2018 Enchanted 10K Recap

Saturday. 2 AM.

The mornings come early and miles even moreso. With the I-4 expansion project, the exit closest to where I’m at in Orlando is shut down at night. I had to leave earlier than expected to take a different route. No biggie, I still arrived obnoxiously early around 3:30 AM.

After many minutes of chilling, I headed into the runner’s village. I LOVE the fact that the 10K has such a smaller field than the half. I can move around and breathe and not feel trapped.

My team, Team Shenanigans, trickled in and we met up near the A-F bag check where another member, Kenny, was volunteering.

We also snagged a picture with the lovely balloon ladies!

My Sparkly Soul sister, Caroline, and I also met up for a pre-race picture!

We headed to the corrals and I was pretty excited line up with Corral C.

I was hanging out when a woman came running up to me. She recognized me from Instagram, and I the same. It was Dana (@ladysoup4)! It was amazing to finally meet in person!

*insert pre race stuff*

*fireworks*

With the mini waves, corrals were sent on a fairly regular basis. In no time, we were sent on our way.

I had an A goal of sub-1:00. My first mile was a 10:34. Steady. I was also running with music, which I hadn’t done in years. I mean, who could not run to The Greatest Showman?

Then I hit the hairpin turn by mile 1.5 and hit a wall of people.

I kept up the speedwalking and got a quick run break after mile 2. From 2-3, I had some open road where I’d run a distance, have a walk break, rinse and repeat.

Then those walk breaks became more frequent as the wall of runners got heavier heading into World Showcase.

Who can resist a runDisney World Showcase picture? Not I!

I slowed down and started to enjoy the scenery a little more. Country representatives were cheering and waving flags. The sun was slowly peaking. Torches were lit and the countries had that pink glow to them.

The Enchanted 10K soon became the Wildlife 10K when I descended the hill into Boardwalk. To my right, I saw a small pile of ducks that looked like they wanted to cross. I ran over clamoring, “Oh my goodness you’re so cuuuute!”, took a pic, and with the help of another runner, started ushering them across the roadway while calling out, “Ducky crossing!”

Now that my heart was full of fuzzies, I continued on.

Found some more Shenanigators!

And some funny signs:

The sun was about to rise as I entered Yacht Club, which, in my opinion, is the best part of the whole weekend.

Right ahead of me at Yacht Club, this beautiful Great Egret was chilling on the ropes. Perfect photo opportunity!

Best on-course picture I’ve ever taken. My slow pace was absolutely worth it for this postcard-worthy shot!

And then it flew away. Ha.

The rest of this section was picturesque as it has been the last four times I’ve run it.

Reentering back to World Showcase, I had to use the loo for the first time all race. There was an area by the Port of Entry so I ducked in.

Men’s room, of course 😛 When there’s no one in there, you take advantage of that!

EPCOT in all its beauty:

My time ended up being a 1:35:04. WAY off from my time goal, but with the scenery and pictures I got, it was worth it.

AND HOW ABOUT THIS MEDAL?!

Fifth Enchanted 10K complete, and, of course, I brought my other babies with me for a Perfect picture!

One down, one to go. Next up: 2018 Princess Half Marathon!

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Perfect Challenger Status Earned!

Five years. Ten races. Fifteen medals.

What. A. Journey. 🖤❤️

Race recaps coming shortly! Congrats to everyone who participated in the 2018 Princess Half Marathon weekend!!

Let’s Talk: Cone Alley

We’re two weeks from Princess Half 2018 weekend, and a hot topic among veterans and rookies alike is how to navigate the dreaded Cone Alleys that sprinkle the course.

First, let’s locate these on the map:

Mile 4-ish: This one of the biggest elevation changes in the race, and it is just past the TTC parking lot. You will descend and then ascend as you go under a bridge. Upon ascension, you will run parallel to Contemporary Resort and head toward Space Mountain.

Study these pictures for a moment. Not only do you have one half of a road to run on, and cars WILL be on the other side, so don’t think about jumping the cones, but you have a sidewalk on your left. Don’t be so caught up in taking pictures that you trip and fall. Many runners eat concrete here, so mind your footing and if you need to walk, stay to the right. You’re gonna be pushing to make it up the hill, so focus on making it.

Second area is just after the 6.8 halfway mark behind Magic Kingdom. This is the worst of the two Alleys:

Cones go on for at least a mile and a half or more. You will run with Grand Floridian on your left and the golf courses on your right. You’ll have shade at least for a little bit until the sun peaks and then you’re roasting.

When runners turn the corner and see these, their mental state immediately goes down the toilet. You don’t have much room to move, and the grass on the sloping hills to the left of the road will still be wet. Don’t run in this unless you want wet shoes! This will end around 8.something, near the Jelly Belly station and the road opens up again.


