It’s already been a year since our appearance as the #PrincessMen at the Disneyworld Princess Half Marathon weekend in Orlando. And while this year was much smaller than last year in terms of the size of our group, it was arguably a race we were looking forward to even more.
(For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my huge writeup from last year here: Princess Half 2015 )
Planning this year’s race was somewhat tricky in the sense that, well, Life happens. And what I mean by that is 50% of last year’s group wasn’t going to be attending. This was a huge disappointment for me because I knew how much the other runners were looking forward to our return. As I wrote last year, a lot of ladies out on the course found extra energy to continue running and paced with us for a portion of their race. And I knew they were looking forward to us coming back again.
…we even made Buzzfeed this year
So Buzzfeed reached out to me several days after the race. We were featured in the Top 10 list of Best Costumes from the race. We came in at Number 1! How awesome is that! Thanks for the support everyone! We’ll be back to full-strength in our numbers next year!
…and on the topic of the smaller-group thing…
Half the group
This year we would be missing Charming, Mulan, Anna, and Beast. For various reasons they couldn’t make the race work with their schedules. Whether it was due to travel during that timeframe. Scheduling and simply not having time to train. Or in the case of Charming, running elsewhere in the race and not with us this year.
So this was going to be the group.
Smaller, yes. But we were still going to have a great time.
Another positive reception
First and foremost, Thank You to everyone who welcomed us again. We had another extremely positive reception by everyone when we arrived at the race.
There were lots of people that quickly came up to take a photo with us – and it started with the car that parked next to us in the parking lot. We arrived, got out of the car, could see the wide-eyed shock on the girls faces next us, and they got out of their car and asked for a photo.
As we made our way through the security check point we stopped and talked to other runners, taking photos and saying hello.
There were several memorable ladies who came to talk to us either on the course, or afterward. These are just a couple we remember who stand out:
1. One girl we passed was just after Mile 2; she SO excited to see us. Said that it was her goal to find us on the course this year and she was ecstatic that she managed to so quickly. We chatted briefly, took a photo and then continued on. She said we made her day. That was an awesome way for us to start the race.
2. A woman who came up at the end of the race and said she was 60 last year (or maybe this year?) and recently started doing races. And she had seen us last year running was hoping to find us on the course to get a photo this time around
3. One of the security team thought we were hilarious and got a photo of us before the race, then found us after for a quick photo when things were pretty much empty and cleared out
4. The runDisney rep who said “Oh everyone (at runDisney) knows who you are! We track everything on social (media).”
5. When we stopped at the castle there were girls who knew us from last year who came to take a photo with us. One of the ladies who stopped even gave Joe/Belle pins from her bib to pin his sign back onto his shirt!
As we made our way toward the corrals it got dark and cold passing out onto the street on Epcot Center Drive
Pocahontas/Beau split off at this point and started in his early corral placement. He had a few fractured bones from being in a accident the week before, and was going to walk the entire thing slowly to still get his medal.
The rest of us headed over to M corral.
…that applause though
So as we wandered down toward M, chatting among ourselves, we could hear whispers from corrals N/O/P/etc of “..oh my god..” and “…look… LOOK!” from other runners who realized we were actually dudes and not just very tall manly looking women. ha! Seriously though, we’re all over 6’1″. We stand out.
A random girl yelled “Wooo!” and we quickly responded with a “Woo!” back. Then everyone started clapping and cheering.
It was almost awkward. We had our own little parade.
We waved… and kept walking. And waving. It was the only thing we could think of other than laughing and questioning if this was really happening. hahaha!
The race was great. We kept a better pace and made sure not to stop as often as we did last year. The “problem” with stopping was that a line quickly formed to take photos with other runners – and we don’t want to break Disney’s rules on this and get kicked out. So this year we kept a solid pace through most of the run, and waited after the finish line for nearly an hour taking photos and meeting other runners that day.
(I’ll save more info in my captions with the photos below)
It was another great response. And we came prepared this year with our own hashtag printed to add to our costumes to make finding photos of us online easier after the race through social media. (thank you to everyone who used the hashtag!)
There were immediately posts like this online. Haha! This is still race morning!
But afterward, the response online from everyone was awesome.
