(#52) Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Goofy Challenge, Day 1) (January 12, 2013) – Part 2 (Don’t Plan to PR at a Disney Race)

January 15, 2013

Halfway there...or notPicking up from yesterday

After the fun morning interview, I went to my corral. Before you knew it, it was off to the races!

I saw a funny pair of signs just a few miles in. I thought the “you’re halfway there,” “bad at math” sign idea was pretty cute. (The couple holding them showed up again with the same signs at the end. The signs seemed even funnier when we were only a tenth of a mile away.)

There was also a big projection made by Disney onto the side of an overpass that said “Congratulations.” It was cool, but I thought, “uh, a little premature, much? We’re like 4 miles in, y’all. Thanks anyway, though.”

One person’s family had a sign that said, “her feet need your tweets,” and included her twitter handle. I thought that was a super cute idea.

One last sign I thought was funny said “Hurry up! My arms are getting tired!”

As far as my strategy for this race – I just wanted to chill out, walk a lot, and come in a little before the time limit. I did 15:50/minute miles for the first 10k, just taking it all in, looking around, being silly.

As we got through the Magic Kingdom, we all came to a big stop right outside Cinderella’s Castle (which happened in my first Disney race as well). I was sort of expecting it, and my thoughts were really on the marathon the next day. But I felt bad for the poor girl next to me. She was sweating and working hard. She was incredibly frustrated and yelled out, “This is unacceptable!” as she looked for a way to get through the traffic.

Congrats sign at DisneyI looked at her, and in the most understanding way I knew how, tried to say, “This is a Disney race. This happens. This isn’t a race you run for time.” She exasperatedly exclaimed something like, “I didn’t know that!”

I think she had learned it in the first 6 miles, but she was already in the race. There was nothing she could do now.

I do think it’s really important for people to know that you should not expect to run a PR at a Disney race. Some people do, sure. And sure, you can push yourself. But there are parts that get narrow, and so many people posing for pictures and stopping to look at things – you will almost certainly be held back, at one point or another, from a pace you wish you were going. To have a pleasant Disney experience, you just have to be okay with that.

It is jarring and can be upsetting the first time you learn that lesson, so I empathize with runners who’ve never done a Disney race. But now that I know that to be the case, I chill out, and just enjoy Disney races for what they are.

(Obviously, if you are elite and start in the front, that very well may never happen to you.)

I like to think of Disney races as Disney events that happen to involve running instead of running events that happen to involve Disney. When I look at them that way, they’re super fun. I had an amazing time! But please, runners, know what you’re getting into.

I’ll finish up telling you about the race tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “(#52) Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Goofy Challenge, Day 1) (January 12, 2013) – Part 2 (Don’t Plan to PR at a Disney Race)”

    1. Thanks so much! 🙂

      Yeah, people bring out some fun signs at Disney. I saw a sign this time that said “Running. It’s not just from the cops anymore” that I thought was cute as well. And I remember the bottleneck from the Princess. It surprised me the first time, but now I expect it. Though I feel bad for people around me when they experience it for the first time. 😛

  1. That “bad at math” sign combo was my ultimate favorite from the whole weekend! Love that you got a picture of it. Disney event or not, I found it kind of annoying how everyone just stopped dead in their tracks outside the castle trying to get a picture. I get it, but it sucked having people stop right in front of you and stand around waiting for a picture…

    1. Yes, I loved the “bad at math” signs! There were so many good signs at these races.

      And I totally get the frustration about the stopping in front of the castle. I was really frustrated during my first Disney race when I had to stop dead in my tracks. I don’t mean to completely excuse lots of people coming to a dead stop at once in the middle of a race, but I’ve just grown to know it’s part of doing a race at Disney. For my own health, happiness, and enjoyment, I need to just be okay with it, I suppose… or train hard enough to be an elite runner, and not be in a big crowd once I reach the castle. 🙂

      Although, I will say, I think part of it is Disney’s (or MarathonFoto’s?) fault for stationing a bunch of photographers on that narrow bridge! If the photographers were right outside of the bridge, I think the traffic jam wouldn’t be nearly as bad… although, maybe they’d get worse pictures out of a position change?… I don’t know.

      What I do know is, I’ve never had a great picture of myself coming out of the castle – it always just looks like I’m at a complete stop waiting to move – ’cause that’s exactly what’s happening. 😛

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