2018 Princess Half Marathon Expo Recap

This 10th anniversary Princess Half weekend was filled with numbers and significance. Not only was it celebrating five years of the Fairy Tale/Glass Slipper Challenge, but I was also celebrating a milestone of five years running!

I went into the weekend with goals in mind, namely hitting my first sub-hour 10K and an even more ambitious goal of cracking the 2:30s for the half. I should have known better than to make goals for this race. The crowds and course layout make it almost impossible. Plus, weather is always a factor.

Anyway, I was determined to have a little fun this weekend. I started off at the expo, which had a new layout as the new arena had opened.

First stop was picking up my bib. I had submitted a 1:12 10K POT, so I was hoping to have netted a decent corral.

Yup, corrals C and E. Major improvements! 🎉🎉

Perfect Challengers got light blue bibs with the “Perfect” designation. Whenever volunteers pulled these out, everyone cheered. That was a cool feeling. 🙂

I continued on, checking out the sights and sounds:

In the arena, the official runDisney merch was displayed. However, the first day of the expo, which is notoriously crowded and ridiculous, had a seperate queue waiting to enter the merch area that had a two hour wait.

^^merch area…

^^holding queue. No thanks.

So I jumped in line for the characters and got some last minute advice from Tiana, who is one of my top three!

My pink bow reminded her of Lotte! 🎀

I returned the next day to take in more of the expo and not be rushed around, and to meet friends.

My California runner friend, Sarah! ⬇️

I met Jeff Galloway four years ago for my first Glass Slippe Challenge. It was only proper to reintroduce myself and pick up a copy of one of his books for extra BQ in Berlin motivation!

I also ran into Heather Schulz (@heatherrunz), who is an elite runner whom I’ve admired for years. We always take an expo picture together and get caught up on life. 🙂

I was hanging down by the arena again people watching (expos are great for that!), and I saw that the Playalinda Brewing Co. was set up. I harp on myself to not drink before races, but the Glitter Brew Wheat Ale seemed too good not to pass up! (Hint: not brewed with actual glitter.)

I finally got my way into the runDisney merch section, and while things were cute, I couldn’t justify spending exorbitant prices for things.

For example, the medal rack below, while covered in glitter and super adorable, was $75. I could make my own for far less.

I left the expo with just a few practical things in hand and feelings of excitement. It blows my mind how I could return to this very race year after year and still celebrate the past and look forward to the future in my running career. Always look back on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.

It was time to get this weekend started!

Next up: Enchanted 10K Recap!

2017 Princess Half Expo Reminders

It’s almost here!! Who’s excited?! 🎉🎉

One thing that every runDisney runner had to do is head to the expo. Not only will you pick up your bib, shirts, and other race day things, you’ll also get to browse around and check out the many vendors in the Josten’s Center and HP Fieldhouse. Below are the hours for the 2017 PHM Expo:

A couple of reminders from runDisneyBelle about runDisney expo-isms:

  1. If you are running the 5K on Friday, you must attend the expo on Thursday to pick up your stuff. If you’re running GSC, you must attend by Friday to get your stuff. If you’re running only PHM, come by Saturday to get your stuff.
  2. Make sure you have your race waiver signed (you can print this out at the expo), and your ID ready to hand in. Upon checking in with the volunteer at your bib station, you’ll will also sign a big book next to your bib number indicating you’ve picked up your bib.
  3. Glass Slipper runners will have their picture taken with their bib. This helps expedite the process of verifying challenge runners when it comes to receiving your third medal at the conclusion of the half.
  4. Enjoy the expo, walk around, see what there is to see. Don’t spend all day here, though. You don’t want to wear out your legs just walking around! For those that haven’t been here, there are stairs you’ll have to navigate, and it can be a bit of a distance from where you park to the entrance.
  5. Be patient if the line to actually get IN to the expo is long and winds its way around and around. There’s 25,000+ runners attending this weekend, so pack your patience and a well-charged phone.
  6. Make sure to get your picture with the race banners!


2015 GSC


There are also characters at the expo, too!


While the expo may be a lovely place to get lost in and look at all the shiny things, one concept does stand out over the rest…


It’s just stuff.

There is no sense getting violent and crazy over stuff.

Don’t ruin your racecation, or anyone else’s, by fighting over wine glasses and overpriced t-shirts.

I understand some of you are diehard collectors, but be mindful of where you are, the audience around you, and the purpose of this weekend: it is not to see who can sell a runDisney Dooney to the highest bidder on eBay. It is to promote friendship and magical memories through athletic activities and accomplishing your dreams through running and camaraderie. Remember…the internet is forever. Mind your manners.




See you real soon!!!



Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Expo Volunteer Experience


To kick off this D.C. racecation, I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for the RnR DC weekend by my fellow Team Shenanigans member, Jenn (@Jenneral1 on Twitter!). I arrived at the D.C. Armory around 8:45 on Friday morning ready to work and give my fellow runners a fantastic experience.