You all rocked with sharing photos with us!
awesome response to Kayla’s post above
And Frances’ post above
And I think that covers all the photos that were shared with us that I could find online between Instagram and Facebook…
So How About Our Photos
Arrival, Check in, and the 10k
For those who follow my photography work online, you know that I’m from California. So, the Princess Half is a small cross-country trip for me :)
Early morning flight from California to Florida
Friends and family were sending selfies of their morning… mine was cramped on an airplane with no leg room :/
Connecting flights… Garmin billboard in the airport, while rocking my 920 cuz I was curious of my step count that day
Apparently Delta runs Linux
Arrived in Orlando, waiting for Joe to pick me up
Decided to do a quick shake out run with Joe. Honestly it’s good I did after sitting all day.
We kept it short and easy. Joe’s been training for the Half Iron Relay we’re doing in April. The Princess Run was going to be just a for-fun event, and not one we would be running anywhere near a PR speed.
All of us are pretty athletic, which helps us remain so high energy through the Princess Half that we jog at a slower pace.
That night we went and grabbed dinner with Aaron/Ariel to catch up on life, talk about the weekend ahead, and also talk about the upcoming relay we’re doing in April. Those of you who will be in Haines city for the Half Ironman… Aaron is swimming, I’m cycling, and Joe is running. So we’ll see you there! (Probably WON’T be dressed as princesses though! LOL)
The next morning Beau/Pocahontas arrived after received clearance from his doctor to travel. He had been in a motorcycle accident (non-fault) a week before and has a couple cracked bones. Fortunately nothing so bad that he couldn’t move/travel, and he was able to make the trip. This was our response to our group-chat when someone asked if I thought Beau was going to make it to Florida that day.
Heading over to Check In
Ready for Challenge!
The expo looks pretty.. but to be honest, these things are dangerous for the less-experienced. Mark-up on products is very very high. And with the exception of the Disney-logo’d event-only merchandise you guys are much better buying anything you find here online for cheaper (read: normal) prices.
Star Wars medal for April’s event.
Beau and I ran the January Disneyland Star Wars race… So, we signed up for the April Star Wars in Florida to get this medal, the Kessel Run Coast to Coast medal.
Group dinner the night before.
Now… a LOT of people seem to think you need to “carb up” for a race… and that is just so terribly inaccurate for nearly everyone. We had pasta because it’s cheap and simple and there was a group of us. Even when I did my Ironman races I ate only slightly more than normal the night before. Don’t overeat before a race everyone. ESPECIALLY a race that you’re not going to be running at some ridiculously fast pace. I would never “carb up” before a half marathon, and I can run one in about 1:40ish at a normal pace.
More t shirts from Disney. I have a box of all these now. I’m up to… 13 disney running shirts I think?
4am Saturday morning. Getting ready for the 10k with Joe!
Arriving at Epcot… so little traffic compared the Half
Very easy to walk in for the start. Very small crowd
It was cold though
Waiting at the start gate.
Joe and I were in a slower corral. I don’t know why we get put in the back all the time, but no matter what anyone in our group submits for times, we always gets put in the back..
Let’s do this! We’re stiffening up from the cold
AND WE’RE OFF!
It took about three minutes for us to get through and break away from the entire corral. And about another 2 to catch the corral in front of us
Italy! We sent this to our friend Ryan (Anna from last year’s race) who was currently in Italy with his wife at that exact moment – he even texted back
As a professional photographer it’s frustrating how bad camera phones really are in low light
Sunrise at the Boardwalk
“John, get my good side… needa send it to the wife!” – Joe
Nearing the finish. Gotta get that golfball shot! (or, you know, Spaceship Earth)
Done! A respectable 59 minutes. Not terrible and on-par for an easy run before tomorrow’s Half.
The best part of races are the sunrises. I think that’s lost on a lot of runners and athletes.
Seriously though, the sunrise was one of my favorite parts of the last Ironman race I did.
People watching while eating our snack boxes
Heading out to meet up with everyone and go get food. We were laughing cuz it was only like 730 or 8a still
Another Disney medal for the pile. lol!
The new Tink medal is snazzy. I’m doing this run with my friend Eryn in May again
Much later that night… Pasta again! Cuz it’s cheap, duh.
The Princess Half Marathon
Another REALLY early morning… even worse for me and Beau in town from the west coast
Joe, getting ready. His Belle costume is sectional and a little more work to put on.
Beau, getting dressed and ready to walk today.
I was already dressed
Beau, laughing cuz he needed me to zip him up
He’s a bit busted up from his accident, but ready to slowly walk a half marathon that day
Joe made us stickers to wear for the day! Now people would know how to tag us in photos!
Ric, getting his Elsa dress on.
