Posts Tagged by kouzzina

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

The 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race Recap

Last year’s 10-Miler was not my favorite race and I actually wasn’t sure I was going to run it again this year.  But after seeing that the race was pushed back a week I was hoping that might make it a bit cooler, plus I always like to give things a second chance.  So I registered and crossed my fingers for cooler temperatures.  Imagine disappointment when I woke up the day of the race to this:

Heat-Advisory

Sigh…  Looked like I was in for another hot one, but what would a Disney race be without heat right?!  So I was just going to make the best of it.  And what better way to start off your day than with a giant breakfast at Kouzzina.  Allergen-free waffles, bacon, sweet potato hash & fruit…perfect fuel for race.

01 Tower-Kouzzina

After breakfast, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I knew I would go stir crazy if I just went back to the hotel and rested all day, but I didn’t want to go crazy at the parks and tire my legs out.  A few friends were heading over to the Food & Wine Festival for the afternoon so I decided to do that.  I could slowly stroll around World Showcase and keep my legs loose…and maybe meet some fun characters.

02 Tower-Sarah-Aladdin

I headed back to WorldQuest Resort around 4pm to get some rest before the race.  I showered, took a quick nap and heated up my leftovers from breakfast that morning.  Sweet potato hash is some awesome pre-race fuel!

03 Tower-Leftovers

Amanda’s hubs was meeting some of our other non-runner friends for dinner on the Boardwalk, so we hitched a ride with them to the resort.  The runners took off down the path towards the Studios and the non-runners headed towards Kouzzina for a tasty dinner.

04 Tower-Group

Walking to the Studios was exciting.  You could hear the music in the distance and we were talking strategy for the race course.  It was the first runDisney race for my friends Rick & Leslie so we were going over all the logistics with them.  When we arrived to the Studios parking lot, it was CROWDED.  The bag check area was a big hectic, the bathroom lines were super long and there wasn’t much room to move.

05 Tower-PreRace

So we headed straight for the Runners Only area where there were NO lines for bathrooms and plenty of room to sit and chat.  We had about an hour to kill before the start of the race so we found a spot and relaxed our legs.

06 Tower-Corrals

07 Tower-Group

Like my Team Sparkle skirt?  It actually matched my KT Tape!  Finally it was time to head to the corrals and get this thing started.  I was in Corral G for this race, but I decided to drop back to Corral I and run with Rick so he wasn’t alone for his first race.  It meant so much to me to run my first race (and so many after) with Amanda, so I wanted to pay that forward.  Besides running with friends is just more fun.  So we headed into the corral and waited some more…

08 Tower-Corral-I

We watched the other corrals empty out and shortly before 10 we started to move and begin the trek to the starting line.

09 Tower-Empty-Corrals

Along the way we met some fun people, saw the starting fireworks in the distance and always my favorite, a TON of spectators cheering us on!  I got a big hug from my friend Cindy, but sadly no photo this time.

010 Tower-Siamese

011 Tower-Starting-Fireworks

013 Tower-Sarah-Rick

012 Tower-Starting-Spectators

013 Tower-Go-Sarah

Oh hey thanks for the sign random stranger!  Finally around 10:25pm it was our turn to get moving.  Carissa and Rudy counted us down and we slowly made our way into the 5th dimension.

014 Tower-Corral-I-Start

016 Tower-Carissa-Rudy

015 Tower-Starting-Line

One of my biggest issues with this race last year was the lack of entertainment on the course, but within the first mile I could see that this was already improved.

As we rounded the ramp onto Osceola Parkway there was a HUGE fireball coming out of the pond in the center.  It as seriously cool!!  I tried to get some photos, but it was only going off every so often, so it was hard to have the camera ready.

017 Tower-Fireball

018 Tower-Fireball

Then at the top of the ramp was the Evil Queen from Snow White…you very rarely see her out.

