Archive | February, 2012

Princess 1/2 marathon Weekend 2012 – The expo

29 Feb

I arrived in Orlando on Friday afternoon, so the plan was to check into our hotel and head straight for the expo. I checked in and dropped my bags off in our room. I was pretty excited to see that we got a savanna view since I only booked a standard one. We’ve been on the sunset savanna before at AKL, and the animals typically don’t frequent this side of the resort, but there were animals out there a lot during this trip! I took a few pictures of the friends that were enjoying the sun before heading to catch the bus to the expo.

I know the expo can get busy and I think we lucked out last year not having to deal with the crowds. I wasn’t sure what to expect heading there around 3 on Friday, but I was hopeful it wouldn’t be too crowded when only one other person got on the bus to the expo with me.

It was a really short ride to the expo since AKL is on the same side of Disney that the Wide World of Sports complex is. It was especially nice being so close because I ended up going back to the expo 2 more times to return and pick up things I forgot/ didn’t get the first time.

First stop was a tent in the middle of a field to get bib numbers. There was a line to take pictures with Cinderella’s carriage before going in, but the line was super long. I usually don’t mind waiting, but I was antsy to get my stuff, so I bypassed the line and went straight into the tent. There were a couple princesses inside the tent posing for pictures, so I decided to get my bib and then get in line for those pictures.

Well once I got in the line (which wasn’t horribly long, but still a decent size,) I noticed that most people were having serious conversations with the princesses, and it wasn’t just a quick picture before moving on. I estimated the line being about 30-40 minutes long, so I figured I would just get my pictures with the princesses during the race. I left the tent and walked the red carpet to the expo to get my race shirt and check out the vendors.

Disney really has the best expos. I walked down to the official merchandise area to browse. I was thinking about one of the princess Jacket since I have one from last year that I love. I changed my mind after seeing the $65 price tag and realizing they were pretty similar to last year. I ended up just getting an ‘I did it’ shirt ($25) before moving on to the rest of the expo.

I’m kind of bummed with the fit of the shirt, I liked the style last year better. At least I got a shirt when I did because when I was back the next day the ‘I did it’ shirts were practically wiped out!

I walked around for probably 45 minutes – 1 hour looking and shopping. Here’s a rundown of everything I picked up with prices for those interested!

One more mile visor -$12

Sparkly bondibands! I also got a red one, but I took these pictures while unpacking and the red one was in the wash. I think these may be my new racing bands, so much fun! 3 for $20

One more mile car magnet $4. I was excited to find a 39.3 magnet since they were either sold out or didn’t have any official ones during marathon weekend when I was at the expo.



Raw Threads tech shirt – $37

I also got a 26.2 travel mug from Lift your Sole for $10, and some sports beans for the race.

After the expo I was pretty famished. I ate breakfast before heading to the airport around 7, and all I’d had to eat since then were some snacks on the airplane. I decided to grab a bite at the Mara and enjoy the warm weather by the pool that evening.

I might have gone back for seconds on Zebra domes later in the evening. I LOVE these things. I ate them like they were going out of style when we were at AKL for our wedding/ honeymoon. I had forgotten how amazing they are! I decided to jump in the pool after a bit, but it was freezing! I ended up in the hot tub in less than 5 minutes. I tend to be cold, so hot tubs are definitely more my speed. It was nice to relax, but I smelled something burning, and I happen to love the smell of burning wood. I went off to search for the source of the smell and found a fire pit near the pool where they were letting people roast marshmallows. Having never camped growing up, it was a first time experience, so I did the opposite of what all the little kids were doing. They all had charred black marshmallows, but I’m happy to report that mine was had a nice tan color to it and was wonderfully gooey in the middle.

While I was roasting marshmallows I remembered that some WISH people were meeting at the Grand Floridian that night, so I figured I would head over there since my SIL’s flight kept getting delayed. I made it to the Grand Floridian in record time after realizing that the plan was the meet 30 minutes earlier than I thought.

It was great to finally put some faces to names of people that I’ve been talking to about this race for the past year. After the meet I headed back to the hotel to unpack and animal watch. I was glad I didn’t have an early wake up call for the 5k the next morning!

Next up, Princess 1/2 marathon race recap!


