So, as many of you know, the reason I HAD to return to run the Princess Half again this year is because I HAD to have the brand-new Glass Slipper Challenge medal. I was excited to see what runDisney had in store for the 10K, and hoped that I didn’t find myself just a tad disappointed by lack of characters and excitement and “magic,” as I was after January’s Minnie Mouse 10K that I ran as part of the Dopey Challenge.
Even more exciting was the fact that this was going to be my sister’s first 10K! When I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon last November, she took on the Jingle Jungle 5K that morning as her first 5K…and I somehow managed to convinced her to run the 10K with me as part of Princess Half weekend.
We woke up around 4am and headed to Epcot around 4:30am for the race that morning, where we were met with the usual excitement in the “staging area.” We saw lots of other Elsa and Anna combos walking around, and I saw even more the next day during the half marathon (plus tons of Olafs)!
We started in corral B, and they let us go just a few minutes after the start of the race. As I expected, the first few miles were pretty much a snoozefest. First off, it was, unfortunately, RATHER HUMID that morning, so I was already sweating within the first quarter-mile. Secondly, the beginning of the race pretty much winds through the parking lot and some stretches of highway and “backstage areas” near Epcot, so there’s really not much to see.
My plan from the beginning was to stay with Hopper for the entire race. I wasn’t running this for time, and I knew she didn’t feel completely trained for this race — it was sort of a last-minute decision, and we ended up getting her 10K bib through a travel agent just a few weeks before the trip — so there was really no reason for me to push it. Plus, we were wearing matching costumes. ‘Nuf said.
Of course, I told her that if we fell behind pace and happened to spot any balloon ladies that my ass would leave her in a second, because there was no way I was being disqualified from the Glass Slipper medal in the 10K, haha. In any case, she was doing run/walk intervals and I was plodding along beside her.
Our other plan of action was that if we spotted a character up ahead in the distance, that I’d run ahead and hold our place in line while she caught up, which we did for our first character stop: Pocahontas and Meeko.
Even though the course wasn’t anything to write home about, the TRUE highlight of this race for me came within the first few miles. I heard “Let it Go” playing as we approached an overpass, and as we got a little closer, I saw that Elsa was standing up above the course with a microphone…and…best of all…it was SNOWING! Mind you, I kind of wanted to go to Florida to escape the mountains of snow I left behind in New Jersey, but this was just plain awesome.
Of course, I had to stop for a few pictures with her in the background — it seemed OK to stop in the middle of the race course just this once, since we ended up running with the back of our corral and there really was nobody behind us at that point. Elsa saw me posing for pictures and called out to the “princess dressed up like me” to do the “snowflake” pose with her. Of course, I look like an idiot, but I totally fangirled over it and it was my favorite moment of the race, not gonna lie.
As we made our way past the third mile and another character or two, including the White Rabbit, I knew we were getting close to Epcot. Hopper made us stop for a picture with the toy soldiers, since for some reason she’s obsessed with them.
We made our way through the backstage area and finally arrived at the World Showcase, which really doesn’t get old for me. It looks gorgeous at night and, to me, it’s ridiculously exciting to “run around the world.”
I noticed Hopper, who had been struggling a little bit, starting to pick up the pace — which I TOLD her would happen as soon as we got to a park. It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated, even during a Disney race, when you’re running on boring old highways…but you somehow magically forget your ailments when you’re actually running through a Disney park!
We made a pit-stop and searched for characters, passing up Jiminy Cricket (the line was INSANE) and opting instead to wait in the long line for Marie in France, whom Hopper is ALSO obsessed with.
Before I knew it, we were already making our way out of Epcot, but I was still looking forward to running on the Boardwalk, which was definitely THE highlight of the 10K during WDW Marathon Weekend.
It’s so pretty and I knew there’d probably be another character there (it was Goofy in his baseball uniform, so we ended up skipping it).
After we left the Boardwalk, we were both pretty hungry and I know she was anxious to be done. Still, she really never ran much further than, say, 4 miles before, so to make it this far was a huge accomplishment! I can’t speak for Hopper, but I can say that I was having a blast, and whether we were running a 9-minute mile or a 19-minute mile, our finish time could NOT be further from my mind.
