The Dumbo Double Dare Disney Race Challenge
|September 29, 2013|
When RunDisney announced they were planning to bring a multi-race challenge to the west coast, I was stoked! Without thinking, I awaited the registration date and BOOM, registered.
I had a blast at the races. I don’t want to bore you with every little detail – like how humid it was, how I loved seeing the Red Hat Ladies cheer on all the runners, how I ran with a charity team, Special Olympics Southern California, or that at one point I was running behind the oldest runner in the race.
… But I thought you might find some of my top tips for runners new to Disney races helpful.
My Top Tips for New Disney Runners
Join a Facebook group. There are a TON of running groups on Facebook. Every Disney race has one or more groups filled with runners willing to share their experiences and offer answers to your questions. It’s great to find out from other runners what to expect race day. It’s also really helpful for tourists that aren’t as familiar with the area. Locals like myself offer insight into local carb loading favorites, hotel recommendations, and more. I love being a part of the Facebook groups.
Test your costume. Running as your favorite Disney character is fun, but when your sweaty Ariel wig is slowing you down and your only options are to take it off and carry the wet mass of red fibers, tough it out, or throw away your $35 purchase at the next water station – you’ll wish you had tested it first. I know running on the streets dressed like Cinderella might be a little embarrassing on a regular Sunday afternoon, but it’s well worth it. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who owns a treadmill, you can test your costume in a more private location. Or you can even sign up for a 5k or 10k that encourages costume wearing in the months leading up to the big Disney run.
Plan for the expo. Try to get to the expo the first day. Both vendors and Disney start to run out of merchandise if you wait. If you are planning to buy specific items like compression socks, check the list of vendors and where they are located (this can be found in the official race program sent via email or posted in the “Runner Info” section of the race). There are so many vendors it can get overwhelming when looking for something “simple,” like a pair of socks.
Get plenty of sleep. A week or two before the race, go to bed/wake up early. Get your body used to time you will need to go to bed and get up for the race. Trying to fall asleep at 8PM the night before the race is tough if you didn’t train your body to do it. Consider staying at a nearby hotel the night before. I only live about 45 minutes away from the park, but that extra 45 minutes means the world when it’s 3:30AM and you’re alarm just went off.
Know your pace. While the 3:30 time limit may seem like plenty of time at a 16 min/mile, time is of the essence if you plan to stop and take photos with the Disney characters on course. A lot of people say Disney races are not about breaking your personal record and “just a fun run,” but for those of us on the slower side, these races are far from a “just” a fun run. Sure we have fun, but for 13.1 miles, we race against ourselves and our own capabilities. The slower runners are placed in the last few corrals giving you even less pacing wiggle room. Keep track of your time and don’t get picked up, because it does happen.
Get plenty of photos. Firstly, at the expo, MarathonFoto offers special pre-order deals that you should checkout. Secondly, there are a TON of photographers to snap your photo, so technically you don’t need to bring your own camera … but being able to take photos at any possible moment is a powerful thing. Charge your phone and snap away. You never know what photo op you’ll see.
Proudly wear your medal. After the race, EVERYONE wear’s their medal. Whether you’re visiting the park after the race or planning to grab some breakfast in the surrounding areas, you’ll see runners walking around with their shiny new accomplishment around their neck.
I’ve often seen people who were swept from the race, unsure if it was appropriate to wear their medal because they didn’t actually finish the race. But wether you broke your personal record or you were swept for being under the pace requirement, you earned your medal 🙂