New Thoughts on RunDisney Races

dsc_6843

RunDisney is what got me into running races. The 2014 Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon was my first race, followed by the 2015 Dumbo Double Dare, and the 2016 Princess 5k.

I was all set and registered to run the 2016 Inaugural Lumiere’s Challenge – however the presence of Zika in the state of Florida/my pregnancy made me back out (Disney was kind enough to offer a one-time refund due to the circumstances of both things (Zika+pregnancy)).

Earlier in 2016 – RunDisney stopped their deferment option for races – so if one is not able to attend their planned race, he/she will lose out on their money and will not be able to transfer their funds to another race. RunDisney’s new policy is not uncommon. Most races are non-refundable, however most races (especially half marathons and marathons) are not over $150. Add in a challenge and you are talking about a $300+ expense.

In addition to no deferments, RunDisney has now moved up their registration dates. Registration for the 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which takes place in November, is going on sale this week. It is common for races to sell out within hours, one would have to decide close to 11 months in advance if they are in for these events.

Of course there are other options besides registering directly though RunDisney, so you might be able to postpone your registration date- you could run with a charity, which would require you to raise a certain amount of money to participate. Running for charity seems like it would be a fulfilling way to participate – however fundraising can be challenging. It’s difficult to ask friends and family for donations. I do know many people who hold events like giveaways which gives an incentive for someone to donate.

Another option is to book a race package through a travel agent. Travel agents have access to race registrations and you can sometimes wait a little longer before you purchase them. Most of the time, a room reservation and theme park admission is required for you to purchase as well. Most of the time, this would make sense since you need a hotel room to stay in and most people do plan in spending some time in the theme parks. This option might not be good for someone who lives locally and/or someone who would prefer to choose their own hotel. Some travel agents offer trip insurance which can protect you if you are not able to make your trip.

Back in my young, wild, and free days (about a year ago) I could register for a race around 8 months in advance and be able to attend. With a baby on the way, life is going to get more unpredictable. I would LOVE to participate in a RunDisney event this year, however I just don’t think it’s likely.

When I do decide to jump back in the RunDisney game – I think I am planning to book through a travel agent – since I am an out-of-stater, a hotel room is necessary. I also know I will be visiting the theme parks.

Until then…I will suffer the major FOMO and live vicariously through the numerous RunDisney fanatics who I follow on social media.

How do you register for a RunDisney Race? Do you register through RunDisney, a charity, or do you book through a travel agent?

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 2

Part 1 here

After the expo, we chilled out at the hotel for the remainder of the day – the red eye flight from the night before started to take it’s toll on me and I was fast asleep by 8pm.

Which brings me to 1:30 am the following morning – both my mom and I were up around this time and after laying around for a half hour we started to get ready. Since we were walking a 5k – I decided to primp myself up a little bit more than I would if I were “running” – i.e – I wore makeup and “styled” my hair. By styled I mean I wore my hair down in pigtails and we had matching Ariel headband/tiara thingies that we got from Party City.

We also wore matching Disney tops – which we bought at Macy’s on clearance back in September (I told you we’ve been preparing for this race)

We hopped on the first bus which left the hotel at 3:45 am – we were at the start area by 4am.

One thing I loved about Disney World RunDisney was that they sold concessions at the start area. Our hotel wasn’t selling any food or drinks that early (FYI – Disney host resorts do sell breakfast items before the 10ks and above) – but the start area for the 5k did have coffee, granola bars, breakfast sandwiches, and a few other things. Thank GOODNESS – I need coffee in the morning.

We had about two hours to kill before lining up for the corrals – there was a DJ playing typical pop/party music – so my mom and I killed time and warmed up by dancing and people watching.

Soon enough – we lined up in our corrals – waited another 25 minutes – and we were off.

My mom’s goal was to finish as fast as she could walk – she did not want to stop for any reason – no water, character photos, or even a selfie.

The first mile was in the parking lot/backstage of Epcot, and the remaining 2.1 were in the park.

Once inside the park, the course felt very familiar, as it is essentially a walk around World Showcase and Future World – because we have done this path so many times before – it went by very quickly – however it was so much fun!

