Behind The Scenes

SportsCenter‘s Sage Steele reflects on her Disney Princess Half Marathon

Editor’s note: ESPN’s Sage Steele has been keeping an updated video blog of her progress with the Disney Princess Half Marathon for espnW for the past two months. To view the archive, click here. She’s also provided additional perspective to Front Row. Here’s the last installment on her successful journey.

By 8:06 Sunday morning at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., Sage Steele had completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It only took her 2 hours, 16 minutes and 9 seconds to run the 13.1 miles — her first official race at that distance. Still, she made sure to stop along the way for pictures with the Disney Princesses.

Still recovering a day later, Steele said the months of training wasn’t easy.

“I struggled a lot to find time with my busy home life, weather and work. The treadmills were the worst,” she said. “I could’ve trained better, but with my kids, I did my best.”

During the race through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Theme parks, Steele was relaxed. She wasn’t concerned with the time; she just wanted to run her race and feel good doing it.

Her strategy?

Running alongside Joslyn Dalton of espnW and Kira Karlstrom of ESPN Creative Services, Steele started with a four-minute run. She followed by an alternating sequence of running for 40 seconds and walking for 20 seconds.

By the end of the race, she was feeling strong and confident: “For the last 1 1/2 miles we didn’t stop, we really pushed it. We passed hundreds of runners, proof that his [Jeff Galloway, her running coach] method worked. I sprinted because I had the energy.”

At the finish line her husband, parents and kids were all waiting with signs, flowers, hugs and of course, cowbells.

But it wasn’t just the familiar faces that inspired Steele.

“Hearing the cheers of the women, I felt like I won. And ESPN, starting with Joslyn, has been so supportive and positive,” she said. “I’m really thankful for what everyone has done. It was very emotional and well, magical.”

Before I had the chance to ask her if she would do it all again, she said: “When I do another half marathon, I’m going to do my best to pick one during the warm months. The weather really affected me, mentally.”

With spring approaching, perhaps the sequel is much closer than you think.