From couch potato to 26K with Run Disney

I’m weird when it comes to exercise, I’ll just admit that there’s no logic to it. I will bribe my kids to get something for me from upstairs, but voluntarily participate in long races. What can I say: I like a big challenge more than I like getting off of my couch to find my cell phone.

Last year I finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and despite having to get up at 2:30am and the exhaustion and the pain, it was worth it. Dare I say, it was even fun. And that’s because it gets the Full Disney Treatment.

I even managed to post right before, and during, and then right after the race.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 (91)

From muscular men bouncing on trampolines to photo opps with Disney Princes, this is a race designed for women. There are men who participate, but they’re in on the joke: often they’re dressed in costume and there to support the woman they’re running with. Plus, they’re not allowed to win medals. [To clarify, they get the bling at the end, they just can’t be awarded any medals fro finishing in a top spot.] And while I didn’t think I cared about the medals, this is some serious bling.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 (102)

The first real race I ever ran was a four miler in Central Park, and it was intimidating. It was filled with real runners, many of them using that short run as a qualifier for the NYC Marathon. I was twice as big and half as fast as most people there. And while I finished just fine (slow but fine), I would not recommend a race like that for your first one.

The Princess Half Marathon, though, is perfect for a first timer. There are runners of all sizes. Many are in princess skirts. A lot of people walk/run it like I do. Everyone around you is supportive. They want you to succeed, they don’t want to beat you.

Well, except for the people in the front. There are some serious runners who take part. They want to beat you, and they are not in costume. But they are in the minority, and I will never be close enough to them for it to matter. In fact, the closest I got to the frontrunners last year was just a couple miles into the race. It takes a long time to get 17,000 runners started, so about half an hour in for me, the first ones to start passed us on the highway, going the other way, almost done. That was weird to watch. They were flying!

So, back to this year. I’m less nervous, now that I know I can finish. I would love to improve on my time, even by a few minutes, but I haven’t been training hard. I started jogging again in October, but I had gained a lot of weight since the last Princess Half, and could barely finish a couple of miles. I realized that I had to focus on losing weight instead, so while I haven’t been running much, I have taken off twenty-five pounds since October, bringing me back to roughly what I weighed for last year’s race.

Like last year, I’m on this trip as press, but unlike last year, they’ve put Saturday’s Tangled Family 5K on the itinerary, so that will be like a warm-up for Sunday’s half marathon. Plus we’ll be watching the kids’ races, which sound like a lot of fun. I’m considering bringing Jake next year if he keeps jogging with me (he’s been helping me train – he’s a great cheerleader!).

It will be a long weekend of not much sleep. Our press events start at 6am on Friday, and we have to leave for the races at 4:45am on Saturday and 3:30am on Sunday. Ouch.

But it will be worth it. I can’t believe I’m looking forward to this. There’s just nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you achieve something that’s not at all easy. And the fact that it happens in Disney World makes it even more special.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 (92)

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 7, 8 and 16. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

Want to catch up on my runDisney adventures? Here are the other posts (newest first):

Disney’s Tangled Royal Family 5K

Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo

From bad, to worse, to great with runDisney

Tangled Family 5K: Done!

And then a few zebra wandered by

A half marathon that fits on a t-shirt

Diary of a Disney Princess Half Marathoner – Part 2

Disney Princess Half Marathon: Done

Diary of a Disney Princess Half Marathoner – Part 1

ESPN Wide World of Sports

I just designed my own shirt!

So this is what Disney does to me


  1. Leslie Burnett says

    I thought similar things tonight- I don’t even want to walk across the gift store much less hit up Magic Kingdom after being at Epcot all day and I can’t run to the tram even though it’s calling for final boarding :) But yet Sunday we’ll be here running and running. Can’t wait! I really don’t think I’ll be as tired after the half marathon as I am spending a day at a Disneyworld park, but I guess I’ll know on Sunday.

    • says

      @Leslie Burnett: I made myself move around Sunday. Even though I didn’t want to, I knew it was the smart thing to do. I soaked in a hot bath right after the race, but then spent the rest of the day at the Magic Kingdom. I really think it helped. How did you do?

  2. Carrie Roth says

    Very exciting! I am officially inspired and may be adding this to my list of things to do next year. I am tackling my first Run/ walk this year with a 4.2 mile event in April here in AZ. Being a little on the fluffy side I am happy to see people doing these things that are not right off the pages of Runner Magazine.

    • says

      @Carrie Roth: Fluffy – I love it! Yes, we fluffy girls are welcomed at Disney races, you should try to get to one someday. So much fun. If you want any training help for you run/walk, you should check out Jeff Galloway’s site ( Great advice there for his run-walk-run method.

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