RunDisney Race Recap – Glass Slipper Challenge 2016

Glass Slipper Challenge Medals 201619.3 miles, two days, tons of Disney fun!  There’s nothing quite like a runDisney event for combining all the elements of a well-coordinated race with all the magic of Disney.

RunDisney Race Recap – Glass Slipper Challenge 2016

Last year during the 2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I completed my first three runDisney events (Frozen 5K, Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon) and vowed immediately to return this year.  Lots of things were the same, a few were different, and all of it made me begin planning for 2017.Princess Half - heading for the castle

What was the same?  The race courses for the 10K and half marathon (I skipped the 5K this time), the abundant Disney characters, and the absolute precision with which every aspect of each event is coordinated.  Princess Half FantasylandYou can count on consistency of delivery – Disney races are expensive, yes, but Disney goes to great lengths to make sure runners have all the necessities and plenty of extras for a great time.  Safety first, announcements along the course warn runners of everything from speed bumps to a potentially slippery Boardwalk.  Plenty of medical tents, port-o-johns, and aid stations can be found along the way.  Volunteers (seems like thousands) are everywhere and when not handing runners something to drink, are cheering their hearts out all along the way.  runDisney Snack BoxThe post race experience is fantastic – smiling volunteers are waiting to check on you and present you with your medal.  Tables are set up to make sure you get some water and a snack box.  Again, this is very well organized!  Oh, and the medals are absolutely the best!

What was different?  I had friends at the 10K!  Nick and Dave (and Dave’s awesome wife, Anne) were with me for the 10K…well, pre-race anyway and it made a huge difference in the fun quotient!  Enchanted 10K - Nick, Lisa, DavePost-10K I ran in to my friend, Heather (aka Tangled Diva at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos).  runDisney-Enchanted-10K-Heather-and-LisaThe expo seemed a bit fancier this year – if there were footmen on hand for pictures and door-opening last year, I missed them.  Footmen with Nick, Dave, and Lisa During the races, I expected the same characters I saw last year and while some were there, others were not – replaced by different characters (Jack and Sally instead of the Villains), or not replaced at all – notably the pirate ship and Jack Sparrow were missing on the half marathon course.  Sally and JackPocahontas and MeekoI felt like runners held back (understandably, maybe, due to confusion about what’s now allowed?) on costumes and dressing up.  The weather this year was perfect after last year was downright freezing for most of the weekend.  If it’s even possible, I felt like there were more volunteers along the courses this year and they were generally more enthusiastic than last time.  I loved the pink jackets they wore and I’d have taken a picture of them for you except…the dead phone thing.

I’d like to give a special thanks to those pink-coated volunteers!  Around mile 8 during the half marathon, I took pictures of some turkeys I saw beside the race course and after that my phone completely died. (The Tom turkey was romancing some lady turkeys and he was putting on quite a show!)  Disney World TurkeyI realized immediately that I’d been stupid by not confirming a meeting location for Raymond and I once the race was over – now I couldn’t call him to tell him where to find me.  Enter the helpful volunteers!  One very kind woman texted Raymond for me to let him know exactly where he could find me and we met up post-race exactly as planned.  On the bright side of my phone dying, I finished the race four minutes faster than I did last year – no phone meant no more picture-taking or time-wasting.

I’m absolutely committed to participating in a runDisney event in 2017!  It might not be the Glass Slipper Challenge, but I know for sure…no matter which event I pick, it’ll be magical!

Are you a runDisney fan?  Which race(s) do you love most?  Any recommendations for next year?

Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap (Part One)

Disney-Dream-Sail-Away-SelfieI’m back and brimming with excitement about all the things Raymond and I did and saw on last week’s whirlwind land and sea vacation!  Today’s post is a recap of the land portion of the trip’s (mostly) highs and (very few) lows with many more details to come in future posts about specific events, restaurants, and more.

Disney Land and Sea – Trip Recap

Plans for this trip started about a year ago when I was talking with my Disney Exchange co-hosts about the great time I had during the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge and how I couldn’t wait to do it again.  This led to Dave and I starting to plan a trip where we could all meet up and do a runDisney event together…naturally, this led Nick to talk about Nick…with specific emphasis on exactly WHY he could not, would not (with a fox, in a box) run. EVER.  Yes, he does have an actual medical excuse for being a non-runner, but we quickly wore him down and convinced him he could be a fast enough walker to successfully complete the Enchanted 10K.  Once he agreed, we would not, could not (in a house, with a mouse) let him back out.  Fast forward to February 19th, 2016.

