Showing posts with label WineDineHalf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WineDineHalf. Show all posts

What makes Walt Disney World Resort #WonderFALLDisney?

A few weeks ago, I turned into the Disney Parks Live Stream from the Walt Disney World Resort to catch a glimpse of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Show that is part of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  During the broadcast, Disney Parks commentators shared some of the reasons that Fall is one of the best seasons to visit.  I've had the pleasure of taking part of some of these events before, and others I'm excited to experience for the first time when our next trip begins in just about a month!

Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival - This classic festival that has been a part of Epcot for over 2 decades showcases food and drinks from around the world as well as some of the best celebrity chefs one can imagine.  Last year, we had a wonderful time eating our way around Epcot.  One of my best tips for beginners to the festival - don't bother making lunch and dinner reservations.  You'll be so full from snacking at the delicious kiosks, you won't need to stop and sit down for a full meal!  And don't forget to check out the Chase Lounge if you have a Chase Visa credit card.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - I have to confess that I am a little bummed were going to be missing this.  In case you missed my previous post, we opted out of attending this annual event due to the late night with young kids and ridiculous Halloween weekend pricing.  However, when I was watching the Live Stream from the party in September, I have to admit that the whole event looks fantastic.  I'm sure we'll end up going at some point when the kids are older.  Here's wishing all of you attending a spooktacular time!

runDisney - The first weekend in November means that runDisney has once again returned to the Walt Disney World Resort.  As the only fall race in Florida, this is a very popular ticket.  I ran Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K and the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in 2015 and can't wait to see the changes for 2016.  With a new Wine and Dine 10K and Lumiere's 2-Course Challenge added to the menu, as well as the time change for the half-marathon to a morning start, there is sure to be lots of excitement and opinions surrounding this event.

Good Weather, Lower Crowds, and Great Deals - Long gone are the high temperatures and paralyzing humidity of the summer.  Instead, you'll find pleasant temperatures and smaller crowds with school back in session.  Fall can also feature several great travel deals.  This year, free dining once again made a return to the Walt Disney World Resort as did percentage off offers for room only reservations.  While the booking window has passed for most of these great offers, deals are still available for the popular holiday season and Disney Visa cardholders have their preview this week of special offers for the beginning of 2017.

We're counting down the days to our #WonderFALLDisney vacation.  What are your favorite events of this season?


Lumiere invites you to "Be Our Guest" for a Wine & Dine Challenge!

Big menu changes to Wine and Dine Weekend!
Now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as runDisney proudly presents. . .your new challenge!

runDisney announced major changes to the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon weekend today after rumors have been swirling for some time and registration was pushed back two weeks.  So what has changed?  Just about everything.  While Wine and Dine weekend has always been a unique event for runDisney, it now takes on a much more traditional race weekend look.  Mickey's Holiday 5K (notice the change from Jingle Jungle 5K??) has been pushed to Friday which means that the race expo will now open on Thursday.  Also on Friday, an additional day of Kid's Races have been added.  

Brand new for 2016 - the Wine and Dine 10K!  Join Chef Remy from Ratatouille for an all new 10K race on Saturday morning.  Since the weekend has added a 10K race, a new challenge is also on the menu of appetizing races.  Lumiere's Two-Course Challenge invites runners to finish the 10K on Saturday and the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon.  Runners who complete both races and had registered for the challenge will receive a special finisher medallion for the challenge.  And the runDisney changes didn't stop there.  In addition to adding the 10K and the challenge, the start time of the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon was moved to 5:30AM on Sunday morning.  This half-marathon was the last nighttime race left standing on the runDisney calendar after the Tower of Terror 10-miler and the Expedition Everest Challenge both disappeared in recent years so this news was controversial to say the least in the runDisney community.

While reaction to the changes has been mixed, I'm willing to guess that the new challenge and 10K will sell out very quickly and we'll once again see all races that weekend reach capacity, even if the half-marathon itself doesn't sell out in under 30 minutes again!  Even though this year will certainly be a very different experience, check out my coverage of the events from last year for a taste of Wine and Dine weekend.  Bon Appetite!

Registering for Wine and Dine Weekend
Wine and Dine Expo 2015
Jingle Jungle 5K 2015
Wine and Dine Half-Marathon (well. . .not really a half-marathon) 2015

runDisney - The Fashion Edition

A quick Google image search of runDisney will let even the most novice fan of these races know that running in Disney is about way more than the race - it's about the fun!  And a large part of that fun is dressing the part.  Runners from the first corral to the last come to runDisney events sporting running outfits and sometimes full on costumes that showcase their favorite characters and their own personal "Disney Side."

