Posts Tagged by gluten free

Cinderella Royal Family 5K Race Recap

Sarah Norris is back for her fourth and final 5K recap of this runDisney race season.  It’s been great to follow her journey since October when she ran her first 5K ever and to see how much she’s improved.  What makes this recap even better is that she shared this race with her family…wait til you see how her brother joined in on the Princess fun!


I can hardly believe that this is my last race recap for the 2013-2014 runDisney season. Thanks again to Sarah for all of her words of encouragement and for letting me share my race experiences with you all. It’s been an exciting year, and I’m already signed up for races in the 2014-2015 runDisney race season.

The Princess Half Marathon Weekend was an extra special one for me, as my family members were also running the race. Both my brother & my stepdad were running the Cinderella Royal Family 5K with me, and it was exciting to share the race experience with them. It was even more exciting to see them dress up…more on that later!

Like the Family Fun Run 5K during Marathon Weekend in January, the Royal Family 5K race course was at Epcot (in fact, the same course). Running through Epcot is a really cool race experience and this one proved to be no different.


Before the race, we had to head to the Fit for a Princess Expo at the Jostens Center to pick up our race bibs and shirts. Packet pickup for the race was in the HP Field House, as it has been for most of the races I’ve participated in this year and really easy to find. I also did the race pick-up for my stepdad and that was the first time I’ve ever done that. Disney really makes it easy, and I got his bib faster than you can say “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!” I was nervous to see what race corral I was in because my number was a little higher, but I was thankful to see that I scored corral B.


Once we got our bibs, we headed to the expo, and I have to say, Disney really pulls all the stops out for this one! I loved the photo ops with the handsome footmen and the red carpet that lined the path to the expo. Fit for a princess was certainly a fitting name for this expo!


This expo was really busy and packed with great vendors. I have to say that I think this race expo might have been the busiest of any that I have attended this race season. Kinda crazy! We made sure to pick up our t-shirts first (which were my favorite of the season) and then look at the official runDisney race merchandise. I loved the tutus that you could purchase. I always make sure to visit a few of my favorite vendors: Sparkle Athletic and Sparkly Soul. A girl’s gotta have some bling when she runs! I had originally planned a Merida themed costume but not all of my gear arrived in time, so I went with a purple sparkly outfit and needed to pick up a purple sparkle skirt and purple sparkly headband.

If you visit the expo, definitely take your time to wander. There is so much to see and do at them. And make sure to also check out some of the seminars. You can hear some great tips on running and nutrition from some of the world’s top experts including Jeff Galloway.

Once we finished exploring the expo and getting all of our official gear, we took the day to relax and chill. My brother and I hit the Animal Kingdom Park for a few hours and just took it easy. Dinner was low-key at the Mara, and I even saw runDisney announcer Carissa! Bedtime was early because I had a very unpleasant 4 a.m. wakeup call. One tip that I always tell people is to get their race gear around and ready for the race the night before. It helps so much when you wake up early and are groggy. I pretty much just throw on my clothes, down a protein shake and go.


Getting to the race was easy but we got there a little later than we should have (around 5:15 a.m.). So, it was definitely packed at that point. Again, this felt like it was even more packed than the Family Fun Run 5K which is weird given how many people run those races. One of the fun parts about this race was the “flash mob” style dancing that was happening before the race. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to think about “Thriller” “The Fox (What does the Fox Say” the same way again!

Oh and remember that outfit I mentioned about my brother? Well, he was all sparkly and blinged out too! Check out this great photo with his sparkle skirt & headband (which he borrowed from me!)


Before we knew it, we had to rush to our corrals. My brother was in corral A and he was literally in his corral for about 10 minutes before they started staging. Corral B was released soon after, and I just love how festive the race start is. They shoot off fireworks during each heat and that’s just such a magical touch.

Having run this race course a month earlier, I had it in my head to PR this race. I really wanted to improve my time and pace. There were a lot of people walking, so navigating through everyone was challenging but manageable. I’ve learned a lot of strategies for making sure I have a clear path or where to run in case of crowding. The first mile is really the only crowded time and then it levels off. It also wasn’t raining this race (like the Family Fun Run 5K) so it made the experience a lot more enjoyable. It was a bit humid though!

My favorite part about the race is running through the World Showcase. It’s just so beautiful and relaxing. I admit, I didn’t stop at any character spots because there weren’t very many, and they weren’t that appealing to me. I really wish Disney would do more race entertainment at these smaller races. It seems like it wouldn’t be that hard given what they provide at the other races. I was pretty jealous after seeing what was at the 10K! (and yes, I’ll be running that next year!)

