I’m baaaaack! Who’s excited for race day?! *sees all the hands going up*
YAAAAAY! So glad there’s a bunch of happy princesses ready to rock their tiaras and earn their medals! I appreciate all of the encouragement and feedback that I’ve received from you so far. It really drives me to be the best author I can be, and to think of new and fun things to write! You guys rock my sockies.
We’re getting closer to the heart of race day, and though there is a definite buzz of excitement, many of you (including me!) are probably nervous. Whether this is your first race or your fiftieth, there’s usually a kaleidoscope of butterflies in your stomach in the hours before the race that seem to flutter about with incredible intensity, their wings tickling your insides and conjuring a mélange d’émotions:
We all have our ways of coping with pre-event jitters, and this episode will take us to the night before your race: what to do, what definitely NOT to do, what to review, and how to sleep…maybe.
Author’s Note: I received a suggestion from Lindsey Hardegree to include stuff about spectators! I will be touching upon spectator-related info a little in this episode, and a lot more the next. Thanks, Lindsey!! ❤
PHM Survival Guide, Episode Three: Revenge of the Pre-Race Jitters: ‘t’was the Night Before Your Race….
You’re standing in your hotel room, and just like your house while you were packing in Episode I, there’s a plethora of things strewn about (minus the dog stealing your socks). Take a minute, take a couple of deep breaths, and follow this list…
What to Do
- Find your race outfit and lay it out. Pin your bib to whatever article of clothing you want PROVIDED THAT IT’S ON THE FRONT OF THE OUTFIT. If you want to be identified for race photos later on, your entire number must be visible. All four corners must be fastened on whether it’s with the safety pins, Race Dots, or whatever method you choose.
- Charge your electronics.
- Set out your accessories (belts, fuel stuff, arm pockets, jars of glitter, etc.)
- This one is crucial: If you’re going to take a picture of your pre-race setup, DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS MAGICAL, DISPLAY YOUR BIB NUMBER. There are bib bandits out there that will copy the design of your bib and your number and try to run as you, taking valuable runner resources and causing more course congestion with extra bodies. Their fake bibs do not have the ChronoTrack B-chips on them, so their times will not be recorded, but they will be in the way of your race photos and, possibly, medical assistance. (If a runner with your bib is running as you, and something happens to them, runDisney is going to start calling YOUR emergency contacts, and this will result in mass confusion. We don’t like mass confusion.) Bib bandits have caused a lot of trouble in other series in addition to the runDisney series, so stay alert.
- Set everything aside on a desk or chair. Double check to make sure it’s all there, then leave it alone.
- Pack your check-in bag if you plan on bringing one. This is for everything you’re going to need post-race. Also, MAKE SURE THAT STICKER THEY GAVE YOU AT PACKET PICKUP IS AFFIXED TO THE LITTLE BOX ON YOUR BAG. Volunteers will not accept your bag without this sticker, or any other type of bag for that matter. Make sure it’s there. Hang the bag on the doorknob to the room. It’s an easy visual so that you don’t forget it on your way out the door.
- Grab your event guide and review the course. (This will be its own seperate section in a little bit.)
- Set out your breakfast. I know that when I get nervous, I don’t eat. BUT, you’re going to be running some sort of distance, so pre-race fuel is necessary. Bagels and peanut/almond butter, fruit, granola bars…whatever you’ve been using during training, use it now. As mentioned in previous episodes, nothing new on race day. You know what works for you. Don’t deviate from it.
- BREATHE. This is the most critical part of the night before. Get yourself into a calm state of mind, and visualize your race day. Listen to some zen music, do yoga, stretch out…take this time for you. If you’re a visual person, maybe some positive Pinterest pictures will do the trick. Whatever it takes to get your body calm and ready for sleep, do it.
- Go to bed at a reasonable hour, perhaps earlier than what you think you need. You may still be a little jittery after your zen-session, but turn off your social media and SET YOUR ALARM (maybe five). You’ve packed and prepared for this. You deserve rest. 🙂-Reminder: If you have a Pasta in the Park reservation, this happens at EPCOT from 7-8:30 PM with Illuminations at 9 on both Friday and Saturday of PHM weekend. If you’re partaking, you’ll probably get back to your hotel between 10-10:30 PM and you’ll have to wake up about three or four hours later to get ready for your race. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for everything above. Prep for your race before chowtime so you don’t have to do it when you get back.
- If you’re driving to EPCOT on race morning, make sure you have your directions ready to go. It’s relatively easy to get there; just make sure you follow the signs! DO NOT USE EXIT 67 OFF OF I-4.
- If you have a breakfast packet/race retreat package, make sure you bring your tickets/wristbands for that! (You would have picked these up at the expo, along with any ChEAR Squad Packages for your spectators, at the HP Fieldhouse.)
Now, here is what you don’t do the night before…
1. Use your “I Did It!” shirt as part of your race ensemble. Ladies…and gents…this is presumptuous and really tacky, in my opinion. You have not completed your task; you are IN THE PROCESS of doing it. Your shirt will not be an electronic billboard that says, “I’m Doing It!” while you run, only to switch over automatically to, “I Did It!” once you cross the finish line. To refrain from getting the side-eye from those around you, please save your “I Did It!” shirts for AFTER the race. You’ll have earned it by then.
2. Not getting sleep. I know you’re excited, but don’t go on a coffee/caffeine bender trying to make it through the night. It won’t work, and you will crash. Aim to get at least a couple of hours of sleep.
