2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Weekend

Very long story short: I had every intention on completing the RnR DC Marathon on Saturday, and to help Chris to finish his first 26.2. However, due to exceptional logistical ignorance and lack of proper course preparation from race officials, our attempt at the distance was soured and resulted in us finishing the half marathon instead.

But you all know that all my racing adventures have a story to tell, so let us begin this journey starting at the expo on a blustery cold Friday morning…

Wintery mix and temps in the 40’s. Not cool, weather.

Chris and I journeyed to the expo at the DC Armory on Friday morning and stayed about two hours. The weather was projected to be in the mid to upper 20’s with wind on race day. This was colder than the WDW Marathon, by the way!

The highlight of the day was getting to meet Olympian and NYC/Boston winner Meb Keflezighi!

The Rock ‘n’ Roll series had a huge banner, which would be one of 21 to line the course at their season finale in San Antonio to celebrate their 20 Years Running campaign. Of course, we had to sign it.

Keep it in perspective, always.

After the expo, Chris and I walked around the city a little bit, and ended up at Shake Shack at Union Station. So good!!

We ended up in bed around 10pm and readied ourselves for the bitter cold that would accompany our marathon the next day…


Race morning comes around and we bundle up in layers (I wore three, plus two sets of gloves) and walk the mile or so to the staging area. It was 26 degrees outside with a real feel of 16 degrees. Coldness aside, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise as we gathered into the corrals. I had projected a 4:30 time finish when I signed up last year–which was a tad too ambitious–and I ended up in Corral 5. I had studied the map and saw that there were 26 corrals total. Okay! That’s cool! I thought. With a 2-3 minute launch between corrals, we should have no problem staying ahead of the pacing vehicle.

I found coffee. I was a happy camper.

Slightly after 7:00am, we started. Chris and I agreed on a :45/:45 interval pace, which served us well for the majority of the race overall. All we had to be concerned about was making it to the half/full split at 10:40am (according to the website). The first 5k was relatively decent, coming in around a 41:00-ish split. But one thing we noticed very quickly, was…where were all the runners? Were there really 26 corrals for marathoners or were there 26 corrals for the half marathoners? Was our math wrong?

The second 5K took us through Rock Creek Park. Sticking with our intervals, we suddenly found ourselves in No Man’s Land. Seriously…where was everyone? With all those corrals on that staging map, you’d think there would have been more people in the back.

#shenanigans ⬆️😜

Around mile 5.75, the Wear Blue to Remember mile started, and with it came The Hill. Chris and I agreed to walk this hill, and I’m glad we did. Future runners: It is at a 10% incline for .10 of a mile. Nevertheless, we persisted: it was lined with American flags and the best course support of the whole race (IMO):

It snaked up like an “S” and all we could do was keep pushing forward. I got many compliments on my Sparkle Athletic skirt, which made me really happy. We got to the top and the 10K split timer was there. Woot!

We were halfway through the first half of this race, and suddenly we found ourselves running through neighborhoods…with hardly anyone lining the streets. This was rather sketchy and kind of scary. We felt like we were in another world…I mean, were we even on the right course? When were the half marathoners going to catch up to us? Where were all the runners?!

I was getting very frustrated around Mile 11, and contemplated just skipping the full route and finishing with the half. I felt pathetic and slow, and even though we were sticking with our intervals, being lonely at the very back of the field with no direction or little support was mentally draining. I had researched the average finish time of the marathoners from past races, and it averaged around 4:15, 4:30-ish. This race clearly wasn’t made for turtles, and it was beginning to show.

However, after petting some very adorable puppies on the course, I changed my mind and started looking for that half/full split, which should have been coming up at 12.3. There were signs…

…and we stayed to the right of the road as loads of faster half marathoners breezed on past us (which we were cheering along, of course). We reasoned that there would be arrows or signs or cones or actual course officials directing this split. We ran along and couldn’t find it. Did we pass it? Where was this marked?

