31 December, 2010

Disney Running 101 Part 6: Race Day!

So we've finally made it!  Race Day!  

See you 2011!

Before the Race

The alarm goes off at some ungodly hour and you awaken from a deep restful slumber...yeah, right.

Time to start getting ready!

Showering before the run is optional (afterward, it is strongly recommended for the sake of everyone around you).

Even at zero-dark-thirty in the morning, you might want to consider sunscreen. Especially in the full marathon, the mid- to back of the packers may be out in the Florida sunshine around mid-day. Even on a cloudy day, you can get overexposed to UV rays. So, trust me on the sunscreen, and slather some of that all-day, can’t sweat it off, waterproof sunscreen. Your dermatologist will thank you when you get older.

Consider chaffing prevention. Anywhere skin rubs skin, or skin rubs clothing will be a source of irritation. Application of Vaseline, Body Glide, or similar products can help prevent chaffing. Typical applications would be:

  • Feet, especially between the toes.
  • Inner thighs
  • Under arms
  • Back of neck where shirt rubs
  • Wast band of shorts
  • Mid section where waist pack or belt will ride
  • Heart monitor strap
  • Sports bra area
  • For the guys...nip guards, bandaids, or heavy Vaseline treatment
Basically, if it can get rubbed over 13.1/26.2 miles, it will. Be liberal with the protection now.

Your running clothes are ready from the night before....put them on. :)

Ready for the morning!
Everything laid out the night before

Some prefer to carry their running shoes and to wear their comfy shoes, figuring that they are going to be wearing the runners long enough, and then change shoes just before bag check.  Again, do what you feel most comfortable with.

Eat breakfast in your room or head on out to the food court. The food courts can and will get crowded on race morning, even at 3am.  Pop Century in 2010 was a zoo when we walked in yet in 2011 it was very quiet! You just never know!  The excitement in the air was indescribable though. Everyone was ready to run!

Fueling up with Pb and bagels
Trying to get down breakfast

Go ahead and get started on topping off that hydration. It is still a few hours until start time, but start sipping on water before hand. Try for about 8 to 16 ounces of fluid, but stop drinking about 1 hour before the start to avoid early pit stops.

As you head out the door for the bus or your car, have a final checklist to review:

  • Hat/Visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Bib
  • Timing Chip
  • Toss Away Clothes
  • Check-in Bag
  • Electronics
    • Garmin/Heart Monitor
    • Cell phone
    • Camera
    • MP3 player
  • Waist pack/belt
  • Hydration belt
  • Trash Bag to sit on (or wear)
  • Room key (cause you kinda need to get back into your room)
  • Car key (if needed)
  • Money (I usually carry a $20 or so just in case)
  • Bottled water or sports drink

Head out to the buses and catch that ride to the start area.  The lines can and will get long so try to get there early and don't wait until the last minute!  When you arrive, go and check your bag if you have one, and head to your meetup location if you planned on meeting anyone before the race.  If not?  Just take it all in!

Be aware that only racers with bib numbers are allowed past the checked bag tent and in the start areas. If you are wearing some outer layers of clothing, you may have to raise a shirt or open a jacket to show your bib number. Don’t worry about pinning your number to the outside of your throw away clothing. You may forget to remove it before tossing that old sweat shirt; and you may not have time to take it off and re-pin it to your race shirt. Just make sure you can flash someone your bib number if you need to.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to walk from the waiting areas at Epcot to the start line. It's a decent trek! We usually start heading over 20-30 minutes prior to the start of the race. Gives us a few minutes to mentally prepare when we're in the corral.

During the Race

The start!
Official Start photo from ASI

You've prepared yourself with all of the training the past months so be confident you can do this!  The best piece of advice that I can honestly give is to go out and have fun!  You're in Disney!  Make sure to try to take it all in.  It's definitely overwhelming but amazing.

If you have a camera with you, USE IT!  Take as many memories with you as possible.  When it comes to characters along the course, that's up to you if you want to stop or not.  My rule during last year was that if there were less than 5 people on line, I would be willing to stop and it won't affect my time TOO much.  If I didn't want to wait, I would just snap a pic as I ran by.  :)

With the alligator from Princess & the Frog

Out on the course, you need to stop all negative thoughts. This is what you have trained for, and what you have been looking forward to with anticipation. Concentrate on the feeling of accomplishment, and how proud your family and friends will be. Banish any of those negative thoughts and doubts. And above all, take the time to enjoy the spectators, the participants, the sights and sounds of this experience. This is your moment!

Now onto the boring technicalities of actually running....

Two key concerns are hydration and fueling during the run. For hydration, don’t pass up the fluid stations on the course. Early on, drinking just water is fine. But no later than 60 minutes into the run, you should be consuming some sports drink.  You should aim to consume 3-6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes.  If the temperature climbs above 70, you may need to drink more.  Alternate between plain water and sports drinks at the fluid stations.  If you are sweating heavily, you should be drinking even more.

If you are drinking on the move, pinch the cup to make a smaller opening and drink through this small V opening. You will end up wearing less of the liquid....not that I know from experience or anything...

If the course mix of sports drink is too strong for you, grab a cup of water, dump some out (look around you first), then grab a cup of sports drink and pour some into the water cup.  If bringing your own bottles, and are worried about running out, grab cups from the water stops and fill up your bottle along the way.

For fueling, stick to what you've been training with.  Gu's, Shot Blocks, pretzels, twizzlers, etc.

If you do feel a severe increase in pain, do consider dropping out. No race is worth the risk of serious injury.  There are medical tents and medical personnel available along the course. It is also helpful to recognize the warning signs of dehydration/heat illness (headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, weakness, irritability, vomiting, heat flush, abnormal chills) and hyponatremia, or over hydration (swollen hands/feet, confusion, dizziness, throbbing headache, nausea, apathy, severe fatigue, cramping, bloated stomach, wheezy breathing).

If you need assistance, be sure to check in with the medical staff. That is what they're there for and they are awesome!

As well as everything above, there are some rules of etiquette for making the race more enjoyable, for yourself and for those around you...

- Pay attention to announcements. There may be important last minute changes that you need to be aware of.

- Start in the correct Corral. If you are a slower runner or a walker, don’t try to get to far in the front. Let the faster people get on their way, and let the congestion clear out.

- Try not to weave in and out of traffic until things have had a chance to spread out. Weaving expends energy and could be a tripping hazard.

- If you are running with a group, don’t spread out more than 2 abreast. Allow runners behind to get around.

- If you do pass someone, pass on the left. And give a verbal, “Passing on your left”, or “On your left” to let someone know that you are there. Also, check behind you before passing to make sure you aren’t cutting someone else off.

- If you need to stop, slow down, or speed up, give a quick look behind you to make sure you are not impeding others. Raising you hand and calling out “Walking” will let others know that you are slowing down so they can adjust. Then move to the right side before slowing/stopping.

- Most people slow down through the water station. Be aware of this. If you do not intend to get a drink, stay to the middle of the road. Try to keep moving through the water station. If you must stop, wait until you have cleared the station, then move to the side before stopping.

