Where do I even begin? What an amazing and magical weekend it was for the 2016 Glass Slipper Challenge! A little stressful at the beginning since we ended up sitting in traffic for an extra 2 hours, giving us just 30 min to check in at the expo and get all our race gear! We got everything we needed in 2 different buildings on 3 different levels with a whopping 7 min to spare! Can you say, “move it or lose it people!”? I felt bad for the stress I added to my hubby since I almost broke down crying in the car thinking we would not make it in time. But in the end God is good!🙂 Once we had everything we needed we decided to go check into the hotel and come back to the expo the next day. Seven minutes is not enough time to even start looking at all the amazing vendors!
I booked our hotel last minute and didn’t end up getting into a Disney hotel. We stayed at the Buena Vista Palace. It was very nice and super conveniently located near Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Disney Springs (Downtown Disney). This made it easy for us in the morning since we just walked over to catch the bus at Saratoga Springs. Technically we weren’t supposed to, but you have to break a few rules sometime in your life. Plus driving to the race would have been added stress we did not need at 4am. Just looking at all the traffic waiting in line made me feel bad for them. So if you have to pick between driving and Disney transportation, always take Disney transportation! They let the buses through much easier and you don’t have to worry about car keys or where you parked. It’s the little things race morning you do not want to have to bother with.
The bus dropped us off for the 10K a little before 4:30am so we had an hour to walk around and take pictures before the race officially began. We decided to check a race bag with a few items in it that we wanted post race. Disney makes it very easy to check your gear so that you do not have to worry about where to put things come race time. Since it was a little cold (for this FL girl) Saturday morning I decided on long sleeves under my Belle top. Some people check jackets and others buy cheap ones to toss of right before the start. Disney gathers all the jackets and items left behind, and donates them. So if you decide to do that you can feel good about where the jacket will end up. After taking a few pictures, Gaston and Belle started to make their way to corral C to wait for the start of the race. My hubby could have raced in A but wanted to run with me🙂 Yeah he is a keeper! I was so glad he decided to do the 10K part of the challenge with me!
At 5:30am the first corral was off, fireworks and all! Around 5:50am our corral was released and off we went! We kept a slow and steady pace for the majority of the race except for a potty stop and a picture stop. They had Lumiere and Cogsworth as a photo stop so of course Belle and Gaston had to get in on that one! The first half of the course is outside Epcot and the second half you get to run through Epcot and it was so much fun! Even my husband was impressed with all the on course entertainment. Never a dull moment! A little over an hour later we were done! Princess Enchanted 10K was in the books! I could not be more proud of my husband for completing his first 10K ever with basically no training at all! (not recommended, but he is under world class chiropractic care;) We received our medals, took some more pictures and got back on the bus to head back to the hotel for a much-needed shower. While we were waiting in line for a post race picture with Belle another runner was taking a picture and got us in the background. She was nice enough to come up to me after the race and get my cell number to send it to me. Everyone at runDisney races are so friendly and nice!
After a shower and quick nap we headed to Disney Springs to meet everyone for the #werunsocial gathering. If they have them at a race you are going to attend I definitely recommend going. It is a great way to meet other runners and connect. There were also giveaways from Procompression and Team Sparkle. I got to meet Carrie from Sparkle Athletics, Jen aka PinkCupcakeGirl, Heather who won 3rd overall female and many more amazing and inspiring runners! Everyone was so nice, even my husband made a new friend with one of the other husbands. We won an awesome neon green Procompression hat and wrist sweatband. After staying talking to everyone for an hour and a half we decided to walk around Disney Springs some more. We looked at a few shops, grabbed some food to go from Raglan Road Irish Pub and headed back to the hotel to relax. I watched some TV and got my flat runner ready for the morning then it was an early bed time for me!
