6 Weeks to Dopey! And 6 tips for a great Disney race.

Holy cow – 6 weeks?  Its all happening so fast…

Don’t freak out, don’t freak out, don’t freak out. I mean its not like its the furthest I’ve ever run in one weekend or anything.  Tho, at least I have four days to do it. (Unlike the 44+ miles in 12 hours that’s my last furthest.)  Of course, 4 (make it 5 with travel) days of waking up at an absurdly insane hour may be the bigger challenge.  Should I train for that too?   Nah…there’s no sleep at Disney anyway.  Too much excitement, magic and wonder for sleep.  I think they put pixie dust in the air.

So, I figured with just six weeks to go, I’d bring you six ways to make your race as magical as can be.  

But first, a training update.

Sunday was 18 miles on the plan.  The weather wasn’t looking great for Sunday, and I considered switching to Saturday. But, Saturday morning it was 26 degrees and I was just  not mentally prepared.  Plus Saturday mornings are Eddie’s “freedom” time where he gets to spend it outside his cage, rolling around in the ‘hammy death star’ and in his “playpen”  And #petsfirst…so Sunday it was.

I’m gonna whine for a moment – it was WET and there were GIANT puddles and my feet were thoroughly soaked by mile 2 (I sent a humorous video to my friend Amanda at mile 8 to gripe as she’d run in the same mess the day before) and I think I might lose a toenail – but it was still a great training run.

It was warm out and I saw both halloween and christmas decorations (ah, thanksgiving – the hybrid holiday. lol) and even though I was trying to run easy I still ran a great (for me) pace.    I am a little disappointed I couldn’t get a post run turkey selfie (my neighbor’s inflatable bird met an untimely demise this week #ripturkey).  But I did randomly find my initial lying on the ground, so that was photo op worthy.

Running Disney…is totally magical.  Its the most fun i’ve ever had at a race, and that is what keeps me coming back. (For some people, its the post race cheese they return for)   And I want everyone to find it as amazing as I do, so here are six tips for having the best Disney race you can – whether its your first 5k or your 5th Dopey.  And it starts before you even get there.  This is applicable for any Disney race, not just marathon weekend.  And, I will say, if you’re running Dopey you’ve hopefully at least done #1 by now.  ðŸ˜€

  1. Set Your Goal(s)
    • Do you wanna run a PR? Or maybe just have fun.  Do you wanna try everything?  Or just go the distance.  Find what matters most to you and plan for it.
  2. Be Prepared
    • Pick a training plan.  They are not ‘one size fits all’ and there’s plenty out there (Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon are the most popular).  Find what fits your life and ability level, modify it if you need to (its a guideline, not the law) and complete as much of it as you possibly can.
    • Practice your fueling and try to train in what you’re going to race in (Yes, I’m even going to try out my costumes between now and then – just likely on a treadmill.  Less gawkers.  LOL)  Learn what works and what doesn’t.  And know that race day, anything can happen – cold, rain, fueling mishaps – so experience as much as you can leading up to race weekend (even the bad stuff).
  3. Do Your Research
    • Read the runDisney website.  When it comes out, read the weekend event guide.  Know where you’ll need to be and when.
    • Review the course map when its available (a couple weeks out usually). Find where your water/fuel stops will be, or where the perfect spot is to drop your toss hoodie when it finally warms up (mine was left under the unicorn in the animal kingdom parking lot).
    • I’m not saying overthink and overplan…just have enough knowledge to help reduce race day jitters. There will be enough of those without wondering where you get the bus race morning.
  4. Have Courage
    • Racing can be scary. It doesn’t matter how many marathons i’ve done, I still hit that line slightly terrified, and it usually is just because I care about how I do.  But if you’ve done the prior 3 items, then know you’re ready.
    • Trust your training, stick to your plan and be brave.  You got this!
  5. Be Kind
    • You are going to be sharing the course with a LOT of people.  All of which have different goals and different paces.  And the best way to make sure that everyone hits their goals and finishes in the upright position is to be nice to each other out there.
    • Smile at other runners.  Talk to them.  You would be amazed at the fascinating people you’ll meet on course.  Commiserate with each other during the ‘purgatory’ of the Wide World of Sports zone.  Encourage those that are struggling.  We’re all in it together out there.
    • Best way to be kind?  Communication.  Please, if you are about to slow down and move over, look behind you first.  And just like driving, signaling goes a long way to preventing a crash – raising an arm in the air is a great sign to other runners that you’re slowing down/stopping.  (I can tell Disney runners in my non-disney races by that exact thing.  And I thank them for doing so.)
  6. Enjoy every moment
    • From the expo to the finish line, there’s so much to see and do.  And there’s runners EVERYWHERE.  I still get giddy seeing race weekend signs up all over property.  And the flags with race weekend trivia at Disney Springs. Soak it all in.  Smile.  Say hi to other runners.  Pay compliments.  Wear your medal(s) everywhere and soak in the accolades.  You’ve earned it.  Enjoy it.

