It’s Spring, and I’m Back!

Happy spring, everyone!

First of all, I want to apologize for my rather long break from the “blogosphere.” I’ve had a lot on my plate over the last month with work, my sister’s games, and house work. Even though I’ve been gone, I’ve gotten a lot done, and I appreciate your patience.

So…what have I been up to, and what’s next for me?

Well, since my last post, I’ve started to refocus on my nutrition (since I let it slip after Dopey), and I’ve been training for my two upcoming half marathons next month (UPMC Pittsburgh Half Marathon and York Half Marathon). So, not much has changed 🙂

In terms of my plans for the year….well, I plan to get back to blogging and really take my training/race schedule at a very easy pace. I really only have my eye on one more race this year, the Hershey Half Marathon. Steve has recently started running with me every few days, so I’m hoping that he will want to do that race with me. How fun would that be?! But, other than that, I plan on taking it easy the rest of the year since last year was so busy with Dopey training.

Today’s post wasn’t long, but I wanted to give you all an update on what’s been going on. I’ll be back soon with another post, but, for now, I’m signing off.

Have any ideas on future posts? Send them to me!

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Walt Disney World Marathon 2018 Recap

IT IS TIME…for the last installment of my 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend recaps! If you haven’t guessed, The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie of all time.

If you missed my 5K, 10K, and half marathon recaps, be sure to check them out!

Flashback to January 7, 2018…..

I woke up for my fifth and final early morning of the weekend. Jenna and I brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and put on some sunscreen. Then, we checked the weather, which was surprisingly looking fantastic – it was going to be the best day of marathon weekend! We quickly got dressed into our costumes, grabbed our breakfasts, and headed toward the bus stop.

We arrived at the race area and headed straight for the merchandise tent. Due to my crazy expo experience, I wanted to see if there was anything left over. I wasn’t expecting much. We waited for about 15 minutes before we were let into the tent. I quickly searched up and down the aisles to see what was left, and, as I had guessed, nothing was left. But, it was warm, so we did a few more loops before exiting the tent.

We then headed over to the DJ to watch some of the pre-race entertainment. We knew that we wanted to get into the corral pretty early since Jenna had never experienced a runDisney weekend. We then quickly used the restroom and made our way to bag check. This was the first morning that I brought a bag. Jenna and I wanted to ditch some of our outer layers and extra food before the race, so we thought that a bag would be a great idea. I marked my number on the bag and then handed it to the cast members working the bag check.

Jenna and I began our long walk to the corrals. We chatted about our race strategy (stop for shorter character lines and do 4:1 intervals). As we reached Corral C, I noticed that my sunglasses were missing. NO! My brand new sunglasses that I had worn once! I traced my steps in my mind, and then it came to me….I set my glasses down to write on my bag for bag check! By the time I realized this, it was too late to go back. The race was starting in 15 minutes. I quickly texted Steve and asked him to stop by the bag check table to see if my glasses were there. He and Logan were just arriving on the spectator buses at that moment, so I knew that there was a slim chance that he would find them sitting on the table. But, to my surprise, he texted me 5 minutes later saying that he found them! I WAS SO HAPPY!

Ok…back to the race….

We watched the pre-race entertainment, and, before we knew it, the wheelchair athletes and elite runners were off! Because it was the 25th anniversary of the marathon weekend, runDisney was playing hit pop and Disney songs from each year that the marathon was run (1994-2018). We heard plenty of Backstreet Boys, Britney, Boys 2 Men, etc. It was awesome! Because we were lucky enough to be in Corral C, we were able to start within a few minutes of the official race start, which was awesome!

The first few miles followed the same course as the half marathon, so I won’t bore you with details. Similar to the day before, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom around mile 5. Jenna and I were making great time, and we texted the boys to see where they were. We knew that they were on their way to the Magic Kingdom to see us. As we continued down Main Street, we received a text that they were still on the monorail. So, in an effort to wait for them, we decided to stop for a bunch of photos within the Magic Kingdom!

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After snapping a few photos in front of the castle, we heard our names being called. It was Steve and Logan – they had made it in time to see us! We waved to them and then continued on our way through the rest of Magic Kingdom.

We continued on the same course as the half marathon for a few more miles – passed the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and the golf course.

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Just after this photo (I believe), we started to make our way to Animal Kingdom. Jenna and I were having a blast and had so much energy. And, the sun was starting to come up, which made us super happy!

