Prior to the race, I had caught my son’s cold, but thankfully, I knew I wouldn’t be running the race hard. Having run a Disney race before, I knew there were so many distractions along the course that I would want to stop for a few of the photo opps.
Originally, I had planned to stay with my non-runner girlfriends the night before the race, but the more I thought about it, the more I worried about not being able to sleep. Typically, a girlfriend getaway leads to heavy drinking and not enough rest, which is not conducive to any race, whether you run it easy or not. Then, last minute, my mom offered to stay with me in Orlando and you know, my mom (any mom) would make sure I ate right and slept well.
And I’m so glad we arranged that last minute decision, because my 3:30 a.m. wakeup call came fast!
Since I still hadn’t decided which princess to dress as, I packed both princess costumes. Allana (my ten year old) suggested I be Tiana. “You’re just like Tiana. You can sing. You have dreams and you set goals”. (I just love that she said that. It was a proud mama moment that warmed my heart.)
My old running partner, Tiffany, gave me some great advice. “Wear the Belle costume because if you get tired of the tutu, at least you’ll still have a running skirt on and you’ll still look like Belle.”
Once I picked up my race packet at the expo, I finalized my princess plans. “Belle” was printed on the bib as my favorite princess. So, I had to be Belle.
On the morning of the race, traffic into Epcot parking was very congested and I worried that I wouldn’t make the 5:00 a.m. corral call, but then things started to move and I arrived at the park at 4:40 a.m. However, I still had to walk to the start line and Disney is not kidding when they say it takes 20 minutes. I forgot about that walk!
It was a chilly morning, but not freezing and I warmed myself with a stolen hotel towel and the aluminum wrap from Rock ‘Roll Half. I looked even more like Belle with a red cape around my shoulders.
On the way to the start, I spotted all types of princesses and Disney costumes: Dalmatian princesses, villains, Tinkerbelles, Minnie Mouse, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, and of course every variety of Disney Princesses. I wished that my girlfriends were running the race with me. Each of us was supposed to be a different Disney Princess.
Strangely, as I walked and wished for my friends to be there, I met Melissa dressed as Cinderella in corral B. She looked just like Lori. It freaked me out a bit, but my stares probably freaked her out too. I explained to her that she reminded me of one of my friends and she said, “Well she’s here with you in spirit”, which is something Lori would say. I was so grateful to have a Lori lookalike and Lori’s spirit running the race with me.
Fairy Godmother spoke the magic words and fireworks launched in the dark morning sky. The race was underway. Even though the start time is staggered for the corrals, it was still pretty congested and hard to run faster than 10:30 and I was o.k. with that. I liked the easy start pace.
Since it was dark, I just focused on getting through the first few miles and didn’t stop for many Kodak moments. I also knew we’d be running the same course back to the finish. My plan was to run the roads faster and slow down in the parks since the Disney characters and cast members would be cheering for the runners as we ran past. I had my mind set to stop for Belle and Tiana if I saw them.
Once in the Magic Kingdom, I intended to pop into the Tomorrowland restroom for a potty break, another little Disney race secret. All the restrooms in the park are available so you can avoid the port-o-potties. Plus, in a full service bathroom, I could readjust my tiara if need be.
I literally whizzed through Tomorrowland and moved onto Fantasyland to stop for a photo in front of the castle.
Once passed the castle, we ran through Liberty Square, where Tiana and Prince Naveen stood waiting. Of course, I stopped. As I stood in line waiting for a photo with Princess Tiana, I met another Tiana, who I would continue to meetup with throughout the race.
After a quick photo with Tiana, I was on my way through Frontierland and then through the cast member exit where we were on the road again back towards Epcot. Just outside the Grand Floridian, I bumped into Belle. “Hi me”, she said when I posed for a photo with her.
Shortly afterwards, I met my Prince Charming outside the wedding pavilion. His glass slipper was so fitting for a running princess.
On the return trip along World Drive, I decided to pose for some pictures that I missed on the way to the Magic Kingdom, like Captain Jack and some of the other Disney fellas. But my camera died. Fortunately, my Disney Princess running partner, Tiana, saved the day and snapped some photos for me.
Next to the characters and cast members, the spectators were superb and their signs were so entertaining. “Worst parade ever!” “Villains run faster.” “I am so proud of you complete stranger!” With louds cheers and cow bells, they had such enthusiasm as the runners flew by.
The “hill” near mile 11 was definitely the roughest, just as @clairgp had warned me. I had to walk most of the overpass, but as bad as that overpass was, my plantar faciitis heels didn’t bother me. I guess all the stopping to visit with characters had its benefits.
After a quick photo in front of Spaceship Earth, I ran the last mile hard. I wanted to finish under 3 hours and even with all the stops along the way, I met my goal 3 hour goal.
Like I told my friends future Disney Princesses, I would totally run it again and take just as long. You just can’t take this race too seriously or you’ll miss all the Disney magic.
But next time, I’ll be Tiana.
Chip time 2:51
Clock time 2:59:23
Ave Pace 13:04