New Glass Slipper Challenge Revealed!

It’s no secret that I love runDisney races. Back in February, I completed my first half marathon by running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Earlier this month, I signed up for ANOTHER half marathon at Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend. This race weekend was recently revamped with the addition of the Dumbo 10k and the Dopey Challenge on top of the other FOUR races/challenges that go on during that weekend. How cool, right? I mean, imagine walking around with six medals clanking together!?! You might feel like this guy:

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Just today, it was announced that the 2014 Disney Princess weekend will be getting a little facelift. There now will be a chance to earn TWO MORE shiny, beautiful metals in ONE WEEKEND! Are you as excited as I am?

Added to the lineup are the Enchanted 10K and the Glass Slipper Challenge. For the Glass Slipper Challenge, you sign up for both the Enchanted 10K on Saturday AND the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. There also will be an additional day added to the Expo (yay! This year was too crazy…). The race weekend for 2014 is February 20-23.

Photo Credit:Run Disney

Photo Credit: runDisney

As if that wasn’t big enough, for those who participate in the Coast-to-Coast Challenge by completing the 2014 Tinker bell Half Marathon and the 2014 Princess Half Marathon will receive an oh-so-girly pink Coast-to-Coast metal.

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With my upcoming nuptials being the focus of my funds, I might have to miss out on this inaugural challenge, but let it be known: Glass Slipper Challenge, I’m coming for you!

Can I count you in?

Disney Princess Half Marathon

Growing up, I constantly watched the Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid and always fantasized about being a princess. Fast forward to this year, I finally had my chance; I was running the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  And what was even better? I was doing it with my prince by my side.

The weekend started with the packet pickup. Due to a scheduling conflict with ESPN Wide World of Sports, the packet pickup was to be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs. Guests were to park at Downtown Disney to take a shuttle to Coronado Springs. While it was fun to see another side of Disney, this location was not big enough to hold the number of people coming through. Since we were driving in from Southern Florida, we were not able to make it until 6:00, which in turn made a long wait for the bus. As soon as I picked up my bib and crossed on to the vendor side, there was an announcement that the expo was closing for the day (that was seriously disappointing as I just had spotted the cutest running tank from Raw Threads).

Packet Pickup

After a fun filled Saturday spent at Magic Kingdom, Sunday had finally arrived. The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., alerting Danny and me that it was time to go. I threw on my awesome running outfit (thanks Mom!) and I was ready to race! The entire weekend I had been checking the weather forecast and which told me it was supposed to rain right around the time of the race. Not that I was going to let that dampen my spirits, but in true princess fashion, I was just worried about my hair! So I decided to wear my hat in case I would need it.

Ready to Go

Ready to Go

 

Once we reached the Epcot parking lot, we had about a twenty minute walk to our corral. I was in Corral A, but since the Disney Princess Half is a woman focused race, the Princesses have the first two corrals all to themselves. This put Danny in Corral C, so I dropped back to be with him (You are allowed to drop back, but not move up a corral). The excitement (and tutus) filled the air. At 5:30, the Fairy Godmother waived her magic wand, and the first corral was off!  Now, Disney knows how to spend off runners in style. With each corral sendoff, there was a beautiful burst of fireworks. We had weaseled our way to the front of Corral C so right about 5:47, my glass slippers hit the ground running.

Photo Credit: Preston Mack, Disney Sports

Photo Credit: Preston Mack, Disney Sports

The first miles flew by. At the 5k marker, I actually turned to Danny and asked if we had really already run three miles. The course was just so fun, there were marching bands and characters galore! Before I knew it, we had reached the Magic Kingdom parking entrance. It was a great trick by the course directors as there were about 2 ½ miles before we actually would reach the castle. My anticipation carried me to the backstage entrance of Magic Kingdom and on to Main Street. The feeling of running through Magic Kingdom was amazing. The crowds were cheering us on with every step. The only downside? It went by way too fast.

