blue. Their smiles say it all.
We spotted these BAMRS, who adjusted their outfits after suiting themselves up in blue. Their smiles say it all.

Our plan was to fly together, perhaps even to a roughly 2:00 finish, but steps into the race, we realized it was going to be tough to navigate the jubilant race field en masse. Team K—Kristin and Krista—dropped back, and Amy and I dodged Cinderellas, Ariels, Princess Leias, and several Rapunzels to find our rhythm. We also quickly realized the humidity was going to make our effort seem tougher than usual: Coming from chillier or drier climates, we soon had heavy beads of sweat coating our faces.

Once a corral went, variations of this picture went by about 26,000 times. Women running with pals, women running in tutus, women excited to get their 13.1 on.
Once a corral went, variations of this picture went by about 26,000 times. Women running with pals, women running in tutus, women excited to get their 13.1 on.

I breathed a deep sigh of relief when Amy admitted she’d be happy with 2:10 finish; I could tell I’d be struggling for much of the race. Our pace picked up when we entered the Magic Kingdom around Mile 4. Cinderella’s castle appeared larger than life, shining brightly in the still-dark morning. Amy and I flitted and pranced for photographers, laughing at ourselves.

The K Team: Krista, who won the opportunity to run with an (injured) Dimity, and Kristen, a pal of SBS' who helped us all weekend.
The K Team: Krista, who won the opportunity to run with an (injured) Dimity, and Kristen, a pal of SBS who helped us all weekend.

The sun was starting to brighten the hazy overcast by the time we exited the park and returned to running on highway. The humidity, however, was making us feel ragged. We didn’t stop for many pictures with cast members—I know I had an unspoken fear that if we stopped, we might not get started back up again. Our conversation about the merits (or annoyances) of “Girls” dropped off as we both turned inward to find some strength to help us along. Several times I thought the unthinkable-for-me: “If Amy wasn’t right here, I’d walk.”

We always knew Mrs. Incredible was a mother runner.
We always knew Mrs. Incredible was a mother runner.

Yet around Mile 10, we rallied. As the sky continued to lighten, so did our mood. We stopped for a photo with Mrs. Incredible, who Amy immediately got familiar with, tossing out a jaunty, “Hi, Helen.” But Amy’s best line came when we first caught site of the white, faceted orb of Epcot Center as we crested a slight incline of an overpass. “It’s funny to think all these princess running toward a ball.” (Turns out she meant part of the male anatomy; I thought she was being poetic, talking about the gala where “Cindy” meant Prince Charming!)

Jodi, a Canadian BAMR, conquered her first 13.1. At the risk of sounding like her mother, we are so proud of her--and everybody else who crossed a half-marathon finish line for the first time.
Jodi, a Canadian BAMR, conquered her first 13.1. At the risk of sounding like her mother, we are so proud of her--and everybody else who crossed a half-marathon finish line for the first time.

Sweat plastered our shirts to our bodies and dripped off the back of our sparkly skirts as we ran into Epcot near Mile 12. But we also had smiles plastered across our faces: In true Disney fashion, pixie dust, sparkles, tiaras, and the estrogen of 26,000 women had worked their charms on us.

Happy, sweaty, done. Best feeling in the world.
Happy, sweaty, done. Best feeling in the world.

Did you run Disney Princess? If so, share your story in the Comments section (below).

Whether you put poms on your shoes or not, runDisney women runners are a powerful, inspiring force. Pure and simple, we just love  'em.
Whether you put pom-poms on your shoes or not, women runners are a powerful, inspiring force. Pure and simple, we just love 'em.

 

 

36 responses to “Disney Princess Half-Marathon 2013 Race Report

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  2. Great recap! I was so so so excited to meet you guys at the meet-up!
    This was my first half and it was awesome!!! Can’t wait to wear my new t-shirt (and hopefully not burst into tears when I put it on like I did at the expo)

  3. This was my first Half Marathon and I had the best time ever! My overall finish time was slowed by the heat that is for sure! Training in Michigan made it a little hard to plan for the heat and humidity. I was so inspired by so many of you Princesses that I cannot wait for my next half in April!!

  4. I’m from Florida but we still struggled with the humidity on race day! However, we all (6 Panama City Ladies) crossed the finish line and picked up our medals! So proud to have been a small part of this race!

  5. This looks like so much fun! A friend of mine was there this year for the first time as Princess Leia. Can’t wait to do this myself!

  6. It was so nice to meet you all friday. I am glad I bought the book and can’t wait to read it. Training this year was tough, but the that was life preparing me for this race. The humidity and heat was even tougher. I had to fight for this one and last year I cried across the finish line.. it was my first half, this was my third and I twirled my sister’s tutu across the finish line. I enjoyed every minute. I have blisters atop blisters, but it is an accomplishment to have finished with what the weekend was.

