If you follow me on Instagram, you know I spent some time recently in Disney World running the Disney Princess Half Marathon! About a year ago after reading blog recaps and seeing so many Tone It Up (TIU) girls enjoying the race, I officially decided: I had to do it. Fourth year of medical school is the most flexible, and I knew it would be my best shot at getting this done in my twenties. I anxiously awaited the July registration date.. The race usually sells out within several hours, so I had it marked on my calendar so I wouldn’t miss it. And I officially registered and then immediately freaked out with panic and excitement! I had never run more than a 5k before my registration. But I was super excited for the motivation to train and improve my running and fitness. Long story short, this whole experience was amazing, so I thought I would break it down for y’all. I ended up taking a tonnnnn of pictures, so I may have to break down this recap in to two pieces. Then I will probably do a trip recap, and maybe even a food round up. If you like the sound of this, comment below! And heeeeeere weeeeee gooooo!
Shirt: Target (way back), Tights: Lululemon, Shoes: Mizunos
The first thing you should know if you already don’t, is that there is not just ONE event involved with the princess half. There’s a 5k on Friday, 10k on Saturday, and THEN the half marathon on Sunday. So basically it’s a huge weekend party/celebration of running / health / fitness. And the energy was amazing! There is such thing as the “Glass Slipper Challenge” where you run both the 10k and the half marathon, but I stuck with just the half. Since I am so inexperienced I didn’t want to push myself too hard. In the end I think this was the best choice for me, BUT I’ll get to that later.
I arrived to Disney on Friday. My mom was luckily able to come with me to accompany me and cheer me on from the sidelines. The first thing on our agenda was the expo — which is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Here is where you pick up your packet and can shop for amazing runDisney goodies! They also had tons of running vendors with clothes, gels, Luna bars, banana plinko (it was awesome), New Balance special edition Disney shoes, etc etc. It was chaotic but it definitely got me excited for things to come.
These are all my goodies from the expo! The shirt on the top left was actually the one you receive with registration. The headband, car magnet, and Run Princess shirt I picked up from the vendors! I also got many a free luna bars, bananas, apples. The bottom right is the event guide which had tons of info and fun goodies!
Another thing about this weekend was that a lot of girls who I know through the Tone It Up community were coming too! Our Facebook group was a whopping 70 people strong. So we had a lot of communication going on with trying to meet new girls we had known through Instagram. It was so fun to meet new people! (I even got to meet some TIU Instagram girls that are practically famous in the community, haha!)
A few of us girls met up at the expo to chit chat and take a fun “Finish Line” picture! (We had signs in some but somehow I lost those pictures?! Huge bummer because the signs were amaze.) Meet @lynnettiu, @progressxnotxperfection, @bellerissa, @alli_puravida, and @liezl_tiu !!
I should take the time to mention here my training. I used Jeff Galloway’s beginner half marathon training plan from the runDisney website. This plan was fairly long and I started it in October, as prescribed (the half was February 21st). I had the usual set backs every once in a while (fourth year hangovers pushing around my schedule — oops). But I started having real problems on my 11 mile long run. I couldn’t make it past mile 7 due to excruciating knee pain which turned out to be my IT band flaring up. This happened about a month and a half or so before the half. I took a week off, and tried short runs again. But to no avail — the pain would return 2 miles in. Around three weeks prior to the half, I got in to see an orthopedic surgeon / sports medicine doc. He gave me a steroid shot, told me to take it easy a few days, and then start back by running a half a mile. Umm, well, three weeks before my FIRST half marathon, only being able to run a half a mile?! WHAT! Needless to say I was very upset, angry, terrified, anxious, etc etc. Such a ridiculous combination of all the above. The steroid shot helped for about a week. I was able to work up to about 2 or 3 miles again, but nothing more. My longest run during training was 9.5 miles total. And it ended up being 3 weeks since my last run over 2 miles when the 21st rolled around.
I also should mention I signed up to run this race alone. The Tone It Up Facebook group of 70 women seemed like a very promising way to meet a running buddy though! As you can imagine when my injury hit, however, I was really nervous about holding someone back. I am just meeting this person for the first time, never having run with them before, and I am undoubtedly gonna be slow! Lucky for me, I found a running buddy!! More on that later.
The night before the half all the Italian restaurants in Epcot were booked SOLID (booooo) so my mom & I ended up eating at Chefs de France in the France pavilion. And it was YUM! I will definitely be doing a food recap of the trip later because everything was so delicious. Stay tuned for that! I made sure to have plenty of french bread and got my desert to go to enjoy later that week. I didn’t want to chance anything the night before!
The night before I made sure to lay out absolutely everything I would need for the next morning. This of course revolved around my amazing outfit seen here! Ariel has always been my favorite Disney Princess, so I knew for my first runDisney event I HAD to be her. And I won’t lie — I am obsessed with how awesomely my outfit turned out!!
Not shown here I also knew I needed a throwaway jacket (it’s significantly colder at the start before the sun comes up.. Disney donates all the “throw away” clothes to a local charity), my IT band brace, a FlipBelt, my gu gel for before the race, and my Honey Stinger Energy chews for during. I elected not to run with headphones because I knew there would be so much going on on the course that I wanted to fully experience everything! I also chose not to carry water because there would be 9 water stops during the 13 miles. I regretted neither of these decisions.
The night before I went to bed around 8:30 pm.. Of course had a ton of trouble falling asleep! But my alarm was set for 2:45 AM!
Check back soon for PART TWO of my race recap!