Monday, February 23, 2015

Finally...they set the date!

"Set the date!". It's been on everyone's mind for so long... and no, I'm not talking about a wedding!  I already found my Prince Charming :). I'm talking about the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon, and runDisney FINALLY set the date!

Speculation about a September Paris race weekend has been swarming around for a while, most recently when this pic was leaked:

We WERE ready!  We'd BEEN ready!  Then time continued to pass with no word of Paris.  Disneyland Half Registration came and went with no word of Paris.  Rumors buzzed that there were permit issues and it wasn't happening.

Then, this weekend, during the pre-race program of the Princess Half, they finally gave us what we've all been waiting for!  We are going to Paris September 23-25, 2016!!!!  If you want all the insider info, be sure to sign up for updates here:

With those dates, I would guess that it will be a 5k and half, with the first day being the expo.  As I told my hubby, we are doing all the events for that weekend.  I have a funny feeling some more of the family might join us as well. 

Funny enough--I missed the announcement!  Our bus was stuck in traffic and I was really late to my corral.  I was on that long walk from the bag check to the corrals when the announcement was made.  I didn't hear anything until my hubby told me after I finished.  Needless to say, I think I would have run faster if I had known about Paris.  It would've been great motivation!

I seriously can't wait!  We spent 3 days in Disneyland Paris during our honeymoon, and it was absolutely wonderful!  This is going to be even better!  Of course we are also looking forward to a vacation in France as well, because, hey, if you're flying all the way there, why not?  So, we are dying to know, are you in for Paris 2016?!?!?!  You KNOW we are!!!! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Princess Costume Reveal!

This post could also be named "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" because not one thing I'm wearing is new for this race.  I guess that comes along with the territory when the past 45 days have you running a marathon, 4 halves, 2 10ks, and a 5k.  Also, the weather does not look kind, especially for the 5k, so I may end up moving things around at the last minute.  I might dress up as a runner, all bundled up for winter!

Frozen 5k Costume: Olaf, recycled from the 2014 Disneyland 10k

Enchanted 10k Costume: Just putting on some Disney stuff--a little Olaf, a little sparkle, and done! (This may end up under some warmer clothes for the 5k if the weather continues to look freezing cold)

Princess Half Marathon: Cinderella, recycled from the 2013 WDW Marathon
When I found out I was in corral C, C for Cindy, it just all made sense.

So there you go!  All of my costumes, ready for three great races.  I'm running solo this weekend, so please say hi if you see me on the course.  I like warm hugs and runDisney friends!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

2015 Princess Preview--Part 2

Okay Princesses in Training--it's time to get to the final details of what you need to know about the Princess Half Marathon!  If you missed Part 1, check it out HERE.

Let's get on to the running events!  First, a note about host hotels and transportation.  ALL Disney hotels are host hotels for Princess (just like at marathon weekend).  That means if you are staying on property, there are buses to and from all race events.  I personally prefer to take these buses--I'm not awake enough at 3 am to drive anywhere, let alone navigate the road closures and traffic on race morning.  I know some people would disagree, but for me, the buses have always been the way to go. If you are staying off property, check with your hotel for bus information.  If you're driving, be sure to be there early (especially for the half) and be aware of road closures that start early.

The Princess 5k will be held on Friday, February 20th at 6:15 am.  The theme is Frozen, so I expect some great themed start and finish lines, as well as some great costumes!  The course starts in the Epcot parking lot and the goes through the park.  The 5k is untimed, but you should still be prepared to keep a 16-minute/mile pace.

The Princess 10k, as well as part 1 of the Glass Slipper Challenge, is Saturday the 21st at 5:30 am.  Prepare for a really early wake up call!  You'll want to be on the buses by 4:30.  The course starts in the same place as the morning before, but you see a little more Disney...3.1 more miles of it to be exact.  The whole course, however, still only goes through Epcot.  Most of the first part of the course is on the roads, so don't be surprised when it's a little dull at the start.  The silver lining is that at least it spreads everyone out and you'll have some time to get your pace going.

