TEAM. THIS IS IT. I have one more training run tomorrow evening, and then the next time I lace up my sneakers, it’ll be at 3 am outside of the Magic Kingdom. The Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon is this Sunday! I’ve logged a lot of miles, shivering and sniffling and sweating and everything in between. And I still don’t actually “know what I’m doing,” but I’ve sure as hell read just about everything I can find on the Internet regarding these races. So, without further ado, here’s my very own list of runDisney tips & tricks, OR The Ramblings of an Obsessed Novice.
Are you nervous? I’m so nervous. I’m nervous about all of it. I’m nervous about getting to Orlando, I’m nervous about parking at the expo, I’m nervous about my alarm not going off on time, I’m nervous about getting to my corral in time, I’m nervous about having a total panic attack at the start line, I’m nervous about drinking enough water, I’m nervous, I’m nervous, I’m NERVOUS.
But it’s going to be okay! runDisney has been doing its thing since the 90’s, so they know what’s up. They’ll have us covered when it comes to friendly volunteers, hydration, and fun, happy, along-the-course entertainment. Also, I don’t know about you, but I’m lucky enough to be running with friends and family, so I know I’ve got a crew who’s not going to leave me behind when the going gets tough.
Fellow newbies: someone who’s really helped me navigate my pre-runDisney anxiety is the YouTuber “RezRuns.” Watching his excellent videos have given me such a better idea of what to expect from the course, which has settled my nerves considerably. I also find him to be both very motivating and inspiring. Watching his video from last year’s WDW Marathon absolutely made me tear up, and I don’t even know the guy.
Which leads me to…
Cry (if you need!)
This whole enterprise sounds so overwhelming, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And I know we all want to look cute for those photographers and get our new FB profile pictures, but, also, we’ve gotta FEEL. OUR. NERD FEELINGS. I just added the opening title music to my running playlist, so that I could get used to that wave of goosebumps that hits every time the first note sounds. Surrounded by thousands of other excited people when my body and brain will probably be mildly exhausted from lack of good sleep?
Oh. Oh, I’m going to cry. John Williams is too perfect!
Don’t let anyone make you feel weird about it, either. You put in all of that hard work running and all the crazy logistical planning, and now that gets to manifest itself however you need. Just be sure to hydrate, sport.
Do or do not. There is no “fail.”
Guys, I think this what I’ve come to love so much about training for this race, as well as what I perceive to be the general runDisney culture. There’s no way we can be “bad” at this. I spend so much of my time feeling like a failure. Hell, I fucked something up at work TODAY. And I take it all very hard and very personally, and it’s exhausting.
But I can’t be bad at this race. I just have to do it. Running, walking, crawling, I have to do those 13.1 miles. Maybe you’re going to PR this race. Maybe you’re going to stop for every single photo op along the way. Maybe you’re going to have an encounter with the Balloon Ladies and need to step up your pace a little bit.
When my company teaches Shakespeare, we talk a lot about how victory looks different for every student. One kid might step up and be Hamlet, and another kid might find the courage to speak just one line of text in front of an audience. And both of those triumphs are amazing and special.
This Sunday, my victory will be slow and filled with walking breaks. It will be weepy and sunburnt, no matter what efforts I make to the contrary. It will begin and end with fireworks, because we are absolutely going to the Magic Kingdom after the race, feet be damned.
It’s going to be so awesome, you guys. May the Force Be with Us!