My mom and I have always been close. I am her only daughter, essentially her go-to person on all things fashion, makeup and trendy, and I knew it would be hard for her when I left to go to Northwestern.One day over the summer, I came across an article about the RunDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend that occurs every year. After doing more research, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me and my mom to stay connected during my transition into Northwestern and her transition to being an “empty nester.” Full disclaimer: My mom and I are not experienced runners, the longest I had run was the mile that my middle school gym teacher made me do every week and my mom was not even sure that she could run for longer than 30 seconds, so we were in for the training of our lives.
The RunDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend offers three different races and one challenge: the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, the Disney Princess 5K and the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge. My mom and I choose the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K as our first race. It appeared short enough for us non-runners to train for, but enough of a challenge that we would feel a strong sense of accomplishment when we crossed the finish line. Plus, my mom was not going to pay for us to fly to Orlando for just a 5K, so we set our sights on the 10K.
Registration for RunDisney events occurs at least six months ahead of the actual date of the race. The RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is at the end of February, so my mom and I were prepared to register in July. Registration for the races is competitive and expensive, and not unlike trying to buy tickets for your favorite band. The secret is to create an Active.com account before the registration time because it speeds up the processing time and allows you a better chance of having a spot in the races that sell-out almost every year. Luckily the internet gods were looking down on me because I was able to register both me and my mom before the race sold out.
“Included” in your registration is access to training plans formulated for each race and for runners from all walks of life. These plans were formulated by Disney’s resident running enthusiast, Jeff Galloway, and encourage a walk/run regiment based on the fitness level of the runner. Galloway’s walk/run regiment is the ideal plan for beginning runners or even experienced runners. The first day of training with my mom, we used an app called “Couch to 5K.” This app is magical. It uses the same walk/run regiment as Jeff Galloway but the app tracks your location while running, prompts you to start walking or running and charts your progress. The first day started with 30 seconds of jogging and 60 seconds of walking. It seemed easy enough in theory, but by the end of the workout, my mom and I were sweating like dogs in the July heat. However, like most things, it got easier as time went on and soon my mom and I were walk/running two to three miles every morning. Once we completed the program provided by the app, we took our training into our own hands and vowed to run at least three times a week, it didn’t matter the distance. The app “Map My Run” was very helpful in tracking distance while running outside. RunDisney has a recommended 15-minute/mile training pace for its runners. This is due to the time constraints of the race, as they need to get everyone out of the park before it opens for business for the day.
Arguably the most fun part of the RunDisney races are the costumes that are created by the runners themselves. My mom and I decided that since the theme of the weekend was Disney princesses, we would go as two of our favorite princesses: Rapunzel and Aurora (or Sleeping Beauty). The challenge with running costumes is maintaining a balance between functionality and fashion. You want to try to create a costume that is as accurate as possible to the princess, while at the same time being able to run comfortably in it. When researching costume ideas on Pinterest, I discovered many horror stories of runners having to discard costume pieces because they hindered their ability to run. So, my mother and I set out to create costumes that were simple and functional, yet stayed true to the princesses. Whether any pieces will be left on the side of the course is yet to be determined.
This is the first article of two chronicling my experience of running a 10K with my mom as part of the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.