Half Marathon
Then on Sunday, at the early, early time of 5:30 am, you'll be off on the main event: The Princess Half Marathon!  I haven't actually run this race, but by all accounts, it is the same course as the WDW Half in January, which I've run a few times.  You will travel through Epcot and Magic Kingdom, with lots of time on the streets between the parks.  Be aware of some tight spots along the course, commonly referred to as "cone alley".  You want to be sure, especially if you are run/walking, that you signal so runners behind you know you are slowing down.  It can be frustrating, but just enjoy the moment!  No use in getting upset...just have fun!

For all of you participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, be sure to head to that tent at the finish to collect your medal.  Also, you Coast to Coast Challengers will have another area to collect your medals.

Of course, now it's time to celebrate!  So get your park tickets and head to the parks sporting your medals!  There's tons more information, so if you have more questions that haven't been answered, check out the official guide HERE.  See you in a few days!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love Your Booty Workout!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!  In honor of this day of LOVE, I created a quick "Love Your Booty" squat challenge.  Squats should be the cornerstone of everyone's workout, but a strong booty is especially important for runners.  Your glutes are what gives you the power in your stride, and keeping them strong will help keep your form in line.  Try it out; let me know how you liked it!

Start with regular squats--be sure to keep those knees behind your toes!  After the first set of 10, sink low into the squat (goal is to be right at 90 degrees, don't go below that!) and hold at the bottom for 15 seconds.  Then repeat 4 more times!

Next, you will travel side to side, 4 to the right, 4 to the left.  Keep it LOW the whole time for the best burn!

Sumo squats are next--turn out from the hips, legs wide.  25 full squats, then hold at the bottom, lift those heels, and pulse it out for 25.  A little bonus for your calves!

Single leg squats to help you with muscular imbalance!  I always do single sided moves so you don't overcompensate.  Take one leg either in front or in back, balance, and squat away!

Now, back to both legs and add some kicks.  Think about pushing your heel forward as you kick.

Let's get down to the ground to finish!  Plant your feet, lift your hips to the air, then take one leg pushed to the ceiling.  Up and down like to are kicking through the roof!  25 times on each leg (and don't forget to squeeze your booty).

Finally, since we're here, let's round out the workout with some crunches!  Enjoy your Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 Princess Preview--Part 1

ONE WEEK!!!!!  I'm just a bit excited for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  This is the second-largest race weekend runDisney hosts, and believe it or not, I've never been!  One week from now, though, that will all change because I'm in for all the races.  I would guess there are many of you out there who are in the same boat as me: first-timers to this huge race weekend.  No worries...I got you covered!  Most race weekends are fairly similar, so I've rounded up everything you need to know.

Before you leave home:
First, in light of a recent bad packing experience, double and triple check that you have everything you need (stay tuned...I'll be blogging soon about the Surf City Half where I literally forgot almost everything!).  Especially don't forget your Magic Bands!  Also, be sure that you carry-on your race gear just in case your luggage is lost.

To save time at the expo, be sure to print your waiver at home, fill it out, and bring it with you.  You can find your waiver here:

Since we're talking expo, I like to have a game plan going in.  If this is your first, you will be overwhelmed at all of the items you "have to have!"  The Disney Parks Blog gave us a sneak peak at some of the official runDisney merchandise:

And our conversation wouldn't be complete without highlighting the very popular Dooney & Bourke purses.  If you pre-ordered, getting your hands on these should be a pretty painless process!  If not, I
hope you are there on the first day!  Actually, that statement holds true for most of the Glass Slipper merchandise too.  No doubt that they will sell out of some of the more popular items.  I know that jacket is at the top of my list, along with a Magic Band (or two...who knows...)

I always also like to be sure I visit the other vendors!  They always have great deals and many will have princess specific items. Champion has really stepped up their game in recent months, so check out their booth for some great Disney themed items.  Also check out your "i Gift Bag" at!  There are a ton of special offers, including your free art card from Lasting Commemoratives.  Go to the "Runner Info" tab and click on "i Gift Bag" for more info.

Let's move onto our feet: New Balance is the official shoe of runDisney, and this year they went retro with classic Mickey and Minnie shoes.  They learned their lesson early on, and now have instituted a virtual cue for the past year.  It runs pretty smoothly: You will need to sign up online at 6 am the day you will be attending the expo.  They will text you your return time.  When your time is up, just proceed to the booth and someone will be there to help you with your purchase.  It's actually a great system and cuts down on a lot of waiting around.  People haven't been too impressed by this year's shoe (it's actually the first one I'm skipping out on), so if you want them, I'd guess you have a pretty good shot at getting them.

