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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Tink 5k

Perfect Start!
Recycled Costume!
Time to start recapping those races I ran a month ago! HA! In all honesty, this past vacation to Disneyland was WAY more about vacation than races, but nonetheless, we ran. It was a family trip, and the 5k was about family! I had the pleasure of running with Katie and Chris. This was our first time running the 5k and our main reason was the start--I mean, really, it doesn't get better than a Main Street USA start with Tinkerbell!

We stayed at the Paradise Pier hotel, so luckily we didn't need to wake up TOO early. We got into our costumes and headed to Disneyland for the start. We lined up in corral B (note: everyone was in corral "A" then they corral you based on when you arrive, so if you are dying to be in the front, get there early). As we looked up, we realized that we had a big old tree in view of the Tink flight path. Meh! Then, smart me moved us back to corral C with a little, "Excuse me, we need to use the restroom" tactic. Now we were in the middle of Main Street with a perfect view! So, word to the wise, if you arrive later, stay back and start in corral C.
Corral C, please!

Always fun in DCA!
It took a bit to get going since we started in the back, but hey, we were there for the fun. We started right in front of the Matterhorn with a small start line. The course had tons of park time, and we did some run/walk intervals and took a few selfies. It was a beautiful day, perfect running weather, and since we weren't running for time, it was no pressure.
Always time for a bathroom mirror selfie!

The finisher's medal was beautiful! This was the first "medal medal" I earned (the non-rubber ones) for a 5k. Of course I also got the infamous snack box...yum!

Here was your character stop...
Okay, but let's get to the proverbial "Dumbo" in the room--characters on the course. Everyone was talking about it all weekend. You might have thought they made us run on a treadmill instead of even having a race. There were no character stops. Yes, that was true. There was a place to take a selfie, but that was it. I totally get why people were upset. Had my goal been to stop and take pictures, I would have been upset too. Had this been my first and only runDisney event, I would have been really upset. Yes, I'm planning on getting more thoughts out about why I think they tried this.

Even with the big character snafu, I still think this race was totally worth it! Main Street USA alone was worth the price! I'm not sure when we'll make it out for this race weekend again, but if we ever do, the 5k will be a must do for me!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week In Review: 4/30/17

Whoops! Missed out on a few weeks since it was Easter and Hope you all had a great holiday!

I've been sticking mostly to my plan, eating better, and getting in long runs (no, the short ones have not been happening like they should). As one would expect when you stupidly ramp up mileage too quickly, I found myself injured and needing extra rest.

Sunday: Taugh HIIT (kind of--I really rested more than taught)
Monday: taught Fit Fun Kids and gave the knee a rest!
Tuesday: Insanity Max 30
Wednesday: Insanity Max 30, taught FFK, Pump & Foam Roll and Stretch
Thursday: Insanity Max 30
Friday: Insanity Max 30
Saturday: Insanity Max 30 (had to make-up from Monday), 9 mile walk/run

One more week of training hard, then I'm going to start really taking it easy and focusing on getting race day ready. We're hitting the parks before the half marathon (which is not preferred, but it works). I'm going to plan on a Wednesday workout while we're at Disneyland, plus I'll be running the 5k on Friday. This in additional to all the walking, and of course, the half, will be plenty of exercise for the week.

If I can, I'm totally going to brag on myself! I really focused and used this trip as motivation to get myself back to pre-pregnancy weight. I am, and I'm probably in even better shape. For once, I am not worried about family pictures, wearing shorts, or buying a new bathing suit. I'm excited! It's seriously the BEST feeling ever. No, this half marathon is NOT going to be pretty, but the rest of the trip is going to be awesome! The best part is I earned it!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 5: Your Costume


We are getting closer and closer to race day.  Now, it’s time for some of the final considerations when running Disney.  This post might not be for everyone, but many (if not most) people wear costumes to a runDisney race.  I always have, and I have never regretted it!  I even can get my family to wear costumes, and sometimes we theme it out together. 

You will want to start planning your costumes at least a month in advance (or if you’re like me, you’ve got the next year planned and then sometimes end up executing the morning of...yes, true story!).  You can get many accessories for race day at the expo, but I try to be 100% sure I have everything before I arrive.  You never know if they will run out of a size or not have the right color.  I have done it, so it’s most definitely not impossible, but if you’re a worry-wart like me, it’s best to plan ahead.  If you are really planned, you can purchase your next “set” of costume accessories at a previous race’s expo! Also, check your favorite retailers (like some I give a shout out to below). More and more they are allowing you to pre-purchase products and choose 'expo pickup' to save on shipping. Then there is no guess-work or risk!

