February 27, 2014

Princess Half: Views from the Back of the Pack

I’m going to be honest here, I was not looking forward to this race much. Especially once I heard the reports that the weather was going to be very similar to last years race I was pretty mentally defeated. But none the less I laid out my flat Summer the night before and decided I’d just get through it.

My alarm was set for 2:10am and I got up amazingly easy considering I had just gone to bed about 3 hours before that #WestCoastProblems. I got dressed and was headed down to the buses a little after 3. I was staying at the Dolphin hotel and there were only about half a dozen people on the bus when I boarded so we ended up waiting for the bus to fill up, about 20 minutes, before we took off.

PrincessHalfBus It was a very quick drive and I was in the EPCOT parking lot and on my way to the prerace staging area where I met up with DisBroad Kristen and DisBroad’s #1 fan Bonnie!! This was the first time I met either of them in person so I was pretty excited!! Quickly more and more of the DisBroads started to arrive and lots of pictures where being taken!

PHMPreRace 2014    DisBroad Kristen, Bonnie, DisBroad Patty, Me, and DisBroad Amy

DisBroad Amy and I were dressed as Alice and the Queen of Hearts so we took a few pics together and she demanded I curtsy to her. I now realize my curtsy needs some work. ;)

PHM Alice n Queen Yes Your Majesty

Eventually they started sending runners back based on the corrals they were assigned to. Since all of the Disbroads where in much lower corrals then me this was the last time I saw most of them. My friend, and running partner for the race, Kim and I held back until it was time for us back of the packers to head to the corrals as well.

I have to say being in the back of the pack was rough. Much like my Tink 10K experience we had no idea what was going on for most of the morning. We could barley hear the National Anthem and didn’t even know it had started until it was about half way through. We also stood there, not moving, for over half an hour after the first corral took off. This is because of the way the corrals were set up. They had to mostly clear corrals A-J before we could move over.  

PrincessHalfStart2014 Finally about 50 minutes after the start of the race we made our way to the start line!! At this point the countdown seemed pretty quick and we were off!! 

      PHM Mile1 PHM Mile2

After seeing the first mile marker I noticed that this year they were very different then the ones they used in the past years so I decided I was going to take pictures of all of them. That also helped me roughly guess how long each mile was taking us since I have shoddy running math.  

As if my moral wasn’t down enough the winner passed us coming back on the other side between miles 1 & 2. I knew this was expected to happen, but it was still rough to witness it. Thankfully before too long we came up to the Magic Kingdom sign, which Kim and I both accused of being false advertising. Having both ran the race before we knew we had a good 2 miles ahead of us before entering Main Street.

MagicKingdomPHM Pretty much the whole race was made up of us doing a run/walk combo of pretty much whatever I wanted, which ended up being way more walking then running. My watch was set for 2/1 run/walk ratios, but we very rarely followed it. It ended up being more of a run until we got blocked by a wall of walkers and then walked until we found a way round them.

PHM Mile3 PHM Mile4 PHM Mile5

After mile 5 is where the fun began. We were IN the park and this is always one of my favorite parts of the race! I had hoped to use the real restrooms, as I had in pervious races, but being this far back I just didn’t feel like we had the time to spare to stand in the lines that were out the door and snaking around a bit so we had to pass them by.

Running through the castle is always a highlight of the race, but for us running was not an option. Heck walking wasn’t even an option. We had to result to more of a shuffle as it was wall to wall people and a narrow passage to get them all through. Not to mention those trying for the pictures opts coming out of the castle either stopping to pose or make their way across the wall of people. It wasn’t pretty I tell ya.

PHM Castle back PHM Castle front

I had really wanted to get a pic with Royal Mickey and Minnie, but by the time I got to them in Fantasy Land I could not even see the end of the line that was at least about 50 people visibly deep. I have no idea how many where behind them that I couldn’t see and I knew I just didn’t have time to wait for it. In fact I ended up without any character pictures because the lines were just way too long.

PHM Mile6 PHM Mile7 PHM Mile8

It was very hot and humid. In fact I think Kim must be a saint for putting up with my complaints about the weather. I’m not even sure how many times I told her I was hot, and being from the Orlando area she did not seem to be struggling with it as much as I was.
I will give runDisney props, though, because the medics where all over us back of the packers like personal escorts from about mile 9 on.

PHM Mile9 PHM Mile10 PHM Mile11

From mile 10 on I really struggle with this course since that is where the “hills” come in. They are not real hills, but instead things like overpasses and on ramps and they seem to be back to back to back. After we were on the overpass a little bit after mile 10 we saw the infamous balloon ladies passing the mile 10 mark. In fact there was a lot of chatter around us as princesses were trying to determine if they were, in fact, the balloon ladies or not. I have heard rumors that if you make it pass mile 10 you are safe, and I would believe that to be true since I did not see any buses past that mark staged to take runner off the course. 

PHM mile12 PHM Spaceship Earth

After mile 12 we headed in EPCOT and even though we had intended to run the last mile or so straight through we opted to walk it since there was no room to run and the park was getting crowded. I saw the occasional park goer hopping the rope and walking onto the course. This didn’t make me feel to safe about trying to make a mad dash to the finish so we decided to just sprint the last .1 instead.

Right before we came up to the choir I spotted DisBroads Patty and Julie and they joined us for a little bit until they stopped for another picture op and we kept on moving! I had told Kim how I missed the choir the first year I ran it and it baffled her how I could have not noticed them so she made sure to point them out to me this time.

PHM Choir PHM Mile 13

Finally we saw the mile 13 sign so we stopped to take a pic and then it was a sprint to the finish line!! I saw Royal Minnie and her “handler” there and thought for half a second about stopping for a pic, but I was just too close to finishing now so I gave her a high five instead!

Once again I came in with another PW (personal worst) but I accomplished what I came there to do, which was to meet the rest of the DisBroads and to collect these little beauties!!

PHM Medals 2014


  1. Beautiful medals and congrats on finishing the race! :0) I'm sorry you didn't get the pics you wanted... 50 people in a line for a character is a lot!! I'm surprised that many people waited in line. Love all the mile markers signs though... I always tend to miss them when I'm on a runDisney course lol!

    1. Thanks Lauren! That really is THE pic to get, so I knew I didn't have much of a chance anyway, but I was still surprised by just how long the line was!
      This was my first time taking pics of all the mile markers. I usually tend to just get the later ones as I get tired, but I wasn't going anywhere fast this time anyway ;)

  2. Awww, I hate that you didn't get any pics Summer!!! I also hate that I didn't get to spend more time with you. I think we need to remedy that sometime soon!

    1. Yes we do!! Although not incredibly soon I am still strongly considering WRS Nashville, if you could take care of that weather issue for me! :)

  3. Congrats on finishing! Sorry it wasn't the race you had hoped for. I had no idea Royal Minnie and Mickey were on the course. The lines weren't too bad for characters when we ran through so we stopped at several. I later found out that a button got accidentally pushed on my camera and they all came out in black and white. I was not happy about this :(

  4. They were over in the newer Fantasy Land area! I knew the lines would be long by the time I got there so it wasn't a big surprise or anything.
    I'm sorry to hear your pics ended up black and white :( That's a bummer.

  5. Congrats on finishing! Thats such an accomplishment (Especially in that humidity - whew)! And that Pink C2C medal is pretty awesome :)

    I totally forgot about all the hills after mile 10 - they were pretty brutal. I can't decide if its better to know about them, or if ignorance is bliss, ya know?

    1. Thank you!

      I'm not sure which is better either! The first year I was surprised by them and the last 3 years I have dreaded the last 3 miles pretty much the whole race because I knew what they looked like.