by JollyFrogger Diva
I am not exactly what you would call a fan of running. In fact, in my younger years, I used to joke that if you saw me running, it’s because something was chasing me. Around eight years ago, my husband got bitten by the running bug. He did several 5Ks and seemed to really enjoy them and I enjoyed cheering him on. Six years ago, I finally gave in to the siren’s calls and signed up to run my first 5K. Naturally, I chose to run my first 5K at Walt Disney World. Our oldest was under a year old at that time, and we didn’t train as much as we should have, but the sense of accomplishment I felt when crossing that finish line made me understand why people choose to run. I’ve done a few more 5Ks over the years when the urge strikes, but this summer I will nearly double the number of 5Ks under my belt.
My husband and I have always talked about doing another runDisney event but haven’t been back to Walt Disney World during a race weekend. A month or so ago, I saw that runDisney has announced their newest virtual series for this summer. The theme this year is celebrating 80 years of Marvel. I may hate running, but I love Marvel and so that theme was enough to get my attention. Having never done a virtual race before, I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, so I started doing some research. I also learned that if I signed up to do all three races in the series, I could earn a bonus Virtual Challenge medal which only fueled my desire to take part in this series. What I discovered during my research is that virtual races are perfect for me right now, and here are a few reasons why.
1) You Can Run at Your Own Pace
I am by no means a fast runner. In fact, sometimes I do more power-walking than running. One of the things that made me the most nervous during my first runDisney event was the 16-minute-per mile pacing requirement that is in place for all runDisney events. I understand the reasons for having a pace requirement in place, but the thought of being too slow and getting removed before crossing the finish line really stressed me out. In the end, we were able to finish well ahead of the pace vehicles, but it was still my least favorite part of the race. Luckily, this is not something that I have to worry about for the virtual runDisney events- I can go at my own pace and know I’ll be able to finish my race.
2) You Can Run Whenever You Want
If you’ve ever participated in a runDisney event before, you know they almost always start very early in the morning. I am not a morning person, especially after several days of walking around the Disney parks, so being at the starting line well before daylight was extremely difficult for me. Additionally, the reason my husband and I had not signed up for another runDisney event was because the dates hadn’t worked with our vacation schedules.Even if the dates had worked, we would have had to find someone to take care of our children while we raced. Thankfully, none of these issues are a concern with the virtual events. There is a month date range for each event, so I can find a day and time that works best for me- whether that be a Saturday morning while the kids are with their grandparents or a Wednesday afternoon where my husband and I take a few hours off work to meet for a run date while the kids are with their daytime caregiver.
3) Weather Is Not An Issue
Florida tends to be hot and humid most of the year. Those high temperatures and suffocating humidity levels often lead to the development of rain and thunder showers. While we were lucky that the weather was pleasant for our runDisney event in 2013, I have seen plenty of other events that took place in the rain or were delayed due to severe weather. Thankfully, I don’t have to spend too much time worrying about the forecast for our chosen date to run for our virtual event. If there’s rain or hot temperatures in the forecast (and likely one or both will be an issue with our chosen dates since it’s summer in the deep South), we can easily head to our local gym for our run. No running in the rain for this girl- which is good because I’m naturally clumsy as it is and wet pavement only increases the chance that I’ll fall flat on my face during my run.
In the end, it turns out that a runDisney Virtual 5K is the perfect fit for me- it allows me to run when it’s convenient, in an environment of my choosing, and at a pace that works for me. We already have our June run planned for next week, and I’ve just come back from today’s training run. Wish me luck- I’m as excited about this race as I ever am about running, and I’ll sure to give a review of the Virtual Race series once we’ve completed it and received our medals