13 Things I Learned From Running the Disney Half-Marathon

I took Brienne to Orlando this weekend so that I could run the Disney half-marathon. We also went to cheer on my dear friend Angie who ran the full marathon. She is superwoman.

Here are a few things I learned (just in case you’re thinking of doing a Disney race):

1. You should always run a 10k or a half-marathon during the year leading up to the Disney half so that Disney can verify your time. This is very important. Disney doesn’t just take your word for it that you’ll run a 2:15 half. You must have proof. I didn’t have proof. Thus I was stuck in the last corral with all the walkers and the “I’ve never run before!” people. I was literally shoving people out of my way, running in the grass for about half the race, and I even ran into the back of one dude because he stopped right in front of me.

2. To go along with #1, don’t get stuck in Corral P. Seriously. You’ll hear things like, “Thanks for coming to P with me. Get it? Pee?” Um, yeah. It’s 4:10 a.m. My sense of humor hasn’t woken up yet.

In addition to the clever jokes from my fellow “runners,” the dj wouldn’t let our corral start the race until we had a sing-along. “We saved the sing-along for you, Corral P!” I don’t know about you, but singing “Let It Go” at 6:35 a.m. while the professional runners are already freaking finished with the race is not cool. (See what I did there?)

3. People will take pictures of anything.
“Hey! There’s the monorail. I know I’ve been riding it all week while I’ve been here at Disney, but I’m running now so I’ll take a picture of it.”
“Hey, there’s a dj!” Um, yeah, he’s playing music. That’s what djs do.
“Hey, there’s a Mickey Mouse sign!” As if there aren’t 5,853 more Mickey signs…
People, just because we now have a camera at our fingertips at all times does not mean we need a picture of everything we see. I mean, what are you really going to do with a picture of running shoes that someone left on the side of the road?

4. Cinderella’s Castle is the money shot. Seriously. If you want a picture, that’s the one you should take. I almost cried when I entered Magic Kingdom and saw that castle. I’m such a hopeless romantic.  And wouldn’t you know it? My dang phone was jacked up and I couldn’t get a picture. I should’ve gotten one of the 3643 people around me to text me a pic.

5. Blue Powerade is nasty. That is all.

6. I don’t have patience for ridiculousness while I’m running. Look, if you want to hold hands and take a stroll with your significant other, that’s great. Just don’t do it in a flipping race. There are some of us who would actually like to run.

7. Some people are multi-talented. I passed up one dude who was video blogging or vlogging or whatever you call it when you video yourself talking about what you’re doing. He was “running” and documenting every single thing. Good for him. He’ll remember that race forever. But I wonder if he continued doing it for the remaining 12.9 miles…

8. I might have anger issues. I wanted to punch that vlogger in the face because his commentary was annoying. And I really wanted to push everyone out of my way. It’s a RUN, people. I might need counseling. Or medication.

9. To be a runner, you have to be slightly insane. How else can you explain waking up at 2:45 a.m. to catch a bus at 3:30 in order to wait in your corral for almost three hours? (And just so you know, in the three other half-marathons I’ve run, I’ve never had to get up that early.) Speaking of insanity, there were three girls (I’ll call them girls even though they were adults, married with kids, because they were waaaay younger than I am); anyway, they were standing near me in our corral so we struck up a
convo. I’m friendly like that. They had never run in any type of race; not a 10k or even a 5k.
Basically, they woke up one day and decided it might be fun to run the Disney half even though they had never run before. Who does that? And to top it off, one of them had a Walmart sack full of Gu. Like 45 packs to share among the three of them. And they had never had Gu before. That was a train wreck waiting to happen right there. (If you don’t know what Gu is, Google it. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Except you eat it.)
Here’s one more example of insanity. There was a group in my corral – two guys and three girls. The girls were dressed as Mrs. Potts, the little teacup Chip, and the candlestick from Beauty and the Beast. The guys were Gaston and Belle. Seriously, the Belle dude had a full Belle gown on, complete with a long tulle skirt and a crown. It was amazing. But the best part? As soon as we crossed the start line, “Belle” headed for the woods to pee. I have to say that there’s something slightly disturbing and yet oddly fascinating about watching a “princess” stand up and urinate on a tree. It takes all kinds…

10. Runners are a friendly group of people. This isn’t something that I learned from this race. I’ve always known this to be true. But at Disney, everyone is super happy and encouraging.

11. My body can’t handle long distances. No more half-marathons for me. I know I’ve said this after each of my other three halfs, but I mean it this time. My knees hurt, the tips of my toes hurt, and 4 is my favorite number so I’m good. If you ever hear me mention that I might want to run another half, please, please, please talk me out of it. I’m begging you.

12. If you want to run a fun race, this is the one to do. There were a couple boring stretches but overall the course was great. Running through Magic Kingdom and Epcot was so much fun! And if you don’t care about your time, you can stop along the course to take pictures with all the characters.

13. Much like life, you can’t sprint an entire half-marathon. (I mean, I guess if you’re a pro, you can. But I’m not a pro.) And the unexpected sometimes happens. You run into someone. You have to stop for a potty break. There are more people than you expected. No matter how well you train, you can’t anticipate everything that may happen. And that’s ok. Take life as it comes and deal with what you can.

I can check the Disney Half-Marathon off my list and now I never have to do it again. I’m glad I was able to do it though, and I’m especially glad I got to see one of my friends complete her goal of running a marathon. That was truly inspiring.

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1

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