Sunday, February 24, 2013

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon...Bibidy Bobidy "BOOOOO"!!!!!!

I don't care how old you are there is something about going to Disney World that brings out the little kid in all of us. Well, I was no exception, it happens every time I see this sign. This weekend was so full of high hopes all of which were officially shot down at 2:30 am this morning.

This was my very first Disney race and the most expensive race to date that I have paid to participate in. I should have known that there wouldn't be much more to the race since Disney nickle and dimed you to participate in anything for race weekend. For $155 dollars I expected so much more. So let's start from the beginning.....

The Expo...OMG Disney could take some pointers from races like ING and even some small town races that are only 5 and 10Ks. First you had to walk a country mile to get to the Expo shuttle because it was held at one of their hotel resorts and wouldn't allow anyone to park there or be dropped off. I was so disappointed when I got inside. All of the vendors seemed to blend in together,  the space was big enough for them to be spread out, but was bunched all together and everyone was there for a profit. There were no free samples or giveaways at all, except for Chiquita banana. Thank God for them or I wouldn't of had breakfast this morning (you had to buy the Disney Race Retreat package for $99 in order to get water, bananas, and bagels before the race).  They had vendors like Lady Foot Locker and One More Mile and of course the places selling tutus for $80 and higher. A lot of people were caught up in the hype (I'll talk about THOSE people later) and really bought this stuff, the only good thing about the expo was I didn't have to wait in line for my bib pick-up. So my BGR sister Doris and I were walking away with our heads down and then we saw Princess Tiana, our eyes lit up and we got in line to take a pic only for them to take her away and switch her with Princess Ariel without saying anything. So, disappointed once again we moved on to take a pic with some Prince Charmings, once again they pulled them without saying anything while people were still waiting in line. The guys were apologizing and blaming it on management because they wanted to stay to take pics. Reason why I am all by my lonesome at the castle, no prince charming in real life or at Disney smh, lol.

So I do my best to keep my spirits high because I have a race to run! I get all my things together the night before and mentally prep myself for this 2:30am wake up call I have to get in order to park at Epcot for the race. This really was a shame to me, yes there were 24, 000 people participating, but really getting to the park at 3/3:30 for a race that doesn't start until 5:45am was RI-DIC-U-LOUS! We had no trouble with parking, but had to sit - no stand around (seats were only in the $99 Retreat area) and do nothing until they started releasing us to our corrals. Thank goodness for the DJ who livened things up and played my kind of music, so I was doing the Wobble at 4am, making the best of things saying the race will make up for all of this I'm upset about. 

Finally starting at 6:30am after waiting 45 minutes
Time came for us to head over to our corrals, which I swear was about a mile from where they had us park. I got in Corral F, how they placed me there I have no clue, but I went with it, I said at least I know I won't go out to fast and burn out, but for a race that had a gun start at 5:45 I was not crossing the start line until 6:30... so all my pre-race energy was about gone I was frustrated and just wanted to run and get my freakin medal at this point. I cross the start line and no princess running was safe I was on a mission.
We are off and I swear 5 min in the race these chicks just stopped running and started walking, like really ya'll are really going to just stop in the middle of the course like that and not move to the side?!? Right then and there I had to tell myself, suck it up you have just started what these chicks think of as a "fun race" and that more than half of these ladies could care less about a time or going fast. I was starting to wear myself out ducking and dodging trying to find an area where I could just run without getting held up. Let me tell you when one lady in the group decided to walk they all did so it was like a chain going straight across of women just walking so I spent most of the race yelling "excuse me" because dang it I was coming through and breaking that chain, I had a race to finish. I got cut off so many times as well with the runners wanting to stop and take pictures at EVERY mile marker and with the characters they had placed along the course. Another thing Disney did wrong was have more than one narrow part of the course, it was like a freaking traffic jam when we got to the two lane narrow corners. I know those areas took up at least 3 minutes of my time. I had to slow down, there was nowhere to go.

We finally make it inside of a park at about mile 4.5, don't get caught up in Disney's hype of running through their parks, because you are in Disney parks for maybe 2-3 miles at the most, then back to their back roads and the back parts of the parks. The Magic Kingdom is where I almost was taken out of the race. These women acted like they had never seen Disney in their lives, you can kind of see some of the ladies in this pic walking, and I was running when I took all of my course pics, no stopping. They came to complete stops especially when we reached Cinderella's Castle
 If you look below as I'm running and taking pics this lady is stopped in the middle of the course taking a pic with a group of friends.... but when we started going into the castle it was a collision and chain reaction. This lady saw Disney put up a picture opp at the castle so she cut off this lady who went down and they stopped dead in her tracks causing the person behind her to stop and so on....I got hit from the back and caught my balance because I was about to go down and I felt my ankle, all I could do was say a quick prayer.
After the 10K split we were out of the Magic Kingdom, injury free thank God! The race continued with the same problems I encountered from the start, I was so frustrated I got to the point I just wanted to walk the rest of the way I felt this race wasn't worth the energy I was putting into it. Just give me my medal so I can go shower and get in my comfy hotel bed. Then my sister sent me a text, I rarely check my phone during a race but I figured if she's texting me and knows I'm running it must be something. So I get my phone and open it to see this....
I had people watching and cheering me on I couldn't let my biggest fan down, my sister swears I win every race, it's funny and encouraging at the same time. So once I see this I said, I can PR I'm not doing as bad as I "I popped some jelly belly sports beans and now I'm sweatin woo" (sorry couldn't resist) and I go in beast mode... well through it all, I did not PR but I didn't increase my time I came in at the same time I did at my first half marathon in November 2012. 2:36

So overall on a scale from 1-10 Disney gets a 3.5 because of the nice shirt and awesome medal, and that's about it for what they did right. The so called swag box they gave at the end sucked, after you crossed the finish line Disney was pretty much done with you, so me and Doris went straight to the car..... ADIOS Disney, if I wasn't going for my Coast to Coast medal they would not see me at one of their races again..

If you want your first half marathon to be fun and with no pressure, then a RunDisney event is for you, you have ample opportunities to stop on the course, it's very walker friendly and you can have a great time with friends. However, if you have reached the point where you have become competitive and want to improve with each race I would not suggest a Disney race for you. Let's just hope the Disneyland half marathon isn't as disappointing. I should have known something when the runners were more concerned about what costume to wear than actually running......lesson learned.

le sigh