Disney’s Princess Half Marathon 2012 Recap

5 Mar

WARNING: This isn’t going to be the race recap you would expect from someone who loves Disney and running.

 

When the alarm went off at 2:30, I was already awake. I had woken up at 1:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I suppose I was just too excited to sleep! I quickly threw on my running gear, took Molly for a walk, and ate my usual race morning breakfast of toast with peanut butter.

morning

I left my house at 3:30 and arrived at the starting line in Epcot before 4am. Since I wasn’t meeting any fellow runners that morning, I made my way to the corrals. However, they stopped us on the way there, and we all just stood there by the port-a-potties until after 5am before they let us move to the corrals.

Luckily, because I got there as early as I did, I was one of the first people in Corral E. Therefore, I was able to stand in the very front. While we waited in our corrals, three speakers greeted and encouraged us. I found out after the race that one of them was a blogger I follow. I think she did a fantastic job, but one of the guys with her kept making jokes and calling himself lazy. Ummm.. being lazy isn’t funny. I have to say, though, that they improved the sound system since 2010. That year, I wasn’t able to hear or see anything happening at the start line. This year, they had a screen up showing the speakers, and I was able to hear everything.

As each corral was set off on their merry way, a magical display of fireworks was set off!

My corral passed the starting line exactly at 6:09am. The first few miles flew by, and I felt really strong. I was keeping a really good pace of around 12:03. I needed to keep my pace under 12:16 to PR. Yes, I was running Princess with a goal to PR. I know it’s not the right race to try and PR, but I was determined. I had put in the training, and I was ready for it.

Unfortunately, due to the following, I was not able to PR:

  • The extreme slowness right by Cinderella’s Castle. These tutu-wearing ladies just had no idea what to do. They were scrambling to get the best picture in front of the castle. I think it’s awesome to run Disney races for fun, but the ones running for fun act like they have no idea that others are running it a bit more seriously.
  • I’m a run/walker, so I strongly support walking. But please, please, please, can we all learn some etiquette and move to the right instead of stopping in the middle of the road?
  • Participants were stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures. I had to put my hands up a few times to catch myself from falling.
  • The roads were too narrow, and there were far too many participants… 19,000 this year compared to 13,000 in 2010.

I mean, seriously, does a race need to be THIS crowded at Mile 5?

crowded 

I mean, that is a cool picture with all of the colors and costumes. But really? I think Disney should stop being so worried about making a profit and start worrying about the safety of their runners.

I tried my best to make up for lost time, but my legs were stuck in a slower mode. My foot was hurting a little from the plantar fasciitis I’ve been dealing with, but I pushed forward.

epcot

My splits…

splits

I finished this race about 4 minutes faster than my 2010 Princess Half Marathon.

finish line

time

Even though I was 6 minutes off of my PR, I’m proud of my time. I felt strong throughout the entire race. I never wanted to quit. And I stuck with the 2/1 run/walk intervals during the entire race.

medal

Some other random things of note:

  • I will no longer be doing Disney races as “serious races”. If I sign up for another one, it’s all for fun (except for the full marathon).
  • The food provided at the end was just odd. We got a really nice “lunch box”, but it was filled with really odd stuff like edamame and a packet of hummus. I applaud them for accommodating gluten-free participants, but I missed the usual… bagels, cans of soda, etc.
  • I will not be driving myself to anymore Disney races because getting out of the Epcot parking lot was a nightmare. I sat in the same spot for about 45 minutes. I was cramping up and starting to get VERY hungry. I tried nibbling on the crackers provided in the lunch box, but they smelled like dog food.
  • Don’t even try to provide “negative” feedback to the Run Disney team via their Facebook wall. It will get deleted.

Ok, no more whining. I swear. I think the Princess Half Marathon is a great first half marathon, but I’ve learned from running other races that it can be done better.

I’d like to thank the volunteers for their support, the veteran who shook my hand in Epcot, my friends who participated in the ChEAR Squad and were there to cheer me on in Magic Kingdom and at the finish line, and my friends and family for their ongoing support!

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13 Responses to “Disney’s Princess Half Marathon 2012 Recap”

  1. halfmarathonersarah March 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Great job getting it done. You look happy and proud!

  2. AndreaClaire March 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    “Don’t even try to provide “negative” feedback to the Run Disney team via their Facebook wall. It will get deleted.”

    That just makes me sad. I could understand if someone was posting complaints with swear words or that had no real merit to them (eg. complaints about things that were out of Disney’s control, say “the weather was too hot” for example), but if you have a valid complaint or suggestion which you feel Disney should be made aware of, then why can’t you voice it in a public forum? Bad form, Disney. Bad form.

    Still, you look like you still enjoyed yourself despite the few annoyances 🙂

  3. Susan March 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    “But please, please, please, can we all learn some etiquette and move to the right instead of stopping in the middle of the road?”

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Nothing annoys me more than people stopping in the middle of the road and I am forced to suddenly change direction to run around them. I think a lot of this though is related to my other pet peeve: people not seeding themselves where they actually belong before the race. If you plan on walking the whole thing, put yourself in the back of the pack don’t put yourself up where the faster runners are. You are not going to suddenly sprout wings and knock minutes of your pace on race day. All you will do is a) tick off the faster runners and b) you might get trampled.