Hope this helps – and happy training!

And to all my readers, I hope you have a Happy  Thanksgiving! 

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7 Weeks to Dopey – 7 Marathon Must-Dos

And, we’re in the 40’s!  No, not degrees, we’re actually in the 30’s here… brrrr!

We are now 49 days to Disney!  Yep, just 7 little weeks until I become one of the 7 dwarves…. Dopey.  ðŸ™‚ (I’ve already covered Happy, Grumpy and Sleepy – all during the marathon.  LOL)

So, I figured its a good week to do some marathon planning.  As in, what do you need to do during the marathon, other than running.

But first – training update.  I didn’t run long this weekend.  In fact, I almost didn’t run at all this weekend.  Its okay, it was written into the schedule.

The hubs and I had a getaway in southern NY state – toured the Woodstock museum (groovy), went to a book signing (fun) and toured the trifecta of a winery, cidery and distillery.  Who would have thought NY was ‘napa east’.  It was a lot of fun.  And I did sneak in a short fast run Sunday on the hotel treadmill.

The real fun was yesterday – for the first time in ages I got to run the Charles River in the morning.  I had a very fun, very chilly 7-miler.  With a character stop.  Because when you see a T-Rex, you pose with a T-Rex.  ðŸ™‚

And speaking of Character Stops…lets get back to my list of marathon must-dos.

If you’re running the marathon for time, you’ll want to skip a lot of these.  Me, I run it for fun.  Its Disney, and i’m there for the party, the experience, the miles of laughs with my brother.

Below is my marathon bucket list. I’ve done some of the below, wanted to do others.  And this year, I hope to knock at least one off the list (Jeff – bring your beer money!). They are sort of in order of the race… to help you map it out.

