In November I completed my very first half marathon at the inaugural avengers run at Disneyland. I trained with my fiancé starting in July using the RunDisney training guide. I felt fully prepared for the race but learned a few things along they way that I am sharing below:
Plan extra time at the expo. At the Disneyland events the expo is at the beautiful Disneyland hotel. I was extremely impressed how quick the lines for packet pick up was. I did make the mistake of not doing a full lap of all the venders and buying extra things because I saw something I liked better after purchasing something else. The expo also has great speakers. I caught Disneybound illustrating the perfect green alien costume. I really wish I caught the entire speech.
2. Dinner the night before
Your dinner the night before is key for a healthy race the next morning. You will need reservations as most places near the park will be booked. In fact any Italian or pizza place will be almost impossible to get in. While most people swear by carbing up I settled for a plain chicken dish at Ralph Brennan’s. They also had special pasta menus for dinner just for runners that night too. On Friday Disney had a pasta in the park party. It was a extra cost so I didn’t partake but looking back all the cute Instagrams of Disney treats I wish I did.
3. Pick a better corral
This was my first half and my fiance’s first half in many years and we knew we were pretty slow so we signed up for the last corral. This was a big mistake and very frustrating because almost everyone in this corral was walking. We spent most of the race dodging the slower folks. We also noticed that when we got to the characters for picture opportunities the lines were already really long. If a runner falls below a certain time they could be pulled off the course so we know better for next time.
4. Plot your Disney character visits
As mentioned above because we were in the slower corral by the time we got into the park during the race the character visits areas were packed. Next time I plan to look at the map ahead of time to plot where the characters might be and plan to run a bit faster before and in between to make up time if there is a long wait. We did capture a few photos but none with the popular Avenger characters we would have loved to capture.
5. Ice bath
We stayed at the best western Stovalls in which is located across the street from Disneyland. I had stayed there previously and knew they had a great location, free breakfast and most importantly for this trip; a bathtub. It sounds painful (and it is) but a ice bath is key for a quick recovery. As soon as we got back to the the hotel from the race we grabbed plastic bags and went to the ice vending machine to fill them up. We dumped all the ice in the tub and filled it with cold water and plunged in for 15 minutes. It was awful but this prevents lactic acid buildup in your legs and ensure you will be able to walk in the parks the rest of the day. I was sore but not as sore as other folks I saw hobbling around in the next couple of days after the race!
Hopefully this won’t be my last RunDisney race as I’m already trying to figure out how to do the Star Wars event next year!