I pushed hard during this race, and I have to say it paid off. When I got to that finish line I was so excited to see that I had PR’d my race! I improved my pace time immensely (by 1 and ½ minutes from the previous race) and had beat my best race pace by 30 seconds. Pretty exciting! Of course, you can tell by my photos I ran hard!


Overall, I was really pleased with this race experience. Sure, I would have liked to see some extra atmosphere but having family and friends running the race made up for that. runDisney races are so much fun and this one was extra special. I can’t wait for the next season, planning my race costumes, and achieving some new running goals!


Sarah Norris is the owner of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW. She began her firstrunDisney races in 2013 with the Happy Haunted 5K and has had the runDisney bug ever since. She writes about her experiences as a newer runner, as well as running with Crohn’s and a special diet.

Find Sarah here:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest




2014 Disney Family Fun Run 5K Race Recap

Sarah Norris is becoming quite the seasoned 5K runner!!  I’m excited to welcome her back to recap her experience at her 3rd 5K 3 months – the 2014 Disney Family Fun Run 5K.  Take it away Sarah!  

Disney’s Marathon Weekend offers an exciting array of events for guests to participate in. From the kid’s events to the full marathon, it’s jam packed with races. This year, I had the chance to participate in the Family Fun Run 5K – adding another 5K to my 5K circuit during this 2013-2014 runDisney season. Having run the Happy Haunted 5K during the Tower of Terror Weekend and the Jingle Jungle 5K during Wine & Dine, I thought I was well prepared for the chaos that is Marathon Weekend. However as I discovered this weekend turned out to be a whirlwind of an experience.


The first thing I did during Marathon Weekend was head to the race expo to pick up my bib and race packet. The expo opened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 8th, and I arrived around 11:30 a.m. The parking lot was the fullest I have seen for any expo that I’ve been to so far.

As with the Wine & Dine Half Marathon runners of the 5K pick up their bibs in the HP Field House and then pick up their t-shirts in the Jostens Center where the expo takes place. During Wine & Dine, I picked up my bib down on the main floor of the HP Field House, this time I had to take a winding path throughout the 2nd floor to find the 5K bib picket. The signs weren’t quite as clearly marked as one would expect; however there were plenty of volunteers on hand to direct runners to the right spot.

When I got to the bib pick up area, my line was fairly short. In fact, the entire 5K bib pick up area was very quiet considering. I quickly obtained my bib and headed over to the Jostens Center for my t-shirt and to explore the expo offerings.


I have to say that I really loved the shirts that they had for runners of the 5K. They were quite cute, and very bright. You wouldn’t get lost wearing this day-glow green shirt. My bag also contained some small swag – a Clif Bar and a voucher for a free gift from Fit2Run’s Downtown Disney location. I did later redeem that voucher for a bag.


The expo itself is impressive. There are tons of booths with just about everything you could think of for runners from clothing to gear. The most popular booth was New Balance, as they unveiled their new Disney inspired running shoes this year. As I would hear throughout the weekend, appointments to try on shoes booked up quickly and shoes sizes sold out fast. There were also plenty of runDisney official merchandise spots where you could grab commemorative race swag. There were tons of freebies given out, and one of my favorite spots – the Chiquita Banana/Fresh Express Plinko station!

In preparation for the race, I tried to take it easy and rest. Of course, bedtime was later than I wanted it to be, especially with my 4:30 a.m. wake-up call for the race. One handy tip that I’ve learned after participating in runDisney races is to have all of my gear laid out and ready to go for the morning. This allows for stress-free wake-up and race prep early in the morning. I always have a Plant Fusion protein shake before I head out the door for the race.

As with everything I experienced during the Marathon Weekend, the 5K was packed. It took longer than I anticipated getting into Epcot, where the race was held. Thankfully, I gave myself plenty of time. After parking, I headed through the winding maze that was the Epcot parking lot pre-race area. I finally made it to my corral and got myself situated. Disney has been making smaller corrals for these races, and I think that’s actually a good thing. It means they are less crowded and you also get a better chance of being closer to the front.


I will say that the pre-race entertainment seemed somewhat lacking. I don’t know if it’s because there was so much at the Happy Haunted 5K and the Jingle Jungle 5K but this one seemed rather low-key. There was still a DJ with lots of dance music but it just didn’t have as much of a festive vibe as those other 5Ks.