My costume planning always starts with a trip to Google Images to get inspiration.  I often will use the theme of the race to inspire me as well.  I know, I know, it’s not the most creative, but hey, I like it, so who cares!  There really are no rules.  If you want to be unique, veer away from the theme.  Mickey and Minnie are always popular.  And yes, I do recycle costumes. 

From the Halloween Store
Mickey & Minnie--classic!
I have a few rules of thumb:  First, my “base” of the costume is ALWAYS running gear!  I have my favorites, but that is for another post.  This has worked for me, especially in terms of comfort and reliability.  I will purchase specific colors to work with my costumes, but I stick with tried and true brands and styles.  Second, I scour the sales at craft stores to try and get the best price.  You can make a tutu EASILY, and if you have any sewing skills, costumes can be a breeze.  I have little, but have managed to make many costumes without touching a sewing machine.  Third, shop the clearance costumes after Halloween, if it fits in your schedule.  Yes, I have flat out purchased costumes too.  This is also great for some simple accessories.  Fourth, make it cheap—which is an extension of 2 & 3.  Why?  Yes, I would rather spend money on other things, but more importantly, if a costume piece isn’t working, I want to feel no guilt in tossing it in the trash if it starts to annoy me.  Finally, I base the complexity of the costume off what my goals are and the distance of the race.  My Figment tail would have driven me NUTS over 26.2 miles, but it was fine for the 5k. 

Yep, the blue shirt chaffed BAD
A few more thoughts:  Try it out before race day.  I will admit, I don’t do this for every piece, but for anything touching your body/skin, you have to give it a trial run.  This is why I suggest at least a month lead time.  I learned this the hard way at the WDW Marathon.  I waited too long to purchase my shirts and ended up with chaffing that was KILLER.  It took months to heal (I started to think I would always have this permanent reminder of the Dopey Challenge and my poor planning).  Yes, I tried it for a few miles, but after getting sweaty over close to 5 hours, my 4 mile trial was useless.  Head gear is another thing you have to be willing to try, especially if you spent good money on it. 

I will not compromise my favorite shoes to match a costume.  Some people will, but my shoes are the most important part.  I will, though, get socks to match my costume. 

Always pack your costume in your carry-on.  I’ll get into this more during the packing post, but it’s so important, I’ll tell you twice! 

And last but not least—HAVE FUN!  Don’t be shy.  No one will judge you for wearing a costume, especially at a runDisney event.  It doesn’t have to be the most extensive costume ever, even just a sparkly skirt and some ears will do. 

Not the best pic, but LOVED the costume!
Here are some of my favorite brands for pieces of costumes (and no, I get no incentives for writing about them, I just genuinely love their products and use them often to make costumes):

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 4: Planning Your Race-Cation


Now we are rockin’ and rollin’ toward our next runDisney race!  You’ve decided on a race, got registered, and have a training plan in place to make all your running dreams come true.  So, what’s next?  Well, unless you are lucky enough to be Mickey’s neighbor, a runDisney event is usually coupled with a race-cation!  This means it’s time to sit down and get planning! 

First, a shout out to all the vacation planners out there!  I know a lot of people use vacation planners/travel agents when planning their trips.  I know a lot of travel planners who have helped me get tickets and vacation packages myself. There are more and more sprouting up, too, that know a ton about planning a Disney vacation during a race weekend.  If that is how you choose to go, by all means, find one you are comfortable with and let them take the “stress” of planning out of your hands!

That being said, I LOVE planning my Disney vacations!  It’s not stressful to me at all!  Even when I use a planner (because supporting small businesses is important to me), I do most of the planning on my own. I really think planning itself is half the fun.  My parents trained me well; they were expert Disney travelers and taught me everything I needed to know.  I’m going to try and break it down into steps to be sure you cover all your bases.  There are some big differences between the World and the Land, but I’ll try to keep it brief.  This blog post will also serve as an introduction to many, many more we have planned on race-cations: hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, etc.  Enjoy, and feel free to ask questions!  I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way! Special note for 2020: Of course, timelines and details have changed (hopefully temporarily) with the impacts of Covid-19. I've tried to meld as much together as possible, but things change so rapidly. Be sure to confirm dates and details with the disney official sites.

Step One:  Set your budget.  Is this going to be your one big vacation for the year or just a long weekend?  Many times the budget makes that decision for you.  Keep in mind you will want to set aside some extra cash for spending at the expo, in addition to flight, hotel, theme park tickets, food, and souvenirs.

Step Two:  Set your dates.  Check out when the expo opens and how far in advance you want to arrive.  I personally choose to put my run at the start of the vacation, and I would recommend that for most people.  I do not want a week of park hopping to wreak havoc on my legs before the race.  I also love to go to the parks to show off my bling when I’m done, so I have to plan at least one park day post-race.  The final consideration is time changes.  Whether it's east to west coast or reversed (I've now done both since I lived in Vegas and now live in New York), I sometimes give myself an extra day to adjust. 