The majority of the volunteers would be downstairs in the basement doing corral check-ins and changes. After receiving instructions from the Race Crew supervisors, Jenn and I called dibs on the Corral Change booth.

Yep, Team Shenanigans was in charge of making decisions.

For those that have never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, the corral changes for this series is a LOT easier than, say, runDisney. RnR corral changes are based purely off of an honour system. If you know that you’ve been training at a faster pace than the corral you are placed in, you can request to be bumped up. We make a little tally mark on the spreadsheet for statistical purposes and to make sure the corrals are filled evenly. That’s all! (There were many comments of, “That was so easy!” It is. You don’t have to sacrifice your firstborn or sell your soul to transfer corrals.)

One of the most humbling things I experienced during my time at the corral change booth was being asked questions and confidently giving advice to other runners about pacing and to provide corral options. Jenn said that it is better that experienced runners are at this booth to act as a mentor and source of information. It was awesome seeing many runners walk over with a harried, worried facial expression about their corral placement and leave with a smile and newfound energy to rock their race day.

Plus, it was great seeing runner friends, Ken (#kenthumbsup) and Malinda of @TwinsRun!!

Around 3:00, I jumped over to Corral Check-Ins. Around this time, until 7:15 or so, the traffic picked up a bunch, and volunteers were leaving their morning shifts. At one point, I was manning two corral sections due to the area being temporarily understaffed. I was put in this chaotic situation many times last summer—I worked for a whitewater rafting company, and the pre-rafting paperwork/logistics craziness that would occur in the hour before everything was to start (which I called “Power Hour”) truly prepped me for these Corral Check-In tables. (Thank you, Three Rivers crew!)


(…after the storm at 7:15 PM. It was quiet. Too quiet….)

Our Race Crew leaders were incredibly hospitable. They made their rounds roughly every hour or so, making sure we were fed and watered appropriately. (I ate so many fruit snacks and Cheetos it was unreal.) We also got lunch and time to explore the expo. They made it known that our service and time were greatly appreciated. (If it isn’t for the volunteers dedicating themselves for however long they will be there, these races will not have the same fluidity. So make sure you thank your volunteers when you see them!)


I will be more than happy to volunteer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series again. I had a fantastic experience, and I encourage anyone that is even thinking about volunteering to do so. I noted that the majority of the crowds at this expo were very friendly towards us volunteers, even during peak periods. There was no drama, nothing getting broken, no craziness… just smiles and thank yous. It’s very different being on the other side, but volunteering gives you a better perspective on everything a race weekend needs to run right.


Next up, the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 5K!

2016 Princess Half Marathon Merchandise Preview

There’s a week left until the fun and fantasy of PHM weekend begins! Before every race, there is a merchandise preview of commemorative items that will be available at the expo. Our friends over at the Disney Parks Blog released this information today!

PHM Merch 1Princess Merch 2

Princess Merch 3princess merch 4Princess Merch 5


Also new for 2016 is the “Glitter and Go” makeover experience. At the HP Fieldhouse, princesses can get the royalty treatment with a package that includes a hair twist, light makeup, shimmering lip gloss, a face gem, and a light-up Princess tiara. Reservations are on a walk-in basis for those 3 and up. Retail is $19.95 + tax. Hours for this experience are 10-6 Thursday and Friday, and 8:30-4 on Saturday.


What will you be taking home from the expo?!

Original article: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/02/glitter-and-go-with-new-products-for-disney-princess-half-marathon-weekend-2016/


Princess Half Expo!


Day two involved traveling to the ESPN Wide World of Sports and exploring the expo! I had set up a budget prior to leaving Pennsylvania and I was determined to not go hog wild buying a lot of things.


The bus from the hotel did not immedately stop at the WWoS, so I knew I was going to have to bus hop. I teamed up with another woman, Vy from California, who was also going to the expo, to get on the right bus! We went to EPCOT, then Pop Century to the runDisney bus. We had great talks about other runDisney things and about what we do for our careers. Enjoying the sunshine, we made our way (finally!) to the expo!

We stuck together and agreed to do character pictures! I’m 27, and I’ve never done character pics before in my life.


While we were in line for Snow White, the cast member mentioned that Cinderella was arriving in about five minutes. What luck!!


Vy and I got our photos taken in front of the Children’s Miracle Network backdrop. I knew I wasn’t going to be taking a lot of pictures on teh course during the races, so it was the perfect time to go picture crazy!


Another highlight was purchasing one of the runDisney MagicBands (in pink, of course!). When I saw the preview on the runDisney Facebook group, I knew that I wanted one, so I budgeted for its purchase. I went to the woman at the booth and to my surprise, there were quite a few still left in both pink and blue. She had mentioned that the previous day, the Dooney and Bourke bags had sold like hotcakes. Only 2,000 were printed, and they were gone within hours. Who knew that something such as a handbag could be so coveted?


I do enjoy browsing about and taking pictures of all the things. I believe it helps to curb impulse spending.


I finished the browsing of the expo and headed back, ready to run like a princess!