When you walk a half marathon…

Let's GO FOR A RUNWell, our little Disney adventure has come and gone. I’ve debated long and hard on whether or not to share ALL of my photos and experiences for this trip because I really didn’t do what I had every intention of doing at each race. RUN. My foot had been sore and swollen for a few days the week prior to the trip, so I went to see an orthopedic specialist. They took x-rays and said the good news was that they could not see a fracture (although a hairline fracture is sometimes not seen on an x-ray). The bad news was that I had a stress reaction on the metatarsal of my right foot. And while they could not stop me from participating in the races, they would prefer I wear a boot through all of the theme parks AND the races if possible. What a let down. Of all of the Disney races out there, this one is my favorite, and I’ve only done the 5K at the inaugural one. I was so looking forward to running it, especially now that my sciatica and back issues have practically disappeared. But I didn’t want my injury to turn into an actual fracture. Especially with another half marathon coming up in May. So I took it down a notch and primarily walked all three races. I still enjoyed myself as I had friends walk with me on the 5K and the 10K, and I enjoyed seeing all of the characters (both Disney and runners) on the courses all three days. But will I do that again? No. I really do prefer running the courses instead of walking them.

So now I’m resting my foot and will hopefully get a better diagnosis when I go back to the specialist this week. Hoping they’ll tell me I’m good for the next race!

CharacterMeetUp!If you’ve never done a Disney race before, let me fill you in on a few things. If this is your first time EVER running a race, then you may want to just do a 5K the first time around. You have to train properly and be in shape before attempting three back to back races in addition to enjoying the theme parks. Otherwise, you will suffer the consequences later. And where’s the fun in that? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, but don’t OVER hydrate!! Get plenty of sleep before each race! I cannot stress that enough. If you want to open and close the parks every time, this is NOT the trip to do that. Plan on being in bed by 8:30 – 9 every night. Take a shower the night before, and make sure you have your running clothes out and ready for in the morning. Set your alarm for 2:15 am. Eat some oatmeal, drink a cup of hot coffee, get on the bus (or if you’re driving, set your GPS the night before) and go to the race site! Once in the corral, DO take advantage of the music and dance before the race. You want to warm up your muscles so that you’re ready to run that course!

The 5K is NOT a timed race, so you can take it easier than the other races, have fun, and stop at all of the character stops you can handle. The other two races have 16 minute pace limits, but this really doesn’t begin until the LAST person crosses that finish line. In other words, if you’re in corral E or higher, and you know that you can’t keep up a 16 minute pace, don’t worry. You’re still going to finish and you’re still going to get that medal! If you find yourself in F or G, just run a little faster at the start of every mile just for a few minutes to get you ahead of the game. This was how I knew I would be okay in getting to the end. I knew I would be walking it this time around, and I knew that my walking pace was significantly slower (around 17-18 minutes per mile). But because I warmed up and pumped up to go, I found myself walking a bit faster than I normally do, and kept a steady 16 minute pace until the last 2-3 miles of the half marathon. But even though I ended up with a 17-18 minute pace overall, I was still able to receive all of my medals. (I was running for two challenges!) I may not brag about my times this time around, but I am happy to say I was able to finish all three in an upright position. And with no pain the next day.

After each race, I highly suggest you go back to the room and find some time to relax, take a nap if you can, before you head to the parks. Otherwise you’ll find yourself unable to move by the end of the day. But don’t sit for the rest of the day. You want to keep moving, if only a little bit at a time!

Again, will I walk a half marathon ever again? 99.9% not likely. I hated that I was on the course a full hour and 3 minutes longer than the half marathon I ran on my own 2 weeks before our vacation began. And I didn’t even run as fast as I could have that day. I probably would have finished in 2.5 hours if I had pushed myself! But I did it this time around. After all the training and money I had invested on this trip, it was going to take more than a little foot injury to stop me from participating in all three. BUT I did tell myself, that if I felt like my foot was going to get worse before I finished, I still had the option of boarding that bus of shame. I would still get my finisher medal for the race, but I would NOT get my challenge medals. I had resigned myself to accept that IF that were the case. Thankfully it was not.