Monday, September 14, 2015

Trip Report Princess Half Marathon 2014 - #3 RACE DAY!!!

Early Sunday Morning we headed for a bus at 2:45am dressed and ready for our very first Half Marathon.  

on a bus heading to the Princess Half Marathon at 2:50am

The first pic of the day came from the bus at 2:52am.  That is early.  The bus we were on filled all the way with just a stop at Pop Century.  They use charter buses for the runDisney events, so it is not your normal Disney bus.  We had heard to many stories about people being late for the race because of the lines for buses and we did not want to risk it so we left on the early side.  We were not on the first bus from Pop.  But we were on the second.  It is easy to see how you could be late with so many buses coming at the same time.  

By 3:50 we had arrived, settled in and got a picture.  It is a good .25 to .5 mile of a walk from where the bus drops you over to the pre-race staging are.  

Taking a picture around 3:50am

There were a few princess out to meet and a DJ spinning some tunes.  Not sure how people were capable of dancing at this hour and knowing they were about to run 13 miles in Hot and Humid Florida.  The temps were in the high 70's at 3am.  By noon it would hit 90 not a normal February day.  

In the corral and waiting at 5am

After lots of waiting and watching the masses roll in.  they announced we could head towards the corrals.  We were in corral G.  It was another mile of walking on the way to the corrals.  There were several groups of porta potty's along the way.  So you don't have to wait in one of the 20min lines back by the staging area.  We brought a couple water bottles that we planned on tossing once the race started and we also brought a bath towel to sit on.  We tossed that over the corral fence once it was packed and we had to stand.  There were lots of sweatshirts and socks and gloves piled up along the start.  If it had been cold we would have used the towels to stay warm waiting for the start.  They collect all the discarded clothing and donate them to a charity.  

As the race kicks of you slowly meander forward as a corral.  They do a good job of enforcing the corral assignments.  Which is important because it keeps corrals from getting over crowded.  We did see a few people from corrals ahead of us back in our corral so they could run with a friend.  You are allowed to move back wards but your friend can not move up to be with you.   

After only about 20minuets we were the next corral.  

They do fire works for each corral!  We were about smack dab in the middle of the corral.  

Our first mile down, 12 more to go.  Just a touch over a 10 min mile.  We wanted to go fairly quick in the begging of the race to stay ahead of the masses.  There are a few bottle necks that later in the morning become packed and you have to walk through.  Even with that plan we stopped at the very first porta potties.  There was no line and the ones around the 5K mark were packed!  We had been in the corral for over an hour and drinking lots of water.  

This picture sums up the weather.  No it was not raining.  That is fog reflecting the flash back.  A beautiful day for a race.  

From the Hub!

Wish we could have gone on a quick spin.

Back through the castle is one of the biggest bottle necks.  It is also a spot where it is super easy to run and you have a bounce to your step.  If you can't find the energy to run through the castle you signed up for the wrong race.   There are tons of photographers along the rout and you can pre-order the pictures for just one bib number.  So along as Doug and I were together we were both in it, but no pictures of just Doug.  This was the professional Picture.  

Here is the picture Doug took on his camera.  Not quite as nice as the one we payed for.

As you run through the Magic Kingdom you enter near Town Square, then hang a right down Main Street U.S.A.   You then turn into Tomorrowland from the hub.  From there you head towards the teacups and back through the Castle.  Once through the castle, you head across the bridge into Liberty Square and turn towards Frontierland.  You exit the park as you near Splash Mountain.  All along the way are characters.   Mickey and Minnie had a line that was easily over 30min long.  We skipped them, Tiana had just a couple people to wait for.  We stopped at the bathrooms at the Adventureland Breezeway.  It is the last real bathroom until you get to Epcot.   The bathrooms by Cheshire Cafe and Mickey's Star Traders are usually packed and have a line.  If you can make it to the other side of the park the line is much shorter and there is nothing like a real bathroom.  

Back out of the park and the excitement dies down and the legs start to realize you are running.  Up until the Magic Kingdom it was 100% adrenaline.  Not sure there is an easier 6 miles to run.  The remaining 7 is long and somewhat boring.  There is tons of things to see and characters to meet a long the way, but it is tough to compete with the Magic Kingdom.  

We saw some characters we don't normal get to meet.  We mainly focused on the types like that.  If we stopped at every thing we would still be there.  

In this crew only one does a regular meet the other 3 are extremely hard to find!  

Almost every Mile marker had a little line like this.  We never stopped to get a picture with one.

The at were we just were.  The mile 10 marker is actually right below us.  The clover up to the overpass is long but not steep.   There are a few more over passes before the end of the race.  All the hills in this race are man made which makes them hurt just a little more.  

It felt like we took the long way to Epcot but we were finally back stage.  

No wait for Sofia!!!!

In EPCOT!!  the end is near.  

We made it.  

A picture with our new bling just after the finish line.  

After we got through the post race area another shot to show off the metal.  We got purple drawstring bags and a box of food to refuel.  

One last picture before we jumped on the next bus back to Pop Century to Shower, pack up, and move to Wilderness Lodge.

If you like shaky video then this video is for you!   