French Quarter
Step Three:  Book your flight & hotel.  Personally, at Walt Disney World we tend to stay on property while at Disneyland we tend to stay off property.  Here at Disney Runs in the Family, we have many reviews of hotels to help you find your perfect fit for your race-cation (and have more to come).  Stay tuned!  There were times when only select hotels ran buses for races at WDW. Be sure to confirm on the official site, though now buses run from all the hotels for the races. Disney will require a $200 deposit, but it’s fully refundable if you find a better deal.  If you chose off property, we also have had great experiences with Hilton Bonnet Creek, who also offers race day transportation for half and full distances. At the Land, there is something to be said about the whole wake up, roll out of bed, and stroll to the start line just a few strides from your hotel room, though, so don't write off staying on property if the budget is there!

For flights, we also always try and book direct flights to cut down on travel time.  For the World, you’ll want to fly into Orlando.  For the Land, either Orange County or LAX will do, but OC is a lot easier to navigate. It just may also mean a higher ticket price, unfortunately. 

Step Four: Book your tickets.  Again, with our on/off property preferences, at the World, we usually package the tickets with the room.  Check for discounted tickets for runners.  GET Travel is the preferred travel agency for Disneyland, and they offer great discounts during race weekends (when they were running).  For Disneyland, I always recommend the park hopper option.  It’s very easy to go from one to the other.  Disney World is a little trickier.  If you are not planning jam-packed days, a single park ticket might be the best option, as it will save some cash.  Also, never forget the option of annual passes.  If cost effective, these can be a great option, and you get the benefit of early registration for runDisney events! There are a bunch of different types of passes, so check blackout dates (which often occur during race weekends) and do some runDisney math!
Always plan a celebration!

Step Five: Start planning your days.  This applies a little more to the World than the Land, especially if you plan on making “ADRs” (advance dining reservations).  I’m not one who thrives on spontaneity, so I plan, plan, plan!  I like to know where I’m going on what day, so get out a calendar and start mapping it out.  Don’t forget about the expo and early nights before your race.  If things like the fireworks are a must, that is something that you will not want to do right before the race.  Also, you’ll want to plan the day(s) prior to race day as “easy” park days to save your legs.  Planning your activities for a race-cation can require just a little more thought.  All that said, Disneyland can be planned a little looser, even for me J

Carb-Loading at Mama Melrose
Step Six: Book your dining reservations.  This is my favorite part!  If you are going to the World, you will be able to book dining 180 days in advance (60 days in Covid times).  The Land is 60 days in advance.  I love to eat at Disney.  I love to eat at Disney even more than I love to run at Disney.  We are have many food reviews on this blog to get into specific eats we love.  For now, just please take advantage of all the great restaurants available.  And make reservations early, because you want to have control over your pre- and post-race nutrition even more when you run.   The last thing you will want to do the day before your big race is walk from restaurant to restaurant trying to find an available table. Personally, I always plan a table service meal for lunch the day before a half or longer, then keep it light the rest of the evening. This is usually the first meal I plan out.

On the Magical Express!
Step Seven: Book your transportation to your hotel.  If you are flying, you will have to figure out how to get to Mickey’s house.  If you’re at Walt Disney World and you’re staying on property, book your tickets for the Magical Express.  They take care of everything!!!  They will pick up your bags from the airport for you and transport you to your resort.  A few hours later, you bags magically are delivered to your room.  The best is it’s all for free with your resort stay.  In Disneyland, you’ll have to get more creative.  There are many reliable shuttle services that can take you to your resort.  We've done the "not so magical" express from Orange County airport (no, that's not REALLY the name, it just isn't quite like WDW), have taken a cab, an Uber, even Super Shuttle.  Now that we have Robby, we have to be a little more pre-planned to deal with car seats. Bottom line: unless you have other things in your plans, I personally don’t think you need a car at Disney.  Others may disagree, and have valid reasons, but I’d rather let someone else do the driving!

And there you go, a perfectly planned race-cation!  As you approach race day, there is some more planning, but we’ll leave that for future posts.  Do all this, keep up with your training, and I guarantee you’ll have an amazing runDisney experience. 