Around mile 8, I hit my wall, my legs were starting to feel like jelly but I still had 5 miles to go. I wasn’t going to quit, though. I powered through as the miles kept ticking by. My second challenge hit me with the infamous Disney hills. There is about a two mile stretch of running up and down these hills, a reality check compared to the otherwise flat course. Just as I was about to start my hills run up an exit ramp, my ipod started blasting my “YOU CAN DO IT” song, Anything Can Happen by Ellie Goulding. These hills were going to be a thing of the past.

At mile 12, we had reached the entrance of Epcot. At this point, Danny wanted to start sprinting, but I wasn’t having that. I wanted to save that for the last ½ mile. With one quick lap past Spaceship Earth up to World Showcase Lagoon, and we were well on our way to the finish line. This is where I gained my burst of energy and where Danny felt like he was going to die. We split the difference and ran our way to the finish line, hand in hand.

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Photo Credit: Marathon Foto

We crossed the finish line at 2:09, a very respectable time for our first half marathon. A fairy sprinkled waived her wand of glitter over me and it was official, I was a Princess. I even have the hardware to prove it!

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Without hesitation, I can say that Disney races are such an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone. I can’t imagine running a race without the on-course entertainment that Disney provides. They are just so much fun! And everyone is so supportive and encouraging, the feeling is contagious.

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Hopefully, we will be running the Disney Half Marathon during the Disney Marathon weekend in January. This time, the costumes are coming back! Danny and I have set a goal of under 2:00 hours (closer to 1:50!) for the next half, so let the training continue!

Running Down a Dream

Is there something that you have always wanted to do, but seem to come up with a million excuses not to? Today is the day to change your way of thinking. Take 5 minutes out of your day and figure out how to get it done. You may be asking, “Where is this coming from?”.  Well, this past weekend, I crossed off one of those “In my dreams” items, I completed a half marathon. And not only did I complete it, I ran the entire thing without stopping in 2 hours and 9 minutes.

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About four years ago, I causally mentioned to someone that it was my goal to complete a half marathon. Their response was less than encouraging. They shot a doubting look my way and said “A half marathon? Are you kidding me? Do you know how far that is?” (No, Mom, this wasn’t you).

Although this was not the response I expected, I understand where they were coming from. Growing up, I was by no means athletic. I have tried just about every sport and was somewhere between horrible and laughable in each and every one. In high school, I accepted the fact that I would never be going to the Olympics and joined the girly girls on the Pom Pon squad. I finally was able to put 15 years of dance class to good use.

I started running during college, when I was too cheap to buy a gym membership. At first, I would run a mile or two. As the years passed, I worked my way to three miles, which I have been comfortably running for about three years. Then this year, Danny and I decided to run the Disney Tower of Terror Ten Miler, so the long distance training began. After completing that race, I was determined to run the additional 3.1 miles and signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Now, Back to that naysayer… At the moment that those discouraging words left her mouth, two things happened. First, I was overcome with doubt. Maybe she was right, 13.1 miles is a heck of a long way to run. Maybe I wasn’t strong enough and I would be left as roadkill on the course. But then, my determination kicked those thoughts to the side. I decided then and there that I would do whatever it takes to run that marathon. I was going to prove to myself and to any doubters that I COULD.

I promise I’ll break the race down more in another post, but let’s just say it was amazing. I teared up at three times during the race. During the first mile, I realized that my dream was coming true, I was running a half marathon (and qualified for the fastest corral!). At the fifth mile, the tears were there again when I saw a sign that said “It’s hard to beat someone who never gives up”. It was like someone put that sign there for me! Then, about five minutes after I crossed the finish line and was able to breathe without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,  I realized how proud I was of myself.

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If there is one thing you take from this post, let it be this: There will always be someone or something that tries to get in the way of your dreams.  It was Walt Disney who said it best when he said “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

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Go Get It.

Ready to Run

As I have mentioned a few times, my boyfriend Danny and I are participating in the upcoming Disney race, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler. How upcoming, you may ask?  I’ll be there in 10 DAYS!

