Sunday, May 31, 2015

7 Tips for Running a runDisney Race

My goal this year was to run a race.  A real, bonafide race.  And since I love Disney so much, the choice was obvious.  I recently completed the TinkerBell 10k at Disneyland and learned a thing or... seven along the way.  Here are my 7 tips for running a runDisney race.

1.  Hydrate
I know, I know.  You hear this from everyone, but seriously, nothing takes the magic out of the happiest place on earth like dehydration cramps, getting sick or much worse.  Even if it's not hot out, you need to be properly hydrated.  Start daaays before.  Not the day before.  Not two days before.  You should become Flounder that week.

2.  Get into Character
All those people dressed as princesses driving you nuts?  Well, maybe you're too much of a curmudgeon for a Disney run.  Find your inner child, drop the "too cool for school" act and make/buy a costume.  Last minute, I put together my tutu from lightweight fabric and while not a full costume, I'm so glad I looked the part!  Take this opportunity to be silly and fun.  And trust me, if you don't go over the top, your costume won't affect your pace.  Speaking of pace...

3.  Decide: Speed or Experience
When developing your training plan, decide: Are you running for speed or experience?  runDisney races offer a lot - a killer course through the parks, entertainment, a unique experience.  However, you can't PR and stop at every character to take a picture.  Pick one or the other.  Have a game plan.

4.  Arrive Early
The parks are loaded with people.  Give yourself plenty of time to park, walk to the pre-race celebration, use the restroom, stretch, and most importantly, get to your corral.  The corrals are massive and the staff packs people in pretty tightly.  Try to be at the front of your corral.

5.  Outside then Inside
Start the race on the outside of the group, then work your way to the middle.  The beginning of races are usually crowded and slow.  My first mile was over 15 minutes because I couldn't break through the crowd.  If you're running, stick to the outside for the first mile or so until the crowd thins out.  You'll be able to pass the walkers more easily and keep your pace reasonable.  Once you're in stride, move to the middle.  Walkers will (hopefully) stick to the edges, but never to just the left or just the right, so for easier navigation, go right up the middle.

6. Smile!
Disney photographers are everywhere.  Standing at a turn or mile marker.  Sitting on the ground.  Most of the time you won't see them until you see the flash go off - so let those endorphins take over and keep a smile on your face!  ESPECIALLY at the finish line!

7.  Register Early
Sold on doing a race?  Register early.  Sign up for runDisney emails so you're the first to know when registration open.  The TinkerBell 10k filled up in five days after registration opened.  Gotta be quick!

Have you run a race?  What are your tips?

Have fun and good luck!

TinkerBell 10k - aka Wings Earned!

After sixteen weeks of training, race day week finally arrived.  I made the short trip out to California from Arizona and was completely focused on my goal.  I had set a personal goal of completing the 6.2 miles under one hour and fifteen minutes.  That meant I had to run an eleven minute mile.  I was determined to do it.

Two days before the race, I visited the runDisney Expo with my friend to pick up my race packet and explore.  As to be expected, Disney has people moving down to a science.  Picking up my packet was painless and getting through the expo easy.  I couldn't believe the number of people there and the buzz.  Everyone was legitimately excited to be there and run.  Seriously... we're all crazy.

At the expo, I was fortunate to find the missing piece to my race day outfit, which is really what the expo was all about.  I bought this incredibly appropriate shirt for my run.

You can purchase it here, along with many other Disney-themed run apparel (yes, there's Star Wars too!).

Before I knew it, race day was upon me.  With my support crew in tow, we headed to Disneyland at 4:00 am.  I was ready.

I won't give you the mile-by-mile summary but I will tell you, Disney doesn't lie.  Every mile was magical.  The race route was really well planned and there were characters/musicians/supporters at every turn.  It was the most distracted 6.2 miles of my life.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - the race was worth every penny.
And how did I do?  See for yourself!
Not too shabby!  Plus I looked cute and got an AMAZING medal!
I was so happy to complete my first runDisney race.  In fact, I've already agreed to run the January Star Wars Half-Marathon with a friend!  I can't wait!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Book Review :: "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is a historical fiction about the marriage of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway.  The story starts at their first encounter and ends their journey at their last parting.  Told from Hadley's perspective, the reader gets to experience a classic, sweeping romance.  The story is only that much more intriguing if you know how it ends from the beginning.

I can't remember the last time I couldn't put a book down like this.  I was sneaking reads on my breaks and taking the book every where with me.  Knowing that Hadley was Hemingway's first wife made the book all that more intriguing because I was constantly waiting for her breaking point.  McLain did extensive research on the Hemingway's and it truly showed in her writing, which was colorful and engaging.

As a woman of my generation, I didn't necessarily find Hadley to be relatable but, simply, interesting.  I found her thought process to be frustrating, though incredibly historically accurate.  Being of an empowered generation, it is sometimes difficult to look back and relate to the behaviors and thoughts of women before me.  However, I have a deep appreciation for that, despite her time, Hadley still stood up for herself and her happiness in the end.  By the end of the novel, I found I had a great affection for her.  Team Hadley!

I highly recommend this book.  It's a great beach read AND a cozy by the fire book.  Check it out:

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