Thursday, February 22, 2018

Favorite Princess Half Marathon Weekend Memories

The Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon is here and although I'm not running this year, I'm super excited to follow along with everyone who is! This race weekend is definitely a favorite of mine and I can't wait to return to run it again (hopefully next year)!

To date, I've run four Princess Half Marathon weekends and have so many incredible and fun memories from them, I thought I'd share a few today!

It's so hard to pick a first, so these are in no specific order. :)


Running with my family and friends! 

For 2017, we all dressed in our favorite seven dwarfs outfits and hit the roads for the Enchanted 10K! I loved being able to participate in this race with all of my family and I even saw them several times while on the course! So much fun!


Also, Brayden's first runDisney event (the Diaper Dash) took place at 2017's Princess Half Marathon Weekend and we had a blast being able to share in the excitement with him. (Where did my squishy baby go??)


Taking a picture in front of the castle with our medals was definitely a high point of this trip!


Dressing as Anna and Elsa for the Enchanted 10K

Back in 2015, my friend Melissa and I decided to dress as Anna and Elsa for the 10K, take our time, stop for pictures, and simply just enjoy ourselves. This race is one of my favorites to date! We re-wore our costumes for Dopey this year, but the cold really did bother us, so you can't see our outfits very well in pictures, anyway.



Bumping into Jeff Galloway while dressed for dinner...in our tutu's and tiaras! 

This will forever be one of o my favorite memories from a Princess weekend (2012 to be exact)! We'd completed our races and it was time for dinner. Our reservations were at 1900 Park Fare and we thought it would be fun to "dress up" for dinner. While enjoying a few snacks in the lounge, we bumped into Jeff Galloway who was just so very nice...he congratulated us and agreed to take a picture with us! We laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Such a fun night!


That time my mom had to have a tooth repaired after a 5K....


So, we can all laugh about this now and that's why I'm sharing it. It definitely wasn't a "fun" memory at the time but it is a memorable one for all of us...and like I said, we can laugh about it now. Short story version - my mom was tripped by a runner during the 2014 Royal Family 5K, she fell, and her tooth was cracked in half. Sad times. We stopped by medical but she didn't need stitches (thankfully)! We learned something new from this episode - there's a call center available where the schedules of several doctors, dentists, etc are available for vacation go-ers to use. We were able to get into a dentist THAT afternoon and her tooth was repaired within a few hours. CRAZY! My poor mom.


Running the Castaway Challenge with Jason!


One of my favorite Princess weekend memories is from 2015 Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Jason and I registered for races during the Princess Weekend (him the 5K and the Glass Slipper for me). We were also getting on the Disney Dream on the Monday following the race and I was registered for the Castaway Challenge. We had NO idea that Jason qualified for the Castaway Challenge as well, so he registered right there on the boat! Taking part in all of the runDisney activities with Jason while on board Disney Cruise Line was a BLAST and I definitely have my sights set on it again in the future!


Taking photos with Gaston while dressed as Belle

This is a runner-up memory from the 2017 Princess Half Marathon, but so worth mentioning. I stood in a ridiculously long line to take this picture but I HAD to and I'm so glad I did. This was by far one of the best runDisney character interactions I've had! Gaston was hysterical and he stole my book prop (I did get it back although he told the cast member to "burn it")! I loved everything about this brief character encounter!

If you're running this weekend, have SO much fun!!

If you've run races during Princess, what's your favorite memory from the race weekend?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Vlog: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

The 2018 Walt Disney World Half Marathon was our 3rd leg of Dopey's Challenge and although the temps were still super cold, we had a ton of fun! 

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

This race weekend will always hold a special place in my heart as my first half marathon took place on this weekend back in 2010! It's hard to believe that 8 years have passed so quickly! 

Today, I'm sharing with you a video recap of this half marathon. My favorite part of the race was the new course change where runners enter the Magic Kingdom under the train station which was so much fun! 


Thanks for following along with my Dopey Challenge journey! Stay tuned for more from our Marathon Weekend vacation! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

My Running Break

After completing the Dopey Challenge in early January, I knew I needed to take a break from running. Although I love to run, I was getting severely burned out and just simply didn't have a desire to run any longer. In fact, after I hit the 20 mile training mark mid December (my highest long run before Dopey), I was over it all.

