2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 1

Yes – this race experience warrants more than 1 post.

It surprises me that a 5k could mean so much to me. This particular one has as much emotional weight as my first race.

I have been blabbing about RunDisney to my mom ever since I ran that first race, the Avengers Half Marathon. My mom would always ask me: can I walk those events? And I would tell her yes, but you had to keep a 16 minute per mile pace (which is a brisk walk). A 16 mm pace for an extended distance can be challenging.

After doing some research about the RunDisney 5k distances – I found out that RunDisney seldom sweeps for those races. While they still do enforce the 16mm rule on the website – because the 5k’s are mostly all in the parks, and also because they are targeted towards families with children – they are very generous and as long as you keep moving, you should be fine. I asked my mom if she wanted to get her RunDisney feet wet with the Princess 5k – and she enthusiastically said yes.

In July of this past year, registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened up. The 5k was a definite for me and my mom – I was considering doing the Glass Slipper Challenge or at least the half – but I decided not to.

Why? A few reasons:

The primary reason for this weekend was to spend time with my mom – I didn’t want to enforce early evening bedtimes and lose a big chunk of the mornings more than one time- especially if I was doing the rest of the weekend’s races alone.

This was also my first time doing a RunDisney race in Walt Disney World – sure I’ve had two early morning wake ups in a row for the Dumbo Double Dare, but I could arrive at the race 30-45 minutes before the start – here I had to be on the resort shuttle AT least 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start. I wanted to test the waters out with one race per Florida weekend.

So it was what it was – we were “JUST” doing the 5k.

As the months passed by – I was getting excited and my mom was REALLY pumped. We had been visiting Disney World together many times over the past 25 (eek! where does the time go!) years. This was a brand new experience – a new twist to our typical vacation.

I took a red eye in from SF that landed in Orlando the morning before the race. On both of my flights over to FL – I made conversation with a lot of people who were also participating in the race weekend.

When I landed in MCO – I took Disney’s Magical Express to our resort – where I would meet my mom who was driving in (she lives in Southwest Florida). The line to get on the bus was a bit long – but once I boarded the bus- it took about 45 minutes to be dropped off at the hotel.

Once we were all checked in – we drove over to the expo to pick up our stuff.

The “world” expo experience, was different than the “land” experience. It was a lot more crowded, and the communication on where to pick everything up wasn’t very strong – it was challenging to locate where to pick up your t-shirt and gear bag once you received your bib.

After we got our necessary items – we perused the official merchandise area. I didn’t find anything worth buying. Between the crowds and lack of interest in anything else at the expo – my mom and I went back to our hotel.

Part 2 to come…

2016 San Francisco Kaiser Permanente 5k Recap

On February 2nd I started to have an inkling of a sore throat – which turned into almost 2 weeks of the worst chest cold I’ve had in a very long time. I usually get one to two head colds per year, but fortunately have never been so sick where I have been out of commission. This time was different. I spent many a day laying on the couch all zombie like trying to rest and rid myself of the hacking cough and nasal congestion.

While I was curled up on the couch – I kept anticipating the inevitable half marathon I was registered for – the one I was fully trained for. My 5th half marathon – taking place in my favorite location in San Francisco – Golden Gate Park on February 14th.

Three days out, and still sick, I was about to throw the towel in, when it dawned on me that I still had the option and the physical stamina to complete the 5k – which was also offered that day. I decided to rest up and make a game time decision on race day.

The morning of the race – I still hadn’t made up my mind. Mentally I was there and physically I was feeling close to normal . I had my typical pre-race morning – full of my usual breakfast and jitters/excitement. The Uber driver on the way out to the race told me to follow my mind and do the half – but I still had that nasty bronchial chest cough. There is that common rule I’ve heard about about exercising when sick: if it’s below the neck don’t do it.

The race was set up where everyone started at once – no timed corrals. The 5k cut off was less than a half mile on the course. When I started the race I still didn’t know what race I was going to do – but as I approached the cutoff my gut told me to take the shorter option.

The rest of the race felt like a blur – I did 30:30 intervals and finished with a time of 40:39 – a pace of 13:09 per mile. The best part of the race: I finished feeling healthy and strong.

After this 5k, I got a 5k medal and finishers shirt (that says “Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon & 5k” – so it’s still relevant to the race I did.)

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I’ll never know how I would feel if I decided to do the half, but I do know the rest of the day after the race I spent on the couch sleeping – I also know that the two “easy” shorter runs I did after the race were VERY hard – so I feel that my body still wasn’t half-marathon ready.

I’m just eager to do another half in the coming weeks – I trained for one – so I want to finish one! I’m flying out of state next month, and there is a half marathon near where I am staying that I’m on the cusp of registering for. What’s holding me back is the fear I’ll get sick again – and also running 13.1 miles the day after I take a red-eye flight.

Race Recap: 2016 San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15k

I ran this race over a month, so I’m not writing this recap super fresh.

The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is a series that holds races in different cities throughout the country. Similar to the color run, but with less cities on the map.

The San Francisco event was held at Golden Gate Park.

I had heard about the race from a friend who ran it last year and a BIG draw for me to sign up was the free jacket with registration (some people do it for the medal, I do it for the shirt/jacket).

My husband (who after running the Dumbo Double Dare, told me he was capping his distances at 10ks) signed up with me for the 15k.

There was an expo held two days before the race in an convention center outside the city. Unlike RunDisney, my husband was able to pick up my bib and his without me going with him.

On race day – we got there with a little time to spare. This event was pretty big – and  they had a large setup in the music concourse of GG park. They had gear check, a merch tent, and even a few sponsor kiosks. It almost felt like another expo.

For corrals – they asked you to give a pace at registration – I listed mine as 12 per mile, my husband listed 9 per mile. Right before our registration was confirmed – I got notified I needed to submit a proof of time for my husband (not for me). I attached a screenshot of his Disneyland 10k race – and he got approved. On race day – he turned out to be in the first corral. I was in the second to last one.

There was a LOT of time between corrals. I think my husband started 20 minutes before I did. We were getting text alerts of each other’s tracking, and he told me he started to worry about me because it took a LONG time for my 5k split to be sent to him.

So now the race – after ending the Berkeley Half not feeling so well. I had no PR in mind – I just wanted to pace myself so I would not hit a wall and finish strong. I stuck mostly to 30:30 intervals. I always start races at a slow continuous jog to warm up and find my place amongst the crowd.

There was an ample amount of aid stations and the “fuel” being handed out was plain and chocolate marshmallows, M&M’s and chocolate chips (a different option at each point). I opted out of eating any of it and stuck to my own fuel. I just grabbed the water.

This was my second time running a race through GG park – and it was lovely. SF is the best city for running.

I finished with a time of 1:58:06 – a 12:41 pace. I’m happy to run 9.3 miles in less than two hours and felt really good after finishing.

The medal was SWEET get the pun? A chocolate bar shaped medal with an SF theme. It might be my fave medal to date.

The post race festivities were THE BEST I have ever experienced. Each finisher got a mini fondue cup with melted chocolate, a banana, marshmallows, cookies, rice crispie treats AND cup of piping hot chocolate to drink. After running 9.3 miles everything tasted like heaven. The music concourse was jam packed with runners resting, socializing, and eating. There was also a DJ “spinning tunes”.

In addition to the food – they kept the merch tent open – we didn’t buy anything but looked around.

I loved this race. I would definitely run it again – in SF or another city if I happen to be nearby.