I thought I’d start my Princess Half Marathon weekend recaps with a look at the race expo (if you didn’t see my first post-Princess recap, click here). Appropriately dubbed “Fit for a Princess,” the expo was pretty much the female runner’s heaven, with endless booths of must-have running gear and essentials along with girly apparel, sparkly jewelry, and plenty of other fun and festive accessories.
This was my very first race expo, so I feel I should mention that I really didn’t have anything to compare it to and pretty much had no idea what to expect during my entire race weekend experience.
That being said, I had read enough blogs and message board posts ahead of time to know that if I wanted a pair of those coveted RunDisney New Balance sneakers, that I had better get there early. I had already pre-ordered my Disney Princess Dooney & Bourke bag, so it was all about the sneakers that morning.
I had already changed my hotel to the Coronado Springs resort, which was hosting the expo this year, because I found a better deal through my annual pass discount than my original reservation at the Port Orleans French Quarter. I was lucky enough to be able to wake up around 7am and take a stroll over the expo, where I was amongst the first 20-something princesses in line for the sneakers.
After the New Balance folks helped organize us into an orderly line and directed us to their booth, I spent about 30 minutes waiting for my turn to try on a pair of the sneakers…and let’s just say that I may or may not have purchased both models, with the justification that my size 10W feet were probably better suited for the wider men’s pair…but I really wanted the women’s, too!
My next plan of attack was, of course, the RunDisney booth, where I was greeted with quite a surprise. It was 9:30 in the morning and the booth was absolutely and completely PACKED. I mean it, you could not move. I had to squeeze my way through what seemed a mile-long line of princesses just to LOOK at the merchandise.
Since I’m a crazy person and this was my first half marathon and I was oh-so-excited by all of the RunDisney goodies, my genius shopping strategy was to grab one of everything I MIGHT want, including the coveted “I Did It!” shirt, and then sort through what I was actually going to purchase while waiting in line (needless to say, I had some SORE arms the next day!). It wasn’t until well after 10am that I noticed that there was now a ridiculously long line formed by expo staff just let people into the booth, and I was almost denied re-admission when all I wanted to do was pick up my purse from the Dooney & Bourke table. CRAZY.
Then it was time to head to runner relations to get my corral changed, pick up my bib, my family’s ChEAR Squad gear, my race retreat wristband, my commemorative items — all of which required standing in separate lines, I might add — before jumping into the line that wrapped ALL THE WAY AROUND THE EXPO for packet pick-up.
I was planning on catching at least one of the speeches by the likes of Jeff Galloway or Ali Vincent from The Biggest Loser — a show that I watched all throughout my weight loss journey, and that continues to inspire me today — but by the time I had all of my must-do tasks taken care of, it was too late! Now that I’ve been through the half marathon experience, I’m hoping to be able to chill out a little bit and participate in more meet-and-greet activities during my Dumbo Double Dare weekend this summer (hint, hint, RunDisney, I’m going to need a spot at the meet-up!)
By this point, I was absolutely exhausted. I never did stop for a cup of coffee as originally planned on my way to the expo, and my stomach was growling, so I grabbed a bite to eat at the resort with my boyfriend (who was kind enough to help me lug my purchases back to the hotel room) and then hit the expo again to browse some new-to-me vendors, like SportHooks for my awesome “Once Upon a Run” medal hanger and Milestone Sports Jewelry for my beautiful runner heart necklace and earrings, as well as some of my tried-and-true favorites: Team Sparkle, BondiBand, and my newest obsession, Raw Threads, who released the adorable Mermaid shirt just in time for me to pre-order for the expo (so that was one line I got to skip!) and whose shirts are the absolute SOFTEST and COZIEST material ever and now I want to buy one for every day of the week. I was also particularly excited to buy the special Princess Half Marathon BondiBands and the Team Sparkle limited edition princess-inspired tees!
All in all, I spent a ridiculous amount of money — this running thing is still very new and exciting to me, and I couldn’t help myself — and while I will say that I wish the expo wasn’t so INSANELY crowded or that the lines just for essentials like packet pick-up didn’t go on forever (and ever…and ever…) it was still a great start to the weekend!