Navigating Cone Alley takes patience, and a whole hell of a lot of it. Pace groups will be run/walking, friends will hog the road seven-deep, and all forms of etiquette go out the door, along with your pace. Don’t be surprised if you add 5+ minutes a mile in this section.

Do your best to run single file in this section. Share the road with other runners. People tend to get nasty and cranky, so don’t let them deter your mood. Play some happy music and think good thoughts.

If you are grooving and come up to a wall of people, do not be afraid to loudly say, “Excuse me, runner coming through!” and break that wall. They’ll be pissy for two seconds, but let it go; it’s your race, not their’s.

Don’t even think about jumping those cones. That empty lane is reserved for emergency vehicles and other traffic. You risk getting hit, or taken out of the race by officials if caught. Orlando Police line these alleys and keep an eye out for jumpers. Don’t get arrested.


Any other advice for navigating Cone Alley?! Sound off in the comments!

Hello, February

Little late on my traditional start-of-the-month salutations, but here we are! The second month of 2018 is in full swing. Anyone else feel like January is just a fluke and doesn’t count?

Florida has been treating me well aside from the wild weather mood swings. One day it’s 75 and sunny, the next is 30 and freezing. (Yes, it does get that cold!) I just received additional training at my job so now I get more responsibilities. Chris and I just passed our one year in January (even though it feels like we’ve been dating forever!)

Let’s get y’all caught up on my current adventures…

-We are about three weeks away from Princess Half weekend, and this will be my sixth appearance!

It’s incredible to think this will be my five-year runnerversary, and it all started with this race. While PHM has its place in my heart, I believe my time with the runDisney race series is fading, and I know I’m not the only runner who thinks the same. I do have my goals for these races, and I’m hoping by achieving them, it will catapult me into Cherry Blossom and Berlin training.

There will also be a We Run Social meetup at Disney Springs! If I’m not working, I’ll definitely be there!

Corrals and waivers have also been released, and I will be in Corral E this year for the half. (The 10K is TBD, but I will guess Corral C for shits and giggles). I’m super pumped because this is the highest corral I’ve ever been in for a runDisney event; I submitted a 1:12 10K POT, which would have me projected around a 2:33 half. The course has not changed, sand for the MK entrance through the front, so I’m feeling calm and collected thinking about everything.

If you have questions about Princess weekend, let me know! (Rookies, I’m looking at you!) I’m still debating if I want to do a v-log of the Princess Half Survival Guide, or just a post-video of your questions! 💖✨🎀

EPCOT Festival of the Arts

If you’re in the mood for good food, drinks, and pretty artwork, be sure to swing by EPCOT! The FotA is running for the next two weeks until February 19th!

-Celebration of Harry Potter

Witches and wizards everywhere flocked to Universal to celebrate the magic of Harry Potter at the end of January. There were so many sights and sounds between expos, interactive displays, actor/actress Q&As, demonstrations, etc. that it was hard to keep up! I did explore most of the things when I wasn’t caught up working.

My friends Megan and Gina joined me on the last day for some shenanigans!

Happy National Coffee Day!

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For coffee fanatics and lovers everywhere, it is National Coffee Day!

Call me basic, but I love taking artsy fartsy pictures of coffee. I’ve collected my favorite pictures from over the years for today’s compliation post. Mugs, latte art, quotes…I’ve got it all here. Enjoy, and Happy Friday!

{Affiliate links are also below for some of my favorites!}

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Camera lens tumbler here!

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Get your peace of mind with this book!

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Interested in coffee history and fun facts? Coffee Nerd is the book for you!

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Mmm…donuts. Get this BigMouth Inc. donut mug to add to your collection!

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One of my favorite sightings from grad school. 

 

 

30th Birthday Disney Adventures!! đŸ’–âœ¨đŸŽ€

June 19th was The Day.

I turned thirty. The big 3-0.

And I was going to Disney World. WOOHOO!

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The plan was to do Animal Kingdom first (because Avatar-Land), then hop over to EPCOT. We didn’t make it quite in time for rope drop, and I had issues getting my printed ticket to scan and converted to a normal ticket, but eventually everything got situated. AND I got a Disney birthday button at guest services! Woot!

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Chris and I headed over to Pandora first and jumped in the FP line for Na’vi River Journey. The standby line was at 40 minutes, but we were in and out in ten minutes. While the ride was gorgeous, it was waaaaay too short. Honestly, if you’re waiting in standby and that wait time is over twenty minutes, it’s really not worth the wait.

We had some time to kill before our Everest FPs, so we hit up the Satu’li Canteen for breakfast! Their menu focuses on American cuisine, and I settled on the cinnamon French toast and some coffee. Oh my goodness…absolutely delicious. And there was hardly anyone in the restaurant! I HIGHLY recommend going for breakfast if you get the chance.