  • Take an Epic Photo
    • This, i’ve done.  While the one where i’d just accidentally punted the squirrel is great, and my banana phone will always make me laugh, my Merida shooting her bow and arrow is simply EPIC.  The best race photo I may ever get.
    • How to get one?  Relax, smile, enjoy yourself.  And plan ahead.  You’ll see the Disney photopass photographers in their green ‘tents’, so figure out what you’ll do when you get there.  Also, check your surroundings.  You don’t wanna go for the jump and smack someone in the head.  Of course, that can also be an epic photo.  lol
  • Pose in Front of the Castle
    • Never done this.  Its always dark when i’m through the castle and crowded.  Plus I always feel like its too early in the race to stop.  I’m still in a groove at mile 6.  But, the pics i’ve seen look great – so i’m recommending this.
    • How to do it?  When you come through the castle, you’ll see the sign and people directing you down to the front area for it.
  • Take a Character Photo
    • I’ve come close.  Meeko didn’t have much of a line this year, but (and sorry Meeko) I didn’t care enough about him to stop.  And, I had just done the next one on my list.  But this is 100% on my list for this year.  Especially if who I’m dressed as is on the course.
    • How to get one? There’s SO many to choose from all along the route.  Just go over and get in line. Try to pick one with a shorter line if you are just crossing it off your list, or if there’s one you REALLY want, be prepared wait. Keep your personal time goal and the race time limit in mind (the clock doesn’t stop when you do), but hit as many as you want.
  • Pet the critters outside animal kingdom
    • This is one of my absolute favorites.  I have pet goats and a sheep and they are just the sweetest.  I will, of course, do this again.
    • How to do it?  Keep your eyes open as you approach Animal Kingdom. You’ll see people from the conservation station out there with some furry friends and usually a tortoise.  Go over, give em a pat and a thank you and continue on.
  • Ride Expedition Everest
    • This is one of everyone’s favorites.  What other marathon lets you ride rides in the middle?  While i’m always through before the park opens, its been close to it.  So I have seen people go over to get in line and wait.  Not sure if I’m going to try this year or not.  I’d rather spend my time on a good character stop.
    • How to do it?  If the park is open (or near open), go get in line.  And hold onto your hat/ears/etc.
  • Grab a drink in Epcot
    • This year, will finally be the year I get my sangria for the road.  We were going to this year, but my brother was on pace for a PR and we didn’t want to mess with it.  However, as I’m going to be Dopey this year too, I have a hunch we’ll be slower.  And thirsty.
    • How to do it?  Bring id (n case) and cash (or charge to your magic band) and hit your favorite country for some refreshments.  Is it hot? Grab a gran marnier slushie in France.  Craving a grapefruit beer?  Hit Germany.  The closest to the finish is Mexico – and the place with sangrias and margaritas is quite easy to stop at.   If you’re good – you might be able to hit all three.  ðŸ™‚
  • High-Five one of the Fab Five at the Finish Line
    • I’ve done this twice.  It is so much fun to high-five Minnie Mouse (or Pluto) as you cross the finish.  Its sure to have you grinning in your final race photo.
    • How to do it?  As you come up the finish chute – look to see which is on which side, and (after looking behind you to make sure you don’t collide with another runner), angle yourself over.  Stretch your hand out and smile.

Any of these on your must-do list? Anything you think i’m missing?  Would love to hear from my fellow Dopeys and marathoners.

Happy Training (and planning) everyone!

8 weeks to Dopey! And 8 Great Disney Workout Songs

I love my weekly countdown, but it also kind terrifies me that every week I’m 7 days closer to the craziest, well, the DOPIEST thing i’ve ever done.  ðŸ™‚   And here we are, just 8 weeks away!

There was discussion in one of my Facebook groups this week about training.  And do you really need to train for Dopey.  I think everyone runs it for a different reason – and for the reason I do?  It involves training.  Because I run to make sure that my Perfectly Dopey brother has as much fun as I do.  And for that?  I need to be even better trained that he is. LOL

So, this week was the first of my planned multi-run weekends. Nothing too dopey… Just 3.1 Friday, 5 miles Saturday and 16 miles Sunday.

Friday was a treadmill 5k walk, listening to Disney music – which is what inspired the list i’ll share below.  Sometimes when you’re training for Disney races, listening to Disney music helps set the mood and make you almost feel like its a ‘walk in the park.

Saturday I ran the Edaville Rail Run.  One of my favorite fall races – 5 miles of trail through cranberry bogs. This was my 4th time running it and actually (despite specific speed training) only 45 seconds off my fastest.  Sweet!  I was SO fast my sole sister Karen missed me coming across the line (the race got one tho…)

But she did get this great one of me right after I finished.  Speed makes me smile. 😀

Sunday was supposed to be a slow easy long run… but my legs hit a groove midway through and took off. Must be this amazing fall weather.

And now back to the music…

I don’t use music outside (yes, I will be running Dopey mp-free), but if i’m on the elliptical or treadmill its a must.  And while i’m a rock & roll – fast & furious music lover, sometimes you just wanna have fun.  Music you can sing along with or smile listening to.

And for that….here is an 8-song Disney ‘feel good’ workout playlist.

