How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon

17 February 2014

It was about this time of year in 2013 when I ambitiously signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon with the BF. I was still feeling that New Year's Resolution high, and making the financial commitment to register was an accomplishment in itself. It took us the next few months to determine how to prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend.
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
We trained for four months, we stuck to our schedule, we had our race-day prep memorized by heart, and yet everything changed when our plane landed in Anaheim. My rookie race-day mistakes cost me a better time at the Disneyland Half Marathon and more comfort along the course. Despite the obstacles, I'm really proud I accomplished a long-time goal of mine! With that achievement comes a little finisher wisdom. Here are a few words of advice for future first-time Disneyland Half Marathon runners.
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
I may have seen the warning signs and heard the preaches from my marathon veteran friends, but as all rookies doI had to learn these lessons for myself. They all told me the same wise words that I've since cemented into my DNAwell, since I failed to listen: 
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
Train in your race-day apparel, test your energy snacks ahead of time, and stick to the same breakfast you've scarfed down before every long run. If you can make your race mock your training, you will be high-tailing it to the finish line.
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
So, what happened to me? I didn't listen to the advice. I got so damn excited hearing from the runDisney participants to let go of the nerves and just enjoy each moment of every mile. There are few races as exciting as a Disney race, they cooed. The idea of characters on the course, photo ops in front of the castle, thousands of cheering spectators, and embracing the fun of the race sounded like a great in-the-moment game plan. So great that I listened and tossed the previously adopted advice. It was as simple as that.

I left my playlist in the dust and tried to harbor the energy of the experience, something I'd never done beforeespecially for 13.1 miles. I changed a BIG part of my training program: where my energy came from. It wasn't about missing Nicki Minaj's beats, it was about consistency. I didn't listen to the advice! My mind wandered, the heat wore down my motivation, and I couldn't concentrate on my running rhythm the way I normally do. I slipped behind a pace group I normally could've beat to the finish, I slowed my pace more than I should have, and I didn't stop for brief stretches that I always work into my playlist early in the run.
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
Simply put, I sabotaged myself. All of my planning and prepping went out the window as soon as we were out of the gate. I had no idea how much it would change the race I thought I trained to complete. Realistically, there were a number of other factors that probably affected my performance: first-race fears, unexpectedly hot weather, typical race-day nerves, overcrowding, and an untimely knee injury.

As my first half marathon, I have to cut myself a little slack. I am overwhelmingly proud of myself for doing something so far out of my comfort zone. I started at zero and built up to 13.1I am so proud! And honestly, I never feared not accomplishing this goal. A wise woman once said, "if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." And hell if it didn't challenge me. Despite the obstacles, I finished all smiles and so ecstatic to cross that line! With the physical pains long forgotten, I'm starting to come around to the idea of another race... We'll see!
How to Prepare for the Disneyland Half Marathon by The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com

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