Raymond and I got up at 3:00 am to catch a 6:30 flight to Orlando (with a layover in Dallas) and arrived around noon with a plan to check in at Bay Lake Tower, grab a quick bite at the Contempo Café and head to the race expo where we’d meet up with Nick, Dave, and Dave’s wife, Anne.  And that’s exactly what we did!  TDE-runDisney-ExpoWe had time to pick up our packets and knock around the ridiculously crowded expo for a while.  Dave was feeling crummy, so, after a while, we all went our separate ways and agreed to meet up at the pre-race area for the 10K in the morning.

Raymond and I headed to our dinner reservation at Kona Café where we had an awesome meal and made friends with the young couple sitting next to us (Kellie and her boyfriend).  They were so sweet!  Knowing 3:00 am would come quickly, we called it a night.

And just like that, the alarm went off and I sprang eagerly crawled miserably from bed feeling like I hadn’t slept at all.  The monorail was unexpectedly not running for the 10K, so I waited in the long line for a bus and amused myself by Periscoping the other people waiting with me.  One uneventful bus ride later and I was posing for some pre-race photos with Dave and Nick.  TDE-Nick-Lisa-Dave-Enchanted-10KWe headed to our respective corrals and the race was as fun as we hoped it would be.  Once I finished, I headed back to Bay Lake Tower to get ready for a fun day in Magic Kingdom.The-Disney-Exchange-WDW

Dave, Nick and I had booked FastPasses separately, but at overlapping times for Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  First up, Big Thunder – we had a great time and were all together at the very back of the train.  TDE-BTMRR-GroupTDE-Country-BearsWe then enjoyed the Country Bears doing their thing…after which we agreed to meet up after lunch for our next FastPass – The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.   Turns out the dwarfs must have been as under the weather as Dave was feeling at this point and the ride was down, so we used our replacement FastPass for Pirates.

Note:  Raymond and I decided that day on the Skipper Canteen for lunch since our first visit was so delightful.  Not so much the second time around – at least not for me.  Maybe the Canteen isn’t going to be as successful as we’d originally thought.  A shame, but my food was just not very good at all.  The service was still great.

Here’s where the plans we made as a group went unfortunately awry for the rest of the weekend.  I’m sure there will be a great discussion about what transpired at this point on Episode 64 of The Disney Exchange (released date 3/6/16).  Long story short – When it came time to use our last FastPass of the day, Pooh was also experiencing technical difficulties and Dave’s flu-like symptoms were getting worse – So Dave and his family decided to leave so Dave could take a nap with a plan to meet us later.  TDE-Nick-and-Lisa-Winnie-the-PoohNick, Raymond and I eventually did get to use our FastPasses for Pooh and his Many Adventures before the three of us headed to Epcot for the remainder of the afternoon where we had a fantastic time watching Nick pose for pictures (this is seriously entertaining), meeting some excellent new friends (Hi Rebeca, Patty, Derek, and Lauren!) enjoying refreshing adult beverages, listening to British Revolution in the UK Pavilion, and people-watching.  (Unfortunately, Dave was really sick and out for the rest of the weekend.)

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Nick was meeting friends for dinner in Mexico and Raymond and I had an Il Mulino reservation at the Swan that evening.  Our dinner was great – I can’t say enough about Il Mulino’s service, menu, wine list, and bonus after-dinner Limoncello.  Once again…3:00 am loomed large, so we called it a night as soon as we finished eating.

