Friday, January 31, 2014

Disneyland & California Adventure Park Recap

Previous posts from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend:
Expo Recap
Race Recap
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After the race on Sunday, Robert, Stacy, and I headed over to Disneyland Park. It was Robert’s first time ever to visit, and my first time since high school so we were so excited! There was no disappointment from the moment we entered the park – they had so many characters just walking around! We found Cruella De Vil and decided to take a photo with her; she played her part so incredibly well. She held us by our ‘leashes’ aka race medals for the picture.

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Just a moment after that Donald came walking towards us, and when he saw my race medal, he immediately challenged me to a race down Main Street (I ‘let him’ win – of course it had nothing to do with the fact that I had exhausted legs from running 13.1 miles earlier that morning, hehe)! It was by far one of the coolest things to ever happen to me at a Disney park.

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I had so much fun seeing all the differences between Disneyland and Disney World. I really enjoyed the New Orleans area they had; we ended up eating lunch at the French Market there. I had the jambalaya with corn bread – it was delicious! My favorite part about this park, though, was the Indiana Jones ride. I so wish they would build that ride at Disney World!

I also ran into Kim at Confessions of a Domestic Goddess! It was awesome finally getting to meet her in person!

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The next day (our last full day at Disney), we headed over to California Adventure. I loved this park. The first thing we did when we got there was get a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers (good thing too because fast passes were gone before lunch). We then ate breakfast in Car’s Land at Flo’s V8 Cafe, which was yummy!

We did so many rides throughout the day; my favorites were California Screamin’, Tower of Terror, and Radiator Springs Racers. Although the Disney World version of Tower of Terror is overall better, I REALLY like the element of surprise the Disneyland version had – the moment of the first drop took me completely by surprise! Also, the Aladdin stage show was fantastic; the Genie was hysterical and definitely the star of the show.

The Pacific Wharf and Paradise Pier areas were my favorite places to be here – we ate lunch in the wharf (I had broccoli cheese soup a sourdough bread bowl). The food in Disneyland & California Adventure was all delicious. I never felt as though I had disappointing ‘theme park’ food.

Enjoying a very well-deserved strawberry margarita!

I would also like to note that the Toy Story Mania ride here does NOT have fast passes which, I think, is a smart move. The line was 50 minutes compared to the one at Disney World, which is always around 90+ minutes (unless you can snag a fast pass there, which are always gone within a couple hours of park opening).

We got a picture with Max (Goofy’s son) from A Goofy Movie. How AWESOME is that?!

Later in the evening, we went to check out the Mad Tea Party, which is basically a huge, loud, outdoor, dance party complete with a live DJ and adult beverages that glow in the dark. It was kind of cool for about 5 minutes, but I am fairly certain that this is Disney’s attempt at appealing to those who just turned 21 years old!

For dinner we ate at Ariel’s Grotto, which served exquisite food. For $42 per adult, you get an appetizer, entree, and dessert plate. I had the butternut squash soup and Mahi-Mahi with rice and veggies (and the dessert sampler was a dream for my sweet tooth)! I also loved this restaurant because it is themed around The Little Mermaid, one of my favorite Disney classics! Eating there also gave us preferred viewing for World of Color that night too!

We ended the night watching The World of Color, an incredible water/light show. It really tugged on my heartstrings, though, with some of the movie scenes and music it incorporated! The show is right up there with Fantasmic, which is my absolute favorite show in the Disney parks. Our vacation could not have ended on a more amazing note, and my only complaint is that I wish we could have stayed longer! Only 279 days until our next Disney vacation, but who’s counting?!

QOTD: What are your favorite things about the Disneyland & California Adventure parks?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon: Race Recap

If you missed my Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo Recap, you can find it here.

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Two cell phone alarms, the hotel alarm clock, and my scheduled wake-up call from the front desk all went off at 3 AM on-the-dot Sunday morning. Although I was definitely still tired (and stuffed up), I rolled myself out of bed with relative ease – I think it was because my brain was still on Texas time, so really it felt like 5 AM for me. Robert and I both had laid out our race gear the night before, so we were quick to don our outfits, and as per usual for runDisney races, I put on a little bit of make-up. I can’t help but feel as though the make-up is that final touch to the costume!

We were out the door at 3:30 AM to meet up with Stacy in the hotel lobby, and then made the quick walk across the street to the pre-race area. I expected it to be much like the races at Disney World, with a DJ and massive dance party, but was slightly let down. There was a DJ, but runners were few and far between (which, on a good note, means there was never a line for the porta-potties), and very few partook in the dancing. We danced a little bit, but the atmosphere just wasn’t as jubilant as the Disney World pre-race parties. I didn’t know how crazy it would be, but knowing now, I probably would have just slept in a little longer and walked across the street closer to race start (which is what most people probably did). The corrals were literally right next to the bag check/pre-race area – I could have walked there from the hotel in 5 minutes or less – that is most definitely a Disneyland race perk!