Did I miss anything?  Do you have any other planning tips?  Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or leave a comment here!  We’d love to hear from you!
If you missed parts 1-3, check them out HERE

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Week In Review: 4/9/17

Another week of training in the books, and one more week closer to the Tink Half. EEK! I have to say I haven't been thrilled with my running progress. I think I'm being slightly unreasonable in my expectations of how easy (or...more like hard) getting back into running was going to be. I have no base and I'm trying to ramp up mileage really quickly. It's really a recipe for disaster, but here I am, plugging away anyway. Here's my workout progress from this past week:

Sunday: Taught HIIT
Monday: Insanity Max 30, Taught Fit Fun Kids
Tuesday: Insanity Max 30, Taught BodyPump
Wednesday: Insanity Max 30, Taught Fit Fun Kids, Pump Express, and Roll & Stretch
Thursday: Taught BodyPump TWICE (ouch!)
Friday: Insanity Max 30
Saturday: 6 mile run

I did some extra rolling and stretching in there as well. I'm still needing to focus on recovery. This week marks the end of the first month of Insanity Max 30. Next week I start on the second calendar, and I'm a little scared. These workouts are really challenging so I can only assume it's going to get harder. I also am teaching a lot next week because it's Spring Break here, which means lots of vacations.

On the Tink vacation planning side, we FINALLY got our reservations squared away, got all the race fees paid, and started to plan more of the details of the trip. I really can't wait for this vacation. Robby is a little toddler now and I can't wait to see how he does at Disneyland! He loved it as an infant (especially the characters) so I can only imagine his love is going to grow as he 'gets it' a bit more. I also can't wait to see my fellow runDisney nutty friends! Is it too early to start packing?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 3: Training

UPDATED: April, 2017

I struggled with the next step; do you start training or do you plan your race-cation?  I finally settled on training, because it would just be much easier to write than planning your race-cation :)  If you missed Part 1 (choosing a race) or Part 2 (registration), check them out HERE (part 1) and HERE (part 2).  Now, onto the really hard part: training.

First, let's get serious: you need to train!  Obvious, right?  Not as obvious as you might think, if you judged this statement by what you hear before, during, and after races in Disney.  I love runDisney because they are so open and welcoming to new runners and runners of all levels.  I love it because these races are focused on FUN.  I think, though, that with that acceptance and fun comes a "nonchalant attitude" toward the training part.  THAT, I have issues with for many reasons.  So, before you come after me with pitchforks and fireballs, hear me out :)

Couple of reasons to train:  First, your body is not meant to wake up and run a marathon.  I don't care how many Zumba classes you take (and I'm an instructor, so yes, I do know that those classes are a great workout), it's not the same as pounding the pavement.  In order to run safely, you need to put in the training miles and gradually work up to longer distances.  There are many benefits, cardiovascularly, muscularly, etc. that occur during this gradual build.  Second, you want to have FUN, remember?  Isn't that a main reason why you plunked down the big bucks to run at Disney?  I promise, the race will be so much more fun when you are properly trained and not in misery every step.  Third, remember that Disney part?  I find no greater joy than celebrating with your medals in the parks after the race!  You will want to train so that you are not miserable getting in and out of Space Mountain with your friends and family.  Finally, the sense of accomplishment is so much greater when you have really put forth effort to get there.  Finishing any race is a huge accomplishment, but the journey to the start line is as well.  That victory is so sweet when it's paired with the memory of those mornings you didn't hit the snooze, those bad runs that made you doubt yourself, those great runs that gave you confidence, and each and every mile you logged to make it to the finish. 

