Florida: Disney Princess Half Marathon

I’m not even sure what to say about this half marathon. The first half of the race went really well, but the last half was kind of a mess. Which is kind of unfortunate because when I think about the race it is really easy to focus on the bad parts and forget how fun the first 10k was. Also I’m sorry for the blurry photos, most of them were taken while running!

My finish time: 2:14:07 (personal worst, haha!)
Mr. Shoe’s finish time: 2:20:59

The plan for the race was for both of us to run with my sister, Colleen, for the first 10k and then try to pick up the pace for the last 7 miles. I wasn’t really sure how this would go since I have heard a lot of bad things about how congested the course at Disney can be and how some sections will get so bad you will be forced to walk. My proof of time placed my in corral A, but if I wanted to start with Colleen, we would be starting in corral F. Running with my sister was more important than my finishing time, so I decided to risk the slow sections.

The first half of the race felt like it flew by. I was able to chat with my sister and husband. We had a fun time checking out the crazy costumes other runners were wearing and seeing the character stops along the course (we did not stop). It was also nice to have company during the severely banked sections of the course (painful!). Before we knew it we had reached the entrance to Magic Kingdom!

Running through Magic Kingdom was pretty spectacular! I don’t know exactly what I expected from this part of the race, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to a big deal. I was surprised how excited I got to see the castle, run through Tomorrowland, and, finally, run through the castle. I think it helps that there was a lot of crowd support through this section and the sun finally started to come up.

After one last picture as a group it was time to get serious. With Mr. Shoe on my tail, I started picking off runners. Although the course was narrow at this point and fairly crowded, I was able to run the entire time. I heard from later corrals that this part of the course was crawling along later; someone mentioned a 25 minute mile because people were walking so slowly. I am very happy to have missed out on that fun. At some point I ended up losing Mr. Shoe. I had two goals in mind. First, catch the 2:15 pace group. Second, if possible, finish in 2:10. Although I finished under 2:15 (and could even see the pace group ahead of me!) I didn’t actually meet either of my goals.

With about 3-4 miles left I started getting a side stitch. This side stitch then mutated to extremely painful stomach cramps. Every other step sent shooting pain through my abdomen. Running was nearly impossible. The extra impact from running downhill actually made running impossible. I was in trouble. I felt like I was stopping to walk every 30 seconds. I stopped at a medical tent to drink some water and take a break, but nothing seemed to help. I started looking for Mr. Shoe because I was certain he would be passing me soon. I never saw him so I forced myself to press on.

Finally, I realized that I only had a quarter of a mile to go, and I managed to sprint it in. As soon as I got done running, I started to cry. I didn’t really know why I was crying, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. Not really my best moment, haha. I waited for Mr. Shoe to finish and then it was time for a second sprint, this time to the bathroom for stomach issues (Sorry to over share. Extra sorry that this isn’t the end of the story).

Once I saw my sister come through the finish area (2:33, just slightly off her goal of 2:30), I knew I needed to haul my ass up off the pavement and over to our meeting area. Pretty soon her family and our parents joined us. This was about the time that I realized I might be more than just usual race tired. It was around 70 degrees out and I was feeling cold and nauseated. Fortunately it was time to head back to our hotel for a shower.

Showering had to wait until my stomach got under control. It really hated me after this race and it culminated with me in the bathroom begging Mr. Shoe to find me a trash can so I could throw up as well (really sorry!). I think it was just the heat that got to me. It was easily 60 degrees warmer than the weather I had been training in and I stupidly wore a long sleeve shirt. I really hope it was just the weather and that this wasn’t really an indication of my current fitness.

I love my husband and his willingness to wear matching pink shirts. He’s the best!

I’m not sure if I would sign up for another runDisney event. One the one hand, running with a group and enjoying the course entertainment was definitely fun. I really loved running with my sister and want to plan another race with her at some point in the future. But on the other hand, $180 in registration fees (plus flights and a hotel) is a lot of money to spend on a race that I wouldn’t actually be racing. I don’t want to rule it out completely since every few years the Disney World Marathon ends up being on my birthday and it would be kind of cool to run a birthday marathon. So maybe in 2018?


15 thoughts on “Florida: Disney Princess Half Marathon

  1. Ugh! I can pretty much guarantee it was the weather, not an indication of your current fitness level. We've had an abnormally cool winter this year. There have been a few weekends though where it was warm (70-80's) and humid. On those days, I've experienced similar stuff that you did after this race: stomach upset, bathroom issues, cold sweats.

    But the run looks cool regardless of the issues! And I can totally understand your hesitation to run another Disney race since it would be hard to actually race it.


  2. Oh that is really reassuring!

    The race was pretty cool, though I should mention that the majority of the miles are run outside of the theme parks, so there were some “boring” sections where you are just running on a road.


  3. I think a birthday marathon would be cool! Disney or otherwise. I was trying to run my first full marathon on my birthday but none couldn't find one “worth the money”. I know what you mean about the expense of the Disney races. I'm trying to do the wine and dine this year in November (but registration is likely to sell out very quickly so who knows).


  4. The more I think about it, the more I want to do a birthday marathon (or any birthday race for that matter).

    My sister is running Wine and Dine as well! She is an annual pass holder so she was actually already able to register (lucky!). I hope you are able to get in! For Princess I was able to be at my computer right when registration opened and register my self and my husband before it sold out. It was crazy stressful because once I registered myself the site kept crashing and I spent like 20 minutes trying to get another registration to go through.


  5. A little late, but congrats on finishing! I'm sorry that it didn't go the way you planned and that the heat threw you a curveball.

    I definitely don't think it was you being out of shape, although it seems you've realized this by this point. You trained really well for this marathon and I don't think there's anything else you could have done. The heat was probably a big shock to your system. This is one of the reasons I'm so wary about traveling out of the midwest to run a big race – I think I would underestimate the effects of trying to run a marathon in 80 degree weather after training in 20 degree weather. The only thing I can think of to do for that would be trying to train as much as possible indoors, at a gym indoor track or on a treadmill, to get my body used to the warmth.

    It sounds like your 5K training is off to a good start. I hope you enjoyed Disneyworld!! 🙂


  6. Thanks, Hanna! A solid first week of training has definitely helped quiet any doubts that had started to sneak in. Hopefully this will be my one bad race of the year and the rest of my races will go smoothly. At the very least none of them will require leaving the midwest!


  7. I run hot and cold over Disney races. For me, they're very local, and they used to be a bit of a unique day on the race calendar. Lately, though, they've gotten over priced and over crowded. Some of the runners have very odd attitudes, too. They're just not as much fun as they used to be. On the other hand, who you're with has a huge impact, so being with family probably made for some really fun memories for you.


  8. Hopefully you have plenty of other local race options to help balance out the cost of Disney races. There is no way I would have paid that much for a local half marathon unless it was something really, really unique.


  9. Funny that people have to be “entertained” on a half marathon course anymore….”parts of it were boring, where you were just running along a road”- how about running a 13.1 for time/joy of running it?


  10. I am not sure if you are intending to criticize Disney races as a whole, or if you are criticizing me in particular for choosing to run a Disney race.

    I have run multiple half marathons for time; I certainly do not need to be entertained to sign up for a race. This was actually my first race where I wasn't running for a goal time. I mentioned that parts of the course were “boring” simply to let my readers know that if they are expecting a race that is completely full of Disney characters, Disney parks, and crowd support, that is not the case. I used boring in scare quotes because while others may find these sections of the course boring, it doesn't bother me.


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