Saturday, March 24, 2018

Race Recap: 2017 Wine & Dine Half Marathon

On Sunday, November 5th, I took on my third Wine & Dine Half Marathon (if you want to know about race 1 & 2, check them out HERE and HERE). This was my first time running since runDisney changed the race to a morning race. I have never been thrilled about the change. I loved the night race, the after party, and the uniqueness of the old Wine & Dine. But I digress...

This year, we stayed at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. They have awesome race morning amenities! I started my day surrounded by "cheerleaders" and inspirational signs, while having a bagel and hydrating. It was a great kick-off.
Always a great start to a race!

We arrived at Epcot, then had to do the long walk to the buses to be transported to the start line. This was definitely a drawback of staying off property, but really wasn't too bad (it was definitely worse after the race). Once we were at the Magic Kingdom parking lot, we had plenty of time to use bathrooms and rest before the start of the race.

My running has been way less than stellar lately, so my proof of time got me in corral E. I'm definitely not complaining, because my pregnant self was not planning on a lightening speed race. Boy was THAT the truth!

The course didn't feel much different than the January half or the Princess half to be honest. It was another early morning race, you got a few different areas of WDW, and you finished outside of Epcot. I just did get much of the "Wine & Dine" feel. It was very much like most other runDisney races. Now don't get me wrong, running in Disney on a bad day is better than anywhere else on a good day. I just missed the night, the lights, the wine at the finish line, and the specialty of this race.

Yep, lot's of bathroom stops
Now let's talk about me: I had a terrible race. I wasn't properly trained and little dude was dancing on my bladder the whole time. I ended up taking 7 bathroom breaks and walked the entire second half. It definitely didn't help that I was running on tired, blistered feet from days of non-stop Disney. It was really unfortunate, because the day had the makings of a great race. The weather was perfect, the course was easy to navigate (only got stuck a few times by pacing groups), and the mood was great from other runners. This was my last real "run" of my pregnancy. I'm definitely ready to get back to running well-prepared and happily.
This was my first look at Pandora

Overall, I'd still say Wine & Dine is a favorite race of mine, I just wish it would go back to being a night race. I know it'll never happen, but a girl can dream! I love that time of year at Disney, and we were able to straddle both Halloween and Christmas in terms of special park decor. I like that generally it is a smaller race weekend when compared to Marathon or Princess (still haven't run Star Wars, so I can't speak much in comparison).

Registration for 2018 is now open (and some races are already sold out)! Make sure to register ASAP! Also, I'd be happy to refer you to friends who are Authorized Disney Vacation Planners if the race you are looking for is sold out. I have great friends in high places :)

Glad to have the anniversary Coast to Coast!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

During the 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, we made sure to plan around the Halloween party. Robby is obsessed with Halloween, and we thought this would be a great way to celebrate the holiday! This was our first time attending the party. Since we also wanted Robby to do real trick or treating, we opted for the last night of the party, November 1st. This was also significantly cheaper than attending on Halloween, so it worked out perfectly!

We flew down to Orlando the day of the party. This allowed us to take full advantage of the 4:00 pm admission ticket without "wasting" a day of our park hopper tickets. We made sure we were at the gates of Magic Kingdom by 4, and we were let in just a few minutes before the hour. Our first stop was the trick or treat stop behind Main St. We were given bags and a few treats to start the Halloween festivities.

We had ADRs, so we headed over to Liberty Tree Tavern for an early dinner. This was our first time eating there. I wish I had planned this a little differently, but it was a great start to our WDW vacation! We spent our time at dinner planning our "attack". We knew the fireworks and parade were a must. We also wanted to make sure Robby got at least one ride on Pirates.

After hitting a few rides, we started trick or treating. Disney is no joke when it comes to this! It was all good candy and lots of it. The lines were fairly short, and we were able to continue throughout the night. We also went over to the Monsters Inc. dance party. Meh. It was a bit disappointing. Robby loves the monsters and he didn't really get into it. We could've skipped it and done an extra ride.

