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Princess Half Marathon [Expo] 2016 – Before the Race

Well, I certainly failed in the updating/blogging arena… I’d say I’ll go back and add some more final training updates, but that may or may not happen… and if I WAIT to update on the weekend itself, well, then the race recap may not happen. So… we’re just going to jump straight to the chase. Sound good? Good.

But first let’s get one thing out of the way… I will probably sound like a broken record because Florida Disney and California Disney are SO SO different.

Now that that’s out of the way (though it’s guaranteed to be repeated a billion times), let’s get on with it.

I will back up and start with the arrival though…

I left for my vacation dark and early on Wednesday before the race and headed to for Washington D.C. where I stayed with an awesome friend and her family. It was so great to relax and catch up with her. I went to the gym a couple times (#whattaper), but I also stretched, foam rolled, and got myself on the right time zone.

Then at dark thirty on Saturday, it was time to head to Orlando!! I was bummed to miss the Miracle Maker breakfast on Saturday morning at Epcot, but I just couldn’t justify the added expenses of higher cost flights and extra hotel time. I got into Orlando just before 9 AM and after meeting up with a college friend (Kelly) also racing, going to the wrong terminal, and then going to the RIGHT terminal, we were finally on our way on the Magical Express!

The Magical Express took us straight to the resort. Disney would have picked up my checked luggage for me as well, but I picked it up myself because I forgot to put my special luggage tag on it (I didn’t want to put it on too soon for the D.C. flight and then left it in the carry on for the second flight – oops!).

We were staying at POP Century which is one of the value resorts at Walt Disney World. It was also one of the two resorts with Miracle Maker room blocks. The resort was SUPER cute and a great price (especially with the room block, but even without – this California girl was surprised Disney offered rates like that because CA doesn’t get that at ALL). My room was in the 1950s. It wasn’t as themed or Disney as I expected, but still nice and clean. My sister, nephew, and brother-in-law were also staying at POP, but they were in the 1990s. We truly could not have been farther from each other.

After a great, albeit late, brunch in the POP dining area (chocolate chip pancakes are carb-loading, duh) the whole group of us headed to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Expo. And WOW! Disney World really is different… especially on a runDisney weekend. I’m used to walking to the Expo at Disneyland and I don’t even stay on site. Then, here I am, staying on site and I *can’t* walk to the start because it’s too far (about 2 miles). It took about 15-30 minutes for the bus to come and then another probably 15 or so to get there, plus a walk from where we were dropped off. The ESPN Wide World of Sports is HUGE, but it was easy to find and get to where we needed to be. The bib pick up was in the HP Field House and the Expo was in the Jostens Center. Kelly and I went into the HP Field House first and got our bibs. There were no lines and we got in and out pretty quickly. We also got some fun green screen pictures taken for Instagram. 🙂

Now, I didn’t get there until Saturday afternoon so my experience may read differently if you’ve read other PHM recaps, but it wasn’t crazy at all over at the Expo – no line to get in, no women fighting over merchandise, no hitting or punching or anything like that. Yes, I actually did read all of that on Thursday on various social media and I was shocked, appalled, and I questioned what I was getting myself into with the weekend. I avoid Black Friday, I certainly didn’t want to see that kind of behavior at a race expo of merchandise. Seriously?! While there were definitely a lot of people there, it was totally normal and really fun.

I loved walking around to all of the booths and seeing the fun merchandise. I visited the CMNH booth and picked up my t-shirt and a couple other goodies. I found my name on the Miracle Maker wall and snapped a finish photo. I visited the runDisney booth, but sadly (and not at all surprisingly) the wine glasses were sold out. I wasn’t sure how it would have done in my luggage anyway. I did get adorable matching Minnie headbands from Sparkly Soul with my sister. It’s the first headband I’ve used that actually stayed put while I wore it. My nephew eventually woke up so we spent a little extra time.

We went to the Chiquita booth and I won apple slices. The sweet lady working the booth also gave my baby nephew a banana. He was so so excited. My brother-in-law was overwhelmed by the number of women, haha (seriously, I read somewhere that there were 24,000 registered runners and just over 20,000 finished with ~18,000 of those finishers being women), but excited there was beer. I was excited to see mimosas and beer being sold at the Expo – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that at the Disneyland Half Expo! Sadly, I got too distracted by sparkle to get a drink, haha.

After the Expo, we wanted to go to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), but there was no direct transportation from the Expo. We had to take the bus to a  resort and then from there a bus to Disney Springs. It took FOREVER. I seriously think it took us an hour. We wandered through for a bit before settling on this little Irish place for dinner. I had a burger and fries and it was perfect. We did a bit more walking around and then Kelly and I headed out early because we knew we had race preparations and a VERY early morning.

Alright, back soon with Race Day!

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