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Hehe. This picture makes me laugh! If you know Steve and I at all, then you know that we’re obsessed with Pain and Panic from Hercules. So, when I saw this photo opportunity just before Animal Kingdom, I begged Jenna to stop. There was no line, and she happily agreed. The cast member took the photo on “2” both times instead of “3”…so this is the best photo that we got. HA!

We quickly made it into Animal Kingdom and enjoyed the shade and peaceful atmosphere. This park has definitely grown into something spectacular!

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I snapped my traditional park icon photo, and we made our way towards ESPN Wide World of Sports. Usually, I start to hit the wall around miles 17-19, but I was feeling fantastic! Jenna really helped to keep my busy as the miles flew by. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention from Animal Kingdom until the end of Wide World of Sports. We chatted about life and our running goals for the year.

I will say that Wide World of Sports lasted A LOT longer than it did the last time I did the marathon. We ran 3 miles in there! WHAT! I don’t think there was a road or sidewalk that we didn’t use! Around mile 20, we were happy to be done with it. We then ran down the long stretch and slight hill to Hollywood Studios. Surprisingly, we were still in good spirits! My legs were feeling great, and Jenna’s first marathon was going better than she imagined!

We entered the back of Hollywood Studios and made a quick loop through the park. As we were exiting, I heard my name being called. It was one of my cousin’s friends from home. She was visiting with her family, and she was tracking me so that she could cheer for me. How sweet!

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After Hollywood, I told Jenna that we just needed to run to Epcot and around the World Showcase. We kicked it into gear and started singing every time we passed a speaker that was playing Disney songs.

We ran along the pathway to Epcot and the Boardwalk before entering the World Showcase. Although we were making good time, we decided to stop for the many photo opportunities within Epcot. There were NO lines! We decided that we must have been towards the front of the pack to see no lines for popular characters (and, by front, I mean the first half of finishers 🙂 – NOT the first runners)!

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We were smiling from ear to ear and singing our hearts out! And, as we approached the mile 26 marker, it really started to sink in. I was going to finish the Dopey Challenge, and Jenna was going to finish her first marathon! We full out sprinted towards the finish line. As soon as we crossed, we turned and immediately hugged each other. We did it!

After tearing up and having our moment, we grabbed our medals, food boxes, and water. Of course, we also had to have a selfie session with our hard-earned bling!

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After celebrating with Champagne with the group, I texted my parents and in-laws to let them know how I did. In return, I received this sweet photo of my pup!

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My family is the best!

When we finally finished our celebrations at the finish area, we headed to the bus stop to go back to the resort. We had early fast passes for Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster, so we quickly got ready and headed to Hollywood Studios. We rode those two rides, and then took a bus to Epcot to spend the rest of the day eating and drinking around the World Showcase. We deserved it!

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Of course, we had to get a photo in front of the 25th anniversary banner!

Overall, my Dopey Challenge experience was absolutely amazing. I still can’t believe how fabulous I felt the entire time. No pain and no exhaustion! So, would I do it again? YES! Will I ever have the opportunity again? Probably not. But, I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.

Have you ever completed the Dopey Challenge? Share your experience with me!

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2018 Recap

Happy Saturday, friends!

Can I start off this post by saying how incredibly jealous I am of everyone who is down in   Disney for Princess Half Weekend?! Princess Half Weekend is one of my favorite runDisney weekends because of all of the glitz and glamor, as well as the girl power mentality throughout the weekend! Good luck to everyone – you’ll kill it!

Now, let’s move on to my Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2018 recap!

If you missed my Expo, 5K, and 10K recaps, be sure to check them out.

Flashback to January 6th at 2:30 a.m. Because the buses left earlier for the half and full marathon mornings, I had to wake up slightly earlier to make sure that I had enough time to quickly get ready and catch one of the early buses. I followed the same routine from the 5K and 10K mornings and headed out the door with Steve. Our friends had come in the night before, so we were sure to be very quiet when leaving the room.

Steve and I caught one of the earliest buses and zipped over to Epcot to meet up with my bestie Alexa who was going to run the half with me. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad outside – still colder, but MUCH warmer than the previous two mornings.

We met up with Alexa by the stage and enjoyed the pre-race entertainment before heading to our corrals. This was Alexa’s first half marathon, so we wanted to get to the corrals early so that she didn’t miss a thing!

I was originally placed in Corral C, but I moved back to E to be with Alexa. We snuck up to the front wave of the corral and did the Cha Cha Slide and Wobble with the crowd around us to warm up. Before we knew it, it was time to take off!

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You can kind of see Alexa’s Sorcerer Mickey costume in this picture!