We then lined up for the parade a bit later than we wanted. The parade was AWESOME! By far my favorite part of the night. Robby loved it, especially the pirates and skeletons. The music was great, the costumes were amazing, and it was definitely worth seeing. We opted for the earlier parade (it happens twice over the course of the night) because we didn't know if we'd make it to the later one. It was definitely a good thing, too, because from being up super early to travel, we were zonked by the time fireworks were over.

Robby was mesmerized by all the pirates!
After the parade, we headed to Main St. and got a great view for the fireworks. That short walk from Frontierland to Main St. was enough to put Robby out. Poor little guy slept through the entire fireworks show. We definitely enjoyed the fireworks with a twist for Halloween. It was the perfect way to end the party.

Our loot from the evening.
As much as my heart wanted to stay until closing at midnight, I was beat too. Once Robby threw in the towel, we headed back to the hotel. That was definitely the drawback of a 6 a.m. flight the same day as the party.

Overall, this was TOTALLY worth it! You have to do it at least once! I have heard from so many Disney friends that this is THE party to go to. We've been to the Christmas party twice, and this one was hands-down better! Dates are up for 2018, so be sure to book quickly, especially if you want to go on Halloween.

Before you go, here are some things I wish I would have done differently:
1. Bring a better trick or treat bag for Robby. I really didn't "get it". I had read you get a lot of candy, but you get a LOT of candy! It would've been easier to bring his own bag and just dump some out as we went along.
2. Eat before you go. We spent the first hour or so eating an early dinner. Yes, it was great, but between our travels and time, I would've preferred to take in some rides early and get more of the special snacks throughout the night (we were so stuffed we didn't eat anything at the party).
3. Get a better spot for the parade! The first parade was super crowded (I've heard it's better if you watch the later one). We squeezed in but Robby would have enjoyed it more if he could have been closer.
4. If possible, rest earlier or nap so you can stay until midnight. I bet the crowds thin out nicely and you get even more bang for your buck.

Have you ever been to MNSSHP? What did you think? Is it on your bucket list?

Monday, March 19, 2018

So, about this blogging thing...

You know how life gets crazy busy and some things just don't get made a priority? Well, blogging got put on the chopping block for the past 6 months. It's just reality. I didn't have the time or energy to keep up with it. Well, let me give you a quick update and then let's get this thing going!

So, we are still a family that loves running at Disney, but WHOA, a lot has changed! First, of course, there's the whole runDisney cancelling west coast races. Since we ran more of these than WDW, that significantly cut down on our runs. Now, don't let this fool you. Since my last update, I've run the Disneyland Challenge/Dumbo Double Dare and we went down to WDW for Wine & Dine 2017. I'll have to share my thoughts another time. Of course, we're also planning a BIG family trip for marathon weekend 2019. Unfortunately, 2018 does not have us visiting the mouse at all. Seriously. I might need therapy! In fact, this is the first year since Bill and I met that we will not see the big cheese. That brings me to our next big change...

Robby was thrilled to find out it's a boy!
The main reason for no trips (or running) is any day now we will become a family of four! Yes, we are super excited to welcome another little pirate to our family. My official due date is March 27th, but we are all hoping he comes a little earlier so Bill gets some extra time home with him. Life is about to get REALLY interesting!

That brings me to some more personal stuff. I've been working on some college courses to apply for a doctorate program in physical therapy. I'm super excited about starting a new chapter in my life as a PT. I have always been so passionate about helping people with their physical health, this really was a no brainer (except for the whole student loans, going back to school, taking a few years to chop away at some prerequisite courses, blah blah blah)! I'm also going back to being a "work at home" mom--because let's be honest, I have a million work from home gigs going on! I'll still be teaching English online, running my online fitness business, and teaching group fitness classes locally.

