Yes, 3 months of training may sound daunting, but all the hard work is really done in the first 2 months. The last 3 weeks are a time to coast a little and maintain. My longest long run was on Feb. 5 (11 miles…yowza), and then it was all a walk (nay, run) in the park from there! It was time to start making final travel plans and packing.
Traveling for a race can be stressful, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. It’s always a great idea to stay as close to the race as possible. Going to DisneyWorld is a whole other experience. The race started at 6am, but with all the activities and logistics of getting everyone to the start area, we had to be on a shuttle from our resort by 4am. Obviously, normal shuttles are not running at this hour, so it was definitely worthwhile to stay at a host hotel that would provide shuttles in the middle of the night. We really didn’t need to rent a car since we were taking the Magic Express from the airport, and even so, with much of the race run on the streets, many of the roads were closed. Since neither Kelly nor I had really been to DisneyWorld since we were 5, the odds of us knowing our way around were slim. Disney offered a lot of host hotels at varying price points. I was tempted to stay at the Grand Floridian or Wilderness Lodge, but at almost $500/night, I just couldn’t justify it. We tried for the Port Orleans resorts, but they were sold out, so we ended up at Caribbean Beach.
The other piece of planning was what to wear. For most races, I would say to wear something comfortable that you’ve worn for long runs and that you know works for you. You don’t want to be mid-race and discover any mystery chafing! That being said, have you seen the costumes people wear for Disney races? Let alone Disney Princess?! As much as I’d love to do a training run in a tutu and tiara, sometimes you just have to take some chances. Speaking of the tutu, seriously, who has a tutu hanging around the house? I don’t, and I certainly couldn’t justify buying one just for the race. So, against my better judgment, I headed out to Michael’s. I thought a tutu couldn’t be that hard to make. I didn’t find any tulle, but I did find some pink ribbon with shreds of tulle hanging from it that I thought could pass. I bought some and sewed it to the bottom hem of a pink running shirt so the effect was like having a very short tutu. I also found a cute rhinestone iron-on princess crown for the front. From the time I signed up for the race, since the beneficiary was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I always knew I wanted my mom to somehow be with me on race day. So, I bought a pack of iron-on letters, planning on writing “For Mom” on the back of the shirt. When I got the letters home, I realized that there was only 1 “M” in the packet (for $7…really?). So, I used a “W” upside down. Kelly kept saying “For Mow” but she said she only noticed because I pointed it out.
Full disclosure: I’m a super planner. So, I started my packing list about a week before the trip. That way, I have plenty of time to think of things that I may have forgotten initially. I also utilized a “Color Notes” app on my phone that allowed me to jot down things I thought of at any time, even if I was away from my notebook. After all the preparation you’ve done for a race, you certainly don’t want to get there and realize you forgot something like socks (or a sports bra, like a co-worker of mine did!). So, even if you’re not normally a planner, this might be one time to give it a try.