<Stepping Down From My Soapbox>  Okay, I hope I have you convinced that training is important. 
Here are some things to get you started.
1.  Take Inventory.  Where are you starting from?  Have you never run before?  Are you coming off another race?  Are you attempting a new, longer distance?  Will this race be a challenging distance?  What is your goal?
2.  Set your goals (and yes, I mean goals).  Is your goal to finish?  Are you aiming for a PR (personal record)?  I like to set 3 goals; I got this idea from an article in Runner's World a while back: one I absolutely will accomplish (finish the race), a second that is fairly reasonable but still a challenge (run negative splits), and a third that is the "perfect" goal, the big one (run a half in under 2 hours).  This helps so that I have a few focuses for the race.  For example, during the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon, the temps were HIGH!  I knew a PR was out of the question--it just wasn't safe.  Instead, I focused on my first two: finish, negative splits.  I still felt like I accomplished a lot of what I had set out to do.
3.  Find a training plan that fits into your goals.  Some of my favorites are Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway.  I have used them both in the past with great success.  This year, I am thinking of adding Hansons Running as well.  Couch to 5k is awesome for beginners getting ready for the 5k races.  These plans will work well for most runners. 
4.  Map it out!  Get out your calendars!  Put in your race day(s) and start counting backwards.  Do you know of any major plans mid-training?  Account for those too.  I've run enough that I even sometimes mash up some training plans to come up with my own.  If you do that, some general rules of thumb: increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10%, be sure to give yourself rest days, don't try to load up your calendar.  You always also have the option of hiring a coach.  They will create a tailored plan based on your current fitness and goals, and help you stick to that plan.
5.  Train!!!  Then train some more!!!  Do what is on your plan!!!  It sounds easier than it actually is.  Life gets in the way sometimes, and that's okay.  Try to get in 80-90% of your scheduled runs.  If you need to skip one here and there, try to at least get in all your long runs.  Those short runs are important too. Personally, I like to keep a log.  It keeps me honest and keeps me motivated.  Also, don't keep wavering between plans. I only learned of people doing this since I started coaching others. Who knew? Lots of runners spend hours researching, reading, and then, to their disadvantage, flip flopping between a bunch of plans. The best plan is the one you stick with, so pick it and stick to it. Yes, you can get tips and make modifications, but don't be tempted by every blog post or pinned article to find.
6.  Rest.  What?  Didn't you just say to run?  YES, but remember this golden rule: your body gets stronger during rest.  That is when your muscles rebuild.  Here a little anatomy lesson for you--when you exercise, you create little tears in your muscles.  When you rest, these tears repair stronger.  Rest makes you stronger--but you still have to run first :)
7.  Train everything, from your head to your toes!  This is an essential part of training.  You are not just training your legs, but you are also doing a dress rehearsal for everything else.  What kind of fuel will you use?  What will you wear?  When do you need to replace your sneakers--and at what point in training will you do so?  Try everything you can so there are no surprises on race day.
8.  Strength train, too.  Yes, many people will say this is not necessary, and it might not be.  I, however, have had some injuries in the past, and I notice a significant difference in my pain levels when I do focused strength training.  This needs to be individualized, so if you are not confident in your knowledge, do some research.  You may even consider hiring a personal trainer or consulting with a physical therapist.  While strength training isn't likely to "improve" your running speed/skills, it will do wonders to correct imbalances or weaknesses.  Those imbalances and weaknesses can come back to haunt you in the form of injuries as you ramp up mileage.
9.  Stretch.  Yes, I even put this in my training plan.  Pick your poison: The Stick, a foam roller, just good old-fashioned stretching.  This with help reduce soreness and helps to break up adhesions in your muscles and fascia. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a clean 10-item list?  Well, it would, but this is all I've got for now :). BUT HERE'S THE EDIT! Now I have a 10th item!

10. Hire a Coach or Find an Accountability Partner. This is a lessen I learned both as a running coach and as an online health & fitness coach. Accountability works! You can have the best plan in the world, but if you don't stick with it, you will fail. It's important to have someone who you can ask questions to, get help from, and keep you on track when you want to falter. If you are interested in a coach, please reach out! I'd be happy to help, either by coaching you directly or, if it's not within what I feel I can do, refer you to another trusted coach.

I hope this helped guide you in starting to train.  Comment below with any questions or training tips you might have.  We'd love to hear from you!

Here are some links to training plans:

Disclaimer:  I'm giving this advice as one runner to another.  I am an RRCA certified running coach, a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  When I wear those hats, however, I design plans specific to the client. I am not a doctor...and won't be anytime soon.  If you have any high risk needs, please work with medical professionals to be sure you are safe in your approach to training. You should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise/training program.

Up next--Part 4: Planning Your Race-Cation
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Recycling My RunDisney Costumes

So with Tink right around the corner, I have been thinking a lot about costumes. I know this is probably a huge no-no to many, but I'm thinking of simply recycling my Tink costumes from the last race. GASP--I know! Hear me out on this; I'm thinking it just makes sense.

First, I'm going to swap and wear running gear for the half and the costume for the 5k. Let's face it; I'm not really in great running shape so why bother with all that extra fluff. I'll support the Tink theme but be comfortable.

Second, that Wendy costume is super cute! I loved it, and I want to wear it one more time! It's a bit heavy, though, so the 5k is perfect.

Third, I'm a toddler mom, and I just don't have the time to put into an elaborate costume. Yes, I'm kind of wimping out here, but my home business is booming (so that means more time out of my day to work), my work outside the home is increasing, I'm in the last few weeks of my college course, and you know, life happens! I'm just trying to set realistic expectations for myself without having to live off a perma-coffee drip!

Finally, I'm really going into this trip to focus on a fun family vacation. I've said it before: you have to decide are you going to Disney to run or are you running on your Disney vacation. This time I'm definitely running on my Disney vacation. If it wasn't for the bling, I probably wouldn't have even registered for the race.

That's all folks! I'm doing it! I'm recycling my costume and will proudly wear it for the races...again! I'll have to spend some time focusing on September's costumes soon because I have no back-up for those races. Pixar theme here we come!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Week In Review: 4/2/17

Ugh! This week did not go as planned, but it wasn't terrible either. I feel like NO week ever goes as planned, so I guess it's just accepting that fact and moving on!

