This post will kick off my Walt Disney World Marathon Series. I will try to put up a post a week with this series starting this week and running through the end of January.
I will be running a separate monthly series over at “Running at Disney” that will focus on different aspects of the race. But, if you want a total picture, please feel free to check that out as well. I’ll add a link on workorrun.com when my Running At Disney post goes up (once a month).
But back to THIS series…
If you remember back to January, my husband and I attempted to run the WDW Marathon 2014. Our families make the trek down to Florida with us and were there to cheer us on. Well, my husband finished (absolutely no training) and I ended up pulling out of the race at mile 16.5. I am SO tired of talking about that so I’ll move along quickly…
I absolutely HATE leaving things unfinished and that is definitely what this felt like to me.
So, although we vowed to run “another marathon” I talked to my husband and explained why I felt like I needed to head back to Disney. He was really on the fence about whether he wanted to run again, but ultimately decided to go after it with me.
I, in a moment of insanity, signed up for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. So, not only will I be making an attempt at a marathon, but I’ll be doing a half marathon the day before as well! I know…CRAZY!
That’s my story for signing up. The biggest decision maker for me was, frankly, the cost of running disney. If you remember back to this post, I went through the RunDisney Races available at the time and priced out their cost (ouch!). Since Sept 2012, I have been to Disney four times (Disney World 3 times — 2 with the hubs, 1 with my mom; Disneyland 1 time). That’s a lot of dough to put out! And, although we live fairly cheaply, we do like to enjoy ourselves on vacation and not have to worry about wanting that dessert or picking up a specialty drink. I’ll talk more about that later, but wanted to touch on how much finances played a role in my decision. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, registration was a week before I got some bad news about changes at my job. So…finances are even tighter for us right now. I’m choosing to have faith that things will work out and I’ll be in a better place in a short time so that we can plan an AWESOME trip!
The other big factor for me was the training. I SUCK at keeping up with training. I am working really hard this time around to get a routine in place before the training officially begins (July 2014). Hopefully it will work this time around! I’m also telling LOTS of people and hoping that weekly posting here will help keep me on track. I am considering working with a trainer again, but my trainer is moving out of state so I’ll need to find someone new to work with (I have someone in mind who promises to keep me on track and get me into the right shape to finish).
Enough about me…How do you decide to sign up for a race? How do you decide what race to sign up for?
Here are some pointers from my experiences…
1 – Can you keep up with training? Whether you are running your first 5k or an Ultra, you need to train. I know, I know…totally hypocritical of me to say this. But, I speak from experience when I say that the races I trained for, I felt the best after and enjoyed the most! Look at training plans and figure out if you really have time to train right now, or if you should wait until your schedule allows you to train better.
2 – Can you afford this race? Like I said above, Disney is expensive — probably one of the more expensive races to run. But, other races can cost a pretty penny if you are traveling, etc. Make sure its in your budget BEFORE you sign up.
3 – Can you stay under the race pace? A lot of races that are 10k or longer have a race cut-off time. Make sure you look at this time before you sign up for the race. RunDisney is great because their cut-off time is 16 minutes per mile and they seem quite lenient for the half marathons with not cutting people after a certain point in the race. Other races, however, are not so generous. I run Hershey, PA races a lot and they often have a 14 minute mile cut off and WILL pull you or redirect you if you are over the time limit.
4 – Is it a fun run or a serious race? For people just starting out, I strongly recommend looking at the fun runs, or at least at non-serious runs. If you sign up for a race where everyone is shooting for a PR (Personal record) under an 8 minute mile and you are just starting out, you will be so unhappy and probably get a lot of ugly looks (yeah, i know…we should all be supporting each other for just getting out there, but not everyone shares that mantra). For your first race, look for one that is a little more relaxed. I love Disney races because they support everyone and really, truly, promote just getting out there. But, there are lots of other races that do this as well. Looking to just do a 5k? Your options are endless!
5 – Do you have a support system? You can totally go out and run a race without help from friends and family, even when they are negative about your goals. However, it will be much easier if you have a support system. It will also be easier if you have someone at the race cheering you on. Remember above when I mentioned our families came down to cheer us on? Yeah, that was AWESOME! To know they were there helped me get as far as I did. And, when I had to slunk off the sag wagon and push through a crowd….I can’t even express how much relief it was to find my dad standing there to give me a big hug and tell me he was proud of me. Support is awesome. I include this as a factor because if you are considering a race that requires travel, you might not be able to have someone come along with you. But, if you find something more local, you might be able to convince a friend or family member to show up and meet you at the finish line! Even better…find someone to run the race with you! I’ve run a few races with my husband, a bunch with my sister in law, a few with team in training and a few more with other friends or family. I love pulling out my turkey trot shirt from last year and remembering those 3.1 miles with my friend, Erin. So much fun! Even if we/I was slow…
6 – Do you really want to do it? Seriously! Do YOU want to do it? If you don’t, then don’t let someone pressure you or don’t feel like you have to. A race is not the only way to show you are awesome. If you aren’t into the whole crowd thing, if you aren’t ready for the challenge, then just don’t do it. Simple. If someone is asking, say maybe next time. Or, just be honest that you aren’t interested. I will say two things on this… 1) If its your first race and its nerves keeping you from doing it, don’t let that stop you. Give it a try. 2)If it is a local race and a friend is asking, offer to show up and support them if you are able to. Remember #5 up there…be someone else’s support!
Welp, that’s all I have. If there are other things YOU consider, share them in the comments! I’d love to know how other people make their decision.
Truth be told…I’m a sucker for the bling…