Star Wars Half Marathon picture pages

A week back from Anaheim, I am again itching for SoCal’s summerlike weather, delicious food treats and fabulous friends.

I ran the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland last week and – to my surprise – ran like I was being chased by imperial fighters. Swift feet and a fast course took me to a new PR at 1:55. The weather was perfect and I was thrilled. Here’s my race recap on my work blog.

The weekend was about so much more than running, as I went to Anaheim to spend a few days with friends. We laughed, we ate (everything) and had an incredible time.

So here’s a virtual photo album of my trip:

SW3The course was strong with this one. My medal at the finish line of the half marathon. I wore it at the park Sunday night and someone actually offered to buy it from me. I declined, but curiosity has me wondering how much the fan would’ve offered.

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We went to the Wookiee Welcome Party in Tomorrowland Thursday night. The event featured amazing desserts (like these-I ate them all and then some), drinks and a meet-and-greet with many Star Wars characters.

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CHARACTERS!

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We also rode a few popular rides – sans any lines. Plus this was my first time on Disneyland’s Space Mountain. I went on a few rides for the first time on this trip – the Paradise Pier coaster, DCA Tower of Terror and Mickey’s Fun Wheel all included. I still haven’t recovered from that last one.

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Heather and I spent much of Friday in and around the parks thanks to extra magic hours.

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4 1/4 friends! We met up with Laurie, Anya and their handsome little guy Finley!

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Of course we got Minnie ears. Pluto dug them.

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I spent a few hours working at the PRO Compression booth at the expo. Loved chatting with so many runners!

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Saturday brought the Star Wars 10K and I watched the winner cross the finish line! Way to go Jacob!

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Imperial motivators

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Spent some time with these lovelies – Dani and Linzie

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I stopped for a few pics mid-run and this one with Boba Fett was one of my faves! I’ve got my awesome Sparkle Athletic skirt and tank on, with an Oiselle base layer and PRO socks.

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A stunning sunrise stopped me mid-stride on the streets of Anaheim.

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After our run, we went out to celebrate at Club 33.

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This pic of Cam says it all! We had a blast together all weekend long!

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The gang’s all here – from left Cam, Heather, me, Jillian and Mike. Happy racing everyone!

Cam and Heather both ran the half – and Cam PRed! Click here for her recap.

Did you attend the Star Wars half weekend? What was your favorite part of the course? What did you like best about the weekend? What would you change? Tell me in the comments!

The More You Know

Since I’ve started this journey to find my fit self, I’ve learned many many things.  As a novice, I made mistakes.  I’ve carb-loaded with beer and macaroni and cheese.  I’ve ran a race in brand new shoes.  I’ve overestimated the length of my running shorts and skimped on the glide.  After running this weekend’s Disney Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland, I realized I’ve learned a few things.  I also realized, many things left to learn I have (Yep, I just Yoda’d you).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

Channeling my inner Yoda (who sounds a lot like Meri).

I can’t say I was feeling particularly confident.  You all know how serious I am about training (please note sarcasm) and I’ve been nursing a sore ankle since last February.  I’m beginning to think I’ve damaged it beyond repair because I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to get back to normal but it seems I’m stuck between 60-80%.  Also, once again, I’m having problems with my feet and shoes.  I’ve had a long lasting love affair with my Skora’s, but after last weekend’s Citrus Heritage 5K here in Riverside, I fear the sneaks have fallen out of favor. With only a week until the half, I was in no position to break in a new pair of shoes so I toughed it out at Star Wars.  Because that is my jam, yo.  As a toy collecting, merchandise wearing, video game playing fan, if anyone should participate in an Inaugural Star Wars themed race, it should be me.

Just a taste of my collection.

Just a taste of my collection.

Despite this business, Meri persuaded me to make a plan.  Plan you must, she said, like my own personal Jedi mentor.  So I decided to do intervals.  I mean, really do it.  Like actually stop when my phone tells me to.  And I went to bed early.  And I didn’t drink beer the night before and I got up early and ate a great, healthy snack and I wore comfortable clothes, including a pair of bright green compression socks courtesy of my chick and Star Wars roomie, Vic.  I biofreezed, KT taped, AND compressed my ankle.  And guess what?  I PR’d.  That’s right.  I never thought I cared about this until I actually beat myself.  Yes, it’s true, I love beating myself.  And now I feel like a whole new runner.  The more you know…

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I think I’m going to stick with this planning thing.  I bought new shoes today.  I know, I know, AGAIN?  But I went and had my feet evaluated because during that race yesterday, all I could think about was how if my feet would stop throbbing, this race would be amazing.  The race was amazing, the course was fantastic, the costumes divine, but my feet effing sucked.  So Brooks, you’ve worn me down, waited me out, and here I am, putting my poor flat feet into your big, ugly soles.  I also got orthotic inserts to try out and if they make a difference, I’m seriously considering having some customized ones made.  Something has to be done or I won’t be able to run much longer.  And we all know that CANNOT happen.  I can barely stand the fact I didn’t do the Rebel Challenge this weekend.  Every time I heard the clanging of medals yesterday, I was overcome with medal envy.  Imagine if I could never again feel that sweet victory ribbon heavy with determination hang around my neck.  No.  Race I must.  And so wear ugly shoes, I must.