Reached this at 9:58am, according to the timestamp on my camera. That’s 12.4 miles.

We ran over to a couple of police officers who, unfortunately, gave us no answer. (I guess they weren’t briefed on this.) We kept following the course, staying to the right, and saw that the finish line was just over the hill.

What the actual hell. WHERE WAS THE SPLIT? Did we miss it? Did they close it? It was 10am, and the website said that full runners would be diverted at 10:40am:

See? Says so right there. 👆🏻

We crested the hill, and saw the full/5k finish and the half finish. I pulled myself off the course and started crying out of panic and frustration. I couldn’t believe it. We were going to be forced to finish this on the WRONG DISTANCE that we didn’t sign up for, of no fault of our own because someone somewhere screwed up. No signs, no officials, no nothing. We had a 40-minute advantage, and yet, we were still going to be penalized for logistical ignorance by the race directors.

Chris hugged me and said, “Let’s go finish the half.” (“There could be Hamilton tickets at the finish!”…which I will forever quote him for.) Angrily, I walked back across the course and took off toward the finish line, finishing in 3:02.

This ended up being a PR for me (finally, after three years!) by four minutes, but I was so wrecked with emotion I didn’t even think about that until waaaay after the fact. When we took our medals from the medal ladies, we explained what had happened, that it wasn’t our intent to do the half but we really had no other choice because we had no clue what was going on. They were sweet to give us the full marathon medals in addition to the half medals.

I walked to the Mylar station and got a blanket from our friend Lauren (whom you may remember from last year running the RnR 5K together), and I started sobbing again, blanketed with confusion and anger and frustration. We walked through the rest of the recovery stations, and rang the PR bell because, after all, we did technically PR the half distance…

By the way, Chris got a PR of 35 minutes. #ProudGirlfriend

While we were over there, I got my marathon jacket, and then we slowly walked back to the Metro…dejected, upset, and very, very cold.


Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:

*This was the coldest race I’ve ever done. It took me roughly a day to thaw out. I know the weather was a big deterrent of spectators cheering us on along the course (or maybe this just isn’t that popular of a DC race for people to do so?), so it was a lonely run.

*So…no signage right at the half/full split and not adhering to your own time standards? Rock ‘n’ Roll, get your shit together. You would think that a race series that has been established for 20 years they would have these sorts of things down to a T. I have never participated in a race with such a poor execution of direction and communication. I will, unfortunately, never again sign up for the DC version of this race.

*Also, a word of caution for those of you that aren’t pulling BQs with every marathon you run: don’t sign up for this race in DC. It doesn’t cater well to the slower runners. With a 5:30 finish time, that would equate to a 2:15 half split, essentially (12:30-something pace).  I would highly recommend the Marine Corps Marathon series or something similar.

In the end, I’m glad I got a PR (albeit a small one), and am very very grateful that I had Chris there to maintain the intervals. I am really looking forward to seeing Chris come back in October and crush the Marine Corps Marathon (which he’s wanted to make his first marathon for quite some time now).

I was also relatively okay-ish with my splits, which included a couple potty stops:

What will I do with the marathon medal and jacket? That remains to be seen.


Did you run RnR DC? Did you experience any types of issues like mine?

Next race:Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

2017 WDW Marathon Expo

After many a delay on I-95 on Thursday on my journey down to Florida, I finally arrived that evening around 8:00 PM. I had originally planned to go to the expo that evening, but had to settle for the following day. Friday rolled around and it was sunny and beautiful outside…far cry from the coldness I left up in Maryland the day before. I arrived early to Wide World of Sports around 10:00 AM, and joined the throngs of runners eagerly awaiting to pick up their bibs and race goodies.

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The lines to get into the HP Field house wrapped around several times outside, but the lines moved fairly quickly (even though we were all asking where we could get our Fastpasses!)

Once inside, I made a beeline for the Goofy Challenge bib pickup, got in and out in two minutes, then proceeded to explore the expo with Jess, Kristin, and Jackie!

