16 September, 2011

runDisney Disneyland Meet-Up with Jeff Galloway

After a tiny hiatus from the blog while I got over a nasty cold, I'm finally back to fill everyone in on my Disneyland trip!

Like I had mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to be selected for runDisney's Meet-Up with Jeff Galloway!  I was really excited (who wouldn't be?) because he's a wealth of information, and by far one of the nicest people I've ever met in the running business.

We were sent a confirmation email by runDisney asking us to meet at the Disneyland Hotel no later than 10:15am.  After grabbing a quick breakfast over there, Patrick and I headed to the meet-up point.  We ran into the other 4 Running of the Ears members that were also selected and caught up with each other since many of us hadn't seen each other since the January races or Wine & Dine the previous October.

Right at 10:30 we were checked in and lead into the auditorium where the expo was being held.  Jeff was hanging around with a few other runDisney employees and speakers while we took our seats at the front of the auditorium.  There were definitely a few excited whispers about not only Jeff being there but also about the 'mysterious' runDisney goody bags that were waiting to be passed out.

First, just want to apologize now if I wrote down anyone's titles incorrectly.  I forgot my notebook and was trying to type this all on my Blackberry...not too fun! 

After getting settled in, Bob Hitchcock, the runDisney PR Manager, welcomed us and gave us a rundown of the schedule for the morning.  Courtney Ware, head of marketing for runDisney, then took the stage and also welcomed us to the meet-up.  She talked about how this was runDisney's 1st Anniversary and they've definitely come a long way!  One of the interesting announcements she made was that there will now be an official runDisney position on the Disney Mom's Panel this year and suggested that if any of us were interested to definitely think about applying.  The rules for the Mom's Panel do not mention that you actually need to be a mom so of course I've already sent in my application!

Courtney then took a few questions and revealed that the Expedition Everest Challenge will be back this upcoming year, most likely with a May race date.  Something else I didn't even realize... 2013 is the 20th anniversary of the WDW Marathon so they're already thinking of ways to make the race special.  Does that mean I have to run the full marathon AGAIN?! :) I thought Goofy 2012 was going to be it for a few years...guess not.  I'm a sucker for fancy new bling...*sigh*

We were then introduced to Rachel Booth, the winner of the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2010.  This woman is FAST! :)  I believe she finished the half last year in 1:14.  She also won this year's race in an impressive 1:18.  Rachel explained her history as a military wife, mother, runner, as well as how she qualified for the Olympic trials this year.  When asked about the course, she said it was flat and fun.  Everyone joked that she didn't have time to stop for any photos along the course but she said she made sure to go back into the parks and take photos after the race was completed!  Be sure to keep an eye out for her when the trials come along!

Rachel Booth, winner of the last 2 Disneyland Halfs!

Finally, the man we've all been waiting for finally took the stage.  As Jeff started out speaking to us, he gave a brief recap of his running career and current running stats.  He's been running for the past 52 years, currently runs 6 days a week, and runs a marathon a month with his wife.  To say we were impressed would be an understatement!

When talking about his Run-Walk-Run method, he joked that you "don't have to run until you puke" and inserting walk breaks will help you enjoy running so much more.  He also threw a few stats at us, such as people that use his run-walk-run method usually run 13 minutes faster during a marathon compared to people that flat out run.  Runners can enjoy the endorphins that everyone talks about during your walk portions instead of just after the race is complete.  Made sense to me.

He then took a few questions from the group and some of the questions were interesting.  When asked about getting motivated to go out for a run, he mentioned a few things.  First, coffee/caffeine helps to jump start everything.  Then, he also mentioned that you need to 'trick' your body into getting ready for a run.  Just tell yourself you're going to put on comfy clothes...but make sure those clothes are running clothes.  Then say you're going to have a bite to eat...but make sure that the food is conducive to running.  Slowly get ready in this manner and soon enough, you'll be ready and motivated to get out the door.  He also discussed how taking stock of your life helps put things in perspective.  Think about the runners out there that have overcome life threatening challenges that still manage to hit the pavement.

After some serious topics, Jeff made sure to throw in a few light hearted words of wisdom.  When asked how to complete negative splits, his simple answer?  "Simply go out more slowly!"  He also answered questions about overcoming nerves before a race, dealing with the huge crowds, etc.

I finally found my voice after trying to jot everything he said down and asked about his suggestions for nutrition during a half or full marathon.  Jeff proceeded to explain that little blood is allocated to your gut while you run long distances so things you eat need to be pretty simple.  For liquid, he suggests 2-4oz every 2 miles.  For nutrition, 30-40 calories every 2 miles is also recommended, since the brain needs sugar.  He wasn't a huge fan of electrolyte drinks and said that he gets his sugar from gummybears, hard candy, sugar cubes, etc.

One of the last questions asked was how Jeff felt about barefoot running and this made him chuckle a little bit.  After all the years he's been in the running industry, he realizes that barefoot running is just a fad and will fade away and then reappear again in about 10 years.  Nothing is better than getting fitted for the proper sneakers at a real running store!

