How to Survive Princess Half Marathon Weekend – A Guide for Men



Preparation:
In some ways, Princess is just like other race events.  You sign up months ahead of time.  You do your training runs.  You make your travel arrangements. And, I'd say here is where the similarities end.

Long before the race weekend, your wife/girlfriend/daughter will begin talking  excitedly about costumes.  Don't bother fighting it.  Running in costume is actually a lot more fun than it sounds.  Go ahead and agree to cute, coordinated, or matching costumes.  She will likely ask as you to run as a Prince.  You should be flattered.  It will mean a lot to her, and keep in mind that Princess Weekend is about your princess, not you.

She might try to trick you into dressing as a Princess.  However, feel free to take a stand against tutus, tiaras, and sparkle skirts.  It is not mandatory, no matter what she tells you.  I managed to hold my ground, and run as myself, as a ‘DisneyGroom’ to be more precise.   Be prepared though, many dudes will be running dressed as Princesses.  They are easy to spot and they range from hilarious to…   
…let’s just say I’m still having nightmares.  (You will be grateful I am not posting pics here.  But feel free to google and don't say you haven't been warned.)



Expo:

The weekend starts with the expo.   Guys, this might well be your least favorite part of the weekend.  Tiaras, sashes, and pink sparkly things are everywhere.  

The wife is absolutely giddy here.  GIDDY! Maybe it is the shiny pants worn by the footmen.
Even if you don't particularly think of your wife as a 'girlie-girl', some magic spell seems to come over anyone that walks into these expos.  This is a place where your Princess can very easily go crazy with the Visa.  If you are married, try to pick-up your wife’s race packet without her attending the expo.  Good luck with that.  If you actually do manage to pull this off, please let me know how you did it.  Just a heads up, this race was chosen by my wife because she wanted some sort of expensive limited edition purse that you can only get at the Princess Half expo.  She is not alone.  The more popular merchandise booths resemble Black Friday doorbuster sales at your local big box electronics store.     
Line inside the expo, just to get into the runDisney booth
While at the expo, be prepared to be both a pack mule and a placeholder in the long lines.  You are there to take care of your Princess.  She will ask you to get in line and pay for items that she absolutely has to have.  She will turn into a teenager again, squealing excitedly when meeting and running into her Princess friends.  Soldier on my friend, it’s all worth it. 



Last year’s expo was held at Coronado Springs, a too small and entirely too crowded venue.  The cramped quarters and disorganized flow have been referred to by many as the Third Circle of Hell.  Not my words, but having experienced it firsthand, I’m not disagreeing.  Thankfully, it returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports complex this year - where there is an abundance of parking, expo floor space, and even a place to grab a beer and a bite to eat.  (Insert huge sigh of relief here!)
Just in case your Princess does want to devote an entire day to the expo, you can escape and find some relief.  Go off-property to the Bass Pro on International Drive and bask in the giant man-cave that it is. 
Ahhhhhh! I'm home.
  
Meet ups
Before the race last year, my wife attended a “Princess Tea” at the Grand Floridian.  I’m not exactly sure what this means other than she drank some tea and ate some sandwiches that are about the size of a Ritz cracker.   Regardless of the cost, send your wife!  She still talks about this event and will be attending another Princess Tea again this year.   This is a great opportunity to bank brownie points for the future (I used mine to buy a rifle.  Yes, enough brownie points to buy a rifle!).  Also, you can use 'Tea Time' to track down a few other guys visiting for the weekend and have a beer.
There are many other meet ups over the weekend.  Many bloggers and various facebook groups organize gatherings at runDisney weekends.  To find out more about these for this upcoming Princess Half weekend, you can check out this blog post from Just Me and My Running ShoesSome of these meet ups will have a group of men off in the corner looking confused.  Feel free to introduce yourself to them.  Much like you, they are making sure their wives/girlfriends/daughters have a good time – and a large part of this includes meeting other women to discuss sparkly Princess things.  Every moment you facilitate her spending time with other Princesses, is time well spent.  Keep in mind: the brownie points.
The Race itself
A few quick facts about the 10K and the Half Marathon. 
1) These are women’s races.

2) Guys are allowed to run.  Unlike other races themed for women, the Disney Princess Half Marathon (and the Tinker Bell Half marathon) does allow men to register. 
3) Men are not permitted into the first two corrals.  So, even if you’re an elite athlete, you will be further back that you expect to be.  This all goes back to allowing your Princess to shine. 
I can provide you with firsthand information about the Princess Half Marathon.  It is a bazillion women and about 87 guys.  OK, not quite:  2013 saw 21,238 female finishers and  1,501 male finishers.  This isn't counting the number of runners swept at the event that didn't finish.  But the ratio is still impressive.

On race morning, surrounded by tens of thousands of Princesses, you can't help but feel like a king.  Never in your life will women be as excited to see you as they are during this half marathon.  There are so few of us that it seems like you get all this extra attention, extra high-fives, extra cheers, extra photo ops, etc.  You will have a taste of celebrity status.  Don’t let it go to your head.  Your celebrity status disappears after race weekend. 
I had fears about throngs of angry women annoyed to have a guy running the Princess Half Marathon.  I've been thinking that perhaps this only applies to the guys that run really fast and finish up front. It was definitely not the case for me.  Everyone was very kind and I did not hear a single negative remark.  I really had an amazing time!  My recap of the 2013 race can be found here.
This is probably the best time to add a little advice for any single male runners looking for a single female runner.  SIGN UP AND RUN THIS RACE!  The weekend is full of thousands of single, active, and beautiful women.  I am tired of hearing guys saying they can’t find a girlfriend that 'gets' his endurance running.  Skip a step and find a woman who runs.  It’s a win-win situation. 
Yep. Win-Win.  We are both exhausted and extremely
happy here upon completing our first half marathon.