Dopey Challenge

My plan was to take about 3 weeks off after Dopey from running to recover and rest. Several walks were take during that time period and then.....the flu hit.

Yuck. The flu. It totally zapped any and all of my energy and I couldn't even walk around the house for five minutes without getting incredibly short of breath and dizzy.

So, what happened the week after the flu? I had a wisdom tooth pulled...and was told I couldn't run for yet another week.

Let's be honest here - I was actually incredibly grateful for being "allowed" to continue my running break? Why? Because I just simply wasn't feeling it yet. I want to love and enjoy running, not feel as if it's a chore every time a planned run comes around.

Now, am I talking about lying around, watching TV on the couch all afternoon every afternoon? NO. That is definitely NOT in my DNA! These last five (ish) weeks have granted me so much time to spend with Brayden, helping him learn and grow and watching him explore new things! We've spent a lot of time at various parks and simply just enjoyed being together. These precious early years aren't here forever and I am definitely taking time to cherish them while I can.

Also, in the middle of all of this, I've started physical therapy for an issue I've been having (not running related) and my therapist thinks she can also help my IT Band in the mean time!! After a thorough exam from head to toe, she's discovered that my body is ALL out of whack with alignment and it's pretty much a hot mess. We shall see what the next eight or so weeks have to bring!
 
Running Break

So, enter this past Saturday - my first run (period) since Dopey! Although it was foggy and overcast, the temps were perfect and reminded me that spring is definitely on the way! I have the Rock n Roll New Orleans half in two weeks and I knew I needed to do something.

I initially started out with the idea of running 5 miles and if all was going ok, I'd increase to 6 miles. Well (to my surprise) I felt great the entire way and decided to tack on that extra mile at the end. Throughout the run, I walked for about 2 minutes after hitting each new mile (just like I did with long run training for Dopey) and it worked great!

Running Break

My plan was to finish the run around 1:10, so when I saw how close I was to actually reaching it, I kicked it up a notch to finish just under!

Running Break

Saturday's run felt great, I felt good, and it was an overall enjoyable run...just what I needed to rejuvenate my heart and mind for this running thing I love so much!

If you've ever taken a break from 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine's Day & Mardi Gras

What a week this has been! Two holidays and a sick Brayden along with everything else...whew! Let's just say I'm grateful the weekend is here!

Week In Review

Since I haven't done this in a while and this week was actually sort of interesting, I'm going to share a weekly recap with y'all today! :)

Valentine's Day

For starters, we attended a Valentine/Sweetheart Banquet with our friends last weekend and had a BLAST! So much fun! By accident, our name was called for the final door prize when there actually weren't any door prizes remaining. It wasn't a big deal, we really had a great time at the banquet and no one was upset over it. However, the lady who was handing the door prizes out felt so bad, she went and purchased a gift for us and gave it to us on Sunday! I thought that was really nice and thoughtful of her (and she totally didn't have to do that)! We received a pair of "Mr & Mrs" coffee mugs and an adorable stuffed animal.

Mardi Gras

On Tuesday, we celebrated a little thing around here called "Mardi Gras"! Although I didn't technically "celebrate" by attending any parades or balls, I did wear beads to work and had a slice of king cake!

Mardi Gras King Cake

This one was blueberry cream cheese and it was delicious!

Mardi Gras King Cake

Oh yes, I also stopped by my favorite Main Squeeze Juice Co for a little King Cake smoothie...and it was complete with purple, gold, and green sprinkles on top!

Mardi Gras King Cake Smoothie

So good!

Brayden Paul

This week was a rainy one, which means my puddle loving toddler spent a LOT of time outside between rain showers, stomping in puddles at my parent's house!


Valentine's Day

On Wednesday, we celebrated Valentine's Day with a sick Brayden. He had a bad tummy ache that evening and a low grade fever along with...the other stuff that comes with having a tummy ache. Poor little guy wasn't a happy camper.

Valentine's Day

After getting him settled, Jason and I enjoyed our Valentine's Day tradition since we started dating 12 years ago...chocolate covered strawberries!

Valentine's Day

By the next morning, this little guy was feeling ALL better!

Brayden Paul

 My dad and mom also gave sweet gifts to us for Valentine's Day! Here's mine! :)

Valentine's Day

On Thursday afternoon, we ventured out for 3 miles with our friend Melissa. Her husband was on his way home from work and saw us, so he "joined" us for a few miles!

