Honesty time: I hate running…. like, I’ve HATED running for as long as I can remember. Most of that hate came from needing to use my inhaler every time my P.E. class had to run the mile. (Yay asthma.)
Fast forward to February 2017…. and I saw the most beautiful race medal I’d ever seen while scrolling Facebook. (Still not sure how that algorithm got triggered to push such an irrelevant ad on my wall.) And as I thought about it, I figured it might not be so bad to walk or run to earn it. AND it turned out to be a virtual race! Which meant I could take as long as I wanted to finish it… and I could run, OR walk, OR BOTH if I wanted to! This also meant I could complete it on my treadmill… which satisfied a few personal exercise boundaries, like not running in any kind of heat… ever… or up large hills.
That was just the beginning of the rabbit hole…
I started really paying attention to other Facebook friends’ race posts… and seeing all of THEIR medals.
Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way now… I don’t walk/run for the personal goal setting, or the runner’s high (that I don’t think I’ve ever had), or even the health/fitness side of it.
I participate 100% because there is a medal at the end of it.
I knew Disney did in-person races because my sister had done an Avenger themed one at Disneyland. And my sister-in-law started running the Princess Half Marathon Weekend races… and those medals were BEAUTIFUL!!!! But Florida and California would never be cold enough. So I just had to hope that Disney would offer something virtual.
Eventually, they did start virtual summer races… but the themes were less than appealing medal-wise. (I think the first year was Pluto themed??)
And then, COVID happened.
For the first time EVER… Disney made the Princess Half Marathon weekend events VIRTUAL!!!!!!!!!!
I signed up immediately.
The 5k was Ariel themed, the 10k was Rapunzel themed, the half marathon was Belle themed, and if you signed up for the ‘Fairy Tale Challenge’ (completing both the half and the 10k) there was a Tiana themed challenge medal!
I’d never done a half before. And knowing how slow my mile is right now… the thought of being on my treadmill for more than 4 hours straight was daunting. Thankfully, I’ve done the Hot Chocolate 15k (in-person) and so I knew I could do 9.321 miles… a half is only 4 more miles than that. It would be a challenge… but I was optimistic about finishing!
If you’ve ever known anyone to run one of these Disney races… you’ll know… dressing up ‘on theme’ is a vital part of the experience! I don’t have many Disney clothes… so I got a bit creative.
For the Ariel 5k: I wore dragon scale leggings and red shoes. I dug out a tiara… that I had originally bought for a Big Bang Theory themed race (because Amy Farrah Fowler wears one for her wedding… and it was a whole ‘thing’ with the other ladies on my team… and really fun!) because tiara just seemed more ‘princess’ than my Minnie ears. I also found some large sparkly starfish-looking earrings.
For the Rapunzel 10k: I wore my pink and purple floral leggings, braided my hair, and added a pink flower along with the tiara.
And finally, for the Belle Half: I wore my Reading Rainbow t-shirt. (Because: 1. It was yellow. and 2. I figure Belle would be a big supporter of a children’s reading program.) I put my hair in a bun, added two different yellow flowers, and of course the tiara (which I almost didn’t wear… but did at the last minute, and I’m glad for it now!). I also found this preserved-in-resin red flower bracelet… which felt very red-rose-esque.
And I found my daughters’ princess figurines and used them to decorate my treadmill.
My race times will not win any records… But I am very proud that I stayed on the treadmill until I finished.
5k: Time: 00:57:01 Mile Pace: 18:21
10k: Time: 02:07:44 Mile Pace: 20:33
Half Marathon: Time 03:59:18 Mile Pace: 18:16
The only race I had any significant goals for was the Half. First, I wanted to finish! Then, I wanted to finish under 4 hours. I just BARELY squeaked by hitting that goal!!
This was a wonderful experience!! And I am so thankful I attempted it! I’m not sure if I will attempt it again. (Perhaps if the virtual race stay an option… or if I feel like my fitness level significantly improves.)