Enchanted 10k – My First runDisney Event!

Enchanted 10k – My First runDisney Event!

By Nick

My story begins several months ago when my Disney Exchange Podcast co-host Lisa started talking about the Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Somehow, I was convinced by her and my other co-host Dave that I could walk the Enchanted 10K. I’m not supposed to jog due to a spinal injury suffered as a child, but I was assured that a brisk walking pace would be adequate. I just needed to train to do a 16 minute mile. 6.2 16 minute miles to be precise.

Lisa, Dave and I started talking about the many things we would do during our brief time together. I also agreed to start training. And I did begin to train. 6 weeks before the actual event.

This was a point of concern with my co-hosts. But I had no doubt. Okay, maybe a little.

Within a couple of weeks, however, I was averaging a 14 minute mile, and the week before the actual 10K I walked out the entire 6.2 miles on a treadmill in under an hour and 30 minutes, which really boosted my confidence. Really, I’d actually been losing sleep with thoughts I may not be able to do it!

I arrived at Walt Disney World Thursday, February 18th, a day earlier than Lisa and Dave. I’d mentioned to them my plans to walk 4 miles Thursday and 5 Friday as a warm up to Saturday, and I’m really glad I did because they told me that wasn’t a good idea, and that all the walking around the parks Thursday and Friday would be plenty enough of a warm up! And they were absolutely correct!

After a full day of walking around Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I was alarmed when I woke up Friday and had pain in the big toe on my left foot!

At this time I’ll bore you to tears I will very briefly tell you about that spinal injury I mentioned above.

Back in 2006 I started jogging with the intention of doing a Disney marathon. I developed such severe pain in my back and hips my chiropractor sent me for an X-ray. She took one look at it and told me I needed to go to a back specialist immediately. It was a white mass on my spine.
I said “Is that cancer?”
She said “I don’t know.”
Went to the back doctor.
He looked at it and said “I’m sending you for an MRI tomorrow. And when you come in for the results, bring your wife.” 
Me “Is that cancer?” 
Him “I don’t know, I’ve never seen anything like it.” 
Get the MRI. 
Doctor “When did you crack your L5 vertebrae.” 
Me ” When did I do what, now?” 
The only thing I could think of was I had a bicycle accident at 7 when a friend was riding the handlebars and I hit a fence and flipped over and landed hard on my butt. He said that my white blood cells went to town and healed it in a way he’d never seen! It encased it in calcium. 
And it’s inoperable because the scar tissue would potentially be more of an issue. 
It also happens to pinch a major nerve cluster which causes all sorts of fun and exciting random pain in my legs and feet.
Hence the pain in my big toe.

I’ve been dealing with this fairly new addition to my almost lifelong list of random pain on and off for a few months, and knew that stretching would help alleviate the discomfort to some extent. Still, it was more than a little disconcerting to be dealing with this considering the 10K was just a day away!

I soldiered on, and met up with Lisa and Dave at the Health and Fitness Expo at The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It was the first time I’d ever seen this area of WDW!


I’d gotten there via bus from the resort. One of my concerns had been about getting around from the Animal Kingdom Lodge to the expo and the race, and I was told there would be signs posted telling me exactly where and when to get a bus. And there absolutely was! Disney makes this very convenient, with the information in the lobby.


Back to the Expo. I met up with Dave and his wife Anne, and they showed me where to go to get my race packet.

We then made our way to the Expo building where we met up with Lisa and her husband Raymond.

This was the first time Lisa, Dave and I had all met!

Raymond, me, Lisa, Dave, and Anne

I picked up my t-shirt, and we spent some time walking around the Expo, before saying good afternoon. 

I then met up with my wife’s cousin Jill and her husband Zach, and friends Ryan and Amber, and spent more time walking around the Expo. This was followed by The Wahlburger Incident, and a full accounting of that can be found here.

I woke up Saturday morning at 2:30am, having gotten about 4 1/2 hours sleep, and since I’d had my alarm set for 3 and was way to anxious to try and sleep any longer, just got up, dressed, and headed to the lobby at about 3:15, where I met with other similarly amped up race participants.

My toe was sore, but not debilitating.

The first bus heading to the starting area arrived promptly at 3:30, and we got to Epcot’s parking lot by 4am.


It was already fairly crowded. I followed the crowd to the corral area, texting Lisa and Dave along the way to try and get their whereabouts, and met up with Dave and Anne while I waited in line for a photo with Belle. Anne was kind enough to join me for a photo.


Lisa came a short time later, and we all headed towards our respective corrals. 


