Monday, March 2, 2015

I Drank the Kool-Aid!

I drank the Kool-Aid…

but then I quickly spit it out.

After spending the other weekend in Disney (which was awesome, which was a bit surprising since I am not a Disney kinda gal, and I mean no offense to those that are) and watching the Princess half marathon I thought for a moment or two that maybe just MAYBE I too would want to run Disney. Yes, I have said on numerous occasions that I would never run a Disney race. Just like I have said that I will never run another Rock n’ Roll race (and I swear I am sticking to it). But for that brief moment I was caught up in the Disney hype/lore/craze/madness. I guess being at the happiest place on earth will do that to you. That plus seeing so many happy faces during and a bajillion race pics from Disney flooding social media. I got caught up. ESPECIALLY after I learned about Disney’s wine and dine race…what??? You run and then drink wine and eat food all night? Sign me up…

Ok, not so fast. I was getting ahead of myself there, all caught up in the madness.

I mean there are some great things about Disney races. Just from being a spectator I saw many of them first hand- they have a fantastic expo, the medals were pretty sweet, especially the coast to coast one (although I have gotten cooler medals at much smaller races but that’s just personal preference), you get to run through Disney parks and take photos with characters (that makes for a really interesting and memorable experience), everyone is happy and having fun. Great crowds (where there were crowds- it looks like pretty long stretches on roads with no spectators from what I viewed from the monorail) - my hats go off to the spectators, especially the ones that have no idea what they are getting themselves into at these races. No one around me lost their shit waiting around for hours for their runners to show.  Plus people genuinely love these races. They travel all over the country (and now Paris in 2016) for them. They must be doing something right…right?

And I guarantee they are. Disney has their races planned and choreographed to a T. They have insanely large crowds so there is no room for error. That being said, I just don’t think these races are for me. Here’s why…

Too many people…there are just too many people racing. This is why I swore off RnR. See, if I was a front of the pack runner it would be no big deal. Those people end up with tons of space and short lines for pictures- they get all the perks. But I am not that runner. I am, at best, a mid-pack runner. More like back of the pack most times. And you know what big races are like for a runner like me- torture. I hate races where even after a mile or two I still feel like there are people surrounding me. I saw the people that run my pace coming through at around 5.5 miles in and it was a clusterf***. It was bodies jam-packed next to more bodies. NOT FOR ME! I need space people!

The second big issue I have with Disney races (and these aren't the only ones that fall onto this list- I’m looking at you Warrior Dash) is the cost. I mean come on…really? It’s all private property. Why is it soooo expensive? At least if you are going to charge and arm and a leg give the people a park pass or a park discount or something but nope, you get nothing. Well at least nothing you wouldn't get at any other race (tech tee, medal). So boo to that.

Also, because the races go through the parks and the parks are closed and they don’t want to deal with people coming in for the race with park traffic and the traffic for the parks getting caught in road closures the races start ridiculously early. Which, eh, for me not the end of the world but still a pain in the butt. My big thing was thinking about Wine and Dine which does not start hours before sunrise, like other Disney races, but instead starts in the middle of the night. Or at least what I consider the middle of the night. 10P start for the first corral. I would probably be around an 11p start. I go to bed pretty consistently at 9p. So I would run, finish around 1a-2a and then I am supposed to eat and drink. What? That’s crazy talk. I would need someone to carry me to bed at 2a. I have no desire to run a night race (especially one where the big benefit comes after and I would only want to go to sleep) with the exception being Ragnar, but that’s a whole other batch of crazy on its own.

Which really is the point of this right? I mean I know people might read this and think Disney sounds awesome but running a Ragnar Relay sounds crazy, or driving different states for races sounds crazy, or it all sounds crazy period. But the beauty is in finding the crazy that works for you. Run Disney isn't it for me (but I loved the Disney experience enough I would go back and visit and maybe even watch some Disney movies – haven’t watched one since I was a kid) but I can see how it is for some people. And that is awesome. For me, the perfect race has a small number of runners, a smallish price tag, great crowd support and a great after party (I’m looking at you Louisiana Marathon with you vegan food tent, all Abita beer and a bonus for letting me cross the finish line with my dog) because that is what makes me feel comfortable and run happy.

And that is my end goal in this whole running thing- to just be happy.

Which I really need to keep in mind when I pick out which races I want to spend my hard earned money on.

And I will make a promise to myself to lay off the racing Kool-Aid from now on ;)

Some pics from yesterday's half marathon- Gulf Coast Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, AL

I found a mummer...definitely the highlight of the race!

I was really excited to spot Erick at the finish and for the fact that this was the first time any race finish had pronounced my name correctly

After party inside Lulu's 

The 'famous' race medal//bottle opener

Gordie even liked wearing it :)

Love and hugs,