2018 Enchanted 10K Recap

Saturday. 2 AM.

The mornings come early and miles even moreso. With the I-4 expansion project, the exit closest to where I’m at in Orlando is shut down at night. I had to leave earlier than expected to take a different route. No biggie, I still arrived obnoxiously early around 3:30 AM.

After many minutes of chilling, I headed into the runner’s village. I LOVE the fact that the 10K has such a smaller field than the half. I can move around and breathe and not feel trapped.

My team, Team Shenanigans, trickled in and we met up near the A-F bag check where another member, Kenny, was volunteering.

We also snagged a picture with the lovely balloon ladies!

My Sparkly Soul sister, Caroline, and I also met up for a pre-race picture!

We headed to the corrals and I was pretty excited line up with Corral C.

I was hanging out when a woman came running up to me. She recognized me from Instagram, and I the same. It was Dana (@ladysoup4)! It was amazing to finally meet in person!

*insert pre race stuff*

*fireworks*

With the mini waves, corrals were sent on a fairly regular basis. In no time, we were sent on our way.

I had an A goal of sub-1:00. My first mile was a 10:34. Steady. I was also running with music, which I hadn’t done in years. I mean, who could not run to The Greatest Showman?

Then I hit the hairpin turn by mile 1.5 and hit a wall of people.

I kept up the speedwalking and got a quick run break after mile 2. From 2-3, I had some open road where I’d run a distance, have a walk break, rinse and repeat.

Then those walk breaks became more frequent as the wall of runners got heavier heading into World Showcase.

Who can resist a runDisney World Showcase picture? Not I!

I slowed down and started to enjoy the scenery a little more. Country representatives were cheering and waving flags. The sun was slowly peaking. Torches were lit and the countries had that pink glow to them.

The Enchanted 10K soon became the Wildlife 10K when I descended the hill into Boardwalk. To my right, I saw a small pile of ducks that looked like they wanted to cross. I ran over clamoring, “Oh my goodness you’re so cuuuute!”, took a pic, and with the help of another runner, started ushering them across the roadway while calling out, “Ducky crossing!”

Now that my heart was full of fuzzies, I continued on.

Found some more Shenanigators!

And some funny signs:

The sun was about to rise as I entered Yacht Club, which, in my opinion, is the best part of the whole weekend.

Right ahead of me at Yacht Club, this beautiful Great Egret was chilling on the ropes. Perfect photo opportunity!

Best on-course picture I’ve ever taken. My slow pace was absolutely worth it for this postcard-worthy shot!

And then it flew away. Ha.

The rest of this section was picturesque as it has been the last four times I’ve run it.

Reentering back to World Showcase, I had to use the loo for the first time all race. There was an area by the Port of Entry so I ducked in.

Men’s room, of course 😛 When there’s no one in there, you take advantage of that!

EPCOT in all its beauty:

My time ended up being a 1:35:04. WAY off from my time goal, but with the scenery and pictures I got, it was worth it.

AND HOW ABOUT THIS MEDAL?!

Fifth Enchanted 10K complete, and, of course, I brought my other babies with me for a Perfect picture!

One down, one to go. Next up: 2018 Princess Half Marathon!

2017 Enchanted 10K Recap

I’ll be totally honest with you all: my 2017 Glass Slipper Challenge did not go like I thought it was going to. Both of my races were awful, I couldn’t poop pre-race (and most of the weekend) which caused a whole slew of issues, and I had to walk for 90% of the miles due to side stitches starting from mile 2 of the 10K and stemming over into the next day.

The weekend wasn’t all bad, though: I did PR in photography, saw a kick ass sunrise during the 10K, ran into some super cool runners on the course, and hung out with my teammates and We Run Social crew at meetups!

This will be a two-part recap, with meetups and whatnot in between. Let’s start with the Enchanted 10K on Saturday…


Alarm goes off at 2:30AM, and I lay in bed until 2:40AM. I finally get the energy to get up, dress, and scramble out the door a little after three. I was staying over in Old Town Kissimmee a little farther down from where I usually stayed at, and my GPS decided to send me in a funky direction down Rt. 536. This put me in a panic, since it was unfamiliar territory and I’m such a stickler of getting to a race site waaaaaay before I need to. I finally ended up at EPCOT, but man, that was a few minutes of chaos that I didn’t need.

Upon parking, I realized that I didn’t have my gear check bag. Greeeeeeat. The morning was starting off real swell. I put on some tunes and tried to think happy thoughts as I saw runners heading towards the staging area. Around 3:50, I exited my car and made my way over. I headed to my gear check tent and asked the volunteers if they had any spare bags. Lo and behold, they did! Woohoo!

