Tag Archives: disney

Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon: Expo

Wes and I arrived at the Walt Disney World Resort early Friday afternoon. Friday was spent visiting with friends while enroute to Disney and after we had checked in. We went to bed early-ish in the morning so that we could wake up early for the expo on Saturday.

We arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports early, anticipating a huge crowd. We didn’t need to worry about that – I guess the vast majority of people had beat us to the expo on Thursday and Friday prior to the 5K and 10K events. That did not quite concern me – I was quite alright with there being no crowds! We walked up and of course there were already picture opportunities.

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ESPN Wide World of Sports

I was very lucky to have my hubby with me to act as my own personal photographer. And trust me, I used and abused him being there to take as many photos as possible! We first came upon a backdrop to take a picture in front of the Princess Half logo.

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Cheesy, I know. But this was my first half marathon!

The expo was split up into two parts. When you came upon where it split off, you went left to pick up your packet and drop off your waiver. Wes was also able to pick up his “ChEAR Squad” gear. They had a little bit of runDisney merchandise there with a few booths set up in the area.

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Entrance into the Packet Pick Up Area – cue excitement
Squee!
Squee!

Once inside, I picked up my pre-ordered sweatshirt (I actually ended up having to come back to get this – I didn’t quite pay attention and thought you could pick it up at the actual expo area) and my bib. There were quite a few backdrops to take pictures at, as well! We walked around, I stopped to talk to the MarathonFoto reps about some questions and concerns and then we continued to the actual expo.

A couple of points about MarathonFoto for anyone considering a runDisney event in the future. Each download of their pictures costs about $29 or so. Before the race, they’ll let you buy a $100 one-time-use gift certificate for $65 (saving $35) which I thought was a pretty good deal. Just be sure you look for their photographers on the course (mainly in Epcot and in Magic Kingdom) so you get your money’s worth. Also realize that they are bent on taking pictures of as many people as possible – so making you look your best is not their top agenda. That falls on you!

Packet Pick Up Area
Packet Pick Up Area

The large expo area is where you get to pick up your official race shirt and where you get to shop around. There are lots of booths – to include a booth for the New Balance runDisney shoe line. I would have loved to have bought a pair of shoes this year but decided to go for a few shirts instead (pictured later). Children’s Miracle Network (the presenting sponsor) also has a nice big set up in the middle. Family members/friends there to support you can also make signs to cheer you on during your race. The runDisney merchandise area is expansive and they have tables set up so you can try on shirts (awesome!).

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Perhaps my absolute favorite part of the expo was meeting my running idol, Jeff Galloway. I always use the Galloway Method when I run and feel like I recover faster for it. Even today, only a few days after the half, my legs and feet feel great! I practically squealed when I saw him and snapped a few pictures with him. He was so sweet to me – and its awesome to know someone who is so inspiring to me is also an alumnus of Florida State University with me!

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Does that smile show just how excited I was to meet this man?

This post simply would not be complete without giving a shout out to an organization and to a person. First – the organization. Major props to the Children’s Miracle Network for putting on such an incredible event with runDisney. They do so many good things for sick children and I think their mission is so commendable. The best shout out is reserved for my darling husband. He always supports me through all of my running endeavors and I really feel like he helped me remain strong throughout my run, as well. I knew he was there cheering me on even though I could not see him! I love him dearly and I appreciate all that he does for me.

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My Prince Charming, my best friend, the love of my life.
Of course, this post just would not be complete with a photo of my "spoils".
Of course, this post just would not be complete with a photo of my “spoils”.
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220 Days To Go!

On July 15, I finished up work at 6:30 am and got into my car after working twelve long and slow hours. The sun wasn’t up yet, but small bands of pink, purples and blues were winding their way into the clouds. My eyelids were heavy from being tired. When I got home, I retrieved my laptop and wallet. I climbed the stairs to my bedroom and set up my laptop. I sleepily pressed the power button and waited for it to load. I pulled up the appropriate runDisney websites and settled down to wind down. I read a chapter in my current book, switched off the light, and laid down to sleep.

