My First Half Marathon at Disneyland
|November 19, 2012|
Check that off my bucket list! I completed the Disneyland Half Marathon in September and wanted to relay some things I wish I knew before running. Words of advice and encouragement that you can use if you decide to run a half. (Ok, I know it’s been a while since I ran, but it took a while to get the photos I ordered and I wanted to get some good recipes up first.)
Firstly, let me tell you a little about my experience. I registered for the half marathon in January of 2012, a whole nine months before the actual run was to take place. I registered because I was having one of those moments. We have all experienced them. I was on Pinterest and pinning away – all these motivational quotes and healthy recipes and I was really in the mood to take a leap and really turn up the heat on my healthy lifestyle. I saw all those photos and I just wanted to get up and work out and eat healthy. That’s what Pinterest is for, right?
So I registered for the half marathon. Well precious training time went by and nothing happened. I continued my regular routine: gym 3xs a week, mostly healthy eating, 8hrs of sleep. But I never really started actually running. In late June, my gym trainer convinced everyone to do a 5k. I ran it with no prep but I fell in love! I loved being among other people that liked running (because I hated running). Feeling accomplished, I decided to start training for my half marathon. Too bad I still didn’t like running so I failed. I could not run more than a mile on my own without getting bored and walking back home.
I ran a few more 5ks before the Disneyland Half Marathon. I figured it might be enough. After all, a half marathon is only 4x the distance as a 5k. That meant I was 25% there! Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Day of, I woke up at 3am (more like 3:15, hello snooze!) and drove over to Disneyland. I thought I was all set with my favorite workout shirt, my iphone to keep time and for music if I needed it. Wasn’t feeling nervous at all.
The first 5 miles or so was all fun and games because we ran through the park and I was totally pumped with all that Disney music feeding my inner Disney Fanatic. At one point, I realized I had so much adrenaline that my legs were numb. I was having a blast! It was after we left Disneyland when the fun started to fade.
Up until that point, I had no doubt I would make it. But at the 6th mile marker, I was thinking I might want to take a break. BIG MISTAKE! I am not a walk jogger by any means. Stopping to walk, for me, makes it so much harder to get back and run. I never walked in any of my 5ks (not even my first one). MIND OVER MATTER! But I stopped. I stretched. Then kept running. About a mile later, I stopped again… and so on. My goal was to run that last 5k so around the 9th mile I was all set to start running again. But the muscles in my legs were spasing and going crazy. I ended up only being able to run that last mile instead of 5k.
But I finished, and that is the most important part! I did it! My time was 3:33:45. (Ignore the time on the photos. That’s the time for corral A, and I was in E.) With little training and no experience, mission accomplished. Besides more training, here are a few things I wish I had known I needed for the half I thought I would share with you:
- Running Belt – I saw this Spibelt at the RunDisney Health Expo but I didn’t think I needed it, especially for the price. But now I wished I had gotten one. They expand to hold however much stuff you need to carry. Great for holding your snacks, phone and travel vaseline. And I would have preferred this for my phone over my arm band because I ended up not needing my music and my arm band just became an annoyance. There are so many options/brands, so get one that suits your needs.
- Vaseline – This is a MUST! There are also brands like BodyGlide made specifically for runners that I hear do a better job than vaseline. But there are also a lot of runners that tell me Vaseline does the job just fine. Your call. Rub some in between your legs, under your arms (where your arms rub against your shirt) and if you’re a guy you might want to put some on your chest. It keeps the chaffing at bay. I would also suggest carrying a small bottle with you just incase you need to reapply. Take it from me, I was in some serious pain!
- Lara Bars – Half way through I was craving Lara Bars. Pick whatever snack you choose, but have it on hand for when those cravings hit.
- Good Shoes – Hopefully you train more than I did so you are able to recognize how bad of shape your shoes are in before you run. I didn’t, and by the end my feet were killing me. Wear good shoes. End of story.
- Sweat Band – I saw the HALO head band at the expo and thought I’d try it. I sweat a lot and would get sweat in my eyes (ouch) during 5ks. So I could only imagine what it was going to be like doing a half. So I splurged and got one. It has a Sweat Block Seal that is basically like a rubber sweat catcher that makes it so your sweat falls on the side of your face versus into your eyes. It worked like a charm! I highly recommend this.
- KTape – Also known as kinesiology tape. At about the 7th mile, my muscles were throbbing and cramping and there was nothing I could do. In my attempt to stretch, another runner suggested next time I use my KTape. Well if I had KTape and knew what it was, I would have used it. Basically it’s a fitness tape that gives a little extra support to the applied muscle. Some tape brands are pre-cut to give you the right shape for the right area and some provide a how-to for each muscle location on the body. I haven’t tried it yet but I will give it a go next time I do a long distance run and let you know. It’s best to get to know your body during training so that you know where you need to apply the KTape. Most commonly, KTape is applied to support the knees.
**This post is in no way affiliated or sponsored by RunDisney or any of the companies mentioned. All content is of my own opinion.