Once happily full of food, we hopped on Expedition Everest (and reconfirmed my hatred for roller coasters). Happy to say we didn’t spew on the ride 😛

Since this was my second legitimate time in AK (first visit being in 2010), and I wasn’t running a marathon, we took our time walking around and exploring…and, of course, taking pictures of the Tree of Life carvings.

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We were also keeping an eye on the wait time for Flight of Passage (which was at 180 minutes and fluctuating because of something or other going down). Chris and I have a pact that unless a ride time is quoted at less than 120 minutes, we won’t stand in line. To kill some more time, we headed to Festival of the Lion King (my first viewing!). The line was extraordinary, and we were one of the lucky last 35 that snuck in for standing room.

After Festival, we headed to FOP, which had gone down to a 115 minute wait. I had been apprehensive about potentially spending so much time waiting, but we entered the queue at 12:00 on the nose, and found ourselves going through the pre-ride sections at a blazing speed. (I think the notification of the ride going down deterred a lot of people from sticking around.) Once inside, we were surrounded by bioluminescent beauty:

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Then we got to the lab attraction in the queue, where the actual avatar is located:

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At one point, the cast members came on the speakers and reminded everyone to, “Please fill in the available space to keep the wait times down.” It was THIS ROOM that we observed people just standing around taking pictures and not moving. There was a massive gap between the small section of people near us and the rest of the line. I’m not sure if families were planning their reunion pictures in this room or what, but for the sake of sanity and respect to the other hundred people behind you, quit holding up the line with your paparazzi tendencies.

The ride itself: fantastic. It’s like Soarin’, but you’re on the back of an individual banshee. (It’s like riding a motorcycle, honestly.) If you have a fear of heights…well, there’s a lot of height-related things on this attraction. Tip: look straight ahead and not straight down. It won’t be as scary.

Time entering the queue: 12:00 PM. Time done with the ride: 1:07 PM. Total time = 67 minutes. Win.

I definitely had to get a new Disney mug to commemorate the weekend, and I settled on the Floating Mountains mug. This is definitely the most creative and intricate mug in my collection!

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We headed back to the Satu’li Canteen for lunch. Couldn’t resist! My lunch ended up being dessert:

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Blueberry cream cheese mousse.

Also, on your birthday, you get a birthday cupcake!

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Birthday cupcakes FTW.

It was a tad more crowded for lunch, but we still found seats inside. This was another win, as it had started pouring outside (and we didn’t have proper rain gear). We monitored the radar and enjoyed our food as the heaviest rain subsided. Then we took off for the parking lot for the second half of our adventures in EPCOT!

Along the way, we passed under a bridge, and the musicians started an improvised version of “Happy Birthday” for me. Normally I’d be scared shitless by being serenaded to, because I don’t like attention and I hate the song with a burning passion, but I rolled with it and it was a lovely time had by all.


EPCOT

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By the time we got to EPCOT, it alternating between drizzling and raining. We camped out in the parking lot for a bit to dry off from AK and to determine what we were going to do. Chris somehow, some way, scored FPs for Frozen. We planned our first three hours around that, starting with a visit to Club Cool.

Did you know you get a free slushy on your birthday?!

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We hit up Soarin’, Living with the Land, and the Pixar Shorts before heading to World Showcase. We spent a bit of time in China exploring; there is an exhibit about Shanghai Disneyland that caught our attention, and now we want to go!

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We doubled back to Mexico and had dinner…

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We started traversing the rest of World Showcase and got as far as Italy before it was time to turn around again and head to Norway for Frozen! En route, we got notice that the ride broke down and it stayed broken for the rest of the night. Bummer.

We made up for it by heading to Spaceship Earth (a classic!), and our running friend, Ian, showed up to EPCOT! That was a nice birthday surprise! We went back through World Showcase in the opposite direction (to grace the other lonely countries with our presence, haha), and stopped in Italy for gelato before Illuminations!

I had missed out on Illuminations the last couple of times I’ve been to EPCOT, and I wasn’t about to miss it again. We camped out by Norway (torch 3 is a great viewing spot) and watched the show:

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We agreed that the speedboats need a feature. Maybe an illuminated “Thanks for Watching Reflections of Earth” banner as they speed around the lagoon?

It was a fantastic way to kick off my next decade. Here’s to another thousand circles ’round the sun, and many shenanigans to come.

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30th Birthday Preview!

Hi, everyone! I’ve been off frolicking in the City Beautiful for the last few days celebrating the beginning of a new decade, and I have so much to share! 

Here is a quick photo preview for now, and more in-depth posts coming up!