2016 Wine & Dine Weekend Changes & Registration

12232658_10153134096346283_4339498200698294697_o

Well folks, tomorrow is the big day! Registration for the 2016 Wine and Dine weekend opens to the general public March 29th at 12 pm EST.

Before we talk about tips for getting registered let’s talk about this years event and how it’s shaping up to be a very different race weekend than years past…

RunDisney announced some big changes to the event this year to a very mixed response from runners. In past years, this event took runners on a 13.1 mile journey starting at ESPN, heading out to Animal Kingdom, then on to Hollywood Studios (through the now extinct Osborne Lights), and finishing in Epcot.

It was one of the 12188119_10153134097971283_2123147370083044313_oonly races left that would take place at night culminating in a private after party in Epcot where runners could sample all the offerings of the Food & Wine festival as well as ride their favorite attractions.

So what’s changed?

Better set your alarm – The biggest change, and one that seems to strike a cord with runners the most, is that this race is no longer a nighttime race. That’s right. Just like all the other RunDisney events in Florida this means a 3:00 am wake up call. After the removal of the Tower of Terror 10 miler and the Expedition Everest Challenge this was the last remaining event to be run at night and, IMO, is what made this event special.

The Post Race Party is really post race – Usually runners head to the post race festivities immediately following the race but with the half marathon being held in the morning, the party has now been moved to later that evening.  This can be great news for runners who would rather shower, unwind, and rest their legs before the party. I know I will really miss grabbing my “free” glass of wine/beer at the finish line and heading off to World Showcase to stuff my face with every carb imaginable – it was one of the big incentives for me to push hard during the half to make it to the after party with lots of time to spare.

New races/new bling –  In addition to the 5k and the Half that is usually offered, RunDisney is adding a 10k to the race weekend and creating a new challenge: Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge. This is great news for those runners looking to add some cool new race bling to their collection. Runners should also note that in order to incorporate the 10k into the weekend on Saturday the 5k has now been moved to Friday.

A more expensive weekend – With the new added races comes a longer race weekend and more time spent in Disney. For runners wanting to tackle all races that means arriving on a Thursday to pick up your bib at the Expo and staying at least until Monday morning. Great for Disney’s bank account but not so much for yours or mine.

So you’ve heard all the changes and you’re still excited to register tomorrow – here are some tips to help you out.

reg fees

  • Create an Active.com account before registration opens – doing this during registration eats up a lot of time.
  • Get on the RunDisney website early so you are ready to go when registration opens. I usually get everything set up at least 10 min before registration opens just in case I have issues with my computer.
  • Know which races you want to register for. If you are signing up for the challenge those sell out quick so register for that first. NOTE: Signing up for the 10k & half by themselves doesn’t qualify you for the challenge. In order to take home the challenge medal you need to sign up for Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge.
  • Have all the information you need for registration at the ready. This means knowing your shirt size, proof of time, whether or not you want to purchase commemorative items, and of course your credit card information.
  • Always print your confirmation – I had an issue one year but because I had a printed copy of my confirmation I was able to fix the issue with Active/RunDisney

Anyone who’s registered for a RunDisney race before knows how stressful it can be – sometimes more so than actually running the race. I’m sure this event will be no different especially with an inaugural race (10k) and a new challenge. Good luck runners!

Are you planning on registering tomorrow? How do you feel about the changes to the race weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Advertisements

2016 Princess Half Marathon – Part III

 

After the race it was back to POP for a shower and some well needed rest. I usually head right to Magic Kingdom (or Disneyland if i’m on the East coast) after a race to get some photos with my medal but this was a last minute trip and money was tight so I skipped the parks. Instead, I treated myself to afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room at the Grand Floridian.

FullSizeRender

It can be a little pricey but if you’ve never done it, it is quite the treat. I’m English (was born in the UK) so afternoon tea is just SO me. I filled myself with samplings of different cheeses, exotic fruits, finger sandwiches, pastries and desserts. I could barely move when I left but I regretted nothing. Haha I earned it.

After dinner my legs were feeling pretty good so I decided to walk from the Grand to the Polynesian taking photos of the monorail resorts. Have I mentioned how much I love sunsets in Florida?? A short monorail ride later I was at the Contemporary then took a leisurely boat ride over to the Wilderness Lodge. It was the perfect evening.

