My original blog post Running Disney: Ya Gotta Start Somewhere on WDW Radio can be found here…please check it out! I hope you like it!!!
In my first entry, I simply painted a brief picture of my rather pedestrian background, as well as providing you with a quick synopsis of what to expect from this blog. In this second installment I’d like to do to turn my attention to you, the reader.
I’m figuring that, if you’ve read my first blog entry and made it this far into rant number two, you might have some interest in running a Disney race – or at least learning a bit about what Disney offers for runners, joggers, walkers….and waddlers like myself.
The great thing about Disney races is that is offers something for literally everyone. For the serious runners (I’m talking about those runners out there that actually get to stand next to the starting line when the gun goes off, or those rabbits that weave around everyone on their way to a personal best time each time they race), Disney offers races that range from a 5K to a marathon in distance. So whether you’re a shorter distance specialist or a true endurance athlete, there’s a race just waiting for you. In addition, the courses are usually quite flat – so setting a personal best time is not out of the question. Lastly, there is solid support throughout any Disney racing event –so there’s always enough water and available medical assistance on the course. Quite simply, Disney knows how to organize a race – you won’t be disappointed.
For the casual joggers (and here I’m talking about those athletes that jog several times a week and run a few races a year, mainly for the fun, social aspect of it all), Disney races offer all the great qualities that I just mentioned as well as one other pretty interesting characteristic: a relaxed atmosphere. Here in New York City, I consider myself very lucky to have Central Park as my backyard for running. There are quite a number of races held in the park throughout the year, and the overall atmosphere on race day is intense. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve come to LOVE that feeling. But when I first started jogging, I felt as if I needed to “keep up with the pack”. That feeling of competitiveness was a bit intimidating for me, since I constantly felt like I was running with a Steinway piano on my back.
I can assure you that the intimidating feeling I’m trying to describe does not exist in Disney races. When I jog in a Disney race, I feel no pressure. I feel like I can take in the sights and the energy around me, and simply enjoy the event. That, combined with the feeling of accomplishment I get as I cross the finish line, is a combination that’s hard to beat.
For those of us that enjoy walking – or those that are thinking about trying something new or setting a new personal goal…something that would get them moving….something that they can build on….Disney races present an amazing opportunity. Participating in a Disney running event provides you w
When I first began “jogging” (again – let’s throw that word in quotes for me, because what I look like while “jogging” can best be described as an excerpt from a reeeeeeally horrid 1950’s horror movie. One guy from my old neighborhood actually told me I run like Herman Munster – not a good athletic role model), I couldn’t go 3-5 minutes without stopping and walking. It took a lot of work to get myself to the point where I could jog a mile at a slow (and I do mean SLOOOW) pace. I felt impatient – I wanted to be able to just throw on my sneakers and jog with everyone else I saw in the park, at their pace. After a while, I felt like giving up. Fortunately for me, I didn’t. Instead, I picked a race 4-5 months away, and I used it to focus my efforts.
Each day I got just a little bit better. Weeks went by, and my efforts began to very slowly show results. On race day, it felt great to simply finish this small assignment I gave to myself. Once I crossed the finish line of that first race, I picked another one. Then another. From there…I was literally off to the races!
If you’re a real DisneyGeek / DisneyNerd / Disney Enthusiast (I am all three, and proud of it), or even if you aren’t a huge fan of the House of Mouse, Disney races offer that carrot that you can hang in front of yourself, motivating you to get out there and get active. At a Disney race, there is no feeling of judgment. Instead, there’s a feeling of electricity. Each time the gun goes off at a Disney race, it symbolizes a bunch of people taking strides to achieve their own personal goals. I look to my left – then I look to my right – and I always wonder what motivates each runner to the starting line. At any other race, I normally stand alone, waiting for the gun to go off and the masses to begin moving slowly forward. At a Disney race, I don’t just look to my left and right – I actually strike up conversations with strangers. I ask them what motivated them to run this race. The stories I get to hear are amazing. Next time – I hope to hear yours!
So there’s something for everyone at a Disney race. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are. It doesn’t matter if you run or walk. All that matters is that you motivated yourself to the starting line. Get yourself there, and let Disney take care of the rest, because each race they host is special. In my next entry, I’ll briefly describe each of the Disney races for you, and I’ll discuss some of the really fun aspects of every one of them!
Until next time…throw on your sneakers, get out there and get moving! And, as my coach constantly reminds everyone within earshot, double knot your shoelaces!!!