Posts Tagged by hydration

Fueling for the Big Drop!

Night races can prove to be challenging when it comes to eating throughout the day leading up to the race. This is even more difficult at Walt Disney World when you are tempted by all the delicious but not so healthy menu items that can be found around the resort.  Today Shannon is here to go over her meal plan from last weekend’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler and how she stayed properly fueled all day and into the wee hours of the next morning.  If you are running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in a few weeks, these are GREAT tips to help you get ready!



The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10 Miler is always tricky. Ten miles doesn’t seem as demanding as a half marathon or as daunting as a marathon. It is easy to say, “It’s only ten miles. I don’t need to do anything special.” But I’ll tell you now, unless you are a seasoned long distance runner who also is a diehard Walt Disney World® guest and can party like a rock star till the wee hours of the morning, (and if you are all three of those, I hope we meet someday!) then you may not want to take this run too lightly. Perhaps I can explain it in a simple equation:

10 miles + 10:00 p.m. start time + 3:30 a.m. closing of the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash + 3 days in the parks + 90o typical Florida heat × 80% humidity proper prep work and fueling = potential disaster zombie. 


Since this was my third Tower 10 Miler and I had a frightful time last year with my fueling, I was determined to fuel properly. I did some studying up on fueling for a night race and found basic standard advice for any race:

1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Not just on race day but several days before.

2) Practice. Not just running but also fueling and never try anything new on race night.

And here is where it gets night race specific:

3) Rather than eating any big meals, eat several smaller carb/protein balanced meals of an easy to digest variety and avoid fats on race day. Don’t overeat, but also don’t let yourself feel hungry to avoid overeating or making a poor food choice, like the chili dog craziness that I was craving.

Speaking of which, I can actually sum this up in three words: DON’T EAT THIS.


I was able to stick with my plan for the most part and stayed light on my feet when I couldn’t, which is key during a race-cation since you don’t have complete control of timing and food choices. So without further ado, here is how it went:

7:45 a.m. Our day started with an early Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom, so sleep won out over food and we ate on the move with a PROBAR and water for breakfast.

9:45 a.m. I made my own snack mix of walnuts, dried cherries, raisins, salted sunflower seeds and dark chocolate chips and I munched on that through the morning.

11:00 a.m. Lunch was at my favorite place, Columbia Harbour House where I devoured an Anchors Aweigh sandwich (tuna, multigrain bread, lettuce and tomatoes) and their yummy, freshly cooked potato chips with a large bottle of water.


Throughout the day, I munched on snack mix and drank water.

I was on the hunt for a Mickey soft pretzel but didn’t find one. And though it was in my plan, I didn’t panic or jump at the next snack I saw – like a rice crispie treat – though that might not have been a terrible choice. I’ll try it next time!

4:30 p.m. I ordered a caprese flat bread pizza easy on the cheese, and a Fuse iced tea – it has electrolytes and a little caffeine to keep me running when I should be in bed.

5:30 p.m. As I changed into my costume, which took a while, I sipped on water and drank an Emergen-C before I left the hotel.

8:45 p.m. Between taking pictures with friends and the excitement of the moment, I managed to remember to eat a banana and munch on some mini pretzels (my back up plan for not having the Mickey soft pretzel) and continued sipping on water.


9:45 p.m. I took my first gel. I like Endurox Accel Gel. They taste pretty good as far as gels go. I know that isn’t saying much!

During the race:

Normally at this race I would run with my own water, but because the weather was great I just used what the race provided – thanks to the volunteers on the course for keeping that water coming!

I took two sips of water at every stop and maybe more when I had a gel at mile 4 and mile 8. I go by miles rather than time for gels since I find it easier to remember. One tip I’ve learned over the years is to swish the water around in your mouth before swallowing. There is science behind this technique making your body think you have more water than you do and it cools your body temp. Don’t ask me how; I’m just sharing something that works for me.


After the race:

I felt great and took advantage of a bottle of Gatorade and ate a banana within minutes of crossing the finish. About an hour later, I ate a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate milk.

So, did my fueling plan work? Though I stayed the course during the day, I needed the gels on the course when I took them. I did feel drained by the time I ate the post-race meal but that was as much from an IT band issue and the fact that it was well after midnight. I think the real measure of a successful fueling plan is that we shut down the Villains Bash once again!


There is more and more info out there about night run fueling as this type of race rises in popularity. Here are a few worth checking out.

Runners World

runDisney Blog

I would love to hear about your night run race experiences – what worked, what didn’t??


