Another runDisney race in the books. Though really, with all their powers, I really wish Disney would figure out climate control. SO HOT.
For me, race weekend started on Friday at the Expo. Because of a scheduling conflict with a Spring Training game, the expo was held at Coronado Springs rather than at ESPN WWOS. This made things super crowded.
We got to the expo before it opened and discovered that people had gotten in line to buy the special runDisney New Balance shoes at 3:30 that morning! Thankfully, I wasn’t interested in the shoes. They are awesome, but not for me. Lots of people were interested though and that line was huge and snaked through the expo, blocking a lot of the vendors. I felt bad for those vendors.
We went first to the runDisney gear and were lucky to get in before the giant line formed. Experience pays off again! It was pretty crowded, so I didn’t get a chance to look, I just grabbed a few things I knew I wanted. Kind of a bummer to not get to browse, but I hate crowds like that, so I just wanted to get out.
Next, it was over to packet pickup. That went quite smoothly and there was a Perfect Princess (someone who had run all five Princess halfs, including this one) in front of me. She got an announcement and cheers and was given a tiara and a sash along with her packet. Very cute. Got my shirt with no trouble (I heard that later, there was a 30 minute line for race shirts, to the point where they shut down shirt pickup because it was just a mob scene) and went to browse the stalls. Unfortunately, it was super crowded, but because I was headed back to the resort the next day for a Zooma Meetup, I figured I could swing back by when it was less crowded.
And it certainly was less crowded, but still pretty packed. I think the venue was just not ideal – 26000 women runners = 26000 shoppers. We women like to shop, after all! Based on reactions from runDisney staff, I fully expect that next year will be much better.
Race morning arrived with some very thick air. Why couldn’t it be cool like it had been the previous weekend? Ugh. Got into costume and grabbed my throw-away blanket. I knew I wouldn’t need it to keep warm, but I thought it might be nice to sit on. I didn’t want to schlep it back home anyway.
Because we were staying at Bay Lake Towers, we took the Monorail over to the race start. Nice and easy. Which was good, because apparently, traffic was a nightmare. People on the resort busses stressed about being late. People driving from home or off-site hotels got stuck in the traffic as well. Apparently, that just continued the theme of the weekend – crowds.
We were in Corral C, and tried to start a big further back than normal. Since men weren’t allowed in Corrals A and B, the fast men were all in Corral C, and we didn’t want to get in their way. We did our best to stay off to the side and worked on running our intervals. They were slower than normal due to the crowds, but we were able to pretty much stick to them at first.
As I had anticipated, the course crowds never really cleared out. In a lot of races, the first mile or two is crowded. This race, every mile was crowded. We ended up walking more than normal just because we couldn’t get through! At a few points, the course was restricted by rows of traffic cones (Bob’s Barricades!) but runners still jumped through and ran on the open road. Not the smartest idea. Apparently, a woman got hit near the Polynesian because she ignored the cones. She was okay – the car was going slow, and she got up and kept running. But still. Not a good idea.
One thing I love about Disney races is how many people I know running. Multiple times, we came upon people I knew from ROTE or Facebook or even Twitter. Super fun.
Our end time? Not spectacular, but that’s not what Disney races are about, after all. Wasn’t my worst though, and it certainly felt much better than I did after my worst race! I know some people have been sort of lamenting that they got a new PW (personal worst) this race due to the heat and crowding. I say shrug it off! You finished!
After the race, we grabbed water, Powerade, snack boxes, and were off to meet up with friends. I liked that there were volunteers to help open the bottles, and there was a medical person forcing everyone to drink to help prevent dehydration. Smart thinking!
For me, Disney races are always a struggle, and that’s not just due to the crowds. It’s also due to the fact that I don’t prepare properly. If I’m running a half marathon on Sunday in the lead-up to the week before, I ease off on the workouts and rest up. I eat normally, maybe adding in a few more delicious carbs than normal. The day before the race, other than hitting up the expo, I rest. Maybe I do some stuff around the house, but mostly, I use it as my excuse to sit around and watch the tv shows I never watch.
But not at Disney! I want to make the most of my time there, so I’m always up on my feet, running around the parks, and having way too much fun. Even though I do “less” on the day before the race, I’m still tired from the previous days of park going. Do I regret this? Absolutely not. But it does play a role in how I do at the races. It’s a trade-off and one I’m happy to make.
So, all you Princesses out there – how’d you do?