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!