2013 runDisney Princess 1/2 Marathon – Part 1

We’re going where?

In January we participated in runDisney’s Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon.  While there we had the opportunity to meet Ali Vincent at the meet-up … little did we know, that would set us up for another amazing weekend one month later!

We kept in touch with Ali, mostly via twitter, and on Friday, February 15th we received the exciting news that she was able to get us two registrations into the Princess 1/2 Marathon at Walt Disney World the following weekend.  Seriously?! We’re going to Disney World?! In a week?!

We spent that weekend working on the details – getting a flight, hotel, ride to the airport, dog sitter, days off work, … Oh, and, getting Kris his Boston qualification at Lost Dutchman Marathon.  Yes, it was a busy weekend!

Next thing we knew, it was Thursday morning.  We should have known it was going to be an interesting weekend when we woke up to snow on the ground … in Phoenix!

We both went into work for a half day and then it was off to Florida.

Our flight landed around 11pm and we headed to the Magical Express which took us to the Pop Century Resort.

We checked in and were happy to find that our room was really close to the lobby – always nice on race weekends!  We settled in and went to bed.

4 hours later we were up and getting ready for the runDisney meet-up at Epcot.  These are amazing events if you ever have the opportunity to attend!  Make sure to follow the Disney Parks Blog to find out about upcoming opportunities!

We caught a cab over to met Ali and her show crew  at Coronado Springs Resort, then rode with them over to the park … little did we realize the adventure we were embarking on!

Once we arrived at Epcot, we had time to mingle with the other participants and Ali worked her way through the crowd, interviewing people for her show – Live Big with Ali Vincent.

We took photos …

We then had a group photo of all the meetup participants …

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Bob Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer for runDisney, then gathered us together and gave us two options for the run – we could do a quicker run through the park with Rachel Booth, defending Princess 1/2 Marathon champion, or we could do a slower run/walk with Jeff Galloway.

After having participated in a couple meet-ups at Disneyland, we can say this one focused more on the run portion than the Disneyland ones have – at Disneyland the whole group has always stuck together and there have been a lot of stops along the way – this run really was a 3 mile non-stop run at a 12 min/mile pace.  The faster group kept closer to a 9 min/mile pace.

Although we are super impressed with Rachel, we went with Jeff – it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to chat with him, especially since we have both been using his book and training plan to for our recent marathons.  We were excited to tell him about Kris’ success at Lost Dutchman and I was looking for a few final words of encouragement as I head into the Phoenix Marathon next week.

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney
Photo courtesy of runDisney

We went around the World Showcase in Epcot and then out through the International Gateway and along the lake surrounded by Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Beach Club Resort and Boardwalk Inn, also passing near the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.

Turning back towards the Yacht & Beach Clubs

A quiet Epcot before park opening…

We ended when we got back to the Biergarten Restaurant where they had breakfast waiting for us – a nice assortment of pastries, bagels, fruit and beverages.

While we enjoyed the food, we had the opportunity to listen to a few amazing and motivational speakers.

 First we heard from Faron Kelley – Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports …

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Then run guru Jeff Galloway and runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus addressed us.  Sadly they couldn’t stay long since they had to present at the expo that morning.

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Next we heard form our friend Ali Vincent – first female winner of Biggest Loser and host of Live Big with Ali Vincent.  She also had to leave early due of the expo – luckily we would be able to use Disney transportation to get around after the meetup so we were able to stay and catch up with Ali later.

Photo courtesy of runDisney

After that we met Rachel Booth –

Photo courtesy of runDisney

And, last but definitely not least, decorated paralympian April Holmes – she has an amazing story and had many motivational and inspirational things to say!!!

It was then time for a demonstration from the staff at Senses – A Disney Spa.  They had a couple of the participants come up and help demonstrate both services you can receive at the spa and things you can do at home.

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Now for the fun stuff … the giveaways!  Sean Astin was on hand to help pull names for the drawings. They gave away a couple Senses robes as well as runDisney duffle bags.  Then, the NewBalance reps were up with the big prizes – new shoes!

Photo courtesy of runDisney
Photo courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney
The goodies in our bag

Sadly, the meetup was coming to an end.  As we walked out of the restaurant, they handed everyone a goodie bag and directed us to the pavillion area outside for a character meet and greet with photo opportunities.

Photo courtesy of runDisney
Time for photos!
Mindy with April Holmes


Snow White

Minnie Mouse

Sean Astin – check out his Team #Run3rd page!

Super speedy Rachel Booth with Kris … one of
the ladies who has chicked him at several
runDisney events

Oh, and here is Mindy’s Garmin data from the meet up … in all the excitement of the morning, she forgot to turn it on for the first little bit so it’s missing the first half mile or so.