There was lots of great entertainment along the way and lots of water stops.  I wish the food stop would have been more then just Gel.  I would have liked a banana.  Over all everyone was friendly and a few times we had to run around a group of people walking 6 or 8 wide.  Not sure how so many people that walked so much got in front of us at the start.  I figure people must lie about their times and hope Disney is not going to check everyones times.   Overall at that point in time we could not wait to do it again!

Next up see how we recover while trying to vacation.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Trip Report Princess Half Marathon 2014 - #2 Packet Pick Up, Hollywood Studios, Pop Century

our view from just out side our door at Pop Century
We woke up bright and early to head to pick up our race packets at the ESPN Wide Wold of Sports.

We were all alone in the beautiful elevator lobby of the 90's wing of Pop Century.  

A walk to the bus was like a walk through our childhood.

Possibly the best decorated stairwells on earth.  

At 8:25 am the bus lines are packed for the parks.  If you are in the line for the bus at 8:25 you will most likely not be in the parks by 9:00 that is the sad truth.  you really need to be in line for a bus around 8am if you want a good position at rope drop.  The saddest thing about this picture is people in line for Animal Kingdom which had morning extra magic hours.  The park has already been open for about a half hour by this time.  Morning extra magic hours are great but you have to be there before it opens otherwise you are just heading into an already crowed park.  

We arrived at the packet pick up just as it was opening.  That's right we rope dropped packet pick up.  We already had our race waivers printed and sign(we did it at home) so we could go straight to our window for a bib number.  It is extremely organized and fast.  The lines do grow and can get long in the middle of the day.  (just like the parks)

Around just about every corner there was some sort of back drop people were taking pictures in front of.

With our pack it in toe we headed over to the expo.

This was the scene as we were heading in.  Still early even with the time it took to get the packets.

And a shot the other direction. If there was something you wanted that has to do with running this is the place you could find it.

We grabbed an I Did It button from the RunDisney booth.  It seems weird that they have a booth mixed in with all the other vendors.  Most people we saw around the parks the next few days asked where we got the button.  I bet the "convention" arm of WDW even charged runDisney for the booth space, even though they are promoting future races.  

They had a big wall with every ones name on it.  I'm snapping a pic of our names.

Here is Doug's.  I put his picture on here because I am nice.   There were 5 McKnight's in the race.  

After a stop in the Official merch area and a stop to buy my next pair of running shoes we headed out.  I was able to buy shoes way cheaper then normal.  There really are some great deals to be found at the expo.  From this picture you can see the level of crazy has doubled in the Expo and it was only 10am!

It is defiantly a hike from the front of the ESPN WWoS back to the bus stop.  If you didn't want to hike and wait for a bus, a cab or Uber would not be a bad way to go.  

After dropping our stuff off at Pop we hopped the bus to Hollywood Studios.  Looked like it was going to rain and our first goal was to hit Star tours with a FastPass+ while Doug still had his motion sickness patch on from the flight.  He left if on just to ride Star Tours, He is such a nerd.  

After a flight though a galaxy far, far, away we had lunch at Backlot Express.  We got some boring sandwiches which were actually very tasty and good.  We were trying to limit the amount of fat we had the day before the race.  I'm sure the fries were a good decision.  One of the great things about Backlot express is you can refill your drinks so we could hydrate with the best Coke products Disney has to offer.  

After lunch we headed over to the Animation Academy.  We got there just as it was starting to sprinkle.  

We got to draw with our favorite artist!

Any Guesses who Doug drew?   At the end of the class the artist had a trivia question for his drawing.  Doug give the room a few guesses before he raised his hand to answer.  He really wanted to let a kid win it but failed.  The question was from Monster U about a characters mother or something that no one with a life should know.  

His might be a little better then ours.

It was still raining out side so we met Minnie.

When it is raining out they sometimes move the Disney Jr. meet and greets around.  

It was all dried up and we had a Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ ready to use.

It was still only 1:26 and it feels like we have been up and at it for ever today.

Doug was thoroughly disappointed in this score.  He blamed riding with me.  He claimed I stole his targets.  He will continue to ride alone when we come with the kids.  On the other hand It was one of my better scores!

After some shooting we did the single rider line for Rocken' Roller Coaster.  It took about 20 min for us both, the posted wait was 60min.  

We looked at some snacks at Sweet Spells.

Lots of neat apple options!

This case gets the kids and Doug more excited.  We didn't get any thing because we we're having an early dinner.  With the race so early in the morning we wanted to eat and get to bed early, not or normal Disney plans!

We got a bus to Art of Animation to Eat at the Landscape of Flavors.  They have a build your own pasta.  It was the perfect pre race meal.  It is a nice big serving of pasta just the way you want it.  Lots of options of what type of noodle, sauce, meat, and veggies you want.

The John Lasseter signed art in the lobby.

It was misting just a little as we made our way from Art of Animation over to Pop Century.  It is only about a 10 minuet walk from the food court to our room.

The two resorts are connected by a bridge in the middle.  

I believe this is the 60's section.

Petals is the bar at the main pool.

Even with the rain  though out the day it was plenty warm to swim.

This is the entrance from the pool side into the main building of Pop.

The store and food court are very nice at Pop.  The only reason we ate across the bridge was for the BYO pasta.  

The lobby of Pop Century.  

flat Michelle and flat Doug

Back at our room and off our feet by 6pm.  We got our bibs on and every thing laid out and ready for a ridiculously early wake up call.