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We have been training for this race since April and just completed our last long run yesterday. The weekend before last, we ran nine miles at the gym. It took me about 77 minutes (8:35 pace) while Danny finished a few minutes before me. During this run, the sickest blister formed on my left big toe while my right pinky toenail cut into my other toe. It was a painful run BUT we were both so proud to have completed it.

When we went to the gym yesterday, we both fully intended to run 9 miles, as we did the week before. On Saturday, I had my gym ritual of back to back gym classes of Body Pump followed by Zumba. During Zumba, while Shakira was blaring over the speaker, our instructor had us do a straight minute of side high kicks. As a former Pom Pon girl extraordinaire, I took this opportunity to show that this 26 year old still can kick as high as those highschoolers. Turns out, I can kick that high, but my muscles require a little warning. My inner thigh muscles went into instant shock and my left muscle became strained. Ouch!

So yesterday, about half way through my run, my body reminded me of those kicks from the previous day. I turned to Danny on the treadmill next to me, mouthed that I felt like I was dying while I slid my finger over my throat. We both finished running 65 minutes (our treadmills have a 60 minute limit with a 5 minute “cool down” that we bump back up to a running pace) and decided that we were done for the day. All training schedules say that you should avoid long runs every weekend and instead do every other weekend, so we were okay with cutting our run a mile and a half short. When I got home, I kicked off my awesome kick to find ANOTHER blister. This bad boy was bigger than the week before and could not be ignored.

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This weekend, I also made our logos that we will wear for our Incredibles costumes. I found the image online that I used as my template and made it the size that I wanted. By using fabric and craft fuse, I created the logos that will be tacked on to our running shirts. I’m very happy with the way they turned out.  In the picture below, you can see some of the chalk that I used to trace the pattern with. It will be cleaned up, I promise!

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Pushing My Limits

This weekend I achieved a huge accomplishment: I ran seven miles. On top of that, I ran seven miles in 59 minutes and 4 seconds.  Not only is that the farthest distance I have ever ran, it is the fastest pace I have ever been able to maintain for my long runs. I’m extremely proud of myself and my running mate/ boyfriend, Danny. When Danny and I first signed up for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, he mentioned his goal was to complete the 10 miles in 1:30:00 or under. With a nervous laugh, I agreed that was an excellent goal. I did not think it would be possible, that is, not until now.

 I have been training at a 9:00 minute pace for my long runs, which would put me right at 1:30:00. I figured that once you throw in a few uphill expressway ramps with the heat and darkness, my pace will be a little slower than running on a flat treadmill. Now that I have reduced my pace by a whopping 16 seconds, I feel extremely confident that this goal is possible. Plus I only have a measly three miles to go in my training!

I’m a little frustrated with my mindset during my run.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy from the moment I hit “start”… my gym had removed Bravo from the TV channels on the treadmill. Without the mindless bickering of whatever Housewives, I was left with my iPod to entertain me for the next hour. I have yet to make a workout mix, so I spent a lot of time fast forwarding through Christmas carols and Jack Johnson.

After I finally hit a good patch of music, I began thinking about the time. “I must be at least a half hour in. I’ll run for five more minutes so it will more than a half hour in”. After about three minutes, I removed my towel from the timer it was hiding. I was at 24 minutes. Shoot. Nothing a little rounding couldn’t fix! From then on, I became obsessed with the time. I wasn’t tired, I was just impatient (story of my life!).  I tried distracting myself by counting the number of white cars passing by. That lasted a solid 30 seconds. I took my glasses off so that I wasn’t able to sneak a peek at Danny’s treadmill timer. They were back on 10 minutes later so I could turn and look at the wall clock. Come on Danielle! You are better than that!

I know this is something that I have to change. If I am going to keep running these long distances, I have to find my “zen zone”.  I’ll figure out something that will put a rock garden in my head. Maybe I’ll try a book on tape or something. Any suggestions?

