I DID IT! My First Half Marathon: Disney Princess!

I’m back from my first half marathon and RunDisney event — the Disney Princess Half Marathon — and I’ll be posting a whole lot of recaps and photos over the next few days…but first and foremost, I would like to announce that I DID finish, and I DID have the time of my life! I cannot WAIT for my next RunDisney race: the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland!


One of many, many castle photo ops!

Before I start posting lots and lots of recaps, reviews (Race Retreat, ChEAR Squad, etc.) and photos from my trip, I wanted to take a moment to share a few post-race thoughts. My finish time was an entire hour — yes, a whole freakin’ HOUR! — later than what I had planned (2:30), but I’m going to go ahead and chalk that up to the fact that I stopped for almost EVERY photo opportunity along the course, a few pit stops, and, of course, the ridiculous humidity that I was SO not prepared to run in.

As a Northern princess, I had spent the last few months tackling my final long runs in the bone-chilling 30 degree weather…and the temperatures on race day soared to almost 80 degrees, with 90 percent humidity! I tried my best to maintain my usual 9-10/minute mile pace in between character stops, but ultimately couldn’t muster anything faster than 11-12/minute miles, especially in the second part of the race when I was really feeling the effects of the 2:30am wake-up call and was literally dripping with sweat (gross!).


Yes, I was one of those runners taking pictures of all the mile markers!

Probably to the dismay of my devoted “ChEAR Squad” — my mom, sister, and BF — I would also be lying if I didn’t admit that I was sort of taking my sweet old time along the course. I am an absolute Disney freak, and I definitely got a little carried away with the excitement of combining my absolute two favorite things — running and Disney — on the day of the race. I was lucky enough to move up to Corral A based upon my most recent 10K time — because, yes, I am usually just a tad faster than my 3:30 half marathon finish might suggest! — and since I had that extra time cushion (there was a 16-minute/mile maximum pace starting with the last wave of runners), I decided to take full advantage of all the fun and excitement along the course.


Yet another photo op!

I saw lots of other women arguing with their running buddies about stopping for a particular character or photo opportunity, and I didn’t want to do that to myself — I wanted to take tons of pictures and have fun and enjoy this moment that I had worked so hard for, and if that meant a less-than-desirable finish time, so what? I’ll just run another half marathon that doesn’t include all of the hooplah on the sidelines and focus on my time for that race.

The course was also pretty crowded (more on that later), so my time also included lots of weaving around slower runners and walkers, because my only other race day plan was that when I wasn’t stopping for photo ops or potty breaks that I would just keep running…and that’s exactly what did!

For me, this race wasn’t about setting a PR (although, as a first time half marathoner, I suppose it was an automatic PR), it was about having a blast in my favorite place in the world…and, most importantly, proving to myself that I can do this. I had spent the last six months training and planning and thinking about this race, and all while wrestling with self-doubt that I’d ever be able to cross that finish line. I am not some natural-born athlete; I may be physically fit now, but I am, at my core, a woman who battles a lifelong weight problem every single day, and all of the residual issues that go along with that — and I probably always will be.


By far the LONGEST character line of the race!

And that’s why, my Disney obsession aside, I would recommend the Disney Princess Half Marathon to any first-time half marathon runner — or anyone looking to infuse a little bit of fun into their racing schedule. I was surrounded by nothing but supportive women in all shapes, sizes, ages, and ability levels, and it wasn’t some pressure-packed race experience amongst elite runners…even in Corral A. By the time I was standing at the start line and waiting for the Fairy Godmother to send us off, I had all the confidence I needed to know that I would be able to call myself a half marathoner in just a few short hours.


Nothing better than celebrating a successful race at the Magic Kingdom!

It was a race that was all about having some silly, girly fun, with runners wearing elaborate princess costumes and tiaras and being sprinkled with pixie dust upon crossing the finish line. I honestly didn’t even have time to play the self-deprecating “you’re never going to finish” game along the course because I was so preoccupied with my next big moment — running through Cinderella’s castle, seeing the Epcot ball in the distance — or wondering which character I might get to visit with next.

