Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tips for Enjoying Your runDisney Experience

I wanted to include this in my post about my Wine and Dine experience, but I feel that it was worthy of its own post anyway. Please remember that is this is all based off my (currently) one and only runDisney race - and as amazing as it was, I'm sure there are always things you wish you could have done a little differently, right? Right.

Tips for Enjoying Your runDisney Experience
And heck yes! Get yourself a Celebrating! button!
  • Don't go into a runDisney race with a time goal. I read so many folks saying this the weeks leading up to this, and I really took that to heart. It is Disney, after all. It's the most magical place on earth. I'm glad I didn't - not only because I wanted to ensure Heather made it, but that I really wanted to take it all in. If you are a Disney lover, you want to be able to really make the most of it.
  • If you're a later corral, don't try and be that guy. in the bottleneck that is Animal Kingdom, there was a guy who was yelling at folks "On your left! On your left!" like he actually thought he'd get by people. Dude, you're in the second to last corral. Start earlier if you're going to take this race that seriously.
  • Research the course. Every race runDisney hosts has a different course (some overlap in portions), but each has its unique challenges. I'm thankful for the gentleman we met going into packet pick-up who warned us of the extreme bottleneck that occurs in the Animal Kingdom because how narrow paths get. It prepped me for it, so when we got to the park I didn't freak out or worry about my pace - I knew it was coming and knew how to deal. Find folks who have done it before, read blogs, articles, reviews, and anything you can find about the course you're about to take on. 
  • Stay on site: we were on property technically, so it wasn't a big deal, but I imagine having the shuttles at your disposal makes things a little easier. Overall, it didn't affect my experience, but I'm also grateful that we got to use Selby's parking pass and therefore use the shuttle to/from the start line. 
  • Bring a camera! I hated running with so much junk in my hands, but am also so grateful I did. I knew my photo wouldn't cut it for the nighttime photos, so I brought my Nikon along for the ride too. So glad I did! Stop and take character photos, scenery, park signs. It's worth it.
  • Don't visit the parks the day of the race. I say this for Wine and Dine, given that it started at 10 pm. I can only imagine a long day at a park, then getting somewhere to change and then go run. Morning races at Disney are totally and completely different, but for W&D, I'd personally advise against it. I'm glad I saved it for the day after the race (moving helped my legs recuperate too!). 
  • Run with friends/groups/folks you know. Disney is more fun with more people as we all know. You're allowed to move back corrals (i.e. I was assigned to C but started in E), but aren't allowed to move forward (though with all those people they'd know none the wiser). 
  • For Wine & Dine specifically, do several night runs prior to this.  Wine and Dine starts at 10 pm (assuming you're in the Elites corral or even towards the front of Corral A), and for some folks, running that late at night can totally throw off their running mojo. How do you fuel for a run that late? Does your body agree? Experiment for a few weeks leading up to it so you know how to best prep come race day.
What other tips would you add? Words of advice for a runDisney first-timer?

These opinions are solely my own based on my experiences from Wine and Dine 2012. These tips/suggestions are not intended to violate any rules or terms provided for runDisney by Disney, runDisney or related entities. This post not endorsed or supported by runDisney in any fashion and are my own thoughts.

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