Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Princess Enchanted 10k 2016 Recap

I can't believe that runDisney's Princess Half-Marathon weekend is over! What's even more unbelievable is that I have been doing this race and running these long distances for five years now. A quick summary for those who are new to the blog (welcome!) and a refresher for others, the Princess Half was one of the main reasons I started running. Yes, I wanted to stay in shape but getting to run through Disney World? That sounded pretty awesome.
The race is much different now than it was five years ago, at that time the race was only in its third year of existence and the running boom had not hit yet. I signed up in October now it is not uncommon for the race to sell out in an hour or less on the first day of registration. While there is some change, some good some bad, the theme remains the same and it is still one of my favorite if not my favorite race of all!
On late Friday afternoon, a few friends and I boarded the plane for the most magical place on earth and surprisingly there were no delays and we got to Orlando in a short hour and five minutes! Since it was later we were able to check into the hotel with ease.

We stayed at Disney's Polynesian Resort, which was a host hotel for the race as were most if not all of the on site properties. This hotel is beautiful and convenient, take a look at these "waterfalls". You feel like you are in Hawaii, right?

Totally in Hawaii. Well close enough. I like this hotel because it is on the monorail system of the resorts and it makes life so much easier especially if you are only there for a day or two. Quick tip, of you are a Florida resident or have an Disney World annual pass be sure to get the "Passholder Discount" which can usually save anywhere from $200-$300 on your room!

We were going to go to sleep but then we decided on a snack. Like this brownie. It's always so much fun to catch up and even better if chocolate is involved! The race has such an early start time that it's hard to sleep the night before races anyway.

3am wake-up call came quickly! One other little hint, runDisney doesn't advertise this but they do offer race day bib pick-up although they would much prefer you to attend the expo. In reality, the expo pick-up is much easier and you don't feel as rushed but for those of us not able to leave earlier in the day or perhaps have delayed flights and such, race day pick-up is a huge help!

I've felt a little blah on running lately but these races are always fun and I was kind of excited to be running these 6.2! The weather was actually quite cool, I could see my breath when I talked so a little unexpected for Florida but don't worry it definitely warmed up. In fact it became quite hot during the day. Making our way through the crowd, the clock slowly ticked down to 5:30am and the start was among us. We even had the fairy godmother there to help wish us off!

Soon the fireworks for corral A were off and running! I actually forgot my watch and my run/walk timer but I felt good and was able to find my pace pretty quickly. Ok, this is a Disney race and there are people of all paces there so just know there will be some congestion but remember where you are, take in the scenery and accept the fact you probably won't PR here. The races are all about fun as they should be plus at the prices stay out there as long as you can, get your money's worth!

Hey Elsa and Anna! Yes, there was SNOW in Florida well kind of but it looked pretty. There were lots of characters out on the course but wow the lines were LONG. That is one thing that is particularly good about being in the first few corrals is that the character lines are not quite as long but they aren't really short either.

I like to stop and get a few pictures with the lesser known or more obscure characters that are usually out on the race course. Meeko (the raccoon) was pretty much my favorite character in Pocahontas, he was always so cute and loved eating those cookies. Or maybe they were biscuits? Whatever they were he was always hungry so we all could relate. The photo stops will take up time so remember that but like I said before, make these races fun!

Soon we were entering Epcot! This area is really beautiful before sunrise and I love seeing all the "countries" lit up. If you don't want to spend time in line for characters there are some good opportunities around the park but be sure to have your flash on!

The final two miles takes you out by the Boardwalk area of Disney which I think is a fun little spot and there are lots of spectators to cheer you on as well as a character stop or two, the course then takes you back inside Epcot where the finish line awaits you.

I did my best Anna from Frozen impersonation, people say I'm more Elsa with my long blonde hair but my personality is very Anna, kind of awkward and hoping people think I'm funny so I even wore a wig to get the look down! I loved my costume and got so many compliments! If you aren't running in costume at a Disney race then you are doing it wrong. It might seem silly but once you see everyone else dressed up and some of the more elaborate costumes, you realize you will fit right in!

After the race, it was time for breakfast! If you are at the Polynesian then you have to try the Tonga Toast!! Fried dough stuffed with bananas? It is delicious! A definite favorite among all Disney travelers.

The rest of the day was super busy with the Expo (no pics since I'm not obsessed with it like some are) then we thought of relaxing but headed over to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This is the perfect time to visit since they are prepping for the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot so we had fun taking in a few drinks "around the World" definitely visit "Italy", "France" and "Mexico" for some fun beverages! The time passes so fast on vacation so enjoy the time you have with friends and family but don't overwork yourself especially since many of you (like myself) plan on running the half-marathon the next morning. Still take time to enjoy!

The Princess Enchanted 10k is a great race whether it's your first race or 100th. The course is mostly flat and there are plenty of character stops and  park time along the way so you don't get bored. This race can be done alone or you can add it to your 13.1 mile journey to complete the Glass Slipper Challenge which was introduced two years ago and remains a hot commodity for runners. Sign up early! I'm talking the moment it opens because it will sell out.

This is a great goal race if you are just starting out running or maybe you just want to check something off your bucket list. A 10k is such an accomplishment but not as much commitment as a half or full marathon so it is a very do-able especially if you are new at running.

I'll give a recap of the half-marathon tomorrow and my thought on the challenge among other things so keep reading!



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