11 December, 2012

runDisney Wine & Dine MeetUp & TweetUp

After a crazy past few weeks, I finally had some time to sit down and write a few recaps from Wine & Dine weekend!  I feel like I'm forever apologizing for posting things so late but unfortunately blogging gets bumped when MBA classes and work start getting crazy.

So back to Wine & Dine weekend, ok?

One by one, Danielle, Dan, Pat, and I all flew down a day or two prior to the start of the festivities.  Throughout the day on Thursday we all started to catch up with each other and our group finally became complete when Danielle met us at Epcot in the evening!  Stupid Hurricane Sandy and the lovely Nor'easter totally threw off all of our travel plans (except for Pat, he was lucky enough to be north enough from the storm that it didn't effect him at all) so after a bunch of cancelled flights, dashes to multiple airports, and few prayers, we were all FINALLY in Disney!  Only half of us had power back home but we all tried not to think about the chaos still going on back there.  

Friday morning, the alarm started going off WAY too early for the runDisney meetup.  I was lucky enough to be invited as media to cover the event and Dan and Danielle had quick fingers and were 2 of the 30 attendees selected when runDisney announced the event on the Disney Parks Blog.  (More on that process later in the post!)

We arrived at the main entrance of Epcot at 6:30am and caught up with a few other familiar faces in the crowd.  The runDisney Cast Members introduced themselves and explained how the rest of the morning was going to unfold.  For this meetup, they were going to break the attendees into two separate groups:  Those that wanted to do 30 second run/walk/run intervals with Jeff Galloway and then those that wanted to strictly run with 2-time (now 3-time!) Wine & Dine winner, Anton Van Zyl.  There was a HUGE group that wanted to run with Jeff and since I had already had a chance to experience it, I decided to choose the other option and run with Anton.  

Photo courtesy of runDisney

The run was a ton of fun and definitely got my heart pumping.  Pretty sure Anton could have walked backwards with us and he still would have been faster!  We ran around World Showcase and then ended our run at the Germany Pavilion.  While we were waiting for the Galloway group to meet us, we had a few minutes to talk to Anton and hear about his most recent Ironman Kona experience. I was seriously in awe!

As the sun rises over Spaceship Earth
Running towards World Showcase
Probably by favorite running photo of me ever!  Courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney

When everyone was back together, we made our way into Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion and were welcomed with a light continental breakfast of coffee, juice, fruit, muffins, and pastries.  

Bob Hitchcock and Faron Kelly from runDisney opened up the meetup with a little introduction of themselves as well as the runDisney brand.  runDisney was celebrating its 2 year anniversary during Wine & Dine and it's crazy to see how it's already evolved so drastically!  

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Jeff Galloway was our first speaker and I always learn something new every time I hear him speak.  He gave a few tips about how to prepare for such a unique race such as Wine & Dine.  Since it's a night race, preparing your body to run 13.1 miles is a little different than a regular morning race.  Eating correctly and at the right time is key.  Have a large mid-morning breakfast and try not to overeat past noon.  Where was Jeff to tell me this 2 years ago when I did the exact opposite and had a miserable race?  :)  And even though it's the Food & Wine festival, try to stay away from alcohol until after the race and drink 6 glasses of water and/or electrolytes during the day. 

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Next to talk to us was Anton Van Zyl.  Even being an elite runner, Anton stressed that we all needed to go out and just enjoy the race!  He told us not to over think our running and just to go have fun but don't don't let your mind wander too much.  Jokingly, Anton mentioned that he wished Mickey was at Ironman Kona, which I totally agree.  As for nutrition?  He likes Coke at the end of a long distance race (I've actually heard this from a few other elite athletes too), definitely caffeine for focus at around mile 18 or 20, and potato chips for an Ironman!   There were some fun questions from the attendees, the one that got the biggest laugh was if he stops for pictures with characters. Answer? He DOES!  Even though he wins by minutes, we saw photos of him on the course with Goofy.  How CRAZY is that?! Oh, and Donald is his favorite character (thank Dan for that question!).  

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Nutitionist Tara Gidus, the Diet Diva, was up next to speak.  She's the newest member of the runDisney team and added a wealth of information about how to prepare and eat for a night race.  She also admitted she's not a 100% perfect eater but no one is ever perfect so there's no need to stress and worry.  It will only make you crazy!  Tara stressed that you should definitely eat within an hour of waking up, even if it's a small snack to get your body going.  Also, don't overcompensate while training or you'll just end up gaining weight!

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Chef Steff joined Tara to give us a cooking lesson on how to make a nutritious spaghetti pie when preparing for races.  It was a twist on a recipe that his grandmother used to make and I loved every single bite!  It had a nice subtle kick from the red pepper flakes and a nice salty tang from the asiago cheese.  I was hoping someone wouldn't want their sample so I can steal theirs too, but no such luck for me.  I think this also would have been delicious with a little grilled chicken thrown in for some extra protein.  YUM!  (And yes, I know it's not Paleo but I still have yet to find restraint when on vacation, ha!  Plus I had to report about the spaghetti pie to my faithful readers, right?)

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Photo courtesy of runDisney

Can you tell most of us are bloggers?  haha!  Photo courtesy of runDisney

The yummy spaghetti pie
For anyone that wants the recipe, I figured it would just be easier to take a photo of the recipe card instead of possibly messing it up by typing it out!




And of course, a runDisney meetup would never be complete unless the Mouse himself showed up to say hello!  After everyone finished their samples, we headed outside for a few group photos.  I loved that Mickey was in his Chef's coat and he stayed and took photos with all of the attendees.  We also headed over to the Norway Pavilion to take a group photo with the Grete Waitz statue.  Every time I'm in the pavilion I always try to go 'say hi' to Grete so it was nice that we all went as a group!
  


Photo courtesy of runDisney


Photo courtesy of runDisney


Photo courtesy of runDisney

Thank you again to runDisney for allowing me to cover the event.  I love sharing the meetups with everyone and share all of the information we learn!  

For anyone that wants to attend a future meetup, they usually have them a day prior to the big races every weekend (Friday morning if the race is on Saturday).  Keep an eye out about a week prior to race weekend on the Disney Parks Blog, the runDisney Twitter account, and the runDisney Facebook page for an announcement when signups will be available.  The announcement will officially be made on the Disney Parks Blog and the first 30-50 (depending on the individual meetup) people to email back their information will be selected.  You seriously need some quick fingers so keep refreshing that blog page!  

8 comments

  1. oooh! I'd love to take part in one of these before WDW marathon! Any tips on how to get in? Is there anyone I could seek out ahead of time? (It's Victoria, by the way! Hoping I finally get to meet you in person next month!)

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    1. Hey Victoria! The biggest tip is to just be ready the SECOND they post that blog post with the information! They usually tease the post a day and a few hours prior so you'll get some warning. They don't always tell you what time they post but it's been around 10am or 11am in the past, I'd have to go back and double check. And yes, definitely hope to finally meet!

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  2. What is the blog address?? I would LOVE to do this when I attempt Goofy!!

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    1. Here's the link to the Disney Parks Blog! http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/

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  3. I love the photo of all of us tweeting at breakfast, too funny! Had a great time hanging out with you again!

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    1. Same here! Looking forward to January!

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  4. This looks like so much fun and such an awesome time! Completely worth getting up at the crack of dawn for. Great pictures too. I would love to get to do this. I was too slow for this one though, but hopefully I'll get to do it at any future Run Disney event!

    Can't wait to read the race recap :)

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    1. Thanks, Kellie! Yeah, quick fingers are a MUST to get into the meetups, good luck!

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