I asked why we didn’t received gear check stickers like in years’ past, and Evelyn replied that only 18-20% of runners actually use the bags, so it just cuts down on paper waste by having the volunteers fill out the bib numbers on the stickers while you’re there.

I stood around for a little while, checking into social media and waiting for my team to arrive at our typical meetup spot by the O-Z tent. The temperature was in the mid 60’s with 94% humidity. Perfect weather!

Soon Team Shenanigans arrived and we got our obligatory picture:

We dispersed and I went over to where the main crowd was by the stage. I finally got to meet my running twinsie, Lindsay!!

After watching a new trailer for Beauty and the Beast (they went all out in promoting the movie this race weekend. I liked it!), we started the journey to the corrals. People, anthem, fireworks. Yay.

There were no characters or Fairy Godmother during this weekend to send us off! I was really disappointed! Anyone else?

I was in corral D, and I finally got to experience this “mini wave” thing that had been implemented for the past few runDisney races. It was…interesting. I felt like I got ¼ of a mile down the road before the next set of runners were sent off.

I was cruising along during mile one, and it would be my best mile of the whole weekend: 10:47. Once I hit the hairpin turn to ascend the hill, I started feeling crampy on my left side. This soon turned into walking breaks…and I couldn’t run. Full-blown side stitch. Holy crap, this was painful! I held my side as I tried to walk it off, and it just wasn’t happening. On the descent of that hill, I peeked over to see who was hanging out at that character stop, and noticed an all-too familiar trucker hat peeking out…it was Jen from We Run Social!! Of course, had to stop for a picture and hugs.

The rest of mile 2 and 3 were slow and steady. I altered my posture so I was leaning slightly back rather than forward, and that alleviated a lot of the pain in my ribcage. My mile three was four minutes faster than mile 2  (11:59 vs. 16:22), which was a nice boost.

Then I hit EPCOT. My favorite part of the entire race weekend!!

I cruised under the China gateway and ran right into another We Run Social sister, Steffany (and totally crashed her Facebook Live)!

From there, it was pictures all around!

Is this Disney magic?!” Yes, yes it is.

I finished in 1:34:46. The medal…freakin’ gorgeous.

Next up: 2017 Princess Half Marathon!

The Great runDisney Debate…To GSC or Not to GSC?

So…here we are.

Princess Half registration is coming.

Glass Slipper registration is coming.

Usually I’d be bouncing off the walls with anticipation.

But this year? Not so much.

For the first time since 2012, I haven’t felt the same pangs of anticipation and happiness like I typically do for my signature runDisney event.

Honestly, I feel…hollow. Numb. Apathetic.

Can I even say…burned out?

InsideOut

I’ll admit, runDisney is highly addicting. The feeling when you run down Main Street U.S.A. toward the castle cannot be replicated. Accomplishing your fitness goals at the Happiest Place on Earth yields the same reaction. The energy and camaraderie (for the most part) is contagious among veterans and firsties alike, and we’re all in it together to get across the finish line. In subsequent years, you give back and become one of those cheerleaders/kinda-sorta “runDisney Experts” and offer your advice and words of wisdom through social media and IRL.

It’s exciting and thrilling…but also mentally draining, and…perhaps to an extent…

Unfulfilling?

I have been debating heavily for a few weeks now (and the thoughts have crossed my mind for months) about registering for 2017’s Glass Slipper Challenge. For those that have followed my blog and socials, you know that this is my signature weekend: PHM 2013 was my first ever race, I’m on track to be a GSC legacy (three for three so far!), and I wrote an entire PHM Survival Guide last year detailing multiple aspects that runners should be aware of when they meddle in the middle of the magical mess* that is runDisney.

(*If you got the “Cabinet Battle #2” Hamilton reference, give yourself a gold star.)

When I went down for GSC this year, I felt mentally prepared. I essentially reviewed everything I knew through my Survival Guide and couldn’t have been more prepared logistically. Physically, however, was a different story. (For those wondering, little to no fiber + long days = massive stomachaches and no PRPs.) When I finally arrived to do the race weekend, I felt like I was going through the motions: go here for packet pick up, browse the expo, spend money on some things (or not at all!), sleep/wake/leave/arrive at ass-o-clock in the morning, be herded into intensely packed corrals, run or run/walk the courses, take pictures, say hi to people, update socials along the way, cross finish line, get medal, rinse and repeat.