019 Tower-Evil Queen

We got on Osceola to make the looooooog trek to Animal Kingdom.  We were keeping at a steady pace, but Rick is a bit faster than me so I was struggling to keep up with him at times.  Add in the heat and by mile 2 I was already feeling myself getting very hot.

020 Tower-Animal-Kingdom

As we passed through the gates and made the turn to head back down Osceola Parkway towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), the dread started to set in.  This is where things started to fall apart for me during the Marathon and I was feeling very hot like I did on that day.  Thankfully this GIANT spider was there to distract me a bit…how cool is this?!

021 Tower-Spider

022 Tower-Spider

By the time we hit the 5K mark I had to slow down.  I could feel myself overheating and I needed to stop pushing myself.  We had a long way back and I had to be smart about this.

023 Tower-Osceola

At all of the following water stops I started pouring water into my headband and the REALLY helped to cool me down.  I’m never a huge fan of pouring water over me because of the chafing issues it causes, but this was necessary and smart.  I was already starting to feel better by the time we reached to dark trail entrance to WWOS.  Last year there were a ton of complaints about how dark this area was, so I was glad to see that it was lit up very well.

024 Tower-Trail

025 Tower-Trail-Lighting

Entering WWOS meant that we were more than halfway through the race.  WWOS is definitely my least favorite part of the course and more so now after the Marathon.  For some reason there isn’t any air flow in there and it just feels hotter than it actually is.  However I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends cheering at Champion Stadium…that always gives me a HUGE boost!  In the center of field there was this giant Tesla coil spitting out bolt of lightning.  Super coil to see, but the sound was pretty annoying.

026 Tower-Champion-Stadium

When we left WWOS and got back on Victory Way, the rush of cooler air was such a relief.  Both Rick and I picked up the pace a bit and headed on towards the Studios for the home stretch.

027 Tower-Studios-Sign

Notice anything on top of the sign for the Studios?  Maleficent was up there warning runners about what lie ahead…she was pretty badass!

028 Tower-Maleficent

029 Tower-Lasers

Just before mile 9 we entered the Studios through a side entrance and immediately enter into Lights, Motors, Action!  This is one of my favorite photo spots 🙂

030 Tower-Rick-Lights-Motor

031 Tower-Sarah-Lights-Motor

Even though the Studios is a small park you cover a great deal of it.  Down the Streets of America, through Pixar Place and around the Backlot…I love this park!

032 Tower-Streets-of-America

033 Tower-Pixar-Place

And after running through some backstage areas, we crossed the finish line!  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler number 2 in the books!

034 Tower-Finish-Line

036 Tower-Medal

Now began the mile long trek from the finish line, through Fantasmic! and out to Hollywood Boulevard.  This was a much better route than filtering onto a crowded Sunset Boulevard.  Also, this allowed for a MUCH easier route to get to back check at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  We crossed Hollywood Boulevard and entered through a backstage area right onto the stage…so much better than going up and down those stairs.

036 Tower-Indy-Bag-Check

The heat was getting the best of some people.  I saw at least 4 people puking by this point and a bunch more just sitting on the ground looking exhausted.  I was hot but I was thankful that I was smart early on in the race to keep myself as cool as possible and not push myself to the point of exhaustion.

I headed to a nearby bathroom to change out of my sweaty clothes and then met up with my friends on Hollywood Boulevard.  We headed to Toy Story Midway Mania for a ride, but the wait was 40 minutes.  Blech.  I was not up for standing that long, so a few of us headed to Backlot Express for some food.  I did a repeat of last years meal…chicken nuggets, fries and a Yuengling.  All that salt is glorious!

037 Tower-Post-Race-Meal

We headed back toward Hollywood Boulevard and found a spot to sit and rest our legs.  I think this was probably my favorite part of the whole night.  I love people watching, especially when they enjoy life as much as this guy…

038 Tower-Beer

Did I love this race?  No.  I’m glad I gave it a second chance, but I still think this time of year is too hot for a race in Florida.  I’m also not a big fan of the course.  If we were able to run though Animal Kingdom instead of WWOS, I feel like that would be a huge improvement.  I was very glad to see all of the added entertainment on the course and the other improvements that runDisney made based on runner feedback.  The after party was a lot of fun and I still think this is one of the best medals you can get.

