You just signed up for…WHAT?!

Disney Princess Half Marathon registration opened this week to the general public and as always, thousands of princess in training registered (I’m sure thousands of returning princesses are now dusting off and polishing that tiara — I know I am!).

As a returning princess and a princess who is beginning the training journey herself, I thought it would the “charming” thing for me to do and share of the insight I have picked up over the years.

Congratulations! You are registered for the most royal of all race weekends! Whether it’s your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or challenge – you will be awesome! If you are moving up a distance, you got it!

The mix of excitement, doubt, panic, and overwhelming now what are completely normal. Let me point you in the right direction to get you settled…

1. Do your homework:

Ok – you went to the race page long enough to click register but have you actually read all the information available on the runDisney Princess Weekend page? If not, you really should. While not all the information is available, there’s a lot of info you will need – now, as you plan, and closer to the event.

Tip: do not rely on Facebook groups or the people in those groups to relay the correct information to you. The website literally has everything on there that you could possibly need to know and more about the weekend.

Other sources you can use to prepare for the weekend are The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World (available on Amazon – so you can get a print or digital version) and blogs. From personal experience, both the Guide and reading blog reviews were how I researched my first Princess in 2014. With the blogs, I was getting good, bad and not so great moments shared with me so I could prepare for anything. The Guide provided a lot of insight into things I wouldn’t have even thought about.

2. Gear up:

If you are like me and this will be your first big race, please get proper gear! I knew before I started training in July 2013 that I needed to go to the “running store” and get properly fitted for running shoes. Do this – you will thank me later. Spending money now on the correct shoe for you will be a lot cheaper than spending money later on doctor bills because you picked a “cute” pair of shoes. Get fitted – then you can pick colors based on what your shoe comes in.

Another very important piece of gear to have fitted is a sports bra. I can remember after 2 months of training, I did my first 5k. The next morning I woke up with back pain and couldn’t figure out why. I was talking to my mom and she suggested maybe I didn’t have the best sports bra on the night before. It didn’t even dawn on me until I was hurting! Most running stores have seen the uptick in female runners. They will offer bra fittings so you can get the right kind of support (the twins and your back will thank you!).

As you progress through training, there will be other gear you may want to look into – watches, fuel, hydration packs, all kinds of clothes (see how quickly you dislike cotton), personal packs (like a Spibelt), glasses (check out Goodr), etc.

But right now, before you even think of taking a step, go get your shoes and a good sports bra.

3. Training:

Do you want to run, walk or do a combination? Only you know what your body will respond to.

When I started training in 2013, I knew I needed to run/walk. I didn’t think I could run. I quickly stopped training with intervals and tried to run as far as I could and then walk. Once walking, I couldn’t convince myself to run again. Fast forward to now – I am starting to build back up. This time around, I am making myself stick with intervals. Not only have I seen an improvement in my time (which are not speedy), I am seeing a consistent and steady pace that I am comfortable with. A comfortable pace is one where you can have a conversation and not feel like you are dying.

Also, look into training plans. There are so many out there. runDisney recommends the Galloway method – run/walk/run. You may want to start by doing a Couch to 5k program or train for a race through your local running club.

Decide how you want to train. This is your training plan for your race. No matter the distance – you got this!

4. Racecation:

You will be at Disney after all! Are you traveling alone? Going with a friend or family? Think about if you want to spend the weekend or week. You don’t have to book now but these are things you want to think about.

Tip: plan to arrive one day prior to your first race at least. You will need to attend expo to pick up your bib and race shirt.

5. Other sources

Join social media groups for a support network. It’s good to join groups to bounce ideas off of and share in the excitement. As stated before, do not rely on them for correct race information. While what is posted may be correct, it’s a good rule of thumb to use your race website for all correct race information. However, you may see the link to print your waiver in a group sooner than you would on the race page (we’ll get to that later).

Two books I read when I started training (and ones I plan to re-read now that I want to train properly again) were: Running Like a Girl and Confessions of a Fat Marathoner. Both books go into the good, bad and ugly of running – from losing your confidence after a bad training run to the thrill of crossing the finish line. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Take a deep breath. Let it all sink in. Over the next few days to a month, start putting your thoughts, goals and expectations into place. Do your research and properly gear up. We’ll focus on all the other “things” to a runDisney race but first things are first.

Feel free to ask me questions!

I’ll see you at the finish!

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Recap: Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Run now, wine later!

Finally got to experience the fall half marathon at Walt Disney World. With a lot of changes to the race weekend, it was a lot of firsts for many involved.

For the first time, this race was a morning race. It also featured a new 10k and challenge. It was also a whole new course – eliminating a run through Hollywood Studios (I’m assuming because of the current construction at the park).

Friday: Expo and Cocktail Reception

I arrived on Friday and immediately headed to expo. There was a line to get into packet pickup but it moved quickly so I was in the building before I knew it.

After picking up my bib, I headed over to the Jostens Center to pick up my race shirt and do some shopping (and freebie hunting!).