Alexa and I had a plan to run until Magic Kingdom and then stop for photos. She wanted to get a good groove going before stopping. So, we ran on the typical Disney roads for the first few miles before we hit the Magic Kingdom gates. The weather was beautiful now that we were warming up!

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I just loved Alexa’s costume!

We continued on past the TTC, drummers, and the Contemporary resort. I was super bummed that the DJ was not there to “help” us cross under the “water bridge” – he is always my favorite part of any Disney race!

But, we made the turn past the Contemporary and headed toward the Magic Kingdom entrance via a new path. Usually, runDisney has runners travel past the Contemporary, make the turn by Space Mountain, and then head through the side cast member entrance to Main Street. This year, they forced us left, and we traveled around the bus platform before heading into the main Magic Kingdom entrance. Let me tell you, this was seriously so awesome. Not only was the route smoother (no sharp turns), but it also seemed so much more magical.

We ran through the entrance and truly took in the magic. I always tear up during this portion of runDisney races! We made the turn into Tomorrowland and veered off to the right to catch the first character stop.

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The line for these two was not long at all, so we only had to wait a brief time before heading on our way.

As we ran around the bend and back toward Storybook Circus, I saw another line forming. It was Goofy! Goofy has always been my favorite classic character, so this was a must-stop for me. And, the line wasn’t long!

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We proceeded onto the route and ran passed Ariel’s grotto. There was a line there, but no character. I’m assuming it was someone from The Little Mermaid. Because we weren’t sure how long the character would be gone, we decided to keep moving through Fantasyland toward the castle. I told Alexa to get to the far left so that we could veer off to the left and get a picture in front of the castle after we ran through it.

Our goal was to get to the castle while it was still lit up, and we were able to do that! I swear that the pictures are so much better when the castle is lit up!

We headed back onto the route and made the turn into Liberty Square. By this point, it seemed that some of the food locations in the park were starting to prepare breakfast. Specifically, we could smell waffles and bacon, which made us SO hungry!

As we entered into Frontierland, we saw a VERY long line. From past experiences, I knew that this was a character from Toy Story. Because I was dressed as an alien from the movie, I really wanted to stop. But, I just couldn’t do that line. It was at least 15-20 minutes long. So, Alexa had me stop right beside the line so that she could snap a photo of me by Woody and Bullseye. I’m glad that she thought of this – it’s perfect!

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You can see my new Goodr sunglasses in this picture. This was the first time I tried them out, and I was in love! No fog or slipping!

We ran through the rest of Magic Kingdom and headed back out onto Disney roads to make our way back to Epcot. We ran by the Grand Floridian and wedding pavilion (and singers), and then we were handed Sports Beans somewhere around Mile 9. These guys were SO good! I heard wonderful things about them in the past, but I had never tried them before. Because I was taking it easy for this race, I broke my rule of “not trying anything new on race day” and ate them. YUM – definitely my new favorite source of fuel!

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Before we knew it, we were heading down the long straight away toward mile 10. Alexa couldn’t believe how fast the race was going! And, by looking at our watches, we realized that we were going to break 3 hours, even with all of the photos that we stopped to take!

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We passed mile 10 and made the turn to run up the on-ramp with the Toy Soldier. Again, because I was dressed as an alien, I knew that I wanted to stop to take a photo with him. Alexa was nice enough to snap this fun picture for me!

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He looks thrilled haha!

After we stopped for this photo, we decided to kick it into gear and pick up the pace back to Epcot. We did some singing as we passed miles 11 and 12, and before we knew it, we were heading into Epcot for the last mile of the race. We knew that we wanted to stop to take a selfie in front of Spaceship Earth since we snapped one in front of the castle. But, other than that, we were ready to be done and to get Alexa’s first half marathon medal!

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Alexa and I kicked it into gear and sprinted toward mile 13 and the finish line! As we approached the finish line, we heard our names being yelled. It was Steve and our friends, Jenna and Logan! How sweet!

Alexa and I grabbed hands and crossed the finish line together.

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I was so proud of her! She killed it!

We proceeded through the finish line area and grabbed our medals, food boxes, drinks, and mylar blankets before having our own little photo session to celebrate the occasion!

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SO fun!

We caught back up with Steve, Jenna, and Logan and then walked to the buses to catch a ride back to the hotel. Alexa had driven to the race, so she was going to head back to her friend’s house to shower before meeting us in the parks.

When we got to the resort, Steve, Jenna, and Logan ate breakfast while I got ready for the day. We spent the entire day in the parks, split between Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. This was Jenna and Logan’s first time in Disney, so we were sure to do it right!

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We did decide to miss out on the fireworks, however, because we had to get to bed early due to the full marathon the next morning.