3. Referring to #4 above, posting your bib number visibly online. Cover it up with something if you’re going to put a, “Find me in this outfit and say hi!” post on social media.
4. Think that you can pack everything in five minutes before you head out the door. Nope. Nope. Nope. You WILL forget something, and you won’t have time to return to your room if you do forget something. Take the extra time THE DAY BEFORE and make sure it’s all in your gEAR bag and/or layed out in your room if it’s part of your runner ensemble.
5. Eat something new. I will reiterate this for years to come: nothing new on race day. Seriously. If you try sushi for the first time the day before and get sick, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
6. Be obsessive over social media and texts. Now is not the time to be glued to your devices. Have a set time where you will say goodnight to your followers and focus on your mental prep for race day.
So we’ve gone over the yays and nays of the night before race day. This next section is going to take us into one of the most critical parts of the entire racecation. Grab a snack and refill your coffee…
The Course Maps: What Exactly Am I Running?
(Note: This section will be a quick overview of the Enchanted 10K and Princess Half course maps. Episode Four: A New Race, will take each race WAY more in-depth with water/aid/food stops, places to pee, stuff to see, etc.)
Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Knowing what you’re getting into will quell most of the jitters, since many of us are scared of the unknown. Turning to your event guide somewhere in the middle, you will find course maps that give you start and end points and all the places in between you will be running. I will give you a basic overview of what to expect with terrain, elevation, and points of interest. Again, like always, I ask my readers for additional information if I forget anything, and it will be noted in the next episode! ❤
(^^ map courtesy of Patty at noguiltlife.com!)
Start in the EPCOT Explore Lot. In the last two years, there have been five corrals between 9,000-11,000 runners total. This is a smaller staging area, and for those that have run the half before, those running the 10K will notice.
Fireworks go off. Boom. Yay. Let’s race!
-Mile 1: Long stretch of road and very flat. There will be an overpass with Anna, Elsa, and friends with snowflakes and “Let It Go” playing. (This was 2014 and 2015, so I’m not sure what will happen this year….maybe Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder with a bubble machine?!)
-Mile 2: Around the corner and up the highway. This is the only major elevation change in the race. As always, what comes up…
-Mile 3: …must come down! Enjoy the downhill. This is also another looong stretch of highway, but last year there was music and old Disney romance clips of Mickey and Minnie playing on big Jumbotrons!
—-5K halfway! Woooo!—
-Mile 4: This is where it starts getting fun. You’ll enter the backstage area at EPCOT and start going around World Showcase beginning with China. You’ll veer to the left and go past Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, and France. PLENTY of photo opportunities here! (I think I tacked on about ten minutes taking pictures last year.) You’ll go across the bridge by France and swing left just before the UK to go to…
-Mile 5: The Boardwalk and Yacht Club! Again, this is beautiful and very scenic. IF IT HAS RAINED, BE CAREFUL OF THE BOARDWALK. It may be slippery, and we don’t want people wiping out. You’ll go through here and come back out in Future World of EPCOT…
-Mile 6: You’re almost home free! You go past Spaceship Earth, past many a spectator (they’re in abundance here!), past the traditional gospel choir…
And there’s the finish! Woohoo!
(You get snackies at the finish. This is the 2014 Enchanted 10K box!)
Princess Half Marathon
(^^map courtesy of the Mickey Miles Podcast crew! mickeymilespodcast.com)
With more runners and more corrals, there is a larger staging area on EPCOT Center Drive. You may be waiting a bit for your corral to launch.
Fireworks again. Yay! Let’s race!
Mile 1: Many spectators, a marching band or two, and flat. Oh, so flat.
Mile 2: More flat highway, and then a little elevation change.
Mile 3: Downhill, more flat highway…getting closer to MK…
Miles 4-6.9: Hey, it’s Magic Kingdom! (“Caution: Course Narrows Ahead” audio and “Speed Bump Ahead!” signs will greet you throughout this section.) Miles 4-6.2 will involve MK and the castle.
There is a downward hill around Mile 4.5 (known by some as a Hill of Death), and is one of the “Cone Alleys” you’ll encounter, where runners are smooshed onto one side of the road and boxed in by a neverending line of cones…
You’ll go down Main Street U.S.A., head to the right through Tomorrowland, New Fantasyland, Cinderella Castle (be prepared for a bottleneck), Liberty Square and Frontierland.
Miles 7-9: Cone Alley Part II. Honestly, this is one of the suckiest parts of the entire course. You’ll come out of the backstage area of MK and get funneled onto one side of the road. You’ll also hit the halfway point (marked by a big sign of sorts), and Luna Bar provides encouraging princessy-signs along here, too!
Mile 10: OVERPASS. This is another huge elevation change on the course. Once you get up and over this (our wonderful green Army men will be hilariously encouraging you up the hill!), you’ll see Spaceship Earth! You’re almost done! (Seriously!)
Miles 11-12.9: EPCOT. You’ll go down the overpass ramp and into the park. You’ll run by Spaceship Earth to a point (you’ll see American Adventure straight in front of you and Starbucks is on your right), and loop back up the other side. If you had run the 10K the day before, this is going to look really familiar!
Miles 13-13.1: Backstage of EPCOT, past the gospel choir…and there’s the finish line! Woohoo!
Everything is prepared. You’ve read over the course maps. And you’re getting sleepy. You shut the lights off and cuddle with your pillows. In a few short hours, it will be race time!
Stay tuned for Episode Four, A New Race: The Ins and Outs of Race Day, coming soon!