First stop was New Balance. I just wanted to drool over the pretty runDisney shoes (they are gorgeous!). I also never paid attention to their clothes options before – I definitely fell in love with a sweatshirt that had the castle in gold with the word “home” underneath. I was good and didn’t buy 🙂 I then just wandered some of the other booths to see what was being offered as I made my way to the shirt pick up area. This expo seemed less crowded than other expos I have been to at Disney – which was a pleasant surprise. After picking up my shirt, I swung by one booth and made a very tasty purchase:

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While sipping my champagne, I made my way up the last aisle of the expo. I stopped by the runDisney booth and looked at the pretty medals for the upcoming races. I also stopped by the Jeff Galloway booth. If you don’t know, Mr. Galloway is the official runDisney coach as well as an Olympian. He is all about the run-walk-run method. I got to meet him and he signed my copy of The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World. He writes the foreward for each edition.

Finishing with expo, it was time to head to Disney Springs for the cocktail reception with Kellsie’s Hope Foundation. The event took place at Splitsville Lanes and I was super excited since I had never been there before.

The weather was absolutely perfect for an evening out on the balcony at Splitsville. The food and drinks were delicious and the service fantastic. It was a very fun and festive atmosphere for a gathering of Kellsie’s Krew.


I can’t tell you how much I absolutely love this group. The energy is infectious and the people are the best you will ever meet. I can not wait to run for them again in 2018 (I would in 2017 but I need to give my fundraising some time off; I raised over $2000 for 2016).

Saturday: Volunteering the 10K

It was an early morning on Saturday. I was up at 2 so I could be at my volunteer shift by 3:30am.

I’m always asked how I can voluntarily wake up so early to work for free. The energy at Disney races is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I love being there to see the smiles on runners faces as they finish, seeing the creativity of costumes, and just being a part of the excitement.

I was assigned to finsh line crowd control which basically means I tell people to keep moving to keep the chute clear so everyone can get through smoothly. I also get to help runners take photos of their finish line memories – the most popular background being with the medal tree and finish structure behind them.

Sunday: Half Marathon

Second early morning in a row but it is race day!

I was out the door by 3:30 and at the staging area around 4am. I made my way around the area dropping off my gear bag and making a quick stop at medical to get some TLC for a blister.

I was in corral I. I believe I crossed the start around 6:00am which was 30 minutes after the initial gun time of 5:30. I had been urged by a good friend to try a 30/30 run walk interval so that was what I set out to do.

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The first mile was around ESPN: Wide World of Sports. Not a super exciting area but it was cool to pass the entrance sign as it was all lit up in different colors and they had energizing music playing through the speakers. The second mile was boring service road leading to the main drag that takes you to Animal Kingdom. For entertainment, there was a DJ and an act from one of the night shows (potentially the new Animal Kingdom show). I also noticed the Country Bears. These first 2 miles flew by and I was really pleased with how the intervals were making me feel.

Miles 3-5 were through Animal Kingdom. This does include the parking lot. They had a water stop and a marching band in the parking lot to make it not so boring. Once approaching the park, the entrance was definitely a photo stop for a lot of runners. Once in the park, I noticed characters from Jungle Book out for photos. I really liked running through the park from the front entrance to the back. It was nice to experience the park a different way than Star Wars. I did stop for a picture in front of The Tree of Life.

Miles 6-9.5 were through services roads and areas I don’t really know. They did have some characters (Chip and Dale, Dark Wing Duck), a band, a DJ and a comic act along this part to provide distraction and entertainment.

Miles 9.5 to 13.1 were familiar to me. It was the exit for Magic Kingdom (so parking lot), long road way to Epcot (and everyone’s favorite on ramp – however I do love the toy soldier who is always there), and then the best site ever – the Epcot ball right over your head signalling you are almost there! It’s always a thrill to run past the park goers as they shout encouragement to you! I also noticed finishers wearing their medals cheering on those of us still heading to the finish.

The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World

Back in the spring, I was selected to be one of the Mastermind members to help edit the 2017 edition of The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World. It was really hard keeping it a secret!

When I first started looking into running my first half marathon at Disney World back in 2013, I stumbled upon this book (but it was the 2014 edition). I read every article that related to my race – the Princess Half Marathon – and almost everything else from tips, hotels, places to eat and how to celebrate. I was so overwhelmed – not only was I planning for my first half marathon but I was also planning a trip to Disney.

The Guide definitely made planning for both a little easier. Not to mention, I asked a good friend how she handled her Disney races and asked my travel agent (turned running buddy) every question I could think of.

Fast forward to this year, I responded to a post on Facebook asking for feedback on the book itself. At the bottom was a question asking if you would be interesting in helping out with the next edition, um, YES PLEASE!

After a few more rounds of surveys and questionnaires asking about your Disney experiences, all that remained was picking the Mastermind group for the 2017 edition. After a few weeks (and can you believe it, I completely forgot I put my name in), I received an email saying I had been selected!

SO EXCITING!

Now after months of hard work and collaboration, I am happy to present the 2017 edition of The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World!

This book makes a great edition to all the info you can find in blogs and Disney sites. However, if you are seriously thinking of running Disney, I would add this book to your collection – either in its physical or digital form.

I would love to thank (again) the author, Megan Biller, for letting me be a part of the Mastermind group. It was so exciting to work with a group of people who share my love of running and Disney.

Get your copy today!