On Monday, Kristin wanted to hit the parks so we decided on a 4-park challenge. All 4 12512446_10153313007961283_64217858148151733_nparks in one day. It probably would have worked out better had we both woken up when we planned too but the last few days of 3:00 am wake up calls caught up to us. We had breakfast booked at the Grand for 9:00 am and I don’t think we made it there until at least 10:00 am. Whoops. You can’t start a 4 park challenge without Mickey waffles and Mimosas…

We officially started our day at noon and hit up Animal Kingdom first so we could ride Everest and watch Festival of the Lion King. Next up was a trip to Magic Kingdom to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Then we head over to Epcot to ride Spaceship Earth before heading to Hollywood Studios to watch Fantasmic (from the worst seats ever) and the new Star Wars fireworks.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fireworks and the new Star Wars ones blew me away. I must have had the dumbest smile on my face the whole time. The music. The fireworks. Just incredible. If your planning a trip soon this should be on the top of your must do list.

Because I love fireworks and we were only a short walk away we managed to make it over to Epcot in time to watch Illuminations and have some Grey Goose slushies in France. As soon as Illuminations were over we only had an hour to make it back to Magic Kingdom before it closed so we walked over to the Beach Club and caught a bus from there. We didn’t have time to ride anything but managed to catch up with some of Kristin’s cast member friends and watch the ‘Kiss Goodnight’.

Overall, I couldn’t of asked for a more perfect weekend. I was surrounded by some of the most inspiring and incredibly supportive people I know. Thank you to all the new fantastic runners I met and the old friends who made a point to meet up with me over the weekend – I felt so loved!  This is a large part of why I continue to run Disney – the people. You’re all awesome.

Now that i’ve said that, you’re probably asking which RunDisney event is next…??

I would love to run Star Wars in April or Tinkerbell in May, to get that pink Coast to Coast medal, but I just can’t make it work because….I just bought a condo!! Yay for being a responsible adult haha

Im going to try and cut back my RunDisney events to one a year and spend more time focusing on cheaper local races – with the first one being the Calgary Half Marathon on May 29th.  Anyone who runs Disney knows that this particular addication ain’t cheap.

10w8kb

With the brand new Lumiere’s Challenge just announced for Wine and Dine weekend in the fall I think that will be my next Disney race. In 2017 I will probably run Star Wars since I was pretty sad about missing it this year. With 2018 being the big year for me to conquer the Dopey Challenge. I was going to do in 2017 but 2018 is an anniversary year for Dopey, the 10k, and marathon so it means new bling as well as more time to train.

So that’s it! Another great race weekend in the books with lots more racing to look forward too…

 

Which RunDisney events are on your calendar this year? Will I see you at Wine and Dine in November?

 

 

 

2016 Princess Half Marathon – Part II

That 3:00 am alarm came far too soon but it wasn’t long until I was up and on my way to run my 6th half marathon and my 12th RunDisney race.12718047_10153313008721283_1044528796627864363_n

Kristin and I tried to leave a little earlier for the buses since the lines were crazy the day before for the 10k. I think we only ended up waiting about 12 min or so and we were on the bus. Set up was the same as the day before with staging in the Wonder parking lot at Epcot. Like the 10k, they had princesses out for pictures but the lines were pretty long by the time we got there. If you’re not planning on stopping for photos during the race and you want to take advantage of the photo ops in the morning try and get on the earliest bus you can – closer to 3:00 am.

We ran into Kirk from the #Firsties group again and he was going to be spectating with Kristin. Their plan was to catch me (and some other #Firsties) at the Grand Floridian and then again at the finish line. I said a quick hello, got my good luck hug, and was on my way to the corrals. If you’ve run Princess before you know that the walk to the corrals can be L-O-N-G. Make sure to give yourself lots of time to get from the staging area to your corrals. It is a little over 1/2 mile to the start depending on which corral your in.

Luckily I was placed into the right corral – I thought for sure getting a bib last minute meant starting all the way back in P but was actually placed in H! I realized after the race though that I submitted the wrong POT and could have been in G …oh well.

At 5:30 am the first fireworks went off and the race had begun. Each corral was starting a few minutes after the last and I finally crossed the start at 5:54 am.I had no plans for this race other than just to run. No plans for a PR. No plans for what intervals to run and no plans for pacing. In theory it sounded like a great idea – and it was for the first half of the race. I was flying. I was channeling all my frustrations into the run and focused on nothing but my feet pounding the pavement.

It wasn’t long until I hit the 3 mile mark and was entering the Magic Kingdom toll plaza. “Caution Runners: Speed Bump Ahead”. Shortly after that I was running through the Ticket and Transportation Centre then past the Contemporary Resort. It was then I knew I was running too fast and I was pushing too hard. I was running high 10 min/miles which I knew I couldn’t sustain for a full 13.1 miles especially with no training. But I didn’t care. I decided to push hard for as long as it felt good and back off in the second half if I needed to.

