On a ‘Running High’ after Finishing the Disney Princess Half Marathon

Just about to approach the finish line at Epcot.

My wake-up call was much too early. Saturday night, I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and set my alarm for 3:15 a.m. — the time I usually go to bed on Saturday nights. The Disney Princess Half Marathon was starting at 6 a.m. the next morning, and my friends and I had to be at the starting line by 5:30 a.m.

Why in God’s name, I asked myself, was I waking up in the middle of the night to run 13.1 miles? Was I crazy?

Maybe. But after flipping on the light switch, splashing my face with water and eating some toast and peanut butter, I was awake enough to get excited about being a running princess, if only for a day.

In the days leading up to the race, I was pretty worried. How well would I do? What if I couldn’t fall asleep the night before? What if I got cramps in the middle of the race? I spent months training for the race, and had run more than 13 miles, so I knew I could do it. Running is so mental, though, so it’s easy to let doubt impede your speed.

It helped to be in the company of two of my closest friends — Linsey and Colleen. They both flew to Florida from Massachusetts to run in the race. Linsey’s mom, my high school cross-country coach, also ran in it and warmed up with me at the starting line. I told her I wanted to finish the race in two hours, but that so long as I finished my first half marathon, I’d be happy.

Running through the Magic Kingdom.

When the race began, I felt strong. I started out running an 8-minute mile and continued at this pace throughout the race, finishing it in an hour and 45 minutes. Colleen came in about the same time I did, and Linsey ran it in an hour and 27 minutes, placing 9th out of nearly 13,000 runners. (Pretty amazing!)

Crossing the finish line gave me such a great sense of accomplishment and made me remember why I spent so much time training. All those mornings I woke up to run when I would have liked to have just stayed in bed had paid off.

Now, five days after the race, I’m still on a running high. I want to train for another half marathon, like this one in Minneapolis. There’s also one in Boston this spring that I’d like to run, but I should really be focusing on swimming, not running, over the next month-and-a-half. I’m part of a relay team for the St. Anthony’s Triathlon and need to train for a mile-long, open water swim on April 25. Eek. Time to kick my aquatic training into gear! I like swimming, but it’s not usually something I look forward to doing.

After running the Disney Princess Half Marathon, all I really want to do is run. …

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

6 thoughts on “On a ‘Running High’ after Finishing the Disney Princess Half Marathon

  1. So PROUD of you. Hmm…the Boston half, perhaps you are referring to the Run to Remember? Talk about a flat course! It would be lovely if you came home for a visit and a run : )

    1. Thanks, Linz! And yes, that’s the half I’m referring to. The tri is at the end of April, though, so I don’t think I can run the half at the end of May. I’m leaning more toward the Minneapolis half, but we’ll see. I’d obviously love to see you in Boston! 🙂

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