Will I run this race again?  Probably not.  Only if some significant changes are made to the course and if it’s held later in the year.  I really don’t enjoy the out and back on Osceola Parkway.  However I do think this is a great race for newer runners to wet their feet without taking on a half marathon.

Did you run the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler?  What did you think?

Friday Feast: Culinary Demonstrations at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Reservations for the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Culinary Demonstrations opened this week and I can’t decide what to go to!!!!   Last year I attended two demonstrations and had an amazing time.  The first demo I attended was with Iron Chef Cat Cora of Kouzzina at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort (best breakfast on property!) and then Chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road, one of my fav restaurants!

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Iron Chef Cat Cora

Chef Kevin Dundon

Chef Kevin Dundon

I will be in the World twice this year during the Food & Wine Festival and I’m hoping I will have time to attend at least one demonstrations.  So here are the options for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend:

Thursday, October 03, 2013
1:00 PM Bruno Vrignon, Monsieur Paul, France Pavilion, Epcot®, WDW Snails
3:00 PM Bob Getchell, T Rex Café, Downtown Disney® Area, WDW Pork
5:00 PM Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant, Orlando, FL Shrimp
Friday, October 04, 2013
1:00 PM Ruth Van Waerebeek, Concha y Toro, Santiago, Chile Scallops
3:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
5:00 PM Rock Harper, FatShorty’s, Arlington, VA Mussels- contains Pork
Saturday, October 05, 2013
1:00 PM Kenneth Gilbert, Cook Like the Big Dogs LLC, Jacksonville, FL Seafood
3:00 PM Jerome Brown “Chef Rome”, Hot Grits LLC, Knightdale, NC Bison
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Scallop
Sunday, October 06, 2013
1:00 PM Noah French, HoneyCrisp, Denver, CO Pastry
3:00 PM Tim Hockett, Nacional 27, Chicago, IL Beef
5:00 PM Alisa Malavenda, POSH salt, Cliffside Park, NJ Shellfish
Monday, October 07, 2013
1:00 PM Jason Stefanko, Gardein, Richmond, Canada Vegan
3:00 PM Dr. Wendy Bazilian, RD & Pam Smith, RD and Author of The Energy Edge Pastry
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
5:00 PM Joe Bonanno and Damon Lauder, Park Event Operations, Epcot®, WDW Duck

I think my top pick out of this group is the demo with Alisa Malavenda.  As a Jersey girl and a shellfish fan, this might be the perfect way to celebrate finishing the race!

And then at the tail end of the festival, I will be down for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (my favorite!) and here are the demos for that weekend:

Thursday, November 07, 2013
1:00 PM Bill Clark, Grand Floridian Bakery, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Pastry
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
3:00 PM Thomas Massey, Sunshine Seasons, Epcot®, WDW Mahi Mahi
5:00 PM Mike Dillard, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, WDW Rabbit
Friday, November 08, 2013
1:00 PM Ingrid Hoffmann Presented by Coca-Cola® Savory
3:00 PM John Hardman, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, Magic Kingdom® Park, WDW Chicken
5:00 PM Phillip Ponticelli, Cítricos, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Shrimp
Saturday, November 09, 2013
1:00 PM Ben Sargent, Author, The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets, New York, NY Lobster
3:00 PM TJ Sudiswa, Grand Floridian Café, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, WDW Turkey presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
5:00 PM Pam Smith, RD, Author of The Energy Edge Savory
presented by Driscoll’s® Only the Finest Berries™
Sunday, November 10, 2013
1:00 PM Michael Klinger, Pioneer Hall, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, WDW Oysters-Contains Pork
3:00 PM Javier Pareja, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, WDW Vegetarian
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries
Monday, November 11, 2013
1:00 PM Geraldine Randlesome, Creative Cutters, Ontario, Canada Pastry
3:00 PM Dylan Schauwecker, The Wave… of American Flavors, Crab & Shrimp
Disney’s Contemporary Resort, WDW
5:00 PM Michael Gonsalves, Golden Oak Club, WDW Sausage-Contains Pork
presented by Ocean Spray® Craisins® Brand Dried Cranberries

