2017 DIY WDW Half Marathon

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By now, the majority of you know the basics of what went down at the WDW Half: storms ripped through, race got cancelled. When I awoke Saturday morning, the first thing I checked was the radar. All I could think of was, “runDisney made the right call.”

 

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I love storms, but I’m not running in this.

 

I hopped onto my other social medias, and was immediately inspired. Many runners were laced up and running around their resorts! And some had even done their mileage the previous night before the storms moved in! Treadmills were occupied, fans and supporters were along the routes cheering, and the Disney cast members brought their A game, setting up tables and cups for hydration stops while other runners brought out candy and other goodies.

My eyes were glued to my Twitter feed, constantly updating for the latest news. This was the running community at its finest: we’re there to work (in the form of miles and medals), so we worked. So many stories and accounts of runners trekking through the resorts and parks sparked a new life in the runDisney community. You could give us oranges and we’d still make lemonade out of them!

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In my opinion, runDisney did a decent job with regard to communications. From the first instant that they knew something could go wrong with race day, they were on top of their game, letting runners and spectators know what was going on and directing that information across every channel they had: social media, the digital event guide, the race website, and even signs on the sandwich boards in the resorts. (I’ve heard some complaints about the timing of the information being released, but give them some credit: they have X amount of cast members trying to update and format X amount of communication platforms. Not everything is going to be “going live” right when they say it’s going to. Cut them some slack; they did the best they could with what they had.) Cast members kept their cool as they were peppered with hundreds of questions which they had just received the answers for. Once the ultimate decision was reached, obviously there was disappointments, and even outbursts of anger among some. True, we all spent a lot of money and time getting TO Disney, and a hell of a lot of time training on top of all of that. I can understand disappointment…but think of it like such: lightning is deadly. If a bolt struck a runner within a corral (and with 98% of us geared up with electronics and costumes and other random things, the probability was high), it would wipe out all 2,000 runners in that corral. runDisney was looking out for us. They also broke out their secret “Race Gets Cancelled, Open This” compensation plan and offered several alternatives for challenge and half runners. Since I was doing Goofy, my half marathon fees would be refunded in the form of a gift card (soon to be mailed), and I’d be getting my half medal at the conclusion of the marathon on Sunday.

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With all that said, here’s how my day actually went…


*Woke up and watched Beauty and the Beast with Chris. (Perfect precursor to the Be Our Guest reservation for Sunday night!)

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*Headed to the expo so Chris could pick up his medal (since he was doing just the half).

 

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“It’s the Great Car Half Marathon!” -Chris

 

*Waited out in the rain and snaked the line all the way around WWOS for half an hour. We even got a character stop!

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Wait time: 30 minutes. No Fastpasses.

*Jumped back in the car and headed over to EPCOT (albeit very slowly. It took forever and a day to get out of the parking lot). That’s where our DIY WDW Half would begin…


 

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All the miles! All the food! All the friends!

 

We arrived around 2PM, and from the moment our feet hit the pavement, we were off. The only thing on our mind at the moment was bratwurst (and our team meetup in Mexico). After cruising through security, we were on our way to Germany!

Along the way, we were keeping a steady pace, and getting compliments from fellow runners along the way! We hit World Showcase and said a quick hi to our fellow teammates at Mexico before we bolted for Germany. The weather was chilly and gloomy…but it didn’t stop us from our first fun stop of the “race”.

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Mmmm…beer…and brats…

 

We piggybacked to Mexico and met up with Team Shenanigans for good times and our traditional boat ride.

From Mexico, we made a day out of traversing World Showcase and Future World, stopping plenty of times for rides and shenanigans…

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As Chris and I were heading up the bridge by France, I heard a voice ask…”runDisneyBelle?” Turns out it was Ted (@BigGoofyRunner!)! It’s always great to meet the online running community in real life. You can read about his WDWHalf adventures here!