Based on looking at the clock when we started and finished – it took us about 56 minutes to walk the 5k – a pace of around 18 per mile.

My mom finished strong – and felt great. I was SO proud of her. She really caught the RunDisney bug and wants to do a 10k next! She feels with training she could get her pace to under 16 minutes – and I plan to help her get there.

Z

We spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom – and proudly wore our 5k medals.

This race was so much fun! I thought I would feel like I was “missing out” because I wasn’t participating in the longer races – but I didn’t feel it that much. In fact, it felt pretty good to wake up early only once and relax the rest of the weekend.

Sure, a 5k might be the shortest “long distance” race out there – but it was memorable – 1.) because the majority of it was in the parks  and 2.) because it was my mom’s first RunDisney race

 

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…

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 3

After the half, my husband and I took a nap and headed to the parks later that afternoon.

We decided to start a tradition when it comes to our post-Disneyland race meal. Last year we ate at Cafe Orleans and indulged in a Three Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwich with a side of Pommes Frites. We repeated the occasion. It was Pure. Fried. Heaven.

1395347_10105201122914905_4742338234698039222_n

We spent the rest of the day and night exploring both parks. A priority for our parks visit was to experience both World of Color at California Adventure and the new Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland.

Our first event was World of Color and it was pretty moving for me, but I do have one complaint. As soon as the show started 95% of the park guests took out their smart phones and held them up to video tape. Obstructing nearly everyone’s view. Your shoddy videotape of the show, which you will probably never watch, should not take priority over the people who prefer to experience the show in real time with their own eyes.

After World of Color, we headed over to Disneyland and got a prime viewing location for the parade. I can not begin to put into words how beautiful the Paint the Night parade is. For me, it was almost worth the price of admission.

11794618_10106537056453385_1592915516952114857_o

Once both parks closed, we walked over to the Disneyland hotel to go to Trader Sams. I had heard so much about this bar from various Disney-philes on social media. However, our idea to go to the bar was not an original one as the bar had reached capacity and it was approximately a 30-45 minute wait to get inside. At that point it was past midnight and we were pretty tired, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

In conclusion – It was an amazing trip – filled with quality time together and with our friend, a few fun surprises, and a great race experience.

A few weeks after the race, I was on vacation in Florida and I visited Fit2Run and finally got a gait analysis and got measured for insoles. I bought my first pair of personally selected running shoes. My previous entry level Asics Gel Contends (three different pairs) carried me through my races for the past two years, but I have more goals on the horizon, and I need to be better equipped.

I’m a proud owner of Hoka One One Cliftons.

GREPK

The Dumbo Double Dare really was a kick in the butt to help me think about my next running ventures.

The Monday after the race, I registered for a 10k taking place in a little over a week – and I registered for my third and final half of 2015.

Running 19.3 miles in two days gave me the crazy idea that I could run 26.2 in one day – and it is on that idea where I am harvesting my 2016 goal of doing the 26.2 – the MARATHON. I am eyeing an early May race, which gives me seven months to train.

The Dumbo Double Dare was my first multi-race challenge – and it definitely was a challenge. Now that I conquered it – I am ready for the new challenges that lay ahead.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 2

Be sure to catch Part 1 of this epic saga

I awoke at 3:30 am the morning of the half and I was ECSTATIC that I slept for six hours.

screenshot_794

My husband was placed in Corral C, and I was in D, but he decided to start with me (what a guy!). We arrived to our corral at 5:20 am, but it was already filled to the brim. I know some people have blamed it on corral jumpers (people who were placed in farther back corrals, who broke the rules and snuck into others) however I think a lot of people in Corral C had partners and friends who were in D, and decided to move back. (In RunDisney, you are allowed to move back to later corrals, but are not allowed to move forward).

So we started in E. No biggie. My husband pretty much split from me in the beginning, and I weaved in and out of slower runners and walkers the first three miles. Like I said, my plan for this race was to run continuously the beginning, and start my 30:30 intervals at mile 4, once we were out of the parks.