Dave and Lisa were in A, Anne in B, and since this was my first race, and I had no time submitted, I was in E. Dave had volunteered to walk the race out with me, and I told him that was not necessary, I had this, but he was coming down with what would turn out to be a fairly nasty flu, so said walking with me was the preferable option.

At 5:30, corral A started. And we waited. And waited. And… it was 10 minutes between each corral! We didn’t even get to the starting line until 6:13!


I started off at about a 14 minute mile. My legs moving at a pretty quick pace. Dave, being 6 foot something, seemed to take 1 step for every 4 of mine. Within a few minutes we were passing people and Dave said “You know, you don’t really need to even be moving as fast as you are, look around, you are not going to have a problem finishing, and you are going to be at the parks 4 more days, so there is no point in overdoing it.” or something to that effect. 


And he was right! I slowed down. Often, due to bottle necks, we had no choice. It seemed a majority of people were walking. 

The first leg of the 10K is on roads and fairly boring, but then, as daylight was breaking, we entered the backstage area of Epcot

At one point during the walk, I straightened my back, heard a crack, and my toe stopped bothering me all together! Like I said, random weird pain. 

Then we were walking around World Showcase as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful morning. I actually started getting a bit emotional. I was doing it! My first runDisney event!


We walked around the Boardwalk area, and I got even more emotional, wishing for all the world my wife was there with me, as the BW is her favorite resort. 

  Then we were past the Yacht and Beach Club and into more backstage area of Epcot where I will never forget, as we neared mile 6, Katy Perry’s Firework was just starting.

Before long back into Epcot by Imagination, and then, there it was! The finish line!


I’d done it! Dave was a great walking buddy! Thanks again Dave.

I proudly wore my shirt around the parks all day!

A note: some friends have said they would like to do a runDisney event, but they would also be walking it. They have heard that runners look down on walkers. I say “Pft” to these negative naysayers. Any exercise is better than none. And walking 3, 6.2, 13.1 or 26.2 is an accomplishment! I used to let these doubts about walking versus running get to me. Never again!


I am now hooked. I am signed up for runDisney updates. I may not make it back this year for an event, but will most certainly be doing more 10Ks, 5Ks, and, maybe, just maybe a half down the line!

 

You can follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends on all their Disney adventures:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.  You can listen to Nick, our friend Dave and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about all things Disney.

runDisney Dreaming & Treadmill Woes

I have developed the most dysfunctional relationship with my treadmill!  Part of the problem is that I’m running on “the replacement” treadmill.  My beloved (yes, you’re allowed to love and become ridiculously attached to exercise machinery) original treadmill survived many years of reliable service.  It helped me train for dozens of races including marathon and half-marathon distances, then it died.

runDisney Dreaming & Treadmill Woes

Sadly, the frame split.  Raymond welded it back together (yes, my sweet husband has mad repair skills), and it finally split again – prompting Raymond to ask me, “Don’t you think it’s done enough and can be put out of its misery?” – and he was right.  That bad boy was awesome, but the time had come to let it go and buy a new one.  I’ve had the replacement since last December, but it’s still not as comfortable to me as the old one.  I’m much slower on this one.  It doesn’t have the same electronic display.  Yes, I’m whiney, but I’m old and we “mature” people tend to be set in our ways.runDisney training selfie

So here’s where I’m at and where I need your help.  I’m trying to lay down a base mileage of 25 miles per week so I can be ready for fall racing.  I can run 1-2 days on the road, but the rest of my running has to be indoors.  I’m looking for all your motivational tips, tricks and playlist suggestions – stuff I can implement to keep me on that stupid treadmill for 4-5 miles per day.  I’m desperate because….RM-Sunrise-runDisney-Princess-Half

Next year’s runDisney races are calling my name!  Princess Half Marathon registration was this week and I saw my friend and fellow blogger, Karen (check her blog out here), post on social media that she was in!  This got me even more excited about my own plans for next year.  Having run the Princess/Glass Slipper Challenge both this year and last, I’ve been wanting to try something new runDisney-wise.  You may recall that my son, Joseph, helped me train for this year’s Glass Slipper Challenge and then stayed home to take care of Junior while I raced. Lisa and Joe training run

 

I owe him a runDisney experience after all of that love and support and I aim to make good in 2017 by registering us both for the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge!

So, with registration looming (I believe in early August) and proof-of-time races in the not too distant future, I’m psyched, yet challenged by my treadmill woes.  Help!  Any and all suggestions to get me through my indoor training are welcome.

Are you doing a runDisney event in 2017?  Which one?  How are you planning to do your training?

 

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.