Getting ready to run more than 10 miles can be a bit of a pain in the preparation department. There are chews and drinks that need to be prepared and packed away. Running gear needs to be set aside and GPS watches and/or phones need to be charged and ready to go. The running course needs to be mapped out ahead of time to make sure I hit the required distance. There have been times when it has taken me almost an hour just to get out the door to go on a run. It takes even longer when I’m getting everything together for the actual marathon.
All that preparation is kind of a pain, but it can be an even bigger pain when it has to be done for a run that is 1,000 miles away from home. Running the Walt Disney World Marathon presented the challenge of competing in a marathon in a different state for the first time, and it made getting ready for the race more stressful than normal.
We decided to drive to Florida as a family, so keeping all of my running gear down to a minimum in order to fit it into a carry-on wasn’t really a concern. However, I live with three girls, and those girls love to pack lots and lots of their stuff, so keeping my stuff to a minimum was still a priority. I decided to pack a separate exercise bag so I could find all of my running gear in one place when it came time to head to the marathon’s start line. I also threw in a couple extra exercise outfits that I hadn’t been planning on packing because I needed to do a few tapering runs during the week leading up to the marathon.
My bag included all of the clothes I would need to run the marathon, as well as my GPS watch, the cellphone I use for running, my armband, waistband, running sunglasses, chub-rub, and sunscreen. All the other things that go along with long distance runs, like chews, jelly beans, and Tylenol were left at home.
Once I got to Florida, I had planned on hitting up a few running stores in order to buy all of the food and medicine I would be taking with me on my marathon run. Finding a running store with a week of downtime before the marathon seemed like a solid plan. Unfortunately, I found myself with vertigo and unable to drive a car until the day before the race. Leaving it to the day before the marathon left me shopping at a Dicks Sporting Goods store that did not have the flavor of chews I preferred or the type of jelly beans I like to eat while running a marathon.
Even though I had to deal with odd flavors of food throughout the marathon, my packing plan worked. Additionally, I learned that traveling long distances to a marathon can bring a special purpose and focus to the days leading up to the marathon. There was so much going on in the Disney World theme parks to keep my family busy, but there were always little reminders around that it was race weekend and we were in Florida for a reason. Being at Disney World mainly for the race also let my kids see how many people were interested in running, and hopefully they remember that when they’re older so they become runners too. It was also nice not to have to worry about work problems the day before the race, or to have to worry about whether the house was cleaned the night before the race. Everything was about the race and made the experience that much more enjoyable. Traveling for a marathon was so enjoyable that I’m going to travel to my next few marathons, including the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in August.
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