Overall, the half marathon was so much fun! I’m so glad that I had Alexa to do it with me. We stopped for plenty of photos and really took in the magic.

Next up: I’ll conclude my series with my Walt Disney World Marathon recap.

Stay tuned!

Design

Walt Disney World 10K 2018 Recap

I’m back for round two of my Dopey Challenge race recaps!

If you would like to read my 5K recap, click here.

Flashback to January 5, 2018….

Like clockwork, I woke up at 2:58 a.m., just before my 3 a.m. alarm. I followed the same routine as the day before (washing my face, brushing my teeth, and throwing on some sunscreen). I then checked the weather, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was going to be a few degrees warmer for the 10K morning than it was for the 5K. Key words being “a few degrees…”

I decided to ditch my skirt and just stick with my black tights and undershirt (with another undershirt underneath that). I figured if I could still see my spotted shirt and headband, then people should at least recognize the Dalmatian aspect of my costume.

Steve and I bundled up and headed out the door. We arrived at the bus stop just in time to catch the first bus to the race area. We made a b-line for the hot chocolate/coffee stand again so that we could warm our bodies up. The line wasn’t as long this time, though.

After getting our warm beverages, we headed to an empty area within the parking lot so that I could stretch. I definitely wanted to do a better job of stretching this morning so that I didn’t have the same tight muscle/frozen leg sensation at the start of the race. While we were there, I noticed a marathon weekend sign that was pretty cool, so I asked Steve to take my photo in front of it.

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You can really see how bundled up I had to be for the race mornings – my costume was not even visible!

When I finished stretching and drinking my hot cocoa, Steve and I walked over to the character lines to see how long they were. We told ourselves that if any of the lines were under 15 minutes, we would wait. But, we really weren’t expecting to get any photos since most of the lines were 30-60 minutes long during the morning of the 5K. To our surprise, Pluto only had a 10-minute wait, so we jumped in line!

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I was sure to take off my outer layers for this photo since it was with Pluto and I was dressed as a Dalmatian!

After we finished waiting for Pluto, I headed for the corrals so that I could again be in the first wave of runners in my corral (A). I continued to stretch out my legs and chat with the people around me. Funny enough, I actually stood next to the same people I was with at the start of the 5K – how weird is that?! We must have had the same idea!

Before I knew it, it was time to start the race! Because it was slightly warmer for this race, I knew that I wanted to try to stop for some photos…if my body could handle it. So, I took a few deep breaths and took off with the first wave of corral A!

I had done a 10K in Disney before, so I knew to expect a few miles on the roads outside of Epcot before heading into World Showcase and the Boardwalk. Although it was cold, I still did my intervals for this race so that I could save my legs for the next two days.

My first walk break occurred as we exited Epcot (through the station). I was surprised at how quickly I was warming up for this race. It was night and day compared to the 5K. After a quick walk break, I started running again and quickly approached the mile 1 marker and the first character stop, which was Pocahontas and Meeko – two of my all-time favorites. But, the line was RIDICULOUS! I didn’t want to stand in the cold for 25 minutes for any character. So, I let it go and moved on to the sharp turn/hill thing that occurs just after mile 1. Because I was able to start so far forward in my corral, the sharp turn and corresponding hill were a breeze! And, at the top, was a fun character stop with the characters from A Bugs Life with no line. Score!

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After snapping this pic, I proceeded down the race path before quickly running up on the third character stop, which was the evil queen from Snow White in witch form. Because I had gotten that photo before (during the Enchanted 10K), I decided to skip that character stop and keep going. The line was rather long anyway.

Before long, we were heading into Epcot’s World Showcase. I always love this part of any runDisney race. Epcot is a beautiful park, especially early in the morning when no one is in it! I stopped for a few character stops before we exited the park for the first time.

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We then started our loop around the Boardwalk. I have a love-hate relationship with the Boardwalk. It is absolutely stunning, but I always find myself tripping over the boards (I’m probably just clumsy).

As we approached the first of the shops/restaurants on the Boardwalk, I noticed that Genie was hanging out in front of the ESPN Club. Although I have stopped for him multiple times in the past, I just had to stop! He’s so cute, and the line was so short!

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After the photo, I took off and finished my loop of the Boardwalk before re-entering Epcot. I then made my way through the rest of World Showcase, and, as I made the turn toward Spaceship Earth, I saw Duffy standing off to the side with no line! He is so cute, so of course I had to stop!

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Finally, I made my way through the rest of Epcot and sprinted toward the finish. I crossed the finish line – with a smile of course – and got my pretty Minnie-themed medal!

