Hello, runners! *waves*
If you take a look at your calendar, we’re getting close to showtime. Three more weeks until we’re running through clouds of glitter while earning our tiaras and glass slippers!
We’ve come far in this journey of surviving the Princess Half. A wide variety of areas have been covered so far, from pre-travel packing to course layouts. However, I have neglected to talk about one area, and that is for a specific purpose:
It deserves its own episode.
Glass Slipper Challenge runners, are you ready?!
Princess Half Marathon Survival Guide, Episode V: The Glass Slipper Strikes Back… How Not to Get Kicked Down the Palace Steps While Running 19.3 Miles.
For those of you that are going to be embarking on the challenge run that is GSC, I applaud your tenacity and motivation. 19.3 miles in two days is not an easy feat, so props for taking on the challenge! Whether this is your first GSC, or you’re like me and you’re heading for legacy status with your third, (or you’re even considering GSC in the future!), there are certain variables that are different with these types of runs that are in a league of their own when compared to a single run such as the 10K or the half. (Anyone that has completed Goofy, Dopey, Dumbo, or any other multi-day run can also attest to this).
This episode will take us into pre-race and race day logistics that will help you finish upright and with a smile on your face (and not kicked down the palace steps). This will also be a shorter episode than the others, but the information is just as critical.
Got your coffee and snackies? Great! Here we go…
First of all, did you arrange your packing to the reflect that you’re running two races? Two outfits, two sets of fuel, animals going two by two? Good.
Logistics: Reminder…if you signed up for the 10K and half seperately, you’re not eligible for the GSC medal. You HAVE to have signed up for the challenge in order to receive it.
When you head to the expo, you’ll go to the HP Fieldhouse. (Make sure you take your picture with the GSC banner at the WWOS entrance!)
All GSC-related things will be over here (check-in, bibs, gEAR bags, etc.). Since you signed up for the challenge, you will be receiving the goodies that come with running a challenge run. Yay goodies! Not only will you be getting three medals at the end of all of it, you will also get three tech shirts at the expo (10K, half, and GSC).
When you find your booth that corresponds with your bib number, you will be identified as a GSC runner. Once you receive your bib, the volunteer will point you in the direction of the photographer that will take your picture with you holding your bib. This is for confirming, at the end of the PHM when you’re getting your third medal, that you really are who you are. Other race series do this, and remember when I talked about bib bandits earlier? Yeah. This is why.
(This can also be found on p. 38 of the Event Guide.)
Deciphering Your Bib
When you receive your bib, you’re going to notice two letters in the upper corner. The first letter is your corral for the Enchanted 10K. The second letter is your corral for the Princess Half. YOU MUST WEAR THE SAME BIB DURING BOTH RACES. There are different designs for each race. GSC is different than the 10K or the half, and has a different numbering system.
Welcome to the first 6.2 miles of your journey! Yay!
The atmosphere for the 10K will not be as electric as it will be for the half-marathon. It will still be bumping, but with half as many people. I find this to be relatively relaxing, and the chaos levels are not as intense.
While you’re preparing for this first race, keep in mind the following:
-This is only day one. You won’t even hit the halfway mark with the total mileage for the challenge during this race. That’ll be at mile 3.45 during the half:
19.3 miles/2 days = 9.65 – 6.2 = 3.45
…therefore, I highly suggest that you do not go all out during this race, especially if you’ve never done a challenge race before. I speed-walked the 10K in 2015, and while my time suffered a whole hell of a lot, I felt decent for the half. You’re going to be excited and you’re going to want to take off like a rocket ship. I suggest that you don’t. You’ll be saving your energy reserves for the half, which is when you’re going to need them.
-Now, some of you may be gunning for a PR or a placement in this race, or the 10K is “your” distance and you know what to do. That’s totally fine. If you want to focus on this race and take it easy during the half, or vice versa, go nuts.
–There will be five corrals (as far as I know. This may change if the field becomes larger). Find your corral and line up. The staging will be in the Explore parking lot, so it’s not as nuts as the half where there are sixteen corrals lined up and down Epcot Center Drive.
-There will be characters along the route for the 10K, but you have no idea which ones will be there until you get there. I do not have a list and am not in charge of character placement, although that would be a super fun job to have.
-There is one major elevation change on this course, and it happens along mile 2 as you head up an overpass.
-After you finish the Enchanted 10K, you’ll get your medal and head down the finisher’s chute. There will be a seperate section for GSC runners. You will receive a wristband at this time indicating that you completed the first half of the challenge. FOR THE LOVE OF MICKEY MOUSE, DO NOT REMOVE THIS WRISTBAND. This is your ticket to getting your GSC medal at the end of the PHM on Sunday. (Updated note: 2014 had wristbands. 2015 did not. I’m curious to see what happens this year, so the wristband thing may or may not be a thing. We shall see!)
