The Walt Disney World Princess 1/2 Marathon was AMAZING! It was better than I thought it would be (and I was excited about as soon as I first heard about it). Just to clarify, no I am not a Disney freak. Mickey and the princesses are cool and all but I don't have a homage anywhere in my home to them. BUT a couple of things this one great:
1. I trained better than I ever had. I am not the thinnest I have ever been but I worked hard to do this one. You know what? It really paid off! I was mentally more prepared by my calm aura and physically more prepared. Goof wanted to go to the parks the afternoon of the race I was totally cool with it. I would have been sore but now 2 days later I am fine. (I do have a wicked cold since I didn't wear a jacket in the middle of the night in the coldest winter in florida's recorded history but hey, that's fair).
2. Having little J there was great! She struggled and i think a couple of times was ready to give up but having my little sister with me made it about 80 times better. I frequently have conversations in my head debating if it's better to run by myself or with another person. I can say Sunday I loved having that other person.
3. The people who put on the 1/2 marathon know what they are doing. I read in the pre-race book that they discourage ipods because they have so much along the way but brought my anyway. I really didn't use it. They did have something to look at or hear along the whole way. Even really boring parts they had signs up along the race that had fun facts about the princesses like snow white is so thin because it takes # amount of calories to sweep the floor. They were cute and fun to read during boring times. They had tons of character's to stop and get your picture taken with. Now, I got the girl bug from Bug's life and Jack Sparrow, not fabulous ones but I also wouldn't wait in the long lines for Mickey, Woody, or the princes.
Now a couple of reflections that weren't amazing:
I hate to complain but don't want to sell you the kool-aid without the whole truth.
It seemed disorganized at best...
The race started at 6am and my corral left at 6:21am. I had to get on the bus by 4am to get there. I was of course nervous about the fact that they stressed the last bus left at 4am. So, little J and I got on the 3:30am bus and sat around for 3 hours waiting for the race. From our hotel the race was only a couple of miles so this makes no sense on why we had to be so early.
So, at 4ish I left the random parking lot to walk for 20 min to start a 1/2 marathon?!? Yup, to be able start a distance race i walked for 20 min in the middle of the night in the dark. NOT COOL!!!!
Additionally, If you didn't have proof of previous races you were stuck in the last 2 corrals. Now at first glance this seems reasonable but let me explain the problems with this idea. This race attracts LOTS of first timers. No big deal everyone starts somewhere. The problem comes with random assignments to the last 2 corrals. For example, Little J and I knew we would be primarily walking due to her recent health problems (mono right before the vegas race in december). We were cool with this but lots of people behind of were planning on running. So, runners and frustrated that walkers are in their way and walkers are frustrated that runners are literally running them down. The other races set corrals according to your guesstimate finish time. This way everyone knows their target pace and it goes much smoother. Something Disney should think of doing.
Finally, The happily ever after party (very cute name) was not so happily ever after. It was promptly stopped at 10:30am. This is a problem because lots of ladies were still finishing up. Therefore, no party for the walkers =(. Disney needs to look at the fact that they were targeting a nonprofessional crowd and needs to accommodate to those who race just for the fun of racing!