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They’re not so bad, right? And I can cute them up with socks, right? RIGHT???

2015 Walt Disney World half marathon recap

Fun fact: I’ve never run a Disney race twice.

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I kicked it off in 2012, tackling Princess as my first half marathon and doing the 5k for funsies the day prior (and friends thought I was nuts). From there it’s been a whirlwind of the Castaway 5k, Tink, Wine and Dine, Disneyland 10k and half (again, with the nuts comments – they obviously don’t know many who have done Goofy/Dopey), and most recently the Walt Disney World half this past weekend.

Anyone who has run a Florida runDisney race knows about the dreaded early wake up time.

Anyone who has not run a Florida runDisney race but wants to… you may want to set your alarms now for 2:45am and practice that along with training. Because yes, that’s what time you get up for these races.

The struggle is real.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It's COLD outside.

Extra, extra, read all about it. It’s COLD outside.

Brooke and I decided that we would be Newsies. We also decided that we would wear cute little tanks and running skirts. And then Mother Nature decided that she was going to throw a curveball at all of northern Florida and make it fairly chilly. Warmth took precedence over cuteness.

Sleep nearly took precedence over the race, if I’m being quite honest. Have I mentioned how early it was?

We stayed at the All Star Movie Resort, which made our travel to the start very simple; buses are scheduled non-stop starting at 3am. We didn’t check bags so we gathered our SPIbelts, food (wheat flats, almond butter, and bananas), and braced ourselves for the cold weather.

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Donning our pajama pants and Brooke’s husband’s sweatshirts we found ourselves at the start village. Our dear friend, Ashley, was doing her first half marathon and our plan was to find her before the race. Attempts to track down Kristen and Suzanne were made, as I knew they were starting in our corral but to no avail.

The walk from the start village to the corrals is about a mile or so and while I found it daunting during the Princess half (remember, that was my first half ever), this wasn’t bad at all. The flow of traffic was smooth and we were able to get to the corrals with no issues. Our walk consisted of us geeking out over Universal’s Harry Potter world and books in general.

These are my people!

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Ash, Brooke, and me

Soon we had to split off and go to our separate corrals, so we gave hugs and high fives to Ash and her friends before heading to corral J.

Thanks to social media, Brooke and I knew which skirts Kristen and Suzanne were wearing so we spent a good long while walking around the corral, peering at people’s legs. Yes, indeed. Sadly, we didn’t find them (but hey, it was a way to pass the time).

The earlier corrals began to cross the start line and we both shimmied out of our pajama pants, tossing them into the collection boxes. We listened to the announcers banter and watched the fireworks at the start of each corral.

Before long, it was our turn!

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Our plan for this race was to HAVE FUN and I would say we succeeded! We thanked volunteers left and right. We ran when we felt like it. We walked when we felt like it (or when the course narrowed and there wasn’t much of an option). We cheered for other runners.

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We pulled to the side and took selfies.

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This course is the exact same as Princess so we knew what to expect. But honestly, my feelings toward this race couldn’t have been more different. My first half, it was all about getting through it. This? This was just about having fun and spending time with my friend. I didn’t hurt. I didn’t push any limits. I just had fun with Brooke.

The park is always crowded, as you can see in this video. There are people cheering and there’s not much room to navigate if you want to go faster than the people in front of you. What’s a courteous runner to do? Just roll with it. Soak it up, enjoy the moment, and smile.

It was "snowing" as we ran into the castle.

It was “snowing” as we ran into the castle.

If you’re a middle to the back of the pack runner, realize that you probably won’t get that awesome running shot of you coming out of the castle. I know for me, it was slightly disappointing when I first ran a Disney race. However, there are photographers stationed right in front of the castle if you want to stop and grab pictures with the castle in the background.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Brooke was hoping that this train would bring us to Diagon Alley. It does not. Sadly.

Miles 7-11 are what I like to call “the boring miles.” You exit Magic Kingdom and it’s lackluster. I feel like Disney could do something MORE in these miles to make it less tedious. I said that 2 years ago during Princess and I’m saying it again.

That’s not to say that the boring miles only pertain to runDisney, it’s really true of any half marathon. They are just sort of ho-hum, are we done yet? miles. For the record, the answer is no. You’re not even close to being done.

Which is why when you run into Kristen and Suzanne, whom you’ve been looking for the entire time, you basically lose your ever-loving mind and make loud squealing noises!

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

They spotted my hair and hat and we spotted their SKIRTS. How cute are they?

We hung out with them for about a half mile (I’m guessing – my watch was set on kilometers so I wasn’t exactly knowledgeable of anything in the distance department) before I pulled to the side because I had something in my shoe. It was so wonderful to see them and it definitely made those “boring miles” way more exciting!