This was the plan for my costumes.  There were a few slight changes that happened closer to race day.
If you're planning to run in Disney, there are a few basic things to know about costuming.  First of all, costumes are optional.  If it's not in your DNA to dress in a funny outfit while you run, no worries.  There are definitely people who don't opt to dress in Disney inspired gear, so you won't be alone.  Secondly, runDisney does have on their website the following guidelines related to costumes:

Screenshot from www.rundisney.com

Basically, be smart and don't wear anything that is unsafe or offensive.  Lastly, you don't have to be creative to create you ensemble.  Places such as Etsy have many crafty individuals who will gladly sell you a Disney themed racing outfit.  Or, you may even elect to create a Disney inspired look using running gear that you already own or can easily purchase.

I opted for the second choice.  While I love to think I'm creative and crafty, at the end of the day - not so much. . .especially when it comes to sewing.  So instead of going with a full on "costume," I opted to create Disney themed outfits that would be comfortable to run in because they are actually running gear.  

During the Wine and Dine Weekend, my first race was Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K.  For this race, I chose to go with a classic Minnie Mouse outfit.  I already owned the white tech shirt and black running shorts.  From a local Halloween store, I purchased the white Minnie Mouse gloves and I ordered the red and white polka dot running skirt from Rock City Skirts on Etsy.  Originally, I was planning on wearing my plain Minnie Mouse ears, but I opted to switch it out for the more festive Christmas one when we arrived in Disney.  I thought the outfit captured the classic characters of the race as well as the Christmas theme well!


For the half marathon, I decided to "Disneybound" as Snow White.  I already owned the royal blue tech shirt and added a yellow princess running skirt that I picked up at the runDisney expo from Running Skirts.  I know the cardinal rule of running a race is not to wear a new outfit on race day, but I felt comfortable using a new skirt from Running Skirts because I have used their products before.  I had purchased a headband with a red bow on it to complete my look, but after experiencing the brutal Florida heat and humidity in the days leading up to the race, I decided to lose the headband after a few pictures and trade it in for the more functional runDisney headband.


The costumes and fun of a runDisney race are part of what make these the most magical miles around!  Happy running friends!

Running Disney with Galloway's Intervals

Interval training is what carried me through training for what was supposed to be my first half-marathon and I relied on it heavily on race night.  I first learned of the benefits of interval training from reading up on information from Olympian Jeff Galloway.  Jeff Galloway has partnered with runDisney to create training plans for each of their races which are posted on the runDisney website.

Interval Training + runDisney Race = BLING TIME!
If you're a first time half-marathoner like me, intervals provided a great way to extend my mileage without burning out.  As I began training for the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I printed out Galloway's beginner training plan from the runDisney website.  The training plan was the first place I saw interval training outlined and then I quickly found more information online.

At first, I have to admit that I felt silly.  Everything I read said that it was important to follow the intervals from the beginning of your run and I had read a few different places that 30 sec walk and 30 sec run intervals were a great place to start.  This means that just 30 seconds into a long training run, I was slowing for a walk interval.  The thoughts of looking silly quickly passed though as I saw my pace remain steady while continuously adding miles to my distance.  I felt good even after those longest runs and knew I could have even gone further.

On race day, intervals calmed me down and allowed me to keep my pace without going out too fast.  I did deviate a few a bit from my regular intervals on race day though.  If you have ever been a part of a runDisney race, you know how busy each corral is at the beginning of the race.  I chose to run the first 3 minutes before starting my intervals just to get out of the bottleneck at the starting line.  There were also several places along the way where the course narrowed (like the walkway between Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk), where my intervals fell apart too as the congestion just got to be too much.  For those who scoff at interval running as "not real running," I will say that I passed A LOT of people during the race who overexerted themselves early on and couldn't keep up their pace while I stayed steady the entire time.

Important Etiquette Note:  If you are using intervals, PLEASE practice runner's etiquette.  Signal when you are going to walk and move to the right.  Others around you will appreciate it!  

Overall, I was really pleased with using intervals to train and run my runDisney race.  I have a half marathon planned close to home in May and anticipate using intervals to get started after winter at building my distance once again.

