Posts Tagged by disney sports

A Mad runDisney Meet Up Through Disneyland!

To say that my first trip out to Disneyland was magical is an understatement, but who knew it would be mad?!  Well runDisney did of course!  With the new Disneyland 10K theme focused around Alice in Wonderland, it was only fitting that the runDisney meet up theme would be centered around the film as well.

As with most runDisney meet ups, the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend meet up started at the crack of dawn.  Over 50 runners met under the Sorcerer’s Hat at the Disneyland Hotel bright and early to run our way through the parks, we must be mad to do that!

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runDisney BFF Amanda & I!

runDisney BFF Amanda & I!

We made our way over to Downtown Disney to get the low down on the run from Tony Morreale of Disney Sports and get some great tips on good form running from the folks at New Balance.

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04 RD-DL-Meetup-New-Balance

Let’s Make Excellence Happen  is the motto when it comes to running and New Balance, and they are dedicated to helping runners achieve their goals in a safe and healthy way.  We were given the four main goals of good form running, which are:

  • Posture
  • Mid-Foot
  • Cadence
  • Lean

They came up with a great mnemonic to remember this by: Party’s Make Cinderella Late…genius!  We walked through each goal and were encouraged to try to use these tips as we ran through the parks.  Easy for them to say…I knew I would be distracted by all the Disney goodness on our run 🙂  Luckily there is a video available to brush up on good form running while at home.

Then guess who interrupted our lesson??  The White Rabbit of course!  And as usual, he was LATE!  But what else were us Disney runners to do, but chase him??

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So we took off in pursuit of the White Rabbit and into Disneyland, but obviously I had to stop for a pic with Joey Fatone first…we did become BFFs at the WDW Marathon meet up after all 😉

Sarah-Joey-Fatone

Off we ran through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland Park.  Even though I had visited the park for the 2 days prior, there was something magical about being there at dawn.

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And then running down Main Street USA with Joey Fatone (totally surreal for this ‘Nsync fan) and through Sleeping Beauty Castle made it even more magical.

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As we entered Fantasyland, I noticed the group in front of me slowing down and wondered what was happening.  Then I saw Alice and was so excited for a fun photo op!

010 RD-DL-Meetup-Alice

What I wasn’t expected was that we were going to be able to ride the Mad Tea Party!!  As a Walt Disney World native, I must say I LOVE this version of the attraction.  It is out in open and the lanterns are so whimsical.  I often find it difficult to get someone to ride the tea cups with me in WDW because of all the spinning, so I was excited to get to experience this in Disneyland with no wait!

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09 RD-DL-Meetup-Sarah-Amanda

But what made the experience even better was riding with these folks:

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How many celebrities can you cram into a tea cup?

Yes, there is video…

I totally could’ve stayed on there all day, but we had to move on.  We ran through Tomorrowland and back down Main Street towards Disney California Adventure.  Do I look excited??

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We headed towards Cars Land, which was equally as beautiful in the early morning hours, and then on to Hollywood Land and what else but the Mad T Party area!

013 RD-DL-Meetup-Carsland

There we were greated once again by Alice who was now joined by the Mad Hatter.  I LOVE this character…he is always so fun to interact with 🙂

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We were welcomed by Bob Hitchcock of Disney Sports and treated to a continental breakfast and some much needed coffee.

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Bob Hitchcock

Then the highlight of the morning…something I totally was not expecting.  Bob and Faron Kelly of runDisney Marketing unveiled the new runDisney medals for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends!  O.M.G.  they are gorgeous!  I can’t wait to get that new Wine & Dine medal in 2 short months!!!

017 RD-DL-Meetup-MedalsTo say the group was excited is an understatement.  Bob and Faron fielded questions about upcoming events and any new races that runDisney has planned, but didn’t give up too much.  Faron just eluded that runDisney is “efforting” new races…does this mean a Disneyland Paris race is in our future??  We can only hope!