Common misconceptions about racing at Disney

20 Feb

It’s no secret that my favorite place to race is Walt Disney World. They really know how to put on great races that make me fork over my hard earned money at least once a year. I get questions all the time about what racing like Disney is like, and I’ve over heard some interesting comments while waiting in corrals for races to start. Here are some of the most common misconceptions that many people have about running a runDisney event.

  1. You don’t actually run with any characters. Sometimes the gimmicky promotional pictures or videos will show characters running, but I’ve never seen it happen. I have people ask me before every race if I’ll be running with Mickey. Nope. You can however stop for pictures with characters along the way…
  2. Along the same line as characters, the line for character pictures are not as long as they look. If you see a line of 5 people or more, most people will keep running by because in the parks a line of 5 people will usually take at least 5 minutes. During a race the photo stops are super quick. I’ve never timed it, but my guess is that each person in line is probably going to take about 20 seconds max from handing off their camera to grabbing their camera and running on their way. If there are groups the line will go even quicker (assuming each person doesn’t want a solo picture as well.)                                                              
  3. Going along with the above misconception, I’ll add another related one. I overheard someone in my corral before the marathon asking their friend if they’d brought their photopass card because according to this person there were photopass photographers at each character along the course. While it is true there are photographers at most character stops, they aren’t photopass. Disney used Brightroom photography for marathon weekend, and they’ll want you to buy a CD of your race pictures (or prints) separate from your vacation pictures.
  4. “I’ll look silly in a costume.” This may be true at a race around town that isn’t around Halloween, but definitely not at Disney. It’s usually about a 50/50 split of people in normal running clothes and people in accessorized running clothes or full out costume. You might feel weird wearing a costume at first, but I promise the more people that look at you, the more awesome you look. You’ll usually get more shout-outs from spectators along the course if you have something unique about your outfit.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  5. “I’ll be the only person walking.” This isn’t the Boston marathon, so whether you walk the entire race, run intervals with walk breaks, or just get tired and have to walk, you will definitely be in the MAJORITY.  Last year during the princess 1/2 I did plenty of walking and finished in just under 2:40. I finished about 5,550 out of over 13,000 finishers.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  6. Kind of along the lines of walking, many walkers worry about their pace and maintaining a 16 minute mile. I’ll set record straight once and for all. The 16 minute mile pace starts once the very last person crosses the start line. If you finish a mile in over 16 minutes, you won’t automatically get pulled off the course. If that was the case I would have DNF’d all my Disney races. There is no way for Disney to track that you are running a pace above the 16 minute pace and pull you from the course, not to mention there are thousands of runners, so logistically that would be a nightmare for Disney is they wanted to do that. If you are in an earlier corral you have some added time to buffer your pace, although it is still smart to train to run a 3:30 half. If you are in the last corral and run a 14 minute mile for the first few miles, you can theoretically run 18 minute miles for the next few miles and still be fine. Again, it’s all based on when the last person started. Sometimes people in the earlier corrals will finish in 4:00+ hours because of injury. According to Disney they didn’t keep the pace, but they were still allowed to finish the race because they had the added time buffer from starting in an earlier corral.                                                                                                                                        
  7. “It’s bad luck to buy race gear before I finish the race.” Yes and No. Yes, I think it would bad luck to buy the race gear before the race and wear an “I did it” shirt around the day before the race. I’m not a huge believer in the idea that an action like this would make you fall and twist your ankle on race day, but if for some reason you don’t finish, you can’t return something you’ve already used. Having said that, you really do need to get any race gear you like when you see it at the expo. If you wait until after the race the merchandise tent will be pretty wiped out of popular sizes and items. I always buy my “I did it” gear then keep it in the bag with the receipt until after I finish. That way I have it, but I’m not jinxing myself.                                                                                                                         
  8. Anytime there are runners and a race there will always be talk about PR’s and how fast a course is. While Disney is a fast course theoretically, I don’t find it to be very PR friendly. There are too many runners in most races, and several narrow parts on the course that really slow you down.  Of course there are people that prove this wrong, so this might be more personal. I wouldn’t pick Disney as a race that you want to run a PR, even though it is technically pretty flat and fast.                                      
  9. The majority of any race is run on highways around Disney, and not in the parks. This was something I was surprised about during my first race. I thought the parks were huge and we’d run in them for several miles. Usually it’s around a mile in a park tops, then you’re back on a highway running to another park.
  10. Finally (I had to end with 10;)  my last misconception is really a pet peeve of mine. If you are running a shorter race during a runDisney race weekend, don’t downplay what you did just because you aren’t running the main event. Maybe people I know are the only ones that do this, but I’ll be the one person in my group wearing my 5k medal after running one of the 5k’s because others don’t want to advertise that they only ran a 5k. Sure, there might be longer races, but the majority of the people at Disney were sleeping while you were up at the crack of dawn running around the world. Enjoy your success and don’t feel like you have to hide the fact that you aren’t running a 1/2 or full marathon. My pet peeve only grows when people downplay running a 1/2 or a full. I had several people congratulate me on our trip during marathon weekend on my Goofy finish, and when I would congratulate them I would get a response along the lines of “Thanks, but I just ran the 1/2,” or “Thanks, but I only did the full.” I’ll admit that I’m sometimes guilty of downplaying my runs at Disney because I play so much, but I hate when people feel like they can’t celebrate their achievements because someone else ran more than they did.                                                                                                           