  • Try Everything – Zootopia
  • How Far I’ll Go – Moana
  • You’re Welcome – Moana
  • One Jump Ahead – Aladdin
  • Friend Like Me – Aladdin
  • Be Prepared – Lion King
  • I’ve Got a Dream – Tangled
  • Mr Blue Sky – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Try Everything is 100% my favorite.  I won’t give up, no I won’t give in, ’til I reach the end and I start again. Every.  Single.  Time.  This is an ultra song.  Its loops, its life, its getting outside your comfort zone and being who you’re meant to be.   I wanna try everything even tho I can fail. 🙂

Moana – my favorite overall Disney soundtrack in years.  Shiny!  But How Far I’ll Go and You’re Welcome are the two I listen to most often.

Aladdin – One Jump Ahead and Friend Like Me just have this great upbeat happiness to them.  One Jump Ahead just rolls like a broadway number.  And the late great Robin Williams outdid himself with Friend Like Me.

Be Prepared – a shout out to the Villains.  I love the beat of this song and Jeremy Irons snarl and disdain.  Plus the lyrics are fantastically clever.

I’ve Got a Dream – Who doesn’t? I know that some people prefer When Will My Life Begin.  But this one is more my style.  So many voices, so many dreams. And with every waking hour, i’m so glad I left my tower…

Mr. Blue Sky – yeah, okay this might be on here even if it wasn’t in a Disney movie.  But now I can’t hear it without picturing baby Groot just having the BEST time dancing.  ðŸ™‚ The song, makes me happy.

What Disney song makes you happy?  What is your favorite one to workout to?

And happy training to all my Dopeys out there!

9 Weeks to Dopey! And my 9 favorite Disney foods 

Well, since we are now NINE weeks to the Dopey Challenge, and this weekend is the Wine & Dine Challenge races, it seems only fitting to talk foods.

So, I compiled a list of my 9 favorite things to eat at Disney.

First, a quick training update…

Sunday was a 14-mile long run. And in honor of Halloween I tried to find the “most sincere” fall route I could. And I got rewarded with stone walls, falling leaves, falling paces (loving these negative splits lately), and an adorably enthusiastic cairn terrier puppy. 🙂  Plus, there were some great Halloween decorations. I’ve decided this was my fave – because why not add a dinosaur skeleton. Lol And dinosaurs technically count as Disney. I love that ride at Animal Kingdom.

Plus, this run was even faster than last week. I so love fall running. 🙂 Its when all the summer suck pays off.

Next weekend will be my first back-to-back weekend training run – the Edaville Rail Run on Saturday and 16 miles Sunday.  Its getting serious.

All those miles, require fuel.  And i’m Disney dreaming of what i’m going to have when i’m down there.  There’s SO much yumminess.  Even for a celiac pescetarian like me.  ðŸ™‚

These are my nine absolutely favorite things to nosh at Disney. Bear in mind they are all gluten free (and all but 1 vegetarian), but still good enough for non-celiacs to enjoy.

  1. The lemon raspberry creampuff at Be Our Guest. It may be four years since i’ve had it, but i still remember every delicious bite.  That was my first cream puff in years (because not many places make gluten free ones) and it was AH-mazing.
  2. The cornbread at the Hoop De Doo Revue.   This is one place that treats celiacs like a princess.  The dessert is amazing too (strawberry covered brownie? YUM).  But the gluten free cornbread is what keeps me coming back.  Best cornbread i’ve ever had.
  3. The goat cheese and beets at Le Cellier.  Two of my favorite foods – on the same stone platter.  One of those things that takes me twice as long to eat as normal because I have to savor every last morsel.
  4. French Fries from D-Luxe Burger.  It was the only thing that I could eat there, but i was so full from them it didn’t matter.  Best french fries ever.  Like five guys only a million times better.  ðŸ™‚
  5. Calamari at Coral Reef. Probably the best calamari i’ve ever had.  It was perfectly cooked, great texture and seasoned just right.  That and a salad was the perfect post-half marathon lunch.
  6. The stuffing at Liberty Tree Tavern. This was my pre-vegetarian days, but the gluten free stuff was like “I want a vat and a fork and to be left alone” good. One of those things you could just eat all day and never tire of.
  7. Donuts from Erin McKenna’s Bakery. Really, ANYTHING from here.  Its gluten-free vegan paradise.  But, the chocolate coconut covered donut I had was amazing post-race.  ðŸ™‚ And the banana bread was perfect before it.
  8. Dole Whip. I know – its a Disney classic.  And sure, they kind of sell it at the local froyo places. But its NOT the same as at Disney.  And this year, I plan to finally try the version with rum at Animal Kingdom.
  9.  Mickey waffles. Pretty much any sit-down breakfast you can get the chef to make you gluten-free Mickey waffles.  And they are always a fun and tasty way to start the day.