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I walked through the rest of the finisher’s chute and grabbed my food box, beverages, and mylar blanket. After I received my goodies, I headed toward our resort’s bus stop to meet Steve. We boarded a bus right away and got back to Pop Century in record time!

We quickly got ready and then caught a bus to Epcot, where we spent the rest of our day.

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We rode all of the best rides and ate a ton of good food, including dinner at Via Napoli to carb up for the half – my favorite!

To sum it all up, I had so much fun during this race even though I ran it alone! There were so many character stops with short lines, and the course wasn’t too crowded. It was so enjoyable! If you’re interested in seeing what happened next during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, be sure to stay tuned for my half marathon recap later this week!

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Walt DisneyWorld Marathon 2018 5K Recap

Hi, friends!

I’m so excited to finally begin my race recaps! I’m not going to lie, this one is going to be rather short (for reasons explained later), so bear with me on this one.

But, let’s get started with a fun fact: it’s warmer at my house (in the Northeast) today than it was for the start of this race….UGH! You guys, this race was COLD….and I’m used to running in cold temps!

I woke up at 3 a.m. on race morning, and I was feeling pretty good. I had woken up extremely early the morning before to catch my flight, so I was nervous that this would mess up my sleep schedule all week. But, spoiler alert: it didn’t!

I made my way to the sink to wash my face, throw on some sunscreen, and brush my teeth. Then, I checked the weather….and, boy oh boy, was I stuck on what to wear. Don’t get me wrong, I brought plenty of clothes with me to choose from (for all weather types), but with a real feel of 24 degrees, you really start to question if 3 layers is enough HA!

I decided on my outfit (see the photo at the end of this post), and then Steve and I headed out the door.

We took the first bus from our resort and got to the race area just before 4 a.m. IT WAS SO COLD. Like teeth chattering, knees shaking, mind-blowing cold.

Once we entered the family reunion area, we saw a LONG line to our left. We aren’t used to seeing long lines as you enter into the family reunion area, but we were intrigued, so we decided to check it out. It was for coffee and hot chocolate, and you better believe that we got in that line! Now, I’m not one to eat before races, unless they are 13 miles or longer, but I knew that I desperately needed that hot chocolate to warm up my insides.

After drinking the hot chocolate, I made my way to the corrals. I knew that I wanted to make my way to the front of my corral (A) so that I could start right away and get the race over with. After a few minutes of waiting, the announcers asked all participants to enter their corrals, which then filled up quickly.

Although I was freezing in the corral, I did meet a TON of new friends on the walk to race start. We all huddled together and chatted about our training and excitement for race weekend. I just love my runDisney peeps 🙂

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After the National Anthem and a few last-minute announcements, we were off! Well….we all tried to take off…BUT, our legs were frozen! You could hear everyone writhing in pain from the numb limbs and tight muscles. It was definitely painful, but it was also funny at the same time.

My original goal for this race was to take my time and stop for every race picture. After the weather changed, that plan changed as well. I honestly just wanted to finish the race as fast as I could so that I could go warm up. I didn’t even do my intervals – I just ran the entire time!

I felt like I was flying by everything! We started the race on the roads outside of Epcot, where there was not much to see. In fact, it was very dark on the roads, and I even saw a few people trip because they weren’t paying attention to the person in front of them.

Then, we made our way into Epcot. It got brighter, but, to my surprise, there were no character stops! What?! Now, I know that I wasn’t going to stop, but what if people did want to stop and take advantage of the opportunity? I found out later that the characters didn’t make their way out to the World Showcase until after the front pack had gone through. So, other runners were able to experience them – thank goodness!

Before I knew it, I was passing the Mile 3 marker and heading for the finish line!

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I finished in just over 26 minutes, and I was OK with that! I quickly grabbed my medal, food box, and mylar blanket and then headed straight for the buses (as Steve and I had planned). We were able to get on the first bus back, but because I finished so quickly, our bus was not able to leave right away. There were still some corrals that were running on the bus route.

After about 20 minutes, our bus took off for the resort. We took a quick nap on the bus and then headed for our room when we got back to the resort. I took probably the longest shower of my life and then got ready for the day!

We spent the rest of the day in Animal Kingdom, and it was so much fun!

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After a fun-filled day in Animal Kingdom, we headed for Epcot and then took the resort monorail loop. Steve had never seen some of the resorts on the monorail, so we got off at each one and had a celebratory drink. It was so fun!

Then, it was back to the resort for an early bedtime.

Yes, the 5K was SUPER cold, but I still had a lot of fun just running through Epcot! Next up for my race recap series: the 10K!

