Thursday, March 13, 2014

Race Recap: Princess Half Marathon 2014

In case you missed it, don't forget to check out my Enchanted 10K recap!  Rounding out the weekend, here is my Princess Half recap.

Princess Half Marathon
February 23, 2014

State: Florida (repeat)
Lifetime: #43

Sunday marked another 3am morning.  Our group (me, my mom, my cousin Colleen, Pam and her mom) headed to the buses at 3:45.  There was little bit of a line to board, but there were plenty of buses waiting, so it wasn't long.

Similar to Marathon morning - crazy traffic!  I don't know if we boarded earlier last year, but I don't definitely don't remember so much traffic.  At least the bus is comfortable!

After we arrived, we went through security and made our way to the corrals.  Pam headed off to meet Abby and Colleen and I took a couple of minutes to get situated before saying goodbye to my mom.  After one last bathroom trip, we made the long journey to the start.

In case you are wondering, I did end up wearing my Anna costume.  And I am so glad I did!  There were definitely some Anna's on the course (no surprise there) but nowhere near as many as I though there would be.  The cape also only bothered me slightly.  It was shifting around my neck, so I tucked it into my sports bra straps and then it was fine! (I'd untuck for photo's).

Fortunately, we didn't have to wait long in the corrals because we had been running late.  My corral was B, but Colleen was back in G, so I dropped back.  I forgot to tell her she could submit a new time after she registered (she had run a sub 2 in September so would have been in B with me).  Next year!

The corrals went off smoothly and we didn't have to wait too long, which was nice.  Colleen and I wanted to run it together and since I've done it before, I let Colleen make all the decisions on which pictures we would stop for.  We skipped a lot, but stopped for some good ones!

The first couple of miles were the normal - highway to Magic Kingdom.  We people watched the costumes and chatted the whole time.  I typically run races alone - it was nice to have the company!  Since I was starting in a later corral then usual, it did start to get lighter a lot earlier on.  It was already light by the time we hit Magic Kingdom!

Right after making the right turn onto Main Street, we spotted my mom and Pam's mom in the crowd.  It was full of spectators, so glad we spotted them. We stopped for our first photo on Main Street.  We had to get a photo together in front of the castle in costume!

Snow White and Anna say hi (through a haze of humidity)
Following our stop on Main Street, we headed into Tomorrowland where we stopped for a photo with Buzz.  Toy Story is one of Colleen's sons favorite movies, so a Buzz (and Woody in Frontierland) stop was necessary.

Even though it looks like it, we are not wearing the same sneakers
After Buzz we made the customary loop through Fantasyland and through the castle.  Marathonfoto got some good shots of us coming through.  I still haven't decided if I am going to buy the race photo's or not (if I had to guess I would say yes).  After the castle, it was on to Liberty Square and Frontierland where we stopped for Woody.

No idea why we are laughing
 From there we headed out of the park.  We skipped the Aurora/Prince Phillip line backstage and made our way back onto the highway.  This portion of the course narrows and definitely got a little crowded.  We just tried to not crowd anyone and soon it was opening up.

The miles went by pretty quickly.  On the way back to Epcot, we stopped for a photo with the Princes and Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbossa.

Those are real guns on Hercules.  
Think we were joking about where the rum had gone
Here's tip for those who really want these photo's.  Don't stop on the way into Magic Kingdom.  You'll pass then again on the way back to Epcot and the line will be significantly shorter.  For example, on the way out, each line (Princes and Pirates) were at least 50 people long.  On the way back, less then 5 people.  So much more time efficient!

From there, we headed up the on ramp to the section of rolling hills.  Despite having run this course a bajillion times, I cannot remember how many hills there are in this section.  At every hill I kept telling Colleen this was the last one.  And then there'd be another one.  Oops!  Maybe next year I'll remember.

Right after the last hill (the actual last hill), we headed into Epcot.  As soon as we got inside, there was Princess Sophia.  She had no line so we stopped quickly.

Apparently I have a signature pose
From there it was on to the finish!  Even though it's short, this section of Epcot is still a favorite.  We passed the Gospel choir and made our way to the finish line.  A little last second bit of effort and we crossed the finish line!  My mom was waiting near the finish and got a photo of us right after we crossed the finish line.

After that, we made our way through the chute to the water.  This year after you picked up your water, you got the nice mesh drawstring bags (which we got last year at the Expo).  It was such a nice idea so we could put our water into it!  Excellent thinking runDisney.  I also picked up my GSC medal and made my way to the step and repeat for photo's.

I do have to say, not sure if it was runDisney or Marathonfoto, but they made some great changes to the official finisher photo setup.  First of all, they had hightop tables right next to them, so no more having to put all your stuff on the ground and then bend to pick it all up afterwards.  The next great change - the photographers had an Enchanted 10K medal with them so you could get a photo with all 3 and the 'Finisher' background.  So smart!  I really wish they had had that for Dopey.

After that, we collected our food boxes and baggage and went to find my mom.  We hung out a little bit, I had a celebratory beer (at like 8am, such a lush) and got some photo's with the Princess.  Rapunzel and Ariel were out, so I got them with 2 different Princess then the 10K.

Overall, this continues to be one of my favorite races.  Colleen also really enjoyed it and we've already decided to do it again next year!  I felt like there were about the same characters as last year (even though we didn't stop at all of them, Colleen commented that they helped break up the race).  Weather was hot (again) but nothing we can really do about that.

See you in 2015!

Official: 13.1 mi, 2:20:20, 10:42 pace
Garmin: 13.29 mi, 2:20:20, 10:33 pace

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