Are any of my faves your faves?  Are you headed down to Wine & Dine and planning to get your hands (or fork) on any of these?  Or are you like me…a Dopey just Disney dreaming of the amazing offerings and counting the days – 63 to go!

Ten weeks to Dopey – and my 10 favorite rides

Omg omg omg…It’s 10 weeks to the Dopey Challenge!!!!!!

Let’s see…10 weeks from today is expo day. And 10 days from today is fastpass day. So, in tribute to both, let’s talk about my 10 favorite rides at Disney World.

First – quick training update. Got in 12 miles Sunday and 5 miles Monday. Both at paces I’m quite pleased with. Oh, and I got a selfie with Halloween Mickey at the end. Lol

Because when you train for running Disney…you include as much Disney as possible. Shirts, headbands, visors, photo ops. 😂

I know some of my fellow Dopeys are following a different plan that has them higher mileage right now…but the one I have works for me, or at least has for my last few marathons and marathon weekends, so I’m sticking with it.

So…since I didn’t have to run 17 miles this weekend, it meant I had time to start thinking about those fastpasses that will get booked in 10 days. And what rides I’ll need them for and what rides either don’t need them or are worth standing in line for.

And I made a list of my 10 favorites. My absolute must do rides. Here they are, in no particular order. And, why I love them.

  • Wedway People Mover – yeah, I know it’s know the “Tomorrowland Transportation Authority” now, but as the Boston Garden will always be the Boston Garden, so will this always be the Wedway People Mover.  Its relaxing, its fun, its great for napping the day of the half marathon and I love the view of people on Space Mountain.  Speaking of space mountain….
  • Space Mountain – One of the first roller coasters I ever rode.  And always a favorite. Its sci-fi, its dark, and even after countless rides I STILL duck.  And it will always be the ride that my brother & I rode like four times in a row because it was raining and there was no line and we could get off, through and back up to the start in like two minutes.
  • Haunted Mansion – I L O V E the Haunted Mansion.  I’m not even 100% sure why.  But its charming and spooky at the same time.  I love the ballroom dancing ghosts, and the puns on the headstones. And the cast member who snuck up behind me and made me shriek. 🙂 Its also the ride where I sat in front of an open tomb for 15 minutes while the “ghosts wreaked havoc up ahead” because it was struck by lightning while I was on it.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Still spooky.  The dark queue to get to the boat, the drop in the pitch darkness, the smells, the rowdy pirates.  I feel like a kid again any time i’m on it.  It makes me smile.
  • Expedition Everest – I could ride this all day.  And while I have yet to actually stop during the marathon to ride it (considered it tho), its one of the few long lines i’ll stand in without a fastpass, because its awesome.  It goes SO high up you can see forever, the Yeti is awesome (I always roar back) and it just makes your heart race in the best way.
  • Kilimanjaro Safari – One word, critters!  I am such an animal lover and getting the chance to see them up close (Giraffic Jam anyone?) is always great.  Every ride is different – and this year I even got to see baby Stella (the elephant).  This is another one I could ride over and over.
  • Rock & Roller Coaster – Aerosmith, zero to sixty, rock and roll.  Its fast, its fun, its loud.  Its dark and neon and SUCH a rush.  I’m always a little bit shaky when I get off the ride.  LOL
  • Tower of Terror – The ride I love to hate. The building is awesome, the Twilight Zone video is great and the reason I watch it. The cast members who really get into character?  Creepy cool.  But the drops.  I HATE the drops. I’m usually screaming my head off while trying to hold onto something, anything, for dear life.  And yet, still I ride it.
  • Spaceship Earth – Its relaxing, its informative, its just….cool. I know some people find it boring, but its a look through history and there’s SO much to see and I just sit there in awe soaking it all in.  How do they make it smell old? or like campfire?  Disney magic…
  • Journey into Imagination – Figment.  I have loved that little purple rascal since the very first time I saw him.  He’s mischief and goofy and lighthearted.  Figment just wants to have fun.  And while the current version of the ride is great (doesn’t everyone sing along with the song?), I miss Dreamfinder.

