My First RunDisney Experience: When every mile is NOT magical.
by Beauty and the Beast Diva
I HATE running. When I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter I texted my friend, WHO LOVES RUNNING and said something along the lines of “wouldn’t it be fun to run a race after the baby to motivate me to lose weight?!”. She called my bluff, two days later she text me back saying she booked a villa and we were good to go for the Dark Side 10k. TEN K!? I was thinking more a 5K but I went along with it. The weeks passed and I still hadn’t worked out or even walked, let alone run, at all. Before I knew it we were boarding our flight for Orlando and two days later I dragged myself out of bed at 4AM to head to the Magic Kingdom parking lot to start my race and kept thinking to myself, “man I should have gone for at LEAST ONE RUN”. These are my thoughts on my first RunDisney experience!
- Train, just a little bit. Go for a few walks and maybe jog or run intermittently just so you aren’t standing in a corral with people warming up and start to suddenly feel very intimidated. People will be warming up and stretching and you will be standing next to people chatting about how this is nothing and they’re running the Disney Marathon in a few months…. No lie.
- Get good running shoes. Go to a running store and get fitted and spend the money. Odds are good that you will be in the parks once or twice before or after your run, your legs will be tired. WEAR YOUR SNEAKERS.
- Know that every mile is NOT magical, and quite frankly it is misery. The first 3 miles of the Dark Side 10K were on Disney roads… NOT in the parks. I cried. I wanted to quit. I HATED it but before you know it, you are seeing characters and in the parks and people are watching and supporting you. IT IS MAGICAL. I might have cried the entire last mile from the Beach Club through EPCOT because the spectators are SO inspiring and it is SO cool to see the parks at sunrise.
- I did not finish strong or in a “good” amount of time but I finished. Out of close to 6,000 women I finished around 1,703. Know you will finish and there is an end point in sight. If you do not finish there is a bus and you will get on it, Disney needs to open their roads and their parks.
- Everyone just wants to finish. Everyone is inspiring on the course. Everyone is encouraging each other. So many times I heard, “you got this” “we can do this” “we are so close” “you are so strong”. It was beautiful and inspiring. My friend’s husband ran the first 5 miles with me (Thanks Matt!) and left me to finish strong after I told him I couldn’t go anymore a woman and her significant other saw him and did the same, she stayed with me while he left her behind because her knee was bothering her. She and I walked a few minutes to catch our breath and we encouraged each other til the end, crossing the finish line together. I never caught her name and when I turned around to congratulate her she had already found her boyfriend or husband and they were off to get their snacks and take pictures. She was so sweet and I wish I thanked her for getting my through the last quarter of a mile!
- You will feel RIDICULOUSLY proud of yourself. I crossed the finish line and BURST into tears. There was a point during the 1st 3 miles where I didn’t think I’d finish. I thought I was going to collapse. I wanted it to be over but I finished and got that medal around my neck. It was a top 5 moment in my life.
- There’s a strong sense of comradery. Everyone wears their medals with pride for the rest of the weekend. Some people smile at each other, some congratulate each other, no one asks about time. No one cares how long it took or where you finished, they are just proud of you for doing your best and enjoying the moment and all the glory after.
- YOU WILL NEED A BREAK. DO NOT PLAN ANYTHING FOR AFTERWARDS. My husband wanted to hit the parks right after and I WAS MISERABLE. I rewarded myself with Tonga Toast, showered and headed to DHS, that was a mistake. I was grumpy, impatient and tired. We quickly went back to our hotel for naps and pool time. I wish I slept but I still had to be a Mommy to 2 girls so I spent some time swimming in the pool for my muscles and it was AWESOME. Take the day to relax, you deserve it.
- YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO WAIT FOR YOUR NEXT RACE. I complained more than anyone on that course and the day we got home from vacation I was looking up more RunDisney races. I can’t wait for my next one… this time I MIGHT train beforehand!
ENJOY YOUR RACE!!!