Stay tuned! 🙂

Design

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2018 Expo Recap

Hey, guys!

So, I returned from Walt Disney World three weeks ago, and if you read my post last week, then you know that I’m dealing with the Disney blues. While I had a blast running 48.6 miles around Walt Disney World, I’m so sad that it’s over. Over seven months of training…..and Dopey is complete….wow!

But, all good things must come to an end, and I’ve finally decided to start my recaps. First up: the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo!

We arrived in Orlando on Jan. 3 at about 10:30 a.m. We knew that the expo didn’t open until 12 p.m. to the general public, so we decided to take the Magical Express from the airport to our resort (Pop Century) to see if our room was ready. We were very impressed with how short the trip was from MCO to Pop Century. We’ve never stayed at a resort that took less than 30 minutes to get to from the airport, so this was a pleasant change!

By the time that we arrived at Pop Century, we still had not received the text that our room was ready. So, we used the restrooms and dropped off our carry-ons at the luggage assistance station outside of the lobby. And, by the way, that has to be the coolest thing ever.

We then made our way to the bus line for the expo. On the way through the lobby, we ran into some friends from our hometown! We knew that they were coming down, but we had no idea that they were staying in our resort – how weird is that?!

After catching up with our friends, we got in line for the bus. We were able to get on the next bus, which came in about 10 minutes. While on the bus, we were told that we were one of the closest resorts to ESPN Wide World of Sports, which is where the expo is held – we were actually less than 10 minutes away!

After a short trip, our bus entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (it was just about 12 p.m. at this point). But……as soon as we passed the sign, we were stuck in the expo traffic. This was my first experience going to the expo on opening day. I usually arrive on the second or even third day, so I was not expecting the traffic (and crowds) to be that bad.

After about 20 minutes, our bus made it to the drop-off location, which was moved to the opposite side of the parking lot from where it was in previous years. Steve and I ran off the bus and headed straight for the Dopey Challenge packet pick-up line, which was also the location of the official merchandise and commemorative item pick-up. And….this is where it all went downhill…..

The Dopey Challenge packet pick-up line was about 15 minutes long. In our “packets,” we received our bibs, a commemorative luggage tag for the 25th anniversary of the full, and some BibBoards, which had runDisney symbols on them.

We were then corralled around the corner to pick up my shirts.

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I actually really liked this year’s shirts! So cute and colorful!

In years past, I was always able to head straight to the official merchandise tent to begin shopping. But, to my surprise, we were told to head outside to get in line for the official merchandise AND commemorative items. At this point, I was slightly annoyed because I knew that the items were all in the building that I was currently leaving. But, there had to be a reason for us to go out and around, so I followed the directions and headed out of the building.

YOU GUYS…..the line for merchandise/commemorative items was ridiculous. Like wrapped around the complex ridiculous. If you follow any runDisney bloggers who attended this event, I’m sure that you’ve seen pictures. As we started to approach the line, I went over to a cast member to see if I needed to wait in the line for my commemorative items. For the first time ever, I was OK with skipping the official merchandise tent. That line was just way too long. But, the cast member told me that the line was for the official merchandise tent AND commemorative item pick-up (you had to go through the line to get into both areas). UGH!

So, at that point, I told Steve to go sit in the bar and wait for me. There was no sense in both of us waiting in that line. I headed to the back of the line and waited….and waited….and waited….

One hour and 20 minutes later, I finally made it into the official merchandise area. And, I decided that because I waited that long, I was going to shop. I deserved it! I knew going into the expo that I wanted to get the Tervis Tumbler water bottle and a Sweaty Band (which is something that I get every race weekend). I quickly picked up those two items and then took a look at the Dopey Challenge items. By this point, a lot of the merchandise was selling out. I found a shirt and a tank top that I liked, grabbed my size, and then headed to check out. The check out line was only about 8-10 minutes long, so it moved pretty quickly.

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My favorite model 🙂

I then headed over to the area that said “Commemorative Item Pick-Up.” But, when I got there, the area was blocked off…..completely. I asked the cast member that was standing there how I could access the area, and he said that the commemorative item pick-up line was outside. WHAT?! I told him what the original cast member had told me, and he said that I did NOT need to wait in the original line. He let me slip through the barrier (probably because he could see how defeated I looked), so I’m very grateful for that.