Oh, and of course there's that running thing! The honest truth is running has NOT been a priority in my life. I'm missing it greatly, though, and I look forward to getting back out there. I'm going to actually take my own advice and start slow. I know, I'm shocked too! In fact, I'm starting right at the beginning with C25K (like I've advised so many clients and friends to do). I look forward to slowly building distance and speed. Who knows? A sub-2:00 half may still even be in my future!

So that brings you up to date on the major life events. I'm happy to be back on the blog and can't wait to share future updates on Disney, running, and our family! See ya real soon!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Oops I Did It Again!

You guys...seriously?!?!? I did it AGAIN! I spaced and forgot to enter proof of time for both myself AND Bill this year for the Disneyland Double Dare. Oh! My! Gosh!

Now, I'd be the first to tell you that it really isn't that big of a deal. We had to start in the last corral last year and the sun still came up, the world kept spinning, and we still finished the race. We weren't nearly as frustrated as we thought we'd be, and we actually ended up having a lot of fun.

I just seriously cannot even believe that I forgot again. Actually, for real, I can't believe it. I remember submitting my own proof of time. What the heck? I am starting to think this baby brain thing never goes away.

Regardless, we are in the second to last corral. Guess that means less park time for us and maybe we can sleep in a little. Oh well. Still my favorite race weekend of all time. Now I guess I should run or something to get ready. I should probably make some costumes too. I mean, since we won't even start before the sun comes up we might as well look good for the whole 13.1 miles.

Now to just keep hoping that runDisney will honor the legacy runners for the Disneyland Double Dare!!!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Tink Half Marathon

Yep, let's keep going with the recaps! I registered for the Tink Half in the eleventh hour. I was not trained well, but got in some long runs so I wouldn't hurt too much after the race. It was my Mother's Day gift, and I loved every minute! I ran this race once before (when I was in much better shape), so I was definitely looking forward to this race.

First, I have to say that staying at Paradise Pier was the BEST way to start the race! We were right by the start line and it allowed me to catch some extra sleep. I was in corral C; I've had a few years of not so fast races so the benefit of the female-only first corral was beyond my pace. No worries, though. I knew I wasn't going to be breaking any speed records!

The energy at the start was great. Tons of sparkle, tutus, and wings crammed into the street ready to run. The weather was absolutely perfect. It seriously could not have been a better day to run a half marathon. This is my favorite Disneyland course. I know, I've said before that the Disneyland Half Weekend is my fave, and it definitely is for nostalgia. This course, though, is just perfect! You get to run through beautiful neighborhoods, get a ton of park time, and it really does just fly by.

Bathroom Selfie!
I completed the race with a 1 minute run/30 second walk interval ratio. I've been playing around with it and this seems to work best for me. I was able to keep up with this plan for the entire 13.1 miles. I finished the race in 2 hours, 35 minutes. Nope, definitely not a great time, but for the minimal training I've put in and my lack of speed over the past 2 years, I'm satisfied. Most importantly, I was able to run easily and still walk around the rest of our trip. I took plenty of selfie breaks and a bathroom break, so my overall pace was not too bad. Most importantly, I had a blast and enjoyed every mile.

Sometime you need candy from a stranger!
Ride selfies, because I hate lines!
We have to talk about the elephant, right? If you didn't read recaps of the Tinkerbell 5k, you can check mine out here. There were many moans and groans about no characters on the course for pictures. Well, the half had plenty of characters! I'm not one to stop and wait for most races, but the character stops were pretty much the same as I had seen in the other runDisney races. Looks like if you want character stops, you might need to push yourself for the 10k, half, or full marathon distances.

Always need a finish line pic!
Tink is not a yearly race for me, but this being the second time running, it's one I would definitely return to. The time of year is perfect weather, the race is super fun, and I personally think it's a great way to celebrate Mother's Day! Now, we just need to sit it out and hope that whatever difficulties are preventing the registration of next year's Tink gets resolved!!! (Let the rumors continue!!!)
Beautiful bling!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dear runDisney!