After a few loops and some laps around The Land with Jess, Kristin, and Jackie, we headed over to the Boardwalk to mix things up a little! By then, the sun had gone down and it was getting windy and cold. My tolerance for cold is next to none (I seriously turn into Elsa!), and I ducked into a gift shop to buy gloves.

We were nearing the 13.1 mark and we had to head back to the car anyway, so we returned to EPCOT and continued walking circles until we finally hit the half marathon mark! Woohoo!

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After a victory ride on Spaceship Earth (and a five minute escape from the cold), we headed to the ferry boat and back to the car. I got back to my hotel around 9:30 PM, and immediately laid out my flat runner for Sunday morning. Those 13.1 miles were going to catch up to me in about seven hours, and 2AM was going to come way too soon…


Shoutout to ALL of the athletes who completed their improvised WDW Half Marathons last weekend. Y’all are such an inspiration! Check out the hashtag #wdwhalf on the socials and see what went down those days. You are now a part of history, and will have stories for years to come. Your dedication and resilience during a time of frustration and disappointment truly shows the heart and soul of what the running community is all about: we don’t back down from our goals, and consistently persevere–even when the situation isn’t perfect–to get shit done. And that is what we did.

 

Next up: 2017 WDW Marathon recap! 

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2017 WDW Marathon Expo

After many a delay on I-95 on Thursday on my journey down to Florida, I finally arrived that evening around 8:00 PM. I had originally planned to go to the expo that evening, but had to settle for the following day. Friday rolled around and it was sunny and beautiful outside…far cry from the coldness I left up in Maryland the day before. I arrived early to Wide World of Sports around 10:00 AM, and joined the throngs of runners eagerly awaiting to pick up their bibs and race goodies.

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The lines to get into the HP Field house wrapped around several times outside, but the lines moved fairly quickly (even though we were all asking where we could get our Fastpasses!)

Once inside, I made a beeline for the Goofy Challenge bib pickup, got in and out in two minutes, then proceeded to explore the expo with Jess, Kristin, and Jackie!

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The New Balance shoes were so en pointe this year. In stead of being character themed, they were ride themed!

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The official weekend clothes were really cute, but soooo expensive. The marathon jacket was so sleek in its red and black!

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The Dooney and Bourke bags were also on sale. The pattern is too cute! (I wish the bag was in black, though.)

 

There was also a plethora of race banners with the courses on them. I found these to be a perfect combination!

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Happiest Mickey ever!

I often don’t purchase official race merch, due to pricing; the race shirts that we get with registration suit me just fine. I was a big fan of the colors this year, especially the royal blue for the marathon!

 

The runDisney booth had their medals on display, and I caught a glimpse of the Princess Half Marathon weekend medals!


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As the sun began to set on Friday, all eyes began to turn towards the radar. There had been talks about calling the WDW Half due to impending storms. If runDisney made the decision to cancel, it would be the first time in 24 years that runDisney had cancelled a race. Additional communication was sent out to runners in the afternoon and early evening hours with regard to monitoring the weather, and around 10pm, the race was called. 

What happened on Saturday would forever make its mark on the running community, and in runDisney history. Stay tuned…

See You In Chicago! 

Woke up to some very happy news this morning: I’M RUNNING THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!!!

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After being rejected by NYC, London, and Berlin, it’s nice to finally have some good luck coming my way with regard to race lotteries. The ChiMarathon will actually be my THIRD full for 2017, along with the Walt Disney World Marathon (January) and the RnR DC Marathon (March).

This is also a great way to begin my journey of becoming a World Marathon Major Six-Star Finisher!

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Will I be seeing you next October?!

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2016 Princess Half Marathon Recap

I’m so going to PR this race…

I’m on track to PR this race! WOOOO!

