So one of my best friends Kim and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past February and it was amazing! Here’s all the thoughts I have on it.
We stayed at the Polynesian which was amazing (we stayed 2 nights but will stay 3 next year, at $650 a night it was expensive but totally worth it) we got up at 3:30amthrew on our clothes and tutus and hopped on the monorail (no buses on race day!). The best thing about the Polynesian is that when you stay at a magic kingdom resort and you are going from Epcot (where the race finishes and starts) you have to take two monorails BUT the Polynesian is right next to the transportation and ticket center (where you change trains) so you only have to take one monorail not two each way on race day!
You have to be on the monorail by 4am and in your coral by 5am, there was a dj with lights and music and people dancing before it was time to line up (sooo much fun, I’ll post a video on fb in a little while), the bad part is that you stand in your coral for 45minutes to an hour and a half before you start moving and so it’s kinda hard to stretch before its time to go. It was great though. There were marching bands, Celtic bands, black gospel choirs, oriental drummers, royal trumpeters and djs for most of the route. There were also characters to take pictures with along the way, however there were long lines so you have to decide if you are up for that. We only stopped to take a picture in front of the castle. They have professional photographers and you can take your own pics. It was awesome! Each character has appropriate Disney music playing so you get that music too. I brought my headphones but never used them…I wanted to get the full experience. They give out water and powerade at each mile and then around mile 8 or 9 they give cliff gel shots. My recommendation is that you carry your own energy stuff with you (I do a cliff gel shot every 3 mile intervals, so at 3, 6, and 9 but it ends up being farther than every 3 miles because I run a mile and then walk 2-3 minutes, I’ll explain that in a minute), also if you don’t know how you react to exactly what they are giving out dont try it on race day, and if you do take a gel shot don’t eat it until you have some water to drink with it. We didn’t do bag check because we knew we would quickly be back to our hotel. There are professional photographers at the end both right after the finish line and then end the rest area after you get your food. I took pics by myself right after the finish line because I was ready to eat something and then Kim and I took group pictures once she arrived. I would love to get more people together to run it next year! Kim and I will probably stay at the Polynesian again and the only complaint was that bed was kinda short so I had to sleep diagonally.
So, I did the couch to half marathon training program on digitalrunning.com because I basically couldn’t run a minute without feeling like I would die beforehand. Once you get to like 5 or 6 miles though it starts having you run a mile then walk for a minute and then repeat for the distance. The minute walk wasn’t enough for me so I did walk 3 minutes in between. I eventually just switched to doing 3 or 4 mile straight runs (running between 5 and 6 miles an hour) twice a week and then I would do a long run on Saturday or Sunday. I would usually add a mile every two weeks (first week at new distance was always a struggle and then second week was a lot easier). To do 13 miles I had to do 11 run one mile, walk three minute segments so it worked out with my gel shots. I didn’t start using gel shots till I started running more than 9 miles. I did all my runs on treadmills and I was perfectly fine in the race. I did almost exactly the same in the race (once you factor in the line for the portapotty and stopping to take a picture) as I did on my last treadmill run. I never did an incline on the treadmill either. There are only two bad hills in the race and they are between miles 10 and 12 and there was absolutely no one running up them so you don’t feel bad walking. I used run keeper pro and had it tell me my distance, speed, and time every quarter mile just to make sure I stayed around the 5mph pace I wanted because I do my short runs at 6mph now and I was afraid my speed would creep up and I wouldn’t be able to run on mile 13.
Also, if you are gonna run with someone, make sure you do the same training regiment. Otherwise, it makes it harder for one or both of you.
It really is a fun race and I hope you do it next year. Kim and I will definitely be doing the tall hats and tutus again next year. The tutus were really easy to run in and the hats were a great way to find each other when we got separated. I recommend compression shorts or capris on the bottom and then make sure you get some body glide for your under arms and between your legs. I also wore a water belt with a pouch so I could carry my gels and I didn’t have to wait for water stations to do a gel or if I really needed a sip.
Next year, I’m gonna use body glide (didn’t this year and my under arms are really chaffed) and I’m gonna try to get down to a minute every mile or two (which would be a water station stop) and I want to run it in under 2 and a half hours. I would stay the day after because my legs were so antsy on the plane and I was exhausted, it was horrible and try to get in really early on Friday or fly in Saturday early and try to stay through Tuesday because maybe the parks would be less crazy (it was school break for a lot of people the week before the race).
The pictures they sell on the marathon foto website are good, but you can get most with a camera phone (and they will let you at all the photo spots we stopped at), but if you order the DVD with all the images you get videos taken throughout the race including one of you crossing the finish line! Priceless!
Message me if you have any questions and remember its just my opinion and it’s worth what you paid for it…