Monday, September 29, 2014

Disneyland Half Marathon 2014 Recap!!!

I am finally getting around to finishing my recap of the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge! Lets first start off with the half marathon....
I set my alarm to wake up Sunday morning to wake up at 4:00. last year for some reason I set it for 3:10 and I am just not sure why I would wake up so early when I didn't have to be at the start line until 5:30 but oh well. Anyway I was dead asleep when my alarm went off which totally freaked me out. The night before a race I am normally excited and anxious and I can't sleep a wink but for some reason slept like a baby and was in a deep sleep when my alarm started blaring. I jumped up turned my alarm off and tried to get in the game. At this point I was totally freaked out feeling as if I was going to do horrible in the race because of my sleep the night before. As if getting a great night of sleep was going to make me run awful ha-ha! I met my Mom in her room to tape up her feet and then we headed down to the race around 4:45.

Once we got to the corrals it was a bit confusing there were people everywhere and the chutes to go into the corrals were very crowded. I was in C and my Mom was in E so we had to go separate ways once we got to that point. When I got to my corral I couldn't even get in, the line was going down the side of the outside of the corral. I finally pushed my way in and was in the very back. I was fine with this I just wanted to make sure I got in. Pretty soon they were starting the race, and letting two corrals off at a time which was great because things moved very quickly. About ten minutes after the first corrals went off I was crossing the start line.
I started off feeling great running at a great pace which I wanted to keep throughout the race. My main goal was to just finish around the same time as last year. I wasn't trying to beat any records. This year was a little different for me because I knew what to expect and what was coming up next. I knew about how long I would be in the parks and when the vintage cars were going to be coming and then when we were going to go into the stadium so I felt like I was almost waiting for things to happen which was good for me. The race literally flew by! As usual running through the parks was amazing! I just love that no one is there except people cheering you on and runner also that it's dark and all the lights of the rides are on and some are going, it is truly magical! Once I had left the parks this year I made sure to grab water at every water stop. I knew it was going to be a hot one and I didn't want to chance getting dehydrated which has happened in past races.  It was very hot last year and I am not sure I hydrated enough so wanted to make this a priority. I also stayed fueled with sports beans eating one every few miles which really keeps me going. The vintage cars came up very quickly, I tried to really look around this year as I feel these were a blur last year and before I knew it I was running into the stadium! This is my favorite part of the race it give you chills! The fans screaming the announcers calling out runners as they enter and you can see yourself running up on the big screen it is just awesome! Something I think everyone should experience! Once I got out of the stadium you only have three miles left and you are done! Those three miles fly by and in an instant you are running past the Disneyland hotel and through the finish line high-fiving Minnie!

I was so happy when I finished I felt amazing through out the race and felt like I could continue running (in fact I did run more after the race to find my boyfriend waiting a bit away from the finish line) I ended up coming in almost exactly the same time as last year so I was really pumped about that and felt much better then last year. I didn't have any pains or problems! We then waited for my mom for a little while and pretty soon saw her charging in and met her in the family meet up. She had a great race as well and mentioned running through the stadium might have been her favorite part as well! All in all it was an amazing race for both of us.

As for my thoughts on the race between this year and last year they were all together different, as were my trips to Disneyland. Last year I was a ball of nerves, it was really hot and humid and I just didn't know what to expect. I was excited but scared all at the same time. I knew it was going to be amazing but I just wanted to know everything I was going to see and everything that was going to happen before it did. This year I was much more relaxed and went with the flow and honestly had a much better time. I knew what was coming up next and had a general familiarity with where I was going which was nice. Don't get me wrong my first time was awesome but it makes me feel better to know what and when things are going to happen.
As for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, I am so glad I signed up for it. I felt great after running the half marathon and the 10k the day before as well. I was not sore at any point during or after either race and I wasn't nearly as tired the days following the race as I
was last year when I had run the half but I think my nerves had something to do with that. All in all it was amazing and I had a great time and wouldn't have changed anything!

QOTD: Do you like to be surprised during races or like to know what is going to happen?

Click here for my recap on the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo and here for my thoughts on the Disneyland 10k!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Disneyland 10k Recap!!

I can't believe it has already been over a week since the Disneyland 10k! It seems like just yesterday my alarm was going off at 4am to get ready for the race! So lets flash back to that then....