…and there goes my PR for this race…right out the window…


 

The above dialogue essentially explains, in a nutshell, what happened during the Princess Half Marathon for me. But let’s backtrack for just a minute. After all, there’s more to a race recap than highlighting a failed PR attempt…


 

Just like the previous day, I woke up at 2:30 to get ready for the race. I think I stayed in bed until 2:40, but was immediately up and at ’em. My tummy was STILL giving me problems (as it had all week), so I was curious to see what would happen when I got out on the race course.img_2851

En route, it was just a teeny bit busier heading to the starting area at EPCOT than it was for the Enchanted 10K. However, I saw the first round of buses heading there, as well, and I’m fortunate that I didn’t leave a minute too late.

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After having pre-security “veg out in the car” time, I made my way through security and to the bag check. I ran into friends (including my fellow Kappa Kappa Psi brother, Chelsea!) and Team Shenanigans members along the way, which made the time go by much faster.img_2857-1

(^^space blankets for days!)

My BRF, Jess, and I made our way to the corrals together and we arrived around 5:15. (It is literally at 20-minute walk from Runner’s Village, just so all you future princesses and princes know. Don’t leave any later than 4:55 to make it there on time.) We were entertained by Carissa and Rudy, and the multitalented Miss America, Betty Cantrell, sang the national anthem (which I totally approved!).

Soon after, the fireworks were launched and the corrals were moving (much faster than they were for the 10K). Around 6AM, Corral I was sent off!

There were a lot of parallels between my 10K and half marathon. Among other things, I once again didn’t run with music, and I was completely fine with it. I had far too much fun listening to the on-course entertainment and chatting with other runners to really miss it much. img_2889

Miles 2 and 9 run next to each other on the out-and-back portion of the course. The elites were coming back up the road as I was heading down into Magic Kingdom. I couldn’t help but cheer for all these amazing athletes, including one of my running idols, Heather Schulz! I saw her running past the Mile 9 aid station, and I ran over to the left side of the road, stopped and shouted at the top of my lungs, “GO, HEATHER, GO! YOU GOT THIS! WOOOOOO!”

Just cheering like this for five seconds boosted me up, and I continued on through to Magic Kingdom. I crossed the 5K mark with a pace that would land me my B-goal PR of 2:45…just like last year. I was also taking advantage of Biofreezing the hell out of my knees since there were still a little funny from the 10K. Even with these quick stops, I was making great time.

Hot damn! Let’s keep going! 12743766_956465967742157_9141701034162605066_n

But that spirit boost didn’t last long…

My tummy started rumbling. Just like the 10K…

…hello, bathroom stop. Again. Stupid Mile 4/5 Curse…

Waiting for the bathroom added ten minutes to my time. SO FRUSTRATING. I kept staring at my watch and making mental calculations for what my pace needed to be to still be on track for a PR. At this point, I was even ahead of the 3:00 pace group by about 5 minutes. I stood in line and simply watched them run on by…

When I did get into the bathroom, almost nothing came out. Phantom pains? Perhaps. Needless to say, I was not happy.

I left and headed past the Contemporary and Space Mountain en route to the Mile 5 marker. At least I caught the sunrise at this point, and another runner and I took pictures for each other.

Running down Main Street wasn’t really fun this year. First of all, it was rather quiet. The music was playing and some spectators were cheering…but most of them were just dead. Not sure if the early-morning wakeup call had them all still sleepy or what, but it wasn’t the most exciting thing to do. Hanging the right and heading into Tomorrowland was nearly identical to 2015: the sun was beginning to rise. I knew the temperature was going to spike.img_290110670177_956466177742136_4471090198474420962_nimg_2906

Running through the castle was THE LEAST CONGESTED I HAVE EXPERIENCED IT, EVER. I was absolutely shocked at the ease I could maneuver through and still come out the other side unscathed. (Dark and blurry shot above, but notice the non-congestion.)

Right after Liberty Square, I could feel tummy rumblings making themselves known. Seriously. Not again. I ducked into the Adventureland bathroom.