There you have it, some of the common misconceptions about runDisney races. I’m sure there are many more, but these are just some of the misconceptions that I’ve been asked about personally, or have overheard people talking about.

Disney is truly a magical place, so please don’t be scared by any of these. I know it can be nerve wracking to do something new. I’m just trying to pass on some of my experiences with others so you can have a magical race!


Family Fiesta 5k: January 6, 2012

13 Feb

I finally got back on track with running this week after taking way to long to rest and recover from my 42.4 mile weekend last month at Disney.  I’m really excited to be cross training and lifting weights again too. Hopefully it’ll all help me get in better shape to run a 1/2 PR this fall!

Other exciting running news for me recently:

  • I’m signed up to run my first obstacle course race next month! After watching the Ruckus race last November, it seemed like something fun to do. I’m hoping it’s not too cold the day of the race because the course has TONS of mud!

  • I’m officially going back to Disney for marathon weekend 2013! Registration hasn’t opened for the weekend yet, but I’m thinking about just running the marathon this year. I’m so glad I have another runDisney weekend on my calendar. I was starting to get bummed about princess weekend coming up so soon. Now I can be excited for princess and not wonder when I’ll be back to run at disney again!

  • I sent in my paper work to be a girls on the run coach this season! I’ve been wanting to coach since finding out about the organization, but with school and work it’s never been an option with my schedule. Now that I’m done with school and have a more flexible schedule, I’m excited to hopefully get the chance to coach this season! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I get hired to teach at a school with a GOTR program in the fall so I can continue to coach after I start teaching…

After going through my pictures from our Disney trip last month, I realized I don’t have a ton from the 5k. It was my second 5k at Disney, and although all Disney races are fun, there isn’t the same amount of excitement around the 5k that there is around the bigger races.  I wasn’t even going to run the 5k until I found out the theme was going to be themed after the 3 caballeros. I love the 3 caballeros! One of my favorite Disney guilty pleasure kiddy rides was remodeled in 2007 to be themed after them. I may or may not have to ride that ride at least twice every day we are at Epcot…

We got to Epcot around 4:45, and the race started at 6. One of the nice things about the 5k’s is that the buses drop you off almost next to the start. No long mile slow crawl to get to the starting corrals! Of course there was nothing exciting to do while we waited over an hour for the race to start. There was a DJ of course, but I wasn’t really enjoying the music that morning. I was tired, and knew that I was going to be up even early the next two mornings. I decided to jump in line for a picture with the 3 caballeros before the race. The line was HUGE, and by the time I got close to the front it was time to get into the starting corral and I missed getting a picture with them.

The start was kind of poorly organized. There were 2 separate starts, but they didn’t let people into the starting corral until about 10 minutes before 6. I don’t have any pictures of the beginning of the race because I had my camera all ready to video the starting fireworks, but they ended up saving those for the second start. I was also trying to cram my heat sheet into my spibelt right before the start so I would have it for the next day to keep warm before the 1/2. I totally underpacked on throw away clothes to keep warm with before the races, and was kicking myself the rest of the weekend over it. I had tons of room left in my suitcase, and we were flying southwest, so I could have even checked another bag. I only brought gloves and hot hands along with a heat sheet for 3 races. Seriously? What was I thinking?!

The first mile of the race is boring, and super crowded. You run the first mile in the parking lot, so at least there are spectators cheering you on.