I’ve done the above list for four years now.

Looking at it…I don’t feel inclined to do it again. At all.

Hell, I don’t even feel like writing about anything PHM-related. (I tried doing an updated registration blog post, and I deleted it halfway through writing.)

Is it possible that this is my time with PHM/GSC is drawing nigh?

My brain says yes, and my heart is close behind.


There are far more reasons behind my decision-making than emotions, obviously. A viral blog post by Chris Smith (@DopeyRunr) of Team Shenanigans made its rounds through the runDisney world after Star Wars Dark Side weekend, which you can read here:

http://teamshenanigans.org/breaking-up-with-rundisney/

I’ve reread this several times and realized that many of my decisions to potentially give runDisney/Princess weekend a rest align with what he wrote. So, here I am to give my two cents…


1. Increase in Pricing, Decrease in Magic

We all know that runDisney is all that and a bag of marshmallows, and it ain’t cheap by ANY stretch of the imagination. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have spent to run these races in the last four years. However, for the cost that runners shell out just for registration fees, you would think that runDisney would step up their hospitality, especially since prices have increased dramatically within the last few years. In the past, there have been complimentary park registrations and goodies out the wazoo. Nothing like that is seen anymore, except for maybe the free parking fee on the morning of the races if you’re driving yourself to EPCOT. (Hey, $20 is $20. I’ll save wherever I can!)

The quality of the runDisney Experience has taken a severe nosedive in recent years, and it affects runners and non-runners alike. Tempers do run high, especially with PHM weekend. Ask yourself this: is it really worth shelling out $1000+ for a weekend just to see women fighting over wine glasses and breaking things at the expo? To watch non-runners stock up on runner-specific merchandise just to turn around and upsell it on eBay? To witness fellow runners demoralizing each other over social media through virtual catfights and name calling? To run through 13.1 miles with two character stops (when in years’ past, there would be no less than eight or nine)? To contract transportation companies with little to no knowledge about how Disney operates their bussing systems, resulting in stranded runners needing medical assistance in hot, non-shaded parking lots?

This is the sort of “Disney Magic” (or lack thereof) that deters me from participating again. With every race, the quality steps down another two or three notches. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

(Side note: can someone update the runDisney website? Please? And maybe hire a PR team to answer inquiries on a timely basis? runDisney is really lost with this whole communication thing and it loses major points every time I log on and see that the website hasn’t been updated since 2012 or something.)

2. The Racing World Extends Beyond the Walls of WDW

This is one of the biggest points I’m making with this list. There ARE other race series other than runDisney, which is something I’ve had to beat into my head recently. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC 5K in March and absolutely loved it. I’ve also run the Marine Corps Series and will be experiencing the NAFHALF in September, the Vacation Races series in November with the Everglades Half. The Hot Chocolate 15K series is another one I want to experience, as well, plus the World Marathon Majors….etc.

 

 

See what I mean?

99% of the time, these other races are far cheaper than a single race or challenge run that runDisney offers. For example, I calculated that I could do at least four RnR fulls ($80-ish/race) or halfs ($70-ish/race) for the price of Glass Slipper (around $330 for two races).

Plus, these series are offered in areas where I haven’t traveled yet, and I LOVE TO TRAVEL! Win-win.

I also have other racing goals on my mind, specifically accomplishing the World Marathon Majors and earning Hall of Fame status with Rock ‘n’ Roll. GSC legacy status is wonderful and everything, and the concept early on was enticing…but it doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I want to experience something new and fresh, and by stepping away from runDisney, I can achieve that.

3. Virtual Races Are Really Not That Bad

I have always detested virtual races.

Personally, I’ve always thought that they were never “real races”, and that people would do them as a cheap cop-out for running IRL.

Well, I’m here to apologize for that assumption. Virtuals are not that bad after all.

I experienced my first ever virtual race when I went to Atlanta at the end of June. Chris and I ran the #OrlandoUnited 5K, bibs and all. It was sunny (87 degrees with humidity around 60%), very uncomfortable, and I felt like I was gonna die (we Northerners do NOT like the heat!)…but we coached each other through and took walk breaks when we needed to. We finished around 45 minutes, and we also ran for a really great cause: through this race, Final Mile Race Management raised $100k+ for the families of the Orlando tragedy. I am SO proud to be a part of that, and we earned cute medals!

I’m here to renounce my seemingly profound hatred for virtual races, and I honestly look forward to signing up for more.