My previous and only RunDisney half prior to this one was Avengers. A few people had expressed disappointment with that course, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about until I ran this race. Even when we were out of the park, there was entertainment pretty much at every mile, sometimes twice per mile. Local high school drum lines and cheerleaders. Dance troupes. A mile and a half of classic cars. This race also ran through Angels stadium, like the Avengers, but this time – the stadium had people cheering!

My pace kept increasing as the miles went on. I know I mentioned my goal was to simply finish with a smile on my face – but I added a new one: finish in under three hours.

My time was 2:55:19, with a pace of 13:23 per mile. Goal achieved!

I got my half marathon medal and the Dumbo Double Dare medal. We did it! 19.3 miles!

screenshot_791

Oh yes..there will be a part 3!

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 1

Eight months ago, I anxiously sat by my computer, refreshing the page waiting to register for the Dumbo Double Dare.

Once registered – a few running events happened in the following eight months. I ran my second half marathon that gave me a proof of time to be placed in an earlier corral, and my husband and I ran a 12k and a 5k.

The few weeks prior to the challenge were super busy. I was flying out every week, sometimes twice a week for work and personal travel. I drank Emergen-c, regularly took zinc, made sure to get a lot of sleep, and made hand sanitizer my BFF.

My husband and I arrived an hour before the expo closed on Friday night to pick up our bibs and shirts. I was pretty anxious and excited and got around 3.5 hours of sleep the night before the 10k.

screenshot_782

My husband and I were in Corral C for the 10k. I continuously ran the first two miles outside of the park and started 30:30 intervals once inside the parks – which were the final 4 miles. I REALLY enjoyed both courses for the race – but what was great about the 10k, was that the majority of it took place inside the parks. I took the pace pretty easy and really savored the moments on resort property. The idea was to enjoy the parks for the 10k race, and to continuously run through them for the half – and to do 30:30 intervals the remainder of the half while the race weaved through the city of Anaheim.

I finished the 10k in 1:21:48 with an average pace of 13:10 per mile.

screenshot_780

After the race, my husband and I showered, and met our friend Heather – who lives in the OC who was going to be running the half with us – for breakfast. We walked with her to the expo and perused the booths.

At the ProCompression booth, I got to meet Andrea Barber aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full House and the new Netflix series Fuller House. She is an avid runner and is pretty active on social media. I grew up watching Full House – I have seen every episode – so it was super cool meeting her. She was nice and personable and even took the time to chat with me and my husband and pose for a picture.

11246591_10106520932725465_4728568987641115667_n

After the expo, we went to our friend’s apartment complex to relax by the pool. We went to a local sports bar for pizza and to watch the Wisconsin vs Alabama game.

My husband and I got to our hotel room around 8pm, and fought hard to stay up until 10, but lost the battle at 9:28pm.

Part 2 to follow….

Summer Check In

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote here – so here’s what’s going on:

My next race(s) on the books is  the Dumbo Double Dare taking place at the end of September (10k and Half over a weekend). The races are in Disneyland and I am running it with my husband. We are making it a race-cation. Training for the half and 10k are on track – my goal for the Double Dare is to finish with a grin on my face!

I’m looking forward to the Disneyland 60th nighttime events – specifically the Paint the Night Parade and World of Color. I have a feeling there might be a few emotional tears streaming down my face.

I’m still on the fence about doing another local race.

I signed myself and my mom up for the Princess 5k taking place this February in Walt Disney World. This is my mom’s first RunDisney event and I am so excited for her. We’ve already booked a hotel on property – the weekend is going to be a blast.

RunDisney Dreaming

I am so jealous of everyone who participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Star Wars Half Marathon weekends during the past two weeks. I was hesitant to sign up for another race until after I finished my first half marathon, but now I am kicking myself for not having the foresight to realize that I would become obsessed with RunDisney and want to run all the races.

Le sigh.

For this year: I am trying to coax my husband and our friends to run the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland in September. Let’s see if I can work my magic.

If we don’t do that, then I will definitely do the Rebel Challenge in 2016. Heck, I might even do both.

I think 2016 will be the year of Coast to Coast. I’m not planning on any Florida races for 2015, although…never say never.

What RunDisney races (if any) do you see in your future?