I got through the commemorative item line in about 20 minutes. I grabbed my pre-ordered jacket and headed out of there (I do not have a picture of my jacket because it’s in the laundry – you’ll see it in my pictures throughout my recaps though!). By that point, I was SO ready to leave, but I knew that I wanted to exchange my shirts for smaller sizes since they seemed a little larger this year. I called Steve and we met at the V Center (previously Vista Center, previously J Center, previously Josten….I don’t even know). We headed straight for shirt exchange, grabbed my correct size, and then headed back to the buses. We were so excited to be heading back to the room for a quick rest before dinner at Morimoto in Disney Springs.

Overall, the expo experience was pretty…I’m not going to sugar coat it…horrendous. I’ve never had that much trouble during any of my other runDisney weekends. While I’m happy that I got my Tervis water bottle and Sweaty Band, I’m annoyed that I was told to wait in a line that I didn’t have to for an hour and 20 minutes. And…those shirts I bought? Yeah….they were WAY TOO TIGHT….like the “I can barely move” type of tight. Luckily, I was able to exchange those in the gift shop of our resort, so I did get my money back for those.

Other than the crazy lines and misinformation, I didn’t think that the new expo set-up was too bad. I know that there were a lot of people who did not like it (separating bib pick-ups into different buildings and moving the official merchandise out of the main expo), but I sort of liked it. It felt like there was a lot of room to shop (once you actually got into the official merchandise area), and the regular expo floor was slightly less crowded than usual, so people could easily browse vendors if they wanted to.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Dopey Challenge recaps. Keep an eye out for my race recaps next week!

Have a good weekend!

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Where Have I Been?!

Guess who’s back……back again…..SARA’s back….tell a friend!

You guys, it has been SO long since I’ve written a blog post, and I DEEPLY apologize for that! After my last post, I got completely sucked in to the holiday and pre-Dopey mayhem. We attended multiple holiday parties, and I spent about a week trying to figure out what to pack for our trip (the weather was awful).

But….I’m back, rested, and, spoiler alert….I DID IT!

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Honestly, the entire weekend was fantastic, and I left Florida with such a runner’s high. But, all good things must come to an end, and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m back in the real world.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, I’m finally ready to start writing my recaps. I plan to do a recap of each race and the expo in the coming weeks, so please be sure to stay tuned!

Finally, now that Dopey is over (wah!), I’m looking for some other races to fill my 2018 calendar. If you have any favorites in the Northeast, please share them in the comments!

Thanks, and more to come!

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Week in Review – December 15, 2017

I’m sorry that this post is so late! I was in the midst of my last virtual Dopey and honestly just lost track of time. But, it’s done, and I AM NOW IN TAPERTOWN!

So, let’s celebrate by recapping last week’s happenings!

Workouts

Last week, I finished Dopey Challenge training week #28. And, it’s all down hill from here!

  • Friday: 30 minutes on the bike and some leg exercises
  • Saturday: 13 miles on the treadmill at the gym (this was my longest training run by far on a treadmill, but it went really well!)
  • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Monday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym
  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym
  • Thursday: 2.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Friday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym

As I previously said, I finished the last virtual Dopey yesterday, but, to keep things consistent, I’ll recap the second half of that later this week.

Favorites:

Experiences

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I just want to mention one experience from last week: seeing my baby sister start basketball season again! She’s doing great so far, and she’s even getting some local media attention! Yay, Maddie!

Books:

You guys, I’m really going to read this week. I didn’t read any of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last week….Ah!

Food:

Because I was sick this past week (and I’m still sick), I lived off of vegetable soup and DayQuil/Nightquil. Yum…….

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

YES! I can’t say this enough, but IT’S TAPER TIME! If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that I’ve been in training mode for the last 7 months. And, now I’m in the home stretch. This is so exciting!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

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Week in Review – December 8, 2017

Happy Friday!

Time for another “Week in Review” post – let’s get started!

Workouts

After my 13-miler tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #27 will be complete. We are getting down to the wire! I’m still feeling strong, and I’m ready to finish this training. So….how did I do this week?

  • Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Saturday: 9 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: 20 miles around the neighborhood
  • Monday: Much needed rest day!
  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Friday: 30 minutes on the bike and some leg exercises

As you may recall from last week, my 20-miler was actually supposed be a 19-miler, but I was feeling so good that I didn’t want to stop! That was the best I’ve felt during a Dopey simulation weekend. I can’t wait to do my final one next week!

I have a 13-mile maintenance run tomorrow, and then I plan to take a rest day on Sunday. Only 26 days to go until Dopey!

