The runDisney Disneyland half marathon is just around the corner, and I have gotten several questions from readers asking for help with this race.
I know for a lot of runners, it is their first time going out to California for runDisney, and it is a whole different animal than running runDisney on the east coast. So, I have compiled some tips that I hope will help you throughout your race weekend:
1.) Time change: I will be coming from central time, and I know a lot of runners will be coming form eastern. This is SUCH a blessing! As you probably know, runDisney races start very early in the morning, and east coast races require you to get on busses even earlier. When I wake up at 4:00 am, my brain will think it’s 6:00. Totally doable and not as dreaded. But keep the time change in mind for meals and bedtimes so you don’t end up like me at 9:00 pm when my body thought it was 11:00.
2.) Walking to race: Coupled with the time change, another amazing thing about the west coast races is that you don’t have to walk forever to get to your corral. It is SUCH a huge plus to stay on property or at a close good neighbor hotel. Last year, we were at the Grand Californian and it was so easy to just walk downstairs, across Downtown Disney, and into the starting area. I loved it. We waited in our room as long as we could so there was no need to even use the port-o-potties at the starting line. HUGE plus!
Bobby and I were happy campers in our corral before the race in 2012.
3.) Breakfast: Last year, I noticed a couple of places in Downtown Disney had signs out in the days before the race saying they planned to be open early in the morning so runners could grab breakfast (I think Jamba Juice was the one I noticed). If you plan to go this route, remember thousands of other runners may be doing the same so get there early. Another alternative (what we did) is to go to the counter service location at your resort if you are staying onsite, and grab food for breakfast the day before. I know our hotel had fruit and yogurt parfaits that were perfect for us. We stored them in our room refrigerator and it worked out well race morning.
I also may have had a pre-race cookie…
4.) Know the Course: Be sure to study the course map for the race. Unlike east coast races, you enter and exit the parks at the very beginning of the Disneyland half, and then are out on the road. (Characters are ONLY inside the parks so don’t “wait” for the next ones to take photos, because before you know it you will be out on the road!). My favorite part was running through the stadium toward the end of the race, so have your camera ready for that as well!
5.) Finish line: Just like at the east coast races, there will be a finishers area where you can meet up with your family and friends after the race. Don’t forget to plan out a meeting time and spot with them before the race. Cell service was very spotty for me last year with so many people in one place!
6.) Pre Race Dinner: There are a lot of great options for a pre race dinner. I love that for on site guests, you have Downtown Disney literally right outside your door. Last year we went to the ESPN Zone restaurant because LSU was playing that night. It was unfortunately just so so as far as food goes. There are some great places such as Earl of Sandwich, Storytellers at the Grand Californian, and if you are craving pizza pre-race there is Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria in Downtown Disney. I know several people will also be attending the Pasta in the Park party hosted by runDisney.
We love Storyteller’s buffet!
7.) Expo: I suggest getting to the expo on Friday if you can swing it. It opens at 10:00 at the Disneyland Hotel. Again, perk of staying onsite, it’s an easy walk there and back to your room to put away your things before going to play in the parks. Don’t forget if you are participating in the coast to coast challenge to get your wristband at the expo! Last year, they had us go downstairs to get our bibs then upstairs to the expo floor to shop!
8.) Weather: This southern girl was STOKED to run in no humidity California. Oh, to be able to train in this type of weather year round. Must be wonderful! Anyway, Be mindful of the weather the day before and morning of the race. Layer if necessary, and wear sunglasses. There was one long stretch where we made a turn out onto a road and we were looking RIGHT into the rising sun. It was blinding and I am so glad I had my shades.
Also, don’t forget to check out the runDisney packing list vlog I created to help fill your suitcase with everything you need for the race.
QOTD: Any other tips you would add? Who is excited! Who is getting a coast to coast medal?