Since the race is mostly on access roads, it’s hard for spectators to get out to the more remote areas. That’s why I totally have to give kudos to this guy! This was mile 10, just before going up the access ramp.

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Brooke and I kept chugging along although we were straight up speed walking at this point with the hopes of finishing up faster. Right outside of Epcot there were people cheering and it was wonderful to hear my name being called. Only LATER did I realize it was Bonnie! OH MY GOODNESS, I love that girl!

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When you hit Epcot, you hear the same thing over and over. “The finish is just around the corner.” But we knew the course and we knew that it was NOT. You have to wind your way through Epcot a little before that corner finally comes. However, this is how you know the corner is really the actual corner and not a fictional one.

That’s right! There’s a gospel choir! You can hear Brooke WOOing them, like a good Woo Girl should.

Then, and only then, can you expect to see the finish line around the corner.

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This is the moment that you’ve been waiting for for 13.1 miles. You take it in. The crowds cheering. The people in front of you holding hands. The far off sound of medals clanking.

The sound of Brooke as she exclaims, “WAIT! Is that Minnie Mouse?”

Well worth it!

Why, yes. Yes, it is.

The finish was wonderful. Filled with great medals and snacks because runger is a real thing. Oh, and banana phones.

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W stayed at the finish area, snacking and stretching, so we could meet up with Ashley after she finished her very first half marathon. Mark my words, next time we are running TOGETHER.

Different races have meant different things in my life. Some are for PRs, others are for fun with friends. This one, and this weekend in general, was therapeutic. It was good for the soul and exactly what I needed.

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Do different races hold different meanings in your life? When is your next race? Anyone entering the Broad Street 10 Miler Lottery? The next 5k I’m registered for is the Adrenaline Run 5k. After that it’s the Atlantic City April Fools Half. Will I see you at either of those?

Did Good, Feeling Really Good: Alex’s Million Mile Wrap-Up

What a month! We walked, we ran, we rode. We made lemon food and wore yellow clothes. We talked about it here, there and everywhere. All with one goal- to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

This has become my favorite time of year for our little corner of the internet. Running for a cause, and seeing the momentum build among our community of friends is nothing short of amazing. Watching our miles and donations climb every day, exchanging shouty-caps texts with Mer because we’re so excited about our team’s successes, seeing that my own local friends have joined our team or donated, reading Megan’s almost daily Facebook posts just pushing for more donations (Megan really should go into professional fundraising because she’s a rockstar, and not at all pushy about it, either.) And of course, the running. I am actually running regularly again and it feels almost as good as my donation to ALSF did.

I just have to say it again- WHAT A MONTH!

First, I have to thank our team. Together, we logged 1,871.13 miles. We all deserve a refreshing glass of lemonade!

But that’s not all…

Together, we helped raise $2,070 for childhood cancer!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has funded over 450 projects with the goal of curing pediatric cancer, so you know those funds are being used for something GOOD. I’m raising my glass to you, Team Scootadoot:

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Thank you. Thank you, very much.

At the beginning of the month, we told you about a few rewards we had…

For the second year in a row, our top fundraiser is Megan! Her posts to Facebook and Instagram were funny, heartfelt, and obviously very effective. Megan, you’re the BEST! I’m sending you big hugs from Florida.

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Our next award goes to Bonnie, for logging the most miles this month: 193.90! High fives to you, girl!

And finally, the winner of our random draw for our #onwednesdayswewearyellow campaign is Jenn! I like your style, Jenn!

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Thank you, Megan, Bonnie, and Jenn! We’ll be in touch to get your prizes to you. We’re so grateful to have you on our team!

On a personal note, our #journey2amillion was exactly the push I needed to start running regularly again. And it only took two weeks of that for Meridith to convince me to run the Disney World Half Marathon with her in January. Looks like we’ll be having a lot of virtual runs over the next few months.

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This is my last blog post for the foreseeable future. I love my Scootadoot chicks! When I say we all became friends within minutes of meeting, I really do mean it. But life is beautiful and crazy here, and I’m a girl who likes to volunteer for all the things, which leaves very little time for me to share my story on the internet. I’ll still be running and reading though (especially here!)- link your blog for me, please? I’ve enjoyed talking running with all of you, and I thank you for reading. Happy Friday, runner friends!
 

Goofy Giveback: I’ll take one of those, please!

Earlier this month, runDisney announced that they were going to take a certain amount of Goofy Race and a Half Challenge registrations (that’s a half and a full marathon for those who don’t speak the runDisney lingo) and split them, giving runners the option to sign up for the previously sold out half marathon and full marathon.

Since participating in the Dumbo Double Dare I’ve been sort of bummed that I didn’t have another Disney race on my dance card. The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge still had room; however, I already decided that I’m not quite ready for a full marathon… let alone a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.

BUT THEN, the Goofy Giveback came along and the wheels in my head started turning! I’m sure this surprises exactly no one.