Ooohh doesn’t that Ben Sargent demo look good?!  The Catch: Sea-to-Table, Stories and Secrets with NY Lobster…yes please!  That sounds like a good pre-race meal right??

These demos are a great bargain at $14 a piece.  You get a fun demonstration PLUS a tasting of what they are cooking!  Win-win in my book.  You can find all of the demonstrations listed on the Disney Food Blog.

What are demonstrations are you looking forward to at the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?? 

The Days Leading Up to the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon

When registration for the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon opened in June 2012, I couldn’t help but register. I had only run my first half marathon 4 months prior, but I knew I wouldn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.  Immediately after registering, I felt a sense of dread…what did I get myself into?!

Fast forward to the week of the race.  I was finally getting excited for the big day.  My nerves were starting to calm and I was just looking forward to running those 26.2 miles through my favorite place in the world.  I knew I wasn’t properly trained (I didn’t get those really long runs in), but I had faith that my CrossFit training would carry me through and I knew I was strong enough to make it across the finish line even if it was going to take longer than I wanted.  One thing I couldn’t predict was illness.  I had feared this would happen so I had been taking extra vitamins and Emergen-C for a few days, but I guess my body had other plans.

thermometer-cartoonWednesday morning I woke up not feeling so hot and it progressively got worse throughout the day.  By the time I got home from work, I was completely stuffed up and was feeling really out of it.  B brought home dinner and we got packed for our early morning flight.  I decided to take my temperature because this foggy feeling felt more than just a cold.  100.2, seriously?!?!  My normal body temperature is in the 97 degree range (which must be why I’m always cold!), so this was a doozy of a fever.  And this is when the terror set in…

Do I have this crazy flu that’s going around?  How could I, I got the flu shot?  Would I be able to fly in the morning?  Should call the doctor to get emergency antibiotics?  The race…how am I going to run the marathon?!  I have to do it after all this hard work!  People are counting on me to finish this race.  My Mom is coming down.  NOOOOOO!

I downed another Emergen-C, took some Tylenol and NyQuil, and squirted a healthy dose of nasal spray (which was to become my best friend in the next few days), then hit the hay at 9:00 pm so I could get a good 8 hours of sleep.

Thursday, January 10th
My 5:00 am alarm went off way too soon and I still wasn’t feeling great.  My temperature was down to 99.5, which wasn’t great but I was happy that it at least broke 100.  I loaded up with more vitamins and we headed to the airport.  My apologies to anyone that was sitting near me on the flight who I annoyed with my snoring or was grossed out by my sneezing.  I really hope I didn’t get anyone sick!!

When we arrived in Orlando, we headed straight to Whole Foods so I could get some pre-race snacks and lunch.  I went with a cup of soup and some OJ that really hit the spot.  After lunch, we headed down to the World and checked into our room at the Yacht Club.  I was so thankful that the room was ready because all I wanted to do was lay down.  So in lieu of going to the Expo, I took a nap.  Because I was so congested, the nap only lasted about 10 minutes but the relaxation time helped.  So did that next dose of nasal spray 🙂

HOME!

HOME!

That night we headed to the Boardwalk for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe.  I had my favorite Potato-wrapped Red Snapper, which didn’t disappoint, and an Earl Grey Tea to finish the meal.  That was some of the best tea I’ve ever had!  Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the meal as much as usual and just wanted to get back to bed.

One of my favorite views...the Boardwalk at night.

One of my favorite views…the Boardwalk at night.

Potato-wrapped Red Snapper

Potato-wrapped Red Snapper…YUM!

