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!

runDisney Tips and Tidbits

So, you want to run Disney. Congrats!

Many runners often start their journeys at one of the races that are offered at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, or Disneyland in California. No matter the location, there are some written and unwritten rules about navigating the landscape that should be established and researched prior to toeing the line. Some may seem obvious, others may be total news to you. Whether you’re running your first 5K or 25th marathon, these rules of the road from myself and other runDisney veterans will hopefully make your experience more enjoyable.

The 25th anniversary of Marathon weekend is coming up fast, and I posed the question to runDisney Twitter of what advice would you provide before racing. I have compiled my advice and that of others here in this post. This list is not all inclusive, as it would take months to compile an exhaustive document.

Take some of this with a grain of salt, as it may come off with a sarcastic tone. You’ve been informed.

Grab a snack and take notes…

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Christina’s List of runDisney Tidbits and Advice:

-The Expo can be nuts. Be prepared by printing out your waiver, signing it, and having proper ID before coming to your booth. It expedites the process. Printers are available on site if you need them.

-If you’re planning on heading to the parks at any point during the race weekend, be aware that it is still peak season. Holiday décor will be abundant and many schools may  still be on break. Get your Fastpasses and ADRs early, and be prepared for long wait times at favorite attractions. Bring a book, magazine, and a spare phone charger.

-Bear in mind that runners of all nationalities will be descending into FL. Some of them do not understand the concept of runner’s etiquette and personal space, and can come off as brash and rude. (It’s part of their culture.) Deal with them however you need to; just don’t go to jail. That’s a lot of registration money down the drain if you do so.

-If you get hurt in training, or and think pixie dust will get you through the race, you’re sadly mistaken. If you are injured, you are taking a huge risk by furthering said injury on the course. Listen to your body.

-Don’t gorge yourself on too much sugar-laden park food or alcohol before you race. A drink or a treat is fine. Save the bottle of wine and Kitchen Sinks for after.

-Be prepared for ANY kind of weather. 2017 saw a cold front move through during race weekend, causing various weather patterns (10K was rain, half was cancelled due to storms), leading into wind and freezy ice cold for the full. Florida, surprisingly, is more than sand and sun! At least there won’t be any hurricanes during this time.

-Wear sunscreen, no matter what the weather is. I underestimated the amount of sun on 2017 marathon day, despite the 35 degree temps and 15 mph winds, and ended up with a nice burn.

-Sleep is good for the soul, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing Goofy or Dopey. Don’t let FOMO keep you from achieving your rest. Trust me, you’re not missing much.

-For the love of crap, don’t wear your “I Did It” shirt WHILE ON THE RACE COURSE RACING THE DISTANCE ADVERTISED ON YOUR SHIRT. You will get so many side eyes, you’ll be running through a sea of eyeballs.

-Leave earlier than anticipated if you’re driving. I panic if I know I’m running late, and much prefer driving in early so I can avoid traffic chaos.

-Nothing new on race day. The ONLY exception is for those things which you have been training with. For example: socks. I prefer a fresh pair of Thorlos Experia socks on race morning; I have been using them for five years and they  fit the best right out of the package.

-To prevent foot chafing, slather them up with Vaseline before putting on your socks.

-You’ll be hanging out in the corrals a LOT longer than you may realize, especially if you’re in the back. Bring throwaway clothes and hand warmers because you will start to get cold.

-If you are a female and take gels before racing, stick one in your sports bra. It’ll be toasty warm and delicious by consumption time.

-Balloon ladies are not to be feared. They’re very encouraging and are on your side—they want you to finish!! They start after the LAST runner crosses the start line. Then the game is on.

-First couple miles are just mass hoards of runners jockeying for position. Bring your patience. Watch for those runners who are not educated in runner’s etiquette and suddenly stop in the middle of the road while doing intervals without signaling.

-More miles than not are on long, lonely stretches of highway.

-If you plan on social media-ing during a race, your photos, statuses, and tweets will take a LOT longer to upload because of the concentration of runners in one location trying to do the same thing.

-If you plan on listening to music during the race, don’t blare your tunes so loud that you can’t hear your surroundings.

-If you plan on taking pictures, put your phone into airplane mode to conserve battery.

-Ladies-it’s okay to pee in the men’s room. Just announce that a lady is coming in and do your business. Hint: no one cares.

-Cinderella castle truly is the wretched bottleneck that race veterans talk about. Everyone stops and slogs through because there are photopass photographers taking pictures just on the other side. Here’s a hint—keep running through, and if you really want a castle pic, come back post-race and do a medal shot.

-Speaking of post-race medal shots, there are more photographic places around WDW to this at. Cinderella Castle is okay, but get creative! No one like the same boring shot at the same place clogging their media feeds.

-Cone Alley(s) are worse than Cindy Castle. There are several on the marathon route, guarded and watched by local police. Do NOT try to run on the other side of these. You will get caught, possibly pulled from the course, possibly hit by another vehicle (as it IS reserved for emergency vehicles).