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What’s a girl to do? I wanted to sign up. But should I? How would we swing it? Could we make it happen?

From what I hear, winter is going to be capital W-I-N-T-E-R this year in my area. It was pretty rough last year and I slowly but surely lost my mind. I know that I’ll need something to keep the blues away in January. Plus there’s running in costume! And race selfies! And my favorite characters!

Well, needless to say, Christmas came a little bit early for me this year and I’m now registered for the half marathon. Isn’t that the MOST? To say the least!

What’s more is that I’ll be running with Brooke, which is always beyond words in terms of fun. She is the best cheerleader and since she’s coming off of her injury and I’m fairly consistent with my training at this point, we might even be able to pull a PR for me.

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To say that I’m super excited for January would be an understatement! I’m actually looking forward to winter, which is a rarity for me.

Have you taken advantage of the Goofy Giveback? The half has sold out (as of earlier today). The full is at 91% so if you’re interested, act now. Or, if you want to do the Goofy race and a half challenge, don’t delay because it’s 98% full!

Or, were you a planner and signed up when registration opened? In other words, who should I look for in January?

Cam’s Costume Corner

I was a huge theater geek in high school.  Big surprise, I know.   When I get the chance to put on fancy clothes and be some other persona for the day, I take advantage.  Even if it means I’ll be stepping into character for 13.1 miles.

The key is to create a versatile and functional illusion of what you’re trying to convey.  This is the most challenging aspect for me.  I always forget that the costume doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t need a blind hem or actual button holes.  It’s for show.  You will wear that costume one time, it doesn’t need to be a work of art.  It does, however, need to stay together for awhile.  I’ve put together a few tips, just to get your creative juices flowing.

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Doesn’t everyone bring their sewing machine and serger on their runcations?

Tip #1: Sequins are pretty, but they chafe like a mother.

Choosing the right fabric is vital.  I generally want my costumes to be soft yet supportive.  I also run hot so I need material that will breathe well.  I generally choose cotton spandex blends. However, I will absolutely embellish with some fanciful trims.  For example, our Ring Master costumes consisted of a plain white tank top with the sparkly vest sewn right onto it.  The vest was a heavier material with the gold trim sewn to look like closures.  A coat with tails would have been awesome, but who wants to run in that?  I used the tulle to create a no-sew bustle instead. That way we could give the illusion of a fancy coat without an actual coat.

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Tip #2 Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

Sometimes the best costumes aren’t even about the actual clothes.  Accessories can take your typical runwear and turn you into a roller derby diva.  For these costumes we used black shorts and shirts silk-screened with a logo.  Everything else was in the accessories: bandaids, temporary tattoos, handkerchiefs, knee pads and elbow pads, fishnets, even black Halloween make-up for creating bruises and missing teeth.

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Tip #3 No Zippers Necessary

When I made these three Good Fairy costumes for the Tink half, I wasn’t going to have a chance to fit the dress to the girls.  So instead of making the dresses with zippers, I used a t-shirt as the bodice and sewed the skirt onto the bottom of the shirt.  That way I knew the dresses would fit.  The shirts were also comfy and stretchy, perfect for running 13.1 miles in wings and a hat.

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Tip #4 Fake It till you Make It.

Sometimes you have to just fake it. For this Rainbow Brite costume, I didn’t have a chance to finish the sleeves.  So I just paired the dress with a shirt and gloves.  This costume won me $100!

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Tip #5 Work It

When it comes down to it, attitude has a lot to do with whether or not the costume works.  You have to embody the persona you’re trying to represent.  For instances, when I’m dressed like a ninja, I’m completely undetectable.  I hide behind trees and jump and kick and I truly become the ninja.  Same with our signature poses last weekend at the Disney 10k.  We worked those sailor dresses!

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Race Recap: Disneyland 10k/Dumbo Double Dare

Y’all, I love a good 10k. (I also love to say y’all, even though I’m from New Jersey.)

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When I began my running journey in 2011, I started with a 5k mud run. From there I did an 8k road race before jumping in distance to the runDisney Princess half in February 2012. The elusive 10k distance didn’t happen for me until fall 2012 and with one race, I fell completely in love with the race distance.

Hearts in my eyes, swooning, in love.

Problem was (and is), there weren’t a whole heck of a lot of 10ks around these parts. I ran a 10k in October 2013 but haven’t gotten the opportunity to do one since.

Fortunately, runDisney started adding 10ks to their race weekends and sweetening the deal by creating challenges that incorporated these races. The 10k distance AND Disney? Be still, my beating heart! 

As soon as I got the idea in my head about doing the Dumbo Double Dare challenge in California, there was no stopping me.

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I knew that Cam would agree to it because Cam really loves my ideas and is always down for anything that I suggest. You know, until it comes to the race and then she’s all “Meridith, what did you get us into?”

That’s when I usually do the “Isn’t this FUN?”comment during a really, really fun part of the race (like while we were jamming to Elvis in Cars Land) so she remembers the fun and not the fact there we were so sweaty, the sheen had our arms slipping against one another the entire race.