I love having my own tea pot!

I love having my own tea pot!

We headed back to the hotel where we said a quick hello to my Mom and her hubs R since they had just gotten in.  I was so happy she was there for this weekend.  I was just hoping I would be able to spend time with her.   Off to bed for my early wake up call…again.

Friday, January 11th
I was up super early for the runDisney meetup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (read the full recap here).  Thankfully my fever had broke when I woke up and I was back down to 97.9…woohoo!  While I didn’t participate in the run portion of the meetup to preserve what little health I had, I still had a great time.  I mean how can you not when you get to meet Joey Fatone 🙂

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

After the meet up, it was time for another nap before heading to lunch at Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West with some friends.  I had never been there and had heard mixed reviews, so I was interested to try it.  Not my favorite place on property, but the tomato basil soup of the day was pretty good.  I ordered the seafood cobb salad for my main meal and it was just ok, nothing like the Hollywood Brown Derby’s cobb salad.  The rest of the table was pretty disappointed with their meals, so I don’t think we’ll be returning anytime soon.

Olivia's Cafe Cobb Salad

Olivia’s Cafe Cobb Salad

After lunch we headed over to the Health & Fitness Expo so I could pick up my race bib.  Whoa…it was CROWDED!  Waiting until Friday afternoon was probably not the best idea and looking back I should have sucked it up the day before and gone.  Packet pickup went fairly quickly, but unfortunately almost all of the Marathon merchandise in the Field House was gone by the time we got there.  I bought a few things, but kept my fingers crossed that the merch booth on the Expo floor would have more items.

Welcome to the Expo!

Welcome to the Expo!

Marathon Bib Pick Up...OMG!

Marathon Bib Pick Up…OMG!

New runDisney Vinylmation with 20th Anniversary Marathon Medal!

New runDisney Vinylmation with 20th Anniversary Marathon Medal!

Here’s where the craziness started…look at the line to get into the expo!!

Yes, this is wrapping around the entire field!

Yes, this is wrapping around the entire field!

I usually like to spend some time visiting the vendors, but I just couldn’t deal with the crowds.  I headed straight to the back to pick up my shirt and into the runDisney merch booth.  I was so happy to find the pint glass and pin I was looking for!  I bought them and made a beeline out of the building.  I still wasn’t feeling myself and the crowds were not helping.  I hardly took any pictures at the expo…so not like me!!

We headed back to the hotel and met my Mom and R for an early dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse.  Full review coming soon, but let’s just say that these short ribs were seriously good!

Yachtsman Short Ribs

Yachtsman Short Ribs

Now I’m going to confess here that I decided to have a martini with dinner.  Yes, probably not the best thing to do 2 days before a marathon when you are sick, but I figured that it can’t get any worse and hell, the vodka would probably kill whatever was in my system, right?  If anything, it calmed me down a bit since I had been stressing more and more as the race approached.

We jumped in the car to end the night at the Top of the World Lounge so my Mom could see Wishes from there.  She hadn’t been to WDW in over 10 years and I wanted to make her trip as special as I could.  Totally worth the trip to the Contemporary 🙂

Wishes...it never gets old

Wishes…it never gets old

I had planned on getting up the next morning to go watch the start of the half marathon and cheer on my fellow runners, but I decided that my health needed to come first.  So when we got back to the hotel, I took 2 NyQuil and went into a coma for the night.  Now I don’t recommend mixing alcohol and NyQuil, but I needed a good night’s rest…and that’s what I got!

Saturday, January 12th
After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling better than I had in days!  I still wasn’t at 100%, but I was getting back to my usual self.  I guess my combo of vitamins, hydration and medication were working!  We were up in time to catch the tail end of the half marathon, so B and I walked over to Epcot to see some of the runners in their last mile to the finish.  It was so exciting to watch them!

half marathon_2 half marathon_1

We headed over to the Boardwalk to meet up with my Mom, R, and our friends Marc, Kris, Amanda and her family for breakfast at Kouzzina (read my full review of this awesome breakfast here).  Amanda and Marc had just finished the half marathon as part of the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, so they needed a serious refuel.  Much of the talk was about the heat and we were all getting nervous for what was in store for the marathon the next day.