4. World Marathon Majors…London-Bound?

London-Marathon-Jess-Medal

Let’s jump back to #2 for a second. The World Marathon Majors is a lifetime goal of mine. My name is currently in the lottery for the London Marathon, and I’ll find out in October if I’m selected. The money that I would be using for GSC would easily go to my travel expenses. This is a hypothetical factor, obviously.

But what if I don’t get selected for London? What else can I do to kickstart my WMM journey? Fundraise for Boston, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

5. Adulting Priorities—Financials

rundisney money

The biggest concern, of course, is the financial aspect. Judging by how much I’ve spent in the past for runDisney events, it is very easy to plunk down upwards of $1000 or more on a racecation here. With rent and transportation eating up a good chunk of my paycheck nowadays, I have to be very careful where I spend my fun money. Glancing back at point #1, the prices seem to rise for runDisney (and Disney in general) every time you turn around. By cutting out one race weekend, I can easily save (and allot for cheaper races, or funnel it into London, for example).

I did both the WDW Marathon and GSC this year, and had to get very creative on a limited budget for even the basic necessities. (Staying off-site at a hotel I found on groupon.com saved me SO much.) Don’t get me wrong, I did sign up for 2017 Goofy, so I am committed to that. I may make that my only runDisney excursion for 2017. During 2016 Marathon weekend, I managed to get everything that I needed park-wise done, and had a blast doing so. When I returned for GSC in February, I had zero desire to go back to the parks, since I was JUST there. ($220-ish saved on park admission.) I also discovered the Boardwalk and Disney Springs as being wonderful places to hang out at without paying an entry fee.

Maintaining legacy status for GSC is pretty cool and everything, but at what price? Why am I paying exorbitant fees for the same course year after year, and essentially the same medal with one or two things changed? I also ended up with a patellar tendonitis injury during GSC that set me back over a month in my running endeavors. (Probably due to the abrupt stopping and starting stress on the knees that one experiences by being on a runDisney course with a billion other runners.) Honestly, my desire to continue experiencing the same things is waning, and I’m ready to move on to other experiences in the running world (back to point #3).


Final thoughts…

Unless I find a huge pile of money somewhere, I’m going to sit out Glass Slipper 2017.

I just said that. Holy shit.

I will not be poised and ready to go at 11:50 AM on July 12th on active.com as I await the link to go active for this race.

I will calmly sit back and watch the chaos and craziness unfold before me from a distance.

I have done my time with this race weekend. Now, it’s time to pass the torch along to someone else looking to continue their legacy status, or run their first GSC.

I’ll still cheer you all on, and answer any questions you may have. After all, I’m a nice person like that.

But for me, it’s time to seek new adventures and different roads to run.

If you’re in WDW during Marathon weekend, I’ll see you there.

If you’ll be participating in 2017 Princess weekend in whatever capacity, I wish you all the best. Adjust those tutus and lace up your shoes. You have slippers and tiaras to earn.

Trust me, I will be watching. See you at the finish line.

❤ @runDisneyBelle

2016 Enchanted 10K Recap

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The Enchanted 10K on Saturday morning was nothing short of amazing. Driving to the staging area was calm and serene; there were maybe two other cars on the road at 3AM. (I drove from US 192.) I vegged in my car for awhile and then made my way through security and bag check.img_2779

Looking around, I noticed that the scene was eerily calm. I knew that there would be a little more than twice the amount of people racing on Sunday, so I took in the fact that I didn’t have to wait in line at the bathrooms, I could find an open area to stretch and zen out without tripping over anyone…and there were only six corrals (up one from the last two years).

I went over to Corral D and quickly made friends as we waited for the corrals to launch (two of which happened to be part of the #PrincessMen group!!). (Was it just me, or did the timing of the launches seem a lot more spaced out this year?)

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When we were let loose, I fell into a very steady rhythm. I didn’t run with music, and I was completely okay with it; I didn’t miss it at all. My Garmin later showed me that my splits were in the 11:30-12:30 range, even when ascending the Mile 1.5 hill. That’s never happened before! Woohoo!

My pacing consistent, and I briefly walked twice in 3.1 miles (also never happened before). After the 5K mark, I had many runners racing up to me after recognizing my signature hair bow (“You’re our bow girl!” was one my compliments!) and telling me that they read my blog and appreciated all of the advice I had given on the Princess Half Survival Guide I had created. This gave me so many warm fuzzies, and it was fantastic to know that my experiences and advice was helping my fellow runners achieve their goals and that they sincerely appreciated my efforts.

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(^^photo courtesy of Allison!)