Hilton Bonnet Creek & Marathon Weekends

As a frequent traveler to Walt Disney World, I'm always a fan of staying on property with some of the perks like Magical Express and Extra Magic Hours.  However, my bank account isn't always as big of a fan.  And with a healthy supply of Hilton Honors points saved up, we opted to spend our runDisney weekend at the Hilton Bonnet Creek where we could stay for free and use our money for more Disney fun.  Located on a privately owned patch of land that is right in the center of Walt Disney World property, the location of the Hilton Bonnet Creek means that you are the center of all of the action.  This was my first visit to the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort, but I don't think it will be my last!

Outside of the Hilton Bonnet Creek
Rooms & Amenities
The resort itself is beautiful, both inside and out.  The lobby featured numerous areas of comfortable seating and looked out onto some outdoor seating areas where gas fire pits greeted guests each evening.  We checked into a room with a Disney view where we could see Spaceship Earth, the Hollywood Tower of Terror, and ESPN Wide World of Sports all from the panoramic view out of our window.  Our room also overlooked onsite amenities such as the pool and golf course - shared with the neighboring Waldorf Astoria.  While we didn't play any golf on this trip, we did enjoy the pool complex which features a pretty cool lazy river, pools, and several hot tubs.  

The pool complex
Restaurants
On property, there are several restaurants that you can enjoy when taking a break from the parks.  Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Harvest Bistro - where there was both a continental breakfast buffet and a full hot buffet.  There were a lot of the usual offerings on both buffets, but a few unusually delicious treats like Pumpkin French Toast Casserole and an artisanal cheese and meat tray.     We had lunch one afternoon poolside at Beech where a waitress served us in our cozy lounge chairs.  My husband and I both opted for the pizza that day.  I was expecting a personal sized entree, but was shocked at the large serving size.  It was delicious and there was plenty leftover to take back to room later on for a snack.  We also tried out La Luce on the evening of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I chose to go for the child's sized spaghetti so that I wasn't overloaded before the race.  The food and atmosphere were both pleasant.  With a wide variety of Italian dishes on the menu, I wish I would have been able to try more.

Transportation
Probably the biggest downside to staying at a non-Disney hotel is missing Magical Express.  Since free transportation was not available to and from the airport, our party arranged for a Mears Luxury Sedan for our travel needs.  It was roughly $75 each way plus tip.  As a group of four adults, we would have spent almost that much on one of their airport shuttles which makes the sedan a no brainer with a dedicated driver, luggage assistance, and direct to your hotel service.  Once at the hotel, free coach bus service is provided each hour to the four major Disney parks.  The coach busses were very comfortable and not overcrowded.  Another big perk of the coach transportation was having the space under the bus to store strollers - making it easier for everyone on board!  If the timing of your plans doesn't match with the bus schedule available, you can always take a cab to the parks for less than $20 each way.

Getting ready to board the bus for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!
Marathon Weekends
Probably the biggest draw of the Hilton Bonnet Creek during runDisney weekends is the support they offer to runners.  Overall, I was pleased with the race weekend experience, but there were a few cons to go with my pros.  On the plus side, free transpiration is provided to the half marathon race and the hotel features a big send-off to the runners before they leave featuring music, food, and water.  However, I was disappointed to not have transportation for the expo or the 5K during the Wine & Dine weekend.  Since we didn't rent a car, we ended up arranging for Mears transportation or taking a cab to these events.  I was also a little surprised at the overall lack of knowledge by concierge staff on the events of the weekend.  Messages seemed confused - for example, how race transportation was going to work, departure times, and return transportation from the after party at Epcot.  Everyone couldn't have been nicer at helping us try to find the answers to our questions, I just thought more people would be familiar with the race weekend events.

Overall, I would return to Hilton Bonnet Creek again!  It was beautiful, well maintained, and featured many great amenities.  Having stayed at both the Hilton Bonnet Creek and Hilton Lake Buena Vista, I would definitely recommend Hilton Bonnet Creek, especially for families.  There are a few improvements that could be made with regards to Marathon Weekends, but this is a really nice alternative to staying on Disney property and still getting great race weekend treatment.  

runDisney Wine & Dine 2015 Expo


A runDisney race weekend begins with a visit to the expo.  For the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend, the expo began on Friday and continued through Saturday afternoon.  Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the expo is home to packet pick-up, official runDisney merchandise, and major damage to my credit card with all of the great shopping!  Here are a few things I learned at my first runDisney expo.

