Disney Running Newbie Asks the Expert

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When is the perfect time to start training for my second Disney Princess (or any) half-marathon? The correct answer is shortly after finishing the first. This time, my training plans included getting some real expert advice. After racking my brain, I figured who better to ask questions than a long-time Disney runner, multi-race volunteer, Coast to Coast Finisher (two times I might add), and runner of about 50+ races (including 5Ks, 10ks, half AND full marathons)? Drum roll…please! Introducing my sister… Liz.

To set a scene, picture, if you will, two runners just finishing the Disney Princess Half Marathon. One of us barely is breaking a sweat. The other is clutching her side, gasping for air and trying to catch her breath from the finish (that would be me).

Me: So, Liz, what do you think is the BEST way to prepare for a half marathon?

Liz: Read ALL the information you can on the actual race website. Ask questions on Facebook, but take the time to make sure someone else didn’t ask that same exact question, 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes ago. They are happy to help, but it drives your fellow runners a bit batty.

Me: Yeah, that would be me. I have to remember that!

Me: I don’t think I trained as much as I should have, judging by the humongous cramps I got around mile 8. Any advice? When to start?

Liz: You have to train, whether you are running, walking or a combo of the two. Jumping straight to the Dopey is probably not wise, unless you’ve been running all along. Training IS more important than your costume.

Me: That’s funny, you know me so well! I think I did spend more time trying to find the perfect outfit. If I was going to fail, I wanted to make sure at least I looked good. It doesn’t have to be an epic failure though; training would ensure that I looked good running across the finish line, not on the pick-up bus.

Me: There seems to be a LOT of rules. Are they sticklers for enforcing them or is there any wiggle room?

Liz: Don’t expect Race Directors to make an exception for you. Make your travel reservations early enough for packet pickup. Yes, you need to finish within the time constraints. Check this before you pay your money!

Me: True, I would have been so upset to plunk down $170 and not finish.

Me: Where can I find even more information about races and running in general, instead of bothering you all the time?

Liz: Google blogs from other runners/walkers and read the comments regarding the race. This is an invaluable source of info. Read Runner’s World and other running websites, so that you understand the lingo (corral, packet pick up, bib, etc.); you learn about nutrition; you learn about injuries, etc. If your first race is a large one, set aside some time to listen to the Speakers at the expo. These are the people who know what is going on.

Me: Wow. There is a lot more to running a race then just signing up. I agree information is the key! I’m feeling a bit more knowledgeable already!

Liz: We can always be better informed and have more reasonable expectations when we do some research. Definitely a better way to ensure that you have a great race weekend, not just for RunDisney, but for any race!

Me: Awesome advice! Thanks Liz!

As the credits role to a close, feel free to picture me hobbling to the ice table as visions of a training game plan starts to form in the cloud above my head.

See you at the races!

About Liz: Liz B has run multiple races including many Disney Half-Marathons (both at Disneyland and Disney World) and the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon. She also runs a host of other 5Ks and 10ks. Liz most recently completed her first full marathon only a week after running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. The best thing about it? Liz is a rockin’ grandma too! To grandmothers everywhere, we’ve got this!

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Nothing Wrong with a 5K Walk

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Have you ever been in this situation? You start the day with a fantastic plan in mind…a run at the end of the day.  I was actually quite proud of myself.  After getting dressed for work, I grabbed my Run Like a Mother bag, filled it with the essentials – my favorite sneakers, some socks, my favorite running shorts and my Color Me Rad t-shirt (a little motivation from my last race). Ready!

The first item I had to check off my list was going to the job. It really wasn’t a bad day, no meetings, no interviews…For a quick moment; I was finally all caught up with everything from recruiting to FMLA requests. Not bad, not bad…When you have a day like that, the mantra just gets stronger… “I will run after work today. I will not go home. I will go straight to the track. I will not be defeated”, but sometime during the day the strong passion can occasionally fade a bit.

Defeat is such a strong word and it can often take on so many forms.  Sometimes it’s excuses…it is 100 degrees out here, OK it was only 87, but it felt like a 100, which sounded like a better excuse. I forgot my hat.  Really? Really? Who uses a hat as an excuse? I think I just did.

Home…  Home could not, would not be my final destination. All my plans…chanting my mantra, no, I have to go the track. The bottom line is that sometimes you have to accept the fact that it’s not going to be the best run. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that you just can’t do it, but you can’t give up. I could have gone home and stayed, but I didn’t.  It might not even have been a run today, but sometimes just getting out the door is the prize.  One step closer to my Disney Half. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with a 5K walk.