WDW Marathon Weekend Corrals and Waivers

Ladies and gentlemen, runners of all ages…

It’s that time of year. I’m not talking about Christmas or other wintery holidays…

It’s runDisney season!!!

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We have about 17 days until the Super Bowl of runDisney occurs down in Walt Disney World. WDW Marathon weekend is in its 24th year, and will encompass four races and two challenges throughout the weekend: WDW 5K, WDW 10K, WDW Half Marathon, and WDW Marathon; Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, and the Dopey Challenge. 2017 is special in that we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the half marathon!

 

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XX = Roman numeral for 20, for those that are confused by the design.

Yesterday, the corrals and waivers were released, and runners will be able to access their bib numbers and corral placements. Now, for those that are seasoned runDisney veterans, they’re already out and cruising towards Magic Kingdom (i.e. they already know what to do). If you’re a newbie, don’t panic! I’m here to help make this as painless and simple as possible. Here is what you do!

 


  1. Click this link. It will take you to your waiver: WDW Marathon Weekend Waiver
  2. When you arrive to the page, enter your last name and DOB.
  3. Your waiver will pop up. If you have a printer, print it out and sign it. If you don’t, you can print it out at the expo.

Your bib number will be at the bottom of the page, along with your age and shirt size. Using this bib number, look up your corral for your race: 2017-wdw-half-corrals2017-wdw-marathon-corrals2017-goofy-corrals2017-dopey-corralsNow, for those running the challenge runs (Goofy and Dopey), things are a little different for you. I consulted by BRF, Jess, for this information!

“Goofy and Dopey bibs have two corral letters, right? Or is that just Dopey? -me

“Goofy only has one so you are in the same corral for half and full. Dopey has two bibs: one for the 5k and 10k, the other for half and full. You are in the same corral for half and full for Dopey. You’re also in the same starting corral for the 5k and 10k for Dopey, too, but you don’t find that out until the expo :)” -Jess

So there ya go. Dopey = 2 bibs, 2 letters. Everyone else = 1 bib.

5Kers…You’ll notice there is no timing chip on your bib. It’s an untimed race, but you are still in a corral. Just run to have fun!

One last note: no matter if you print your waiver now or at the expo, you better make sure you have your ID with you when you retrieve your bib and race packet. Have it out and ready to go so you’re not fishing around and fumbling with your stuff when you get there.


Personal notes:

-I’ll be running the Goofy Challenge this year! I’ll be in Corral J for both races.

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Looks like a Reese’s Cup to me!

 

-I will be driving to Florida instead of flying.

-I’m tinkering with the idea of a WDW Marathon Survival Guide. For those that have read my Princess Half Survival Guide series, you know that it is catered to those that are first-timers/newbies. Are there any topics that you would like to see me elaborate on/write about that are tailored for the WDW Marathon weekend?


Happy training and traveling! Have a great holiday season!img_1808

 

Everglades Half Marathon Recap

Run with the gators, they said.

It would be fun, they said.

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And what fun we had!


Race morning started a little rocky: Chris and I got caught in traffic and ended up at the parking lot around 5:45am. The race started at 6:30am, and we still needed to be shuttled over. I was in a bit of a panic (I HATE being late to anything), but soon calmed down upon the sight of Team Shenanigans hanging out in the parking lot at Shark Valley Visitor’s Center.

And coffee. Life is always better with coffee.img_2506-1

 

We took a pre-race group shot and set out to the starting area, which was about half a mile away from the visitor’s center. Upon walking there, we discovered that the start was going to be delayed due to medics having not arrived.

 

So we waited. And waited. Took some pictures. Saw a gator. Watched the sun rise. Got squished together with other runners on the paved walking route that would serve as the race course. (It was like Cone Alley width-wise, to be honest. However, with the Vacation Races series, the cap for runners is less than 2,000 on most courses. With Everglades being an inaugural, the cap was at 1,000. It made it REALLY nice to maneuver during the race.)

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Got to pace Chris for his first 13.1!

Finally, slightly after 7:00am, we started! Woohoo!