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The New Balance shoes were so en pointe this year. In stead of being character themed, they were ride themed!

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The official weekend clothes were really cute, but soooo expensive. The marathon jacket was so sleek in its red and black!

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The Dooney and Bourke bags were also on sale. The pattern is too cute! (I wish the bag was in black, though.)

 

There was also a plethora of race banners with the courses on them. I found these to be a perfect combination!

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Happiest Mickey ever!

I often don’t purchase official race merch, due to pricing; the race shirts that we get with registration suit me just fine. I was a big fan of the colors this year, especially the royal blue for the marathon!

 

The runDisney booth had their medals on display, and I caught a glimpse of the Princess Half Marathon weekend medals!


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As the sun began to set on Friday, all eyes began to turn towards the radar. There had been talks about calling the WDW Half due to impending storms. If runDisney made the decision to cancel, it would be the first time in 24 years that runDisney had cancelled a race. Additional communication was sent out to runners in the afternoon and early evening hours with regard to monitoring the weather, and around 10pm, the race was called. 

What happened on Saturday would forever make its mark on the running community, and in runDisney history. Stay tuned…

Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Expo Volunteer Experience

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To kick off this D.C. racecation, I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer for the RnR DC weekend by my fellow Team Shenanigans member, Jenn (@Jenneral1 on Twitter!). I arrived at the D.C. Armory around 8:45 on Friday morning ready to work and give my fellow runners a fantastic experience.

The majority of the volunteers would be downstairs in the basement doing corral check-ins and changes. After receiving instructions from the Race Crew supervisors, Jenn and I called dibs on the Corral Change booth.

Yep, Team Shenanigans was in charge of making decisions.

For those that have never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, the corral changes for this series is a LOT easier than, say, runDisney. RnR corral changes are based purely off of an honour system. If you know that you’ve been training at a faster pace than the corral you are placed in, you can request to be bumped up. We make a little tally mark on the spreadsheet for statistical purposes and to make sure the corrals are filled evenly. That’s all! (There were many comments of, “That was so easy!” It is. You don’t have to sacrifice your firstborn or sell your soul to transfer corrals.)

One of the most humbling things I experienced during my time at the corral change booth was being asked questions and confidently giving advice to other runners about pacing and to provide corral options. Jenn said that it is better that experienced runners are at this booth to act as a mentor and source of information. It was awesome seeing many runners walk over with a harried, worried facial expression about their corral placement and leave with a smile and newfound energy to rock their race day.

Plus, it was great seeing runner friends, Ken (#kenthumbsup) and Malinda of @TwinsRun!!

Around 3:00, I jumped over to Corral Check-Ins. Around this time, until 7:15 or so, the traffic picked up a bunch, and volunteers were leaving their morning shifts. At one point, I was manning two corral sections due to the area being temporarily understaffed. I was put in this chaotic situation many times last summer—I worked for a whitewater rafting company, and the pre-rafting paperwork/logistics craziness that would occur in the hour before everything was to start (which I called “Power Hour”) truly prepped me for these Corral Check-In tables. (Thank you, Three Rivers crew!)

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(…after the storm at 7:15 PM. It was quiet. Too quiet….)

Our Race Crew leaders were incredibly hospitable. They made their rounds roughly every hour or so, making sure we were fed and watered appropriately. (I ate so many fruit snacks and Cheetos it was unreal.) We also got lunch and time to explore the expo. They made it known that our service and time were greatly appreciated. (If it isn’t for the volunteers dedicating themselves for however long they will be there, these races will not have the same fluidity. So make sure you thank your volunteers when you see them!)

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I will be more than happy to volunteer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series again. I had a fantastic experience, and I encourage anyone that is even thinking about volunteering to do so. I noted that the majority of the crowds at this expo were very friendly towards us volunteers, even during peak periods. There was no drama, nothing getting broken, no craziness… just smiles and thank yous. It’s very different being on the other side, but volunteering gives you a better perspective on everything a race weekend needs to run right.

