Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Run Wifey Run
I’m officially a princess. Well maybe not, but the good folks at Walt Disney World Resorts did everything they could to make me and 13,000 other women feel like princesses during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend – and it worked.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say it truly was a magical weekend. Not only because of the pixie dust they sprinkled to ensure that this was a weekend I will always remember, but also on a personal note. I set a goal to run a half marathon and after only three months of training I did it – and I can still feel my legs.
I was super excited when I received the invite to attend Disney’s Sporty Blogger Media Mixer because I knew it was the perfect event to kick off my Run Wifey Run tour (a series of road races to support my mission to become the healthiest I can be and hopefully inspire others to do the same). Also, having been to one of Disney’s mixers before I knew I was in for a special treat. And, ooh boy, was I right.
I flew in Saturday morning and checked into Disney’s Polynesian Resort. It’s my second time staying at the property and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. The rooms are spacious, I had a great view of Magic Kingdom and the Kona Café rocks – big thumbs up for Beef Teriyaki Salad.
That afternoon I met up with the other mixer princesses and we headed over to the newly renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to hit up the race expo and visit the facilities. Massive in size, the complex boast 220 acres of courts, fields, courses and sports technology where amateur and professional athletes of all ages from all around the world come to compete.
After a yummy meal at celebrity chef Cat Cora’s Kouzzina we hit the sack early to be up and ready to go at 3:45 in the morning. Gasp!
At 6 a.m. fireworks flew and so did the first group of princess as they took off from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back. Being greeted by Disney’s most popular characters and a wealth of entertainment made the miles zip by and I soaked in every moment of this special race. I stopped to take pictures, send a few tweets and took a bathroom break, too. Would I do that in a regular race? Hmm, probably not, but this was no ordinary race. Where else can you run right through Cinderella’s castle?
Three hours and one minute after the fireworks began I ran, ahem, jogged across the finish line. Husband was there with the video camera to capture the moment. It’s a little shaky, he started to wave and cheer me on, but don’t worry, it’s only 17 seconds. (I’m the tall one with the tiara in the hot pink shirt and that’s the fabulous Princess Laura next to me.)
After the race I felt great. Tired, ahem, and a little stiff, but I was enjoying the moment and looking forward to the 50 minute Swedish massage that was waiting for me at The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Hmm, how can I describe the massage? It. Was. Off. The. Chain. It was incredible, relaxing and something everyone should do after running for 13.1 miles.
Amazingly, the day was far from over. We visited Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney’s two water parks, and Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, before returning to Epcot for dinner at Tutto Italia Ristorante, and a dessert party under the stars. The famous Illuminations fireworks, laser and water show was absolutely spectacular. Then, to top the night off when I got back to my room I saw this hanging on my door:
And inside my room was this:
And all of this:
Talk about making me feel like a princess. My gracious hostesses sent me an in-room celebration complete with decorations, balloons, a certificate, a Triumph medal and Mickey himself. The perfect way to end the day.
Before heading to the airport on Monday, the folks at Disney had one more treat for us. We had a fabulous breakfast buffet at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway, and then had the opportunity to do a ride-along on the track. It’s hard to put into words how 140 mph feels going around a 1 mile track so I won’t. I’ll save this awesome experience for another post. I will say it was so damn awesome I ordered and paid for the $40 video tape of my ride – gasp – and will post it in a couple of weeks when it comes.
In the meantime, if you’d like to read more about the sporty side of Disney, I’m putting together a post highlighting many of their active attractions for The Vacation Gals and will provide a link once it’s up.
So, who’s game to be a princess next year? In fact, the Princess is just one event in Disney’s Endurance Series that also features the Expedition Everest Challenge (June 12, 2010), the Inaugural Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Oct. 1-2, 2010), the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (Jan. 6-9, 2011) and Champion 5k at ESPN the Weekend (February 2011).
Wait. Did someone say Wine & Dine?
Winks & Smiles,
Disney paid for my travel accommodations, several meals, attractions and gifts, however they did not pay for this post or my written account of the weekend. My thoughts and opinions are all mine.