I’m excited to be partnering with Enterprise for this sponsored blog post!
What an incredible journey! The 2022 Princess Half Marathon Weekend has come to an end, and it was the most memorable race weekend yet!
Thanks to Enterprise, the official rent-a-car of runDisney, I made my way through 22.4 magical miles to complete the Princess 5K and Fairy Tale Challenge. I even got to experience the inaugural Princess Sunrise Yoga event at Magic Kingdom. But first, I got to cruise around property in my brand new Toyota Highlander! Having this rental car was a game-changer in my race week logistics. It made getting to and from each race week event, starting line, and the parks completely seamless! I truly could not have navigated my entire family around this busy weekend without my rental car!
After picking up my Highlander, my race weekend began bright and early with the very first Princess Sunrise Yoga event!
The Princess Half Marathon Weekend kicked off with the inaugural Sunrise Yoga held in front of Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom. As a yogi, once I heard about this brand new offering, I knew I had to experience it! This one-hour instructor led yoga class was everything I needed before running the weekends 22.4 miles. Transportation to Sunrise Yoga was limited, so having my Enterprise rental car made getting to Magic Kingdom so easy. After arriving at Magic Kingdom, yoga Princesses found their yoga mat, carrying case, and bottled water all prepositioned in front of the castle. As the sun came up over the castle, we were led into various yoga poses that were perfect for all levels. Overall, I felt this was a great new addition to race weekends and I will definitely be including it my race weekend schedule moving forward.
With my sun salutations completed, it was time to refresh and then drive over to the expo!
BIBS, SHIRTS, & MERCH...OH MY!
The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is one of my favorite parts of a race weekend. Runners from all over the world are coming together at the ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up their race bibs, shirts, and of course - extra merchandise! The energy and excitement is palpable! As someone who loves commemorative merchandise, my first stop was the AdventHealth Arena to check out the official runDisney merchandise. From coffee mugs to the classic "I did it!" shirts, there was something for everyone to commemorate their race weekend. Pro tip: if you would like to purchase any specific merchandise (for me, I must have a coffee mug), then head to the merchandise arena first, as some popular items can sell out quickly.
After picking up a few items (I got my coffee mug!), it was time to get my race bibs and shirts for the 5K and Fairytale Challenge. The new digital waiver form and expo check-in pass made it so easy to pickup your bibs and explore the rest of the expo. I took some time to explore new vendors and take some photos before heading back to my resort to rest up for an early morning wake up call; Princess 5K, here I come!
3, 2, 1...GO!
I love the runDisney Princess 5K race for so many reasons. It's one of the most fun and inclusive races I do each year. During this race you can expect to see kids and families running their first race, people who never considered themselves 'runners' toe the start line, and people who have faced tremendous life and health challenges take on the course. Even with such varied backgrounds, each of these different types of athletes have something in common; strength, courage, and determination. It takes each one of these attributes to make it to this race and they were my source of inspiration for my race costume.
'Super Belle' is a reminder and celebration of some of the attributes that make Disney Princesses and all
types of runners such incredible heroes. Thanks to the support from Enterprise, 'Super Belle' made her way down the course and through the finish line in celebration of all runners achievements. I truly felt like royalty completing these miles and left feeling so strong for my next race - the Enchanted 10K!
THE BEGINNINGS OF A FAIRY TALE
With the completion of the Princess 5K, I was set to begin my journey through the Fairy Tale Challenge. 19.3 miles laid ahead of me for the next two days and I set my sights on that coveted Moana themed challenge medal. First up was the Enchanted 10K!
"LOOK HOW SHE LIGHTS UP THE..." COURSE!
This years Disney Princess Enchanted 10K theme celebrated one of my favorite movies, the Princess and the Frog, with a gorgeous Tiana medal design. There are so many wonderful moments in this movie, but one scene and song sticks out to me the most: Ma Belle Evangeline! I know this song forwards and backwards so dressing up as the evening star, Evangeline, was such a treat! With my outfit set, I focused on my strategy for this race, which first and foremost is to always have fun and enjoy the magical miles. Knowing I had the final and longest race the next morning, I aimed for a slower overall pace with particular focus on my running form. I did this to ensure that I would still have 'gas left in the tank' for a half marathon and to ensure that I wasn't risking injury during the 10K and before my final race.
I was so pleased with this incredible race course, the fun characters along the way, and my racing strategy, that I felt energized and ready to 'get down to business' for the half marathon.
FINDING MY INNER WARRIOR
The big race was finally here - the half marathon! For the first time this weekend, I actually woke up before my 2am alarm and had a sense of calm seriousness. The completion of this race would make it the longest mileage I had done post-partum and I was starting to feel the nerves. I thought of the (perfectly themed) Mulan medal waiting for me at the end of the race, and additionally the Fairy Tale Challenge medal. I felt warrior-like as I 'suited up' as Mulan before she prepared to fight. The Mushu shoulder plush I wore provided some much-needed comfort.
As I made my way to and eventually through the start line, I was reminded of something I had heard one of the runDisney race announcers say, "This isn't a test, this is a celebration!" I was instantly reminded of all of the training I had put in months prior, the strength and determination of the 5K runners, and all of the support I had behind me, and found the courage to run my best race ever! No it wasn't my fastest or easiest race ever, but it was the best because of what each of those miles represented. Strength, determination, and courage.
A FEW TIPS FOR YOUR RACE WEEKEND
As I wrap up this incredible race weekend, I am looking back to share some key tips and tricks that made the biggest impact on my experience. Here are my top 5 tips:
Simplify your race weekend logistics. Utilize Enterprise's on-property rental car location to get you to and from each start line and everywhere in between!
Give your body a chance to rest and recover from your last few weeks of training. I prioritize sleep & gentle exercises (especially stretching) this week to best prepare my body for back-to-back races. Sunrise Yoga was a great way to wake up your muscles before a busy weekend.
Drink plenty of fluids! Keeping your body hydrated this entire week is so important as hydration helps boost recovery.
Continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet! Carbs are especially important the last 3-4 days before a race, but the most important thing I focus on is avoiding anything new or any food that could be hard to digest!
Create individual ‘race morning bags’ for each day that contains your race outfit, accessories, bib, and any other essentials you need for quick access each morning. These bags have saved me many times from forgetting important items!
BONUS TIP: HAVE THE BEST WEEKEND EVER! Take in all of the experiences around you, meet new people, and take lots of photos. A runDisney race weekend is like no other, so enjoy every magical mile!