Oh, and of course, don't forget to pick up what you REALLY need at the expo: your bib and your swag bag!  You will have to head to the HP Field House to pick up your bib (remember your waiver and ID, you'll need that!); also, if you are running the Glass Slipper Challenge, your shirts and swag bag are there too.  For all the other races, you'll need to pick up your bib first, then head to the Jostens Center for your shirts.  The main area of the expo is the Jostens Center, but you likely will find official merchandise in both places.

The expo hours are: Thursday 10-8, Friday 9-7, & Saturday 9-5.  If you are staying on property, all resorts are host resorts, so you can catch a bus directly from your resort to the expo.  So there you have it!  Step one on your way to being an official Princess!  Tomorrow, we'll be diving into the actual races and other events going on that weekend.  Who's getting excited??? (ME ME ME!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review of the 3-Day Refresh

This past Monday, after a very full January of racing and traveling, I finally got started on the 3-Day Refresh.  I have heard great things about this program, and heck, it was only 3 days so why not use it to kick of my February resolution of working on portion control?!?!?!  Admittedly, I should have probably prepared a bit better, but a quick morning and evening grocery store trip and I was able to stick to it.
Refresh & Portion Fix Kits
In the kit, you get the guide and 3 drinks per day (4 if you don't use your regular Shakeology).  This is the basic gist of the day: shake & fruit, fiber sweep, shake-veggie-fruit-fat lunch, veggie-fat snack, and shake with a meal for dinner.  I was really surprised at how much I actually ate!  Let's be honest, you hear "refresh", you think "cleanse" and you translate that to "starving".  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't walking around stuffed like Thanksgiving or anything, but I was definitely not starving!  There's no dairy, meat, or processed anything over the 3 days.

Refresh Dinner
So let's get on with the results.  First, I'm sharing these pics because I saw great results, so no shaming  In 3 days, I lost 5 pounds and feel amazing!  BUT--that's actually not where it stops.  Believe it or not, I am now on 6 days without touching a Diet Coke.  If there is anything that is my #1 weakness it's my Diet Coke.  I'd actually drink up to 6 cans a day!  I know it's terrible for me, but it's just my thing!  I don't want to say that I'm giving it up completely, however I'm super proud of myself for not going right back to my 6-can-a-day habit.  I am definitely going to limit my consumption, and this was the perfect kick-off.

I'm continuing on, trying to work on portion control and eating more vegetables and fruits (definitely need more veggies).  It was the perfect way to get started on my February resolution!  Let's see how the rest of the month goes!

Disclaimer: I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. I help people stick to programs (like this one) and coach them to get their best results.  I do this because it's a way to reach and help more people on their health and fitness journeys.  However, I also do this because I LOVE the products and use them myself (and get great results).  All opinions are my own from my experiment of one!  I'd love to help you too, so reach out if this is something you need in your life!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Hilton Bonnet Creek: an Alternative Location for a WDW Racecation

That "precious" bag
Dangle a runDisney backpack in front of Alyson and you never know what will happen!  She called me from the Wine and Dine Expo asking if I wanted to go to WDW in January.   Apparently, she needed this backpack they were giving away with Goofy entries and Billy couldn’t go with her. Refuse a trip to Disney…I don’t think so!  And so we had to quickly plan our trip. We decided to stay off property.   We heard that the Hilton had race transportation, so we thought we’d give it a try. 

Hilton Bonnet Creek is “surrounded by the Walt Disney World
Room with 2 Queen Beds
Resort” as they say on their website.   They offer free transportation to all 4 parks and I must say, they were always on schedule.  You can purchase park tickets there and they even have a store where you can buy Disney products.  This hotel is all about customer service.   At check in, I had to join our 2 reservations, no problem.  I mentioned that we were there for marathon weekend.  Even though we had not specifically registered under their “marathon weekend package”, they gave me the swag bag and explained all the special accommodations they had for marathoners. 

