As I flew back home 12 hours after I woke up to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I thought about my experience at the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It's mixed with regret and pride, and for that I'm sad. I didn't have that OMG this is the best experience in my entire life. I was worried that I wouldn't finish with enough time to shower and get the shuttle to the airport. I was annoyed with the people who were walking on the left. My feet hurt since my family and I did Magic Kingdom the day before and I developed the beginnings of blisters on my toes before the race (not the best way to start). This whole trip was poorly planned on my part and I just kept dealing with the consequences every day. There were even issues with my running costume I purchased. I ran the race solo but wanted to meet up with a couple of social media folks and I didn't get a chance to do that. That dampened the experience because I was really looking forward to meeting RunPrincessRun in person. I love her stuff (you should like her Facebook page too). Major frownie face. Now that a few days have gone by and the more I think about , I want a mulligan. I want to do this race again, under different circumstances because I think I would love it more.
This is the part where if you're a Disney fanatic, you might want to skip ahead a few sentences. I'm not a super huge Disney fan.Okay Disney fans, take a minute to recover (deep breaths in and out might help). I did this race because everyone said it was amazing. I did it because I thought my daughter would love the idea of mommy dressing up like Pocahontas and getting pictures with princesses and it would be a storybook bonding moment. Plus, who doesn't like the idea of being a Princess? You're probably thinking, you're not really framing this up to be a fantastical FairyGodmother experience, Em. My FairyGodmother might be a little more subdued than yours. But...after thinking about it, I think you don't have to be a Disney fan to appreciate the race. I loved the energy and the environment. It was funny because at the expo, I thought I would get in and get out (I'm not an expo person). But I actually spent an hour there and enjoyed myself. I should have bought a sparkle skirt from Sparkle Athletic but couldn't decide on which one I wanted (but hey, at least I know what size to order now!) And I tried a flipbelt on. I really want one now (I was wishing I had it during my run). I did purchase a white flower from FellowFlowers. I need to make my declare it goal for the year, which has been a big campaign for them this year. Like a lot of the fitness influencer programs out there, they are doing great stuff and I'll be applying when applications open up to be one of their ambassadors. I even bought commemorative Princess half marathon ears, which is very unlike me. Like I said, it was a great environment and I proudly wore my ears through the park that day (also unlike me). So after an exhausting but fun day with the family in the park, it was time to rest up for the race. I felt prepared and unprepared at the same time. I'm also reading the Divergent trilogy which is crazy good, so I had to force myself to put my book down.
I could tell it was going to be a tough race after the first mile or so. Time seemed to drag on and my feet hurt from spending a day in the parks. I wanted to finish within 2:45 since my first half marathon was a hilly 2:11. I know it's supposed to be about the experience, but I can't help myself. At first it was challenging to see people running by as I waited in line for pictures. I also wasn't quite prepared for the amount of people...eight times more than my largest race I had run (I just had my 1 year runiversary, so my experience is a bit limited). I kind of felt like a nascar driver, positioning myself to pass people. Between the crowds, aching feet, and time spent in line for pictures, I was thinking there's no way I'm going to come in under three hours! Around mile nine I thought I might not be able to make it. My feet were hurting and I just wanted to be done. But four thoughts powered me to the finish; the little girl I run for who is a sibling of a special needs child. Her life is tough sometimes and she doesn't get to quit, so neither could I. Added to that, I thought of my daughter who sees me as this strong, beautiful mommy (her words :) and who wouldn't want a compliment like that???) and who runs real fast for like 30 seconds or has to get her "workout" in because she sees me doing that. I thought maybe my husband could come get me. And then I remembered that we didn't have a car. And then I thought of math. Only four more miles...only a 5k (only 30 minutes)...only a mile & a half, only a mile....I can do this and I will do this, I will power through and soak in Epsom salt tonight. I really wish I had my picture with the toy soldiers from Toy Story because my son would have loved that, but I was actually afraid to stop at that point. When I saw the finish line, I almost cried tears of relief. I was so happy to cross the finish line and with a fantastic piece of race bling. I didn't think about how it wasn't this fantastic time or that I didn't get pictures at every stop, or that my feet hurt. I thought about what I did accomplish, which made me feel victorious as I crossed the finish line at 2:44 (and that's a pretty big mind shift for me). Kids close your eyes, censored cursing ahead...Eff yeah! Who basically doubled their step total the day before, whose feet hurt, and ran a half marathon in 2:44 minutes (just as the clock struck midnight as it were)? This Princess, that's who!
This princess could not have gotten to her ball without the help of the mice, pumpkin, and nameless dancing characters along the way. Even though they're not reading this, a big shout out to my hubs for watching the kids while I trained and ran and to my kids for just being awesome and making me want to be a better person. A super big shout out Run Princess Run who was a really great support system along the way (I cried virtually on her shoulder about my costume). And the Kriebels, one of whom is my unofficial running coach while the other, who I basically just met (over the interwebs), provided great bits of information (which you can find here) that settled me down before the race.
Will I do this race again? I don't know. I'd really like to try it again. I'd like to do the one in Paris (which is on my live it list) but would mean saving up like right now. I would definitely want to do this or any Disney race (Wine & Dine HM, anyone?) with a friend or someone I know and not a hey, I'll meet up with ya kind of thing. I think this is a race you want to have someone to run with or experience it with. While I loved having my family there, I think it would be more relaxing if I was just with a friend. And I think the next time, I'll pick a princess I like more. It was fun being Pocahontas as there weren't many there, but I think I'm more of a traditional princess type...I think Belle is more my speed or maybe Anna from Frozen (I know, everyone seems to be Elsa or Anna, but really, they are kick-ass, especially Anna). So now I just need to plan my next RunDisney event, which I suppose is an endorsement for RunDisney races from a quasi-Disney fan.