Overall, I had an AMAZING first half marathon experience, and I can’t wait to share the finer details here with all of you! Stay tuned! :)


  1. Congratulations on your first half marathon! So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Awesome! The 2012 Princess was my first half marathon and I too, went a lot slower than expected. Honestly, I think that other races can be used to show speed – you just need to relax and enjoy all that the Disney races have to offer (and get every moment out of the experience that you pay for!). :) Glad that you had a good experience – can’t wait to hear more.

    • That’s awesome, and I COMPLETELY agree! As you know, these are not inexpensive events, and since there’s so much going on I really wanted to get everything out of the race that I could. All I cared about was having fun and crossing the finish line, whether it took me 2 hours or 4 hours…and I already have my sights set on an upcoming local half marathon to really put my training to the test and see what I can really do! Thanks for reading! :-D

      • Exactly! I ran the Tink in January (another slow but amazing experience!) but now I’m looking forward to a half I have coming up in April to see what I’m REALLY capable of. It doesn’t have all the entertainment/distractions that Disney provides. ;) Best of luck to you!

  3. YIPPIE!!! So happy for you!! I like your attitude running your first half marathon. You finish when you finish so enjoy it! My first half was in wine country and I remember taking pictures of the beautiful country side as we ran by and posing in front of hot air balloons landing along the way. You work too hard to not enjoy the first one and just FINISHING. Looking forward to hearing more about it and how you felt after and what your training plan is until the next race. SO PROUD OF YOU!!

    • Thanks SO much, Kelly! I am officially addicted and am already seeking out upcoming half marathons to see what I can REALLY do, without stopping for a zillion pictures with princesses and various Disney characters along the way. :-D

      I had a BLAST, but the best part of it all is knowing that I CAN run 13.1. I proved I could do it, even in less-than-ideal racing conditions, so there’s no more doubting myself. Now that I’m no longer scared of the distance, I CANNOT wait to do it again!

      Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement! You’re awesome! :-D

      • Yes you CAN do it! And one thing that stuck with me after my first half was… that accomplishment is something that no one can ever take away. It’s not like losing weight and gaining it back, having a great job and losing it or things like that. YOU RAN A HALF MARATHON. THE END. :)

  4. Congrats – and see you at Dumbo.

  5. What am amazing achievement and it sounds like the best fun too

  6. Hi! Found your recap through Twitter and had to laugh at your comments about your time. I did Tinkerbell the last two years with a friend who insisted on stopping for every single photo op. We came in just under four hours and almost got swept at the first cut both years. We had to haul our tailfeathers to the timing point and just slid in under the sweep. We joke that we had great splits because there were no photo ops during the last half. Glad you had a great time!

    • Hi Jen! Thanks for reading. That’s too funny — I was DEFINITELY getting nervous about being swept when I looked around after my umpteenth photo stop and found myself surrounded by Corral H runners…it happened so fast and I was having so much fun that I didn’t even realize just how far behind I had fallen! Hey, as long as you finish, right?! :-D

  7. Congratulations! That’s terrific news!

  8. Congratulations on finishing your first. I remember feeling like death after my first one, but it sounds like you relished and enjoyed the experience more than I did on my first. Hope to see you on the course sometime in the future.

  9. Loved reading your re-cap! This was my first half-marathon ever too!

  10. This was my first race too! The humidity was awful. but it was certainly a blast!

    • Thank you so much, and CONGRATS! It was definitely rough, and the humidity killed me…but I could not have asked for a better first half marathon experience. I had the time of my life! :-D

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] recaps with a look at the race expo (if you didn’t see my first post-Princess recap, click here). Appropriately dubbed “Fit for a Princess,” the expo was pretty much the female [...]

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