Pre-race DJ

After doing some stretches and checking our bags, we went to our corrals. I lined up in the middle of corral A so I didn’t impede anyone who was actually racing for time, and proceeded to sit down and worry about if this race was going to be any fun. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly (my medicine hadn’t quite kicked-in yet for that morning), and that it would completely ruin the whole experience. I had about 30 minutes of these oh-so-lovely thoughts until the corral entertainment began to divert my attention. Once we were just a few minutes from starting, I noticed that my nose was clearing up and I was able to breathe much better. My spirits began to lift and my negative thoughts magically fluttered away! Before I knew it, Tinker Bell appeared on the big screen at the starting line, and in 3..2…1…we were off!

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The race began on a hill (which Robert said looked awesome from his corral – all of a sudden, he saw a huge wave of people just take off upwards), and it took about 1-1.5 miles to get to the first park. I ran through California Adventure first, and stopped for quite a few photo ops! It was my first time EVER to see Car’s land, and I must say, it was so cool getting to run through it lit-up, and with minimal crowding. They also had the World of Color fountains glowing, which was stunning!

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I then made my way through Disneyland Park, where there was character stop after character stop. As I made the turn down Main Street, I admired the beauty of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and then my ears perked up to the upbeat music from the film Peter Pan. The entire street was filled with chEar squad spectators, and of course, Tinker Bell was there! Soon after, I made my way around the beautifully lit ‘It’s a Small World’ ride, and found Merida! Once it was my turn to get a picture with her, she gasped and said “oh I love your hair! It’s like looking in a mirror!” – It was just fantastic.

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I love the three little bears from ‘Brave’ in the background with Merida!100_1002

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I loved how much time was spent running in the parks for this course; I don’t think we started out on the streets of Anaheim until mile 5 or 6 (don’t remember specifically). Once out of the parks, I wasn’t sure how the rest of the course would be, but as it turned out, it was amazing. If someone would have run this race solely for the spectator support, they would not be disappointed in the slightest. I loved that there were so many people, so many fantastic signs, cheerleaders, bands, dance groups, and even a hilarious lady in a bathrobe cheering to each of us with a glass of champagne in her hand! Around mile 9, I encountered “free candy from strangers” (Twizzlers and orange slices). This was perfect for me as I always tend to crave orange juice during a run. My absolute favorite, though, was the Super Mario ‘power up’ sign towards the last couple miles!

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Throughout the last half of the race, I high-fived and waved to more people than I could ever count, heard endless amounts of cheers for Merida, and even had one girl shout out to me “Merida! Change your fate!” So I shouted back to them “I already have!” – They must have loved it because they cheered even louder after that! My nose never bothered me too much, and I don’t think I stopped smiling during the entire race.

I crossed the finish line earned my wings with a chip time of 2:43:56, and proceeded to get my medal, PowerAde, water, banana, and box of snacks. They also gave out runDisney Mylar blankets, which was really nice since it was a bit chilly that morning. I sat down and took off my Merida wig immediately – it didn’t bother me too much during the race other than warm my face up a bit more than normal, but I doubt I’ll ever run in a wig again. I ate/drank/called my family/social media’d, and just generally enjoyed the temporary down-time until I saw Robert and Stacy.

Once we all met up, we took a few pictures and admired our absolutely adorable medals (complete with a spinning Tinker Bell in the middle), then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the day. After all, we had some park exploring to do – who doesn’t want to walk all day long after running 13.1 miles?!

QOTD: What is your favorite part about a Disney race?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Registration

Today, January 28th, at noon EST, registration officially opens for the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon weekend events. These races will be taking place August 29-31, 2014 (Labor Day weekend).

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There is a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge (when you do the 10K and the half marathon in the same weekend). Last year these races sold out in just over 24 hours, so if you are even considering running any of these races, sign up as soon as possible! Last year was the inaugural year for the Dumbo Double Dare, so it is possible that it may not sell out as quickly, but I really would not risk it. Disneyland races are popular, and not usually as large as the races at Walt Disney World.

Click HERE for the Disneyland Half Marathon official page.
Click
HERE for the runDisney email sign-up & notification page.