Before I knew it, 6:15 a.m. was upon us, and it was time for the race. Because I was in corral D, it took a bit for the race to begin. My by count, my corral left the start line about 20 minutes after the race itself began. One of my favorite things about this race – the Fireworks! Not every runDisney 5K has fireworks that go off at the start line, and I was super excited that they did at this one. It totally got me into the runDisney spirit.

Because this was a larger race, the running areas were fairly crowded. They told us before the race began that there were 10,000 5K participants: 7,000 were running the Dopey Challenge (so inspiring!) and 3,000 were running the traditional 5K. That’s a lot of people. One of the things I did notice is that the race etiquette was better at this race than some of the previous ones I experienced.


The race itself goes through backstage of Epcot into the World Showcase and back to the Epcot parking lot. In general, I liked this race path – though I think I liked the Animal Kingdom path better. My only major complaint was that there were very few character spots. There were only 4 that I counted and many were packed. The Dopey character meet was lined up clear from Germany where it began through to the end of the Italy pavilion. After running the other 5Ks this season, I would say this one was seriously lacking in character photo ops.


The major challenge of this race was the weather. Not only was it slightly chillier with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s, but it was also raining off and on. This was the first rainy race I had experienced, and I will say that my pace definitely suffered because of this. In fact, I really didn’t stop much throughout the race because of the poor weather. It was hard to see with my glasses!

Overall, I will say that runDisney’s events are amazing and really inspire me to continue to run. From the amazing people that I meet every race to the awe-inspiring Dopey Challenge runners, I was so proud to be a part of this event. Thank you to the runDisney team, Disney cast members, and amazing volunteers for making this race weekend so wonderful. I can’t wait until the Princess Half Marathon Weekend where I’ll be running the Royal Family 5K!



Sarah_Donald_runDisney_AvatarSarah Norris is the owner of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW. She began her first runDisney races in 2013 with the Happy Haunted 5K and has had the runDisney bug ever since. She writes about her experiences as a newer runner, as well as running with Crohn’s and a special diet.
Find Sarah here:  Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest


Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K Race Recap

Today my friend Sarah Norris (hey…awesome name!) of Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free in WDW recaps the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K which took place over the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  This is Sarah’s 2nd 5K and it has been amazing to see her progress over the past few months.  She is a fellow sufferer of IBD and I just love hearing positive experiences for those of us that often struggle.  She’s defying the odds and I’m so proud to call her my friend and follow her running journey.  I know you will to!  Take it away Sarah!  

It’s hard to believe that not that long ago, I had my first runDisney race. I ran the Happy Haunted 5K (which was my first race ever). In that race, I was quite nervous as a first-time racer but with one race under my belt, I was feeling very excited for the Jingle Jungle 5K. This race was held during the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and was held at the Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The race was scheduled for 7 a.m.

01 JJ5K_Wine_Dine_Sign

I knew going in this race was going to be a lot bigger, so I made sure to get to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex early on Friday. This expo opened up earlier than the Tower of Terror Ten Miler Weekend race, opening at 10 a.m. instead of noon. I like getting my bib & packet pick-up first so that I’m not feeling stressed and can walk the expo more. This time packet pick-up was in the HP Field House. The crowds seemed lower to me, and I’m not sure if it was just time of day or if the separation of the pick-up & expo made the crowds seem lower. I also thought it was a nice touch that they had an official merchandise station both in the HP Field House and the Jostens Center. (2012 Wine & Dine Health & Fitness Expo Recap)

I was a little concerned my corral placement would be further back in this race because my race bib number was higher this time. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see I was placed in corral B. Once I got my bib, I headed to the Jostens Center for some retail therapy and to pick up my race shirt. I liked the Jingle Jungle 5K shirt better than the Halloween one, but I’m also partial to the holidays. Overall, I’ve liked both shirts I’ve been given so far.

02 JJ5K_Jing_Jungle_Shirts

I picked up a few last minute race costume additions. In my first race, I didn’t wear a costume and for this race I really wanted to wear something fun. I chose a sparkle skirt from Sparkle Athletic and a sparkly headband from Sparkly Soul. Yes, I sparkled from head to toe!

03 JJ5K_Jiingle_Jungle_Running_Outfit

The first thing I noticed was that the expo was definitely bigger this time with a lot more booths. There were also a lot of vendors who were not present at the previous expo. I particularly liked the Chiquita booth where you could play Chiquita banana plinko. So much fun. Many of the vendors & booths gave out nice freebies and samples. I even lucked out and scored a gift card to Fit2Run, which is a local Florida fitness store chain (with a location that opened at Downtown Disney during Wine & Dine weekend). I also ran into some friends at this race, including my friend Jen from Travel Girl on the Run! She is also a fellow runner with Crohn’s disease, and it’s really nice that we can all share our experiences with one another, especially IBD nutrition and running.