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Next up, the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. 5K!

2016 Princess Half Marathon Merchandise Preview

There’s a week left until the fun and fantasy of PHM weekend begins! Before every race, there is a merchandise preview of commemorative items that will be available at the expo. Our friends over at the Disney Parks Blog released this information today!

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Princess Merch 3princess merch 4Princess Merch 5


 

Also new for 2016 is the “Glitter and Go” makeover experience. At the HP Fieldhouse, princesses can get the royalty treatment with a package that includes a hair twist, light makeup, shimmering lip gloss, a face gem, and a light-up Princess tiara. Reservations are on a walk-in basis for those 3 and up. Retail is $19.95 + tax. Hours for this experience are 10-6 Thursday and Friday, and 8:30-4 on Saturday.


 

What will you be taking home from the expo?!

Original article: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2016/02/glitter-and-go-with-new-products-for-disney-princess-half-marathon-weekend-2016/

 

Princess Half Marathon Survival Guide, Ep. II

Welcome back! Thank you all for reading and providing such wonderful feedback from Part I. Your energy is keeping me alive and thriving, and so excited to continue writing. Props to you all! *confetti*

I would like to add a piece of information from our very own Ken Alegre, whom you may recognize from social media as #kenthumbsup. He suggested that you remember RAIN GEAR when you’re packing. This is so critical, especially in FL weather, and I can’t believe I missed it! Thanks, Ken!

Today’s adventures will take us to a crticial part of any runDisney weekend: surviving the expo. This is 20% actual race logistics, and 80% not overdrawing your bank account. I will take you through both the important and fun aspects of the expo, and all the things you need to be aware of! (Heads up: I am not one for lingering around an expo. I make a game plan, get what I need/want, and get out. There may be some gaps in information with this article, so if I forget anything, please list it!)

Got your ID? Got your credit card? Got a sense of adventure? Great! Here we go!

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Episode II: Attack of the Expo…I Have HOW Much In My Bank Account?!

Before you even go to the expo, you need to know the following:

  1. What times the expo is open. The excitement usually begins on Thursday of race week around 10AM. The times for the 2015 expo were as follows: Thurs 10A-8P, Fri: 9A-7P, Sat: 9A-5P.
  2. How you’re getting there. runDisney has a plethora of on-site shuttles during race weekend. These shuttles will be marked with runDisney signs in the front windows. These busses will start as early as a half-hour before the expo opens. If you’re offsite, head to I-4 and take exit 65 to Osceola Pkwy. West. Hang a left onto Victory Drive and volunteers will be directing you to your parking spot.
  3. BRING YOUR ID AND RACE WAIVER. You will not be allowed to race without your bib (obviously), and if you need to print your waiver, there are computers available in the HP Fieldhouse. THERE IS NO PACKET PICK-UP ON RACE MORNING. Even if you hate crowds and shopping, you still have to go to the expo. Sorry, kids.
  4. Have a game plan. Heading to the expo, especially on Day 1, is like Black Friday (or Black Thursday, or Cyber Monday…whatever shopping holiday you celebrate in November.). Plan for large crowds and those dashing for what I call the Big Three: official runDisney merch, runDisney New Balance shoes, and Dooney and Bourke bags. These are known to sell out within an hour with little to no chance of restocking. runDisney releases the weekend merchandise in the weeks before the race. This gives you plenty of time to plan, mentally and financially. (It also helps to have a set amount that you’re willing to spend at the expo. Once you hit that limit, don’t spend any more. Many vendors have online sites that you can order things from, so you can window shop and have a mental cache of prices if you wish to purchase items later.)
  5. Review the official race weekend guide on rundisney.com. You will receive a hard copy of this with your race packet pickup items. This contains vital information for race weekend, including a road map to where everything is located at WWOS. 1512303_1113107575381870_8432471459995632656_n
  6. Make sure you thank the expo volunteers, or any volunteer you run into. They’re busting their asses on-stage and behind the scenes to ensure that you have a great weekend. They deserve so much credit, so don’t turn on the Princess Diva Attitude if something doesn’t go your way.

