Sunday, April 14, 2013

Royal Family 5K during Princess Half Marathon weekend

A few months ago, I told you about how I was preparing some costumes for the Princess Half Marathon in Orlando.  (Missed those blog posts?  Check out Wigs and earsCinderelly? Cinderelly!, and Cheshire Cat style.)

Soooo....I went a bit overboard on the costume for my 5K event.  Like Wigs and ears, overboard.  Did I mention I even made a Cheshire Cat smile out of craft foam...?

Every race shirt needs a motivational quote, right?
As I told you before, I had already put together quite a bit of things for my Cheshire Cat outfit.  And with so much time remaining before the race, I just kept tweaking it more and more.

A few weeks before Princess Half Marathon weekend, a local runner friend who I met last year hooked me up with a contact of hers who helped me put a quote on the back of my Cheshire Cat tank.

I had several quotes in mind:
"Every adventure requires a first step." --Cheshire Cat 
"Haste makes waste, so I rarely hurry. But if a ferret were about to dart up my dress, I'd run." -- Cheshire Cat 
but the one that I ended up getting was at the top of my list.  My friend's contact was even able to add a Cheshire Cat smile and googlie (googly?) eyes!  

I arrived in Orlando on Friday morning (red eye flights suck), and the schedule for the weekend was:
  • Royal Family 5K on Saturday morning
  • Princess Half Marathon on Sunday morning

All my gear
This was my first runDisney race, and I knew well ahead of time that their race events start at the butt crack of dawn super early in the morning. It's a good thing I'm kind of neurotically organized...I had all my 5K "race" stuff laid out out way ahead of time.

I say "race" with air quotes because I really wasn't planning to run the 5K. Nope, not at all. Walkin' the whole thing.  No shame in that, right?

In fact, I was so committed to the non-racing race thing that I sought out other runners who'd also be dressing in Alice in Wonderland themed costumes!  Good thing I started a group of Facebook where we talk about running and race costumes all the time...I had no trouble finding a White Rabbit, an Alice, a Mad Hatter, a Red Queen, 3 Tweedledee/dums, and another Cheshire Cat.

Ready to rock this 5K!
As expected, the alarm went off waaaaayyy too early.  But I was rarin' to go...wig, ears, and all. (Whatta ya think?)

All the runDisney events at Walt Disney World require bus transportation to get to them.  I was staying in Port Orleans Riverside, and my room was right near the 1st bus stop.  So after getting ready, I high-tailed it out of my hotel room and headed over to the bus stop.

It was still pitch dark outside, and as I was walking up to the bus stop, I just barely missed one (and then had to wait 5-10 minutes for the next one to arrive...shoooot).  As I raced up huffing and puffing (yes, I did run 30 feet to the bus stop but refused to run at the 5K, go figure), the lady working for the transportation group said to me, "Oh you should have called out that you were coming!  I would have held the bus for you."  I thought that was super nice and made a mental note of that as something to remember for all future WDW races.  At the bus stop, there was only 1 other person with his kid (the kids races were also on Saturday morning).  I guess everyone else was sleeping in a bit longer...but I had a bunch of Alice in Wonderland characters I was meeting and had to get going!

In the corral
I gotta say, the ears and smile were awesome.  Buuuttt....the ears already fell off (onto the ground) as I was running for the bus.  So, after that incident, I was 100% convinced that I would not be able to run the 5K. At least not wearing the ears anyway.

We Alice in Wonderland characters were all meeting up at bag check around 5:30am.  Most of us made it to the meeting place on time (even I ran a little late after missing that 1st bus). A few people didn't make it...but I was able to find them later.

I also found a few random Alice in Wonderland characters who were not associated with our little group, so that was cool too.

And I had already arranged to walk the entire 5K with a new friend I'd just met that weekend, who would be dressed as the Red Queen.  We had a blast walkin and talkin and checking out Epcot.

White Rabbit, 2 Cheshire Cats, Mad Hatter, and Alice
Photo by D. M.

Besides our Alice in Wonderland group, I also spotted many (many!) other costumes, some that were pretty elaborate and others, not so much.

I even saw 1 gal running in what appeared to be a wedding dress (literally).  It was strapless and one of those big poofy ones, and all I could think of when she passed was WHY?!?!  (Meaning, why torture yourself.  Because, hell, I was wearing mostly normal running gear and wasn't even running the 5K just because of my ears and Cheshire Cat smile.)  To be perfectly honest, it did not make sense to me...but each her own, I guess.  (It turns out that gal is in 1 of the Facebook groups I belong to, and she wrote a whole blog post about how she stuffed that (enormous!) dress in her luggage and then dressed up for the 5K and everything.  I did ask her why, and from what I understand, it was something along the lines of because she could.)

Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Cheshire Cat, and Alice
The whole appeal to runDisney races is that they have character stops along the course.

And since I was already flying all the way over to the east coast for this half marathon, a couple of months after I registered for the half marathon, I figured "in for a penny, in for a pound" and ended up signing up for this 5K.  I  just looked at it as another opportunity to see Walt Disney World and Epcot and to be involved in the race weekend activities and, potentially, I could do some character stops during the 5K.

Because I was already walking (and pretty much toward the back of the pack), I didn't actually end up stopping at any of the character stops.  For what it's worth, I recall seeing Aladdin and Jasmin, Minnie, and Snow White.

Red Queen and Cheshire Cat at mile 2
My new friend (the Red Queen) and I stopped at a few different places inside Epcot as we walked the 5K. The mile markers were usually pretty crowded with other picture takers, but we did manage to get 1 photo of us at mile 2. (I don't know what's up with our faces -- maybe we were laughing??)  As for the time, we started back in Corral D (which means we started later than the "official race time"), and we were walking.

Overall, the 5K was fun. But I think what made it fun was the costume and the group of like characters and just taking it easy. Would I do it again?  Maybe.  The only drawback to doing the 5K AND the Half marathon is that you have to get up super early on both days!  Not cool if you're not an early riser.

Incidentally, runDisney races offer a "coast to coast" option, which means you get an additional medal if you can do a race at Walt Disney World AND Disneyland in the same calendar year. The Disneyland Half is over Labor Day Weekend (end of August, early September), and runDisney has already announced a new race challenge called Dumbo Double Dare which involves a 10K on Saturday followed by a Half on Sunday.  They have also already given the 10K race an Alice in Wonderland theme.

I'm already signed up for Dumbo Double Dare, and while I think it's awesome that I pretty much already have a Cheshire Cat costume put together, I don't think I'll be wearing this costume again so soon.  After all, the biggest problem I see with going with the theme (instead of counter to it) is that there will be a zillion others dressed as the same character.  And while that does appeal to me in the sense that that would make for a lot of cool group pictures, it also means you (or I, in this case) don't stand out in the crowd.  Which means if anyone goes with me to watch me in that race, it will be very hard for them to find me and pick me out of the pack.  

Sooo....I'm already working on my costumes for Disneyland Half and Dumbo Double Dare...but I'll tell you about those later.

So what do y'all think of my costume and the other Alice in Wonderland characters?