I ran out and crossed the 10K timing mat. This was 1:31, and the second slowest 10K split I’ve ever run. I was halfway…. and I had to stop again.

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This all happened within the first half of the race. Three bathroom stops and my chance for PR-ing completely shot to hell. At this point, I was just hoping to finish.


 

The next half of the PHM course begins with the menace known as Cone Alley. As you can see from the picture, it is self-explanatory. img_2909

(^^Cones for miles. Yeahhhh…)

According to my Garmin, my Mile 7 pace was 20:00. #MiddleOfTheFieldProblems

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During Mile 8 (the Clif Shot mile), the sun came out strong. It was another “Blinded By the Light” moment as we ran past the Grand Floridian and golf courses. In addition to the Biofreeze, I was taking advantage of dumping ice cold water over my head and enjoying the fact I was running in a sports bra and not a shirt or tank top. Trust me, it felt great. 12715388_956466261075461_556184075146420519_n

I hit Mile 8.7, and grabbed my traditional Vanilla and Mocha Clif Shots. The sucky part about this section is that there isn’t a water station immediately after. Don’t take your Clif Shots without water; they’ll dry your throat out and you’ll have sticky residue all over. You have to wait about another half a mile to get water to wash it down, so carry them with you until this point.

I was still feeling incredibly grouchy at this point. My mile pace had increased significantly and I was watching my chances at even tying my original half PR of 3:06 sliding away with every step. I started up the Mile 10 overpass, and something in me changed…

 

I thought back to the Survival Guide, and how it had been a key resource to those that were running this very race. Around me, thousands of runners were striving to reach the finish line, and I knew that the last 5K of this race can be a total bitch. Now, more than ever on the course, walls were going to be hit, spirits would sink, and we would have to pick each other up if we were going to accomplish our goal of finishing for free bananas and lots of shiny bling, in addition to bragging rights.

This overpass makes or breaks runners. Even if I can just boost up one person, knowing that even I wouldn’t achieve my goals, maybe I can help them achieve theirs.

I ascended the overpass, passed the Army Men shouting orders for us to, “Stop texting and run!”, and ran over to the left side of the course. Peering down over the side of the overpass, I shouted to everyone below me…img_2917

“YOU GUYS ARE DOING GREAT! KEEP IT UP! WOOOOOO!”

In those five seconds, my entire demeanor changed. As the response from my cheering erupted below and all around me, I accepted the fact that making these types of memories on the course is what makes a race what it is. It’s not about times and being hell-bent on PR-ing (although that’s always a plus). It’s making that difference for runners, even if it is only one out of tens of thousands, that can give them the boost to keep going and not give up. I had been there four years ago in my first race. Giving back to the running community in that fashion was absolutely priceless.

I dashed over to the Mile 11 med tent to re-Biofreeze, and the medics there said we were about 1.9 miles away from the finish. Woohoo!12717844_956466281075459_2684787305172947717_n12744045_956466284408792_5474967127571428553_n

Catching Spaceship Earth on the horizon and descending into EPCOT at Mile 12 is probably my favorite part of the PHM course (even more fun that running down Main Street in Magic Kingdom and storming the castle). The crowds are ample and the encouragement is electrifying. Plus, it was really shady in some spots. (Thank you, Spaceship Earth!)

Round the corner, pass the gospel choir, and head down the last straightaway to the finish line!img_2926


 

My time? Heh…3:26:19. Slowest half marathon to date. (Even slower than my very first PHM which was a 3:25:41.) But hooray for earning my Triple Slipper! (Three GSCs down, lots more to go!)img_2939

I wasn’t very happy immediately post-race. (Even when I was in line to do my GSC picture, I was fighting being grouchy.) I really stewed in my emotions for most of the day. Tack the slow-as-mud time on top of it, and there weren’t many positive feelings left.

It took a few days, but I’m at peace with my performance now. Surprisingly.