With regard to the road map, there are two main buildings where things are at. These are the HP Fieldhouse and the Jostens Center. Here’s a breakdown of both buildings:

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HP Fieldhouse:

-All packets are to be picked up here. (Kids, 5K, 10K, PHM, GSC). Some are on the upper floor, some are on the lower floor.

-KIDS, PHM TEAMS, AND GSC RUNNERS ARE THE EVENTS WHOSE PARTICIPANTS ALSO PICK UP THEIR gEAR BAGS AND RACE SHIRTS HERE.

-Official runDisney merchandise is here AND in Jostens

-Commemorative items and pre-purchased items. If you ordered extra goodies when you signed up, you’ll get them here.

Runner tracking, volunteer check-in, and additional exhibitors

-Runner Relations

Jostens Center (floorplan posted later on):

-5K, 10K, AND PHM RUNNERS PICK UP THEIR RACE SHIRTS AND gEAR BAGS HERE.

-Offical runDisney merchandise is here AND at HP Fieldhouse

-Race-weekend speakers

-Inspiration Station

-Majority of the exhibitors! (This is the Black Friday part I was mentioning earlier.)

-More runDisney merchandise! (I believe that runDisney split this between both buildings so people aren’t stepping all over each other in one area.)

(Rant: I wish runDisney would plan things so that ALL packets and gEAR bags/race shirts were in the same building. Having them in two seperate buildings is a major pain.)

*Aside from the Fieldhouse and Jostens center, the Welcome Center has your Pasta in the Park tickets (if you ordered them), and also theme park tickets should you wish to purchase them.

*New Balance also offers a virtual queue check-in, if you’re planning on purchasing their shoes. UPDATE: 1/20/16,10:35 PM: Meghan Gorny has provided us with a fantastic overview of this!: “The New Balance Virtual queue experience. The queue for New Balance shoes opens at 6am each day of the expo until spots are filled. The first day of the expo, the appointments are for runners only and they will ask for your bib number when you register. When you get to the website, they will ask for what size and shoe that you are purchasing. Spots seemed to go quickly at marathon weekend. I signed in at 6am and got an appointment for 1pm. When you get to the expo, there will be signs showing you where to go check in for your appointment time. When you check in for your appointment, they bring you to the New Balance area, they bring you the shoes that you requested. You can also ask for 5 other pairs of shoes.”

Alrighty. So you know where things are at and what you need to do! Let’s begin…


 

  1. First and foremost, even if you’re a shopaholic or absolutely hell-bent on being the first in line at 7AM on Thursday to get the Dooney and Bourke bags, GET YOUR RACE DAY ESSENTIALS FIRST. I mean, that’s the reason you’re down here, right? Head to the Fieldhouse with your ID and race waiver (or print it out when you get there), and look for your race and your bib number. There are seperate booths with ranges of numbers. Find what corresponds to you and head on over. You will be greeted by the volunteers. Offer your information, and they will retrieve your items. Be sure to sign yourself in in the binder in front of you: find your bib number and put your John Hancock next to it. Once you’ve signed in, the volunteer will verify the bib number and shirt size on your waiver matching the actual bib they give you. In addition to the race event guide, there is also a sticker that will go on your gEAR check bag. This has your bib number and first initial of your last name. DON’T LOSE THIS.
  2. Next, go get your race shirt and gEAR bag. Stand in line and offer your bib to the volunteers there. (There is a tear-off portion with your shirt size on the bib, which will be redeemed for your shirt!) You’ll get your shirt and check-in bag (which will have safety pins in it. DON’T LOSE THESE.)

It is best if you try your shirt on. There is a place for shirt exchanges if you need to do so. The shirt cut seems to change every year. I have PHM/GSC shirts that are either too small or too large.

