So, not many of you readers know me personally, but I’ve made an appearance in my column pictures every now and then. If you need a refresher, this is me:
Totally your idea of a runner, right? Believe it or not, I’m NOT a runner . . . unless homicidal clowns and spiders are chasing me. But, if there were one run in the world that might ever encourage me to break my streak of not running, it would be Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend. I love Disney. I love Halloween. I love the Tower of Terror. So, when registration for the Happy Haunted 5K opened, my mind took a short vacation, and I signed up for it. Having just finished my first race weekend at Disney, here are a few of my tips.
1. Just Do It
Is it cliche to use the famous phrase? Probably, but it’s definitely my top tip. If you waver back and forth or wonder if you can do it, it may fill up or you might talk yourself out of it. Pick a race weekend that speaks to you and sign up as early as possible. I signed up for the Happy Haunted 5K the day it opened for registration. Not gonna lie, the fact that it was non-refundable did keep me motivated.
2. Do a Little Training
Is it possible to hit the track for your big day without training at all? Sure, especially if you’re doing the shorter runs, but, like I said, I was an absolute novice despite coming from a family of military and school track stars. I downloaded one of the numerous 5K apps and let it guide me to my run weekend. I also happened to get into better shape and become healthier along the way, so that was a nice added bonus.
3. Embrace the Disney of It All
One of the most fun parts of a Disney race weekend is seeing the participants go all out with costumes and make-up and encouragement posters. Not knowing exactly how the weather would be, I opted for a leftover Minnie Mouse skirt from last year’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and a custom-made tee. I have to say I was very impressed with some of the ensembles, especially those who ran the ten-miler in full costume.
Get Race Wise: runDisney races offer photo ops and character pictures along the course, so bring a camera along to capture some of the fun during the run!
4. Make Friends
I had originally planned to run the 5K with friends, but they were unable to participate due to extenuating circumstances. With my non-refundable fee in mind, though, I went through with it. As I joined my corral on race morning, I was almost immediately adopted by a group of women, one of whom was also running her first 5K. We had a great time chatting Disney and encouraging each other as we met along the course
5. Plan to Rest
While we often have pre-park opening breakfasts and busy days while at Disney, I made a point of planning downtime both after the 5K and the next day after the all-night Villains Bash. An afternoon of shopping and a late brunch made for a more relaxing weekend.
Get Race Wise: Be proud! Wear your medal all day and all week if you’re making a vacation out of your race weekend. I pinned mine to my bag, and I’ve been chatting with other participants all week.
I had a great time during race weekend and can’t wait to do another one! If you’re even considering a runDisney event, I encourage you to register for the next one. A 5K was a perfect gateway drug to the other events, and if I can do it, almost anyone can do it!!
Have you ever participated in a runDisney event? Which one? Any tips?