Third day in a row for a 3:00 alarm and I was ridiculously tired.  The kind of tired where you feel like you weigh a ton and are nauseous.  I carried my Cliff Bar and a bottle of water with me and felt like I was twice my age as I shuffled slowly over to the Contemporary to catch the monorail.  This would be my 8th half marathon and I’d heard the inner voice that was berating me many times before, “What were you thinking!  This is a stupid plan!  You should be sleeping!  You are too old for this nonsense!”PHM-Pre-Race-SelfieI told the inner wimpy me to shut up and tried not to look as miserable as I felt as I rode to Epcot with the other runners.  I knew from previous experience that I’d perk up as soon as the race started.  Unlike the day before, I had no Nick, Dave and Anne to keep me company, so I ate my breakfast, engaged in a moment or two of lonely self-pity, and made my way with the many thousands of other runners to the starting corrals.PHM-Pre-RacePrincess-Half-Marathon-MK

Sure enough, once it was my turn to get going, my body and mind decided to cooperate.  The weather was great and 13.1 miles suddenly didn’t seem like a dreaded chore, but more an excellent adventure.  I did take a couple of walk-breaks around mile 10, but overall felt wonderful during the entire event.  Raymond was waiting for me a few times along the course and at the finish line, which made me happy!  We spent a few minutes in the post-race celebration area before heading back to clean up…we were meeting Nick and some of his friends at Disney Springs for the afternoon – Starting at noon with pre-lunch snacks and drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar followed by lunch at the Boathouse where, yes indeed, we got to sit at the boat table!!!!  I’ll tell you all about it soon in an upcoming post.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Maglio

Up next, Part 2!  The sea portion of our vacation aboard the Disney Dream.

 

 

 

RunDisney Events – What to Wear

Princess-Half-Road-to-Magic-KingdomIf you’re considering a runDisney event and have checked out the website, you probably couldn’t help but notice that folks dress a bit differently for these races.  Part of what makes a runDisney event so special is how runners show their DisneySide through their running wear.  Even if you’re not the tutu or sparkly-skirt-wearing kind (I am SO not wearing a tutu), you’ll want to sport a themed outfit of some sort.  No, it’s not mandatory and your are certainly welcome to just wear regular running clothes, but to fully enjoy the excitement and magic of a runDisney event and look extra special in those awesome race photos, you should at least give your Disney race-wear some special consideration.

RunDisney Events – What to Wear

Personally, I prefer my Disney race wear to pay tribute to something Disney (character or attraction, for example) rather than be a full-blown costume.  Disney has recently updated their costume policy, so it pays to take a peek at the do’s and don’ts.  I’m all about comfort. The last thing I want to worry about is fancy accessories and trimmings or any sort of prop.  What I do enjoy, honestly, is seeing people who go all out!  Just because at my (sort of) advanced age I’m more into comfort than runDisney fashion, I totally appreciate the time, effort, and creativity that is required for the fancier, more elaborate outfits donned for those awesome Disney race courses.  Here are some of the best costumes I saw during the Glass Slipper Challenge in 2015:Princess-Half-Princesses Princess-Half-Frozen-Friends

Last year for Princess Half Marathon Weekend I wore outfits that paid homage to Minnie, Donald, and the Evil Queen – all three ensembles were easy to assemble!  I planned them out many months in advance and  I was completely comfortable while running.  Most importantly, I felt like I was truly participating in each event to the fullest extent possible.RM-Enchanted-10K-Minnie-Outfit RM-Donald-costumePrincess-Half-Waiting-Selfie

This year I’m not running the 5K so I only had to worry about what to wear for the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon.  This trip snuck up on me!  I didn’t really think about what I could wear until early January and then I had to act fast since I wanted to order several items online.  Before I reveal the chosen themes, I should explain that I pretty much always wear a cap or visor when I run.  When I’m running, sunglasses bother me so I rely on the bill of a cap to shade my eyes.  After 18 years of running, this has evolved into some weird lucky superstitious quirk.  Gotta have a visor!Enchanted-10K-Costume-Daisy

First up is my homage to Daisy outfit!  I found the fabulous Daisy-themed ears on Etsy and already had the skirt, socks, and visor from last year.  I picked up three different pink shirts from the after-Christmas-super-sale at our local sporting-goods store – tank, short-sleeved, and long-sleeved versions to cover any weather conditions possible.

For the half-marathon, I’m going with a tribute to that most iconic Disney attractions, Haunted Mansion!  The Hatbox Ghost ears are again from Etsy, the mansion wallpaper tights from an online store, and the shirt from the Disney store.  I added a black running skirt and the mandatory visor and ta-dah!  I’m pretty happy with the final look.  I’ll try to find a Haunted Mansion pin to add to the visor if I have time.Princess-Half-Haunted-Mansion-OutfitNot too fancy, didn’t have to sew anything, and I’ll be comfortable yet stylish.  I’m ready!  Our plane leaves tomorrow morning at 6:00 am…Glass Slipper Challenge, here I come!