3 Miles

It was SO NICE to see the sun!! It's been sorely missed this week, that's for sure!

3 Miles

Sticking his feet up while I'm trying to take a picture has become a funny game, apparently! We had to hold his feet down to get this one!

3 Miles


Silly kid!

Brayden Paul

Post-bath snuggles also happened a lot this week and this has quickly become one of my favorite times of the day! I just love this little guy so much!

We plan on officially celebrating Valentine's Day on Saturday evening since it hasn't worked out for us this week. I also have a LulaRoe party to attend tonight and we have a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party to attend tomorrow! I'm finally looking forward to a long run this weekend as Rock n Roll New Orleans is QUICKLY approaching!

So there you have it, our week in a nutshell!

How was your week? Did you celebrate Valentine's Day? How about Mardi Gras?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An Ode To Running

Running......oh how I love you.

Let us count the ways, shall we?

Running Valentine


I love the places you've brought me, running races in all kinds of fun locations!

Running Valentine

I love the sights and scenery you've allowed me to see - so many sunrises and even more sunsets - running around swamps, lakes, back country roads, national parks, bridges (even the scary ones), gorgeous neighborhoods, cathedrals, giant castles, Main Streets, and more.

Running Valentine

I love the friends you've granted me along this journey. Running friends truly are the best!

I love how freeing you are. Sometimes, all I need is to lace up my shoes and go for a run and my day is instantly better.

I love the feeling of accomplishment you bring - setting a goal and reaching it is one of the best feelings in the world!

I love the overall camaraderie running can bring - at a race, surrounded by hundreds and thousands of strangers, making new friends along the way.

 I love the fact that running isn't easy - it's kind of hard, actually - and nothing worth having in life is easy.

Running Valentine

I love that I can involve my family and friends in running, too. Completing races as a family brings me so much joy!

Running Valentine

I love the overall health factor you bring - I feel better physically when I'm in a training cycle and my labs/vitals show it, too.

I love that I can take the occasional break and come right back to you - sometimes even being able to pick up right where we left off.

Running Valentine

Running, I simply love you. 

What do you love most about running? 

Tuesdays on the Run Link Up- every Tuesday we have a new running related topic. Join your favorite running bloggers in linking up each week.

It's the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup with ErikaMarcia and Patty!

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

The fourth and final portion of our Dopey Challenge journey was the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Thankfully, due to the bus fiasco the day before, I made it to the bus on Sunday morning with PLENTY of time to spare and was on a bus by 3:30 a.m. sharp! While riding to the race start, I chowed down on the banana and bagel that I purchased from the Riverside food court the previous day.

Walt Disney World Marathon

After meeting up with my race buddy for a quick picture, we started our long walk to the corrals. (Weren't we JUST here?)

We also decided to dress like Vintage Minnie and Steamboat Willie for this race! How fun that it was also the 25th Anniversary of the Marathon! 

Walt Disney World Marathon

All of the guys (Mickey, Donald, and Goofy) were out to wish us a great race!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon


...and with a fireworks start, we were off!



Walt Disney World Marathon

I don't have any pictures leading up to the Magic Kingdom, but it was basically the same route as the half the day before. Running through the train station and onto Main Street was just as magical on day 2!

Walt Disney World Marathon

We also stopped for several characters while in the Magic Kingdom.


Walt Disney World Marathon

I was super excited to see Sebastian out again - we missed him the day before and that was one stop I regretted missing!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Photo pass photographers were lined up at the front of the castle to take pictures of runners which was really nice!

Walt Disney World Marathon

 After exiting the Magic Kingdom, I could.not.believe.my.eyes.



Walt Disney World Marathon

The Maleficent float along with a couple of parade performers were out for a picture! What the heck?! We HAD to stop and I'm so glad we did!!

After leaving the Magic Kingdom, we looped around the Grand and Poly where we saw Jason and I was able to shed a layer of clothing. With the sun out, it was warming up (but still very chilly), so with one less layer, I was perfectly comfortable the remainder of the race.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Out along Bear Island Road (of nothingness), they had all kinds of fun props to see! This section was old ride vehicles from retired rides! How fun is that?!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon

I have no clue what these guys were from but they looked cool so I took a picture. Anyone know?