Do you hve an absolute favorite? What’s first in your fastpass list?

And to all my fellow Dopeys, keep up the great training!

Glass slipper…found

You know this Cinderella has been looking for her glass slipper for a while now. 

Well, after a lot of trial and error and blisters and frustration, she has finally found it. 
I suppose it’s inevitable that a Disney runner would end up in New Balance. 

I just wished I’d fallen in love with the Vazee Pace back when they still made Ariel themed ones. Lol 

Tho I do love this purple color with the green accents. In fact, these are pretty much the perfect color for my Dopey training and racing. 😁 Plus #purpleisalwaysfaster

I got them Saturday…and tested them on my treadmill for a 1/4 mile (because this way if I hated them they’d still be clean and unworn-ish).   Took em through their paces – walk to normal pace to sprint pace – and they did what I asked. 

But as someone who has worn Brooks for years, I still wasn’t sure I trusted them. 

Until I took them on the roads Sunday. 

Just 10 miles on the schedule. But it turned out to be my fastest 10 in ages. 

I mean negative splits and 9 minute miles? Whoa…where did that come from.

These babies were light and fast and comfy. Lots of room for my toes and snug around my ankle bone (so no random acts of stones – YAY!) but didn’t rub.

They felt…..magical.

I ran in them again yesterday morning, on the treadmill, to see if it was beginners luck, or if these really were the glass slippers i’ve been seeking.

Let’s just say…. even Mickey himself approves.

And, with the expo just 11 weeks from today, I am happy to say i’ve found my Dopey shoes. Just need to pick up a second pair for alternating. Wonder if they make red (you know… cuz its better when it matches your costume. LOL).

To everyone out there getting Dopey with me… hope your training is going well and that you’ve also found your glass slippers.

Hamsters and Haunted Houses

Well, since its early in my Dopey training still, the miles are definitely the least interesting part of my week. LOL

I did get in 8 miles Saturday morning – in great fall like temps. And, saw a little bit of foliage. Which may be all we get this year. This weather is just not foliage-friendly. 😦

I mean yesterday, when I went out for a 4.5 miler, it was 70, 100% humidity and a dew point of 71. It was like running in the amazon jungle – or, you know, Disney in January. LOL

But I am SO ready for it to get cooler and stay there. Because November will bring two of my favorite races – Edaville Rail Run and Attleboro Gobble Wobble. And i’d rather not run them in tank tops.

So what have I been up to since i’m not running much? Hamsters and Haunted Houses.

Eddie Van Hamster is proving himself to be QUITE the little character.

We’ve been letting him explore nightly in his hamster ball. And he runs around his cage like such a crazy man I kind of want to see if there’s a Hamster Ninja Warrior competition – because he could totally win. 😀

Sure, he’s no Gus. But he’s small and cute and fuzzy and makes me smile.

The reason I did a rare Saturday run this weekend was so we could go do something on Sunday that we have always wanted to do. Tour a haunted castle.

We went to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA.

Its the home of inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. and its absolutely amazing. It has so much detail that you could go through fifty times and still find something you’ve never noticed.

It also totally haunted. And no, I didn’t see a ghost while I was there – but you could just feel it. I mean, does this not LOOK haunted?

And this fireplace? The lighting? Totally creepy.

There was actually one spot where I looked around a corner, saw this door that scared the crud out of me and jumped.

Its not ALL dark and spooky – there’s a gorgeous room with an open ceiling and a pond that feels like something out of Epcot. 

But, still….overall? Definitely creepy cool.

And actually, come to think about it? A Haunted Mansion totally fits for Dopey training. 😀

86 Days to the first race…wonder what other Disney themed fun I can find this week.