Vacation Races is walker-friendly, with an 18:00 mpm pace. We weren’t overly concerned about our time, and I just wanted to make sure Chris finished his first half marathon in one piece. Our team ran :30/:30 intervals the entire way, and just took in the scenery along this super duper flat course. One note about the course: there are no trees. No trees = no shade. After the morning clouds broke away, it got super sunny for a good stretch of the race, but the clouds eventually returned so it was nice balance.

Another great thing that Vacation Races does is that it ensures that the runners are well-taken care of on the course. For this race, there were six water/Gnarly stops, and each stop had Honey Stinger gels. I got to try a variety of flavors, and found that the Acai Pomegranate, Fruit Smoothie, and Mango Orange were very tasty. In the later miles, bananas and oranges were also offered.

Side note: Vacation Races are cup-free. Bring your own bottles or purchase a Hydrapouch (pictured upper right) prior to the race.

We took a pit stop at the Observation Tower for pictures just before mile seven.img_2457img_2458

I have to give the award for Best Water Stop ever to the team at Mile Seven. There was a gentleman using the water coolers as bongo drums and singing an improved tribal chant that revolved around the central theme of, “Welcome to Mile Seven!”

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As we turned the corner and started the second half of the course, we all realized that our watches were giving different readings with mileage. Sure, we added a tenth of a mile due to the Observation Tower stop, but even then, everyone was reading something different. Chris and I learned post-race that the race staff had very specific places where they could put the mile markers (due to terrain and wildlife and whatnot), and many were not precisely accurate. Our total mileage for the race hovered around 14 miles when all was said and done.

You really cannot beat this scenery, and the open space to run!

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We did see our fair share of gators! As a rule of thumb: respect them, and they will respect you. They don’t care about humans as much as the sunlight they’re absorbing through their scales. The gators we saw were snoozing along the race course. We also saw many birds, too. It’s awesome seeing nature up close!

Chris and I neared the end and we did an all-out sprint to the finish line, which was insanely fun as the announcers were cheering us on. He beat me by four footsteps. 😛

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Finishing his first half marathon! I’m so proud!!

We finished around 3:36, which is totally fine for a race that we weren’t concerned about being speed demons at. We walked around and cheered the rest of our teammates at the finish line.

 

It was fantastic day for running, and I’m so happy to have finally run a race with my team! (I only became a member of Team Shenanigans in January, and I tried to keep up with them at the WDW Marathon, but couldn’t. Now that I’ve got more training under my belt, I can’t wait ‘til Goofy Challenge!)


Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:

  1. If you’re looking to PR, this is the course to do it at. It’s SUPER flat and fast.
  2. If you like races in nature, this is a race to do…or any of the Vacation Races, for that matter. They are all within the National Park System, and are designed to be an outdoorsy adventure so you can #FindYourPark. There are also additional challenges you can undertake, such as Club challenges and a Trifecta challenge. These are designed so that you can get the best experience possible within the park and its surrounding areas. They are also great incentive to earn a discount for the following year’s race!
  3. Bring a hat and extra sunscreen. Like I mentioned before, there’s no shade along the course.
  4. If you’re a running newbie, you’ll like these races. There’s no pressure or intimidation from other runners for being too fast or slow. Just run at what you’re comfortable at and you’ll be fine!
  5. Watch where you stand. We often don’t think about what’s lurking along the sides of the road if we stop to tie a shoe or something. Chris and I ended up standing near a bunch of ants that we had to shoo away from our shoes.
  6. Running with teammates is the best! It makes the experience more memorable. Also, don’t be afraid to make friends on the course, human and animal alike.

 

Coming soon: Everglades Club Challenges and the Trifecta Challenge! Along with many more pictures from this racecation! 🙂

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2016 Navy/Air Force Half Marathon Recap

The opening percussion beats and bagpipes of Gaelic Storm’s “Blind Monkey” served as my 4AM alarm this race morning. No matter what race it is…whether it’s runDisney or RnR or this…early wakeup times suck. You wander around bleary-eyed and sleepy while trying not to spill your pre-race coffee while asking yourself, “Why did I make this wonderful decision?”