04 JJ5K_Wine_Dine_Expo

This time, I made sure to relax and unwind before my race. I was staying conveniently at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, which is so close to the Animal Kingdom Park. It made for an easy drive in the morning before the race. That evening, my family and I enjoyed a low-key meal at Kouzzina. And then, of course, early bedtime. To me, early bedtime is crucial. Because of my Crohn’s disease, I’m prone to chronic fatigue and I need to make sure I get sleep.

Once the 5 a.m. wakeup came, I was ready to go. I changed into my race outfit and also got my bib on. I then made sure to drink a protein shake. One of the biggest struggles I had the last time was nutrition, so I wanted to support myself as much as possible. I prefer the Plant Fusion chocolate raspberry shake with water. Bring a portable shaker, and you’re good to go! I also packed myself a Gu, which I normally wouldn’t consume on my short runs but because I have Crohn’s and often lose a lot of salt (plus I drink a lot) I found I really needed something to replace my body with after my run the last time. I also tend to push myself in these races so it was extra crucial. Gu’s are gluten free & dairy free so it was great to have on hand.

05 JJ5K_Gu

Once we got to the Animal Kingdom parking lot, one of the big differences I noticed was that the corral setup was very different. It seemed a lot more compact and also a little bit more crowded. The lines for the character and holiday photos were huge, so I didn’t get a chance to officially pose in them. I did however get an unofficial one by standing off to the side. The neatest thing at this race was the fake snow. Yes, you read that right—snow! They use soap bubbles to create snow effects, and it’s really cool. Along with occasional holiday music, this put me in the holiday spirit and was so fitting for this race. I will say they didn’t play as many holiday songs as I would have thought. It was way more dance music. Dance music is just not my thing at 5:30 a.m.

06 JJ5K_Sarah_Holiday

I finally made it to my corral and made sure to stick to the side. I don’t know why, but I like the sides. Plus, I get to chat with my family too! They surprised me with a sign to give me motivation to run harder. It was really nice of them to be there to cheer me on so early.

07 JJ5K_Rundisney_Sign

Before I knew it, it was time to run! This race didn’t have quite as much fanfare as the Happy Haunted 5K did, and I was a little disappointed in that. It just seemed like it was rather rushed and not quite as much anticipation/build-up. But I will say that the race inside the park made up for that.

The first mile or so was in the parking lot. That was pretty boring! It was cool because there were a lot of folks around chatting and having fun, but as far as decor, there wasn’t really anything. You could hear mostly just the announcers & music from the start of the race. Then when you got into the park, things got way more magical!

I will just say that I adore the Animal Kingdom and this was such a great place for a race. There were many character spots, and I personally wanted to try to get a least one photo. I skipped most of them primarily due to long lines & lack of theming. I like many of the characters but I was hoping more of them would be dressed in holiday costumes. The park had lots of holiday music playing and it was just neat to run past the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest.

08 JJ5K_Sarah_EE

Another good tip is to make sure you hit all of the water stations, even if you don’t think you need to. It was much cooler than the Happy Haunted 5K but still a good idea to hydrate whenever possible. And thank those amazing volunteers who are helping out! They rock!

The one character spot I missed but really regretted was with Chip & Dale. I love those chipmunks and they were so cute in holiday garb. But the line was really long. I was glad I was able to meet up with Donald later in the race. Because it was closer to the end of the race, and I felt that my pace was good, I decided to stop for the holiday photo with Donald. And I’m so glad I did because it’s one of my most favorite photos from the race.

09 JJ5K_Sarah_Donald_runDisney

Before I knew it the race was over! It was definitely a really awesome race. Not only was the theming great, but I also felt more confident as a runner (pushed it this time and set a 13:52 mile pace throughout the entire race). My race time was 45:51 though I paused my app when I met with Donald making my actual time in the race 49 minutes! That was definitely a huge jump, and gave me even more confidence to keep training hard for the upcoming Marathon weekend 5K.

After the race, my family and I went back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to celebrate with breakfast at Boma. There were tons of Jingle Jungle 5K racers at the breakfast, as you could see a lot of “race bling” throughout the restaurant. Overall, I really enjoyed this race. I’m even more excited now for the next race which will be the Family Fun Run 5K at Marathon weekend.