You know it’s love when your fiancé helps you get your wig on right..
Aaron/Ariel was getting dressed in the bathroom. He just finished his closing shift at his bar and came straight over to run. ALL NIGHTER!
He started laughing and said “So I haven’t tried this on since last year.. and I have a bit of a Dad-bod going on since we had our son… “
His fanny pack didn’t fit! hahaha
Time to really crack down and start training for the Half Iron Relay in two months, homie..
Joe was having trouble with his wig
Erin was patiently helping him out. You might remember Erin as The Beast in last year’s group
Wig time for Ariel.
We were all laughing that NONE of us tried our costumes on since last year and just assumed everything was fine and would fit. Admittedly, we all were pretty much the same size and have been for years.
Beau and I were wigged up
Really though, our friends and family would expect nothing less than something this strange from us
Kimmy, helping crippled Pocahontas with his stickers
Course when she went to put the other sticker on his back, Beau laughed and put his butt out
In the bathroom Aaron needed help with his seashells
Probably the best photo from the morning.
Sometimes you’re a 6’3″ princess… and your Beast needs a boost to help with your hair
Almost ready to go
Notice the old bib from last year still in Aaron’s bag? hahaha! Beau’s Pocahontas costume had his bib from last year still attached, too.
Cleaning up a bit before heading out the door
The line of traffic to get into Epcot
Runners for the day, and Kimmy who is a friend of a friend that was there
Had to get one with Beast, even though she was cheering this race because she couldn’t run
Made it to M corral
The long wait to get to the start line
Just about to start
Sun’s coming up
This year’s Magic Kingdom entrance photo is much sharper than last year. haha!
Entering Main Street
Belle’s fiance Beast was waiting on Main Street for us. So of course we had to get a quick video of their kiss!
It was easier to film it and pull a still from video afterward ;)
And then we were on our way
Circling around through Fantasyland we approached the castle. Ric started waving and yelling for Elsa
Anna said “Oh look sister, he looks like you!” And Elsa immediately shot her the dirtiest look
Stopped in front of the castle for a photo. Met a lot of very cool ladies in line to take photos with while we waited.
This year the group of princes was smaller. And Aladdin had his own stop on the run so I didn’t get a photo with him this time around. Bummer!
At Mile 12 we caught up to Beau who had been walking the whole race
Almost to the finish line
Waiting for Marathon Foto to finish sorting photos… cuz we might have to buy this one. It’s glorious.
And Aaron and his leg in this shot is even more amazing
Afterward we hung out for an hour by the bleachers and took pictures with tons of people. I had a few twins photos too! woo hoo!!!
All the photos people posted online and tagged us are shared in the first half of this blog of course.
We took this right after a photo of the PrincessMen holding up his wife. Joe said “Wait, can a get a flexing photos with Gaston?”
Jasmine and Pocahontas came to get photos with me and Beau! Sorry Joe, Ric, and Aaron… you’re not included
The amount of medals they throw at you for Disney races is kinda insane..
Back at the car as we were leaving Aaron was laughing that his pants tore.
Honestly, all our costumes were falling apart. Two races in 12 months was clearly, uh, too much. haha! New costumes next year. And new wigs. This year we looked like the morning-after hot-mess versions of the princesses when we arrived to run.
Later that evening we went to Poly for dinner and Dole Whip. Naidymar joined us with her sister. Last year she was Charming in our group, this year she ran with her sister in a different corral though.
Another Disney race finished.
The Princess races we will keep doing as a group. However after the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge, and the Aladdin 10k this year, I’m done with Disney races most likely. There is a chance that Me, Joe, and Beau might do the Dopey 48 mile challenge in January. So we’ll see.
…the reality of my Disney race medals right now. Haha! They’re ridiculously large and heavy. Cuz let’s face it, most people do the Disney races for the medals. So unfortunately until I come with a way to display these in a manner I like, they’re wrapped up and stored. This is the Princess Challenge, Star Wars Challenge, Avenger Challenge, Tink Challenge, and Princess last year. Yikes!
So, once more, Thank You
To all the ladies out there that came up to us to say hello, take a picture, or just compliment us for supporting the other women out on the course, Thank You!
You all made the event that much more fun for us as well. Had we not felt so welcomed last year, there would be no need to return this year. However, due to the positive response from everyone two years in a row, we will of course return next year again.
So hopefully 2017 sees the return of Mulan and Anna joining us, with the possibility of Charming and Beast coming back as well!