Once we all composed ourselves, it was was time to move on to some other fun presentations.  First was a sneak preview of the new ABC series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland starting this fall.  Apparently this is a blending together of Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin, where Alice falls in love with the Genie…interesting!  I’m a big fan the show Once Upon a Time, so this is right up my alley.  Check out the official trailer here:

Next up was Cindy Lynch, the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon 1st place women’s finisher.  I always find it fascinating to hear from elite runners like this because I will NEVER be in their league, but they always offer great advice on how to improve you training and race routines.  Some tips Cindy offered are:

  • Interval runs, tempo runs and long runs are the essentials for race training.
  • Don’t forget to take in the scenery!
  • Roctane is great for fuel while running.  She takes one every 30 minutes.
  • While negative splits are always a goal, even she struggles with them.  (I’m glad it’s not just me!)
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Cindy Lynch

Official runDisney Nutritionist, Tara Gidus, spoke next on how to properly fuel for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge and how recovery in between the races will be the key to our success.  She also went on to tell a funny story about how someone recently called her a buzzkill on the runDisney blog because she broke the myth that just because you’re training doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want.  So if you ever run into Tara at a race, make sure to tell her she’s a buzzkill 😉

Tara Gidus

Tara Gidus

My favorite running coach, Jeff Galloway, shared his story of how he began running.  Who knew that super skinny Olympian was once a fat, lazy teenager??  I never would’ve guessed it!  Well he was until he joined his cross country team at the age of 13 that he began running.  He did it because he wanted to be part of a team, which is how he feels about runDisney events.  We are all part of one big team, encouraging each other along the way.  That couldn’t be more true.

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Jeff Galloway & Bob Hitchcok

Ali Vincent, the first female winner of The Biggest Loser, and Sean Astin (Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings) continued with the motivational theme and their struggles with staying on track.  Ali finds motivation in races.  Once she is signed up for a race, it gives her that push to keep training even though she hates getting up in the morning.  She has even signed up for the Dopey Challenge in January!  Sean shared a wonderful story about running with his daughter and how the Galloway run/walk method helped to get her out there.  They have found what motivates them and stressed the importance of finding ours!

Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent

Sean Astin

Sean Astin

Joey Fatone, fresh off his VMA performace, finished the presentations by talking about his emotional journey completing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge over the 2013 WDW Marathon Weekend for his wife.  He also follows the Galloway run/walk method by doing a 1:1 ratio.  He even compared the excitement of finishing a race to the N’Sync reunion…interesting 🙂

Joey Fatone

Joey Fatone

No runDisney meet up would be complete without some great giveaways.  A few lucky attendees won the official runDisney New Balance sneakers, runDisney laptop cases, runDisney travel bags and even a race entry for the 2014 season!  Giveaway ALL the runDisney swag!

This was another fun and memorable event!  What a great way to get a completely different perspective on the parks as well as some very useful tips along the way.  It’s also a great way to meet your fellow runDisney enthusiasts…we’re all a bit mad in our own way 😉

Faith, Amanda & Myself

Faith, Amanda & Myself

Photo Courtesy of Disney Sports

Photo Courtesy of Disney Sports

Have you ever attended a runDisney Meet Up?  What speakers would you like to see there?

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this as media.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend runDisney Meet Up

The 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend certainly lived up to all expectations.  The entire resort seemed to be overtaken by runners…I have never seen so many in one place!!  To kick off the weekend, runDisney hosted one of their infamous meetups that I was lucky enough to be invited to.

I met up with Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run Disney bright and early and we walked over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the 6:30 am check-in.  This was the largest meetup runDisney to date with over 100 people in attendance.  It was great to see so many fellow runDisney fans, catch up with old friends and meet new ones!  We were all given white runDisney t-shirts upon arrival, which was a nice change from the usual black shirts.  Unfortunately, there were cotton and not tech shirts, which weren’t the best for that super humid morning.  But beggars can’t be choosers, I am happy with any runDisney shirt 🙂

Pre Meet Up

Mickey, Donald & Goofy were all there in their awesome track suits and as good Disney fans do, we all lined up to get our pictures taken.  I absolutely LOVE the Studios and it was great to get this photo op on an empty Hollywood Boulevard.

Me & the Big Cheese!

Me & the Big Cheese!

Goofy's Warming Up for the Run

Goofy’s Warming Up for the Run

We were greeted by Tony, Bob & Darrell from Disney Sports and given instructions on how the 2.5 mile run portion of the meetup was going to go.  There were 2 groups, one for strict runners and one for run/walk.  The runners were going to keep a 9-10 minute mile pace and Bob was leading the pack.  However, I heard it was more of an 8 minute mile!  The run/walkers were led by Jeff Galloway and they were doing 30 second intervals.