    That being said, all things considered, it sounds like you had a great day! You look great! Congratulations on knocking some time off your previous Princess Half!

  4. wdwalone March 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    I’m surprised I didn’t see you in Corral E – my friend and I were both right up at the fences in Corral E.

    It’s not even just the walkers that stop in the middle of the road that are annoying. How about the runners that insist on passing on the right even though you’re ask far over as you can be? Not to mention the groups that insist on walking/running three, four or five people across so no one can get around them…I totally wish that people would read the etiquette tips that are in all the final race instructions and race programs.

    I think you can run a Disney race seriously, but it is way easier if you are in the first couple of corrals. It is trickier though as there are so many runners.

    I hadn’t done the Princess since 2009 and there were only 8000 runners – so, yeah, I understand what you’re saying about the 19,000 this year. It was crowded in quite a few places, even in the back of the pack.

    Still, you did a great job and sounds like you had a good pace even with the glitches. The fact that you stayed strong and stuck with your intervals says a lot about your base and strength – so congrats!!!!

  5. Emily March 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    I think you must have finished right before me. Congrats on your race!! And congrats on knocking time off your previous Princess time!

    I totally agree with you on the lunch boxes – I didn’t even grab one as I saw an open one and thought I probably wouldn’t eat most of it. Although I did grab some fruit snacks! 🙂

    I might have been guilty of getting in someone’s way when I stopped to walk – I tried to look around to make sure no one was around me and stay as far to the side as possible, but I think I forgot to check a couple of times. But yeah – it was so congested, it was really hard at times to maneuver through the crowds.

  6. Jenn @ Running Jennie March 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I was really frustrated too with not being able to head over to the corrals sooner. We were told we had to board a bus by 4am to be in our corral by 5am – only to board the bus at 3:40am-ish and end up sitting in the parking lot until probably 4:45! I doubt the corrals were even close to full by 5am.

    I probably walked in front of a runner or two by the end. I was getting really beat and stopped paying attention. I felt bad every time.

    Overall I had a great experience but it was my first half. My sister decided before the race that she wasn’t going in to “race” but would run with me instead. We spent the first half dodging people and based on our bib numbers, corral placement and finishing places we passed about 4000 people. Still a great experience but definitely not a race where many people can PR – which is frustrating I think for such a pricey and otherwise well run event.

  7. Stacy March 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Sad to hear the race was not what you had hoped! But congrats on finishing & feeling strong! I SO wanted to run that one this year, but was just there in January…

    As someone else mentioned Disney PR’s ARE possible if you have early corral placement. This year’s January half I was in A & I noted that I didn’t see a single person walking until mile 9!! ( I worked speedwork for 2 years to see that “A” on my bib, but that’s another story!!)My husband does walk/run intervals and found that even C is much improved over some of the very inconsiderate people in D, E, etc. (He had previously had a lot of the same issues you mentioned) So maybe if you do ever want to try for a PR at Disney again, try running a 10k and using that time. It seems whatever “scale” they use to convert these to half marathon paces is very generous & people with fast 10k’s get better placement.

    On a side note, if you think Disney is insane and unorganized for “middle of the pack” runners, never run a Rock & Roll event. It is a complete nightmare. As you mentioned with Disney, probably a great first time event. (And I have heard they are ok in the seeded corrals, but you need like sub 1:45 or something really speedy.) Beyond that it is a logistical nightmare — they don’t even care if you are entering the right corral which makes for 13.1 miles of dodging people. I ran 13.6 at my last R & R race because I had to do so much maneuvering around people.

  8. Carolina @ Peas in a Blog March 6, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Congrats girl! The Princess was my first half & you’re right, it’s a great first experience. I’m waiting for them to change the medal so I can run it again LOL

  9. Michelle March 6, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    And this is why I don’t run Disney races! I will volunteer at them, but I won’t pay to race anymore of them. It’s a shame that Orlando doesn’t have more “non-Disney” halfs. At least I have OUC to look forward to every year!

    Great job despite the crowd and the foot pain! Are you doing the WP Road Race at the end of this month?

  10. Abby March 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear your Princess race wasn’t what you wanted it to be. I’m a run/walker and a back of the packer myself, so I understand your frustrations. That is redonk at mile 5, but at least you got to run it. I’m super jealous!

  11. Anne March 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I ran the Disney Princess two weeks ago and it was my first half marathon. I absolutely loved it, although I do agree with some of your points. Right after we left the Magic Kingdom, the road was way too narrow. I had to go “off-roading” just to get around people.
    I’m surprised by your difficulty leaving. My friend parked between the monorail and the race path. Our only problem leaving was that we had to go the wrong way to leave, since the actual exit was where the race was. I finished just before 9:00am and we left fairly soon after that. There were tons of people still racing, so maybe we just beat the crowd.

    • runeatdatesleep March 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      I finished just before 9am as well. I was stuck in a lane that was going nowhere. So, the woman in front of me got out of her car and moved some cones so we all could leave.

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