Favorites:

Experiences

My favorite experience for the week was definitely cuddling with my puppy. Now that he’s getting older, he’s wanting to cuddle more, and I am DEFINITELY all for that. I was slightly under the weather during the second half of this week, and I do really think that he knew that. He always wants to make me feel better 🙂

Books:

And…I didn’t read anymore of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You guys, this book is not going well. I’m definitely enjoying it, but the timing is just not right. I just need to buckle down and finish this baby!

Food:

As I said before, I was feeling slightly under the weather over the last few days, so food was definitely not on my priority list. I tried to just eat a bland diet, so nothing was too special this week. But, I am already looking forward to next week because I’ll be having PIZZA next Saturday! My fave ❤

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

My sister had her first basketball game of the season tonight, and she has another one tomorrow. I love watching her play! It’s her senior season, so it’s a bit bittersweet. She has a couple of games next week as well, so you better believe I’ll be there!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

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November Goals Recap and December Goals

How is it already December 6?! As you could probably tell from my blogging schedule over the last month, I have been extremely busy – busy painting our house, traveling for holiday parties, working, and finishing up Dopey Challenge training. I was not expecting this all to hit me at once, so I apologize for all the silence. It’s been CRAZY, but, I digress…

It’s December! And, it’s the month before Dopey! I expect that this month will bring some exciting things (cough cough TAPERING cough cough), but I really do think that’s because of all of the hard work that I did in November.

What hard work am I talking about? Read on to find out!

At the beginning of each month, I like to sit down and reflect on the previous month and make a list of goals to achieve during the new month. November was another great month, and I got so much done, including a lot of training!

Now that it’s the beginning of December, I wanted to recap my progress on my November goals. So…how did I do?

  • Lose two more pounds. You guys…..I don’t know if it’s the pick-up in my training or my recent focus on my nutrition, but I lost another 4 pounds last month. YES! You read that right….4 pounds! That means that I’m only 3 pounds from my goal weight! I don’t think I’ll hit my goal before our trip, but I’m so happy with the progress I have made.
  • Continue training for Dopey. Another great month of training is in the books, and I’m so happy with how November’s schedule went. I nailed each and every one of my training runs, and I’m feeling stronger than ever!
  • Continue working on my Dopey Challenge costumes. With everything else that we did this past month, I did not have time to work on my Dopey costumes. I do, however, plan to finish them at some point next week. It shouldn’t take too long, and I’m excited to see the final products!
  • Declutter my accessories. DONE! This month, I decluttered my purses, wallets, sunglasses, jewelry, belts, shoes, and fuzzy socks. I’ve now gone through everything in my house, and I feel so much better! We have a ton of items to donate to people who need them more than us, and we now only have what we use/wear in our house. Score!
  • Finish all Harry Potter books before my trip to WDW. So, I did technically make progress on this goal, but not very much. I read a little bit more of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix…..but nothing major.

So, overall, I accomplished 4/5 goals…which I am very happy about! In addition to these goals, I also finished our Christmas shopping and all planning details for our trip in January. November was MY month, and I really feel like I owned it!

Now that December is underway and I’ve evaluated my November goals, I’ve come up with a list of 5 goals that I’d like to achieve before the beginning of January (and Dopey Challenge!).

My 2017 December goals are:

  1. Lose two more pounds. Just like last month, I’m hoping to be down another 2 pounds by the end of the month. Sweets are my downfall, and the holiday season brings PLENTY of them. Cross your fingers that I can stay on track!
  2. Continue training for Dopey. I can’t stop now! There’s less than one month left until marathon weekend!
  3. Finish my Project Repat order. In all of the hustle and bustle of the season, I neglected to tell you that I ordered myself a Project Repat quilt during the company’s Black Friday sale. I’ve had so many t-shirts from elementary schools, middle school, and high school sitting in our attic. Although I don’t wear the shirts anymore, I could never get myself to get rid of them. They represent so many memories – my classes, the time that I was in a play (and Steve), all of my sports accomplishments, etc. With Project Repat, I’ll be able to save those memories in a way that is much easier and more useful! No, this post is not sponsored by Project Repat, but I am very impressed with the company so far. To finish the order, I need to cut up my shirts (yikes!) and send them off to be made into a quilt.
  4. Find time to enjoy the holiday season. To most of you, this may be a fluffy goal. But, to me, it’s definitely something that I need to remember to do. With training, preparing for our trip, and a busy work schedule ahead, I want to try to remember to enjoy holiday season with my family and friends.
  5. Finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Going back to the basics on this goal….I just want to try and finish this book before my trip. I think this goal is more doable.

So, there you have it: my goals for the month of December. I’m looking forward to recapping and reflecting on these goals next month! See you then and wish me luck!

What are your goals for December?

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