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Monday, April 18, 2016

To RunDisney or Not RunDisney

So you want to run a Disney Race?

After running enough of these races it seemed time to write some tips, tricks, and the dirt on running Disney!

Fast and Furious 9: Run Disney Registration
You may have heard the rumors that registration is fast and furious? Well, they're all true.

On registration day be ready (credit card, personal information, your first born) 30 minutes before registration and once you're in that queue, don't refresh your page.


Other Options to Chaos
Travel Agent:
Sara and I used this route for Dopey 2016 and it was a GAME CHANGER. Not only did we not have to panic on registration day, but we got a great deal on park tickets. Many agents require you to purchase another element of your trip through them (hotel, park tickets, etc.). But if you were already planning to stay on property or visit the parks, then why not! They can usually save you money on those expenses too, so it's a win/win. You will also have to pay your race registration and hotel deposit upfront and pay your hotel bill prior to your stay.

Annual Pass Holder or Disney Vacation Club:
If you are one you can register a week before regular registration BUT they only have a limited number of slots so the about registration chaos still applies.

Bib Trade:
I joke, this is 100% NOT an option and believe me when I say other Disney runners WILL find you and call you out on this. Just don't do this.

Registration Extras
I have never purchased extras (Cheer Squad, Race Retreat) and I do not feel I have missed out. The Cheer Squad is an extra package for family members to be able to cheer you on along your way, but actually it is quite easy to do this without the extra cost. The monorail opens early to let spectators into Magic Kingdom to catch you at the castle (without paying park admission) and during a half that is really the best viewing spot. During the Marathon there are other points along the highway and in Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and in Epcot (for these opportunities though, your support system will need to pay for park entrance). The finish line area is harder to get to and then your family members have to trek to find you.  In the staging area there is a live stream of the finish line and it is easy to find family members.

In my opinion, save your money for important a drink during/after the marathon.

Park Time
Why race in Disney if you can't go to the parks? If you are just doing one race I would wait to go to the parks till after the race. If you are doing multiple (Dopey, Goofy Challenge etc) Chose the hardcore walking parks  for the smaller race days.

During Dopey 2016 I went to Magic Kingdom after the 5k, Hollywood Studios after the 10K, rested the day of the half marathon, and went to Epcot after the marathon to celebrate and drink away leg soreness.

The key to enjoying park time? Napping. Make like a kindergartner and nap. You will be tired/cranky from waking up at 3am, so when you get back after a race, shower and catch a nap. Then proudly wear your medal and get all of the high fives.

Year to year (heck, day to day!) this changes. Sometimes in January it is chilly for Florida (high 40s race morning) other years race morning it is in the mid 60s. Do yourself a favor and invest in a garbage bag or a $2 sweater from Goodwill for race morning. This year I had a throw away shirt for every race and $1 gloves. Marathon morning I needed neither at the start.

For those of us coming from cold temperatures, the humidity can be a shock. If you have access to a gym try and log miles inside on the treadmill to get used to warmer temperatures. When you land in Florida be sure to log a couple miles of an acclimation/shake out run. If it is particularly humid prepare to slow down a bit on your race pace as your body will be adjusting.

This is not the 30┬║ I was used to running in
On vs Off Property
I really believe this is a personal preference (unless you registered via a Travel Agent). I have done both staying off site at a timeshare and on property (at the All Star Resorts and at Port Orleans) and each has their Pros & Cons so here we go.

If you like your own food or have diet restrictions then access to a kitchen is important. Disney's food is not the healthiest. When off property I brought a lot from home and went to a grocery store to get anything I couldn't bring on a plan. On property I took an Uber/Lyft/cab to go and grab a few essentials I could store in the room

As much as Disney may make it seem that driving is the worst, it really is not. The signs are very clear and, as long as you leave a little extra time, parking is a breeze. Remembering where you parked after the race...a bit harder. It is virtually impossible to stay off property without a car or access to one. On property you have the Disney transportation that will get you to/from the expo and races. Sometimes you do have to wait a bit and if you are like me and get tired of waiting/crowds this can be hard. That and navigating bus stairs after a race is REALLY hard (walk down backwards).

One thing to keep in mind for some race weekends is that not all on property resorts are official race resorts, which means they won't have bus transportation to and from race locations. For the bigger weekends (marathon weekend and Princess weekend), ALL resorts on property are race resorts, but for smaller weekends (Wine & Dine), you should double check to make sure your hotel will have bus transportation to the races.

Noise pollution:
As you will be napping or trying to go to sleep earlier than most I found that off property had less noise, because they often have less people. Now if you are lucky to score one of the back/remote rooms in Port Orleans it is quiet, but you will hear families and fireworks as you try and sleep.

...Neither is free, find what works in your budget? In Dopey 2014 we did not have to rent a car because our friend drove down, he is crazy and we fed him all the food.

On? Off? Chose what works for you and have a blast
I will say, Disney is ace at hotel decoration and vibe. You just can't beat that magic.

This really needs its own post, but I will advise that you think about this before you leave. Give yourself time to over pack and then pull out things you don't need (no you don't need 5 pairs of shorts or a pair of heels and you do not need to bring 50 gels). Keep in mind you will also be getting race shirts so there is your post-race outfit for park hopping. I managed to pack for Dopey 2016 in two carry-ons. 
The key? Ziploc bags for race outfits
1) it makes for easy storage, 
2) easy to find and layout all of those outfits before the races
3) you have a place to hide smelly clothes that you cannot wash).

FYI - peanut butter counts as a liquid...I found this out the hard way. Be sure to label protein powders as "Not Drugs" for maximum security time. If you have a foam roller...yes, you will want that. Bring anything you need for the races in your carry on bag. I'm neurotic so I wear my race shoes on the plane so that I know they made it. I'll work on a packing post. Believe me, I haven't even given you all my tricks.