-After the 10K, make sure to keep it easy. Stretch out, keep moving, don’t overexert yourself by going nuts in the parks. You have to run a half marathon on Sunday! Eat well, rest, recover, and go. to. bed. early. It may be easier to sleep on Saturday night since you already put your body through 6.2 and change already….
WAIT. Sleep? Sleep is great! Hooray for bed!…
Now, before you sleep on Saturday…
-Did you put your bib on your half marathon outfit? You did? Good.
-Are you recharging electronics?
-Did you clear out your gEAR bag and put everything in it that you will need for Sunday post-race? (You will be using this for both days.) Is it hanging on the door?
-Did you stretch out and think happy thoughts? Yay 🙂
Princess Half Marathon
DAAAAAAAY TWOOOOOO! Woohoo!
I’m going to be honest with you: one of the biggest obstacles during the GSC is not necessarily on the course, but it’s about multiple days of waking up at ass-o’clock in the morning to run. Just be aware of this. (I can only imagine how Dopey runners feel during their challenge. Four days and 48.6 miles. Insane, and exceptionally admirable.)
You’re probably going to wake up feeling sore and tired. The degree of this soreness will be based on how much energy you exerted during the 10K, and if you decided to walk around the parks a whole bunch afterwards. If you trained well during the last few months, the pain should be mild. If not, you’ll probably be hurting more. The task of completing 13.1 is ahead of you, so now is the time to get focused.
Running can be far more mental than physical. Our bodies are capable of doing incredible things, but it’s up to your mind to get you there. Glass Slipper runners who run the PHM may be revolving their run around willpower, especially in the second half of the course. They may also encounter The Wall. This is a psychological and physical fatigue that can stop even the most elite runners in their tracks. It involves your glyco stores becoming totally depleted, resulting in a loss of energy. Loss of energy = everything goes kersplooey. If you see someone “hitting the wall”, it’s definitely not a pretty sight; there’s a lot of tears, frustration, sheer exhaustion, and talks of, “I can’t do this. I’m so done.” When you think you’re heading south, this is when all those motivational memes and pinterest pictures and songs you’ve been engrossing yourself in for the last four months can be utilized. Change your music if you need to, dig deep, and keep going. There’s shiny bling and bananas and bragging rights just beyond the finish line!
Make sure you eat breakfast (trust me on this; you’re body is screaming to be refueled, and you don’t want to hit the wall due to energy/fuel depletion!), and drink your beverage of choice. Check the weather. Make sure you have your bib and gEAR bag. It’s Princess Half time!!
-There will be twice as many runners from yesterday at this race. Keep this in mind as you’re navigating Runner’s Village and going to the corrals.
-You will be halfway done with the GSC at mile 3.45 (as per the math above).
-Run at your comfort level. If you need extra stretching after a mile or two, veer off the course and into the grass out of everyone else’s way. Your muscles will feel tight during this race to an extent. It’s important that you get to the finish safely.
-When you finish, head through the finisher’s chute just like yesterday. You’ll get your PHM medal first. Don’t freak out just yet….there is a seperate area for GSC runners as you continue on. When you see this, they’ll check your picture and bib number. If you’re clear to go, congrats! You’ll get your GSC medal!
-Embrace the clank and wear these medals around the parks! You deserve the extra jingle. (They’ll start wearing on your neck after awhile, so you might just wear the slipper medal.) If you plan on taking legacy pictures, or with any combination of medals thereafter, bring these with you!
-Post-race…you’re going to be tired. There’s no getting around this. Keep moving, stretching, and refueling, even if you don’t feel like eating (*guiltily raises hand*) . The powerade and snack boxes will help you tremendously, along with any other food you’re going to use. The DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) you’ll feel in the next few days or weeks is going to suck. Take care of yourself, and if anything hurts, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
Seems like a fabulous time, right? Run some miles, get some bling. Happy happy joy joy.
But it’s time now for the not-so-fun part…
If You Get Swept…
Hypothetically, if you’ve trained well, you shouldn’t have a problem finishing. That goes for any race. However, race days can be unpredictable, and 923847918273 things can happen that could derail your perfect day.
The bottom line for runDisney challenges: In the event that you get swept in either one of the races, you will NOT get your challenge medal.
Let me repeat that:
If you get swept as a GSC runner, you won’t get your challenge medal.
Yes, they do give out the individual medals.
No, they won’t make an exception for the GSC medal.
Challenges are challenges, and will be treated as such.
We have now covered all of the racing aspects of GSC/Princess Half weekend. If there is anything that hasn’t been answered yet, please ask it and I’ll do my best to provide an answer.
So you have the medals, your finish times are online, and you’re walking around with your Mickey waffle basking in the post-race high that accompanies the thrill of accomplishment. In the post-race hours, days, and weeks that are ahead, you will be experiencing physical and emotional changes that may affect you. Episode VI, Return of the Post-Race Blues, will be arriving soon…