3:30am my alarm went off and this time Ariel was excited to take on 13.1 miles! I let hubby sleep in and just meet me at the finish line. I knew the race was going to take me at least 2 hours so no point in him just standing around, cold and tired. I got up, dressed and was out the door to catch the bus! I walked across the street to Saratoga Springs a little later then the day before, but still made the bus with plenty of time. The traffic was definitely much worse for the half marathon. I was so glad I didn’t drive to Epcot. The bus dropped us off around 4:50 this time and I had just enough time to check my race bag, use the potty and get to the corral. The half marathon start is much further away then the 10K corrals. Make sure to plan ahead and be there no later then 5 to make sure you have enough time. I use my mylar blanket from the previous day to keep warm, although I really didn’t need it even though I wore a tank top for the race. I got to corral H with just a few min to spare before the official race began! I was so glad I didn’t miss anything. Before I knew it, it was 5:30am and the first corral was off! They released corrals every 5 min for the half instead of 10 min for the 10K. Even though I was in corral H I still ended up starting the race at 5:50am (well 5:54 according to my GPS watch).
The fireworks went off and away we ran! The energy of all the runners was amazing. Everyone was so excited and happy you can’t beat that feeling! Even though I wasn’t running with anyone I actually knew I felt comfortable the whole time and motivated by all the runners around me. Disney has so much entertainment along the course. I did not run with headphone because I feel like you miss out on the whole experience doing that (to each his own). If there isn’t Disney entertainment then the runners around you are always entertaining. Everyone gives each other motivation cheering one another on. I have never experienced that at any other race. There were different music areas and characters for picture stops. Around mile 5/6 is when you get to run through the Magic Kingdom. The crowd there is huge the whole kingdom route. There is no other feeling though like running down Main Street USA with the crowd going wild and the castle in front of you. I was so overwhelmed with emotions at that point that I almost cried from pure joy! I took a short video and picture just to try and capture the experience.
From Main Street through to Tomorrow Land and around to the back of the castle is my favorite part. They had Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff on the top back side of the castle and volunteers were handing out tissues before you ran though in case your emotions got the better of you. I ran through the castle and stopped down front for a quick picture. Then it was around through Frontier Land and back outside of the Magic Kingdom. The local fire department was there at the half way point with a DJ and a truck if you wanted a quick picture. I was very excited to hear I had passed the half way mark. After leaving the Magic Kingdom I was back on my way to Epcot. There were more fun music sections and picture stops along the route back. Around mile 9 the sun came up and I was starting to feel the blisters forming on my feet. I have to admit mile 8-11 was a little of a blur. They had a Cliff Bar Gu stop so I made sure to grab one especially since they were cold! (bonus) Every water stop I had some PowerAde and then water. They also have plenty of med stations and potty stops along the route if needed. I was lucky to have a great run and not need any of that. Mile 11 was Ariel so I had to take a quick selfie.
After that mark you start to enter Epcot again. They had a local high school band playing, then further down a steel drum band, and as you wrapped around to mile 13 there was a choir singing. It was so awesome to not only have Disney support, but the support of the local community. Finally it was around the Epcot ball and one more picture stop. I have to admit I had so much adrenalin that the last mile was my fastest mile. Then finally the home stretch, the crowd is huge and cheering, the music is going and being on cloud 9 doesn’t even describe the amount of joy I was feeling as I crossed the finish line. Since I made a few picture stops my time wasn’t amazing but I wasn’t doing the race for a PR, I was doing it purely for fun and I had more fun then expected.
I got my half medal, bag and PowerAde then took a finishers photo for the half. After the picture I was directed to the challenge tent to receive that medal and a Glass Slipper Challenge finisher picture. At this point I was starting to feel the blister on my feet and how tired I really was. I got my snack pack and bag from the gear check. Met up with my husband and we decided to head to the bus. I knew I just wanted a shower and to get my sneakers off. After a quick shower we packed everything up, checked out of the hotel and headed down to the hotels character breakfast. Ate some yummy food and got a picture with Minnie and Goofy, needless to say I was a happy girl. After breakfast we started the trek home. As my husband drove I reflected on what an amazing weekend it had been and a magical experience for sure! I can’t wait till April for the Star Wars Half!
Hope you enjoyed reading about my journey! Any questions feel free to ask! More updates soon!
Much Disney Love,
❤ Dr. Carrie