Event: 2015 runDisney Princess Weekend Enchanted 10k (Glass Slipper Challenge Part 1)
Event Date: February 21, 2015
Event Location: Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Why I decided to run this race
In our year of runDisney events, the Glass Slipper Challenge (or GSC to those familiar with runDisney lingo) during Princess Half Marathon Weekend was the first challenge series my husband and I signed up for. (Not counting the Castaway Cay Parks to Paradise Challenge since it didn’t require back-to-back races.) This challenge, like most of the runDisney challenges that don’t involve the marathon distance, require the participant to run the 10k event on Saturday and the half marathon event on Sunday. Many folks will also throw on the 5k event on Friday, though it is not a requirement for the challenge. We did not do the 5k, choosing instead to focus our energy and money on the 10k and half.
Getting there/the lead-up to the race
This is one of the few Disney trips my husband and I will take this year that is just us. Not that we don’t love traveling with our friends! (Mike made me say that… J) But being independent this trip allowed us to do some things we don’t usually do. First, we upgraded to a better resort (Port Orleans French Quarter, which I loved). Second, we booked dinners at some of the on-property restaurants (the Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios and Le Cellier in EPCOT). Third, other than dining, we spent very little time in the parks. Overall, that gave this trip a more relaxed vibe.
Training-wise, I started working with my coach in late fall to prepare for the rigors of back-to-back races. I had to miss my first few training runs due to my ankle injury but since December I’d done a number of back-to-back training days to prepare me for this weekend. As far as my training went, I felt confident going in to this weekend. I also had a chance to consult with Jeff (Galloway) on Thursday at the race expo, and he gave me final instructions on my race plan…which I kind of disregarded… oops! (Sorry, Coach! I’ll have some explaining to do in my weekly check-in report.)
The race expo
For me, it’s getting to the point that if you’ve been to one runDisney race expo, you’ve been to them all. The expo for Princess was smaller than the one in January but many of the same vendors were there. The set-up is mostly the same, with bibs in one building and most of the vendors in another. They had official merchandise in both buildings; the merchandise booth in the bib building seemed pretty picked-over by the time we got there on Thursday afternoon but the booth in the other building still had a pretty good variety of sizes and options. I think I’ve now moved past the phase where I want to spend hours in the expo, and from now on will probably instead do tactical strikes to quickly get my bib and shirt, grab my free Lasting Commemoratives bookmarks, quickly check the official merch (especially if one of the teaser pictures caught my eye), and get out.
Overall, I thought the expo was good. It didn’t seem any more or less crowded than in January and there were still official items available when we came through. My husband and I picked up some pins for our medal ribbons and I got a jacket for the GSC (which I’d been coveting since they released pictures of the merchandise several weeks earlier). When we were shopping the lines weren’t too bad, and we probably spent no more than 5 minutes waiting for a register to pay.
From what I understand, many of the official items sold out by the end of the first day. I saw several complaints in social media by Friday morning that the jackets were gone, as were the wine glasses. The only advice I can offer is try to get to the expo on the first day if you have your heart set on certain items. And don’t tie the success of your trip on getting official merch. However, I recognize that I’m probably not the main audience they are targeting since, in my opinion, the “free” shirts that all runners get are oftentimes as good, or better, than the premium stuff, and I just don’t understand the madness for the Dooneys…
All three of the shirts I got (10k, half, and GSC) are short-sleeve tech shirts. They are very girly, with pinks and purples. One thing I’ve noticed about the runDisney shirts is that they are very thick and actually cause me to sweat. So while I like these shirts and will probably wear them occasionally, I probably won’t wear them as often as I would if they were a different brand. (Yes, I admit that I’m probably spoiled by the fact that my local races tend to give out Under Armour since, for us, UA is a local business.)
Once again my husband and I themed our costumes together. For the 10k we went with a classic Disney couple: Ariel and Eric from The Little Mermaid. But, in the spirit of fairness, my husband was the princess and I was the prince for this race. Honestly, he was probably a prettier Ariel than I would ever be since he fully commits to his costumes, including wigs and corsets, whereas I basically just adapt existing running clothes and rarely do anything with my hair other than my usual ponytail.