Sunday: Taught HIIT
Monday: Insanity Max 30
Tuesday: Insanity Max 30 (then skipped my run because it was pouring and I got home late--FAIL)
Wednesday: Insanity Max 30, Taught Fit Fun Kids, BodyPump, and Trigger Point
Thursday: Insanity Max 30
Friday: Insanity Max 30
Saturday: Taught BodyPump, Trigger Point, & Kids Yoga; 5 mile run on the treadmill

I think this was the perfect example of how difficult it can be to run with a toddler, no treadmill at home, a husband who travels for work, and the inconsistent spring weather. All challenges that I need to figure out as I go along on this training journey!

I did end up rolling and stretching more this week. I'm a little sore from the new BodyPump 101 release, but nothing too bad. This upcoming week (and month) are definitely going to be a challenge because I'm teaching a ton at the gym. That's usually when I fall back into bad eating habits because I think I've "earned it". Gotta keep my eyes on the prize! Tink is just a few weeks away!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

So You Want To Run Disney--Part 2: Registration

Updated July 2021

We are on to Part 2 of the “So You Want to Run Disney” series!  If you missed Part 1: Choosing your race, check it out HERE.  Now that your heart is set on one race, a series of races, or all of the races, it’s time to get registered.  This can be just as hard as running!  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!  SPECIAL NOTE: the runDisney climate has changed. It's been a frenzy, chill, and now it seems to be back at frenzied times. If you want to get into a race, be prepared! 

Typically, runDisney opens registration about 9-11 months before the race date (currently dates were pushed back due to Covid-19).  You can sign up for reminders at, but I wouldn’t wait for the reminder!  They are often emailed after the race registration opens and sometimes even after the race is already sold out.  You can find the dates for registration up many places, including on our Facebook, Instagram, and blog pages.  I always mark my calendar and be sure to schedule my availability.  Races usually open at 10:00 am Eastern, 7:00 am Pacific.  These times have changed over the years, so it never hurts to triple check.

You will want a few things ready for your registration.  You will be asked all the basics—name, birthday, address, etc.  You will also need to indicate if you are participating in any special categories, such as the military division.  When (I'm hopeful) Coast to Coast comes back, there is also a place to indicate if you are completing your Coast to Coast.  One important piece of info you will want to have handy is your proof of time.  In order to be placed in a corral with runners that are at similar speeds, you need to submit a previous completed race time from a registered race.  For half marathons, this must be a 10k or higher; for the full, a 10-miler or higher.  If you do not have a previous time, you will be placed in the last corral.  You can update that time in the future if needed. In fact, I often do this just to get to the "complete your registration" button sooner. You will need: the name of the race, city/location, date, official time, and the link to the race results.  Yes, I always have to look it up.  Also note that the race had to have been run somewhat recently. will list the cut-off dates (it's usually within the past 2 years).  You will also want to login to your runDisney account BEFORE registration begins!  Create your account and have it open; save your password to your computer--if the race will sell out in minutes, you won't want to waste precious time typing. I would also recommend you follow runDisney on Twitter and different Facebook groups.  That is where they will continually update registration news the morning of registration.  If your computer uses autofill, that sometimes messes with the website. Shut it off for registration and type in your information. 
Does Disney Run in YOUR Family?  If so, you're in luck, because recent changes have allowed you to register multiple people at once! Just hit "add additional registration" before checking out.

Get your credit card warmed up, because it will get good use during registration.  You will want to note that in addition to the price listed from runDisney, added administration fees will increase the price by 6.6%.  Plan for $15-$20 in fees for the mid-range races.  You can use a Disney gift card or rewards redemption card to make your purchase. Just be aware that you can only use one payment method, so be sure you have enough loaded to your card to cover the race and fees. 

A quick note about challenges: runDisney is really getting into the race weekend challenges.  If you plan to run a challenge, such as the Dopey Challenge or the Glass Slipper Challenge, you must register for that challenge to receive all the benefits of the challenge.  You will not get the challenge medal or shirt if you sign up for the races individually. 

When you register for the races, you’ll be given the opportunity—isn’t that nice that they give you an opportunity—to also pre-purchase some commemorative items.  For us, we always get the pins.  It’s the one thing I have from every single Disney race I’ve run.  They often also sell necklaces (yes, I’m wearing my Dopey necklace as I write this) and other merchandise including jackets, tumblers, magnets, tons of stuff. Recently they also have done bundle packages. Don't stress out that day, though. You can order the items afterwards too, but don't hesitate too long. When they sell out, they sell out (and this option is getting much more popular).