I waited.

I turned over on my side.

I poked my husband and asked him to cuddle with me.

I told him to stop cuddling me.

Rolled back over onto the other side.

Stared at my laptop.

Went over the very boring night at work I had just had.

I kicked my husband out of bed so I could have more room to sleep.

I turned over again.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely overcome with excitement. My mind was racing. I was thinking of how the WDW Marathon had sold out within the first few hours. I was scared of falling asleep and being too sound asleep to wake up to my alarms set for 11:45 am, 11:47 am and 11:50 am. Sometime around 9 am, I drifted asleep. In a little over two hours, I jolted away to Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go”.

I was cranky and tired. I pulled my laptop onto the bed and shifted to my side to face the screen. I refreshed the websites. I continued refreshing the page until noon hit. When I was in college, registering for classes was done in much the same way. You had a particular time when registration started. You set up your computer the night before, set your alarm for a few minutes before registration started, and hoped. You hoped that you got in before the multitude of others trying to get in. You hoped that you would fly through the screens to get your classes. You hoped that the servers wouldn’t start crashing. And you cussed up a storm when the inevitable happened: the server crashed.

Yesterday was no different. The website was sluggish and kept crashing. I found myself in a queue, impatiently waiting for it to click down to allow me entry. I had numerous web pages open in an attempt to get through to the registration page. I got to the screen where I could select which event I wanted to go to… only to have it crash on me a few seconds later. I said my fair share of four letter words. My husband was downstairs on his own computer, attempting to get through the thousands of people trying to register for the Disney Princess Half Marathon and associated events.

Forty-five minutes into the process, I got through to the personal data page. At the same time, so did my husband. I quickly typed out my demographics and personal information. I selected my shirt size and inputted my possible finish time (3:15… I’m actually projecting for closer to 2:30 once I am through with training!). I clicked “Submit” and held my breath. My husband did the same. I told him to wait while the payment page populated. I quickly inputted my debit card information and clicked submit, waiting for it to go through. Before the page had time to tell me that the payment had been accepted, my husband called out to me that it had just posted to our bank account.

I let out a sigh of relief and let myself revel in the joy of the moment. I have been waiting to register. I have been worried that I would be unable to register due to the sheer amount of people attempting to register for the very same event. I shut down my computer and settled down to sleep after receiving this email:

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I suppose this was a very long winded way to say that in 220 days, I will be running 13.1 miles throughout Epcot and Magic Kingdom on this route:

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Makes the 8.89 miles I did Monday morning look like child’s play.

Oh, by the way, just in case there is any question… yes, I shall be dressing up.

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Listening To Your Body

It has been four days since I went for a run – outside or on the treadmill. I had a rough night at work on Thursday night and when I got off from work – I pounded out one hell of a work out at the gym. By the end of my workout, I was dripping sweat and felt great. I wanted to get the most out of my work out – I had a lot of energy and emotion to burn off. Plus, I was looking toward a weekend at Disney with my mother-in-law. I knew the chances of me getting a work out were slim. I turned out to be right. We spent all of Saturday walking around Epcot. By the end of the day, my feet were sore and my calves felt super tight. I spent roughly two hours waiting in line to get my picture taken with Anna and Elsa (it was their last day in Norway at Epcot) and was definitely feeling it in my feet (and in the bright red sun burns across my arms – ouch).

I took a hot bath to soothe my aches (which aggravated the sunburn – go figure) and decided to give myself a couple of extra rest days. I wanted to go for a run before work yesterday but decided to continue my string of “rest”. I was still tired and did not want to push it.

It is important to listen to your body. There are times to push yourself but there are also times that your body is screaming at you to take a break. Mine was screaming at me Saturday night into Monday afternoon. Taking it easy was a great idea. I have a little under two hours left in my work shift and I am ready to go for my run. I feel the itch in my legs and I’m ready to crank out some miles.

Resting is an important part of training – and being able to listen to your body is crucial to your physical and mental health. Listen to your body. Don’t over do it – hurting yourself will only set you back in your training. Plus, who wants to be in pain?