I was surprised to get to mile 1 so fast. I was trying to take this race at a slow pace to save my legs for the weekend. Anything sub 10 min/mile is fast for me, I must have been anxious to get into Epcot. I looked for the 3 caballeros in Mexico, but unfortunately they weren’t there. I found Mulan and her prince in China though!  I look like a giant next to Disney characters. I think the princesses have to be 5’5″ ish to be cast in the role. Apparently the princes don’t have to be much taller…

I found Snow White, Dopey and her very happy Prince in Germany.

Jasmine, Aladdin, and Giant Abu were hanging out in Morocco.

Leaving Epcot through the international gateway at mile 2.

We headed back stage for a water stop and then came back into Epcot by the UK. We ran through the front of the World Showcase and  towards future world. I ran into these guys new the Fountain of Nations. Too bad the cast member that took this picture zoomed in too much. She even check the picture after taking it to see if it was okay… Luckily this was my only doozy character picture of the weekend.

We ran towards the front gates, then out of Epcot through the backstage area by spaceship earth. Unfortunately the gospel choir doesn’t show up for the finish of the 5k.

This race isn’t timed, but when I stopped my garmin a little after the finish it read right around 33 minutes. I was expecting a little bit slower time, but the character lines weren’t too bad so I didn’t have to spend much time in line. After the race I went to get my picture with the 3 caballeros, and there was literally no line. I was walking up while another group was taking there picture. I wish I would have known this before the race so I wouldn’t have wasted my time in line.

There you have it. I’m done with my marathon weekend recaps in time for Princess weekend. I can’t believe I leave next week for the princess 1/2! I’m super excited and hoping for a Disney PR. I’ll of course have to stop for all the pictures, but hopefully being in corral A will mean the lines will be much shorter. Wahoo!

My princess costume!

5 Feb

I was going to be Princess Tiana since she was the princess I picked to have my bib colored after, but went with Snow White instead. I’m excited about how it turned out!

Walt Disney World Marathon: January 8, 2012

4 Feb

This post is long overdue. I intended to get my disney recaps done quick so I didn’t get behind, but that didn’t happen. At least my non disney races don’t involve as many pictures, and are therefore a much shorter ordeal.

I have to admit that my running had been pretty bad lately, or should I say, my LACK of running has been bad. I’ve run one time since we got back from Disney, and that was in a race that I signed up for ages ago and almost didn’t go to. I did end up going, but my time was s l o w. I’m not sure if it was tired legs, lack of recent running, the hills (there were so many!) or the random chunk of the course that was on gravel roads which killed my feet. I’ve just had a hard time getting out the door, but I’m determined to change that and start working out more. I think I’m suffering from too much running and not enough other exercise. I finally joined the gym I used to go to again, so my excuse days are over. I hope…

On to my race recap and happy disney thoughts. Fun fact: I’ll be back at Disney in less than 3 weeks for the Princess 1/2! I’m so excited about this race, but a tad bit nervous because bib numbers are out and mine is a triple digit! Usually a triple digit means corral A, which translates to faster runners, which also translates to I need to get my rear in gear and fast!

This will be another photo recap since pictures are worth a thousand words and I have a TON of them!

I started in corral C for both the half and the full.

I love that Disney has the characters send us on our way. Too bad Donald didn’t get the memo that I was taking a picture…

I had some major wardrobe malfunctions my first mile. My skirt was riding up because of my spibelt that was too full and bouncing. When I tried to load up my pockets my running skirt under my sparkle skirt would fall down. It was not pretty. I will say that I invested in a fuel belt after recommendations from others, and it performed beautifully during my half a few weeks ago!

I loved that the full course took you through part of a park right away!

2 miles down… or should I say 15.1 miles down, 24.2 to go. I was feel pretty good, and my legs felt strong, but I was still nervous for later in the race.

Sorry for the blurry photo. Night time photos + running don’t mix will.

Mile three came quick, at least it seemed that way…

I forgot that I’d already had a picture with Duffy during the half. I was skipping pictures that I got during the half, or at least only repeating those that didn’t turn out well. This line was short, but too forever because someone decided to bring their autograph book along.  Really? I understand that seeing the characters is part of the fun, but save that stuff for later…


I was loving all these characters in mile three! Brer Fox and Brer Bear!

