Princess Half Marathon Recap

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So I know it's been a long while since I've posted. Between the holidays, training and procrastinating training, and working I just haven't felt very motivated. However after getting back from my big race yesterday I felt more inspired than I have in a long while. So, I'm happy to report for a recap of my experience at the Disney Princess Half Marathon race. Keep in mind I have never run a half marathon ever before. Up until race day I hadn't even ran 13.1 miles all at once (I know, I'm crazy). 

| Hotel |
First off, I booked our hotel very late as some plans fell through, and I wavered on whether I was going to do the race in the end. We ended up staying at the Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek Resort. I stayed there a few years ago for a conference for the American Heart Association when it first opened. The hotel was fabulous, if a bit overpriced, but I found a great deal and decided to give it a go again. The hotel is just gorgeous, but I still have reservations about the whole resort fee and parking fees ($20 resort fee daily and $20-24 per day to park!). They have several restaurants and treats to keep you full, although we didn't spend a whole lot of time at the hotel. We went straight to the Expo to pick up my race packet since we planned on spending all of Saturday at Magic Kingdom. Thankfully we arrived with enough time to snag a pair of the Ariel Disney New Balances! Afterwards we wanted to go out for dinner, but traffic was terrible so we opted for one of the restaurants at our hotel. It was alright but nothing to write home about. The ice cream afterwards was pretty yummy though!




| A day at Magic Kingdom |
The one thing I did plan way ahead was our dining reservations and fastpasses for our day at the park. I happily took the earliest reservations available for Be Our Guest which happened to be 8:10. That meant we could get into the park over an hour before it opened! There is something even more magical about the happiest place on earth when it is empty and the sun is just rising in the sky. The photo ops are perfect without anyone behind you and the lighting? Oh boy, it's gorgeous.




















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| Race Day |
Race day for Disney starts very early. How early you ask? They recommend you be on race shuttles by 4AM to make it to the 5:30AM start. I didn't stay at a Disney resort so I was very concerned about the commute time. There are several roads that are closed making transportation a bit tricky. I planned on driving myself until I met two very friendly fellow runners at the valet. They were taking a cab and were nice enough to share with me! I was a bit concerned about a cab that early in morning (absolutely small town girl here) but it turned out great. I actually learned many runners use cabs for transportation.

I arrived around 3:50AM and checked my race bag. I actually left my whole purse, wallet and all, in the gear bag provided. I did not have any problems with pick up. Disney is nothing if not well prepared. I would gladly leave all my things in the gear drop off again. Seeing as I was over an hour early for even the fastest runners to start, I hung around the music and tents for a bit then headed over to my corral as soon as they allowed. I was one of the first 5 people in my corral meaning I could take a place at the front tape. It was nice because I actually have a great picture the race photographers took of me pre-run/sweat/despair.


Being someone who cares about photos quite a bit, I'm always one to jump in to a group of people taking a selfie and offer to take the photo for them. It often ends up with the kind people taking your photo too! This was true again during this race and thankfully I got several of my favorite pictures from the weekend by fellow runners. It's also WAY cheaper than paying $30 per photo from the event photographers.








The one tip I can offer about running your first half marathon, especially at Disney, is to SMILE! Don't get me wrong, I was sore from mile 8 but the only thing to keep in mind is that it's supposed to be fun. You are at Disney after all!  I also don't hate looking through my race photos and not looking completely miserable! One thing I might change next time would be stepping my costume game up. I really wish I had some better photos of the other ladies' and gentlemen's costumes!


I haven't made a decision on what other races I'll run, but the more I look back the more I really enjoyed the whole race weekend. Even my ankle that is screaming in pain at me hasn't completely deterred me from future races. Congratulations on all the other runners who completed the journey this weekend! 

Sky Top Apple Orchard

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A few weeks ago my sisters and brother-in-law and I took a trip to Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. My favorite thing about August and September is that it's apple picking season. My sister is a huge Honeycrisp apple fan. At the orchard you can pick your own (for the length of the picking season) or buy a 1/2 bushel, or both! We just missed the Honeycrisp picking, but we still had a blast grabbing some Gala and Golden Delicious. My personal favorite is the Candycrisp apple. It takes a bit like a pear and a Honeycrisp apple made a baby. I cannot get enough of them! I was first introduced to them last fall from a roadside stand in Blowing Rock, NC. I haven't seen them in stores yet so I couldn't pass up the chance to get some more.
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Once you've picked to your heart's content, head over to the apple stand and try their frozen apple juice. Juice in hand, head over to the long line to grab an apple doughnut. I promise you it's worth the wait!






If you're up for an adventure check out Sky Top Orchard. Admission is free and you can pick as many or as little apples as you like!

Linking up with Biana to share this Weekending post, albeit a few weeks late ;)