This energy boost came at just the right time…it was EPCOT time!

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My spirits were soaring and I was in a comfortable groove. Hell, I even broke what I was saying about not wanting to take pictures and took some anyway. (I had never experienced World Showcase accented with pink before, so naturally, photos were a must!)

 

All was fine and dandy…until nature called. Naturally. The GI issues some of you know about came creeping around, and before I knew it, I lost about five minutes in the bathroom and my mile 5 split was around 17:00. Yeaaaah. Bye bye, Goal B PR of <1:15.

My tummy was being very wonky, and I had to dig deep to get to the finish. The Yacht Club and Boardwalk area of the course is one of the most energetic areas of the entire weekend. I found two of my runner friends from last year’s PHM, Heidi and Elizabeth, along Mile 5 at the Boardwalk and naturally had to run over to give hugs and say hello!12705714_10207438911204116_895612308054131561_n

(^^photo courtesy of Elizabeth!)

Once I passed Spaceship Earth, I became obsessed with my watch. I was nearing my original 1:25 PR in 2013, and I had just minutes to go to improve that.img_2804

 

As I rounded the last corner and headed down the straightaway, it was a now or never moment. I bolted for the finish. I didn’t care how much my shins and knees hurt (and they were kind of wrecked seeing as I had never run so fast before during a race.)

After checking my time, I found that I PRed by a minute and a half.

What? I PRed? WHAT THE HELL?! What is this madness?? This hasn’t happened in years! YAAAAAAAAY!

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I felt, and still am, absolutely elated. I will accept a 1:23:38 for my new PR, and I’m so thrilled that it happened on my favourite course to date.


Next up: 2016 Princess Half Marathon Recap!

Pre-Race Thoughts: Time Goals For 2016 GSC

My stomach’s been in knots all day long.

Sure, I’m leaving for my signature race weekend tomorrow. I should be excited and bouncing off the walls. After all, I’m leaving the land of snow and ice and epic grossness that is Pennsylvania in favor of the sunshine and palm trees of Florida. I’m racing my race for the fourth time. I’m maintaining my legacy status with a third challenge run. I’ll be in a familiar environment with fellow princesses with tutus and glitter all over the place. What’s not to be excited about?

There’s something weird about my mindset this time around.

I don’t often get pre-race anxiety. But as of late, it’s been running rampant. Couple that with severe atelophobia (look it up), and I’m setting myself up to potentially hit my wall long before I get to race morning.

But why, Christina? You’ve run this race a billion times before. You’re like an expert when it comes to Princess Half-isms! Hell, you just wrote a whole survival series about it. You’re a pro! Stop worrying!

Yeah. That’s cute. However, it’s not that easy…


 

In years’ past, I would always come in to race weekend with the goal of taking pictures, finishing, and having fun. I’ve done that with all three PHM weekends thus far. I’ve taken the pictures, I’ve run the courses, I’ve done the things.

I told myself back in January that I was taking my running up a notch this year.

It’s about to take off this weekend.

For the first time ever, I have set legitimate time goals for myself. I sat down after the WDW Marathon and analyzed every single race I’ve ever run in the last three years and all of the splits associated with them. From this spreadsheet, I created plausible A, B, and C goals for both the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half. Just by looking at them, they’re not outrageously difficult to accomplish (they’re still conservative times for some), but the challenge will be to do it on a runDisney course starting from a middle corral. Each time I have set will result in a shiny new PR that I will seriously scream and cry over (with much happiness) if achieved. And maybe do a happy dance, too.

My goals are as follows:

Enchanted 10K (Current 10K PR: 1:25:33):

A: <1:05:00 (10:28 mpm)

B: <1:15:00 (12:04 mpm)

C: <1:25:00 (13:40 mpm)

Princess Half Marathon (Current Half Marathon PR: 3:06:48):

A: <2:30:00 (11:26 mpm)

B: <2:45:00 (12:35 mpm)

C: <3:00:00 (13:43 mpm)

These goals aren’t horribly unreasonable. It’s not like I’m telling myself to maintain a 7:00 mpm pace (which I can’t do right now unless chased by bees or something). Based on the runs I’ve done during this month between races, I’ve been picking up the speed and averaging around 11-something a mile, and feeling really good afterwards!

The only exception I’m making to all of this is based on the weather. If it’s going to be humid and hot, then I will not overexert myself just to PR. I will try my hardest to do so, but my health comes first, especially with a multi-day run. Passing out for a PR isn’t worth it to me.