On another note, as a direct result of my run, I have turned into an eighty year-old woman. My knees and ankles are swollen and my back is killing me. This will be a “take it easy” week for sure!

The Great Debate

Holy Crap. Last time I posted about my upcoming race, the Tower of Terror 10 miler, there were 98 days to go. How on earth are there now only 79 days to go? Wasn’t that post from like, last week?!?! No?? EEKS! Time to get my butt in gear.

In terms of running, I think I am right on track (or running circles around it, hehe). I have made it past the six mile mark, and have been drastically improving my time on my short runs. This next weekend, I will be attempting to run seven miles. Thanks to my shiny new ipod, I’ll be able to be-bop along to my jams for the run. The part of the race I am really starting to worry about is what my costume will be!

There are so many creative costumes out there, especially for Disney races. I really would like to find a costume that is as original as a possible and still functional to run in.  Pinterest and the blog for Team Sparkle have some amazing ideas that are so inspiring. For example, Karen over at Chariots of Ire made this adorable costume of Russell from the movie Up. So freakin’ creative and adorable!

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After hours spent googling “Disney Race Costume” and stalking many many runner’s blogs, I had my choices down to three.  Up until late last night, I was deciding between Snow White, Tinkerbelle, and Elastigirl. (Thank you to According to Kelly for the inspiration and the photos below!)

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I was talking about this with Danny and when I mentioned Elastigirl, he said “Oh and I could be Mr. Incredible!”. Cha-Ching, SOLD!  The Incredibles, along with Wedding Singer and Shawshank Redemption, is one of those movies that I will drop everything to watch if it is on TV, regardless of what point the movie is at. Sad part about this, I own all these movies but I can’t seem to help myself! I am overjoyed that I will not only be able to run as a character from one of my favorite movies, but I will also have a partner in crime…er…. to fight crime.

Now, do you think Edna will be available to make my costume?

10 Miles of Terror

Confession: I am a huge Disney fan. This is a relatively recent obsession that I have developed thanks to my wonderful boyfriend. Danny is a Disney FANATIC. He has always been fascinated by the history and heritage of the Disney brand. His few free moments of the day are spent checking varies Disney blogs about updates on the parks and the latest Disney news. In turn, my days are spent trying to find little bits of trivia that he might not know (So far, I’ve come up with two things… in four and a half years….).
Danny was an intern for three summers during college, two of which we were dating. I was able to visit him a few times while he was there. It is so fun to walk around with someone who knows the stories behind the concepts and trivia about the parks. As a result, my love for Disney has now gone beyond the “I can watch The Little Mermaid three times on repeat” phase into a passion for the Disney brand.

Danny and I decided to combine our love to for Disney with running and recently participated in our first Disney race. We ran the Tangled 5K back in February and had an excellent experience. Not knowing what to expect, I showed up with a polka dotted red ribbon in my hair, very Minnie-esque. Little did I know, people were wearing FULL-ON costumes for the race. It was a lot of fun to see what everyone was wearing. As for the race itself, I was in awe of how well operated it was. It was a great event to be a part of and made me want MORE! As soon as Danny I came home from the race, we registered for the Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

10 miles. It may be a small world, but 10 miles seems like a really long distance, especially since the longest I have ever run is 5 miles. I have been comfortably running 3 miles at least twice a week for the last two years. I have been pushing myself (with the huge help of my boyfriend) to run either farther or faster for the last month and a half. I think KNOW I can run the 10 miles, it is just a matter of making myself do it! If this were any “normal” race, I wouldn’t be half as excited.

Every day I will log on to the runDisney site to read the race details for the hundredth time. I am so pumped to see a rare look at Backstage Disney and also, to run in costume! Ever since the Tangled 5K, the gears have been turning as to what I should wear for the upcoming race. I have a few different ideas that I am toying with. One thing I know for sure, the Minnie Mouse ribbon is not going to cut it! Now if I can only convince Danny to run in costume….

98 Days to Go!!!!