Well, the royal hoopla has started. Early registration for Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon opens this week to annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members, and it will be open to the public next week. Having earned my tiara twice, I won’t be registering to renew my royal status this year. I am at peace with that decision. I am feeling princess-ed out. I am excited to look ahead to other Disney races (and even some non-Disney races — gasp!).
And yet, being a Princess is complicated.
The excitement of registration has been a defining moment the past 2 years. The first year I registered, I purposely booked that day off work. I could not fathom concentrating on anything else. I remember sitting by my computer, with Alana right there in real-time via text messaging, as we waited for THAT MOMENT when we could make our crazy dream of running a half-marathon a little more real. It was the scariest and most exciting feeling to hit SUBMIT and send our dreams off into cyberspace.
Last year, it was exciting in a different way because I was registering for my Coast to Coast with Princess and Tinker Bell Half-Marathons, trying to secure one of the limited combo registrations to ensure a clear path to that glorious pink C2C medal — and entry to my first race challenge, the Glass Slipper Challenge (Princess 10K + Half-Marathon on consecutive days). Although Alana was not planning a Princess repeat, we had made another dear BRF on our journey to the castle and Princess Laural was ready to make the royal commitment to earn her wings and tiara. Again, locking it in and seeing that confirmation in black and white was exhilarating.
But there was more. There was planning the Disney vacation and making dining choices and thinking about costumes and just knowing that a big, magical goal was waiting to be realized. There is something to be said for having a runDisney event on your race calendar. Don’t get me wrong, I still have one: I’ll be earning my superhero cape at the Disneyland Avengers Superheroes Half-Marathon in November. But it’s not a family trip to Walt Disney World — and that is very noticeably missing on my calendar and will be until Wine and Dine 2015 registration opens. #wompwomp
I am not questioning my decision to sit out Princess. But I am feeling nostalgic. This race is what started it all for me. It made me a runner. It reunited Alana and I, bonding us in a way we can’t even explain. It introduced me to Laural, who is now a go-to person in my life for all things, not just running. It’s the race where I first met Another Mother Runner‘s Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell, my ultimate running idols (and as you may know, I am now training as part of their Badass Mother Runner Ragnar Relay team!).
In year 1 at Princess, Laural and I managed to make it into the coveted (and now sadly defunct) Meet-Up which was the perfect pixie dust to our running fairy tale. Both years have included celebration dinners in Cinderella’s Castle. The memories are so precious, a perfect mixture of family and friends who feel like family, magic, celebration, accomplishment and sparkle. This race has represented making the impossible totally and irrevocably possible.
Before I make myself teary and head for the runDisney site with credit card in hand, I should remind myself it was not ALL rainbows and sunshine. I will not miss training through a Canadian winter. I will not miss those hours and hours on my treadmill, slogging it out during ice storms and frost quakes and record snowfalls. I will not miss going from one extreme to the other, running in the sweltering humidity of Florida where Princess race weekend is most often graced with unseasonably hot and sticky temperatures. I will not miss being in the World during a time of refurbishment (for the love, Splash Mountain, I miss you so muuuuuch!). I will not miss worrying about cancelled or delayed flights to or from Florida (OK, to more than from — there would be worse things than being stranded in the most magical place on earth!).
Sitting this one out is a measured decision, but it’s bitter sweet. My first half. My first big running goal. Claimed with BRFs and family cheering me on. Running the Kids Races with my girls. Showing them that running is cool and fun and hey, if you live the runner’s life, you get to travel to amazing places like Disney! Life lessons, I tell you. And memories that will last a lifetime too.
For those princesses registering, whether to earn that tiara or renew your royal status, I wish you all the best. Go forth and be royal! Make your commitment to the event and train for it. Let every run take you that much closer to the Castle. Pick a pretty costume or outfit that will make you feel like royalty as you run to claim your hard-earned medal. And know that your miles at the Princess Half will be a wonderful, joyous, magical victory lap in return for all of your hard work and brave dreams.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: anyone can be a princess, if you just believe.
Tell Us: Will you be registering to run like a princess?
…Want to read more? Check out our Princess and Tink Race Recaps here:
- Princess Alana’s Princess 2013 Recap
- Princess Jodi’s Princess 2013 Recaps: The Meet-Up, The Expo, The Half-Marathon, Kids Races
- Princess Jodi’s 2014 Tink Recaps: Expo, Half-Marathon
- Princess Jodi’s 2014 Princess Recaps: Expo, Enchanted 10K, Half-Marathon
- The Royal Battle Royale: Which race is The Fairest of Them All?