The costume: Eric is a relatively easy character to dress as. I wore a white half-zip golf shirt I found on a clearance rack at Dick’s Sporting Goods and a red HipsSister belt to carry my phone and fuel. I had planned to wear dark blue Under Armour running capris, but during an earlier training run they caused some chafing and an unsightly cameltoe. I had purchased some Under Armor booty shorts to wear underneath and that addressed the problems, but when I got dressed Saturday morning I just wasn’t comfortable. So I switched the pants out for a dark blue Sparkle Skirt over my normal black Under Amour capris. While it wasn’t quite as perfect as the first look, I was much more comfortable. Finally, I pinned a plastic Sebastian crab bath toy to my belt just for a bit of flair.
The rest of the gear: It was kind of cold that morning, so I layered a long-sleeve white Adidas shirt under the costume top and wore some throw-away knit gloves. The rest of my costume was pretty typical: black Bondi Band headband, blue Adidas sports bra, Injinji socks, Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 shoes, Garmin Forerunner 620 and Gymboss interval timer, and Nathan handheld hydration bottle.
For all of our previous runDisney races, we’ve stayed at value resorts with approximately 10 zillion other runners. So when we got to our bus stop a little later than planned for this race, we thought we’d be in a line snaking around the building. To our surprise, we walked right up and boarded the bus with no wait. Nice! It was a pretty easy ride to the race, where we quickly cleared bag check and headed to the port-a-potties toward the back of the staging area. After our first potty stop of the morning we walked toward the front of the staging area to the entrance to the corrals and got in line for our second potty stop. Since we were right at our corral we just decided to go in and plant ourselves in the middle of the crowd to block the slight breeze that was keeping the temperature just a little colder than was comfortable.
The announcers kept up the energy fairly well with a decent mix of familiar pop and dance music. The National Anthem was performed by a solo trumpet player who hit some high notes that were even more impressive considering the cold temperatures (you can take the girl out of the band but you can never take the band geek out of the girl).
The corrals were huge and there was approximately 10 minutes between the release of each one. It was nice that we spent a little of that time watching the trailer for the new Cinderella movie instead of just staring at the banner over the starting line, though I wouldn’t exactly say it kept up the energy of the crowd. Eventually we got the countdown and fireworks and were off!
Along the course
My husband and I rarely run anything longer than 5k together. But since we were a character couple we thought we’d try staying together for this race. As a result, I ended up doing different intervals than Jeff had suggested and I ran a lot faster than I should’ve considering I had to do the half the next day. In the end, I actually felt I had a pretty strong race and I would have PR’d if we hadn’t stopped for pictures. But I didn’t feel that I pushed so hard that I wouldn’t be able to perform the next day.
As for the course itself, it was the same as the one in January. The first 3 or so miles are in the parking lot and on the roads before heading into the park near China and running clockwise toward International Gateway (Check out our WDW 10k video here!). From the gateway we went around the boardwalk and then re-entered the park to finish the race near the front of EPCOT. We did not stop for any character pictures, though my husband and I did stop for some selfies and once my husband was asked by a mom if her teenage sons could take a picture with him (yes, they knew he was a guy dressed as Ariel). He got a lot of good feedback on his costume from the runners and spectators.
We ended up crossing the finish line together, hand in hand. (Awwww….)
Have I mentioned that I like Disney’s medals? Once again they did a good job. To go with their “Frozen” theme this year, all of the medals were silver instead of gold (see the picture above for the SMOs). I really liked the tone-on-tone silver and the sparkly jewels. Overall I’m pleased with the medal and was happy to wear it around the parks.
The post-race experience
After the race we walked right on to a bus to our hotel, where we quickly showered and changed before heading back to EPCOT. Once there, we grabbed some breakfast, realized we were exhausted, and grabbed a bus back to our hotel. We ended up napping for several hours before heading back to EPCOT for dinner. In theory, a long nap is a terrible thing to do after a long run, but you know what else is terrible? Tripping and falling on your face because you literally can’t keep your eyes open.
I didn’t bring my iPod on this race since I planned to run with my husband. But you know we wouldn’t make it off the course without hearing “Let It Go” at least once…
Looking back now
I thought there was a little more love this weekend for folks who “just” did a single race—even if it wasn’t the half marathon—than there was in January. Rather than getting kind of a consolation prize vibe, like I sensed in January for anyone not doing Dopey, it seemed like the 5k and 10k runners were celebrated just as much as the GSC runners. Of course, maybe I felt that way because I did the challenge this time so I was on the opposite side of the equation. Also, those folks who are really into the official merch will tell you there was significantly less stuff for anyone not doing GSC…so maybe my perception is wrong. In any case, I think this race was a good one both for seasoned runners and people doing their first 10k.
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