I let Jess slide when it came to doing the challenge, being that this was her first half ever. Next time I know she’ll be all in!

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You know what’s rad about the Disneyland races? Waking up at 4am and then walking to the start from the hotel – we stayed at Best Western Stovalls Inn. It’s so easy breezy and when you’re a bundle of excited energy who doesn’t really sleep well before races, easy breezy is always appreciated.

A hush fell over the crowd as Elvis crooned the Star Spangled Banner. This race’s theme was Stitch, with an emphasis on Elvis, Hawaii and all things Polynesian. Cam decided to pay homage to Pearl Harbor with our costumes and we were feeling very patriotic.

We lined up right behind the D corral and waited for our turn to go. The energy was great within the corral and everyone was looking forward to making our way through the course.

I decided to ditch the watch this weekend. Disney races are never about the time for me. Plus, the more time I can spend with friends, the better!

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We got the GO ahead (see what I did there) and crossed the start line to the sounds of Elvis. Our game plan was to do an easy run throughout the course and stop for any must have pictures.

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credit: runDisney

The first two miles were through the streets of Anaheim and around the Convention Center. They were pretty quiet, which I can understand because it was early in the morning. No bands, no cheering squads, but plenty of smiling faces of race supporters and awesome volunteers.

There were a lot of younger kids running this race, which is something I always love to see. Going into mile two, one was running on the median and must have stepped wrong because he fell. Yikes!

A few of us stopped to see if he was okay but thankfully he jumped right up and kept running. It was a good reminder to be aware and stay on the marked course. I know the want to go faster is there for some but we need to race smart!

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The air was hazy and humid as we made our way into California Adventure but spirits were high! Running through the parks is always the highlight of these races although in Disneyland the time in the parks is less – mainly because there are less parks.

Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen were out in Cars Land but we decided to skip the lines in favor of a brief pit stop. Hello, real restrooms! Always hold out for the real deal if you can. Totally worth it.

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Everything part of me was sweating at this point. So gross and so awesome, all at the same time. Let’s just say that I was very grateful I decided to wear bike shorts under that skirt. (I also had my Spibelt under there to hold our fuel – Laffy Taffy – so I bet that everyone else was grateful I was wearing bike shorts, too, when I was hiking up my skirt.)

Races with Cam always rock because she’s a really cool chick. I mean, Disney races are always fun but when you’ve got Cam by your side you can expect dancing, singing, seeking out and mugging for race photographers, and jokes that make you giggle the entire time.

We didn’t seeing many character photo opportunities during this race, which was a bummer, so we decided to stop in California Adventure to snag a shot. Selfies weren’t really cutting it because you could see our faces but not much of the background! Thankfully cast members are always there to lend a hand.

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Cam and I both commented that the air in the parks was actually cooler than the air on the streets of Anaheim. Is it possible to air condition outside air… outside? Disney magic, hard at work!

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This tunnel was actually pleasant because there was a cold spot right smack dab in the middle. I sort of wanted to stay there! Alas, we continued on because there was more fun to be had.

Feeling parched in Toontown, we made our way to water fountains… only to find the water to be hot! Not so yummy. Then I nearly tripped off the curb because walking is hard. Very grateful I had Cam to grab on to and didn’t turn an ankle!

We knew the Castle wasn’t far. Holla!

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I think this is the first time I actually got to RUN through a castle during a race. This race was crowded but probably the least crowded of all the Disney races I’ve done.

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Of course, no race is complete without a random shot that you didn’t mean to take.

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Magical Disney ground!

After a few more turns around the backlot, we were headed to Downtown Disney and ready to wrap up this party. Around this point I texted Jess because she requested I let her know when we were around mile 5. The plan was for her to meet us at the end however she was still zzzzzzing away, right up until the text. Whoopsies!

Also, texting while running is really difficult so I decided to just call her. And then I was THAT GIRL on the phone. Please, feel free to judge me. I was judging myself.

The crowd support was high in Downtown Disney, including a sign that said YOU ARE WINNING. There were people calling “Hey Sailors” to us too, which made us grin ear to ear! It was perfect.

And so was the finish line!

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Water bottles were handed out directly after the finish, which was appreciated and necessary in the hot, hot heat. From there, we made our way to the volunteers handing out the medals and collected our super cute Stitch medals.

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The Dumbo Double Dare bracelets were handed out directly after that. Pictures and Medical were located nearby (we skipped both) and headed straight for the snack boxes and freezing cold bananas. Those bananas! I mean, who would know I could get so excited for a piece of fruit. BUT I DID.

Side note: Came home, put bananas in the freezer and forgot I did it until my husband brought them to me with a perplexed look. Then they were too cold to bite.

There was awesome entertainment and while we snacked, we took a few minutes to soak it all in.

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Later we visited the park to celebrate with Dumbo.

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I’ll bid you adieu the same way I began…

Y’all, I love a good 10k!

