When packing and prepping for a road race, people usually focus on their clothes and shoes for the day of the race, making sure everything is comfortable. But what about after you've crossed the finish line? Being well prepared for after the race is an important part of a proper recovery, since it means a happier experience overall. Also, the better your recovery, the faster you can get into the parks to enjoy all of the Disney magic that brings us back to the runDisney events. This article offers some suggestions for items to have ready for after your race, and also explains the typical logistics of how to pick up those items at runDisney races.
Deciding whether or not to check a bag depends on a few factors. If you have friends or family who will be with you at the race and who plan to meet you at the finish area, you can have them bring your bag of items instead of checking it. This option can save you some time if there are lines to claim your items at the tents. However, if you don’t meet up with your party right away, you might be left soggy and tired until you find each other. Be sure to have a well-defined meeting place, as well as a phone number to call or text as a back-up plan. The runDisney family reunion areas are divided into ranges of letters, making for good meeting points; pick a memorable letter, then meet at the corresponding tent.
If you have a distance to travel or it will take time to get back to your room, checking a bag with a change of clothing and your preferred food can help you feel more comfortable along the way. You never know how you might feel after a race, especially if it’s a new distance for you. Having access to well-tolerated foods is important if your blood sugar starts to crash. If temperatures dip when you finish, having warm, dry clothes waiting for you is essential; even if it’s warm, getting into something dry is a welcome relief.
The runDisney bag check areas are generally well-organized and efficient, especially now that they have transitioned to a system using clear bags with stickers. The tents are staffed by volunteers, however, so speed can vary. If you happen to finish amid a large group of people with the same last name as you, you may have a wait at the bag claim tent.
When you pick up your registration materials at the Expo, you receive a clear plastic bag that contains various items, including stickers printed with a number that corresponds to your bib number. If you want to use the bag check to claim your own items after the race, you must use this clear bag; runDisney does not allow you to check your own personal bags. The night before the race, affix your sticker in the designated box on the bag, and then place all of the items you want at the finish inside. RunDisney loves early mornings, so you want to have everything ready to go to avoid forgetting things in the rush to get out the door. If you have any small items or something you don’t want visible to the world, use a small zippered pouch inside your clear bag.
On the morning of the race, find the bag check tent that corresponds to your last name and drop off your bag. Each race has a specific cut-off time for checking items, so be mindful of that when getting to the start. Be sure to secure the top of the bag with a zip tie or a well tied knot so that it won't come open accidentally. You will claim your bag at the same tent where you left it; runDisney races do not transport bags since the start and finish areas are within walking distance of one another.
What you place in your bag is obviously a personal choice, but previous experience has generated a list of helpful items that make the post-run experience much more comfortable:
All of these items will help begin your recovery process as soon as you’ve finished the race.
Consider bringing along a few other items for your hotel room to help ease any post-run soreness or pain:
Preparing for races can be stressful, especially for newer runners. Preparing for after the race will help your recovery and make you a happier runner. Let’s face it: one of the reasons we runDisney is so we can combine a race with vacation, so anything that gets us on Space Mountain sooner is a good thing. Getting off Space Mountain can often be a different story though. Would someone please give me a hand up?
(Send an email to Stephanie Wien)
Growing up in Upstate New York, Stephanie (@MPStephanie) made frequent family trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, which instilled an early love for Disney theme parks. When her work took her to Orange County in California, she naturally became a frequent visitor to Disneyland, and developed a love for the park that started it all. Stephanie is now back in Upstate New York and working as an engineer. She has also completed several runDisney races, including the Walt Disney World marathon in 2007 and 2008 as a part of Team in Training, and is currently training for the Goofy Challenge in 2013. She makes as many trips as she can to experience the Disney magic, especially as part of the MouseAdventure staff team.