Last year I ran the half only and didn't sign up for the Dumbo Double year so this year I signed up for Challenge. I was very eager to run this race as I had heard the course was great with a majority of it in the park. I was the only person in my family running this so I told them all to sleep in, I would run and wake them all up after when I was done. As I had mentioned I woke up at 4am well 3:45 I was very excited to run and couldn't sleep anymore. I wanted to be in my corral by 5 so this gave me plenty of time it was only about a ten minute walk to the race start so I headed down at around 4:40.

I got over to the start line just as they were opening up the corrals. I was in A and was really excited about that because I was right up in the front and could see everything that was going on with the announcers. The theme of the race was Stitch. As you may know Stitch is a big fan of Elvis so that was a big part of the theme as well. Before I knew it "Elvis" was singing the national anthem and we were off and running. My plan for this race was to take it easy not go for a PR and have fun after all I had a half to run the next morning. As soon as I took off I knew I wasn't going to run this one slow. I was feeling really good it was not humid at all like Cape Cod and it was actually quite cool. The first two miles or so were outside the parks and then we headed inside with the remainder of the race weaving in and out of the parks. One of the interesting parts of the race was running behind the scenes of Disneyland. It was kind of cool to see whats behind the park and through all the doors that block of certain areas. Also there were so many twist and turns and things going on the miles just flew by. Before I knew it I was heading out of the park hitting the six mile mark and flying through Downtown Disney to the finish! As soon as I crossed the finish line I got a text from my mom and found out I had PR'ed! She had been getting my alerts texted to her through out the race, so I guess I ended up waking her up pretty early. I was very happy about my time and was feeling great body wise! I grabbed my finisher medal and my DDD wristband and headed back to the hotel to change and get ready for the day!

My overall thoughts on the race and the course were I loved it! I liked it much better then the 10k course during Princess. I know they are different places and what not but I liked that we were in the parks so much, and two different parks at that! I also liked that the course was not super flat. There were some slight uphills and downhills that made it a bit more interesting too. Also the crowd support was great! There where people all through the parks and through Downtown Disney. I can't tell you how much I love when people are lining the course screaming for complete strangers it just really keeps you going. Another thing I liked about the 10k and this applies to Disney World races too is there aren't as many runners which sometimes is nice. runDisney does a great job with corrals and not having everyone start at once so it is very spread out however there is just something about the 10k. If you have not run a runDisney 10k do it! All in all I loved every minute of this race! 

For those wondering about the amount of characters throughout the race. In Disneyland the characters are only allowed to be in the parks so there are normally many more in Disney World races because they are along the course. I don't stop for character photos so didn't notice many of them just a few. This didn't bother me though because there is so much going on. I did hear people commenting on how they were disappointed by this though. The amount of characters out didn't alter my thoughts on the race.

Also check out my expo review here!

QOTD: Which runDisney race course is your favorite?!?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Expo Recap!!!!

This week has completely flown by and not in a good way! Last week I went to California....Disneyland to be exact to run in the Disneyland Half Marathon! This is one of my all time favorite races, not only was it my first runDisney race last year but it also takes place in Disneyland and it just doesn't get much better then that!
I am going to recap the race in three parts so bare with me on this haha! First being the expo, next the 10k and finally the half with my final thoughts between this year and last year. If you want to read my reviews from last year here is part 1, part 2, part 3 oh and don't forget part 4! That should hold you over while I get these next three up!
Ok where do I start......We left Boston on Friday morning, our flight ended up being delayed an hour which I was not happy about but was so excited to get there that I didn't let it bring me down! We landed in LA around 11:30 and headed straight for Disneyland! While we were in the cab I realized that I hadn't signed my Mom and I up for the virtual que to get our Minnie shoes so did that quickly! This was something I might have been stressing about just a bit since at Princess it was very challenging to get the shoes! The que filled up in about 5 seconds. I was on right at 6am during Princess and it filled up minutes later. This time 6am PST I was mid flight so just hoped for the best. After I signed us up I received our text messages that we should report to the new balance booth at 2pm! I was pumped, perfect time since that was around the time we were going to be at the expo and they still had our size in Minnie's!
We got to our hotel, Paradise Pier and checked in. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel last year and I think I would say I prefer that one over Paradise Pier but was full when I ended up finally booking a room. All the hotels are very close to the park and downtown Disney and are all great hotels, but I think I just liked the location a bit better at the Disneyland hotel. More on that in a bit! Once we started checking in the rooms somehow got all messed up and they ended up sending us to a room that was still dirty. It was a bit of a hassle checking in, I guess the problem was that rooms kept coming up in the system as clean and they were actually dirty. We ended up having to wait about an hour for our room, which was fine since my Mom's room was ready we were able store our luggage in there and headed to the expo. We were told we would get a call when our room was ready but that we didn't have to hurry back.
As soon as we headed to the expo I got the phone call our room was all set but we decided to go back after we were finished there. We went down and got our numbers and park tickets first. That was smooth sailing. Last year we went the first day and it was completely insane! People everywhere, lines super long. I will never do that again! We had the boys come with us to get our park tickets to make sure they didn't need to see their ID's and then they left us to go to ESPN for some food or beer (ha-ha!). My mom and I had certain things we wanted to get so we had somewhat of a plan of attack. We grabbed our numbers checked out the Dooneys to make sure we didn't want one of those. Went upstairs grabbed our race shirts (thank god they were in women's sizes this year) then we headed over to the runDisney booth. I wanted to get a few Dumbo things a key chain, sweaty band and a magnet for my car. I really wanted the sweaty band and was nervous I wouldn't get one since they sold out super fast at Princess but luckily they had maybe five left when I got there! I grabbed that and the other things I wanted and went to check out. My Mom also got some half marathon stuff, we were out of there in no time. No lines no waiting! Next we headed over to the Raw Threads booth and grabbed a few shirts and stickers. That booth was very busy but I also ended up getting everything I had wanted there! I was really making out at the expo. I also scored one of their 19.3 stickers which I was happy about because I am always afraid to put the runDisney magnets on my car as everyone says they get stolen, so a magnet for the fridge, sticker for the car! Enough with the rambling......Next we grabbed our lasting commemorative cards and it was about time to go to the New Balance booth!!!