Dear runDisney,
Photo credit: Team Sparkle

As an avid Disney runner, and one who just HAS to be part of the cool kids club, I'm begging you PLEASE give Dumbo/Disneyland Double Dare runners legacy status!!!

The rumors have been swirling that challenges other than Goofy will not get legacy status. This just can't be! I know that Mickey wouldn't want it that way! I get that some of the shorter races don't have legacy status, but 19.3 miles deserves some recognition (not to mention the hefty price tag, times 5 that we've gladly paid year after year). Now that I'm an east coast girl, traveling for this weekend is tradition and even though it will be a pain in the butt I'm still doing it. We've run every half since the 5th anniversary, so even though we aren't legacy half runners, this feels like OUR race! When Dumbo was added, it was perfect! We could finally have a legacy race during the weekend that started our runDisney obsession. Don't take that away!

In case you are less about heart and more about practicality, I came up with 5 great reasons to acknowledge us Dumbo legacies:

  1. Money! It encourages those repeat runners to continue to register year after year.
  2. More Money! It encourages other challenge racers to be repeat customers.
  3. Repeat Customers Equals More Money! It will get those new runDisney nuts committed to earning legacy at a race weekend when the opportunity presents itself.
  4. Let's be honest, the sellouts aren't happening at warp-speed anymore. A little happiness with some runDisney enthusiasts (who likely will spread the happiness to new runners) wouldn't hurt. While we're here, can I put in a plug for more blogger events too?
  5. Magic! Anniversary years are definitely more special when you can see all those runners who have run every year of the race. 
Okay, I know not everyone will feel me on this one, but really if you're a nut like me, you've gone to GREAT lengths to maintain legacy status (yes, even planning pregnancy around running this race--that has to count for SOMETHING). I know it shouldn't mean that much, but I'd love a spatula, a special ribbon, a bib, really anything just to make me feel a little more special on race day.  C'mon, you know you can't resist the runDisney spirit!

From the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Disneyland Double Dare Training Plan

It's coming up quickly: the 2017 Disneyland Double Dare (you know, that race we used to call Dumbo...). I just ran the Tink half poorly trained, so I knew that I wanted to put a little more time into my next runDisney race.

Since Robby's been born, I have not had much success sticking to a structured training plan. I used to be SO good. Color coded calendars. Journaling my progress. I did it all. Then, well, baby and life and home and work (but let's be honest, it's mostly baby). 

2016 Dumbo Double Dare!
I have been able to really think about the challenges that are holding me back from a highly structured plan. First, my neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks. Not a big deal when you run solo, but I don't feel comfortable on country roads with lots of turns and hills with a big stroller. Second, the weather. Okay, I know most people have to deal with weather, but my Vegas self isn't used to it. I also feel pretty guilty dragging my toddler out in the rain so I can run. Finally, our schedule, which is probably the most prohibitive. For those of you who don't know, Bill travels for work, which means most of the time is just me and Robby. That means no early morning runs while he sleeps; no late nights after dinner. This also means no runs over about 4-5 miles with a stroller.

After thinking about my individual challenges, my current plan is a little nontraditional, at least for me. I came up with a weekly plan with 4 runs each week. Instead of putting them on specific days, I have put them in order of importance: long run, short run, speed work, short run. I have to say, in the few weeks since starting, I haven't been able to get these all in. What has worked, though, is I'm getting in my long runs, regardless of the day of the week. I'm getting at least one more run, and this week I actually got a track speed session in.

Obviously I still have many weeks to go (thankfully) and I still am not completely sold on this training plan. I like to be a bit more committed, but hey, life, right? Anyone else have a nontraditional training plan? What's it look like?

Disclaimer: This post is all about my personal plan, as an intermediate, middle of the pack runner. As a coach, I personalize plans for clients based on individual goals, running levels, and other factors. This post is not intended to provide direct coaching advice. If you would like more information on coaching or have a specific question, please email