3. Now that you have your essentials, it’s time to go exploring! What is wonderful about PHM weekend is that sometimes you can get your picture taken with the princesses! (I cannot guarantee this happens every year since it’s not listed on the road map for the Jostens center. You never know what times they will appear, so you really have to take your chances. I got pics with Minnie, Snow White and Cinderella in 2015.)

There are so many vendors available to runners. You can go to your favorites and restock your gear, or find Jeff Galloway and have a chat with him. Here’s a partial list of fun things you can find at the Josten’s Center! (List from 2015, and it changes every year!)

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APEX

Bondi Band

Champion apparel

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (race weekend celebratory charity!)

Coppertone (did you get your sunscreen yet?!)

Dannon (free yogurt!)

Divas Half Marathon Series

Endure Jewelry

Fit2Run (I got my Garmin through them during WDW marathon weekend!)

KT Tape (you can get taped at the Expo)

LUNA bar (you can get cheer signs here!)

New Balance

Noah’s Light Foundation

SparkleAthletic

SparkleSkirts

SparklySoul

SpiBelt

SportHooks

etc. etc. etc.

4. Now that you’ve bought all the things, maybe you’d like to take a breather and attend a seminar. There are a variety of them held throughout the week by various atheltes and motivational speakers. Be sure to check the list in your event guide, as these also vary every year. Some of the seminars from 2015 included:

-Jeff Galloway, “I Can Go the Distance!”

-Danni Allen (Biggest Loser Season 14 winner), “Change Your Life One Step At a Time”

-Luna Pace Team, “13.1 Dream Come True Tips for a Magical Race Day”

-runDisney panel, “Information for Runners and Spectators”

-Jenny Simpson (Olympian), “Go For the Gold!”


 

So you’ve got your new stuff, heard some motivational words, received race-day advice, and now it’s time to head back to your hotel with all your new goodies and a positive bank account. Woohoo!

And now it’s time for the real talk.37075_580616501964316_1669205870_n

 

Sometimes things aren’t all Mickey ears and pixie dust.

One thing that you will see post-expo is runDisney merchandise being resold online at a much higher price, especially the D&B bags and New Balance shoes. Princesses (and princes)….it’s going to happen. It has become a staple of runDisney events for those that aren’t even running the races to nab multiple quantities of the merchandise to resell for-profit. Hell, even some runners do this. I’ve heard all the complaints in the book: “This merchandise should be reserved for runners only.” “runDisney should pay attention to the consumer demand and order more to be prepared for race weekend.” “All of it was gone in an hour…why do people suck so much!?”

Stop. Seriously. Put your big girl panties and big boy boxers on and grow up.

It’s going to happen, and there is nothing you can do about it.Take the high road and resist join in the social media chatter about how things are seemingly unfair.  Just breathe in, breathe out, and move on.


 

Thank you for reading Part II of my series! You’ve officially survived the expo! Again, I ask those that have additional information that I’ve forgotten to add it. I’ll ensure proper credit is given.

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You’re sitting in a sea of new things, and eagerly counting down the hours until you get up and get ready for your race! How do you prepare the night before, especially when you’re either A. so excited you can’t sleep, and/or B. you’re terrified and full of pre-race jitters? Stay tuned for PHM Survival Guide, Episode Three: Revenge of the Pre-Race Jitters, coming soon!

WDW Marathon Weekend, Part I

It’s that time of the year.

It’s time for the Super Bowl of runDisney: WDW Marathon Week!

(Or Goofy or Dopey or even just the 5K… whatever race or challenge you’re partaking in!)

It took me 30+ hours of travel time, but I made it to Disney World on Thursday…a whole day earlier than expected. The theme of the trip was, “Are we there yet?” and had visions of road trips from The Simpsons with Bart and Lisa nagging Homer and Marge about when they were arriving.

 

I was fortunate to check in to my hotel a day early, and trust me, I was so happy to be in a legit bed that wasn’t a makeshift nest in the back of my car.

