The runDisney races are BIG. We’re talking thousands and thousands of people. In fact, this past weekend, I read that nearly 16,000 participated in the Disneyland Half Marathon and nearly 29,000 participated in some part of Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (there was also a 5k, 10k, and several kids’ races – so CUTE!). Wow! Right????
So, when a race is that big, they have corrals. Corrals split the runners up based on their estimated finish time. If you don’t have a proof of time, or if your proof of time shows that you’ll be in the back of the pack, you’ll end up in the last corral (or last corrals depending on how many people don’t have POT or are back of the packers).
There are many reasons you might want to submit proof of time. You might know you’re fast and you don’t want to have to weave among walkers. You might want to stop and take pictures with characters, so you want that extra leeway in your pace time. You might be shooting for a PR. These are just a handful of reasons. The goal for corrals is to correctly pace and improve crowding on the course, especially with Disney… this doesn’t always work (see “stopping for character photos” above).
I didn’t have a proof of time for my very first race and I was okay with that. It was great being able to move up the next couple of years though – especially in 2013 when it was SO HOT and SO HUMID, it gave me some extra time on the course before the sun came up and it got EVEN MORE HOT and EVEN MORE HUMID.
I was hoping to be able to use my Balboa Park 8-miler for my POT for Princess, but it turns out it’s not an appropriate distance (FYI it’s not 10k or more, it’s those specific race lengths listed). I debated back and forth and back and forth… do I care that much? Do I really want or need to find another race for POT?
Ultimately, I decided that I did want and need to race for a POT. Why?
- I’ve read that the Princess Half Marathon is HUGE – the corrals last year went all the way to P!! (I think the farthest back I ever saw at DL was G).
- This means that not only do I need to get up at 2:30 AM (or thereabouts) to make sure I get to the race start in time, but it also means that I could potentially be starting AN HOUR AND 45 MINUTES after the official start time. I might “not care” now, but I’m definitely going to care at 5:45 AM on race morning when I’ve already been up for over 3 hours and still haven’t started running yet.
- I want to PR. I have a time goal for Princess and I’m most likely to accomplish that if I can start among other people at my similar pace.
So, I signed up for the Surfing Madonna 10k in October. I considered the 10-miler, but I think I can push myself for a faster time (and thus a better converted time) with the 10k. Plus, while it’s hard-packed sand, it is still sand and I’m not sure what that will do to my time. Also, it’s in the middle of the day. This could be good or bad. Good in the sense that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, bad in the sense that it could be super hot Santa Ana weather (or who knows, maybe pouring rain if El Niño has already struck). It’s also apparently the largest beach run, so I may be dodging walkers there too. We’ll see.
I figure any POT will still put me at least a little ahead, right?