- As you approach the water station, pay attention to the volunteers. They may have both water and sports drink. Make sure you know which you are getting (don’t want to pour that sports drink over you head to cool off). And be sure to thank the volunteers, smile and be courteous.

- Don’t just drop empty cups on the road where they may be a hazard. Try to toss empties to the shoulder of the road, or into a garbage can if possible and practical.

- Move predictably, and watch the arm swing. Avoid sudden direction changes and don’t fling your
arms out.

- Look before you spit, sneeze, or vomit. Please.

- Don’t be a hog. At the water stations, and at the finish line, if you need fluids and/or food take what you need, but remember there may be others behind you that need some too.

- Don’t stop when you cross the finish line. Once across the line, slow down and follow the directions of the race officials. Others may be sprinting for the finish line right behind you.

- The 2 abreast rule still applies at the finish line. Even though you might want that great picture of your group of 6 crossing together, remember that the person behind you really wants his personal record (PR) or Boston Qualifying time (BQ) and may be sprinting for the finish. The rules of courtesy remain the same throughout the entire race, including at the finish line.

- Congratulate the other participants at the finish.

- Smile! You never know when a camera will be on you.

At the Finish Line

Crossing the finish line :)
That's me on the right in purple! :)

You’ve reached the finish line, so now it is all over, right?  Not at all!

Someone at the finish area may try to wrap a mylar blanket around you; go ahead and take it (if nothing else, you just scored a mylar blanket! Sweet!). Why do they do this after an endurance run? Well, when you stop a strenuous (and sweaty) exercise, while wearing lightweight, breathable clothing, and are outside, then any wind will evaporate the sweat from your exposed skin and body heat will be taken away.  Now that you have stopped running, you begin to cool down. However, when the body loses more heat then it produces, hypothermia can result (mild hypothermia is defined as a body temperature between 90 and 95 degrees F). The blanket is a preventative measure, and if you find you don’t need it, you can always take it off later. The mylars are also great to use to keep warm before your next early morning race.

Keep walking for at least 10 minutes. Take a nice easy pace to allow the body to gradually come down. Blood needs to circulate back to normal distribution and regions of the body (such as the stomach for digestion). Lactic acid and other waste products need to be flushed from the muscles.

Drink a sports drink as soon after your finish. Sports drinks increase blood sugar levels and electrolyte levels. You have just sweated away significant amounts of salts and other electrolytes. Plain water can dilute the concentration levels even more, resulting in a serious electrolyte imbalance. Eating salty foods like pretzels also help with restoring electrolytes.

Try to get something to eat within 30 minutes of finishing. Eat something rich in carbohydrates, a little lean protein, and low in fat. Grab a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, an apple, or a sports bar. Eating will replenish depleted glycogen stores as well as provide the protein needed to start rebuilding damaged muscle. The body is very receptive to absorbing fuel within a 60-90 minute window following strenuous exercise.

Some people may not have an appetite after finishing. In that case, try a recovery drink such as Clif Shot Recovery, EAS, Powerbar Recovery Drink, Boost, Ensure, or simply chocolate milk. Chocolate milk as a recovery drink is a very good source (and good balance) of carbs and protein. These drinks may not be available in the food area, but you can pack one (with the exception of the chocolate milk) in your checked bag.

Waiting more than 30 minutes to stretch, after your tired muscles have cooled down, increases the chance of injury. So stretch gently and slowly while your body is still warm.

Post Race

Consider an ice bath within 2 hours of finishing. The ice slows down the blood flow which reduces swelling and inflammation. The 2 hour wait is necessary because you don’t want to slow down the blood flow until the body has had time for normal circulation to flush waste products from the muscles and to replenish nutrients. Sit in a tub with lukewarm or room temperature water that covers your feet, legs and hips. Start adding the ice, and more cold water if necessary. This is less of a shock then just plunging into a tub of icy water. How long should the ice bath last? No more than 10-15 minutes. You can wear a shirt, sweat shirt or towel to keep your upper body warm. Plus I drink tea.  Also, move your legs around as you soak so that the cold water gets to all parts of your legs and hips.

An ice bath not sounding like your cup-of-tea? Then try walking in the shallow end of the pool (at least waist deep), even just taking a cool bath will help, or you can simply use those plastic bags to make up some ice packs that you can put on your knees, hips, or ankles.

After the ice bath, you can take a luke-warm shower to clean up. Avoid hot showers or hot baths for at least 24 hours. Your muscles and joints are already inflamed. Hot showers/baths increase blood flow, which can lead to increased inflammation, and didn’t you just take an ice bath to reduce inflammation? For the same reason, avoid hot tubs. Putting on some clean compression gear (tights, calf sleeves, etc.) after your clean-up can also help.

Wait about three hours after your finish, to begin to take NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, etc) to help reduce inflammation and pain. A rule of thumb is to start NSAIDs after you know your kidneys are working. Wait until you can urinate and don’t start with the NSAIDs until then, no matter how long it has been.

After the ice bath, you may be tempted to crawl back into bed and catch a quick nap. Fight that temptation, otherwise you will wake up about dinner time stiff and sore. Not to mention spending another night unable to sleep.

Besides, you have some serious bragging time to put in!  Put on some clean clothes, comfortable shoes, your medal, and head out for one of the parks. The more you walk around, the better you will feel over the next few days. Continue hydrating throughout the day. Eat simple balanced foods; avoid fried or greasy food. And enjoy all of the adulation and attention you will get wearing your well earned medal.

However, you must listen to your own body. If your feet or legs are painful or swollen, or you have blister issues, a more prudent option may be to apply massive doses of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

Your recovery is complete when you go from “Never again…” to checking the calendar for upcoming races. You know you want to.... :)

Disney Photopass Pics

30 December, 2010

Disney World Running Trails - All Star Resorts

There are a few things you can do at the All Star Resorts to add some mileage.  Since all three resorts are connected, don't just stay on that tiny 1.5 mile trail on West Buena Vista Drive.  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  Have fun with it!

If anyone has any fun routes through the All Star Resorts, let me know in the comments!  

Click on the photo for a larger version!

29 December, 2010

Putting Things Together for 2011!

The Run for the Bling of It 2011 Challenge has already got me motivated to scope out some new races for the beginning of the year.  I knew if I didn't go and register now, I'll probably get lazy and end up not doing anything after the full marathon for awhile.

Here's what I've figured out so far....

This one we all know.. the Disney full in 11 days! :)

With Valentine's Day mid-month there's a million Cupid 5k's.  Found one a few towns over...and it's description?  "Run with your heart this Valentine's Day by running the Cupid's Chase 5K! Great prizes, giveaways and the best way to make a love connection in the new year!"

We'll see about this whole 'love connection' thing. ;)

I'll be away for a good chunk of March during my trip to India so I thought trying to find a race in the remaining 2 weekends would be tough.  But then I spotted an awesome race...it's the first year that it's being held but it sounds great. 

Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon

Yup...THE historic Sleepy Hollow from the storybooks.  Headless Horseman and all.  It's a beautiful little town and I love heading up there around Halloween to see all of their Headless Horseman references throughout the whole town.  Even their street signs are themed! Granted the race is in March and NOT October but it should still be a great time. :)


The rest of the year's races will be figured out later on...baby steps! :)  I've got the Warrior Dash in August which is always hilarious.  I'll be adding the rest of my races to my Race Page so check it out!

28 December, 2010

Disney Running 101 Part 5: The Day Before the Big Race

So you've finally made it down to Disney, went to the expo (or are on your way), spent a bunch of money, and there's only a day before race day.

If you've had a long drive or flight to get there and haven't had a chance to unwind yet, try to get in a brisk walk or a tiny jog just to loosen up.  Your training is over, so keep this light and easy, don't go crazy!  An easy walk through one of the parks is good, but don’t go commando and try to do too much.

Don't forget to stay hydrated!  Like I said earlier...travel, especially airplane travel, can leave you dehydrated, so make sure you watch your fluid intake.  But again, be careful not to over do it.  Too much fluid can lead to electrolyte dilution.  Hydration is about right when urine is pale yellow rather than dark yellow; think more like lemonade, less like orange juice.  If you feel bloated or your stomach is making “sloshing” sounds, you may be drinking too much.  Remember, you have been hydrating over the last 3 – 4 days.  This is just to top off the tank.  You can't adequately hydrate in just one day.

For dinner, try to eat your normal diet.  This is not the time to try that new spicy Moroccan dish, or see if you might like sushi after all.  Stick with what you know.  The night before, I like to have a meal rich in protein with some sort of carb or starch (Le Cellier...here I come!).  Some do still do the pasta before, but I like to stick to potatoes or rice.  Possibly a small side dish of pasta.  Do what works best for you and again, don't try to reinvent the wheel!  Otherwise, just eat your usual healthy balanced dinner (might want to avoid high-fiber and high fat though so there's no uhh...'stomach issues').

You will want to turn in early, but there are still things to be done before bedtime.  Decide what time you want to wake up and set your alarm(s).  Many opt for multiple alarms... the alarm clock in your hotel room, another alarm clock brought from home, your cell phone and/or watch alarm, AND a wake up call.  May be overkill, but you’re this close, why take a chance?

Lay out what you will wear during the run.
  • Tech shirt
  • Running shorts/tights
  • Socks
  • Sneakers
  • Briefs/Compression Shorts/Sports Bra
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Braces/Wraps

Pin your bib number to your shirt (some prefer to pin it to their shorts, just a personal preference.  And by the way, in either case, it goes in the front).  Attach your timing chip to your shoe.

If you will be wearing toss-away clothing for pre-race, go ahead and get those ready.  An old sweat shirt and sweat pants; old jogging suit; bell bottoms from back in the day...or just a couple of big trash bags will work.  Disney washes and donates all of the clothing that is tossed away so look at it as if you're helping a good cause!  Last year they broke the record for amount of clothing donated.  Granted it was the coldest it's been in Florida since the Stone Age but still!  You may want to take a trash bag anyway, so that you can have something to sit on while you wait for the start, or in case of rain. If you have cold hands, some light throw away gloves or an old pair of socks work too.  Tube socks with the toe cut out will function as sleeves if you don’t want to wear a long sleeved shirt. (There are few style points at 4:30 in the morning).

If you are using a waist pack or belt, this is a good time to get that ready.  You may want to carry:
  • Cell Phone
  • Camera
  • iPod & Headphones
  • Sports gels
  • Tylenol
  • Biofreeze
  • Wet Wipes
  • Ziplock bag w/toilet paper
  • Small amount of cash
  • Hotel key
  • ID

Make sure that any electronics devices (cell phone, camera, iPod, sports watch, heart rate monitor) are FULLY CHARGED the night before.  Nothing worse than having something go kaput at the start line and still have to carry it the whole distance.

If you are going to use gels/blocks/beans/snacks during the run, decide which ones and how many.  Better to decide now, than to take a chance on forgetting them in the rush to get out the door in the morning.  And again, stick with what you are familiar with from your training.  This is not the time to try that new Jalapeno-Mango gel you picked up at the Expo.  If you plan on carrying your own hydration, make sure that it is mixed and ready to go for the morning.

Foil packets that have two Tylenol capsules are easy to carry and not too difficult to open if you may need some pain relief on the road.  Avoid NSAIDs (like ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve) before or during a run.  According to Runners World, “NSAIDs decrease blood flow to the kidneys, which regulate salt levels. If you also overhydrate, this heightens your risk of developing hyponatremia, a low concentration of sodium in the blood.”  Save the anti-inflammatory NSAIDs for a few hours after the run.

Ziplock bag with toilet paper???  Consider these scenarios, late run Porta-potty stop where several thousand runners who have already stopped ahead of you OR you really, really, really have to go now, and there’s nothing in sight but some trees and bushes …enough said?

Packing your check-in bag:
  • Dry Shoes/Sandals/Socks
  • Change of Clothes
  • Wet Wipes
  • Recovery Drink

If you use a powdered recovery drink and there will be water at the finish, you can just put the powder in a sports bottle and dump water in when done.  Less chance of it spilling out in your bag and you get a colder drink.

Some wet wipes and a towel can help clear away some of the road grime and sweat stains.  A clean, dry shirt and comfortable shoes after the event are most welcome.  Some people have changed clothes in a bathroom stall, but don’t count on having a place to modestly change clothes. 

There will be food and drinks available at the finish area, but, if you are used to a specific recovery food or drink, you may prefer to pack your own in your check bag.  Be careful with cash or any other valuables in your check-in bag.  They may be safe, but there are no guarantees.  Anything that you will need immediately after finishing, and before you return to your hotel, goes into your check-in bag.

Before going to bed, you should also consider what to do about breakfast.  I'm pretty sure all of the on property resorts will open their food courts early.  But they may have limited choices.  So best to check with the front desk to see if the food court will be open, when it opens, and what they might be serving.  You may prefer to have something in your room.  In which case, you might want to get some bagels, fruit, juice, etc to keep in your room.  If your room has a mini-fridge or a kitchen, then you have more options.  If your room has an in-room coffee maker and you have to have a cup-o-joe in the morning, make sure that you have the necessary supplies (filters, cups, sweetener, cream) and if you are not familiar with the coffee maker, look over the instructions beforehand.  Your goal is to do anything to make the morning go smoothly.

If you are staying on property, you will want to find out when and where to catch WDW transportation to the start line.  Monorail and bus transportation on race mornings will start at 3am!  They also say though that you MUST be on Disney transportation to get to the start line NO later than 4am.  Make sure you're not late!  If you are driving yourself, be aware that some roads will be closed so make sure you know a good route to the start. 

