Before I begin, I want to say congratulations to Debbie H. for winning the Run Like a Princess “Bling” giveaway!!! You will receive your fabulous Stella and Dot Foundation bracelet shortly. Thank you to ALL who entered and a special thank you to Bethany Underwood, Independent Stylist for Stella and Dot for contributing the jewelry and for your support! Check out her page to view more fabulous sparkle!
Now on to my race weekend recap:
I have to say, I haven’t been to Disney since I was about 5. I felt like a big (little, ahem) kid down there. I heard many opinions on Disney, some telling me how fab it was and others saying, “meh”. Well, I had an AWESOME weekend. The weather was perfect (albeit humid!) but I wasn’t going to complain about 80+ degrees when the conditions I left included some precipitation 🙂 I stayed in the 90s building at the Pop Century Resort which is about 3 miles from Epcot. I was tired after traveling all day Friday, so spent the evening checking out the resort area and then just crashed.
What I appreciated the most about the Disney race experience, is the transportation options. They had chartered buses dedicated to the race events and they ran every 10-15 minutes which was extremely convenient for the 20K+ runners! The Expo was held at Coronado Springs Resort (note to self, check that out for next time – yes, there will be a next time). Gorgeous view:
We got to the Expo around 10:30 am and if I can give any advice for the future, I would say wait until an hour or 2 before closing time to go. It was a mad house. After getting off the shuttle we were told the building was at capacity and we’d have to wait. Luckily the ebb and flow went pretty quickly. I was able to walk up and get my race bib but getting to the other side for my shirt and swag bag was like Frogger trying to cross traffic. But once I made it was also able to just walk up and pick that up. However, the lines for check out and the official merchandise store were insanely long – which I guess is a good thing because then I wasn’t tempted to buy anything. Well, except these (there was no line!) I mean how cute are these sneaker charms?? I normally love going to expo’s and checking out all the vendors but it was really just too crowded for words. This turned into an all day affair practically and the lines for the shuttle to get back were just ridiculous. I ended up leaving and exploring Coronado Springs and stopping for lunch. I did however stand in line to get my picture taken with a couple of princes 🙂 while waiting for my running partner to finish up. Afterwards I briefly stopped by the ZOOMA Meetup to meet some fellow bloggers and members of the ZOOMA team!! (ok, and had some Barefoot Bubbly while I was there…)
Sunday: RACE DAY
Anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a morning person. I’m slightly presentable with coffee, but I like and need sleep! The 3 am wake up call for a 5:35 am start was borderline crazy. But, you see the tagline on my blog right? Anywho, after a pasta dinner and early night Saturday, I was able to make my wake up call with no issues and quickly dressed (oh yeah, I was inspired by Mulan for my princess outfit!!) and headed to the shuttles. This process went fairly quick which was good. We got to the Epcot start area and with it being crazy dark and me unfamiliar with Disney, I was a little confused. I managed to just follow the crowds through a mighty long walk to the start line. I met up with my running buddy – Corral A y’all! and any feelings of confusion and early rising just dissipated. I was READY!! We had a couple of celeb sitings (Ali Vincent from Biggest Loser – who I also saw at the expo and Sean Astin, Goonies fame my fellow 80s children). Pretty soon the fireworks went off and we were off!
It was extremely humid – even at 5:30. I was soaked by mile 2. But, it was a nice steady run. There were characters along the way but I never stopped because my camera phone isn’t the greatest in the dark and I was building my momentum. We entered Magic Kingdom around mile 4.5 ish and when I saw the castle in the distance got really excited. It was still kinda dark but I did attempt photos. The sun started to rise as I left the castle – which was about mile 6 or so. I probably wasted about 10 minutes trying to get the perfect castle photo which eluded me and made the decision to not to stop again unless I saw Mulan (I didn’t) 🙂 Here’s the one castle photo I was able to capture:
The rest of the race experience was really fantastic. The volunteers were exceptional and the crowds cheering were really motivating!! I loved the final mile or so through Epcot. I finished in 2:20, which I thought was pretty good considering I got sick for weeks derailing my training plan and spent all that time picture taking. Afterwards, I went straight back to the hotel, showered, ate breakfast and slept for a few hours. In the afternoon I was ready to move around. I decided to head back to Epcot and explore a bit. I got some photos in front of the Epcot ball (Spaceship Earth) and fountain, went to the World Showcase (and got my Mulan pic!) and visited Mexico with Donald Duck and had a margarita. And lastly, visited the Epcot character spot to hang with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. I wore my medal around the park and it was really nice to see so many other runners nodding and congratulating each other and the characters and workers being so complimentary to the runners. Some quirks here and there related to the crowds but overall a very positive first runDisney experience!!
Aaaaaannnnddd – I got my “BLING” !!
Yes Disney, you are indeed the happiest place on Earth.
I’ll see you for the Wine and Dine in November (oh yeah, I already signed up!)