Hi, I’m Shannon.  I am wife, mother, lover of God and just about everything Disney – but especially the Disney Parks and runDisney.  Walt Disney World is my “home” destination, but I also love Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure and just to shake it up I have been to Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and plan to make it to all the Disney Resorts worldwide!   I enjoy helping family and friends plan their magical adventures to the Disney Parks and if you need convincing that you can take a “child-free” trip, just let me know. You can find me tweeting about Disney, running, and staying semi-sane at @PurveyorofPD and on Facebook at Purveyor of Pixie Dust. You can also visit my blog, Purveyor of Pixie Dust.

RAD Recap for June 29, 2014

Summer is now officially here which means hydration is more important than ever.  I struggled with staying properly hydrated last summer and I really don’t want to go down that road again.  It’s really not fun.  So this week when I started feeling sluggish and getting the chills after a tough workout, I knew it was happening again.  I immediately hit the store an grabbed up a few Gatorades to replenish my system.


This week I think I’m going to stock up on coconut water again.  That seemed to work well for me and it doesn’t have all those nasty chemicals that Gatorade does. Gatorade is great for a quick fix, but I really need to focus on keeping my hydration levels high throughout the entire summer.  What do you do to stay hydrated throughout the hot summer days?

When I finished up my recap last week, I mentioned I was headed to move a ton of pellets.  Well B and I successfully moved a ton of weight each…that was a crazy workout!


Speaking of good workouts, my friend Adam has been killing it with his training runs and has gone through quite the transformation.  If you haven’t done so already, make sure to read his story…it’s pretty awesome 🙂


I also debuted a great new series here on RAD called Mission to Marathon.  In this monthly series, Hannah will be sharing training tips, planning advice for a race-cation, and getting through the holidays as you train.  This month she shared how she devised her training plan…really helpful advice!

Mission-to-Marathon-Training-Plan2 (1)

Tomorrow I’m going to take a tour of a Grand Villa at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower, then later in the week Michele is sharing her transformation story, Danielle has more Yoga for Runners, and in honor of the 4th of July, I’m going to be taking a look at some of my favorite fireworks in Walt Disney World 🙂

Have a great week!!

RAD Signature 100x75

Friday Feast: Gatorade, Coconut Water & Replacing Electrolytes

Last week on RAD Living I talked about how I need to better listen to my body and keep myself hydrated.  I thought I was being smart about my hydration this summer, but boy was I wrong.  Water alone was not keeping me hydrated enough for the July heat or to push me through strenuous workouts.

So recently I’ve been trying to to stay away from sugars, which means avoiding any kind of sports drinks.  I turned to coconut water for extra hydration and electrolytes, but it didn’t seem to be doing the trick.  Plus, I find myself struggling with the taste.


After a tough workout, I felt drained.  Also, my left calf muscle seriously cramped up on the last run, which is something that has never happened to me before.  I had drank about 50 oz of water and a coconut water earlier in the day so I thought I would be fine.  Well I guess the heat and humidity that day and the whole week prior with the heatwave we were having had caught up with me.  That night I went to bed with a headache and woke up with one the next morning.  I was very thirsty and was also feeling very dizzy and lightheaded.  Clearly my body was craving something more… electrolytes, sodium in particular.

So what are electrolytes?  They are a variety of minerals in the body that regulate how much water is in our system, as well as how our muscles function.  So they are VERY important when you exercise on a regular basis.  We lose electrolytes when we sweat making it even more important to replenish them after a difficult workout. Some of the most common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.  If you’re a “salty sweater” like I am, getting that sodium back in crucial.

Gatorade is probably the most commonly known “thirst quencher” that athletes use to re-hydrate.  I actually had to turn to this to get myself properly hydrated in these past few weeks.  It really does work well.  With double the amount of sodium than coconut water, it’s a quick way to replenish those electrolytes.  However, you are putting a TON of other crap in your system along with it, particularly the sugar, yellow 6 (wtf is that?!?) and the brominated vegetable oil.  YUK! So it’s working to keep me hydrated, but what else is it doing to my body???


Because I don’t want to make drinking Gatorade a habit, I started researching other electrolyte replacements and found some great resources on one of my favorite sites, Organic Authority.  Just this week there was a post on healthy electrolyte replacements and I also found one on delicious ways to re-hydrate. Guess what the number one item was in both articles?  Coconut water.  Sigh.

So I decided I need to give this another try.  I’ve sampled a few different brands and I found that I like Vita Coco the best. It has the most mellow coconut flavor and also comes in a variety of different flavors to cut that coconut water taste, which I still don’t love.  I’ve also found that it is much better when served over ice instead of straight from the container.  I actually brought some out to a restaurant the other night to re-hydrate after a tough CrossFit WOD.  I hope my friends weren’t too embarrassed by me 🙂

I also like the idea of adding salt and fruit to plain water as a way of making your own “sports drink.”  I know I need more sodium so I will have to try that going forward.  I have also heard Nuun is really great and I need to try that as well.  I will probably still drink Gatorade on occasion during very hot days or tough workouts, but I’m hoping that some of these alternative will do the trick in the future so I can stay away from some of this artificial junk.