Once arriving at the New Balance booth we had to wait in line to show our text message saying what time to come back. Once you got through that part you got a sticker that said "I survived the NB Virtual Que" you then waited in another line for a NB employee to meet with you and grab your size shoe and start the fitting process. This whole waiting in line process took about 15 minutes there were a lot of people so it seemed like it would take forever but it was fast. We were then in trying on our Minnie's! The NB guy that helped us was from Boston how weird! My Mom and I both have Cindy's and really wanted to get the Minnie's so we were glad we were able to snag some! Once we got our shoes we went to check out and they were having a deal on water bottles ones that matched the color of the Disney shoes for $5 each. We both grabbed one which ended up saving us a TON of money in the park buying waters because all the food stands will fill your water bottle for you! I spent a small fortune on water last year so this was awesome! 

Once we were done with the NB booth we were out of there. We didn't go through the entire expo just hit the booths that we knew we wanted things at. Plus the boys were waiting and we still wanted to get to the park that day. We spent about an hour in total getting everything and waiting in any lines we had to. All in all it was a very successful expo. It went much smoother then last year it wasn't so crazy and I didn't feel over whelmed. I am glad I had a plan of attack that way I didn't waist time moseying around and buying things I didn't need.
After the expo we went and found the guys and headed back to the hotel to get everything squared away with our room. The cast members were great once we checked in and everything was all set and they even gave us some fast passes to use on any ride we wanted! This was a really nice bonus and made up for all the confusion we had gone through in the beginning.
Tomorrow Part 2 the 10k will be up so stay tuned!!!
QOTD: Do you make a plan when going to the expo or do you just like to take your time and walk around or does it depend on the race?!?!? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer....Where have you gone!?!!?

Summer is over...... and let me just say this summer flew by and I am not sure where it went or how I feel about it going by so fast. I feel like May was just here and now it is September. Even though technically summer is still going on and it feels like summer, here on Cape Cod it is now Fall. Great things come with Fall though, the coolness in the air, boots and sweaters and fall race PR's. As much as I am sad to see another summer pass us by I do enjoy the more relaxed mood in the air that fall brings. 

Over the past few months I have been more then busy as you can tell with the lack of blog posting. First off I've become a travel agent! So please contact me for a free quote on any type travel! I am specializing in Disney travel but of course can book just about anything your heart would desire! You can click the travel button on the banner of my blog for a bit more information, also please go Like my facebook page! Second I have had such a busy race schedule this summer. Some of them I have reviewed and some of them are still on the list to be reviewed but I will work on getting those up as soon as possible. I had the opportunity to run some pretty awesome races this summer and want you to hear all about them!

Before I get into anything else though I will review my Dumbo Double Dare experience! I just came home from Disneyland and while that is fresh in my mind I will tell you how I felt about it! I ran the half last year and decided on the Dumbo this year and will let you know which I liked better. Hang tight everyone there will be many more blog posts, reviews and giveaways!!!!