You've trained as hard as possible (or not...). You're in the home stretch now! I don't know about you, but my Princess Half Marathon Weekend vacation has officially started! This Hat Trick will be my sixth, seventh, and eighth runDisney races, so I decided to put together my Top 10 tips for those getting to experience this magical weekend for the first time.
|Princess Half Marathon 2010|
10. Manage your time. A 16-minute mile pace seems reasonable until you factor in crowds, lines, and photo opportunities. Be sure to manage your time wisely. While running the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon, my friends and I almost got swept because we spent a ton of time taking photos with the characters during the first 5K. We then had to book it for miles just to make up time! Don't let this happen to you. If you are worried, know which characters you really want to stop for. In addition, you will see the first few characters (usually pirates and princes) on the highway twice. If the line is long on the way into Magic Kingdom then catch them on the way out.
9. Plan for the worst but hope for the best. I always think the worst is going to happen, so I attempt to plan ahead. While the medical tents are full of BodyGlide and pain medicine, I've been known to pack toilet paper, safety pins, and Band-Aids in my belongings before. Thankfully, I've never had any issues though.
8. Take pictures. I've seen more characters during this race than I've seen in a whole weekend at the Disney parks. It really is the perfect opportunity for photos. Lines might seem long, but the Disney cast memebers move them along quickly.
|Princess Half Marathon 2011|
7. Wear a costume. Everyone dresses up, so you might as well join in on the fun. If you aren't a costume person than at least rock a tiara. You won't regret it!
6. Pee at your own risk. I suggest peeing before the race and not during it if possible. But, if you absolutely must go then I recommend holding it until you get into the parks. During our first Princess Half Marathon, my mom and I stopped to use the porta-potties around Mile 5 not knowing we could've used the park's restrooms about two miles later. Disney porta-potties aren't cleaner than regular ones, let me tell ya! The park restrooms are lovely and have running water. Enough said.
|Tinkerbell Half Marathon 2012|
5. Dress like it's 20 degrees hotter, but bring a sweater. Since your body heats up while you run, they suggest that runners dress as though it is 20 degrees hotter than it is outside. I couldn't agree more, but definitely bring some sort of warmer "throw away" clothes and accessories. During my first runDisney race, I wasn't prepared for how cold it was going to be while waiting around. It was probably 40* out and I was standing in a tank top and running skirt for at least an hour. Since then, I've rocked bathrobes, fleece throws, and even the blankets from Delta flights. (In case you were wondering, Disney donates it all to charity.)
4. Walk it out. I never understand why people are afraid to walk during races. Even if it's just walking through the water stations (I can't drink and run...), I don't think I've ever completed a race without walking even for a second. There is no shame in walking, people. Do what you gotta do!
|Princess Half Marathon 2012|
3. The early bird gets the worm. There is actually no benefit to getting to the Start early, but there are many negatives to leaving your bed late. First, the line at hotels for buses can be very long. I didn't know if we were going to make the race during our first year because we left late at 4am. Second, traffic before dawn on race morning is horrendous. Lastly, the Start line is still a long walk from the parking lot. Leave with enough time to walk to your corral.
2. Wear your medal(s) to the park. You earned it! runDisney medals are fairly heavy, but it's totally worth it.
|Walt Disney Marathon 2013|
1. Have fun! You aren't trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon during this race, so have a little fun with it! You are at the happiest place on Earth - take photos, be silly, laugh with friends, skip in your tutu and tiara, etc.
|Princess Half Marathon 2013|
Did I miss any great tips? Leave your advice for newbies in the comments below!
Stay fit and fabulous,