I’ve had my fun in the past with taking pictures and seeing all the things. It’s time to put the phone away and race for real. I’m still debating bringing the phone with me as a precaution in case something does happen. I’m changing it up this time and not bringing extraneous stuff on the course, including my music (I tend to lose more time fighting headphone cords and keeping everything in my Armpocket organized). The fewer distractions, the better. My times will still be posted to Twitter and you can find me on the runner tracking program if you wish to follow my times.

The excitement starts tomorrow. Follow my Twitter @runDisneyBelle for updates!

 

*~*Christina*~*

Princess Half Marathon Runner Tracking

Among the 729 other things you may encounter in the days leading up to PHM weekend, there is another aspect to be mentioned.

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I’m talking about Runner Tracking. What is this program, where can you find it, and how do you use it?


Here is the 411:

Runner Tracking is a service provided by Xacte. It enables the runner (or their friends) to receive messages through several mediums regarding their times on race day.

Sounds fun and something you might be interested in? Great! Here’s what you do.


 

  1. Head to this link: http://results.xacte.com/track?id=1202
  2. In the ‘Search Entrant to Track’ box, type your name.
  3. Once you click on it, there will be four boxes that appear. Each is a medium which you can receive your information:runner tracking
    1. Phone: Type your phone number in, and you can get your times delivered via text message. Before I bought my Garmin, I enabled this so I could see my splits while on the course. I’m still going to have mine sent to my phone this year regardless of whether I carry it or not.
    2. Email: You can add your email to receive alerts from your favorite runner or yourself.
    3. Twitter: Link your Twitter account to Xacte and your times can be tweeted to your followers. I do this, as well….the majority of my running community is on Twitter and I know they appreciate following along.
    4. Facebook: Just like Twitter, linking your FB to Xacte will allow for the posting of your times to your timeline.

 

You can choose to select as many mediums as you want to utilize, or none at all if that is what you prefer. Personally, I use my phone and Twitter only. I try to keep it simple. Once you sign up for a certain medium, you’ll receive confirmation. For example, this is the confirmation tweet that appeared in my feed after I linked my account:

twitter runner tracking


 

Any questions about Runner Tracking? You ask, and I’ll do my best to answer!

 

See you at the finish line!

*~*Christina*~*

Princess Half Marathon Survival Guide, Ep. III

I’m baaaaack! Who’s excited for race day?! *sees all the hands going up*

YAAAAAY! So glad there’s a bunch of happy princesses ready to rock their tiaras and earn their medals! I appreciate all of the encouragement and feedback that I’ve received from you so far. It really drives me to be the best author I can be, and to think of new and fun things to write! You guys rock my sockies.

We’re getting closer to the heart of race day, and though there is a definite buzz of excitement, many of you (including me!) are probably nervous. Whether this is your first race or your fiftieth, there’s usually a kaleidoscope of butterflies in your stomach in the hours before the race that seem to flutter about with incredible intensity, their wings tickling your insides and conjuring a mélange d’émotions:

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We all have our ways of coping with pre-event jitters, and this episode will take us to the night before your race: what to do, what definitely NOT to do, what to review, and how to sleep…maybe.

Author’s Note: I received a suggestion from Lindsey Hardegree to include stuff about spectators! I will be touching upon spectator-related info a little in this episode, and a lot more the next. Thanks, Lindsey!! ❤

Let’s go!


 

PHM Survival Guide, Episode Three: Revenge of the Pre-Race Jitters: ‘t’was the Night Before Your Race….

You’re standing in your hotel room, and just like your house while you were packing in Episode I, there’s a plethora of things strewn about (minus the dog stealing your socks). Take a minute, take a couple of deep breaths, and follow this list…