Bring your patience - One thing that you'll be sure to do is wait in line.  From the time we arrived to pick up our bibs, long lines stretched throughout the field house.  Bibs for the Half-Marathon and 5K were separated on opposite sides of the complex.  Following the wait in each of those lines, the lines for official merchandise and pre-purchased commemorative items awaited.  All told, it was a very long morning with lots of crowds.  Be prepared with a good attitude and your best Disney spirit to survive!

New Balance Shoes - Beginning in 2013, runDisney and New Balance have partnered to offer exclusive shoes for runDisney expos.  These shoes are only available for purchase during each expo and are immensely popular.  In an effort to minimize lines for these very popular shoes, New Balance utilizes a virtual queue.  Beginning at 6AM on the morning of the expo, you can enter your bib number and contact information and New Balance will assign you a time to arrive to their booth for shoe pick-up.  In the virtual queue you can reserve one pair of shoes and you can purchase a second if you're interested at the expo.  I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth this whole process went.  In fact, I was even able to access my return time about 15 minutes early. . .and I walked away with two great pairs of New Balance shoes!


Official Merchandise - At ESPN Wide World of Sports, there were two runDisney official merchandise booths - one inside of each field house.  Lines were long, crowds were big, and cast members tried to restock shelves as quickly as they could to keep up with popular demand.  I arrived at the expo around 10:15 on the first day and was able to grab what I was interested in for official merchandise - an "I Did It!" shirt.  I also picked up a headband and could have maxed out my credit card on all the great items if I didn't exercise some serious restraint.  Just a reminder that the official merchandise booth is Disney operated so you can use Disney gift cards to purchase items and you also can grab your Chase Disney Visa discount of 10% off $50 or more.


For the best selection on any items that you would like to purchase at the expo, you'll want to arrive early on the first day.  However, this is also where you will find the largest crowds.  Come prepared with a large amount of patience (and maybe a sizable wallet as well!) and you'll be sure to have a successful kick-off to your runDisney race weekend!


Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K 2015

As part of the November 2015 Wine and Dine Half-Marathon weekend, runDisney also hosted Kid's Races and a 5K.  Since we were making the journey to Florida for the half, my friend Craig and I decided to participate in Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K as well.  This made for a busy day of running as the 5K was scheduled for 7AM on Saturday morning and the half-marathon was set to begin at 10PM that same night.  Since this was going to be my first half-marathon, I wanted to save my energy and my legs so we opted to take it easy on the 5K.  We stopped at all but one character picture along the course and jogged between the characters.  The 5K is also considered a fun run by runDisney and is not timed.

Race gear ready to go.
The course is entirely contained to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  We arrived at the course around 5:45AM and there were already several thousand people gathered.  Since we had about an hour to wait until we had to get into our corral, we joined the incredibly long line to wait for a picture with Mickey and Minnie.  Well, after an hour wait and lots of conversation with the friendly folks around us in line, we still never made it to Mickey and Minnie and now it was time to head to Corral A for the start of the race.  All morning long, the DJ entertained us with great music and now the announcers were taking over to welcome Mickey and Minnie to the starting line for the race to begin!

Waiting in the longest line ever to hopefully see Mickey and Minnie.

Ready, Set, Go!
With a little Disney magic, flurries fell in Central Florida and we were underway.  The "flurries" didn't do much to help the weather that day as the sun was rising with the start of the race and it was already in the low 70s with sweltering humidity.  The course began looping around the parking lots of Animal Kingdom and you were almost a mile in as you entered the theme park.  Once inside the park, runners raced towards the Tree of Life and followed the path to the left traveling towards Africa.  Flick from A Bug's Life was greeting runners just inside the Oasis, but we kept moving.  We did make our first character stop in Africa to say hi to Rafiki and Timon.  All of the characters along the course were decked out in their Christmas attire to usher in the holiday season.

Rafiki and Timon were waiting to say "hi" in Africa!
We then entered a backstage area behind Harambe and passed through to Asia where we found Baloo and King Louie.  The rest of the course alternated back and forth between backstage and public theme park areas.  We passed three more character stops including Chip & Dale, Pluto, and Donald Duck with Santa Goofy.  The race used the same finish line that had been our starting point.  Christmas Mickey and Minnie were on hand to greet finishers for pictures, but we didn't want to face the long lines again and were anxious to go back to our hotel for a shower and a big breakfast!