Walt Disney World Marathon

The Adventurers Club guy was even out to cheer runners on! How funny!!

This course took an interesting turn (I'm assuming to make up for all of the lost space in Hollywood Studios) where we ran for literally forever down this random road then turned around and headed back. Seriously, I think it was only a mile or two but it felt like forever.


Walt Disney World Marathon

Mile 12! Almost to Animal Kingdom!



Walt Disney World Marathon



The park was just opening as we arrived which was perfect because I had Everest on my "must-do" list.

Walt Disney World Marathon




Walt Disney World Marathon

The sunrise was beautiful, too! A perfect marathon morning.

In the past, I know they've let runners use the FP line but I guess with the popularity of riding Everest during the race, they can't do that anymore. Anyway, even though this Everest "excursion" added about 15 minutes to our time, it was TOTALLY worth it and I would do it all again! 

Walt Disney World Marathon



I mean, how many chance do you get to ride a roller coaster during a marathon...and at mile 14 at that? Not very many!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Everest! Sadly, on the official ride photo, the hands of the runner that sat in front of me are totally blocking my face. Whomp whomp. Oh well!





Walt Disney World Marathon

After leaving Animal Kingdom, we found Jason and Randy! See me frantically waving off to the right?? Hah!

Walt Disney World Marathon



We love our little cheerleaders!

Walt Disney World Marathon

This is where the fun really began.




Walt Disney World Marathon

The Haunted Mansion grave diggers were situation just outside of Animal Kingdom! I tried but couldn't convince Melissa to lay down on the ground and take a picture with me. Whomp whomp.



Walt Disney World Marathon

I know a lot of people don't enjoy this part but I love running through Wide World of Sports! It definitely gives something else to see besides back roads and highways.

Walt Disney World Marathon



Running where Brayden ran just a few days before was fun, too!

Walt Disney World Marathon

When we saw baseball Mickey and Donald, we HAD to stop. I was beyond thrilled for this picture!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Part of the route took us on the field of Champion Stadium, too!



Walt Disney World Marathon

So fun!

Walt Disney World Marathon

By Mile 21, I was ready for this marathon to be over and done. My knee and hamstring miraculously held up the entire 48.6 miles, but I was so ready to be finished running.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Seeing construction behind Hollywood Studios was pretty neat!

Walt Disney World Marathon

By the time we reached the chocolate, I knew it was almost over! They had various M&M's and some kind of Malted Milk Ball type candy. It was delicious regardless!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Another super fun character opportunity was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit! We were dressed vintage too, which was perfect for him!
 
Walt Disney World Marathon

After taking the turn down Hollywood Boulevard, we were out of Hollywood Studios and at my favorite "inspiration point".

Walt Disney World Marathon

This is the spot where my friend Heather and I stood oh so many years ago (2009 to be exact) while we cheered friends on during the Marathon and decided we could do that too!

Walt Disney World Marathon



Our reflections were fun! :)

Walt Disney World Marathon

Around the Boardwalk, Yacht, and Beach Club and on to Epcot!

Walt Disney World Marathon



runDisney released a fun "mile 25 surprise" a few days before the race - basically, it was a fancy mile marker sign!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Fun times!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Almost there!

Walt Disney World Marathon

I was SO excited to see the actual Gospel Choir out there!




Walt Disney World Marathon



YAY!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Chip (or Dale...I can't remember) was at the finish line again so I gave him another high five!

Walt Disney World Marathon

...and that's it! Our 48.6 journey had come to an end! What a ride!!

Walt Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon

We were VERY delirious and goofy by the end of it all!

Walt Disney World Marathon

DONE!

Walt Disney World Marathon



Walt Disney World Marathon

There were two fun surprises waiting at the finish line - we were all given a fun pair of Marathon Mickey ears...

Walt Disney World Marathon

...and the boys had roses just for us! So special!

Walt Disney World Marathon

We enjoyed a much deserved dinner at Trails End that evening to cap off the night!

Walt Disney World Marathon



You can check here to read my final thoughts on Dopey Challenge. Now that I've had a month to reflect on the process, I still feel exactly the same - it was fun and a great experience, but I don't plan on running it again. All 48.6 miles were definitely magical and I had a super amazing time running my first (and last) Dopey Challenge. Thanks for another amazing race weekend, runDisney! I can't wait to return to run another!

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