Swag bag--even included a Bondi Band
One of the fun things in the bag was instructions for entering their contest for runners…estimate your finish time and the winner won a free weekend for a future stay at Hilton Bonnet Creek!

Bonus:  As I was settling in on Thursday night, I heard fireworks.  I looked out the window and could see Illuminations off to the right!

On Friday, at noon, they open the special concierge for marathon weekend.   It’s here that you sign up for race transportation.  They offered transportation for both the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday.  The only drawback here is if you are doing Dopey, you would need to get to the 5k and 10k yourself. 

They also had several buses going to the expo on Friday afternoon.  That didn’t fit my schedule (I wanted to go in the morning) so I hopped a bus to the Magic Kingdom (ticket and transportation center), took a monorail to the Polynesian and boarded an expo bus there.  When I returned to the hotel in the afternoon, I signed Alyson and myself up for the race buses (you get a wristband that gets you a seat on the bus).   I didn’t know how I was going to tell Aly we had to be downstairs for 2:45am!!! 

Runner Breakfast
It was quite the spread!
Saturday morning we went down to the lobby at 2:45.  What a sendoff this hotel gives you!!  There was a full spread of bagels, protein bars, COFFEE (I don’t function well without it), water, and everything that might be on a runners list.  In addition, there were hotel employees cheering everyone on.   We boarded the first bus heading to the race (noted here that Sunday there was no need for us to be on the first bus).

After the race, we went to Harvest Bistro for breakfast.  We came straight from the race.  The staff treated Alyson like royalty (and it wasn’t even Princess weekend!).   Our waiter told us that he would be one of the “cheerers” on Sunday morning.   He said the staff looks forward to this because it’s so much fun.

Feeling Goofy on the bus at 3am
Sunday morning, we went down a little later but still had the same experience.   Took a coffee on the bus with me, some water for later and we were off.

View from our room
There are several fine restaurants on property (both at the Hilton and the sister Waldorf Astoria within walking distance).   Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to experience any of them as we were there a short time and wanted to get some park time in.  We also looked at their fully equipped fitness center.  We didn’t use it, but it was there if needed. I also regret not being able to take a trip around the “lazy river” in the pool.  It was too cold to even attempt!

Would we stay here again?   Definitely!  In fact, this would be a nice place to stay on a non-race trip so we would get to enjoy everything this resort has to offer.  You can check them out HERE .

Have you ever stayed off property for a runDisney event?   

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Race Report: 2015 WDW Marathon (Goofy--Part 2)

We're onto the big daddy of all Disney races: The Marathon!  This is my 4th WDW marathon and 5th overall marathon (did one in Vegas a long time ago).  Honestly, as I become more comfortable at this distance, this really is starting to become one of my favorite Disney courses.  You get so much Disney time and they break up the course really nicely.  If there is ever a time you consider a marathon, this is the one to do!

Last year, I PR-ed the marathon during the Dopey Challenge.  This year, after signing up only a few weeks earlier (never recommended, by the way), I set an "un-PR" by running my slowest race yet.  But...what that means for you is lots and lots of pictures!  I spent my time enjoying the course, the other runners, and enjoying the beauty that is a marathon.  Most people never get the opportunity to experience 26.2 miles--it's a rare and exclusive club, and I'm proud to be part of it!

Waiting in corral H
We started out just like the day before, very early and cold (albeit, warmer than the morning before, but I was still really glad I brought extra Mylar blankets for the start).  I put myself back a corral because my #1 goal during this race was to ride Everest in Animal Kingdom.  I had it timed out and I wanted to be sure I wasn't just standing around.  I sat at the start to save my legs, and waiting for the send off.

Starting Line!
Today, they were giving runners the warning not to cross the start line with their blankets, not sure exactly why, as during the half I had my blanket tied around me for 2 miles.  Luckily it was warmer, so I ditched it at the start.  I also planned to Instagram my way through the race (see...that's why you need to follow me on Instagram: DisneyRunsInTheFamily).  So...let's let the pictures tell the story of the 2015 WDW Marathon:

The race starts out with a few miles on the streets between the Magic Kingdom & Epcot.  While it's not the most exciting part of the course, it's nice to be able to spread out and get your pace going.

The first fun place you run to is the Magic Kingdom.  You enter through the Transportation and Ticket Center, but just seeing the MK sign is awesome!