King Louie and Baloo

Chip & Dale

A big smile for Pluto!

Merry Christmas with Donald and Goofy!
Even though Disney didn't time the race, my Garmin watch at has clocked in at a finish time at about 1:20 - that's right. . .well over an hour for a 5K!  Along the course, we waited in line at 5 character stops and took one bathroom break.  I didn't care at all how fast the run was as it was by far the absolute best 5K experience I've ever had!  If you're looking to enjoy the fun of runDisney, but aren't a serious runner - don't be afraid to to sign up for the 5K.  It's accessible to runners and walkers alike and will be sure to provide a fun morning that you won't soon forget!

Back at the hotel sporting my new runDisney bling.

runDisney Wine & Dine 2015

Waiting for the race to start.
Whether you refer to it as the Wine & Dine Half and Half or the ever clever Zap & Dash, the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon certainly proved to be an unforgettable evening.  When we arrived at ESPN Wide World of Sports there were already thousands gathered outside on the fields.  Despite the large crowds, the staff and volunteers were incredibly organized and the stop at gEAR check was quick and easy!  I was running the race with a good friend of mine, Craig, and after our arrival around 8:00PM, we found a spot on the pavement to sit down and rest our legs.  Lines were long for pictures with Disney characters so we opted to save our photos for the race course and afterwards.  The DJ was just wrapping up on stage and the official Wine and Dine pre-show began with previews of future runDisney races and the after party at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival which was just 13.1 miles away. 

Can I get a FastPass for the bathroom line?
As the pre-show was ending, the heat and humidity that had been surrounding the evening broke while the temperature dropped a few degrees, the wind picked up, and just a few raindrops fell.  Instead of moving us to the corrals at 9PM as planned, an announcement was made that storms were in the area and we would be delaying moving into corrals.  That first announcement was quickly followed by a second announcement directing runners, volunteers, and staff to evacuate from the fields and inside the stadiums at the Wide World of Sports complex.  We were inside for about an hour and, besides the incredibly long lines for the bathrooms, things were pretty comfortable.  The runDisney staff frequently made announcements alerting us that we remained in a holding pattern and they would let us know as soon as possible the status of the race.  Close to 10PM, the original scheduled start time, we had the all clear to return back outside and begin getting organized in our corrals.  As we were heading back to the fields, rumblings began to spread through the crowds about a shortened race - anything from a 5K to a 10 miler were rumored.  Once in our corrals, the official announcement came that they would cutting roughly 6 miles off of the course (the final measurement would come in at a race distance of 6.72 miles).  From what I've seen on social media in the hours and days following the race, the decision to shorten the course was made based on continued concerns of storms in the area, debris on the course at Animal Kingdom, time restrictions on the permits for road closures, the heat/humidity, and making sure runners had a chance to enjoy some of the after party at Epcot which was scheduled to end at 4AM. 
The scene inside the HP Fieldhouse.

Let's try this again. . .time to race - Part 2!!
The race started close to 11PM with runners in Corral A going off to fireworks and music!  runDisney requires proof of time for their longer races and they use this to organize runners into corrals.  Since I had not previously run a race distance of 10K or longer, I didn't have a proof of time to submit and ended up in the last corral, Corral L.  And because Craig is a great friend who wanted to stick by my side for the race, he gave up his super speedy position in Corral B to hang back with me.  Corrals were started roughly every 5 minutes and each corral had the chance to feel that special magic at the start line as fireworks and music were re-created with each start.  We were off and running around quarter of midnight, and I couldn't be happier to finally be underway!  For me, the longest part of the night was waiting in the corral for our turn to start.

Some motivation from the Green Army Men
The race course itself was awesome!  runDisney keeps runners hydrated and happy with plenty of bathroom breaks available along the course and water / Powerade stations every mile.  Around what should have been mile 9, they offered energy gels to all runners too.  The course felt great as I train on the rolling hills of Carroll County and Orlando is flat as a pancake!  There was a hill at an on ramp around the original mile 8 marker.  To take runners minds off the hill, Green Army Men from the Toy Story movies were there for character pictures and shouting orders at runners as they conquered the hill.  "Don't you even think about walking now!"  "Drop and give me three!"  That was one of my favorite parts of the race!