What to Do

  1. Find your race outfit and lay it out. Pin your bib to whatever article of clothing you want PROVIDED THAT IT’S ON THE FRONT OF THE OUTFIT. If you want to be identified for race photos later on, your entire number must be visible. All four corners must be fastened on whether it’s with the safety pins, Race Dots, or whatever method you choose.
  2. Charge your electronics.
  3. Set out your accessories (belts, fuel stuff, arm pockets, jars of glitter, etc.)
  4. This one is crucial: If you’re going to take a picture of your pre-race setup, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS MAGICAL, DISPLAY YOUR BIB NUMBER. There are bib bandits out there that will copy the design of your bib and your number and try to run as you, taking valuable runner resources and causing more course congestion with extra bodies. Their fake bibs do not have the ChronoTrack B-chips on them, so their times will not be recorded, but they will be in the way of your race photos and, possibly, medical assistance. (If a runner with your bib is running as you, and something happens to them, runDisney is going to start calling YOUR emergency contacts, and this will result in mass confusion. We don’t like mass confusion.) Bib bandits have caused a lot of trouble in other series in addition to the runDisney series, so stay alert.
  5. Set everything aside on a desk or chair. Double check to make sure it’s all there, then leave it alone.
  6. Pack your check-in bag if you plan on bringing one. This is for everything you’re going to need post-race. Also, MAKE SURE THAT STICKER THEY GAVE YOU AT PACKET PICKUP IS AFFIXED TO THE LITTLE BOX ON YOUR BAG. Volunteers will not accept your bag without this sticker, or any other type of bag for that matter. Make sure it’s there. Hang the bag on the doorknob to the room. It’s an easy visual so that you don’t forget it on your way out the door.
  7. Grab your event guide and review the course. (This will be its own seperate section in a little bit.)
  8. Set out your breakfast. I know that when I get nervous, I don’t eat. BUT, you’re going to be running some sort of distance, so pre-race fuel is necessary. Bagels and peanut/almond butter, fruit, granola bars…whatever you’ve been using during training, use it now. As mentioned in previous episodes, nothing new on race day. You know what works for you. Don’t deviate from it.
  9. BREATHE. This is the most critical part of the night before. Get yourself into a calm state of mind, and visualize your race day. Listen to some zen music, do yoga, stretch out…take this time for you. If you’re a visual person, maybe some positive Pinterest pictures will do the trick. Whatever it takes to get your body calm and ready for sleep, do it.
  10. Go to bed at a reasonable hour, perhaps earlier than what you think you need. You may still be a little jittery after your zen-session, but turn off your social media and SET YOUR ALARM (maybe five). You’ve packed and prepared for this. You deserve rest. 🙂-Reminder: If you have a Pasta in the Park reservation, this happens at EPCOT from 7-8:30 PM with Illuminations at 9 on both Friday and Saturday of PHM weekend. If you’re partaking, you’ll probably get back to your hotel between 10-10:30 PM and you’ll have to wake up about three or four hours later to get ready for your race. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for everything above. Prep for your race before chowtime so you don’t have to do it when you get back.
  11. If you’re driving to EPCOT on race morning, make sure you have your directions ready to go. It’s relatively easy to get there; just make sure you follow the signs! DO NOT USE EXIT 67 OFF OF I-4.
  12. If you have a breakfast packet/race retreat package, make sure you bring your tickets/wristbands for that! (You would have picked these up at the expo, along with any ChEAR Squad Packages for your spectators, at the HP Fieldhouse.)

     

Now, here is what you don’t do the night before…

      1. Use your “I Did It!” shirt as part of your race ensemble. Ladies…and gents…this is presumptuous and really tacky, in my opinion. You have not completed your task; you are IN THE PROCESS of doing it. Your shirt will not be an electronic billboard that says, “I’m Doing It!” while you run, only to switch over automatically to, “I Did It!” once you cross the finish line. To refrain from getting the side-eye from those around you, please save your “I Did It!” shirts for AFTER the race. You’ll have earned it by then.

        2. Not getting sleep. I know you’re excited, but don’t go on a coffee/caffeine bender trying to make it through the night. It won’t work, and you will crash. Aim to get at least a couple of hours of sleep.

         3. Referring to #4 above, posting your bib number visibly online. Cover it up with something if you’re going to put a, “Find me in this outfit and say hi!” post on social media.

          4. Think that you can pack everything in five minutes before you head out the door. Nope. Nope. Nope. You WILL forget something, and you won’t have time to return to your room if you do forget something. Take the extra time THE DAY BEFORE and make sure it’s all in your gEAR bag and/or layed out in your room if it’s part of your runner ensemble.

           5. Eat something new. I will reiterate this for years to come: nothing new on race day. Seriously. If you try sushi for the first time the day before and get sick, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

           6. Be obsessive over social media and texts. Now is not the time to be glued to your devices. Have a set time where you will say goodnight to your followers and focus on your mental prep for race day.


 

So we’ve gone over the yays and nays of the night before race day. This next section is going to take us into one of the most critical parts of the entire racecation. Grab a snack and refill your coffee…


 

The Course Maps: What Exactly Am I Running?

(Note: This section will be a quick overview of the Enchanted 10K and Princess Half course maps. Episode Four: A New Race, will take each race WAY more in-depth with water/aid/food stops, places to pee, stuff to see, etc.)