This is not the time to plan a race strategy.  Pacing, run/walk intervals, meeting up with family and friends (before, during, and after), all of these details should be planned days and weeks before the race.  Not in the last few hours when you are trying to fall asleep.  Having these plans written down a day or two ahead of time will help put your mind at ease and allow you to relax.

Now, go to bed and try to get some sleep!  That's an order! :)

Getting Closer to Race Day!

First official week of tapering is done! :)

It didn't go as smoothly as planned but we're one week closer to race day.  After my 22 miler I started getting a scratchy throat.  All of my friends were getting sick so I must have caught the bug.  Runny, stuffy nose...sore throat...all that fun stuff.  I tried to fight it the minute I felt it coming on so I think it helped.  Plus my friend officially got me to try the Neti Pot and umm...after a few failed attempts where I thought I might drown...I believe it helped! :)

This week called for 5 miles of hills, 8 miles of a steady run, and then a long run of anywhere between 12 - 15.

12/21/10:  5 miles of hills... Headed to the gym to get this done since it was so cold outside.  Didn't get to do the hills part but decided to just get the distance in instead.  Changed the speed on the treadmill every so often to try changing it up a little bit.  Actually felt REALLY good since it was my first run after doing 22 only a few days prior.

I started feeling worse throughout the week so I decided to can the other mid-week run.  Just didn't want to chance getting worse this close to the race.  :(

12/26/10:  12 Miles (Garmin Data)...Christmas came and went and I had a pretty good day with all the fam! Definitely ate a ton of food and went to bed later than I wanted so I knew my long run the very next day wouldn't be amazing.  Not to mention there was a huge blizzard that was supposed to hit later on in the day.

Woke up later than I wanted to and checked the weather.  The snow was now forecasted to start slightly earlier than originally thought.  Tried to rush and get ready to beat the snow but I was just sluggish!  Finally got to the park and it was a struggle to get motivated and get out of the car!

Decided not to put a mile limit on the run but I had to do at LEAST 12.  I wanted to see how the snow was going to hold out before making a decision.  Started out feeling pretty good for the first few miles.  Then about 3 miles in it started.  First one snowflake....then 5 more.  Since it was early in the run I decided right there that I'm only doing 12.  By mile 5 it was definitely coming down.  Mile 6 I started to see a slight accumulation on the paved trail but nothing bad.  Mile 7 though?  I have NO idea what happened!  It got SO windy and snowy around one of the little lakes I usually run around that I couldn't even look up to see what was in front of me.  I had to constantly look down at my feet as I ran because the snow was hurting my eyes as it came down.  I slowed my pace down a little bit to make sure I didn't slip and fall on the slick pavement.  After I finished up the one little lake I started heading back but still had 5 more miles to go until I got to my car.  The remainder of the run was in a more wooded area so it gave me some nice cover from the wind.  The snow was coming down so fast that I was leaving serious footprints in the path behind me!

Kept on chugging and when I hit 12, I was relieved.  I looked down and had to laugh.  I looked like a snowman!  I had worn a fleece as my outer layer and the snow stuck to it like crazy.  I also had snow ice in my eyebrows! Ugh!  Got the run done though so I was happy.

12 Miles right as the blizzard started....
The stereotypical Facebook pic :)

This upcoming week is supposed to be pretty easy for training:  4 miles, 6 miles, and then 10.  :)

As of yesterday (12/27)...it was 10 days until Christina and I fly down to Florida!!  I did online check-in for Pop and we'll be all set when we get there after our late flight!

And today?  9 days until Disney!!

23 December, 2010

Disney Running 101 Part 4: The Expo

What officially started to make me nervous

Here's where the excitement really starts to build!  Depending on when you get down to Disney, you'll be hitting the race expo up to 3 days prior to your race.

For the newbies, almost every big race has a health and fitness expo prior to race day.  It's usually located in a big auditorium and most importantly it's where you will finally pick up your race packet which will include your bib number and any last minute information that you need.  Disney holds their Florida race expos at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Disneyland has theirs at the Disneyland Hotel.  If the race is big enough (and Disney certainly is!) there will usually be lectures and famous guest speakers focusing on health and fitness as well as giving words of wisdom and encouragement for your big day.  The expo also has a bunch of vendors selling all kinds of merchandise ranging from official race shirts, other running apparel, running gear, running food, etc.   It's pretty much a shopaholic runners dream, so either bring your credit card....or make sure you leave it at home if you want to make sure you don't spend a million dollars!

The hours usually are the same over the years so just to get an idea, the 2011 WDW Marathon Weekend Expo hours were:

Expo Hours:
Thursday, January 6, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday, January 7, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 8, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m
** Packet Pick-Up will NOT be available on race morning! **

Transportation to the Expo:
For WDW January Marathon Weekend, since this race is so big, there are no specific 'host' resorts that you must stay at.  Transportation will be provided from EACH Walt Disney World Resort every 20 minutes beginning a half an hour prior to the expo opening and will continue until half an hour after it closes.  Most expo buses are located out by the normal theme park buses at each hotel.  To be sure though, ask a Cast Member before heading out.

The other races (Princess, Wine & Dine) are smaller so there are specific resorts that offer free transportation.  For 2010 Wine & Dine, the host hotels were all 3 All Stars, both Port Orleans, the Boardwalk Inn, the Beach Club, and Old Key West).  Be sure to check the runDisney site for each race to see which resorts provide transportation during the smaller race weekends!

Guests not staying on property will need to provide their own transportation.  Take 1-4 to exit 65 (Osceola Parkway West). Take a left onto Victory Way and park in the main lot. Proceed on foot to the main entrance.

Disneyland races have the benefit of everything being so close together.  Many hotels will offer transportation but with everything in close proximity to Disneyland, most runners just walk.  

Expo Info:
First stop on your to-do list should be picking up your packet.  Packet Pick-Up and the world-class Speaker Series is located in the HP Field House (formerly the Milk House) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  If you can, try to get to the expo as early as possible because it DOES get slightly crazy!  Last year we got there a little before opening and the line was already wrapped around the building!

Waiting to head into the expo! Day #59/365³
Waiting on line to get in and pick up our packets!

To get your packet, make sure to bring a photo ID and your signed waiver.  If by some chance you loose your waiver or forget to print it out, no need to worry.  They do have a few computers and printers that runners can use...

printing out his race waiver
Not that Nate 'forgot' his waiver or anything....

Once in the HP Field House you'll head downstairs to the main floor to pick up your packet.  The floor is divided by race...half marathon on one side, full marathon on the other.  There's also smaller areas for the 5k and kids races.  Find your correct side and then find the correct booth according to your bib number (which you can find on your waiver!).  The volunteer helping you will check your ID, have you sign out your packet, and then give you a big envelope that contains your official race bib, D-Tag  (the tiny orange band you have to put on your shoe so that your time is tracked along the course), safety pins, and some other last minute information.  If you ordered a commemorative pin when you registered for the race, this is also where you would pick this up. 

packet pickup area
Looking down onto the main level of the HP Field House

If you want to try to move up in corrals, this building is where you'll do it too.  Make sure you have a print out of race results for a 10k or longer race and bring it to the Runner Relations booth (I think that's what it's officially called).  A volunteer will take a look at your time and adjust your corral accordingly, if applicable.  A sticker will be placed on your bib stating the correct corral that you should be in. 