How do you re-hydrate?  Do you like the taste of coconut water?

Heat Advisory for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

runDisney has issued a Heat Advisory for tomorrow’s Princess Half Marathon.  Make sure that you are hydrating TODAY and throughout the race tomorrow.  Utilize all of the water stops on the race and make sure to mix water and Powerade (or your sports drink of choice) to help refuel your electrolytes.

runDisney Water Stop

runDisney Water Stop

The only thing that may be working in our favor is the chance of rain.  Even if it doesn’t rain, it will hopefully be cloudy and block out the sun, but that humidity is still going to be a serious issue.

Princess Weather

Take it easy out there and don’t try for a PR this time.  Have fun, enjoy the atmosphere and take photos with characters.  Don’t try to over exert yourself in the heat, it’s just not worth the risk.  You’re going to get the same awesome medal whether you go fast or take it easy 🙂

5th Anniversary Princess Medal

5th Anniversary Princess Medal

Good luck out there Princesses & Princes and stay safe…I’ll see you on the course!!

Friday Feast: Marathon Nutrition Plan

My race nutrition for the WDW Marathon has been in the back of my mind for some time now, but I hadn’t really sat down and laid it out.  Earlier this week, my CrossFit coach was asking me how my shin splints were doing and I told him about the upcoming marathon, which prompted him to immediately ask about my nutrition plan.  Since I hadn’t planned it all out yet, he told me to have it to him by the end of this week.  Yikes…ok, I guess I better get going.

You mean I can't just eat pizza during a marathon like this dude????

You mean I can’t just eat pizza during a marathon like this dude????
Photo Source: Fun Running Ryan

I started by doing some research.  I found this article on the 4 Steps to Perfect Marathon Fueling to help calculate how many calories I will need to consume per hour to help maintain my energy and prevent muscle fatigue.  I determined that I would need 164 calories/hour if I was to maintain a 13 minute/mile pace.  I figure that’s a good baseline, so I started putting my plan together with that in mind.

Let’s start with my pre-race food.  I’m planning on being on a bus by 3:30 am.  My alarm will be set for 2:30 am at which time I will have a big glass of water and some green tea while I get dressed, then prep a gluten-free/egg-free english muffin with almond butter to eat on the bus.  I’ll also be bringing a banana to have on my walk over to the corrals around 4:30 am along with a few cups of water from the holding area.  GuRight now, I’m starting in corral G (boooooo!) which takes off at 6:17 am, but I’m hoping to get this changed at the expo…we’ll see.  Whatever time I end up starting, I will take a Gu (chocolate outrage ftw!) 15 minutes prior.

My plan is to have a Gu every 3.5 miles with water.  I’ll also be combining a glass of Powerade and water at various waterstations (roughly about 3 miles apart).  Fuel BeltI will be carrying a fuel belt with 2-10.5 oz. bottles of water to supplement hydration between water stops.  The marathon also has various food stations along the course where bananas and candy are available and I will definitely be taking advantage of those.  I’ve never actually eaten a banana while running before, so hopefully it will settle well.  B will be meeting me at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex around 10 am, which should be around mile 17 to bring me some salted crackers, refill my water bottles and possibly give me a nice clean shirt 🙂  Best hubs around!

Here is my mile by mile plan for fuel:

  • Mile 3: 50/50 Water & Powerade
  • Mile 3.5: Gu
  • Mile 6.25: 50/50
  • Mile 7: Gu
  • Mile 9.5: 50/50
  • Mile 10.5: Gu
  • Mile 11.5: Banana
  • Mile 13: 50/50
  • Mile 14: Gu
  • Mile 16.5: 50/50
  • Mile 17.5: Gu
  • Mile 18.3: Banana & Salted Crackers
  • Mile 20.5: 50/50
  • Mile 21: Gu
  • Mile 24: 50/50
  • Mile 24.5: Gu
  • Mile 25: 50/50

Yowza…that’s a lot!  I’m going to have to carry a cheat sheet with me.  Now onto post-race meals.  Immediately following the race, I will grab another banana, water and Powerade to have immediately.  I’m also planning on having B bring another english muffin with almond butter to the finish line with some crackers in the hopes I will be able to keep that down.

After an ice bath and a nap, I’m sure a beer (screw the gluten!) and some fish and chips will be in order from Raglan Road during the cool down party.  Yum!

Raglan Road Fish & Chips

Raglan Road Fish & Chips

So now I look to all of you experienced marathoners out there…what do you think of this plan?  Am I on the right track?  Am I forgetting anything?

If you have a specific marathon nutrition plan, please share in the comments below!

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