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These are just a few of my favorite things that enable me to survive on race day: Nuun provides the electrolytes, EnergyBits for protein/healthy algae goodness, and sunscreen to not turn into a lobster. 

Now, I am a huge advocate of “nothing new on race day”, but I had been eyeing the forecast since two weeks out up until right before I left. The original forecast projected not just heat and humidity, but thunderstorms, as well. I turned to my Team Shenanigans members for rainy race day advice (just in case), as I have been fortunate to not have run in the rain at all in my running tenure. Jennifer Hall suggested coating my feet in Vaseline to prevent blisters. I located this here Vaseline (with cocoa butter) and applied it liberally to my feet.

Spoiler alert: no blisters!!


I started driving towards DC around 5AM, and I was super happy that there was very little traffic. Navigating traffic on race day is a surefire way to get the anxiety levels up. I always allot substantial time to arrive. I arrived around 5:30AM at the parking garage about two blocks from the staging area. I saw some other runners in a vehicle near mine and made it a point to make friends…DC is still pretty sketchy in the wee hours of the morning, and as always, safety in numbers.450fcb8c-e08f-4e73-92ae-a179e5400054

The staging area for NAFHALF and the Navy 5 Miler was on the National Mall adjacent to the Washington Monument. The field, in comparison to other races that I have run, was miniscule: 9,000 half runners compared to 25,000 or 30,000-deep fields. It was pleasant knowing that I could move around and not feel like I was being herded.

Race started slightly after 7:00. I was in wave #2. With the ding of the Navy Bell, we were off around 7:13 AM. The course was flat and in reverse of the MCM course, heading towards Haines Point (which is typically Miles 12-14 of MCM). The first 5K was overcast/not too hot, steady, and I think I clocked in somewhere around the 37:00 minute mark, according to the Garmin.

However…there was no 5K split timer. I didn’t get a split until mile four.

Weird.


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The second 5K ran concurrent with the Potomac River on Ohio Drive and past the Lincoln Memorial. The course split before the 5 mile mark of the Navy 5 Miler, with half marathoners heading left and 5 Milers to the right. The sun was juuuuuuust beginning to peek from behind the overcast skies, but stayed behind for the majority of this section.

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*looks around for 10K timing mat. Sees none. Grrrrr.*

I was also taking notice of my Garmin in these middle miles. It seemed as though the course measurements were off by at least .20 of a mile; when I reached an actual mile marker, my Garmin would show .20 over that. I’m not sure if the race coordinators noticed this, but I feel like I ran more (distance-wise, as in more than 13.1) than I intended to in this race.


Miles 7-11 wound up and around Rock Creek Park, which was nice, especially for the shady areas. Once I rounded the corner to descend a small hill near mile 9, the sun was making itself known. The heat rose rapidly and I started slowing down a little. I had also been fighting side stitches for the duration of the race, as well, so that didn’t help at all.

Rounding around the Arlington Memorial Bridge (and getting the perfect opportunity to do a flying jump at the camera), the final water stop was at mile 12 (with “The Final Countdown” playing).

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During that last mile, I ran into Jenny and Topher (short for Christopher), whom I had run into during the Rock Creek Park section. With Jenny’s encouragement, we all made a strong effort to run to the finish line together.

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Half marathon #6 conquered! (Chip time: 3:10:49….Garmin time: 3:10:54)img_0461-1


Christina’s Post-Race Thoughts:

