Sunday, August 3, 2014

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 8: You've Arrived (now what...)

Many aspects of your runDisney race-cation will be just like every other Disney vacation, but there are some specifics that need special attention when you're running. Now that you've arrived at your hotel, you are going to want to take some time and get settled: unpack, make sure nothing was left behind, organize yourself, and relax.  Do everything possible to make you fresh for your race!  Here are some more tips:

The Expo:
You will have to carve out time to visit the Expo to pick up your bib and swag bag (shirt and sometimes other goodies).  The expo can be pretty overwhelming, especially during your first race.  Along with runDisney registration frenzy, there is runDisney merchandise frenzy.  If you MUST have items, you will want to arrive at the expo and visit the official merchandise booth right away.  Be forewarned, it can get crazy!  In recent races, some of the most popular items became available for purchase after the race, like the infamous "I Did It!" shirts. 
Gotta have them all!

New Balance got in on the merchandise craze too with special edition runDisney shoes.  These are always popular at the expo.  New Balance has instituted a virtual cue where you are given an appointment time to come to the booth and shop.  They sell out often, so if you really want these kicks, you better be ready to get in line (virtually) as soon as the cue opens!  And by the way, yes, I love my runDisney shoes!

Don't forget your bib!
Don't forget to check out the other merchants as well.  The expo is a great time to find the latest gadgets and gizmos in the running world.  Many vendors have special items themed around the race weekends.  You can also pick up any items you may have forgotten, but unless absolutely necessary, you should NEVER try something new on race day.  Oh... and of course, don't forget to pick up your bib--that's why you're really there!  No need to rush through that line, though.  Your stuff will wait for you.  Final expo tip: you can exchange your race shirt size if you need to.  There is a table for shirt exchange near your shirt pickup.  I've always had success when I needed to swap sizes.

The Night Before:
We always try to get back to the room after dinner so we have time to unwind, relax, and get some extra sleep--don't forget, runDisney races start EARLY!  Lay out your clothes and everything else you need in the morning, including food and accessories.  Be sure to plug in and charge all your electronics--there's nothing worse than pushing play and seeing that empty battery pop up on your i-pod. 

During your vacation:
In the days leading up to the race, be sure to be mindful that you have a huge race ahead of you.  It's so tempting to indulge in all the great Disney eats and stay until the last ride shuts down.  You don't want to regret not being fresh for your race, so show some restraint (that's why my #1 racecation tip is to plan most of your park time after the race).  Make sure you stay hydrated with water as race day approaches.  Try to stay off your feet as much as possible--the day before is a great day to catch shows in the parks (Captain EO anyone?).  Eat simple, familiar, low fat foods.  Even a simple pretzel could be a great option.  We usually opt for a full lunch the day before the race, then snack the rest of the afternoon/evening. 

Save the treats for AFTER you run!
Review your race info:
I always review the race day info when we arrive so I'm 100% sure of when I need to be at the start line.  runDisney provides all the times and locations, as well as travel info to be sure you know all you need to know to have a great race day experience. You can find the official race program at about 2 months prior to the race day.  Usually they also have printed copies available at the expo.  I always keep one for a souvenir too.

Get social and HAVE FUN!:
I love how many friends I've met, and how many more I will meet in the future at runDisney events!  It is so much fun to walk around the parks and meet like-minded people who are all there to conquer a goal.  It might be your first race, you might be trying for a PR, or maybe your goal is to stop for every character photo on the course--whatever it is, enjoy and have fun with all the other runDisney nuts that are there to do the same.  Oh--and if you see me around, you better stop and say "HI!" 

Don't forget to check out the rest of the "So You Want to Run Disney" series!

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