12079115_10153313008456283_425298317520399969_n

It wasn’t long until I rounded the corner and was out on Main Street USA with Cinderella’s Castle out in front of me. It makes me tear up every time. Last time I saw this castle I was running down Main Street for my first Marathon. It was a pretty emotional moment with lots of memories from my last race.

The course took us back through Tomorrowland and entered the back of Fantasyland by Journey of the Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto.

As usual the stretch through the castle was pretty slow going. I have yet to run this course (for Princess or the WDW 1/2) and not walk through the castle instead of run. There were lots of characters out throughout Magic Kingdom including a bunch of Princesses back stage as you exit Frontierland. I didn’t really take many photos at all this race let alone stop for character photos.

I had been texting Kristin and told her that it wasn’t long until I would be at the Grand. At least with all my bright colors I wouldn’t be hard for her to spot! The stretch from backstage leading up the Grand can be pretty tough. Its a narrow stretch of road with active traffic on the other side of the traffic cones and you mostly have to resort to running on the grass to get around people.

The frustration was short lived and I could finally spot Kirk and Kristin in the distance. I ran past them with a huge smile on my face and a big wave. It was so nice to have some familiar faces on the course. I also ‘ran into’ a bunch of runners from Instagram and the #Firsties group during the race. It seemed like every time I looked around there was a familiar face.

It was around mile 8 that I started to pay the consequences for pushing myself so hard during the first half of the race. I completely ran out of steam. I was tired but I think it was more mental than anything. I started to think about all the events of the past few weeks and it really got to me. I started to doubt my abilities to finish and was just too tired to run. I tried downing some extra GU gels to help get my energy level up but mental I was beat. It didn’t help that the sun was starting to come up and it was getting really hot out on the highway. I don’t usually ‘hit the wall’ in a Half so this was new to me. 12734190_10153312993001283_4019311137081685965_n

I decided to just slow right down for a mile or two and get myself mentally back in the game taking a short break for a picture at the mile 9 marker.

It was shortly after that when I checked my Garmin and realized that if I picked it up I could still PR. I put my headphones in, cranked up the tunes, and attacked those dreaded mile 10/11 overpasses with all I had.

I could see Spaceship Earth in the distance and sent a text to Kristin to let her know I was almost at mile 12 and about to enter Epcot. The crowd support here is always fantastic – so many people cheering. It is always a great push to get you to the finish.

As I entered Epcot I got text back from Kristin saying that her and Kirk were going to likely miss me finish since they were still waiting for a monorail from the TTC. Maybe it was the exhaustion from the race or the emotions of the previous week but I started to get really upset. I didn’t want to cross that finish line alone. The more I thought about it the harder it was to run and breathe so I tried my hardest to settle myself down and correct my breathing. I took a quick walk break during the out and back to World Showcase Lagoon and tried to focus on all that I had accomplished.

12745786_10153312993886283_5650832743935723503_nRegardless of who or what was waiting for me at the finish line I was going to finish. I was going to finish with a PR. I was going to finish without training.

I thought back to the days when I could barely run a mile let alone 26.2. I’ve overcome a lot in the last 2 1/2 years of running and have been lucky enough to run 12 different RunDisney events and have met some amazing people in the process. I owed it to myself to cross that finish line grateful, with a happy heart and a smile on my face. Nothing else matters.

I crossed the finish line in 2:42:11. I set a PR of almost 5 minutes – not bad for no training! I got sprinkled with pixie dust at the finish, was given my medal, and headed off to wait for Kristin and Kirk. I felt like a new person. Like everything was left behind on the course. I felt fantastic. Now it was time to celebrate…

Stayed tuned for Part III where I give some final thoughts about the Princess Half, a quick recap of the post race celebrations, and what races are on the schedule for the next year.

 

 

2016 Princess Half Marathon – Part I

Wow! It’s been awhile since I added a new blog post…Sorry guys!

Now that life is starting to feel normal again and i’m starting to get back into the swing of things let’s kick this off with a recap of the 2016 Princess Half Marathon.

12734157_10153313008656283_3322829985653289119_n

If you remember, after marathon weekend, I had no plans to run anymore RunDisney events, at least until 2017. Well life (being this crazy, sometimes cruel, sometimes awesome thing) threw me a bit of a curve ball in the form of a breakup. On Valentine’s Day. Of all days.

It was just a few days before Princess weekend and I was feeling pretty down when a bunch of my runner friends began asking me to fly out to Florida to take my mind off of life. Now running did sound pretty awesome (and I had the time off of work anyway) but I wasn’t sure if I was physically ready. I had done ZERO training since marathon weekend. Plus, sitting at home with copious amounts of wine, cookie dough ice cream, and listening to Adele is like THE thing to do when going through a break-up, am I right?