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Friday was expo day, and the weather was on and off between sprinkles and a monsoon. This was the first non-PHM expo I had ever been to, and to be honest, it was insanely confusing. Yes, there were maps, but I felt like I was being given the run-around trying to find where I was supposed to be to pick up certain things. Packet pick-up was fine, but trying to find where my marathon race shirt/race bag pick up was drove me up the wall. I’m not sure why it has to be in a completely seperate building, so I’m just going to chalk it up to runDisney for oddball planning.

(IMO, all merchandise should be in one building, and all bibs/race shirt/check-in stuff should be in another. Period. None of this half and half crap.)

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I didn’t get much at the expo (not a fan of the runDisney merchandise), but I did splurge…on a Garmin! I’ve been searching for a fitness watch for awhile, and the peeps at the Fit2Run booth helped me out tremendously. I wasn’t looking for something with a lot of bells and whistles; I’m surprisingly simple. I got to try a couple of them on, and found that the more advanced models with the larger watchfaces were too overwhelming on my tiny wrist. I settled on the Forerunner 25, and I’m excited to put it to use!

Plus it’s pink. Couldn’t resist the pink.

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I found myself at EPCOT in the afternoon to meet Team Shenanigans over at Mexico for margaritas. I was feeling rather melancholy after the expo and was debating about even leaving my room for the rest of the day. I changed my mind when I saw their meetup post on Twitter, and they had been encouraging me over the tweet-machine the last few weeks. I had to go see what the excitement was all about, and I’m glad I went. What a seriously fun group of runners! (Especially when all 30-some of us decided to ride La Fiesta. So many shenanigans!)

I also had a surprise encounter with my Princess Half friend, Jess! (Photo #2) We met in 2014 and have been runner buddies ever since.

Group shot courtesy of Brittany (photo #4).

 

Later on, Living With the Land with new friends! (Photo courtesy of Jess.)

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We all parted ways after this and I spent the rest of the day making friends with the natives (aka squirrels and duckies) and taking pictures of World Showcase.

Of course, it’s not a trip to EPCOT without Illuminations!

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And, of course, Spaceship Earth:

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Marathon is tomorrow! For those that have been racing the past few days, you’ve battled rain and humidity and everything in between. Props for your grit and tenacity! I can’t wait to race with you!

Princess Half Expo!

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Day two involved traveling to the ESPN Wide World of Sports and exploring the expo! I had set up a budget prior to leaving Pennsylvania and I was determined to not go hog wild buying a lot of things.

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The bus from the hotel did not immedately stop at the WWoS, so I knew I was going to have to bus hop. I teamed up with another woman, Vy from California, who was also going to the expo, to get on the right bus! We went to EPCOT, then Pop Century to the runDisney bus. We had great talks about other runDisney things and about what we do for our careers. Enjoying the sunshine, we made our way (finally!) to the expo!

We stuck together and agreed to do character pictures! I’m 27, and I’ve never done character pics before in my life.

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While we were in line for Snow White, the cast member mentioned that Cinderella was arriving in about five minutes. What luck!!

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Vy and I got our photos taken in front of the Children’s Miracle Network backdrop. I knew I wasn’t going to be taking a lot of pictures on teh course during the races, so it was the perfect time to go picture crazy!

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Another highlight was purchasing one of the runDisney MagicBands (in pink, of course!). When I saw the preview on the runDisney Facebook group, I knew that I wanted one, so I budgeted for its purchase. I went to the woman at the booth and to my surprise, there were quite a few still left in both pink and blue. She had mentioned that the previous day, the Dooney and Bourke bags had sold like hotcakes. Only 2,000 were printed, and they were gone within hours. Who knew that something such as a handbag could be so coveted?

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I do enjoy browsing about and taking pictures of all the things. I believe it helps to curb impulse spending.

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I finished the browsing of the expo and headed back, ready to run like a princess!

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