 

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

We went.

We ran.

We conquered the Disneyland Half Marathon.

And it was AWESOME.

Now, I feel like kind of a fish out of water writing this race recap because I’ve never written a recap for a half marathon before. So as I’m typing this, I’m thinking “what do I even say about this weekend? How can I put into words how fun and hard and great and tiring and rewarding but also pretty insane and let me not forget how HOT it was?” I’m sure someone who’s run multiple half marathons before (ahem, Cam, Meridith, Victoria, Brooke, ahem) could – would! – be more eloquent about it. But all I can do is tell you that it was fun. And hard. And great and tiring and rewarding and completely insane. And very, very hot.

Well, I can tell you some other things, too. Doing a half marathon isn’t something I thought I’d ever do. I loved running when I was little – the burn of my lungs and the wind whipping through my hair, the adrenaline pumping through my veins and that lovely soreness in my calves from pushing, pushing, pushing myself. But adult me definitely lost the love of running. It’s no secret that I still don’t love it, even (or maybe especially) during my training for this half.

All that said, this will probably remain one of my fondest life memories. I reclaimed the feeling of loving running and turned it into something else: the love didn’t come from the burn or the wind or the exhilaration of running. The love came from the pride of actually doing this, and doing it with two of my most wonderful friends by my side. How awesome is that?

With all of my personal musings out of the way, let’s get to the important stuff: the actual race! Not that I didn’t know this before, but I got to see firsthand what an amazingly well-oiled machine the Disneyland Half Marathon is. I mean, these people are not fooling around. From the expo (during which I spent much money at Raw Threads) to the race itself, everything was executed without a hitch. For people who have run Disney races before, this is probably not a surprise. But I have to admit that I’ll probably be ruined for other races going forward, and the seamless execution of every event last weekend is only one reason.

I’ll get to the other reasons…right now!

Prior to flying down to Anaheim, I checked the weather and saw that it was supposed to be in the mid-80s on race day (Sunday). Cue me freaking out because I hate heat. I have a zero tolerance policy for heat. If it’s above 75, I’m complaining. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), I was worried about how the temperature would affect my performance during the race. But Meridith assured me I would be fine, and I agree with her on most things, so I decided to agree with her on this as well.

At any rate, we all rolled out of bed at 4 in the morning on race day and got dressed up in our SUPER CUTE Timothy Q. Mouse inspired costumes that the ever-talented Cam made (stay tuned for a post from her on that!).

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Do the bustle!

 

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Were the riding crops our favorite part of the costume? Maybe. Probably. Okay, yes.

Once we were dressed and had a pre-race donut and some water, we headed over to the park to the start line.

As did about 16,000 other people.

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Yeah. It was a little busy. We had to make our way cattle-call style to the J corral, which we would later come to call the “JUST LET US GO ALREADY” corral. Because we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes and “Let It Go” when they released corral A. And then we had to listen to the announcers’ jokes (the same ones) and “Let It Go” (the same one) when they released corral B. And then C. D. E. F….you know the rest of the alphabet.

"OMG, DUDES, LET US GO."

“OMG, DUDES, LET US GO.”

And let me tell you: I didn’t know the words to “Let It Go” before this race, but by the time we were given the go ahead, I sure knew every word.

LET IT GOOOOOOOOO.

LET US GOOOOOOOO.

And they did!

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The course took us through Disneyland and California Adventure, then through the streets of Anaheim, before eventually looping us back into the park for the last mile. And while the miles inside the park were infinitely more entertaining, there were sights to see in Anaheim, too. More on that later.

For now, the park!

Meridith and Cam told me that characters would be available to take pictures with as we ran through the park, so we made sure to take advantage. I thought there would be more characters – maybe a princess?! – but the ones we did snap pics with were great. I can’t really complain about having the entirety of Disneyland to ourselves, can I? Plus, the cast members – ALL OF THEM – lined up along the side of the course and cheered us on, gave us high-fours with Mickey Mouse gloves, and were just generally awesome. We had such a huge cheering squad.

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Scandalized by our whips, Jafar?

 

Juicy tidbit: my army guy broke character and said “whoa” when he saw our riding crops. In my unofficial poll during the race, I noticed that the menfolk tended to respond very favorably to our props.

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The castle!

 

We continued our jaunt through the park, keeping up a pretty nice clip for the first four miles.

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And then…WE TOOK IT TO THE STREETS.

Of Anaheim. For a lot of miles. At that point, we made a group decision to take it easy and just enjoy the race. We all had various physical pain points and none of us were looking for a PR. So we slowed it down to a fast walk – sometimes a prancercise – and took in the sights, the spectators, and the great, awesome signs.

An approximation of our fancy walk.

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Adorable Hawaiian dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Mariachi dancers!

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

Classic cars. There were SO many! We asked for a ride, but alas.

