But back to Disney. This picture sums up a lot about the race.
A few things to note:
- I am running with my eyes closed. As the race was supposed to start at 5:30 a.m., I decided that sun glasses would likely not be critical. Wrong.
- My tiara stayed in place for the entire 13.1 miles. A true testimonial to my princess-ness.
- There is a woman running in costume behind me. More on this later.
- There is the ultimate selfie being taken - can you spot the tell-tale arm?
- There appears to be a character behind me, with a line up of people wearing race numbers near this character.
- I still appear to be smiling.
I had a wonderful time. Let me start with that. I felt prepared, excited, ready for the challenge. My sister came from Montreal, my amiga Sarah from Whitby, Ontario and my amiga Marian from the UK. Yes, all the way from the UK. We stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Marian and I sat on our balcony the first morning and watched giraffes saunter by. High on the very cool list. It was so effing expensive it was ridiculous. But being together and knowing we would run together and then celebrate together was this extra amazing feeling of not only running and being these four amazing women, but the simple easy joy of having someone else who trained, suffered and traveled to do this thing with you is very special. A shout out to my girls. We are better than rock stars.
Now, on to some logistics organizers will never share and this blog post will likely get pulled for:
- Stay at Disney property. As we boarded the bus at 4 in the morning from our resort and rounded the corner to a line-up of traffic, cars and buses, trying to get to the race start, all four of us thanked all the gods that we were not driving that morning. In addition to usual pre-race jitters, driving ourselves would likely have just been awful.
- The "race start" was 5:30, and we were supposed to be in our corrals around 5. I am a slow runner, so I was in the second to last corral. I actually started to run at 6:39. I also seemed to walk for at least 2 kilometers from where you get off the bus to where you corral, and waited in line at the port-a-potties twice. For added training support, I would recommend, therefore, getting up at 3:15 and eating something, put on your running clothes and shoes, remembering not to tie your shoes too tight yet. Then sit around in your kitchen for 45 minutes. Go outside and walk around aimlessly for 2 kilometers, stopping to pee a few times and ensuring to re-adjust everything about your run outfit so there will be no chafing. Then stand, basically in one spot, for an hour and 15 minutes. THEN, and only THEN, start your training run. When you are about ten minutes from starting, re-tie your running shoes and wonder about if you need to pee again.
- The best advice I used this race was to purchase a second-hand throw away sweater, at Good Will, not one you actually like, and then you can toss it off just before you start to run. Pick one with a hood if you find one.
- There were 20,000 people who ran this race. That is about 10,000 too many. Many of the roadways you run are narrow and cannot accommodate the volume of people.
- You run three miles inside the parks. The other 10.1 is on the highway/service roads. Yes, seriously. There is very little crowd support, lots of water stops, and the only bathrooms without line ups start at mile 7.
- The race is pretty casual. Lots of walkers. People stopping to take pictures with their favorite characters who are at various spots throughout the run.
- Turning the corner in Magic Kingdom to a view of the castle was spectacular and almost worth the race price.
- Disney recommends no earphones. Bring music and earphones. There are a few bands along the way. The brass band at mile 2 was great, the DJ on the bridge was super fun, and the gospel choir at mile 12/13 was so amazing they made me weep, but the rest of the time, I was thankful for my own tunes.
A few tips for the non-serious runners who plan on running Disney:
- I get you want to run/walk. But putting your little hand up as you stop and walk RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME is really not cool.
- I know, I know, you want to keep all your friends posted on your latest status during the run. Step off to the side to update your status, don't stop in the middle of the road. The very same applies for selfies.
- Slow traffic usually moves over to the right. This includes you when you are running or walking and slower than others.
- Try to discard costumes OFF the raceway. This includes stopping to remove the tutu. Although watching you struggle to run, not trip keep your shirt and race number on and toss the pink fluffy skirt was amusing. Thanks for that.
- Figure out your play list BEFORE. You signed up for this darn thing MONTHS ago. You really need to meander down the road looking for that special song NOW? Oh, wait, maybe you were just checking that text from your mom... Of course, please, do that.
The next group run is the Rock 'N' Roll is Lisbon, Portugal, in October 2018. Who's coming?