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Knowing what you’re getting into will quell most of the jitters, since many of us are scared of the unknown. Turning to your event guide somewhere in the middle, you will find course maps that give you start and end points and all the places in between you will be running. I will give you a basic overview of what to expect with terrain, elevation, and points of interest. Again, like always, I ask my readers for additional information if I forget anything, and it will be noted in the next episode! ❤

Enchanted 10K

10k PHM Map

(^^ map courtesy of Patty at noguiltlife.com!)

Start in the EPCOT Explore Lot. In the last two years, there have been five corrals between 9,000-11,000 runners total. This is a smaller staging area, and for those that have run the half before, those running the 10K will notice.

Fireworks go off. Boom. Yay. Let’s race!

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-Mile 1: Long stretch of road and very flat. There will be an overpass with Anna, Elsa, and friends with snowflakes and “Let It Go” playing. (This was 2014 and 2015, so I’m not sure what will happen this year….maybe Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder with a bubble machine?!)

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-Mile 2: Around the corner and up the highway. This is the only major elevation change in the race. As always, what comes up…

-Mile 3: …must come down! Enjoy the downhill. This is also another looong stretch of highway, but last year there was music and old Disney romance clips of Mickey and Minnie playing on big Jumbotrons!

—-5K halfway! Woooo!—

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-Mile 4: This is where it starts getting fun. You’ll enter the backstage area at EPCOT and start going around World Showcase beginning with China. You’ll veer to the left and go past Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, and France. PLENTY of photo opportunities here! (I think I tacked on about ten minutes taking pictures last year.) You’ll go across the bridge by France and swing left just before the UK to go to…

-Mile 5: The Boardwalk and Yacht Club! Again, this is beautiful and very scenic. IF IT HAS RAINED, BE CAREFUL OF THE BOARDWALK. It may be slippery, and we don’t want people wiping out. You’ll go through here and come back out in Future World of EPCOT…

-Mile 6: You’re almost home free! You go past Spaceship Earth, past many a spectator (they’re in abundance here!), past the traditional gospel choir…

And there’s the finish! Woohoo!Bhz1gBfIcAAzNBh

(You get snackies at the finish. This is the 2014 Enchanted 10K box!)


 

Princess Half Marathon

PrincessHalfMarathon2014

(^^map courtesy of the Mickey Miles Podcast crew! mickeymilespodcast.com)

With more runners and more corrals, there is a larger staging area on EPCOT Center Drive. You may be waiting a bit for your corral to launch.

Fireworks again. Yay! Let’s race!

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Mile 1: Many spectators, a marching band or two, and flat. Oh, so flat.

Mile 2: More flat highway, and then a little elevation change. 

Mile 3: Downhill, more flat highway…getting closer to MK…

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Miles 4-6.9: Hey, it’s Magic Kingdom! (“Caution: Course Narrows Ahead” audio and “Speed Bump Ahead!” signs will greet you throughout this section.) Miles 4-6.2 will involve MK and the castle.

There is a downward hill around Mile 4.5 (known by some as a Hill of Death), and is one of the “Cone Alleys” you’ll encounter, where runners are smooshed onto one side of the road and boxed in by a neverending line of cones…PHM 2013 people

 

You’ll go down Main Street U.S.A., head to the right through Tomorrowland, New Fantasyland, Cinderella Castle (be prepared for a bottleneck), Liberty Square and Frontierland.

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Miles 7-9: Cone Alley Part II. Honestly, this is one of the suckiest parts of the entire course. You’ll come out of the backstage area of MK and get funneled onto one side of the road. You’ll also hit the halfway point (marked by a big sign of sorts), and Luna Bar provides encouraging princessy-signs along here, too!

Mile 10: OVERPASS. This is another huge elevation change on the course. Once you get up and over this (our wonderful green Army men will be hilariously encouraging you up the hill!), you’ll see Spaceship Earth! You’re almost done! (Seriously!)

Miles 11-12.9: EPCOT. You’ll go down the overpass ramp and into the park. You’ll run by Spaceship Earth to a point (you’ll see American Adventure straight in front of you and Starbucks is on your right), and loop back up the other side. If you had run the 10K the day before, this is going to look really familiar!

Miles 13-13.1: Backstage of EPCOT, past the gospel choir…and there’s the finish line! Woohoo!

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Everything is prepared. You’ve read over the course maps. And you’re getting sleepy. You shut the lights off and cuddle with your pillows. In a few short hours, it will be race time!

Stay tuned for Episode Four, A New Race: The Ins and Outs of Race Day, coming soon!