The runDisney Team

The runDisney Team

I had unfortunately been battling a nasty cold in the days leading up to the meet.  In fact, I had a fever of 100.2 just the day before!  In order to save myself for the marathon a few days later, I opted to not run that morning.  I was bummed to not get the experience of running through the Studios and meeting the characters, but my health had to come first.  Good news is I got some fun pics of the Galloway group starting off!

The Galloway Group

The Galloway Group

Look at some of the characters they encountered along the way!

Minnie still looks fancy in her running gear

Minnie still looks fancy in her running gear

High fives with Pluto!Photo Courtesy of runDisney

High fives with Pluto!
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Woody & Buzz!Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Woody & Buzz!
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

The second half of the meet was held at Lights, Motors, Action!  I walked over there with the rest of the runDisney staff and waited for the runners to arrive.  It was a pretty cool entrance.

Lights, Motors, Action!

Lights, Motors, Action!

Here comes Bob leading the runners

Here comes Bob leading the runners

Darrell, Heather & Jenn

Darrell, Heather & Jenn

Galloway Group

Galloway Group

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill truck was there to provide breakfast sandwiches for everyone.  They looked delicious, but sadly I couldn’t have one because they all had eggs.  Egg allergy fail!  🙁

ESPN Grill

We were once again welcomed by Bob Hitchcock and Tammy Jacobson of runDisney, but they were quickly interrupted by none other than Joey Fatone!  He made a grand entrance and came cruising in on the “director’s truck” from the show.  Joey was gearing up to run the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge in place of his wife who recently sustained an injury.  He answered many questions from the group and admitted to barely training and being very nervous about the weekend ahead.  He also said that N’Sync won’t be getting back together, which was a serious bummer 🙁

Joey Fatone & Bob Hitchcock

Joey Fatone & Bob Hitchcock

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Earlier in the week, runDisney announced a new partnership with New Balance making them their official running shoe.  Members of the New Balance team were on hand to give us an overview on what to look for in a proper running shoes and the different varieties they have to offer.  They also talked about what went into designing the new runDisney shoes that were available for a brief time at the Expo.

New Balance Demo

New Balance Demo

Since this was the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon, it was expected that there would be a few elite runners on hand.  The expo had some amazing speakers lined up for that afternoon and I was excited to see many of them at the meet up.  They offered some great tips for distance running and answered questions from the audience.  Bart Yasso admitted that his favorite race costume was when he dressed up like a penguin for the Marathon du Medoc in France where there are 23 wine stops along the way.  Now that’s my kind of marathon!

Next up was former NFL linebacker Eddie Mason.  He spoke about the importance of focusing on core strength to bring more balance to the body and how Cigna is leading this charge.  Core strength is something many runners overlook, but can be just as important as getting those long runs in.  He also talked about how you need to listen to your body and rest if needed.  You need to let your body heal in order to get stronger.  Great tips!

Eddie Cigna

Eddie Mason

Our final speaker was Drew Carey who was supposed to run in the full marathon, but is recovering from a broken clavicle…ouch!  He told stories about his experience at the Disneyland Half Marathon, what really goes on at the Price is Right (spending WAY too much time on this topic!) and also admitted to hating Sounds Dangerous, the show he stars in at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  They really need to get rid of that already!

Drew Carey

Drew Carey

Bob introduced one last special guest before the morning ended, Adriano Bastos.  Bastos is a seven time winner of the Walt Disney World Marathon and was going for his 8th win this year.  He adorned with numerous Disney tattoos and gets a new Mickey on his forearm for each race he has won.  Very cool!

Bastos

Adriano Bastos

Before we left for the day, the Fab 5 came back out and we were able to get more photos.  I just love their running outfits!  All of the elite runners and celebrities were also on hand for photos.  Joey Fatone obviously had the longest line 🙂

The Fab 5!!

The Fab 5!!

Me & Pluto!

Me & Pluto!

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Joey Fatone & I are BFF!
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Running Legends Bart Yasso & Dick Beardsley with lil ole me :)

Running Legends Bart Yasso & Dick Beardsley with lil ole me 🙂

runDisney always puts on great events and this certainly did not disappoint.  What a great way to kick off marathon weekend and get everyone excited for the big races ahead!

Who would you have been most excited to meet at the runDisney meet up?

 

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media.  My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.