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2017 Glass Slipper Challenge: Princess Half-Marathon.

The last day of the Glass Slipper Challenge (10k recap, 5k recap) is the Princess Half-Marathon. It’s another early day and since I was the only one running the half out of our large group, I got on the bus solo and waited to meet up with Jess and Nicole before heading up to the corrals.

My parents, Justin, and Sue were due to get a bus to Epcot to grab the monorail to Magic Kingdom so I knew they weren’t too far behind me with their wake-up alarm. Unfortunately, there was some misinformation and my family and a few runners missed the last bus and were told the next bus wasn’t until 6am (well after the start of the race). My mom texted me that they weren’t going to be able to make it to Magic Kingdom and I could tell she was upset. I reassured her that it was no big deal and that I’d see them all at the finish line.

About fifteen minutes later I got another text from my mom saying that they’d see me in Magic Kingdom. Wait – what?!

The runners with them decided they were going to walk to the start line and since my family was already up, they decided to tag along. Luckily, Disney magic was on their side because a race bus pulled up alongside them and scooped them up and brought them to Epcot!

Princess Half-Marathon

Our plan for the race was the same as the day before – to run easy and comfortably and stop for photos when there was a character we loved on the course. We also decided that for the latter half of the race, we’d employ an 8-and-2 run/walk plan if we hadn’t stopped for a photo in a while. As I’ve learned before with Disney races, I enjoy the walk “breaks” mostly for their mental benefit.

We didn’t stop for many photos early on but as the race progressed, we stopped more and more. We stopped so much in Magic Kingdom that Mile 6 took us over 30 minutes to complete. #WorthIt

After seeing my family on Main Street and stopping for so many great characters in Magic Kingdom, the lonely roads of the highway seemed to go on and on and onnnn.  Once we got to Mile 10, I began texting my mom from my Apple Watch to let her know where we were and an approximate time we’d be at the finish line.

After our finish, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for a day in Epcot!

Epcot

When we first started planning our Disney trip, the dads came up with the idea of getting us all ridiculous matching shirts and decided on, well, hot pink Vandalay Industries t-shirts. Now, let me tell you how 20 Italians from New York ended up in hot pink Vandalay Industries shirts…

My dad found a company online and sent an e-mail to each family to order their shirts. Well, everyone ordered their shirts on the same day and the company (which is extremely small and later told us that they barely sell that many of those shirts in a year, let alone in a single day) cancelled all our orders stating that we were “fraudulent.” LOL. #irony

Obviously, we got it all sorted out and everyone had their shirts for Epcot day! We realized very quickly that we should have done something like this the previous two days as it was so much easier to find everyone with us all in the same obnoxiously loud color. #LessonLearned

We were quite the hit in Epcot; people came up to talk to us and took photos of/with us. We overheard a conversation between a mother and a daughter in which the daughter asked why we all matched and the mother answered that we must be here on a company trip because we all worked for Vandalay Industries. #AwHoney

After the fireworks, it was time to go back to the hotel and relax.

The next day, we all hung out at the pool to enjoy one more day of sunshine before coming back to cold NYC.

It wasn’t easy to leave… especially since this is the first Disney trip in a while that I’ve ended without having my next one already planned 🙁

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Next up: I’ll be carb-loading at my wedding. True story. Stay tuned. 

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2017 Glass Slipper Challenge: Enchanted 10k.

Since the Enchanted 10k starts 30 minutes earlier than the 5k, it was an even earlier start to Saturday morning than Friday. I think it’s crazy how I’m able to get myself out of bed at this ungodly hour to run in Disney but can’t seem to get myself up almost 4 hours later when waking up for work in NYC. #DisneyMagic

Enchanted 10k

Anywho, Justin and I met up with my cousin Liz by 3:45 am to walk to the bus. We were meeting up with Jess and Nicole (who moved to Austin a few weeks ago and NYC misses so much!) in the corral and I was excited to get lots of running and chatting time with some of my favorite people.

The 10k was Justin’s first Disney race in which he stopped for photos (he’s only run the 5k with my dad who, if you’ve read here before, will not stop for photos lest it get in the way of his PRing) so I was excited to show him how much fun one can have when truly embracing the Disney race experience.