  1. Splits: I have NO idea why the only splits we received were at the 4 mile and 10 mile markers. Traditionally, you receive them every 5K, plus halfway. I’m aggravated by this, as I feel like I cannot assess my performance accurately, except from what my Garmin could tell me:
  2. Lack of on-course support: Usually during military-based races, the service men and women are out in full force cheering and encouraging runners on. Today’s race was not the case. Even the spectators were few and far between. Not sure if it had to do with the fact that NAFHALF has less pomp and circumstance than its sister race, the Marine Corps Marathon (or even the Army Ten-Miler), or what, but the course was unusually quiet.
  3. I do give props for the conservative pacing. Half marathon runners had to reach mile 9 by 9:45 AM to prevent from getting swept. That’s hovering around a 16/mpm pace.
  4. Being near the back of the field is not the end of the world. I hover around there for breeze appreciation and knowing I won’t have to be elbowing people while maneuvering for position. Plus, I can fart and no one pays attention.
  5. Driving back home (aka driving through DC traffic) after a race totally blows. I wish the Metro was not under Safe Track at the moment.
  6. After analyzing my past half marathon performances, I have determined that I perform the best in cloudy, overcast conditions.
  7. Posting live Facebook videos on the course was a ton of fun and kept my mind off of my distressed obliques.
  8. If you gotta pee in the men’s bathroom because the women’s room is closed, do it. No one cares.
  9. Today’s race is my third fastest half marathon. Still striving for the sub 3-hour goal, though.

Congrats to everyone else who ran today/this weekend!

Next up: Everglades Half Marathon.

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Brace Yourselves…Fall Race Season Is Coming.

It’s just about that time of year again: the air begins to cool (unless you’re up here in D.C. and you’re still sweltering in 90+ degree weather), kids are going back to school, the leaves begin to turn, and pumpkin spice begins to dominate the shelves.

Oh yes, one more thing…

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IT’S TIME FOR RACING SEASON!!!

I don’t know about you all, but the relentless sunshine and humidity has wreaked havoc on my initial training plans for this summer. Some days were definitely better than others, and I relished the cool, cloudy days. (I found myself ironically doing my longest mileage on the hottest days with the worst humidity. Ha.) Just like back-to-school season has a sense of newness with an aura of new beginnings and a clean slate, I consider September the start of the new racing season; this past weekend was the Disneyland Half/Dumbo Double Dare weekend, along with Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach. From there, a whole slew of races and their shiny bling will be dominating our social media feeds until probably…mid-April-ish, after the Boston and London Marathons?

I’m rather excited to get started on my journey. I feel more like a legitimate runner with the lineup of races that I have on the horizon. I also got a terrific steal on a Planet Fitness membership…$99 for an entire year! You seriously can’t beat that! 🙂

I kickstarted this upcoming lineup of races back in August with the virtual National Park Series 100th Birthday race/#NPS100VRC. Props to the Virtual Running Club for heading it up! There were three options and I chose to run the 5K. My time may seem super slow…but I did have a lot of speed bursts throughout my time on the treadmill, and that I really can run up to 8 mph.

I am very much looking forward to getting this 3D ranger hat medal!

 

My IRL running schedule will be the busiest it’s ever been. Here’s the current rundown for the next six months, with possible additions along the way:


September 18th: Navy/Air Force Half Marathon (#NAFHALF)

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Running through the nation’s capital has always been a treat; there’s so many things to look at, you definitely won’t get bored on the course! I’ve been looking forward to the NAFHALF since I signed up for it way back when. The course map eerily reflects the Marine Corps Marathon route, so 95% of the terrain will be insanely familiar. I feel like this will give me a decent advantage. The projected weather, however, is calling for scattered storms and a high of 82 degrees. I really hope the heat and humidity hold off until after we’re done.

I’m still chasing my first sub-3:00 half marathon (current PR: 3:06:48 from PHM ’14), and am hoping to use this race as a POT update for Goofy Challenge weekend in January.


November 19th: Inaugural Everglades Half Marathon (#EvergladesHalf)

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Chris and I have a goal to complete each of the Vacation Races, which take place at National Parks. There are currently nine, and we decided to get a jump start on completing our mission by signing up for the Everglades Half! This will be Chris’s first half marathon; I’ll be playing pacer while he plays tour guide. (He’s a Floridian with extensive knowledge of the flora, fauna, and all things National Parks related.)