First stop...Magic Kingdom!
Castle Selfie!
When you turn the corner to actually enter MK, you are immediately on Main Street USA--it's my favorite part of every race!  You HAVE TO do it once...or twice...or...well...hold on, I have to count...

I love that they keep the castle lit for Christmas.  Even if you are there at dawn, it's still beautiful!

Right turn ahead, and you're in Tomorrowland!

You then run around the back of the Magic Kingdom, right past the newest, hottest attraction: The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Why is THIS ride not open?  I would have waited for this one!!!!  Left by the carousel, and you hit the picture perfect spot of running through the castle.  It's my secret dream that someday I get that perfect pic and I'm featured on the runDisney website.  Weird...I know!

REAL bathrooms at MK
Mile 6 is the last mile marker you see in the Magic Kingdom, but WAIT!  Make sure you use a real bathroom before you leave the park!  So much better than a port-o-potty!

After you exit the Magic Kingdom, you only have a few short miles on the road before you hit the Speedway.  Rumor is they are getting rid of the Speedway in a few years.  For a normal Disney vacation, that doesn't impact me too much, but truth be told, it's a great distraction when you're running a marathon!

Do I look faster on the Speedway?
There are some more roads, and Disney does it right by taking you by some more characters and stops.  I didn't stop for characters this time around, but I did stop to take a pic with the Goofy topiary.  When I was a kid, I totally wanted this to be my Disney job.  Too bad I can't keep a plant alive more than a week!

Soon enough, we were heading in Animal Kingdom (my #1 race goal...remember).  I was still a little early even though I went as slow as I could, so I stopped at another real bathroom.  People...this is GOLDEN in a race!  After the potty break, the line was open.  I quickly got into the single rider line (they were ready for us) and had a BLAST riding Everest in the middle of a marathon.  Now THAT is a bucket list item for sure!
Waiting in line!
Here we go!

After the Animal Kingdom, I was finally free to run a little faster, so I picked up the pace and didn't stop as much...well...except for this picture.  It's a must stop for me!  I love the Haunted Mansion!
Dead tired!
After taking a quick break to lie down, we were headed into ESPN Wide World of Sports.  A lot of people don't like this part, but honestly, they must have not been on the course before it was added.  It's perfect timing to give you a break in the miles.  You are here from mile 17-20, you get your cold towel, and you get the energy of the stadium.  Not my favorite part of the course, but it's definitely a fun part.  Today, though, it started raining, so no wet towels were needed...we were already wet.  

After WWoS, you hit mile 20 and it's the home-stretch.  A steep uphill and you head on into Hollywood Studios.  By this time the park is open and there are tons of people cheering you on...oh, and always a few that are angry that the park has traffic.  I snapped a few pics quickly, but by this time it was starting to really rain, so I was also trying to keep the phone safe.
A few quick turns, down around the boardwalk, and you are on your way to Epcot.  It continued to rain, so this was the best shot I could get.  You can almost, sort of make out the ball behind me.  Either way, it's me on this one!
Gospel choir, then DONE!  Another Goofy Challenge in the books, and my 4th WDW Marathon completed.  Every year I say this is my last for a while.  Let's see if that holds true for 2016! Thanks for coming along!  
Love volunteers--especially when they have BLING!

My bling from the weekend :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Year's Resolution Update

Gotta keep myself accountable, right?  So here's my update!  If you remember, my resolution is to adopt new healthy habits each month.  January's goal was to take better care of my teeth.

I hate teeth, by the way!  I tell people that, and I usually get the "but you have nice teeth" answer.  I took some important steps this month--it's definitely not perfect, but I definitely improved.  I now have a Sonicare fancy shmancy toothbrush, and I am regularly flossing.  I went to the dentist for a cleaning and exam, and had some much needed work done.  Now, I need to keep up with it!  Hold me accountable!

Now, onto February!  I had a few ideas, but I decided that this month I'm going to work on portion control.  I'm doing the 21-Day Fix program, and just ordered the 21-Day Fix Extreme program.  It kind of scares the pants off of me--extreme is no cheating, no treats, no wine.  I am hopeful, though, that I can stick it out for the 21 days!

How are you doing on your resolutions?