Made it to the lights!
The course was supposed to run through three parks including Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.  However, with the shortened course, Animal Kingdom was eliminated.  We spent a little over 2 miles on the highways and then entered Hollywood Studios.  There were numerous character stops throughout the park and we had the chance to also run through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  2015 is the last year that Walt Disney World will be featuring this spectacular event and with construction slated at both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, it will be interesting to see what course changes will take place.  The worst part of the race course was the run between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  Runners were directed to use the walkway between the two parks which also includes the boardwalk around the Yacht and Beach Club.  This walkway was long and narrow which made it difficult to keep up any kind of decent pace, especially when you get caught behind walkers who were walking three and four across.  The one plus side of this area is that once the boardwalk opens up around the hotels, you are greeted by spectators for really the first time since the start as guests from the hotels are greeting runners with signs and cheers.  Only about 1 mile to go! 


Stopping for a selfie in Hollywood Studios
Minnie Mouse!
The race ended running through Future World at Epcot and into the parking area.  My husband and Craig's wife were cheering us on from one of the spectator areas inside of Epcot and we knew we were wrapping up.  As we approached the finish line, we noticed Mickey and Minnie greeting runners.  We pulled off the course just steps before the finish line for two final pictures before crossing the finish and getting our bling!  Once again the staff and volunteers get things moving smoothly at the finish with runners picking up medals, seeking medical attention, grabbing their box of food, getting drinks, and picking up their bags from gEAR check.  Craig and I were both feeling great after the race despite the fact that it was closing in on 2AM.  When we caught up with our spouses though, they were exhausted from hours of fun in Epcot so we opted to skip the after party and head back to our hotel.
Finish Line with Mickey!
While it was a little disappointing that my first half-marathon only turned out to be half of a half-marathon, I loved every minute of the unique Wine and Dine 6.72 miler!  My official time according to the runDisney website was 1:37:21 which included three character photo stops and a bathroom break as well as accounting for the bottlenecks throughout the course - I'm happy with that in my longest race distance yet!  The entire weekend was a lot of fun and I'll be posting more about the Jingle Jungle 5K, the Expo, and some general tips for runDisney races that I've learned in my first experience in the weeks to come.  Check out all of my other runDisney articles and I hope to chEAR some of you on as you also enjoy runDisney.  After all, "every mile is magic!"

runDisney - Creating Me Version 2.0

In both my professional and personal life, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve and grow.  I think this is an important quality to possess and I am trying to instill it in my chilldren.  Training for my first runDisney race has forced me outside my comfort zone in a number of ways - all of which challenge me to be a better version of myself.

Ready for a training run!
I'm not the 18 year old runner that I used to be.  13 years, 2 degrees, a career, a husband, and 2 children have changed me both mentally and physically.  There was a time in my life that I wouldn't talk about my training runs unless I was able to maintain a certain pace.  As I've started running again following my second baby, I was ashamed of my training times.  I'm following the Jeff Galloway training plan for beginner half-marathoners which embraces a run/walk strategy.  This is perfect for what I need as I ease my way back into training, but clearly those days of sub-10 minute miles for training runs are gone. . .at least for now.

Then it hit me.  Why am I hiding behind a stopwatch and training plan embarassed by what I'm doing? Shouldn't I be proud?  How awesome is it that I'm training to accomplish a bucket list goal of a half-marathon in the same year that I gave birth to my second child?  It seemed hypocritical that I constantly talk to students about doing their best, while I hide my hard work because I'm afraid it's not good enough.  That's not the spirit of Walt Disney. . .




Remember my runDisney friends, running is about embracing the best you and not worrying about others along the way.  I'm learning to enjoy the journey instead of worrying so much about the destination.  So when you see me at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in a few weeks, say hi to me - I'll be the one in the last corral with the big smile on my face!

Slow and steady. . .and having fun training for runDisney!

From C-Section to Half Marathon in 9 months

I'll be running my first runDisney races this year as part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in November.  Follow my journey from registration into training and onto the big day!

Training for a half marathon is serious business.  Going from my 2nd C-Section on 2/1/15 to running my first half-marathon on 11/7/15 may seem like a daunting proposition to some.  But, by setting the right goals for my race and a realistic training plan, I'm excited as I begin looking ahead and laying out a training plan that's right for me.