In the past, early registration often occurs for Disney Vacation Club owners and Disney Annual Passholders.  You can register more than one person in your household using these links.  The links will go live at a specified time/date on your landing page for each of these groups, typically the Thursday prior to the regular registration date.  Unfortunately for 2021, this option is not available. I'm hopeful it will return in the future.

What happens if you miss out and the race is full?  You always have the option of running with a charity group!  It’s a great way to raise money for some amazing causes and still get all the benefits of running the race, usually with extra bells and whistles.  Of course, you can always do both: register on your own AND run for a charity!  

Prior to 2021, you could find a travel provider that has bibs. Hopefully that will return too! If it does, here's some info: At times you may be required to purchase a room and/or tickets with the bib purchase. You can find authorized travel providers at We've done this a few times and have had great experiences! Often you can register early and save on the fees. Just check with your favorite Disney vacation planner friends (because if you're like me, you have a TON). 

So which races do you need to worry about? Remember, the climate HAS changed (when we first posted this series it was an all out frenzy!!! Now, I'm not quite sure.). The 10ks, 5ks, challenges, and kids races are still hot commodities. Out of those, I think the challenges sell out last. 

So now you are armed and dangerous!  You have everything you need to know to register, stress FREE for you next runDisney event. Hopefully I can take my own advice, and I'll see you at the house of mouse!

Friday, March 31, 2017

April 2017 runDisney Calendar

Here's all the important dates happening this month in the runDisney world:

Tuesday, April 11: Virtual Race Series Registration Opens

Thursday April 20-Sunday April 23: Star Wars: Dark Side Weekend

Thursday, April 27: Annual Passholder Early Registration for Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Be in the lookout for the 2018 Star Wars Light Side registration as well! It's been postponed, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it happens around the Dark Side weekend. We will definitely keep you posted on social media and here on the blog!

Anyone getting tempted by the running shorts virtual races? (Or are you like me and somewhat regretting not doing last year's because the medals were SO cute?)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week In Review: 3/26/17

Gotta keep myself accountable. Here's my week in review:

Sunday: Taught HIIT (it was my 'rest day' so I kept it light)
Monday: Insanity Max 30
Tuesday: Insanity Max 30 & short family run
Wednesday: Insanity Max 30 & Taught BodyPump and Trigger Point
Thursday: Insanity Max 30 & Taught BodyPump
Friday: Unintentional rest day-ish (was having technical difficulties in my home gym--got my heart rate up, but it wasn't the greatest)
Saturday: FIRST LONG RUN!!!!! (4 miles)

I'm actually feeling really good getting back outside and running. I wish I had more time to build a base before jumping into training, and I wish I had more time to do a better progression on the long run. This is where I am, though, and it feels great just to have a focus again. I know that I won't be breaking any PRs during the Tink half, but I feel like if I focus and train properly I can get through it successfully. I missed one planned run due to helping out at work and teaching an extra class. No worries, though. I got this!

My focus for this next week is going to be recovery. I need to stretch more, roll more, and get my recovery nutrition working for me.

How did your week go? Any big successes?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

So You Want to runDisney--Part 1: Choosing your race

Updated April, 2020

Welcome to our series, "So You Want to runDisney!"  We have pooled all our resources to give you a one-stop shop of everything you need to know to get to your first (or second, or third, or...well, you get the point) runDisney race.  Yes, yes, this also applies to other races as well, but some of the information will be specific to running at Disney (we are "Disney Runs in the Family," after all).

As runDisney continues to gain popularity, getting into a race can be just as challenging as actually running the race.  Okay, maybe not, but it does take some planning and knowledge.  For example, the 2013 and 2014 Dumbo Double Dares sold out in less than an hour, and the most recent 2020 Wine and Dine was a bucket of stress on registration day. We don't want to add to the hysteria, but we do want to be honest.  Especially if you don't have much flexibility in racing, we want to be sure you get into the race you want, but I digress.  Before registration, you need to decide which race (or races) you are going to run!

2013 Dumbo Double Dare
First disclaimer: just like every great company, runDisney sometimes makes changes to the race schedule to add, improve, etc.  Some races, such as the marathon, have been happening for over 25 years, so it's highly likely it will remain. Since we first published this series many races have been added: Superheros, Star Wars, and Paris--Ooo la la--and even a virtual race series! I think the rumor mill has slowed now that these have been added, but no one knows for sure. As an aside, it's never guaranteed that a race will stay the same or even be there next year, so as long as your budget and health are in line, just jump in!