After the Race
It is standard practice to wear your medal the rest of the weekend.  It’s a little awkward because the medal is a small tiara, however, your Princess will appreciate it.  I admit I was relieved to see that the 2014 medals are not on pink ribbons.


Upon your return to your castle, enjoy all the benefits that you have accrued by running with your Princess.  She will fondly remember the weekend for quite some time.  You may find yourself encouraging her to attend in future years.  You may even find yourself looking forward to running with her again. 
I'll be back this year running the Royal Family 5K and the Glass Slipper Challenge, made up of the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon.  If you find yourself at Princess Half weekend, feel free to tweet me @Disney_Groom.  Whenever I’m not ensuring my Princess has a great time, I am always up for a beer or a trip to Bass Pro. 
To paraphrase the words of the World’s Most Interesting Man- "I don’t always run the Princess Half Marathon.  But when I do, my Princess has an amazing weekend. " 
Princesses, please share this post with your Prince/Space Ranger/Husband/Boyfriend accompanying you.  They need to know what to expect.

See you at PHM!
-DisneyGroom


Check out other 2014 Princess Half Marathon Weekend related blog posts on the Virtual Blog Hop.

23 comments

Hahahaha I loved this post SO much - laughing the whole time!! (I even sent it to my husband to read for him to enjoy as well)

I ran this race last year, and my husband was part of the ChEar squad, but he plans to run it with me sometime in the future for sure!

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I am glad you enjoyed the blog. Hope to see both of you at a future race. If your husband needs a break from all the Princess festivities, I would be happy to have a beer with him. -DG

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This is a FANTASTIC post! Totally laugh out loud funny and I so clever. :) Nice work! -Christine

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Thanks Christine! I hope this post brings more guys to the weekend. If any needs to join me for BBQ and Bass Pro Shops, I’ll likely be seeking a few minutes of refuge Saturday afternoon. -DG

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This was SO cute! If you are not wearing a sparkle skirt or tutu how will I ever pick you out of the crowd...lol! i'll be in your corral!

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Great post! I am definitely sharing this with my prince although he has been amazing supporting me thus far! He runs a few races each year, but he mostly cheers me on at my races! I think he will enjoy knowing that he is not alone :) -Heather @ Run Heather, Run

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Not wearing a sparkle skirt or tutu should make it easier for you to find me. I am the one that will have trouble recognizing you. With so much glitter, sparkle, and neon my eyes don’t adjust for the first couple of miles. Make sure to say hello! I'll keep an eye out for you. -DG

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He is not alone. I will leave no man behind! -DG

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I am sure he would love that!

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This is adorable and so funny! Great write up from a males perspective. Your lady is a lucky one to have you so agreeable!

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Great post! Princess 2012 was the first race for both me and my husband. I will always love him for running a "girl's race" with me, and he proudly wore his medal around, and still wears the race shirt to the gym to this day.
This year I'm running the Glass Slipper Challenge, too. My husband is coming too, but he's not running this year. I'm encouraging him to go play golf while I'm running, but now that you mention it, maybe he should go play while I'm at the Expo!

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Thanks! I just hope people find it helpful. My wife is a very lucky lady. However, I am the one that truly lucked out! -DG

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Princess 2013 was the first half for both DB and me. I also still wear my race shirt. For all the reasons outlined in the blog, I do not recommend sending your husband to the golf course while you hit the expo. At least he knows what to expect. Good Luck with your races! I hope to run across you on the course. -DG

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This is a fabulously awesome post. I shared it with my boyfriend - he won't be running with me, but I think he will appreciate all the advice even as a spectator! I'm sure he has no idea what he's getting into, although he did support me for a women's only half marathon in the fall, but at a much smaller scale. There is nothing quite like Disney!

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Nothing is like Disney. Good to know he will have a better idea of what’s going on. I came into this race pretty blind last year. Good luck with your race(s). -DG

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Fun post! LOVE seeing princesses share the weekend with their men.... My husband is not a runner, though I would love for him to experience the fun one time.....maybe a 10k....

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This is hysterical. Please feel free to send any single male runners you know my way. ;)

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You could always do what DB did to me. Three easy steps. 1. Sign him up for a race. 2. Hand him the registration (or just pick up his packet). 3. Congratulate him on entering the race. -DG

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How do I love this post- let me count the ways! 1. Don't fight it. 2. Pack mule mentality. 3. Expo magic spells. 4. I personally love a man in a tutu and/or tiara. Your bride is one lucky gal!!! I'm so glad we got to meet last month, and I'll be looking for you in 2 weeks; can't wait to see YOUR costume. Thanks so much for joining the hop- it was such a pleasure including the male perspective!!

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LOVE THIS!! I do love that Disney encourages men to run their women focused races.

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Love this post! Funny and true! The only downside is that now my husband thinks he should get enough retroactive brownie points from PHM last year and the Wine & Dine expo for his own rifle! Great post!

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This is great! Heh! I have to say, it was encouraging to see the men getting into the spirit of the race at last year's Princess Half.

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LOL I Love this! It is awesome and entirely accurate. My husband ran the 10K with me and he was definitely VERY appreciative of the beer service at the expo.

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