We were running quite a bit slower than my usual pace, of course, but we still weren’t anywhere near the back-of-the-pack, so I knew that her ultimate fear of being swept from the race course was definitely not going to happen.
All that was left to do was have fun and enjoy the moment.
By the time we reached Epcot (and passed up another photo, with Donald), we had been on the race course for about two hours. Which would, of course, explain our hunger.
Moral of the story? The thought that I could inspire someone else to run — even if it’s a little bit against her will, haha — means more to me than any time on a stupid clock or the biggest, shiniest race bling the runDisney folks could ever possibly bestow upon me.
Even if she never runs again — which I doubt, since there’s been talk of signing up for Tower of Terror 10-Miler this fall! — and even if she struggled and didn’t feel properly trained for this race, she STILL accomplished something huge that day…and I was a proud big sister, as cheese-tastic as it is to say.
And since we’ve both had very similar struggles in our lives when it comes to our personal health and fitness, I couldn’t be happier to serve as just a tiny portion of the fact that she completed a 6.2-mile race that morning!
I probably don’t even need to tell you how freakin’ excited I was to see the 6-mile marker. And, no, not just because we were almost finished…but because it just so happened to be FROZEN!
At long last, the finish line was in sight, but first, we couldn’t pass up a quick photo with our Fairy Godmother…
…before we crossed the finish line together!
It was time to collect our medals, and I was excited to have completed the first leg of my Glass Slipper Challenge. I KNOW Hopper enjoyed it because I know she was anxious to have her first “real” medal — not that the Disney 5K medals aren’t “real,” she just wanted something a little less…rubbery.
Immediately after the race (and, um, stuffing our races with the runDisney snack boxes), we set forth with our plan to get a very special picture. Yes, that’s right…we were going to brave the insane lines in Norway and actually try to get our picture with Elsa and Anna dressed as, well, Elsa and Anna.
See, now, it was my understanding that they started greeting at 9am, even though World Showcase technically doesn’t open until 11am (apparently that WILL be the case soon…just not yet). So you can imagine my surprise to discover that even though we were among the first people in line at the turnstiles at Epcot before park opening, and I raced to Norway to hold our spot among the first 15 or so people in line, that what we actually had ahead of us was AT LEAST a two-hour wait because the Frozen sisters wouldn’t be making their grand appearance until 11am.
Super. It was 9:05 and the meet-and-greet wasn’t starting until 11, and based upon my vast experience with standing in line for characters at Walt Disney World (particularly “face” characters, who take FOREVER because they want to play and interact with each person who comes to see them), I knew we were looking at a solid three-hour wait — if we were lucky. Characters tend to work in 40-minute shifts, and given the number of people in front of us, I figured we’d never catch them during their first shift at 11am.
So I went to get us some Starbucks and we sat and ate and chatted with people around us, and finally it was 11am and the line started moving. Just barely. A little bit at a time. An hour went by and we still had several people in front of us before the ladies went on their first “break.”
I’ll fast forward a bit and tell you that it wasn’t our turn to meet them until after 12:30 — after a three-and-a-half hour wait.
Mind you, I can’t complain, because this was our choice to be this dumb…but good lord.
Was it worth it? In a word…yes.
Also, they did seem to enjoy our costumes greatly. Of course, I just feel sorry for them having to smell us…
We spent the rest of the day in Epcot in our matching 10K shirts and Sparkle Athletic skirts.
Our evening also included a lovely celebratory dinner at Les Chefs de France…where we ate a lot of cheese.
It was a fabulous ending to our first half of the race weekend, if I do say so myself.
Overall, I’d say the Enchanted 10K crushed Marathon Weekend’s 10K — the course may have been the same, but there were several more characters and runners (and spectators) just seemed a bit more excited in general.
Also, as previously mentioned, I thought having Elsa on the course was PURE GENIUS.
Next up, my recap of this year’s Princess Half Marathon!
Your turn…what did you guys think about the 10K?
Have you ever run a race with a friend or family member?
Have you ever inspired someone else to start running?