Right now, you have quite a few races to choose from.  So what's first? In my opinion you have to decide on the distance.  runDisney currently has 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon distances, plus additional weekend challenges.  There are many factors that play a role in deciding on a distance, so here are just a few questions to ask yourself:

How much time can I put into training?
     Typical training for anything over a 10k requires at least 3-4 months of a training schedule.  Even a 5k and 10k take time, especially if you are starting from the ground up. Take a peek at the race dates--do you have commitments that would prevent you from training properly?  You can guarantee that things will come up and you'll adjust, but if the thought of training through the busy holiday season sounds like torture, the January races are probably not the best bet.  Don't forget about weather, too!  We've now been on both ends: training in Las Vegas summers for the Disneyland Half and training for Tink in the snow. Definitely doable, but you should know what challenges lie ahead. Google search some training plans to get an idea of what you're really getting into.  My favorites are Higdon and Galloway.  I'm starting to look at Hansons as well. 

How far is reasonable based on my current fitness/running level?
     I'll be honest, my first race was a marathon.  Would I recommend that?  NO!  But it can be done with proper training (and being 25 and in pretty good shape already).  If you have never laced up running shoes, though, do that before deciding.  Get in a few miles and decide if this is something you really want to do.  I have people tell me all the time how much they hate running.  Yes, it's shocking to me too, but it might not be your thing.

Do I favor one Disney park (Disneyland races are currently on hiatus)?
     If your heart is set on either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, that already limits some races.  Hey, that might be a great place to start...

Our first runDisney race
What is my budget (race and run-cation)?
     Running at Disney is EXPENSIVE.  There is just no other way to slice it!  I wish it was cheaper, and it used to be, but with sell-outs happening at warp speed, there is no motivation for price decreases.  For reference, my first Disneyland Half Marathon was $95 in 2010.  For 2021, the WDW Marathon Weekend 5k is $89. Don't forget to factor in travel expenses like hotel, airfare, and, of course, spending money.  

Dopey was all about running!
Am I traveling to Disney to run, or am I running during a vacation?
     Huh?  So let's break this down.  Running at Disney is awesome, but it is very different than seeing Disney on vacation.  Will you die if you travel to WDW and don't see Fantasmic and the Magic Kingdom Fireworks?  Do you expect to be in a greasy, sugary food-coma everyday?  You just plopped down a ton of money (see previous question), so it's important to adjust your expectations.  Races start early--like, really, really, really early!  When I did Dopey, we only got a few hours in the parks each day, and there was no way I was staying up to watch a show.  In fact, we were back in the room by dinnertime before the half and full.  If you are not willing to compromise your vacation to run, the Dopey Challenge may not be for you.  You can absolutely still run and have a great vacation, but consider this when deciding on which race to run. 

So, now that you've thought through all these questions, here's the current list of runDisney races to choose from:

January: WDW--5k, 10k, Half, Full, Goofy (half + full), Dopey (all the races); Castaway Cay 5k Challenge on a special sailing of the Dream
February: WDW--(Princess) 5k, 10k, Half, Fairy Tale Challenge (10+half)
Spring: Virtual Star Wars Half Marathon
April: WDW--(Star Wars Dark Side) 5k, 10k, Half, Dark Side Challenge (10+half)
May: Disneyland Paris--(Princess)
Summer: Virtual Shorts
September: Disneyland Paris--5k, 10k, Half, Challenges (10+half or 5+10+half)
November: WDW (Wine & Dine)--5k, 10k, Half, Two Course Challenge (10+half)

Disneyland races are on hiatus for now, but we are all hopeful they will come back soon! There were 4 race weekends, all consisting of a 5k, 10k, and Half Marathons.

My first Coast to Coast
With Disneyland races on hiatus, this also means the Coast to Coast Challenge isn't happening. With some positive thoughts for the future, I figured it would be best to leave this info here :)
Also, don't forget about the coveted Coast to Coast medal!  If you complete a half or full marathon in both WDW and Disneyland in the same calendar year, you receive a special Partners statue medal.  It's beautiful, by the way, just to tempt you a little more.  It is (gulp) at no extra cost to you! There is also the PINK Coast to Coast celebrating the ladies! If you run Princess and Tink half marathons, the pink one is yours. The Kessel Challenge special Coast to Coast is reserved for those who complete both Star Wars half marathons. Finally, if you are lucky enough to travel from France to the U.S. you can earn your Castle to Chateau. That one is definitely up there on my list of favorite medals!!!


Caution: Running at Disney is addictive.  Others may get addicted too. 

Lastly, let's not forget about the kids!!! Every race weekend also has an opportunity for the kids to get in on the action (even as young as 6 months). Our boys have both done the diaper dash, and Robby has tackled the 100m dash 4 times. It is so much fun! I will say, we definitely prefer Disneyland over WDW for the kids races, but they are still very much worth it to get your kids involved in the race weekends. It really speaks to us, because after all, Disney Runs in OUR Family!!!
Diaper Dash 2016

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Registration :)