 

Christina’s Post-GSC Thoughts:

  1. Even if you don’t achieve your overall goal, there will always be more races to compete in to better your time. I’m very happy that I managed one PR out of the weekend. (Just goes to show that you CAN PR in a runDisney event!)
  2. Runner’s etiquette…ugh. Come on, y’all. Read the manual you’re given at expo time. Don’t be hogging the course by walking 4-6 abreast. That’s annoying as hell. And don’t get snarky when other runners say, “Coming through!” and split the middle of your group because it’s the only way to get around.
  3. Copious amounts of Biofreeze will make your eyes burn.
  4. You only get water on the course during the 10K. Electrolyte drinks are provided for the half.
  5. There’s nothing wrong with a little cold water over the head during the sunny parts of the half…until that water mixes with sweat and runs in your eyes. Many owies.
  6. Be sure to cheer your fellow runners on and say hi to those you do know! I had the privilege of running into some of my Team Shenanigans ladies on the PHM course and that was a very happy fifteen seconds of my race day. I also met more blog readers during PHM and those interactions kept me going.6A. Even the elites need love, too. If you’re in the position to cheer for those vying for the win, DO IT. I spoke with Heather during the expo and she said that it can get really lonely at the front of the field. These runners are just like us, and they deserve our support!
  7. Regarding diet...fiber is good for you, especially in the days preceding the race. Make sure your food contains an adequate amount of the stuff, or you’ll end up like me with stomach pains raging.
  8. No matter the race, RESPECT THE DISTANCE. I refuse to be cutesy and nice about this (and other topics) any longer. If you don’t train for the race, you’re going to be the one who is hurting like hell afterwards. Don’t come crying to those that HAVE done this before and complain about how much you didn’t train, and then try to go out and run it solely to say you did it. That’s not how racing works.
  9. HAVE FUN. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it is listening to fellow runners get so worked up over getting swept and worrying about the Balloon Ladies that they throw any chance of having a great race out the window due to this anxiety. Throw your cares to the wind and just race. The majority of you that were concerned about it probably didn’t get swept, anyway.
  10. I’m glad I only heard “Let It Go” only once on the course this time.
  11. The runDisney Easter Egg Hypothesis is raging strong on social media, where the Mile 13 marker is the theme for the next year’s race. If this holds true…next year’s theme will be Snow White!

     

Congrats to everyone who had a magical race weekend! You’ve earned your medals and bragging rights, so show that bling and post those pictures! Shoutout to everyone who I met on the course and for everyone who benefitted from my PHM Survival Guide. I hope to see you all at a future runDisney event!img_2933

 

Until next time…see you at the finish line!

*~*Christina*~*

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*~*

Team Shenanigans PHM Podcast

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I got my podcast debut recently.

Last week, I was asked by Chris Smith (@DopeyRunr) of Team Shenanigans to be a guest on their podcast which focused on previewing the Princess Half weekend! I teamed up with Chris, Brittany, Ken, Mark, and Caryn to cover a bunch of different topics (with typical Shenanigans humour) surrounding the upcoming race.

Here is the link: http://teamshenanigans.org/22-princess-half-marathon/

Happy listening!!

 

*~*Christina*~*

 

Princess Half Marathon Survival Guide, Ep. V

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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…

GSC Pre-Race:

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.

Expo

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!)

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They also have banners for the 5K, 10K, and PHM!

 

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

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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.

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^^courtesy of Patty at http://noguiltlife.com/
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^^Courtesy of Julie at http://www.runwalkrepeat.com/

 


 

Enchanted 10K

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!…

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Unless you have nightmares about Homer asking if you want to see his new chainsaw and hockey mask, that is.

 

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!

bart 400
“Top of the hour, time for the morning news! But of course, there is no news yet. Everyone’s still asleep in their comfy, comfy beds…”

 

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.

Christina’s Thoughts:

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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!

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Yes, they’re backwards, but you get the idea.

 

-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.

The end.


 

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…