I hope this helps - if you have any other questions or queries just comment below! Happy to answer and help out! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2015 Jingle Jungle 5k Race Recap

One of the biggest takeaways from last year's Wine & Dine Half Marathon was that I wished we had registered to run Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5k that morning. So this year, I made good on that wish and registered for both!

Rachel wasn't able to snag a precious registration spot for the 5k this year, so I was going it solo that morning. With some clever costume repurposing by my mom (thanks to my friend Bridget, who gave up part of her Halloween costume for my cape), I was fully embracing the holiday theme to this race by dressing as Belle in "Something There" (you know - this beautiful dress).

This is definitely one of my favorite costumes I've run in so far, but that cape did NOT make running any easier in the heat and humidity we faced that morning! Not to mention the constant mistaking for Little Red Riding Hood. Where she features in Disney, I don't know, but I sure stumped the DJ for about ten minutes that morning as he tried to figure out who I was!

Now that Expedition Everest is no more, the Jingle Jungle is the only Disney World 5k that doesn't run through Epcot. A welcome change, especially coming up on Marathon weekend, when I'll be running through Epcot every morning of the Dopey Challenge! The course weaves its way through Animal Kingdom (starting and finishing in its parking lot), and packed 6 character stops into 3.1 miles, plus ops with a festively dressed Mickey and Minnie at the start line.

Starting near the front of Corral B, I managed to stop for 5 out of 6 of the on-course characters stops, and almost made it to Goofy and Donald before they closed the line off to encourage runners to the finish. Will have to pick up my pace just a tad to get all of them in next year!

This race is absolutely going down as one of my favorite runDisney events to date. I loved the course through Animal Kingdom (particularly later that evening when AK was cut to make the W&D course shorter!), loved how many characters were out, and loved the holiday theme. I'll absolutely be back next year...and have an eye on Minnie's Christmas outfit as a race costume!

Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 Wine and Dine Half-Marathon Race Recap

2014: Wine and Dine Half-Marathon aka  Splash and Dash

2015: Wine and Dine Half-Marathon   Quarter Marathon

2016: ......TBD...

If you are a Disney runner then you have heard all the fun of the evacuation, race delay, and course shortening, but before we get to all that drama lets look back at the fun bits.

Sara and I had an early flight out of DC, but luckily we found coffee.
Someone's homemade ears didn't quite make it...
Arriving around 9:00am meant that we had time to EXPO early....and that our hotel room wasn't ready yet.
Brilliant ear fix...and more caffeinated!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Wine Dine Half - expo & hotel photo post!

Hello from Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend! Sara is up early tomorrow to run the Jingle Jungle 5k, then Team CinderWars is taking on the Wine Dine Half in the evening. Today was expo day, and an afternoon chilling at the hotel, exploring all of the fun themes the All Star Movies resort has to offer!

More photos and fun behind the jump!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Comment dites-vous "half marathon" en fran├žais?

The MUCH anticipated and constantly rumored Disneyland Paris Half Marathon is finally coming to fruition! Disney announced it during the pre-race festivities at this morning's Princess Half Marathon.

Right now we don't have anything other than dates (September 23-26, 2016), but Rachel and already have our calendars marked off... will we see you in PARIS!?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Race Recap - Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014

This past weekend, Rachel and I took on the first of back to back runDisney race weekends, and ran our 5th half marathon as a team. As you may have heard by now, the weather didn't quite cooperate for a perfectly magical 13.1 miles in Disney, but regardless, we set out to have ourselves a good time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sara's Running the Army Ten Miler for Team Fisher House

I've joined Team Fisher House and am raising $200 for the upcoming Army Ten Miler in October, and I'd love your support.

As some of you know, my Pop Pop has been battling cancer this year. The disease has progressed quickly since we discovered it at the beginning of the year, and he's been in and out of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and the emergency room over the past few months. Thankfully, he has received excellent care at the Miami VA Hospital, and through an amazing organization called Fisher House Foundation, Mamajode has been able to stay right next door, instead of having to drive back and forth from Coral Springs to be with him.

My amazing grandparents - Mamajode and Pop Pop in Bunratty, Ireland

Fisher House is an amazing foundation that provides support to Military families during their times of need by building "comfort homes" on the grounds of military and VA medical centers. These comfort homes provide lodging and food for families to stay near their loved ones, and the best part is, it's completely free.

Throwback! Pop Pop, me, and Mamajode at my college graduation.

As more of you know, I'm running the Army Ten Miler this coming October. Recently, I discovered that Fisher House has a race team as part of their fundraising options, which means that in addition to running this classic hometown race, I can start giving back to the organization that has been such a blessing to the family over the past few months. So I've joined Team Fisher House for the Army Ten Miler, and hope to raise $200 by race day, October 12.

EDIT 9/10: I've successfully met my goal of $200, so I'm getting more ambitious! Double or nothin'.

EDIT 10/6: I've also met my stretch goal, and am currently sitting at $503. Seeing as at $600 I get a swanky Fisher House jacket, let's see if we can get there in a week. That's just 7 people making my suggested $14 donation. Help me out, friends!

How can you help? 
Donate! I'm asking for donations of $14: $10 for each mile I'm running + $4 for Pop Pop's jersey number when he played minor league ball for the Brooklyn Dodgers (yup, that's right - he's the coolest grandpa around!).

If you can't donate, come out on October 12 and cheer me on!

For Christmas last year, Pop Pop autographed a baseball for me, and sent it along with a card that said "Derek Jeter wasn't available, but here's the next best thing." (Don't tell him, but I'd rather have this than a Jeter autograph ANY day.)