There were no characters during miles 4 and 5, but we did run back by the start line and all the spectators that were lined up to cheer at the start. I got a lot of shout outs on my skirt and outfit!

The three, not so little, pigs.

I skipped the one character stop along the stretch to the TTC since I’d already stopped there during the half. I was kind of getting into a groove, so I didn’t want to stop running and lose my pace.

There were lots of bands, and this was the only not horribly blurry picture I took.

Heading into MK!

I was excited to see the Mad Hatter with Alice today!

I had a picture with Rapunzel, but it seems to have gone MIA… It wasn’t the best picture since the person taking it stood about 20 feet away though.

This line was super long, so I made friends while I waited. We realized that the only people that seemed interested in stopping for pictures were the Goofy people. Almost everyone in line had on a Goofy bib.

I’m going to attempt princess Tiana for my princess outfit in a few weeks, I love her dress!

Jesse! I had a slight crises before this picture. I ran into the restroom and dropped my camera on the way out. I thought it was broken, but thankfully the lens just needed a little nudge to open up. I carried an old camera for this race just in case I dropped it, but I would have been sad to break it so early in the race!

LOVE this picture! It was a long line, but well worth the wait!

I made more friends in this line, although a lot of the friends I made in earlier lines were still around the same place I was…

The relay traded off  in the parking lot of MK so there were lots of fresh legs just starting here.


These guys were hilarious! Definitely a pick me up along a boring section of the course.

Wendy and Peter Pan!

Not so convincing Pocahontas. The lady taking the pictures was cracking me up. She kept wishing people luck by name, and people would be so confused as to how she knew and would look at her funny. After the person would run off she would yell after them that their name was on their bib. Okay, maybe not the funniest thing ever, but after running for 15 miles, it’s the little things that make me laugh…

Finally heading into Animal Kingdom!

Jiminy Cricket! So excited to see him!


I ran by Expedition Everest and had a lengthy internal conversation with myself about whether or not to stop. They were having runners go through the regular line, instead of the FP line, and the time said it was a 5 minute wait. I almost didn’t stop, but then I reminded myself that my time was already slow, I was here to have fun, and the sweepers were no where near me. There ended up being no wait, and the regular park people let us cut to get on sooner. The breeze was a nice way to cool down too!

I wish I would have stopped to take a picture of my ride photo as well. Maybe next year…

Less than 10 miles to go!

Love Safari Minie!

Safari Mickey!

Longest line EVER!

The LONG line of cars that couldn’t get far with the marathon going on. Everyone was super nice though, later when we were running by the cars going into Hollywood Studios people were honking and wishing us well.

I’d always heard that the miles after MK heading to AK were the worst, but I thought the stretch between AK and HS was the worst. It was really warm, and there were only DJ’s along this part of the course as entertainment. To add insult to injury my left calf got really tight and I felt like I’d pulled a muscle making it painful to run, but more painful to walk. I stopped at a medstation and slathered on some bio freeze which got me through the rest of the race.

Mrs. Incredible and Frozone!


Just over a 5k to go!

Streets of America. This is where I was walking in HS when I really decided 2 years ago that I wanted to run at Disney!


Getting so close!

Heading back into Epcot with one mile to go!

There was no wait for Sleeping Beauty. I think everyone was focused on finishing the race.

Almost there and with a sub 6 hour clock time. I was certain it would take me well over 6 hours to finish, so I was pretty excited to see this. My pace was actually slightly faster for the full than it was for the 1/2, go figure….

At the finish with Mickey and Minnie!

I thought for sure I’d cry at the finish, but I think I was feeling more relieved to be done and too tired to muster up the tears. Goofy really took a lot out of me and I was pretty sick that evening. I think I was dehydrated despite stopping to drink at all the water stops. I should have been drinking more on Saturday to recover from the 1/2 and prepare for the full. Lesson learned for my next back to back  races, which will not be Goofy. As much as I loved doing Dopey this year, I don’t think I’ll do it again. It took too much time out of our trip, and left me feeling wiped out. Next year I think I’ll stick with the full.

Back of the Goofy medal

A picture with the character I ran 39.3 miles for. My pirate nephew wanted in on the picture too.

There you have it. The WDW marathon in mostly pictures! Hopefully I’ll get around to my 5k recap soon, so I can come home from Princess and get to that report right away!