We kept the pace super easy when we were running and stopped for photos with most of the characters. I was most excited to see that Princess Minnie was out on the course! When we were waiting on Princess Minnie’s line, she went running inside and a castmember assured us that she was “just checking up on Mickey and will be right back” and let me tell you, girl can run. And in those heels? Very impressive.

Throughout the race, I was updating our photos onto my family’s photostream so all our crazies back at the hotel (and at the finish line) could see how much fun they were missing.

My cousin thought of the idea of having a photostream for everyone on the trip and it made sharing photos so easy and fun. We now have hundreds of photos of our time together all in one place and there was no “can you send me that picture?” or “I’ll put these all together in an album when we get home.” It was great and I’ll definitely be doing this for certain things in the future (I’m thinking honeymoon – my parents and brother want photos of us hiking through a volcano popping up on their phones while they sit at their desks, right?)

My aunt and uncle were waiting for us at the finish line and we quickly got on the bus back to the hotel to get ready for a day at Magic Kingdom 🙂

Magic Kingdom

Saturday’s weather made it feel like it was two completely different days; the morning was cloudy and chilly and by noon, it was in the mid-80’s without a cloud in the sky (just how I like it).

We made sure to take lots of photos (all included with my pass!) and stopped for our first of the day in front of the castle. While standing for these photos, we saw a proposal (!!!) and also got super distracted by fireworks going off behind us..

Fireworks!

Around lunchtime, our large group split up into two smaller groups – those who wanted something from Columbia Harbour House and those who wanted turkey legs. I wasn’t all that hungry after a pretty big breakfast so I decided I wanted a slushy lemonade and would grab another snack before dinner. As I spoke with the castmember to order my frozen lemonade, she asked if I just got married (because of the bride ears). I explained that we are getting married this September and that this was my only Disney trip before the wedding that I got to wear the ears. She got all giggly and adorable and gifted me with two chocolate chip cookies. I got all excited because hey – free cookies!

My intention was to eat one cookie and then save the other for Justin. I even wrapped the second cookie up and put it in my backpack..

Yea. That didn’t work.

I ended up going back in my bag and eating the second cookie roughly two minutes after putting it away so I wouldn’t eat it.

Sorry, Justin. Just know that it was delicious and it made me happy. That’s all that matters, right?

After dinner, we watched the fireworks from behind the castle (I’ve actually never done this before) and then I went back to the hotel to get some sleep while the others stayed behind to get some more rides in.

I was so exhausted, I didn’t hear a single person come back into the room and didn’t stir at all until the 3:21 am alarm the next morning.

Next up: Princess Half-Marathon and Epcot 🙂

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Glass Slipper Challenge: Enchanted 10k

With 3.1 miles and a day at Hollywood Studios under my belt, it was time for the official start of the Glass Slipper Challenge with the Enchanted 10k!

Enchanted 10k

My cousin Liz was also running the 10k so we met up in the lobby at holy-hell-it’s-early o’clock to get on the bus to the start village. Once at the start village, we had lots of time to sit down, make a stop in the port-a-potties, and meet up with my friend Jess before getting into the corrals.

As much as I typically hate 10ks, I absolutely adore the Disney 10Ks. It helps that I basically trot the entire time and aren’t pushing myself to a 10k pace, but it’s also because I truly adore Disney’s 10k course. I remember thinking during my first Dopey that I had never enjoyed this distance more.

In theory, the 10k sounds great. It’s a solid mid-distance run and you’re finished in less than an hour. Sounds wonderful, right? Wrong. In reality, racing a 10k is horrific for me. But running the 10k in Disney? Purely magical.

enchanted 10k

We kept a light and conversational pace, enjoying the scenery and character stops in Epcot, on the Boardwalk (where I saw the wonderful Alec!), and through Yacht and Beach Club.

enchanted 10k finish

9.3 weekend miles were down!

