I have so much to share from my 2015 Princess Marathon Weekend. It was more than four princesses running three races. It became a time of enlightenment, new beginnings, many firsts, and new friendships.
In the upcoming articles I will talk about my journey as well as the journey of my fellow princess teammates. Our love and joy for not only runDisney, tiaras, and tutus but for new seasons in life, new achievements and new goals we made after this amazing and successful trip.
The anticipated runDisney weekend quickly became captioned, “Our Race-cation” and would be the primary focus for the coming months ahead. I was clueless to what awaited me, the phrase “Girl Power” comes to mind but does not quite encompass the sentiment wholly.
Fast forward from July 2014 registration to February 2015 – I left for this anticipated weekend at 5am on a frigid New York morning with excitement, a little nervousness, and a luminous spirit.
Packed in one suitcase were the usual essentials for a Disney vacation, but in my carry on were things I have never brought to Disney or anywhere for that matter. A huge red tutu, a hairband embellished with little birds, Jaq – Cinderella’s mouse friend, and a pair of running sneakers that have become a significant part of my life.
Nicole and two of her friends that I had never met were meeting me at the Orlando airport. As I walked off the plane and made my way to baggage claim, I felt as if I should pinch myself. I was really here, in my beloved Florida, going to my Happy Place – Walt Disney World, meeting my dearest friend for a runDisney event. Life has certainly changed since last July when I stepped out of my door for my very first run – a new season of life for me.
With luggage in hand I headed for the passenger pick-up area. The doors opened and I stepped out into the lovely warm Florida sunshine – WAIT! Where was the warm Florida sunshine? Nicole warned me about it being chilly, but come on, I’m a New Yorker! I know what cold is, I have been living in it for the last five months. Sadly she was right, it was chilly and my jacket remained on for much of the race-cation. Little did I realize I would have a frozen tutu the next morning.
My teammates arrived and there was no guessing where this vehicle was heading! It was decorated with phrases that I had become accustomed to reading on social media for months. The girls jumped out and greeted me with hugs (I tear up now as I remember our initial greeting). Nicole introduced me to her best friend Julia and Julia’s sister Christy and from that moment on any lingering nerves I had …. disappeared. Off to the Expo!
I could not wait to get to the Expo! I remember seeing Nicole’s photos from her first Expo experience and I was pumped! Here is where I would receive my 5K and 10K race bibs and see my new favorite vendors and run wear. We parked the car and jumped out to get prepared. This was our runDisney Princess Weekend so we must all dress accordingly. Nicole had made us matching T-shirts and surprised us with embroidered draw string bags. Last but not least, on went the tiaras.
This was actually my first visit to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and this may sound funny, but I was a bit starry eyed as we approached the WWOS globe. The red carpet was rolled out to “welcome all who have come to this happy place” and helped to make our tiaras sit just a bit taller atop our heads.
As we approached the Expo doors at the Jostens Center, I was tickled princess pink to be greeted by Cinderella’s very own footmen, might there be a pumpkin carriage just ahead?
WOW it was a runDisney dream! There was so much to take in for a newcomer like me; I was so glad to have Nicole leading the way. The energy was electric and I felt an immediate pull drawing me down those stairs and into the mix.
We made a beeline toward the back because Nicole and Julia were running the half marathon and were in search of particular items. We moseyed around the expo checking out what was new, what was cool, and what we thought we couldn’t live without. I even got a glimpse of Jeff Galloway! I was too shy to take a picture with him, but next time I won’t pass up that opportunity!
It was time to get those running bibs! Packet pick up was held in the HP Field House, so we crossed over the walkway……. to finally become official. Each small step starting with registration day to actually running this race felt as if they were milestones, and picking up my runDisney race packet was no exception. We found our appropriate booth by alphabetic order of last name and signed away.
Along with our race bibs we were handed a clear drawstring bag that would hold the contents of a race shirt, 2 Luna Bars, a 2015 Princess ½ Marathon guide and any purchased merchandise along the way. This bag was for Gear Check at the race if any additional items were to be brought in.
After Nicole and Julia received their half marathon packets they were instructed to get their photos taken so there would not be an issue of mistaken/stolen identity with their half marathon bib# and it’s owner.
Hunger and fatigue was beginning to settle in from the early morning wake-up and all the days excitement. We all decided it was time to end our expo excursion, but not before capturing a few more photos!
I loved the expo! It was vibrant, not just in color but in energy. It was filled with ladies (and some gentlemen) of all ages, and all stages of their run journeys . As I passed fellow runDisney princesses, I wondered if this was their first or fifth Princess Marathon Weekend, how long they’ve been running and why they continued on their journey. Yes, journey – best described in a quote I recently read,
“So often we can get caught up in the rankings, times, personal bests, and competitions that we forget about the true joy and life changing experiences that our sport provides. Running is about a journey, a journey that engages an entire community and culture, yet inwardly transforms the mind, spirit, and body.” found on flotrack.org
It was time to move on and check into our resort …….. which one you ask? Port Orleans Riverside, the Princess Room of course! We were on our way to our next royal experience!
Do you have dreams of entering in a runDisney event but are afraid running will injure your body? Everyone can experience the awesome thrill of this sport with Jeff’s principles and methods. Read below and start your run journey today!
Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to:
1) pacing long runs too fast,
2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly,
3)lengthening stride and
The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (for more information, see my book RUNNING INJURIES)
Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I’ve found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (See my book RUN WALK RUN)
As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heals.
- Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.
- While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU’RE 100, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
- It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.
- A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.