I have to say, I totally appreciated that we weren’t left high and dry when we left the park. There were dancers and high school bands and cheerleaders to cheer us on as we made our way back toward Disneyland. And once you hit a certain mile – in our case I think it was around mile 8 – we really, really needed to hear people cheering for us. For strangers to get up super, super early to do that…well, it really touched me.

And let me NOT forget about the awesome signs we saw along the way:

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My absolute favorites of the race. Hands down. Great reminder. I needed reminding at that point.

Getting back to the weather: we had overcast skies and even a teeeeeeeensy breeze until we hit mile 8. And then the sun decided it wanted to shine its hot little death rays on us. Of course, this was the part of the course where we were running next to a dried-up reservoir type thing on our way to Angels stadium. I think Meridith asked multiple times, “WHO DESIGNED THIS PART OF THE COURSE?”

Not our favorite part.

Not our favorite part.

Yeah. Hot.

But THEN we got to Angels stadium which, despite my fervent love for the Oakland A’s and thus my fervent loathing of the Angels, was really, really cool. The stadium was packed with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and their cheering parents and it was just so damn awesome.

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RIGHT? RIGHT? HOW COOL IS THAT?

Of course, we had the 16-minute mile pacers breathing down our necks, and this is kind of the part where it all went to shit. The track we were running on was super narrow and the 16-minute mile pacers were yelling that we were behind schedule and everyone needed to MOVE MOVE MOVE, so people started panicking and pushing and I got separated from Cam and Meridith for a few minutes while people acted like bizonkers.

But then we reunited and it really DID feel so good. And we kept going. And going. And going. And encountered more high school bands and cheerleaders and amazing spectators and I just forced myself to take it all in despite the fact that I was hot and tired and starting to hurt.

And then: Mile 12. We hit it. We got back into the park. We were almost there. People were TELLING us we were almost there. Meridith asked, “How almost there is almost there?” but no one would tell us. Just that it was almost. So close.

 

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Ring the bell for energy! We totally did. Not sure it worked. Malfunctioning bell?

Finally, someone took pity on us and told us we had less than half a mile. That kept us motivated until we crossed the finish line, which I have no pictures of because we were just so happy to be DONE.

And then we were! Done, that is. And my feet were so thankful, because dude. 13.1 miles. That’s a LOT of miles.

We got our awesome medals and Meridith put mine on for me, which was adorable.

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AWWWWWW.

I whipped this race (get it?)!

I whipped this race (get it?)!

We did it! Couples finish together!

We did it! Couples finish together!

 

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My first half marathon in the books. Thank god for Instagram filter.

We wandered around the finishers area like zombies for a bit, picked up Meridith and Cam’s Dumbo Double Dare medals (because they had run the 10K the day before like crazy people), drank all of the water and some bananas, and then made the painful trek back to our hotel.

I can’t tell you how not fun it is to have to walk back to your hotel after you’ve just completed a half marathon. But we did it. And then we did this.

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So yes. We went. We ran. We conquered. And we had an amazing time.

 

 

The Princess and The Speed

I feel like I’m still catching up on sleep from Princess Weekend. Actually, let’s be real here. I have a 15 month old who doesn’t sleep through the night yet. The 2:30am wake up calls during the Glass Slipper Challenge made for a longer stretch of sleep than I typically get. So I guess I’m still catching up on sleep from the birth of my son. I should really just be napping right now.

Anyway. Princess Weekend was a whirlwind. Sara and I drove down to Disney on Friday night to sleep at the Art of Animation resort so that I could have uninterrupted sleep and we could wake at 2:30 instead of 1:30, because that would have just been crazy. We ran the 10k on Saturday and Sara had a PR by five minutes. Go Sara!

Everyone is obsessed with Frozen in my house (even the boy yells “Go!” at the tv, which is his way of asking to see the “Let It Go” video), so it was exciting to see Elsa at mile one of the 10k, talking to people as they ran past. You guys, there was a snow machine! (I’m sure you’ve read this on the internet already. I know I’m a week and a half late on this. But Elsa and snow! I could have cried. I took video for my girls. Definitely a “Disney Magic” moment of the weekend.)

On Sunday morning, we met up with Dorothy to complete 13.1 miles. I had been having stomach issues all weekend- I still haven’t figured out if it was related to the Clif shots (I took one prior to the start of each race-tested beforehand too) or if it was an isolated incident- and I had to stop to use a bathroom during the race, which I’ve never done before. Annoying. And TMI? (but really, any recs on pre-race fuel?) So, we ended up getting separated around mile five, but met at the finish to celebrate Dorothy’s first half marathon.

For me, the highlight of the half marathon is the choir just before the finish. If you follow us on instagram, you saw my video from that moment (and yes, I thanked them as I passed).

The real Disney magic of this race comes from the volunteers. They’re wonderful. They dance along the course, give high fives, cheer you on as you pass. When you walk into the bag claim (and for this race, you have to pass through even if you didn’t check a bag), they all applaud. It’s just really special. I said thank you to as many as I could, because they got up even earlier than I did, and they don’t get to go home until everyone is finished. If you’re reading this and you’re a race volunteer- THANK YOU. You make the race a success.