January 7th and 8th: Goofy Challenge (WDW Half Marathon and WDW Marathon)

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I told myself in the beginning of the year that I would be kicking my fitness up a notch, and what better way to do so than to train for one of the toughest runDisney challenges? For those that are unfamiliar with Goofy, it is 39.3 miles over two days. 2017 will be special, in which the half marathon will be the 20th anniversary edition (bring on the special bling!). I originally wanted to sign up for the half solely, but something inside of me said, “Go Goofy!” After having such a blast at the WDW Marathon this year, I decided to give it another go around. Plus, Chris and I will also be running the WDW Half together! (We’re going to focus on the half as a legitimate time race.)

A word to the wise: 39.3 miles is definitely not something to screw around with. I’ll be following Hal Higdon’s Dopey Challenge training plan, and it just so conveniently begins for me on September 12.  The first long run of that week is…a half marathon (aka NAFHALF)! How perfect!


February 22nd and 23rd: Glass Slipper Challenge (Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon)

Fifth PHM, fourth GSC, and a potential Belle theme. As much as I wanted to say no to this challenge this year for a variety of reasons, the thought of being so close to legacy status excites me. The development of my PHM Survival Guide last year gave me a closer attachment to this race weekend as I connected with so many runners over the topics covered.  I definitely want to come back and have a better performance in 2017; major stomach issues kept me from achieving my A-goal PRs in 2016.

(And no, Chris is not running this one with me. Haha.)


March 11th: Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon

RnR D.C. was my first ever race in this series, and trust me, I fell in love with it. Not only was it my first 5K ever (and first time being a pacer!), but it was also my first race expo volunteer experience.  Rock ‘n’ Roll really knows how to put on a great performance. I truly look forward to completing more of their events and eventually going for Hall of Fame status, probably in 2018.

Speaking of pacing, this will be Chris’s first FULL marathon! It’ll be my job to make sure we don’t die on the course; the course cutoff is at 5 hours and 30 minutes, or a 12:35/mile. (Rather quick for an RnR marathon, but D.C. has strict road close/open times.) If all goes well, we will also be running the Marine Corps Marathon later in 2017.


The only race that I have a TBD on at the moment is the London Marathon. I put my name into the Goblet of Fire…errrr, the race lottery, way back in May. I’ll find out in October if I get to begin my World Marathon Majors journey!


By looking at this list, you may think that I’m way over my head. A 10K, four half marathons, and two (possibly three) fulls in six to seven months?

Like most runners, I’m crazy.

But you know what else? It’ll also make me accountable for my training and nutrition. If I am to come out on top and be successful, I have to be more diligent, dedicated, and disciplined. After all…

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What is on tap for your fall/winter racing season? Any specific goals that you’re trying to achieve?  Will I be seeing you at any of these races?

 

See you at the finish line!

*~*Christina*~*

runDisney: The Beginning of Improvement?

Seems like it’s been a big week for runDisney!

First, the Castle to Chateau medals were revealed. So. Freakin’. Adorable! I adore the colors and the designs. (I’m a huge fan of the Remy medal!)

Yesterday, runDisney debuted new 5K medals. Many runners have complained about the lack of “medal-ness”, for lack of a better term, from previous races. (For those just jumping on the runDisney bandwagon, they were rubber medallions.) Material-wise, it’s an incredible upgrade. Design-wise, however, they’re a bit lackluster. I can hardly distinguish WHAT is happening on the medal because there is little to no color contrast. The lanyards look super sweet, though!

Also, runDisney is shifting towards digital event guides. I’m at a crossroads with this. While they’re doing their part for the whole “Going Green” movement, I personally like to have something in my hands to flip through and reference at a moment’s notice.

Now that it seems like runDisney is actually starting to listen to the complaints of the consumers and are slowly, yet surely, acting on them, I am curious to see what other changes are coming our way. Personally, I’m hoping for changes in the following areas:

  1. Quality vs. quantity with regard to runner perks.
  2. Race-day transportation fluidity for those on-site.
  3. Providing a map of character stops for those racing solely for pictures.
  4. Bringing back the oldie-but-goodie runDisney aspects, such as the night races and better perks for Wine and Dine after-party in EPCOT.