  7. The Princess Half Marathon was my first half marathon. I am from Ohio and also didn’t mind the weather. It was awesome. The course was a bit crowded, but it was fun. I didn’t want it to end! And I didn’t think running a half was really that hard!!!

    I brought my husband along to cheer me on. If I ever do this race again, I will bring my girlfriends along to run WITH me.

  8. Strange enough, I loved the weather! Coming from 19 degree and dry Indiana…this weather was beautiful! Just made sure I drank more water at the stops!

    Loved it all! Bucket list! On to other destination races….but will come back to play in the near future!

    The shirts were THE BEST!

  9. I was so excited to meet Dimity at the Expo!! It was an honor to pose for a picture with her. I am thrilled to read your report in that the humidity was a factor for your group as well. Not that I wish for people to struggle but I just feel better about how hard I struggled this race knowing I wasn’t the only one. I live and train in Phoenix. I can handle heat but the humidity was a killer for me. I’m proud of every single person that toed the start line!! I’m even prouder to call myself a Princess finisher and Coast to Coast earner! 🙂

  10. So glad I got to meet you ladies at the expo!! And I apologize again for my daughter knocking over the table of books :(. My mom and sister ran their first 1/2 ever on Sunday-my job was to get them to finish :). Despite the wicked humidity-they did it!!! So proud of them-its amazing what your body can do given the chance to try 🙂

  11. I agree–the humidity was brutal. I finally stopped for a potty break around mile 8 and lost about 5 minutes trying to pull my running skirt back up–the compression shorts underneath were so sweat-soaked that they wouldn’t cooperate. I was also trying to make sure my iPhone didn’t fall out of the leg pocket and into the porta-potty. 🙂

    1. Losing my iPod or iPhone in port-a-potty is one of my great fears. Like in an irrational, “did I turn off the iron??” kinda obsessive way. And I’m with you: Took forever to get shorts back up. Drenched!

  12. This was my first Half and my first Disney race. IT WAS AWESOME! I live in GA so the humid weather was not that new to me. At the last minute of packing for the trip I threw my “frogg togg” into my suitcase and I am so glad I did. I wish I had cut it down to about half its size but it was perfect way to deal with the heat. I don’t think I will make sure it goes to any other races with me as well. I wet it the first time in the hotel and then along the course as I passed the water stations. The volunteers were great-they would pour the water on it for me!

  13. I had a wonderful week-end at the Princess Half. Saw and talked to Dimity and Kristen at the booth on Saturday (wearing my “I Run Things” tee) and then had the pleasure of being run past by Sarah before mile one…she gave me a high five though. Then, we ended up being on the same airplane back to Portland, Oregon (I was wearing my Bad-Ass Mother Runner hat)!

    Disney totally knows how to put on an event – I thought it was well organized, the course was great, and all of the characters and shows along the way were totally fun! If only they could figure out what to do with that darn humidity!!

  14. It was so awesome to meet both of you at the expo. There were many times while running I “hit the wall” and thought of your advice to say my mantra. It was tough with the weather but I made it and shaved 15 minutes off my PR! Thank you.

  15. The blonde BAMR in blue is my super-awesome cousin!! It was her first 13.1 and I’m so proud of her!! Maybe next year I will have the courage…

  16. I agree with everyone! Fun race but the humidity was terrible & it was in the mid 60’s at 5 am! I live here in Florida but my cousin, Tahnee who is from Ohio, her fingers started to swell up & we hydrated well. Overall though, we had a great time talking about our training, planning our costumes and had a fun girls weekend! It was great to meet Sarah (at the Expo) and to see Dimity at the start of the race! : )

  17. I was in corral C. It was a great race, but the humidity was brutal. I live in Central Florida and have been a Floridian most of my life, and still felt like yesterday was very humid. Maybe the combination of Florida humidity at an unexpected level in February AND the body heat of 25,000 runners? Still, it was a great experience and great event- I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

  18. How fun! I’d love to coincide our Disney trip (in less than 5 years) with running a Princess Half. We’d be talking about Disneyland and I saw they have a Dumbo Double – 10K and half. 🙂

  19. I too was in Corral B and saw Tink Dimity at the start. I grew up in Central Florida but haven’t lived there for 25 years. The humidity was tough — but with Florida weather that is pretty much standard. It was a great race with all the costumes.

  20. I was in corral B and saw you guys flit up to the start – you looked great! I’m relieved to read I wasn’t the only one affected by the humidity. Most of the runners I’ve talked to were stopping for all the photo ops and they felt fine. I finished just 2 minutes over my goal time, but even that felt really tough – like running in a sauna (I live in Maine – very different climate). Still a great race experience – I would have paid just to see all the crazy costumes!

  21. Way to go! What is the best way to hamdle humidity when temps are ideal? For example, RnR New Orleans had a 55 degree race start, but 70% humidity. The whole race I couldn’t tell if I was under or over hydrated. It was terrifically disconcerting. I’m so used to heat and humidity being combined, I didn’t understand how to handle only heat. Any thoughts?

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