Entry Fees & Deadline Information

Disneyland Half Marathon
$195 by February 18, 2014
$210 between February 19 and March 11, 2014
$225 on or after March 12, 2014

Disneyland 10K
$105 by February 18, 2014
$120 between February 19 and March 11, 2014
$135 on or after March 12, 2014

Dumbo Double Dare
$320 by February 18, 2014
$345 between February 19 and March 11, 2014
$370 on or after March 12, 2014

Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K
$70 by June 24, 2014
$80 on or after June 25, 2014

runDisney Kids Races
$20 by June 24, 2014
$25 on or after June 25, 2014

Pasta in the Park Party
    With a Theme Park Ticket
$135.00 for Adults (ages 10 and up)*
$115.00 for Children (ages 3-9)*
   
Without a Theme Park Ticket
$89.00 for Adults (ages 10 and up)*
$69 .00 for Children (ages 3-9)*
*A theme park ticket is required to enter this party.

ChEAR Squad (Half Marathon Only)
Bronze – No Charge per package
Silver – $45 per package
Gold – $49 per package
Platinum – $99 per package

Proof of Time

“If you believe you will finish the Half Marathon in less than 3:15 hours, proof of time is required for start corral placement. Proof of time must be provided from a certified race, 10K or longer, reflecting results after August 1, 2012.” – Official runDisney Page

A valid proof of time provided at the time of registration must include the following:

  • Name of Race, Date, & Distance
  • City, State
  • Finish time

If you do not have a proof of time to submit, list "N/A" at the point of registration. You MUST have a proof of time submitted by June 1, 2014, or you will be put in the last race corral.

Submit all Proof of Times to: disneysports@trackshack.com.

**IMPORTANT**: You cannot bring proof of time to the Race Expo to change your start corral anymore.

Last year’s race medals!

QOTD: Are you registering for any of the races at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekly Recap x2 1/13/14 – 1/26/14

Marathon Training Countdown – 13 Weeks Down, 5 Weeks to Go!

Since I missed last Monday’s weekly recap, today’s post will be over the last couple weeks of training. The Woodlands Marathon is getting so close, y’all. I only have two more long runs before my taper time begins.

The week before last was pretty uneventful, minus the fact that I was sick. Like, stay-at-home-from-work sick for one of the days. You can imagine that I was extremely unhappy about this seeing as the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was merely a few days away from that time. Luckily, the very worst of it was over by the time I arrived in California, but I still had a horribly stuffy nose which made it harder to breathe. It certainly didn’t impede on my fun time though – I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the expo, race, and parks! I will have my race recap on here Wednesday, and park time recap on Friday!

Race Sneak Peek! I LOVE the Tink medal.

This past week was definitely better when it came to running. Although my nose isn’t 100% un-stuffed yet, once I got back to Houston it got SO much better. Tuesday was our travel day from California, and by Wednesday my legs already felt ready for a run surprisingly (even after all the park time at Disneyland)!

So all training went as planned, and Saturday’s long run was great. I ran 17 miles with one of my Team RWB friends, and during the last 4 miles, he ran with the American Flag! I wish I had gotten a picture before we left the park, but I was hungry and just wanted to go get some food (runner problems much?!). It was so motivating and inspiring, though. We had one man salute us, a couple of guys gave us a “hoo rah!”, lots of honks, cheers, and waves. I tell you this, I’ve never ended a long run with that much excitement, and 17 miles is the longest I’ve ever ran at this point in my life!

Saturday’s Long Run Stats:image

Based on this Runner’s World finish time calculator, and the assumption that I can maintain this pace at my full marathon in a few weeks, my estimated finish time is 4:31:42! How cool is that?! I’m certainly not assuming this is the end all be all of how my race will go; there is too much that could happen on race day. But it is still awesome that based on my longest run so far, this is my estimated marathon time, especially when I just want to finish in under 5 hours!

My workouts the past 2 weeks:

Monday 1/13: 5 X (1200 meters fast pace + 400 meters walk)
      
1200 meters pace = 8:30 min/mile
       400 meters pace = comfortable walk

Tuesday 1/14: Yoga
Wednesday 1/15: 6 Mile Easy Run Sick
Thursday 1/16: 5 Mile Easy Run Sick
Friday 1/17: Travel Day/Tinker Bell Half Expo
Saturday 1/18: Walked around Downtown Disney/Stretching & Foam Rolling
Sunday 1/19: Tinker Bell Half Marathon + Walked around Disneyland Park

Monday 1/20: Walked around California Adventure Park
Tuesday 1/21: Travel Day/Rest Day
Wednesday 1/22: 7 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:30 min/mile)
Thursday 1/23: 5 Mile Easy Run (Pace: 10:00 min/mile)
Friday 1/24: Rest Day/Stretching & Foam Rolling
Saturday 1/25: 17 Mile Long Run – Longest run to date!
Sunday 1/26: Rest Day/Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!

QOTD: Do you have a memorable training run that kept you inspired until you were finished?