Also seen in the photo above, smack in the middle of the floor, is a TINY area that sells official Disney race merchandise .  I HIGHLY recommend waiting and don't buy anything just yet.  Most of the official race items are for sale in this tiny area but I remember there being a lot more selection when you go into the main part of the expo. 

On your way out of the HP Field House, make sure to pass over the D-Tag testing mat.  Pretty sure you can't avoid it so don't worry about missing it.  As you walk over the mat, a computer will read your D-Tag and your information will appear on the computer to make sure that it is working correctly for race day. 

Next stop on the agenda is the Jostens Center where the main part of the expo is held....also known as Shoppers Paradise. :)  But before you start running up and down the vendor aisles, there's still some Disney details you need to finish!  You already have your race bib but...what about the fabulous official race t-shirt and goody bag?

Take a look at the expo map and all the Disney stuff is on the right side of the map...(This is the general layout for every expo)

Sorry you cant really read it but just wanted to give you a rough layout!

To pick up the shirt and goody bag, go to the correct area (half marathon or full marathon) and then go into the correct line according to the size shirt you ordered.  Another volunteer will had you the official shirt as well as the bag.


Two years ago we were given those spiffy blue mesh bags that you see the couple holding in the photo.  The previous few races however, we were only given a dinky clear plastic bag with the runDisney logo on it.  KEEP whatever bag they give you...this is the bag that you need to use for bag check on race day!

Inside the bag is some basic free running swag.  I think last year we got a sample of KT Tape, Powerbar Gels, free music downloads, lots of flyers for upcoming races around the country, and I'm sure a few other things that I'm forgetting about already.  Don't expect anything amazing! 

Now that you've gotten all of the mandatory things out of the way.... start wandering!!!  I know it's impossible to read on the map I posted but all of those little squares are vendors...either selling merchandise, informing you of upcoming races, doing demonstrations, taste tests, etc.  You can easily get lost in there for hours and come out a few hundred dollars poorer.  I usually head to the official Disney merchandise first and then make my way through the vendors. 

Back at the Expo!

Any and EVERYTHING that you would need or want will be at this expo.  The items range from sneakers, inserts, running skirts, Garmins, energy supplements, headbands, jackets, stickers, etc, etc, etc.  Most of the vendors do take credit card payments.  I didn't come across any that didn't but I'm not 100% sure.  So you might want to take some cash with you.  For Disney official merchandise, be sure to ask if there's an Annual Pass discount at all.  Last year it was 20% off!  Wine & Dine also offered 20% off for Annual Pass holders.  

Just wander, have a great time, and soak up the energy!  The whole expo has a great electricity about it. 

If you want to go listen to any of the speakers that are scheduled, you will have to head back over to the HP Field House where you originally picked up your bib.  That's where the stage and seating is set up.  Some of the speakers this year are Jeff Galloway, the Hoyt's, and John Bingham. 

If you can't pick up your packet yourself:

If you're taking a late flight and/or can't attend packet pick-up for one reason or another, someone will have to pick up your stuff for you.  Here's what they'll need:

1. His/Her Photo ID (they have to sign their name for your packet)
2. Photocopy of your driver’s license or Photo ID
3. Your signed waiver
4. Your signed Packet Pick-Up Authorization Form (found on the 'Event Details' page of the runDisney site for each specific race)


Whew!  I think that might be everything I can think of to get you ready for the expo!  Did I leave anything out? 

Run for the Bling of It!

While reading through some blogs I saw that Ronda and a few other fellow running bloggers are spreading the word about a new 2011 Challenge created by Lesley and Sherry.  Sounds awesome so I emailed right away.  Here's the info....

Pic from the Run for the Bling of it site

We all need a little motivation from time to time with our running right?! I use races as a motivator for me to get out and do my training. I am always on the hunt for my next bit of race bling! So, why not participate in this little challenge. Over the next 12 months, complete 12 races! This can be anything from a 5k to an ultra – or any combination of races. Ideally you would do one race a month, but there are no restrictions.

How to be involved:
• Send an email to runfortheblingofit@gmail.com and let them know you want in on the challenge. Include your name and a link to your blog.
• Follow the blog at www.runfortheblingofit.blogspot.com
• Post a race report after each race so that they can link to it on the blog, including a pic of your bling if you receive any. (If not a medal maybe a pic of the race shirt or anything else they give in your race swag.)
• Tell everyone else about the challenge!

Each week there will be an update with links to everyone that did a race and has posted their report. At the end of the year they will do a drawing from everyone that completed the challenge and give away a fun running prize!

Come on and lets Run for the Bling of it!!!!

20 December, 2010

I Have to Run MORE Than That on Race Day?!?!

Let the taper BEGIN!!!

This week has officially been one of the hardest weeks of training for me, mentally and physically.  Not sure if it's because I know the end is near or what but my motivation was at an all time low.  I didn't even have any excuse like school or anything!  Hopefully the post isn't too much of a downer...but I promise I'm happy at the end of it all!

This week I was scheduled for 5mi of intervals, 10mi of a steady run, and the dreaded 22.

12/14/10:  5mi of interals 3.5mi of intervals... It was cold and miserable outside so I decided to do this run on the treadmill.  From that morning though I had no motivation to go to the gym.  Christina (my bff running the half!) finally convinced us both to get our butts into the gym and I hopped on a treadmill.  By mile 1 I knew this would be a struggle.  Finally after a mile I decided to just up the speed, do at least 3 miles, and get this over with as quickly as possible.

12/17/10:  10 miles steady 5.35 miles steady (Garmin Data) ...I worked from home today and had every intention of heading to the park during lunch and getting the 10 done.  Laziness and some last minute work got in the way and I didn't end up on the roads until 3:30 or 3:45, def not enough time to get to the park and do 10 miles before the sun set.  Ran around the streets by my house instead but just felt like I was dragging.  I was going the slowest I've gone in a long time for this distance that it was discouraging.  Add to that the crazy cars in the street and I decided to just turn around and call it a day at a little over 5.

12/19/10:  22 Miles (Garmin Data) ... This was IT! The last HUGE run of training. 

The night before though, I had three (yes...3!) holiday parties to go to.  I didn't drink at any of them and tried to eat sensibly, which was near impossible.  Each party consisted of hummus & veggies, Swedish meatballs, sausage bread, spinach dip, nacho dip, cookies, candy, and cake.  That was seriously the menu at almost each one....so not too many 'healthy' choices.

Went to bed around midnight with the intention of starting our run at 9am.  Around 4am I woke up with the worst stomach cramps ever.  I was just miserable and stayed up for at least another hour or two.  Woke up again around 7 with the same tummy issues.  Ugh...I already knew this run would be interesting...I didn't need to throw in GI issues too!