Have you participated in a runDisney event?  I’d love to see your costume pictures!!!  Feel free to post them on our Facebook Page.

 

 

RunDisney Race Recap- 2015 Enchanted 10K

Enchanted-10K-PinThe Princess Enchanted 10K on Saturday, February 21st was the first race of the two-part Glass Slipper Challenge.  I’d run the Frozen 5K the day before and would run Princess Half Marathon the next day.  The most challenging thing about the day of the 10K for me was getting out of bed at 3:15 am.  Confession time:  I am a 50-year-old woman attempting to run multiple races over a 3-day period – getting up at what (for me) was the middle of the night was actually the single most difficult part of the entire ordeal.  I’m not a girl who can go without her beauty sleep!

The morning of the race came all too soon.  My homage-to-Minnie outfit was ready to go and, like the previous morning, I ate my energy bar and banana, suited up, and made for the monorail from Bay Lake Tower to get to the race on time.  You can see how tired I am – look at my eye-bags!!!  RM-Enchanted-10K-Minnie-OutfitAgain, Raymond was left behind.  This time, though, instead of just waiting for me to come back, he was charged with booking all of our Disney Cruise excursions for our summer vacation.  February 21st happened to be the first day we could go online and choose our activities and we didn’t want to wait or risk missing out.  He may have had a few tense moments when the Disney Cruise Line website went down, but he managed to book everything we wanted (Good job, Honey!) long before I returned from the race.  If he’d thought for a second I would have benefitted from his presence along the race course or at the finish line, he would have done anything necessary to be there.  He and I both knew I would really need him to help me through the half marathon, so we agreed he’d save his in-person support for when I needed it the most. RM-Enchanted-10K-PreRace-Waiting-Area RM-Enchanted-10K-PreRace-Crowd

It was a full 10 degrees warmer than the day before (which made a huge difference)!  I love running in cool (40’s or 50’s) weather!  After my inaugural runDisney race on Friday, I felt a lot more confident finding my starting corral and lining up for the race.  I made my way to the designated holding area and felt more awake when it came time for me to line up in corral “B”.  Before I knew it, we were off!  This race will stand out in my memory for two reasons – the fun and beauty of the course combined with feeling incredibly comfortable the entire time.  I cannot recall enjoying a run more!RM-Enchanted-10K-Frozen-Characters

The first part of the 10K course took us out on the roads circling the Epcot parking lot – it was dark and I just followed the crowd.  The most magical part of the race at first was seeing Anna and Elsa up above the runners on an overpass – they spoke to us as we ran beneath them which was cool, but wasn’t nearly as remarkable as the fact that it was “snowing” on us!RM-Enchanted-10K-Frozen-Characters-Closeup

The second part of the race took us (like the Frozen 5K) through the World Showcase and then we went out the International Gateway to the Boardwalk area.  There were a few die-hard cheering guests that made me feel so special – and they were complete strangers!  I finally found Donald!RM-Enchanted-10K-Boardwalk-DonaldWe ran all around the Boardwalk and the Yacht and Beach Club area before going back through Epcot, back to the parking area to finish.  RM-Enchanted-10K-Mile-Marker-4 RM-Enchanted-10K-Sunrise RM-Enchanted-10K-Princess-MinnieI stopped and took a few pictures of the gorgeous sunrise, soaked up the atmosphere, saved my legs for the next day’s half marathon and had a wonderful time!

For those of us who care about results:

  • Women in the Enchanted 10K = 9753, I was #1455 with an official time of 1:06:16
  • Women in the 50-54 age group = 708, I was #82 (If I’d known how close I was to the top 10%, I believe I would have taken fewer pictures and stepped it up a bit!)

I had the most amazing time and felt wonderful.  I was really looking forward to the next day’s Princess Half Marathon and the second part of the Glass Slipper Challenge – please check back for the race recap on that event next week!

Are you a runner?  What’s the most fun race you’ve ever run?  Are you an aspiring runner?  What’s your dream event?