Back in January, I completed my first half marathon and my first Run Disney event. I participated in the Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon.
When I signed up I had every intention of training for it really well and I started off on the right track but then life happened. For the past ~9 months I have been working 3 different “as needed” jobs. For ~ 4-5 of those months I was working well over 40 hours/week between the 3 jobs. And no, I promise I am not crazy! I am no longer working 3 jobs or that many hours and I would not recommended trying that yourself!
Anyways, I basically was very unprepared for this half marathon. Disney also has a policy that you have to run a 16 minute mile pace (or less) during the race. If you do not meet this pace requirement then they “sweep” you off the course in a short bus and drive you to a “pick up” tent. I knew I was fully capable of at the very least walking 13 miles but I was not sure if I would be able to keep up with the pace requirement. I was VERY nervous and convinced that I was going to get swept.
It turns out that the force was with me and I used my inner Jedi skills to finish the race and not get swept! Here are some things I learned along the way when it comes to challenges you don’t think you can accomplish.
- Don’t let yourself get distracted.
– Disney has photo-ops throughout the race, which is completely awesome. I REALLY wanted to stop and take a picture with Chewbacca or R2D2, but the lines were long and I knew that it would definitely mess up my pace. If I had trained better than I might of had time to stop, but I did not …so this was my fate.
– This can happen in real life. How many times do you set out to accomplish something and let other things get in the way? Determine your distractions and then refuse to let them interfere with you achieving your goal.
- Have a good support system.
– The ENTIRE race there were Disney Park Employees, family members, friends, random people, high school bands, high school cheerleaders, and even cosplayers standing on the race route cheering on the runners. This was SO motivating. There was just something about realizing that these people took time out of their day to support people running this half marathon. They did not know me, but they cheered me on anyways. Even other runners were very encouraging to each other.
-Whatever your goal, find your support system. You may think you can achieve it on your own, but let me tell you that it is SO much harder to give up when you have so many people believing in you and cheering you on.
- Find your motivation.
– Ultimately, you have to mentally decide that you ARE going to achieve what you set out to do. You need to look inside yourself and decide what is REALLY pushing you to do that. Why do you want to achieve your goal? Why is it so important?
-My motivation for this race was my husband. He was very encouraging and believed that I could accomplish what I had set out to do. This just really stuck in my head while I was running. I could imagine him cheering me on and later in the race I got to physically see him cheering me on! He may have also promised me a Build a Bear if I finished! hehe!
- Progress not perfection is what matters.
– I did not do as well as I had hoped I would when I initially signed up for the race, but I finished and I didn’t get swept. So I was pretty proud of myself.
– Don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach your goal completely/perfectly. For example, say you have a goal of losing 30 pounds for better health but you have only lost 15 lbs. Don’t get discouraged because that is PROGRESS. You are one step closer to achieving the final goal you have set for yourself!
- Learn from your mistakes.
– For my next half marathon, I will train better. Even though I enjoyed the race, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if I had trained better.
– You will learn what works and doesn’t work on your path to achieving your various goals. The important thing is that you DO learn. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, right?
Some notes about Run Disney:
–If you are a back of the pack runner and are worried about the pace requirement, there are “Balloon Ladies” that walk a 16 minute pace. They are the very last ones to start the race. During this race they had Death Star balloons tied on their waist. At each Mile Marker the employees would tell you how far ahead of the “Death Star” you were. Don’t let the balloon ladies pass you or you will get swept!
–If you can run another half marathon prior to your Run Disney event then do it. Disney requires proof of time to be in the first few running corrals. I was in the very last corral since this was my first half marathon. My future sister-in- law was in the very first corral because she has done several half marathons and is super fast. I started a whole HOUR after she did. This means that I was standing there in the cold for a whole hour (at 5 in the morning ) just waiting to start running. This was not very enjoyable.
–Registration cost does NOT include a ticket to the park. I repeat, it does NOT include a ticket to the park. We were a little confused about this at first.
— IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. I am a huge nerd and I love that the whole event was Star Wars themed. I loved seeing the runner’s costumes and the things Disney did for the race. If you are going to run a half marathon then it might as well be a fun one!