 

Any other thoughts from the peanut gallery on these recent changes?

Turn Of Events…

PHM 2017 II

Without going into too much detail, I’ve decided to reverse my decision from my previous blog post. I will be pursuing my fourth Glass Slipper Challenge and fifth Princess Half Marathon!

PHM 2017

Will I be seeing you in February?!

 

 

There’s a First Time For Everything

Ladies and gents…I’m heading back to Washington D.C.!

(…not like I wasn’t just there in December or anything…)

It seems like every time I turn around, I’m in the nation’s capital for some reason or another. Yes, I will be running a race. No, I haven’t landed a job there. Not yet, anyway.

So, what’s the race, runDisneyBelle?

I’m so glad you asked…

 

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Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C.! I will be running the 5K on Saturday morning! It is also the fifth-year anniversary of the RnR D.C. race!


 

I’m elated about this coming weekend because it will check off many “Runner Firsts” for me, including…

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–Running a 5K. (Yep. FINALLY running 3.1 miles as a race and not as an addition to other mileage en route to finishing another distance! And since this my first 5K, I get a PR! Woohoo! And the medal is SO stinkin’ adorable.)

–Running my first race in the RnR series. (I haven’t raced much in the years I’ve been running, yet when I do, I’ve done the runDisney/MCM races. Time to branch off into other series, and it looks like a TON of fun from all the pictures. This year’s bling is super cute, too!)

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–Volunteering/being on the Race Crew (I’ll be at the expo on Friday from 9-7:30 in some capacity or other. I’ll update the socials when I know!) 428448_441581312600190_149554978_n

–Pacing a fellow Kappa Kappa Psi brother/running friend to the finish! (You may remember Lauren from my 2015 Almost-MCM recap. She paced me twice along the course and even met me at the finish in Rosslyn when I got off the bus. Hugs all around. She’s amazing.)

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In addition to all the firsts, there are other things about RnR D.C. weekend that I’m looking forward to:

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–We Run Social will be at the expo on Friday for a meetup! Granted, I’ll be Race Crew-ing somewhere, but knowing that they’re there is a fabulous feeling.

–Reconnecting with some of my favorite vendors; Sparkle Athletic and SparklySoul being two of them!

–The potential to run into fellow runner buddies as they traverse the expo. (As you can tell, the potential social aspect of the weekend is raging right now.)

–Washington D.C., in general. Not only does my amazing cousin, Adriane, and her husband, Robert, live here, there is something about this city that just draws me in (besides its ability to draw runners in with its multitude of events). I had contemplated moving here right after graduation in 2015…then life happened. (As always.) But I am highly reconsidering going hardcore on applying to places. Suggestions/leads are always welcome!

I will also be spending four days with my KKPsi Big Brother, Chris, sightseeing and touring and running around the city with. I have yet to formally introduce him on the blog yet, but I will! He’s super cool and adopted me as his Little Brother. (Charter Members don’t get big brothers; we are our own big brother, essentially.) He adopted me right after WDW Marathon weekend and we’ve been super close ever since. Due to said coolness, he deserves a highlighted post or five. I also got him into running, and he’ll be running the Star Wars Dark Side 10K as his first runDisney [and 10K!] race! He’ll be meeting Lauren and I at the finisher’s area (and this will also be the first time I’ll have someone actually waiting for me at the end of a race!).

Speaking of sightseeing…

(photo cred: americaslibrary.gov and washington.org)

CHERRY BLOSSOMS. Holy crap, people. How about this amazing warm weather we’re having right now in the Northeast?! The National Mall Park Service originally announced on March 2nd that the CB peak was to occur March 31-April 3.

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Yeah, no. That isn’t happening now.

It has now been bumped up!img_3295

Peak Week is now projected for March 18-23!  If I’m playing my cards right, I’ll be able to get some halfway decent pictures this coming weekend of everything just about to peak.

The Cherry Blossom Festival will still take place March 20-April 17 in Washington D.C. (Head over to http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/) for information about this annual tradition!


 

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Will I be seeing you in a few days at Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Weekend?!