Luckily Christina was dragging as well in the morning so we pushed the run to 10am.  We met up in the park (she was scheduled for 11 or 12 for the half training), chatted a bit, wished each other well...and were off.

The little lake at the start/finish of my run

The first 3 miles were slow going for me and I just couldn't get into a groove.  A quick pit stop at the restroom and I felt much better.  Was going great and feeling fine until about mile 15.5 where I had to quickly stop off again.  *sigh* After that?  Pretty much all a struggle.  It didn't start to get really bad until about mile 19.  Something in my knee started to twinge, and it wasn't my IT band.  It came and went every so often and I was able to run through it but it worried me.  Then it just felt like I had cement blocks for feet.

By mile 20?  I was starting to get nauseous and hot so I pulled off my hood of my running shirt to cool off, chomped on some twizzlers for sugar, sipped on Gatorade and felt a little better.  Mile 21? UGH.  It took every once of being in my body to not walk that final mile.  I even stopped a few times and stood there trying to figure out what to do.  Seriously.  I needed to use the restroom again and running was making it worse but walking would have taken longer!  I decided on a nice slow 'shuffle' instead.  It's times like this I'm glad I run in a park off the streets and only walkers/runners/bikers can see me!  Oh, and seeing one of my coworkers at mile 21.5 walking with his wife?  NOT fun!  I could barely say hi...I have to remember to tell him sorry for ignoring him, haha!

Done! Don't I look THRILLED?

When the Garmin beeped at 22mi, I seriously wanted to stop and kiss the ground.  I ripped off my water belt and before stretching I started walking slowly to cool down and called Christina to vent about the crappy run.  Luckily hers went fairly well! After stretching I went back to my car and just sat there to relax in the heat for a bit.  Drank some HoneyMilk recovery drink, tweeted a bit, and then hit the road to my dads to take a cold bath for my legs, a hot shower, and do laundry.

Christina did manage to cheer me up even though she was long gone from her run.  When I got to my car, I found this fabulous note on my windshield... :)


When I got to my dads, I decided to try the cold bath thing again.  This time I followed my twitter friend Stephanie's advice!  She suggested putting on a sweatshirt and drinking a warm drink while soaking in the tub and honestly?  It totally worked!  My dad and stepmom totally thought I was a freak though after I told them why I was bringing the tea up into the bathroom....

I think the mug was needed as motivation, right?

I'm sure there's a lot that I'm leaving out but I think I'm already trying to block this run from my memory.  I know I shouldn't doubt myself about the full 26.2 but I honestly am.  I can not for the life of me figure out how I would add 4.2 more miles to that, especially after knowing how I felt during miles 20-22.  I can't help but think that this is why most training plans only have you go to 20 miles.  They don't WANT you to feel this way until actual race day? ;) *sigh*

Definitely thrilled that it's taper time from here on out though!  It'll give me time to relax, finish writing my Disney Running 101 posts, and get things in order for the trip....only 17 days until we fly down!! 20 days until the race!! YIKES!

Happy Running everyone!  I hope everyone else's long run went much better than mine! :)

Oh and sorry for the quality of the photos...they're all from my Blackberry :(

Just got my new issue of Runner's World in the mail as I was typing this up.  Time to go read...the cover stories include:  Learn to Love the Treadmill, Mental Tricks to Push Past the Pain, and the 2011 Marathon Guide.... this is coming just at the right time! :)

16 December, 2010

The Blog is Slightly Under Construction...oops...

I should have listened to myself a few hours ago when I originally said it was too late to attempt to tweak things with the blog layout.  I accidentally deleted something in my template and the whole layout went haywire.

So for now I threw this together but hate almost everything about it so please know this is only temporary!!  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to fix the chaos I created! :)

12/17/10:  OK so I've made some progress with the blog...what do you guys think?  Started teaching myself how to update and edit all this fun template code.  It's actually kinda fun!

15 December, 2010

Training Update for the Week of 12/6 - 12/12!

Luckily this past week ended up being a Step-Back week and my mileage was low.  I had a huge final paper due for school, as well as my dreaded accounting exam this past Monday so running was sadly at the bottom of my to-do list.

I only got a chance to run once during the week and it was a sad 2 or 3 miles of hills on the treadmill.  I honestly don't even remember the exact distance since my mind has completely been on other things.  :(

12/11/10:  10 miles (Garmin Data)...This run went well and totally made up for not running much during the week.  It was chilly when I got to the park but I quickly warmed up and headed out.  Was feeling great during the first mile and was surprised when I looked at the Garmin after the first mile and saw I completed it in 9:49.  Still feeling good, I decided to see how far I can keep that pace.  I've never run 10 miles that quickly so I knew eventually I'd probably slow down.  Kept the pace roughly the same for the first 6 or 7 miles and then slowed down just a bit to around 10:10 miles.  Was still happy with it and finished all 10 miles at a 10:03 pace, yayyy!  Now if only I can keep that pace for a full 13.1 I'd KILL my PR!  Time to start looking for one after January :)

I was finally able to test out my Nathan Speed 4 hydration belt.  I've always used the 2 bottle belt but needed more liquid for all of my runs over 13 miles.  Bought the Nathan 4 and swapped out the 8oz bottles though for 10oz ones so it holds more.  I filled all the bottles for this run just to see how 40oz of liquid felt.  It took a little bit to get the belt settled.  I like to wear hydration belts really low on my hips, pretty much on my pelvic bones, so the added weight of 40oz of liquid against the slick wet suit like material of my CW-X tights was making it hard for the belt to stay above my rear end.  Kept sliding down a bit until I finally positioned it just correctly that it didn't move much.  Little did I know though that the belt wasn't moving because it was actually rubbing on my skin of my love handles.  Yeah... what a fun surprise that was when I got in the shower! OUCH!  (MUST remember to Body Glide!!!)

Also?  Can I just point out that high school boys cross country teams are SPEEDY! :)  When I started my run, I saw the local boys Catholic school team warming up.  I easily had a good 5-10 minute advantage over them before they started but almost within seconds, they all stampeded by me, probably wondering who the crazy old girl is with the 40oz of water strapped to her body.  They must have passed me 3 times somehow, each time just as fast as the previous.  I WISH I was that fast!  I just had to remind myself that these kids are half my age...*sigh*

So this weekend is the BIG one.... the 'fabulous' 22 mile run!  And then after that??? Smooth sailing (I hope) until the marathon! CRAZY!

Also on the agenda?  Revamping the blog!  The layout is pretty boring as is so I'm trying to play around with it and add more things, make it more inviting.  Wish me luck! :)

10 December, 2010

2011 Marathon Weekend Final Race Instructions & Runner Tracking Information

Photo from runDisney

runDisney officially released the Final Race Instructions as well as Runner Tracking information!