Magic Kingdom

With the early start time and a “short” race, we were up and at it pretty quickly, getting to Magic Kingdom before 10 am. Is there anything more magical than turning onto Main Street and seeing the castle up ahead? You can say yes, but you’d be wrong.

magic kingdom

I was pumped for a long and busy day in one of my favorite places on the planet.

magic kingdom 2

We enjoyed the following rides/attractions during our 12+ hours in the park:

  • It’s a Small World
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (One of my favorites)
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (So much yes)
  • Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
  • Splash Mountain (John’s face. #icanteven)
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (This will never get old. Also, now I want to have a Monsters movie marathon.)
  • Haunted Mansion (Classic and THE BEST. End of conversation.)
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Main Street Electrical Parade (The older I get, the more I love these parades.)
  • Celebrate the Magic (WHAAAAT?! Disney, THIS WAS AMAZINGLY MAGICAL. If you can watch this, do it. Do it now.)
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular

Don’t worry, we also stopped for Dole Whip… twice 🙂

magic kingdom 3

With the half-marathon the next day, my cousin Mikey left a little after 8 pm to get a solid night’s sleep. Me? Well I’m not as smart and I opted to stay until after the park closed. So yea, I got a little more than 3 hours of sleep and then ran a half-marathon. And then took no nap and went straight to Epcot to drink in the sunshine. #wasnteventired #disneymagic

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Next up: the Princess Half Marathon!

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A Family Affair: Princess 5k.

Princess Weekend was FINALLY here! The whole clan (12 of us) got in Thursday morning and took the Magic Bus over to Port Orleans French Quarter to start our magical vacation 🙂

After a trip to the Expo, we spent the afternoon and evening at Disney Springs, where we shopped and then dined at The Boathouse (highly recommend). My annual pass saved us $65 on the meal! #wortheverypenny

princess expo and disney springs

We made it an early night – we had lots of runners who needed fresh legs and eyes in the morning!

Princess 5k

Runners: myself, Justin, my brother, his girlfriend, my dad, and my Uncle Peter.

Although most of us had early corrals (A or C), we opted to all start in corral E where my dad was placed. This was his first real race after his full knee replacement last year (he did run the 1.5M Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving) and he wasn’t sure how fast he’d be able to run so I entered him in for a 16 minute mile.

princess 5k

He’d been training somewhere between an 18 and 20 minute pace so I imagined that we’d be fine there in the second to last corral. Turns out, not so much. Right away it became really clear that my dad was too fast for this corral. We were dodging walkers left and right and when I looked down at my watch, I saw that dad was running around a 13:30. I turned to Justin, “I’m not going to tell him how fast he’s running.”

So much of running is mental and I knew that if I told my father how fast he was running, he’d freak out and slow down, thinking that he wasn’t capable of sustaining that pace.

At mile 2, John got nervous that the course was marked in kilometers and we were only at the 2k mark. This from the guy who demanded we change his pace to 8 minute miles (even though he never runs and this was his first 5k). A potato can dream, can’t he?

pepino the italian mouse

Dad wanted to know when we had 1/2 a mile left so I made sure to give him a heads up. He promptly picked up his pace even more. Negative split for the win!

We crossed the finish line in 41 minutes flat (a 13:11 pace!) much to my father’s surprise. The whole time he had thought that he was running the same pace as he did at home (18-20 minute miles).

It’s always easier to run in a race environment. The adrenaline and excitement of running alongside others, fans, and in Disney’s case, a beautiful 5k course in Epcot, all help to make the running feel easier. But a lot of what happened for my father was him not knowing how fast he was running. Because he couldn’t see the numbers, he ran based on feel, and it was so much faster than his brain was telling him he could do throughout training.

Finishers!

Finishers!

A big congrats to my whole family for finishing!

Hollywood Studios

After some quick showers and breakfast at the hotel, it was off to Hollywood Studios for the day!

4 adults and 8 "kids"

4 adults and 8 “kids”

We enjoyed the following rides/attractions:

  • Toy Story Midway Mania (One of my favorites!)
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (I sat here in awe the entire time. Also, it’s the only place in the park where you can still see Walt Disney’s personal plane.)
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Rock ‘n Roller Coaster
  • Star Tours
  • Fantasmic (The tickets were included with our lunch at The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge. I loved every second of this show.)
  • Tower of Terror
  • Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks (Probably the best we saw all weekend!)

hollywood studios

There is never a dull moment with my family and the day was filled with lots of laughs and goofiness. We walked around the movie sets, took lots of photos (included with my annual pass!), and enjoyed our first full day in the sunshine.

hollywood studios 2

Next up: the official start of the Glass Slipper Challenge – the Enchanted 10k 🙂 

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