10 JJ5K_Sarah_Medal

Friday Feast: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Snack Box

The runDisney post-race snack has gone through a few transformations over the past few years.  When I ran my first Disney 5K in 2010, we received a bag with a bagel, banana and Powerade.  Now the snacks come in a neat little box and include items for various dietary restrictions.  Over Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, a fun new handle appeared on the box…how convenient!


Let’s take a look inside…



Well this had a bunch of new stuff!  I loved the addition of the peanut butter and the Craisins.  Clif Bars don’t sit well with me but that is a great post-race refuel, and the Skittles didn’t seem like the healthiest choice so I passed on those.

In the bags were two gluten-free snacks.  First, my favorite Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers, which I quickly devoured, and a new item from 180 Snacks, Almond Pops with Blueberries.  Those were pretty tasty!


These boxes seem to get better every race weekend!  Here you can see what was in the boxes from the 2012 Princess Half Marathon and Tower of Terror 10-Miler and how they’ve improved.

What item(s) would you like to see in the post-race snack box?


RAD Reads and Weekly Review: September 15, 2013

So you really want to know what bloggers do on vacation?  Well we typically start our day doing this:


This photo cracks me up.  Not only because it’s slightly ridiculous, but I just love how I have friends who are all on the same wave length.  Obviously we didn’t spend the entire trip hidden behind our laptops.  We went kayaking, swimming, played mini-golf, ate a TON of food and had numerous adult beverages.  The 2nd year at the Disney Beach House was the best yet and I can’t wait to share more details with you about Disney’s Vero Beach Resort…it’s quickly topping my list of favorite resorts!

As a great way to end the week, a few of us headed out to Walt Disney World on Friday to not only play in parks for a bit:


But most importantly to eat here:


O.M.G. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the renovations are at California Grill.  The decor, the food, everything…wonderful.  Be sure there will be a full detailed review to come shortly, but for now you can check out all the food porn over on my Instagram page.

Here’s what I’ve been up to on Running at Disney this week:

And here’s what’s been happening over on RAD Living:

Now on to some RAD Reads from some of my favorite bloggers!

Running & Fitness Posts
Mommy Run Fast tackles the Yasso 800s.  I’ve always been interested in adding this into my training plan.

The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail talks about her sugar addiction…are you secretly an addict??

Gabby’s Gluten-Free has a great look at her goals including perception, pressure & doing your own damn thing…I love this!

Disney Posts
Eating WDW shares a her favorite vegetarian dishes at WDW and they all look delicious!

This Happy Place takes an interesting look at the price of being a fangirl.  I love this take on the Disney community and what fandom actually means.

Imagineering Disney has great construction photos of Cinderella’s Castle.  Do you know how many bricks make up the castle?

Sparkly Ever After visits the new grand and miraculous Starbucks in Epcot.

Weekly Review
My past week definitely involved a TON of relaxation, but I did manage to squeeze in a few good workouts.  Our kayaking trip was an incredible upper body workout!  Here are all of my workouts from this week and to view a complete list of WODs, visit my dailymile page.

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Kayaking: 4.7 miles (4 hours)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 20 min amrap: goblet squats, db thrusters & pushups
Friday: Magic Kingdom Walking (4 miles)
Saturday: Magic Kingdom Walking (5 miles)

The 20 minutes amrap I did on Thursday was at the resort gym called Anchors A-Weigh.  Love the name!


Didn’t love the gym…


Definitely not my style…  But I made the best of it, grabbed a dumbbell and made up my own workout.


I did a quick 1/4 mile warmup run on the treadmill, which was awkward because I had a mirror right in my face…yikes!  Then I did the following 20 minute amrap (as many rounds as possible):

  • 15 goblet squats (20#)
  • 10 dumbbell snatches (20# x 4 & 30# x 4)
  • 10 pushups

I started with 5 burpees instead of the pushups, but realized by quads were quickly going to get burnt out with those, so I switched to pushups for round 2.  I got in a total of 8 rounds and was a sweaty mess after.  This workout was so tough that my quads and glutes are STILL sore 3 days later…crazy.

Tomorrow I will be starting the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge which is 8 weeks on the Paleo diet along with 10 workouts.  My weight will be taken, my measurements will be taken, photos will be taken…ahhhh!  I’m a bit nervous and excited at the same time.  I will be covering the whole thing over on RAD Living, so make sure to head over there and check it out!

Have a great week and remember to Be RAD!

Next Page »