Final Race Instructions

I already registered to get my results sent to my phone as well as email and it was really easy to sign up.  Just follow the instructions on the site and voila!  If any friends out there want to track me and don't know my last name, let me know and I can email it to you. :)

Runner Tracking

You can also watch the live results in real time on race day!  Since I'll be cheering on Christina during the half, I won't be able to check this out.  Would love to hear how it works if someone wants to report back to me. :)

Full Marathon Live Race Day Results

Half Marathon Live Race Day Results

Waivers for the WDW Marathon Weekend are UP!!!

** 12/14/10 Update:  The link for waivers/bib numbers has officially been posted on the runDisney site!  Same link that is at the bottom of this post.  And after all that hoopla of people complaining that the link was 'unofficial'... bib numbers obviously did NOT change... *sigh* 

** 12/10/10 Update:  Apparently there's a few people that are all in a tizzy and pulling the waiver link from their sites because the runDisney people have emailed them back stating that the link is not official and to not believe anything until an official email is sent.  The same thing happened last year and none of the info ever changed when it actually did go 'live'.   So here's my friendly disclaimer that the info supposedly might change, but most likely wont, so uhh...yeah.... **

*** Waiver link now works again so click away! ***

*** As of right now, TrackShack has taken down the link for the waivers. This happened last year when the link was leaked as well (sorry guys!). It should come back up in a few days so I'll let you know when it's back up. ***

Photo from the TrackShack site

Yesterday while at work I decided to do a little digging on the Trackshack site to see if they posted the link for the waivers for this year yet.  I was able to find the link, but it wasn't active and wouldn't pull up any results/waivers.

I kept an eye out and tried again just now and the link works!  I was able to pull up my waiver and find my bib number (it's listed on the waiver). YIKES!!!

I know I keep saying it but... this is really gonna happen, isn't it??

The link for the waiver can be found here!

Now I wonder what corral I'll be in... Bib # 7045...any ideas?

06 December, 2010

The 20 Mile Milestone!

** Taking a quick break from my Disney Running 101 to give everyone a training update!  The next Disney Running 101 post is almost complete so I should be able to post it after handing in my final paper for one class on Wed! **

Wow, another training week is complete....and this weeks was a biggie!

I was feeling pretty good after the 18 last week so I decided to push and try for the 20 this week so I can get back to my original training schedule.  My two mid-week runs were jammed together since the first few days of the week were packed with school and going to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree lighting.  I'll try post some of those pics after I'm done editing them.

12/2/10: 6 miles of Intervals 3 miles of street running, 3 miles on the treadmill (Garmin Data for the 3 outdoor miles)... My body was tired from the crazy 3 days prior and I really couldn't stomach sitting on a treadmill for 6 full miles doing intervals.  Decided to break up the run and at least get the distance in.  Ran outside for 3 miles, which wasn't horrible minus the pitch black streets, the iPod that died a quarter mile in, and the COLD!  It went by quickly though.  After I got back to the gym I jumped on the treadmill and quickly pumped out the last 3 miles while listening to a few podcasts on my other iPod.  Didn't feel horrible after and glad I got in the distance.

12/3/10:  6 miles steady pace 2 miles of intervals... I know...I was supposed to do 6 today too but after doing the 6 the very day prior, my legs were spent! Jumped on the treadmill to do at least a few miles of intervals and by mile 2 I was SO bored and tired.  I could have pushed for 3 but honestly didn't feel like doing anything.  There was also a line for the treadmills so I reasoned with myself that I should get off.  :(

12/5/10:  20 miles (Garmin Data)... The BIG one! This day seemed SO far away when I first started thinking about running a full marathon and here it is and I got through it pretty successfully!  Tried to get out to the park earlier than my last few long runs so I met up with my BFF Christina (who's running the half!) around 9am so we can start our runs together.  Excited to say we're both pretty much where we need to be in terms of distance now to be ready for our races! 

Did I mention it was COLD??? Like 32 degrees cold and the windiest it's been in a few weeks so who knows what the wind chill was.  We've ran in colder weather last year but we were both completely blank as to what to wear for the run, it was quite entertaining over text messages before we met in the park.  Ear warmer?? Gloves?! Fleece? Decided on my CW-X Performx running tights (they've kept me warm in 17 degree weather and I ran the half last year in them), 2 long sleeve running shirts, ear warmers, gloves, and my Helly Hanson fleece jacket which I was prepared to shed along the way and pick up when I looped around if I had to.

Having pockets in the fleece jacket also allowed me to carry more fun food items to test out...plus my phone!  A friend of mine the night before suggested that I carry my phone during really long runs...not even for safety purposes (I have a RoadID for that too) but when I start losing my mind and determination, to just text someone or update Facebook with a quick few words if I take a walk break.  I figured why not, right?  It won't hurt!

The run itself was decent.  I think I was definitely sluggish from my 18 miles only 7 days prior.  No matter what I tried, it was a struggle to keep  my pace over 11min/mile.  After awhile I realized there was no point in trying to struggle with it and to just run at whatever pace my body wanted.  Just like last time, mile 15 and the subsequent miles were even more of a struggle.  I just couldn't keep my pace up at all and it slowly slipped after every mile.  The weather might have played a factor too.  I ended up keeping the fleece on and just unzippnig it when I got warm.  Whenever I turned a corner and the wind was whipping me around, I was completely glad I decided not to take it off!  The wind was BRUTAL!

One of the lakes at the barren park....looks thrilling, right?

Mentally though throughout all 20, I felt pretty decent!  It was probably a combination of constantly eating, as well as updating my Facebook.  Around mile 7 I took out my phone and updated my status with something quick like "7 of 20 down..." and then put my phone away immediately.  At mile 9 I took it back out again and saw I had at least 6-10 comments of encouragement from friends and my Running of the Ears gang and it put a smile on my face.  Loved it!  I think I updated again at 10, 13, and 18.  It was great!  I might have to actually carry my phone with me on the day of the race! The virtual cheering squad totally helped!  There were also a good number of other crazy people that braved the weather and were out enjoying a run or walk.  The smiles and nods from passing runners always give me a teeny pick-me-up.   

In terms of food?  I found I totally LOVE Twizzler Nibs (the cherry ones) to run with.  They're hard when it's that cold out but they didn't get stuck in my teeth.  The Gu Chomps worked too but they were a little too  chewy for me for some reason.  I know they're needed though.  Another mini bag of pretzels was consumed on this run and I really enjoy them.  Plus?  I had bought electrolyte caplets to test out towards the end of the run.  I was warned that they can wreak havoc on my stomach so I waited until I only had about 5 miles left.  Took one every mile for 3 miles and no stomach problems at all!  I'll try them out again soon on my next long run to double check.  But as of now I'll be taking all 4 items with me on race day. 

Just me and my shadow

After a fabulous stretch and chugging a coffee flavored Honey Milk (my recovery drink...it's fabulous!) I quickly jumped in my car to warm up and headed to my dads to spend the rest of my day (and shower!).  As the day wore on, I wasn't horribly sore.  My lower back started to hurt but I laid on the floor and stretched a few times and that did the trick.  This morning isn't so bad either so hoping I don't get much worse tomorrow. 