Here are a few pictures from my weekend:

Before the 10k. No, we did not run with the braids!

Before the 10k. No, we did not run with the braids!

Wondering, and wondering, and wondering, and wondering- when will this race begin?

Wondering, and wondering, and wondering, and wondering- when will this race begin?

Yep, we totally stole our daughters's Halloween costumes for the half-marathon.

Yep, we totally stole our daughters’s Halloween costumes for the half-marathon.

Our other PNK sister, Dorothy- at her first half-marathon!

Our other PNK sister, Dorothy, at her first half-marathon!

This was my last Run Disney event for a while. (I think. Never say never, I have a few local friends planning to run Wine and Dine and hmmmm. But probably not. Maybe.) I was happy to meet up with Vic and Heather and had a blast training and running with Sara and Dorothy. As for my own race, my chip time was 22 seconds faster than my Wine and Dine time, which was sort of a bummer. I wasn’t going into this race to PR- I’m pretty far from that right now- but I had hoped to improve a bit more than 22 seconds. I’ve thought a lot about it, as I tend to do, and I know there are some variables in my life now that weren’t there before when I was able to sub 2:00 in a short amount of time-

First, I have a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. This isn’t a mom blog, and he’s my third child, and I’m totally not looking for advice. Or sympathy, haha. It is what it is, and the way we choose to parent- well, he doesn’t sleep through the night yet. He will eventually. As far as my running goes though, less sleep must factor into it, right?

Second, and this is the big one…I’m not training to run faster. Oops. I know I have to run fast to get fast. I know it. I said that I would start speed work after the run streak and I didn’t. Womp womp. In the spirit of Meri’s brilliant post about faking it vs. doing the work, I am going to do the work- starting this week.

Next up on my race calendar is a 10 miler at the end of this month, followed by two half marathons in April. I don’t plan to PR, but I hope to be closer to doing so (and I hope to get my fuel sitch figured out too). Any advice for me? For speed work, do you prefer tempo runs or track workouts?

Princess Half Marathon weekend: Picture Pages

While the scoot chicks love to chat, we also love to share our favorite pics with our friends.

So instead of a traditional race recap, I will instead share my favorite photos from last weekend. If you wish to read my Princess Half Marathon weekend recap on my work blog, CLICK HERE.

20140227-125750.jpgWe arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge on Thursday and each “Princess” was presented with a rose. Well played, Disney. I loved this special treatment!

cgrillWe celebrated our first night with a dinner at the California Grill atop the Contemporary. Here we watched fireworks over the Magic Kingdom and enjoyed an incredible meal! We were also a obsessed with the wine coolers.

rapunzelsLOTS of Rapunzels! From left, me, Brooke, Sara and Heather. And yes, we did plan to all dress as the same character for the Enchanted 10K. Heather made the two matching tops, and they were so comfortable to run in! Thank you Heather! All four of us participated in the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge, which is a 10K on Saturday and a half-marathon one day later.

20140227-130814.jpgPost-10K with friends Tara and Kelly.

20140227-125811.jpgOn Saturday, I worked at the expo with the Sparkle Athletic ladies. Here I am with  Kelly as we take a 3-second break from all the sales at their popular booth!

mermaidsHeather made our fantastic costumes. We’re Ariel’s sisters Aquata and Attina!

20140227-125835.jpgSoon enough, it was time to run the half-marathon. We snapped a few shots before the race at the starting line before the fireworks started us off on our 13.1-mile journey.

sparkle2With Elise (in pink), Kelly (in blue) and Carrie (in green) aka Sleeping Beauty’s fairies at the start. And yes, they wore those hats the entire race.

20140227-131904.jpgThose sparkle fairies sure are fast! I hung with them for the first mile, then decided to run a much slower race. This was my parting shot of them. Great job ladies!

20140227-131920.jpgThis foggy moment near mile 3 was one of my favorite images from the course.

20140227-131843.jpgSelfie by Cinderella’s Castle. I’m still laughing at this one. The crowd behind me was so motivating and encouraging. Hundreds cheered and whooped as I jumped into the air and ran off. It was among of my favorite moments from the race.

tianaHanging with Princess Tiana mid-race

20140227-131757.jpgWatching Mickey cheer several Princesses at the finish was pretty cool.

20140227-131725.jpgSelfie with my girl Kristin!

20140227-131808.jpgHad an incredible time eating my way around EPCOT with the wonderful Jillian! Starbucks and cronuts, then German Pretzels and Pilsner? Yes please!

germanySpeaking of beer in Germany….

fantasmicWe ended my final night watching Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios. All I can say is WOW!

20140227-125901.jpgAnd of course, here’s the parting shot of all my girly medals, including my pink Coast to Coast medal, which is awarded upon completion of the Tinker Bell and Princess half marathons.

I hope you all had an equally magical weekend!

Tell me about your race adventures! What was your favorite moment from the course(s)? Which was your favorite Princess race?