Like I've mentioned in previous posts, I think it's great that runDisney chose Jeff Galloway as their spokesman.  He actually cares about what people have to say and listens intently to every word.  His advice is always helpful and straightforward, and there's usually some humor thrown in there as well.  

Unfortunately by now, our time for the meet had ran out.  Bob handed out our goody bags (which contained an awesome runDisney shirt that you see Rachel wearing in the photo and a Disneyland Half Marathon pin) and then allowed us to head over to the runDisney portion of the expo merchandise to get a head start on our purchases before the chaos arrived.  It was SO nice being able to browse everything without having others shove you out of the way and I was able to buy my regular race wine glass, a Coast-to-Coast tech tee, and a pair of runDisney shorts.  The 20% off for annual pass holders wasn't too shabby either!

Also, Runner Mickey was available for photos with the group so we quickly went out into the hallway to meet Mickey and get our photos taken.  We also managed to get a photo of Jeff with the Running of the Ears gang.  We'll make him an honorary member.  :)

The Running of the Ears gang...and Jeff!

After all was said and done, and all the photos were taken, another runDisney employee led us the back way to the packet pickup area so we didn't have to wait at the end of the line to get in.  It was already a zoo in there but it was nice not to have to wait any longer than needed!

Everything was well organized and everyone part of runDisney did a great job making sure that we had everything we needed.  There were definitely rumors of them making this a regular thing and hopefully involving more people in subsequent race weekends!  Crossing my fingers! Definitely had a great time at the meet-up and I look forward to seeing what other events runDisney has planned.

Woah...just realized I rambled on and on and on and.... :)    


  1. Great recap! I hope that this is a regular occurrence too, I would love to take part!!

  2. So cool! And I like that you wrote a lot...I love Jeff Galloway's approach, especially that he makes running accessible for so many people. His training plan has been amazing for me, and has kept my knees and shins feeling fresh.

    Did this happen the day before the half marathon? I'm hoping they'll open up something like this for Wine and Dine, but I don't get in until Friday night, so it'll be sad if I can't make it. Then again, I'll definitely attend at least one of Jeff's talks on the Saturday, which makes up for anything I miss. :)

  3. It was great to meet you! :D

    I wish I'd come away with as positive a feel for Galloway, but sadly I didn't. I found him pretty condescending - starting with the extra "/run"...we're not idiots, we know we're supposed to run again and even his "Run slower at the start." Gee, I knew that. I want to know tips for doing it.

    Oh well. I met him. I know I don't have to stress about if they do something for W&D or Marathon Weekend. :D

    More chances for y'all! :D

  4. Thanks for the recap! Sounds like a great time!

  5. ..... and the you met ME! ;)

    What a fun morning. I'm glad you finally posted about it. I was wondering what happened to your recaps. Glad you're feeling better!

    I snagged one of those Coast to Coast shirts, too. They were seriously flying off the rack!

  6. this sounds very interesting! I wish I could meet Jeff Galloway too! and you of course! Can't believe you were in California and I missed it..

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Nice job getting Jeff to represent ROTE! Did he mention W&D at all?

  9. That is awesome. I first heard Jeff speak at the Disneyland Half in 2010, then met him in person at Wine and Dine in 2010. This year at the Disneyland Half Expo I was lucky enough to catch him at the runDisney booth and was able to speak with him one on one for about 10 minutes. I so agree with you that he is a great choice for runDisney - he cares about people, running and is so genuine. It sounds like his presentation was very similar to his open sessions at the expo as I got almost the exact same info from there, of course I didn't get a cool runDisney shirt!

    So glad you were able to attend and report on this for us!

  10. How cool! Sounds like it was a lot of fun - plus you got a goody bag! :)

  11. I'm taking a shot in the dark here, but if you remember a guy at the HOJO pool decked out in Canada shirt and shorts holding a couple beers in his hand, that was me. That's about as 'creeper mode' as I'm comfortable with :)

  12. @Krissy...thanks! From the sounds of if, I think they're going to do one for every race now!

    @Lisa...he definitely says the same thing in his open talks during the expo so make sure you get to those!

    @beth...great to meet you too! I know Galloway isn't for everyone, even I pick and choose what information I use for my training. Saw your other training plan though and it sounds awesome!

    @Jennifer...thank you!

    @FF...obvi meeting you trumped this! :) The Coast to Coast shirts were awesome..and they were all gone by the next day! The only thing they had left were the white tee's!

    @melie...I'll just have to come back out to Cali! :)

    @JStone...they didn't mention W&D much but hinted that this will be a common occurence!

    @Amanda..He's definitely one of the nicest guys in the business, in my opinion! So glad runDisney has him for all of these!

    @Emily...thanks! definitely a fun time and informative!

    @Anonymous... YES!!! I do remember you! :) Haha... definitely not creepy, you'd be surprised the crazy comments I sometimes get on here. Glad you found me! We should have joined your for a beer instead of swimming!