-Speaking of EMS vehicles, it is entirely possible that you will hear sirens and/or see lights at some point during the race. Stay alert of your surroundings and get the hell out of the way. If someone has dropped on the course, time is of the essence. If someone is engrossed in their headphones, get them out of the way.

-Mile 8-9 is by the Grand Flo, and you’ll be hit with a blast of sun, provided that the sun wants to make an appearance.

-Upon entering AK, there may be cute fuzzy animals to pet 🙂

-If you have the time to ride Expedition Everest (around mile 14) and aren’t motion sensitive to coasters, go nuts. It’ll add a little time, but worth it for the bragging rights later.

-Miles 15-22 of the marathon are long and stupid and boring.

-WWOS (16-19) is a 5K of dumbfuckery and disappointment. Majority of runners hate this winding loop of torture.

-Running through World Showcase is incredible. Torches are lit, spectators are aplenty…and if you get there after 11am, you will have access to purchase alcoholic goodness. Just make sure to bring a form of payment. Favorites include:

-Grey Goose Slushie from France
-Beer Flight from UK (and turkey legs)
-More beer from Germany (and jumbo pretzels)
-Margaritas from Mexico
-Possibly wine from China/France

-Reminder: course officials have the jurisdiction to sweep at ANY point in the race. Don’t think that once you hit DHS that you’re safe. There’s no such thing as a “safe point” in a runDisney race. They can pull at any time.


RunDisney Twitter’s Contributions:

Emily (@iRunForDisney): “Any good suggestions for spectator spots during the marathon? Some midway location people could go and then make it to the finish line in time to see the runner cross?”

“Hogwarts running club has a sign that says, ‘No, we aren’t in the wrong park?’ around Mile 4 for the half, I think!” -Lauren (@wvumello_out)
“The Animal Kingdom parking lot is a great midway spot, giving you an hour/couple of hours to get over to the end of the race, depending upon your runner’s speed.” -Eric (@ericasco)

“My fam always does Main Street, DAK and Epcot! They work harder than I do! LOL.”
“Plan your bathroom breaks, so you don’t have to use the portas!!”
-Ian (@BazTastic77)

“Cheering at the Magic Kingdom is just amazing. I was able to get there before the first runner came through and stayed all the way for the last. Then I headed to EPCOT and cheered with Team Margarita and then scooted to the finish line! A great day indeed!” -Kristen (@DisneyKrstn)

“@MissusSmith and the kid stood in the hub and then moved over to Liberty Sq. to catch us after we exited the castle.” -Chris (@DopeyRunr)

“The boardwalk by Jellyrolls is also a good (and not at all usually crowded) spot, and gives you enough time to get to the finish line after seeing your runner(s) there.” -Heather (@MissusSmith)

“Don’t try to PR!
Wear a costume!
Stop for photos!
Get there EARLY!” -@Team Shenanigans

“Riding Everest during the marathon is a MUST!”
“If you don’t like port o potties, look at the course to see what bathrooms you can use in each park.” -Jess (@loveWDW5)

“You can use the bathrooms in the parks. Nicer than a port-o-potty!” -Erin (@mulderist)

“Bring money/credit card/Magic Band to buy some food/drink on your way to the finish (or have a cheer squad help you w/purchase).”
“Don’t be afraid to go slightly off course to use bathrooms while waiting for characters in (the) park. Strangers are usually kind enough to hold your spot if you ask.” -Sarah (@essaysareayaitch)

“Hydrate, and don’t eat at Ohana the night before a race.” -Ryan (@rteetz)

“Don’t be a rude asshole? Like walking five across, stopping suddenly without warning, etc.? I feel like we can do better spreading the word.” -Elizabeth (@TrainWithBain)
“Also, some stretches where even two across can cause problems, as the route is about 2.8 people wide.” -Eric (@ericasco)

“Don’t be a jerk to other runners just because they are different than you (slower, walking, stopping for characters). Don’t walk (or run, people always put this on just walkers) more than 3 across so people can’t pass.” -Heather (@heatherw25)
“And be cognizant of whether there’s another group that is also two abreast right next to you, so that it doesn’t look like you are a group of 4 (or more) to others.” -Sarah (@essaysareayaitch)
“Yeah that’s a big issue where you get 12 people abreast on Osceola all walking the same pace even tho they’re not together – it’s still the same thing. Move over!” -Chris (@DopeyRunr)

“They give out chocolate at DHS for the marathon.”
“If you’re doing a challenge, get your legs in the pool after your races to help reduce inflammation.”
“Get a resort room near the lobby/elevator.”
“The toll booths going into the MK area are NOT bathrooms, even if it is dark in the early morning…Wait until the TTC/Tomorrowland depending on urgency.” -Eric (@ericasco)

“Whatever time you think you need to get up, get up half an hour earlier.” -Holly, Jolly Horizons (@horizons1983)

“Bring tissues in case {they’re} needed in the portapotty.” -Heather (@heatherw25)
“Wet ones in a baggie, often referred to as a sh*t kit.” -Chris (@DopeyRunr)


If you have anything to add to the running list, list it below!

30th Birthday Disney Adventures!! 💖✨🎀

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!