When I think of running a half marathon, I think of this slim physique with a beautiful runner stride, and then there is me… haha! I am the first to laugh at myself, because I do NOT have that beautiful runners physique, and yet I just ran my third half marathon with RunDisney. My first was last year, I did the Star Wars half, then I got over-zealous and ran the Wine and Dine Challenge (the 10k and the half marathon), and just last month I ran the Princess Half Marathon. I figured I would share some of my lessons learned to my fellow slow runners. One thing I would also like to note, RunDisney is amazing because you do see people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and speeds, it really makes you feel like you belong, vs you being the outcast. Not sure how, but Disney seems to make everyone feel like they belong, which is an amazing thing!
10. Running is a term I use loosely: Lets be real here, my run is more like a slow pathetic jog, but that is not to discount what I am doing. I am slow, and that is okay. I really walk the line of the 16 minute per mile rule, and that is okay too. I do keep a close watch for the balloon ladies, but so far, have avoided their wrath. No matter run, jog, or walk. You are out there doing it, and that is awesome! If you have to walk that is okay too. Walkers have passed me! Just because you walk a little, does not mean you will get swept.
9. Consider not stopping for Pictures: I hate to say it, but this is a HUGE time suck. If you are worried about your pace, you should seriously consider not stopping for character stops during the race. I know this is part of the reason we all register, but I also want to finish, so I don’t stop. I have a goal that I can get my time down, and stop without worry, but I am not there yet. My bigger goal is to finish, and I would put that at risk if I stopped in a 15 minute line for pictures. I know not everyone agrees with this, and that is okay too, but for me, I avoid those lines! One day…
8. Arrive Early: I cannot stress this one enough, this one has saved me. My husband also runs the races I run, however he is in Corral A, so he does not have to worry about this, but those in the back of the pack, like me, do. The closer to the front of your corral you get the better, and the bigger buffer you have from the balloon ladies. Depending on how Disney does the starts, this could give you a 30 min or more of extra time. If that means I am in the corral areas at 3:00 am, I am good with that, it gives me that buffer I desperately need.
7. Remember you are a runner too: I have a hard time with this one, because really I run, I walk, I do my “slow pathetic jog” but the bottom line is, no matter what my shape or size is, I am a runner. I am doing it, just like the person who crosses the finish line first, it may take me longer, but I am an athlete just like them. Knowing this empowers me to push through the pain. It makes me proud, and makes me feel accomplished. You are a runner too!!!!
6. Drink Water: I do not carry water when I run Disney races, because I know there will be many stops, and really, I don’t want to lug around the extra weight, I have enough of that on my own body already (hehe). That being said, I walk through every water stop, and get at least one water, sometimes two. RunDisney offers Powerade and Water, sometimes I alternate if I am feeling dehydrated. It is so hot an humid in Florida, that even on cool days you could be sweating much more then you are used to. So drink lots of water, and that will leave you feeling good at the end.
5. Wear comfortable clothes: This seems like a given, but I think many of us “Pooh-sized” runners feel self conscious. I know I do. That being said, I run in biker shorts, my thighs don’t chafe, and the shorts don’t ride up, and I don’t have any extra material getting in my way. Nike has some wonderful plus size running shorts that I swear by. The last race I ran (Princess Half) I tried out some Nike capri running pants, and those were nice too but did get hot towards the end of the race.
4. Don’t let your training get you down: I trained the best I could, I missed some training runs, and some of my training runs I was WAY slower then I wanted to be. It is hard not to stress over this, but just don’t let it get you down. You can do it! I use the Nike+ Run Club app to train and love it. My favorite part is the picture at the end, I always look horrible, but when I look back at the pictures I can really see how I felt for that run. Its a fun way to track yourself.
3. Chafing: Lets be real, anything that rubs can chafe! So, don’t try new clothes on race day, I already addressed wearing comfortable clothes. My legs are typically protected because of my shorts, but sometimes my arms chafe. I try and use some body glide stuff on my arms before the race, and if I feel it happening during the race, I stop into one of the first aid tents along the run, they always have glide they are passing out, and that helps SOOO much. Don’t be afraid to grab some, your body will thank you later.
2. Have fun: For me, running is not something I would consider a fun activity. That being said, once you let all the stress go, and remember that you did all of the hard work already with your training, just enjoy it. I love to people watch, I love looking at all the characters as I run past. I don’t feel comfortable stopping, but I still love looking at them all, they really push me to keep going, and hopefully one day I can run faster and stop for them. Its so great to see all the people rooting you on along the course, and Disney does a really great job of having music, and DJs along the course with music to pump you up. Its so much fun, if you let go of the stress of finishing, its a blast! Enjoy it, have a great time, and be proud of the fact that you are just out there running!
1. Don’t fear the balloon ladies: They are very nice women, they do not surprise you. You will know if you are being swept. You get warnings and encouragement from them to keep up with the pace. Sometimes life happens, if the balloon ladies do happen to pass you up, and you cannot finish the race use that at motivation to do the next race, and train a little more. Just remember, if you are out there doing it, that is one step further then you were before. You are off the couch, you are outside getting sun on your face and going out of your comfort zone. Be proud of that, because that is huge!!!
Finally, if you think you want to register, do it! Don’t wait! You can totally do it, below is the schedule of upcoming registrations, pick one, and make a goal! You have got this!