Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sports Enthusiast for Disney Princess Half Marathon

That was me and my mom, along with 1400 other volunteers, this morning for the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon.  Disney always does things big and this race was no exception.  There were over 16,000 "princesses" (and a few "princes") running this race through the back roads and parks of Disney World.  

Usually I write about running a race, but today my mom and I volunteered as members of the Information Team and got to experience a race from a different point of view.  Our shift was from 2 - 7 AM, so it was an early morning.  I got in bed around 7:30 PM last night and read a little of the current book I am reading, Fly Away Home.  I had some difficulty falling asleep, but finally around 9 PM I was out.  I just got a few hours of sleep before my alarm beeped at 12:30 AM.  Oh boy was I tired; I really did not want to get up.  After dragging my feet out of the bed I got dressed, grabbed some snacks, and double checked that I had my credentials and we were out the door at 1 AM.  
There was not much traffic at that time of night, besides people heading home from parties, so we got there pretty fast.  We checked in and got our t-shirt and snack bag before loading onto the buses.  After a short ride, we filed out of the buses and headed to our respective volunteer zones.  They had some coffee, hot chocolate, and tea set up for volunteers so I went to grab a cup of tea to help wake me up.  As I was pouring the hot water though I accidently touched it and burned the tip of my finger - it was certainly hot!  I picked the English Breakfast Tea, but it wasn't what I wanted.  I was hoping for a different taste, so I chunked it. I should have gotten the hot chocolate!  Oh well, next time I know.

Our location was in the main staging area by the information tent.  Upon arrival we were given the details of what our job entailed and were outfitted with papers, pins for running bigs, D-tag clips, candy, an orange "Ask Me" apron, and a light up Mickey Sorcerer hat.  

Our group then dispersed into the open area as the runners and spectators began to arrive around 3:30 AM.  It was great to see how everyone dressed up for the race.  There were lots of tutus, fairy wings, tiaras, and Disney character costumes.  Lots of first timers run this race so I offered encouragement and well wishes to a few nervous runners.  I also answered lots of questions about where the corrals were, where the port-o-lets were, if I could take their picture, where the finish line was, where to get to the spectating areas, pretty much the logistics of how things were going to run for the day.  Wearing the big hat and orange apron certainly caught people's eye - I was even asked to pose for a picture with one of the runners!  

Being a runner in the half this past January and a spectator during my mom's full was helpful in being a volunteer because I knew where things were and good spectating locations.  It was a busy morning, but I really had a great time talking with and helping all of the guests.  

Once the runners were in their corrals it quieted down a bit so I snacked on a Peanut Butter Clif Crunch bar.  These things are so darn good.  They have a great peanut butter flavor and a nice granola crunch to them.  I also munched on some apple slices. 

In the staging area they had a jumbo-tron so we got to watch each corral start the race with the wave of the Fairy Godmother's magic wand - there were fireworks and all in true Disney fashion.  We continued to direct several more spectators to the monorail and finish line as the sun started to rise.  Have you heard the saying "It is coldest before dawn?"  Well it really is.  The temperature was comfortable most of the morning, but just before the sun came out it got much cooler.  I tried to keep walking around to help keep me warm.  Soon after the sky became lighter our shift was over just in time to see the first "princess" cross the finish line.  She finished around 1 hour 22 minutes with loud cheers and a burst of confetti.  
Then we headed backstage to get back on a bus.  When we returned to the volunteer tent we received our free Disney ticket for volunteering.  If we ever get a free park ticket we like to hold on to it and use it when family comes into town.  

Andy, my step-dad, was nice enough to have breakfast ready when we got home.  I had a spinach, cheese, and tomato scramble and some hash browns.  I was pretty much exhausted from our long morning so I headed upstairs to take a nap.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to sleep as long as I wanted because one of our cats, Callie, decided to jump on the bed, meow, and wait by my pillow.  I got up and decided to get in my cross-training for the day so I headed out for a simple bike ride through the neighborhood.  This coming Saturday I have nine miles to tackle.  After being at the race today it made me even more excited about the IronGirl Half Marathon coming up in April!  

I loved volunteering at race and it something I will definitely do again.  
Congratulations to all of the runners who completed the Princess Half this morning- you all rock! 

Have you ever volunteered to help with a race? Did you participate in the Princess Half this year?   


Megan said...

How fun!
I honestly have no desire to run a half marathon, but if I did, I would plan on doing the disney princess.
If I lived nearby, I'd totally volunteer for the disney races too - I love the disney atmosphere and I bet the races are just as fun :)

Allison said...

Ive never volunteered for a race, usually running them as well! The Disney princess race looks so fun, waking up at 12:30, not so much haha.

Kara said...

I always thought the saying was "It's darkest right before dawn", but coldest works too :)

2Am is a crazy time to start anything!

Anonymous said...

I saw one girl with a Sorcerers hat... but it wasn't you! I did have my eye out though! Even though it was warm a brought a jacket to throw off before the start and I was happy because it did get a little chilly and some of the other less clad ladies were complaining...but not me! I love those Crunch Bars I have the chocolate chip ones and I was so surprised at how delicious they were! Thanks for waking up so early to volunteer I'm sure the Disney races would fall apart without awesome volunteers, like YOU! P.s. you and your mom look so alike!

Victoria said...

Im volunteering for the Smile Mile in March. It's a kid's race run by Track Shack. Fortunately, I don't have to get up at 2 a.m. like you did. That's some serious dedication!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah , I had a great time I'll definitely do it again!!! Check it out, reppin' stop 61

Post a Comment