My runDisney Goals:
The Wine and Dine Half-Marathon and the Jingle Jungle 5K presents me with 16.2 miles to accomplish in less than 24 hours.  This will be the 1st half-marathon that I've ever run so I have 2 very ambitious goals for the day - finish both races without passing out and not to get swept off the course.  As you can see, my goals for postpartum training are realistic.  I'm not going out to set a new course record; just looking to have a good time and get back in shape.

This should be in my closet!

My Training Plan:
April and May - These two months are all about getting moving again.  I'm using a combination of walking, yoga, and workout videos to build muscle and cardio strength.  I think it's important to get my body moving again without immediately putting the stress from running on it.  These lower impact and short workouts also fit nicely into my life as I try to figure out balancing work, home, and 2 little boys.  

June and July - Couch to 10K - I've done the Couch to 5K plan in the past and enjoy the way the program combines running and walking to ease you into training for your running goals.  I'm planning on running a 10K in July so that I can submit a proof of time for my half-marathon.  I really hope that I don't end up in the last corral to give myself a buffer from the course sweepers!

August through November - Jeff Galloway's Half-Marathon Training Guide - runDisney has paired up with Jeff Galloway to create a training plan for each of their races.  His training plans have workouts for beginners through veteran endurance runners.  I've read through his training plans on the runDisney website and have found them really easy to use and they seem to be manageable with my busy work schdedule.  

Sounds easy, right?  Well, maybe easy isn't the best word, but definitely manageable.  I'm  excited to see where the journey takes me and I hope you'll stick around for the ride!

The Toughest runDisney Race

I'll be running my first runDisney races this year as part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in November.  Follow my journey from registration into training and onto the big day!

I'm new to the wonderful world of runDisney, but I feel pretty confident that I may have passed the most stressful and toughest part of the experience - registration.  runDisney races are extremely popular and often fill up fast.  I knew all of this going into the process, but wasn't quite prepared for just how quick the race would fill up.  Here is my experience with registering for the 2015 Wine and Dine Half and Jingle Jungle 5K as well as tips that might be helpful for those of you looking to register in the future.

Registration begins at Noon (Sharp!!) - On the day that registration opens, you want to stop everything you are doing and be prepared to register at noon on the nose.  I went to www.rundisney.com at noon and immediately hit the "register" button for the Wine and Dine Half.  It took me to www.active.com where I entered the queue to wait for my turn to enter registration.  Initially, I was told it would be a one minute wait, but the number kept changing.  It was about 12:04PM when I entered the Active registration and began.  This year, both the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the Jingle Jungle 5K sold out in less than 44 minutes - that's CRAZY!!

Just keep waiting, waiting, waiting. . .

Prioritize - You can only register for one runDisney race at a time.  Since the half marathon was my big goal for this weekend, that's what I selected to register for first.  I didn't have an account on Active so I began registration as a guest.  I don't think it really slowed me down - maybe took me an extra 90 seconds to enter the information that they would have already had.  After completing registration for the half marathon, I then went back and started over again to register for the 5K.  When prioritizing your races for registration, remember that challenges often sell out first.  The kid's races are usually the last to sell out so save those for after you've already met your other priorities.

Yay!  I got in!

Credit Cards Ready - Have your information ready to go so you can roll through registration quickly. I read a number of stories of people who were in the middle of registration and then got booted out because the race sold out.  You don't want to miss out on your race opportunity because you can't find your credit card.

Registering a Group - This can be tough.  Since runDisney races can sell out in less than an hour, getting a group of people registered can be tricky.  Option 1 would be to have one person try to register everyone.  This would be slower and may mean that everyone won't get in.  The other option is to have everyone log in on their own and try to register.  However, there is still no guarantee that everyone will get in.  Our plan was a group of 3 runners for the half and 4 runners for the 5K and we had decided everyone would be on their own to register.  I got in for both races and so did one other person in our group.  The other two unfortunately didn't make it in for either race.  Again, I read a lot of stories online about husbands and wives or groups where one person successfully registered, but the others didn't which can be disappointing.  Remember that runDisney races are nonrefundable and nontransferable so make sure you're OK running if the rest of your group doesn't get into the race.

I have been so excited thinking about running my first half and my first runDisney race which made me really nervous on registration day!  After surviving the stress and nerves and flying fingers on my keyboard to get registered, I think running 16.2 miles in less than 24 hours will be a piece of cake, right??