Well turns out i’m a sucker for peer pressure and decided to buy a bib for the Princess Half through the Ronald McDonald House charity based out of Georgia. I had a bib, a flight credit with WestJet and  multiple offers from friends to stay with them. Everything fell into place pretty nicely for planning a trip on 2 days notice.

I ended up staying with an awesome girl who I met at the Expedition Everest Challenge last year. She was staying at POP and running her first 10k during Princess Weekend. Her boyfriend ended up not being able to make it so we spent the weekend waking up at ungodly times to support each other in our races. Did I mention how awesome RunDisney friends are?? You’re the best Kristin!

I arrived in Florida on the Friday afternoon and headed over to the Expo around dinner time. For anyone following Princess Weekend on social media you know how crazy the expo was this year.10367178_10153313008601283_6655471838630346921_n I really had thought RunDisney had made some improvements with their Expo over the last few events but Princess was a huge disappointment. Most of the popular merchandise was gone by the first day.

I had hoped to get one of the Princess Half Marathon tank tops to wear during the race (last minute race = zero costume preparation) but there were none left at all. In fact I didn’t even see a lot of the merch that was advertised by RunDisney beforehand – it all went THAT fast.

Actually, I found a lot of the big vendors at the expo were picked over for merchandise. I tried to get a tank top from Raw Threads too but the
only sizes left in most of the tank tops was either XL or XXL. Bummer.

In the end it was Sparkle Athletic that saved the day. I managed to find a super cute “Blood, Sweat, Sparkle” tank top with a tiara on it that would fit the theme of the race and would pair perfectly with my awesome new Pro Compression socks. Life was starting to fall into place once again 😉

After the expo it was back to POP to relax, get Kristin ready for her first 10k, and call it a night.

12742266_10153313008486283_7923682795455585422_n

Sunset at POP Century

As usual, with most RunDisney weekends, the alarms were set for 3:00 am. Brutal for someone like me on Mountain Time…12524287_10153313008596283_538810220584204885_n

We finally made it out the door around 3:30 AM  and the lines for buses were already pretty long but moved fairly quickly. The setup was pretty similar to other RunDisney races with the staging area setup in the EPCOT parking lot. There were some princesses out for photographs – the lines were HUGE but it gave us something to do to pass the time before Kristin had to head to her corral.

I spent the race spectating (for the first time ever!) with some awesome people from the #Firsties Facebook group.
563368_10153312992681283_8493131440888474606_n**NOTE:
#Firsties are an awesome group of people looking to run their first marathon or first RunDisney marathon. If you are thinking of signing up or training for a marathon I highly recommend looking up “First-time Marathoners at WDW!” on Facebook and joining this group. The people are amazing and the admins in the group are the most supportive and helpful of any running group i’ve ever been a part of online.

Spectating was such a great experience. I was so nervous and excited to see Kristin finish. I’m proud to say she totally crushed her first 10k with a time 1:22:44. Just. Awesome.

After the race, I was in desperate need of a nap. The jetlag and emotions of the last week were starting to catch up to me. If it wasn’t for the #werunsocial meetup that afternoon I probably would have stayed in bed all day.

I had been trying to get to one of these meetups during the last few RunDisney events but each time ended up running into a conflict and not making it – not this trip! I was determined to meet some of the awesome Instagram peeps i’ve been chatting with for the last year.

The meetup was at Disney Springs and had a fantastic turn out.  A big shout out to Sparkle Athletic and Pro Compression for sponsoring the event. There were some great giveaways and I walked away with a beautiful bracelet from Momentum Jewelry and some new Sparkly Soul Headbands – not to mention some new runner friends.

12745563_10153312992851283_4765879182843230752_n.jpg

After the meetup I spent some time by the pool in the sun and started prepping physically (and mentally) for the Half in the morning.993549_10153313008451283_3415364040560235076_n

I was filled with a lot of self doubt that night due to the lack of training and partially because I was running for the first time without my ex for support. I know it’s dumb but he was pretty instrumental in pushing me through marathon training and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do it without him. I really wanted to be able to do this without him. This race was becoming more than just another piece of bling – it was to prove to myself that I am still a strong, capable runner who didn’t need the support or validation of a man to succeed. Something deep down I always knew to be true but just needed a little reminder of.

I had the support of some awesome people. My flat runner was ready. The alarm was set. I couldn’t wait to toe that start line and run off a week of frustration and put the pain of the last few weeks behind me once and for all.

 Stick around for Part Two to see if I survived the Half with no training…