After breakfast, we jumped on the boat and headed over to Epcot with Mom and R for an afternoon of park touring.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and we got most of the Future World attractions in.  It was also a great way to warm up my legs for the race.

Mom & R waiting for the boat to Epcot :)

Mom & R waiting for the boat to Epcot 🙂

We're on a boat!

We’re on a boat!

Around 3:30 pm we were getting a little hungry, so we decided on lunch at San Angel Inn which is becoming my new favorite lunch spot.  Those enchiladas really hit the spot!  It’s hard to find things in WDW that are gluten free that you can use to carb load before a race…corn tortillas are a good option!  After lunch we headed over to Test Track (we had FastPasses) to check out the new refurbishment.  Let’s just say, I was underwhelmed…

Mom & I getting our Mexican on :)

Mom & I getting our Mexican on 🙂

Test Track...look at Mom's hair!

Test Track…look at Mom’s hair!

My legs were starting to get tired and I knew I had to get my things ready for the race the next day.  B and I headed back to the room so I could get situated and rest a bit.  I went through my race checklist and laid everything out for the next morning.  I feel so much better when I’m organized!

All set and ready to run a marathon!

All set and ready to run a marathon!

We relaxed for a bit before I fell asleep around 9:00 pm.  That 2:30 am alarm was going to come way too soon…

And that’s where I’ll leave you today…stay tuned for my full race recap!!

Have you ever run while sick?  What do you typically do before a big race?

Friday Feast: Kouzzina Breakfast Revisited

A few months ago, B and I had our first breakfast at Kouzzina.  I became instantly obsessed.  This is by far the BEST breakfast on Walt Disney World property and totally worth the trip over to the Boardwalk Resort.

Since our first visit, I found out that I have a severe sensitivity to eggs.  I was crushed to find out that I couldn’t have either of my 2 favorite dishes.

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs & Arugula Salad

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs & Arugula Salad

Spinach, Tomato & Feta Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash & Bacon

Spinach, Tomato & Feta Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash & Bacon

I had recently reached out to Sarah over at Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free in WDW (a GREAT resource if you have food allergies!) to see if she had any suggestions for breakfast items in WDW.  I’ve also cut gluten out of my diet so that was an added challenge.  Sarah told me about these allergen-free Mickey waffles that are available at most restaurants and I got really excited!

So off to Kouzzina we went.  I told our server that I had a few food allergies and he got the chef right away.  I absolutely LOVE how accommodating Disney is with this.  The chef will always come to the table and discuss the menu with you and recommend what you can and can’t eat.  I asked him about the waffles and he said he could definitely make those for me.  They would come prepared as the regular waffles on the menu with marscapone cheese, pecans and honey…YUM!  I asked for all of this on the side as it sounded a bit sweet for me, but I wanted to try it anyway.   He also confirmed that my favorite sweet potato hash would be a safe option for me, along with the chicken sausage.  I also got a side of banana and blueberries.  Look at this feast!!

Allergen Free Waffles & Chicken Sausage

Allergen Free Waffles & Chicken Sausage

Sweet Potato Hash & Fruit

Sweet Potato Hash & Fruit

I have to admit that I was skeptical about how the waffles would taste, but they were DELICIOUS!  I think I might actually like them better than regular waffles.  I’m glad I got all of the condiments on the side so I could use as little or as much as I wanted.  The hash was fantastic as usual and I would recommend getting this on your next visit no matter what.

I was so excited about this meal that I did a little happy food dance of joy  🙂  Kouzzina still tops my list for best breakfast on property and it’s a great spot if you are dealing with various food allergies.  Now if they could just work on the service!

Have you had the allergen-free waffles in WDW?   

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