Thursday, February 25, 2016

Disney Glass Slipper Challenge 2016, Part 2: Port Orleans Riverside, Princess Half Marathon, and Magic Kingdom

Running a race at Disney isn't hard just because of the distance - there are many other challenges that make the races more challenging. Most of use aren't able to train in nice weather, so for me, this was my first non-treadmill run since November. Sometimes the Florida weather is overwhelmingly humid, making it hard to breath and dehydrating you even faster. Not only that, you're usually traveling, away from the comforts of home, and spending hours walking around the parks in the days before and after a race. 

Despite all of that, these are some of my favorite races. I love the course, the support, the entertainment, and how the whole weekend is great for families. Sometimes, when I run local races, it turns into something else to check off of my weekend list; taking a mini-vacation at Disney with a race makes the whole experience a lot more special. 

Hotel

For our second night, I booked a Royal room at the Port Orleans-Riverside, one of the moderate resorts on the other side of Epcot and across from Disney Springs. It's not too far from any of the parks, and even has a water taxi to Disney Springs. Port Orleans-Riverside is split into Magnolia Bend, featuring white garden district mansions, and Alligator Bayou, with more of a lodge feel. 

All of the Royal rooms are in Magnolia Bend, within a five minute walk of the lobby, and feature views of the quiet pool, gardens, or river. Instead of southern-inspired decor, they are completely dec'd out for a princess. The carpet featured Aladdin's carpet, tiaras on the bedding and shower curtain, and pictures of all of the princesses on the wall. Two of my favorite details include the magic lamp faucets and sidekicks on the wallpaper border, including Pascal!

Lilly's favorite part of the room, though, was the light up headboard! There was a small button on the side of each headboard, and when you pressed it, fireworks lit up across the painting. This kept Lilly amused for quite a while, and helped us calm her down after a long day.
While Disney tries to accommodate most requests, the only ones they guarantee are for cribs. I've heard they have a few "real" cribs in each resort, but mostly have pack n plays, but with a nicer mattress. I was a little worried that Lilly might not sleep as well on the hard pack n play, but the extra padding made a big difference, and she slept a solid 8 hours before conning Kevin into letting her into the big bed.  

Princess Half Marathon

After a short night, I woke up at around 3:45 to get ready to go for the half marathon. The building we were staying in was right between two bus stops, so I wasn't too worried about waiting for a shuttle. I had all of my things laid out the night before, so I turned on the coffee maker while I got dressed, then rushed out the door. Once I was on the shuttle, I realized I had forgotten my coffee; it turns out I put the cup next to the coffee maker, not actually under it, and ended up just spilling water across the coffee tray. Oops. 

Our shuttle left Port Orleans, and just a few minutes later, we all saw the corrals lit up on our right, and the bus just kept going. Even though Port Orleans is a short walk to the start line, for security reasons, Disney will DQ anyone who tries to sneak into the start corrals. So, we had to continue driving another ten minutes to the race area, and then walk another 15 minutes back around to the corrals. I brought my heat wrap from the night before, and munched on a picky bar on the walk. I kind of like this part because you get a better look at everyone else's costumes! 

I didn't have that much time to wait in my corral before we were off. There were more corrals this year, and a total of 18090 runners, so rather than wait five or ten minutes between corrals, there was only about two or three minutes. I was in corral E, and started 10 minutes after the clock. Just like with the 10K, waaay too many people started off walking or running slowly, and it took over a mile to break out of the pack. 

Since I hadn't done more than 8 miles in training, I was fully expecting to hit a wall around 8 miles, and have to walk most of the rest of the way. I tried to keep around a 9:30 pace, but much of the star was way too crowded for that. I wasn't really planning on stopping for photos, which was good, because the few they had were packed. The usual "heroes" stop, with all the princes, was much smaller and only had two princes, from what I could see. The "Cars" area was also gone, and the villains. The one stop I did make was right by the Castle - Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters! (This year there were volunteers handing out wipes right before the castle, for better photos)
I started to think of the race as two easy five mile runs, followed by a 5K. I took a breather and a gel after 5 miles, and decided I felt great, so kept plugging along. I paused again shortly before mile 10, long after I thought I would hit a wall, and realized I was still keeping under a 10:00 pace. My quads were starting to feel it, though, so took a few more walk breaks during miles 11 and 12, then ran a 9:10 mile in mile 13. I don't usually stop at mile 13, but I did catch my breath, take a feel of my legs, and then ran through the finish in 2:20 by my watch (I paused during bathroom breaks), good enough for 3118/18090. It's definitely not my best time, but only about five minutes slower than 2014, and ten minutes off my average time for 2013. And all this after a 10K! With no bonks, no injuries, and no sleep, I definitely feel excited for this year!

To finish up, I did stop for a quick photo, then hopped on the bus and headed back.

Magic Kingdom

In January, when I started f'real planning, I did manage to get some pretty good Fast Passes, which I knew would be important with Lilly. Of course, as soon as we got to the park, she fell asleep in her pram. We took advantage of that to pick up her My 1st Visit button and grab some mac n cheese, and she woke up just in time to make the tail end of our hour window. She was in a pretty good mood, and was super excited to meet Rapunzel and Cinderella! For some reason, Tangled is definitely Lilly's favorite movie, and it can keep her amused for an hour at a time. She also has several different Rapunzel dolls in all different sizes, and she somehow manages to pick them out of a pile of toys without fail. When she finally did meet Rapunzel, she was definitely pretty smiley!
We also met Ariel at her grotto, ate at Gaston's, and went to find Rapunzel's tower. While Lilly took another nap, Kevin and I got some Dole Whip. In addition to all this, we wanted to get our silhouettes done again, since we got them done at DisneyLand during our honeymoon, and also snag seats for the Festival of Fantasy parade. Check, check, and check! Lilly was quite upset with the parade, though, and we spent most of it inside Starbucks waiting for everything to quiet down. 

We also used the Baby Care Center at the Magic Kingdom, which is tucked by the Crystal Palace. This one was much bigger than the one at Hollywood Studios, and had some pretty comfy recliners. There was also an attendant there to answer any questions and manage the little store they had with necessities. 

Shortly after the parade we headed back to the resort to catch the shuttle back to the airport, and back home. Our flight was at 8:55, and we got on the shuttle at 6:00; they made a few stops on the way to the airport, but we arrived with plenty of time to make it through security and get to our gate. 

Unfortunately, another awesome runDisney weekend has come to an end, but I couldn't have asked for it to be any better! 

For my recap of the Enchanted 10K, check out my post here

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