Considering how smooth the logistics for the 10k worked on Saturday, we decided to sleep in a bit on Sunday. Unfortunately that meant waking up at 3am and not 2:30am. Ha!
We got ready pretty quickly and headed down to the bus stop. When we first got there, my heart stopped.. the bus line was backed up all the way past the pool. I panicked at first thinking we would never get there on time. I wish I had taken a picture of the line, but I was too busy being freaked out.
However, the line moved quickly. I couldn’t actually see the start of the line, but I think we ended up on the 2nd bus and our bus had no issues with traffic. Phew. When we got to the bus drop off, the entrance was WAY more crowded than it had been on Saturday, but we walked straight through the gear bag check and headed towards the corrals right away. If you dawdle prior to gear check and then get caught up in the crowd making the walk to the corrals right before the start, then you can get in trouble (especially if you want to use a close port-o-potty)… but we had no issues making it to the corral area, using the port-o-potties out there and then getting into corral B.
For this race, Paul was assigned to corral B with the rest of the guys. I was technically in corral A, but decided to stick with him pre-race. What was really nice about this corral set up compared to Tinker Bell is that corral A was TINY. It was half the size, it seemed, of corral B and A and B together seemed to be smaller than the later corrals. So crowding really was not a big issue compared to Tinker Bell and that was a nice relief.
The start of the half was definitely more spectacular than the start of the 10k. Fireworks, TV screens and more music. They did a great job pumping up the crowd and I was getting really anxious to start. I originally wanted to demolish my Tinker Bell time, but with the hip flexor issues I was having during the week and the entertainment on the course being stretched out all of the 13 miles and not just in the first half, I wasn’t too concerned about hitting that goal. It was also HOT and HUMID. I was sweaty before we even started running…. But I can’t complain about the heat after the freezing temps we have had forever in KC.
The Elite wave started and then corral A and finally it was our turn! When we were off, Paul shot off and I started out at my normal pace. It is SO hard in the beginning to stay at my pace seeing everyone whip around me.. but I know I’ll be passing you soon once you burn yourself out 😀
It was neat listening to the fireworks going off at different intervals as I headed out on the first couple miles. We headed towards Magic Kingdom and saw the kites with Mary Poppin’s music and Captain Jack Sparrow with his pirate ship (skip this line if it is long, you also pass him at mile 11 on your way to the finish line!). I did stop right before the Magic Kingdom entrance to get my photo with some princes. However, my photos turned out pretty bad… my camera was NOT happy about the humidity and there was moisture on my lens for most of the shots. Oh, well!
The first few miles are the most crowded. I wasn’t cramped for space and had plenty of space to pass people, but there were pockets of fast people from later corrals that would catch up and pass quickly.
The best part of the race is definitely Main Street at Magic Kingdom. The fog was intense though, so the castle was pretty cloudy and not a clear view. It was still a pretty magical feeling, though. Last time I was here for the Goofy Challenge, they still had the castle dripping in icicle lights so it was neat to see it just under the purple glow. We ran around the castle and I jumped in line for Buzz Lightyear just as he was heading back inside. Darn! I wanted a Toy Story picture to match my costume, but I didn’t want to wait. I did, however, get in the line for Prince Mickey. It was about 5 minutes, but I knew I wanted this photo.
I then got my photo in front of the castle (by someone who apparently can’t use a camera 😉 ) and then kept on through Magic Kingdom.
This is when I started to realize that the characters pretty much exactly matched up to last year. In Magic Kingdom, I understand that characters will only appear in their specific lands (like Buzz Lightyear will only be in Tomorrowland), but just like last year the Magic Kingdom had Buzz, Prince Mickey & Minnie, Tiana and the gator, Woody and a princess as you exit Magic Kingdom. As we kept going through miles like 6 – 9 or so, it had the same Mary Poppins & penguins, Lilo & Stitch, the Genie and a green army soldier.
I still had a blast during the race and I loved that there was a lot more character stops than at Tinker Bell, but I do wish they would switch up the characters some more.
Regardless by the last few miles, I was DRENCHED. My costume was not very good at wicking and I just felt soaked thanks to the humidity. The sun had come up, but the fog was thick so my camera was having major issues with white balance. Besides feeling gross as could be though, my body felt great. I had stopped a bunch so I wasn’t going to beat my Tinker Bell time, but I was very happy with how my legs were feeling and the boost I had towards the end! As I passed close to mile 11, I saw the balloon ladies on the other side of the road just past Jack Sparrow’s pirate ship. It had felt like a long time since I had passed it the first time!
We all headed into Epcot and saw Princess Sophia and the Fairy Godmother. I didn’t take photos at this point, I was booking it trying to get under 2:30. I flew past the choir and saw Mickey at the finish line. I tried to slow down a lot and almost slow-motion high-five him in hopes that Marathonfoto would catch a shot this time, but still no suck luck! Darn!.. but I was done! 2:29:12.. just under my 2:30 goal and not too far off from Tinker Bell of 2:26:16.
The BEST change that Disney had made to the race was handing out the mesh backpacks at the finish line. This was awesome since I hate having to juggle a water, PowerAde, snack box and banana and my camera to take pictures with. Loved it!!
I got my half medal and then got in line to get my Coast to Coast and Glass Slipper medals. Both are GORGEOUS, but the Pink Coast to Coast might just by my favorite medal in my collection 😀
I met up with Paul and we took some photos. They had the same Princesses at the finish line as they did during the 10k (Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle and Cinderella), so we skipped those lines and just got some photos of us… then we hopped back on the bus and to the hotel! Easy!
After we showered, we spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom! I had low expectations, but totally loved it! Expedition Everest was SO fun. I think it might be my favorite DW ride. We also got some AMAZING food at the Yak & Yeti quick service café. The Beef Lo Mein was incredible and there was a beverage called the Yak Attack which was SO good. A nice frozen (and alcoholic) drink after a half marathon is DEFINITELY the way to go!
Coming back to KC has been BRUTAL. We had more snow last weekend, but it is supposed to be 60 degrees on Monday. I am very much looking forward to running outside again! My next half marathon is on April 12th so I’m excited to see what my time will be. I have barely run outside recently so I’m really not sure what my race pace for a half will be (without character stops!). We did do a Mardi Gras 5k in KC last Saturday and I ran a 25:38, but the course was definitely short by .2 or so, but 26:00 is about my usual 5k time so I’m not completely off track! I still have a month to kick it into gear!
Did you run the Princess Half? Or sign up for Wine and Dine in November? No Wine and Dine for us, but I’m anxious to see what the anniversary medals look like!