Seriously...I never thought I'd see the day when I actually ran 20 miles...ME!!  Again, it's still hard for me to comprehend that I have to add 6.2 more to that on race day but mentally I know I'll be ok.  It doesn't seem as impossible as it used to and considering that I ran by myself without any crowds or awesome Disney scenery around me, I believe I'm ready.  I still have my 22 mile run to do in two weeks but will totally be ok if I have to bump that down to another 20. :)  "Easy" week coming up of 4mi-6mi-10mi so hoping I can stick to it perfectly!

5 weeks to go!!!

01 December, 2010

A Little Disney Running 101

I wanted to write a few blog posts (ok, maybe a bunch of blog posts) about information that first time Disney runners can read to help prepare for the big day.  The January Marathon Weekend is coming up pretty quickly and I know this will help the Princess runners too.  :)

A lot of the pre/post race information is common knowledge to seasoned runners, but I know that many people make a Disney race their first big race ever, just like I did last January.  Even if you are a seasoned runner, maybe there's a teeny piece of information here that you didn't know about.  Feel free to also add information in the comments and I'll try to include it next time! 

Much of this info I've gathered from all of my fabulous Disney running friends, especially the gang from Running of the Ears, who helped me complete my first half marathon ever!  Without them I honestly would have had NO idea what to expect!  One of the members created a HUGE document that had a wealth of information in it.  Some of the information is from there, some I learned from fabulous trial and error, and the rest is from interesting observations at Disney and other races. 

Here's a rough breakdown of what I'll be writing about.  I hope to get a few out a week, especially after my exams are over for grad school in two weeks !  All topics are subject to change but this is the rough outline. :)

1. Prep 4-3 Weeks Prior to Race Day
2. The Week Before
3. Packing Lists
4. Expo & Two Days Pre-Race Countdown
5. Race Day!
6. Spectator Viewing Info

If you guys have any questions that I don't talk about, definitely ask me here and if I don't know the answer, I'll make sure to try to find it for you.

6 More weeks until I get to pass under this!
It's official! We're here!

Disney World Running Trails - Saratoga Springs

There are a few things you can do at Saratoga to add some mileage.  Like all the other suggestions, loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.

If anyone has any fun routes through Saratoga, let me know in the comments!

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Disney World Running Trails - Port Orleans

This is my other personal favorite resorts to run at (other than the Boardwalk and Epcot Resorts).  With French Quarter and Riverside connected, it is a gorgeous route.  I ran early in the morning before the sun came up on one of my trips and still remember how awesome it was.

Veer off the 1 mile route they have listed below.  Look at all of those other little mini trails that you can get some more mileage one!  And since both resorts are connected, you get a nice change of scenery when you run from one to the other.

If anyone has any fun routes through Port Orleans, let me know in the comments.

Click on the photo for a larger version!

My recap of the trail at Port Orleans (2012)

Disney World Running Trails - Pop Century

There are a few things you can do at Pop Century to add some mileage.  Like all the other suggestions, loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.

Also, now that the Art of Animation Resort is starting to open, I'm assuming the bridge across Hourglass Lake will now be open.  Head over to the new resort and see what all the fuss is about!

If anyone has any fun routes through Pop Century, let me know in the comments!

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Disney World Running Trails - Old Key West

There are a few things you can do at Old Key West to add some mileage.  The resort is pretty spread out and there are an endless combination of routes to take.  Just looking at the map below, it looks like they left out a million little trails to add mileage!  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  Have fun with it!

If anyone has any fun routes through Old Key West, let me know in the comments!  

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Disney World Running Trails - Magic Kingdom Resorts

OK, so I understand that the Contemporary is obviously a Magic Kingdom Resort too, but it's in it's own little world over there and there is no trail connecting it to the other two resorts.  For ease, I'm combining the Grand Floridian and Polynesian trail maps together since that's how Disney lumps them together and provides the same map for both resorts.

From the Polynesian, you can also head past the Tahiti building towards the Transportation Ticket Center for a little extra mileage. 

But the most pleasant choice would be to follow the first map on this page.  It's peaceful at almost all times of day and a favorite of almost everyone I talk to! Don't forget you can also weave in and around all of the buildings on both properties.

Keep in mind that Disney is doing construction by the Grand Floridian and Wedding Pavilion building the new DVC resort.  Some paths might be closed completely our rerouted. 

If anyone has any fun routes through the Grand Floridian and Polynesian, let me know in the comments!  

Click on the photo for a larger version

Disney World Running Trails - Fort Wilderness

Another one of the more popular running routes on property.  Unfortunately I haven't made it over there for a jog yet.  And just like the Epcot Resorts, since Fort Wilderness is attached to Wilderness Lodge, you can easily add mileage with a few detours. 

Some of these trails are gravel paths so use caution when running.  They do sound like some of the most scenic though with cypress trees and Spanish moss along the route! 

Even just on Fort Wilderness property, run through the campground and sites to enjoy the decorations.  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  Have fun with it!

If anyone has any fun routes through Fort Wilderness, let me know in the comments!  

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Disney World Running Trails - Coronado Springs

There are a few things you can do at Coronado Springs to add some mileage.  The resort is pretty spread out and there are an endless combination of routes to take.  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  Have fun with it!

If anyone has any fun routes through Coronado Springs, let me know in the comments!  

Click on the photo for a larger version!

Disney World Running Trails - Contemporary

Apparently the trail that Disney advertises has shrunk since the addition of Bay Lake Tower.  But remember you don't have to stay on that tiny .89 mile trail!  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  The new paths around Bay Lake Tower are well marked and beautiful.  Have fun with it!

Also, the Contemporary path is linked to the Magic Kingdom so you can add some distance that way.  Head towards MK.  When at the main entrance of the park, stay on pathway past the resort boat launches to the left of the monorail station. The path runs along Seven Seas Lagoon for a little bit but ends at a canal.  Try to avoid this area though when it's close to park opening/close.  It gets crazy!  

If anyone has any fun routes through the Contemporary, let me know in the comments!  

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Disney World Running Trails - Caribbean Beach

There are a few things you can do at Caribbean Beach to add some mileage.  Since this is such a huge resort, don't just stay on that tiny 1.2 mile trail!  Loop through the pathways, weave through the buildings, around the pools, etc.  Have fun with it!

If anyone has any fun routes through Caribbean Beach, let me know in the comments!  

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Disney World Running Trails - Epcot Resorts

If you're staying at one of the Epcot Resorts of Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, either the Swan or Dolphin, you're in luck.  Since all of the resorts are combined, I personally think this is one of the best places to run on property.  You can even run all the way down to Hollywood Studios and back for that extra mileage.

To run towards Hollywood Studios.... when at the Boardwalk, head away from Epcot and follow the trail along the waterway.  There are definitely signs pointing the way to the park.  When you get to the turnstiles, turn around and head back!  From the Boardwalk to Hollywood Studios is about 1 mile, give or take.  I'll try to get the exact mileage on my next trip.

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