Posts Tagged by meet up

runDisney 2013 Wine & Dine Meet Up!

My running buddy Jim DeMarco was one of the lucky few who got into the very first runDisney Meet Up to be held at night over Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  He was awesome enough to recap the whole event for RAD and it looks like it was a blast!  Take it away Jim…  

Well, it was my third Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, and I was extremely excited (and nervous) as the time got closer.   The week before the race though, something great happened…I was one of only 125 people lucky enough to be chosen for the runDisney Wine & Dine Meet Up!!!   This was my second meet up (first one was in Disneyland in August), but this was also the first nighttime meet up!

The meet up took place the Thursday before the race.   Check in was in front of Epcot at 7:00 pm, where we received a great maroon runDisney shirt, as well as a Fast Pass for Test Track!  Something to do until we had to reconvene at 8:45 pm!   What was at 8:45 pm you may ask?   Exclusive priority viewing for Illuminations!!!!   I haven’t seen Illuminations in years, and boy, did I miss it!  All 125 of us got to mingle for a few minutes before 9:00 pm and the main show took place!

01 W&D MeetUp

After Illuminations ended and cleared out, we all marched over to the American Garden Pavilion to have some vegan chicken skewers, cookies and vegan wine (who knew there was vegan wine?  Not me!!!).

After we all got to nosh on some food, we sat down for the main presentation.   Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director at Walt Disney World, acted as MC to introduce the main guests!

02 W&D MeetUp

First up was Jeff Galloway and Diet Diva Tara Gidus (Fitness Consultant for runDisney).   They offered some great tips for fitness, and how to have the best run possible!

03 W&D MeetUp

After Jeff and Tara, we were treated to a presentation by two of the chefs and a wine connoisseur for Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!   They talked about their favorite foods and wines, and even guided us on what vegan wine actually was!

04 W&D MeetUp

Then came my favorite part – the New Balance folks took the stage to talk about the 2014 runDisney running shoes!   While we didn’t get to actually see the sneakers, we did get to see a video, which showcased new running shoe inserts coming in 2014.  The inserts will commemorate the races of those special weekends!   Even the box that the shoes will come in has been redesigned for 2014, featuring Mickey on the cover!!!  (Get a sneak peak of the new shoe designs here!)

05 W&D MeetUp

After the New Balance presentation, we got to have pictures taken with the BIG CHEESE!!!   (here’s one of me and the head honcho!).

06 W&D MeetUp

Now it was officially time to do some running!   We were split into two groups, straight running and the other group was Run/Walk (Jeff Galloway method).   We did one and ½ loops around World Showcase and then headed to the big fountain in Future World for a group photo (BIG GROUP!!!)

07 W&D MeetUp

Well, the clock was about to strike midnight…and what does one do during the Wine & Dine half weekend at midnight?  Have a champagne toast!

08 W&D MeetUp

Overall, it was a great meet up, got to meet some great people and see old friends, and spark the flame for the weekend!    runDisney meet ups are amazing!  If you ever have the lucky opportunity to attend one, get pumped for some fun and surprises!!!    Cheers!

A Royal runDisney Meet Up!

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend is full of tutus, tiaras and sparkle unlike any other race out there.  With all of these runDisney fanatics in one place (myself included), it’s no surprise that the coveted runDisney meet up/ tweet up was a seriously hot ticket.  So hot in fact, the Disney Parks Blog was brought to a screeching halt a week before the event!  I mean it’s understandable, right?  Where else can you run through an empty Disney park being led by some seriously elite runners?!

The meet up began at 6:30 am with check-in at the entrance to Epcot.  I love this time of day at Walt Disney World.  Everything is quiet, peaceful and just coming to life…a stark difference from the throngs of people that would be arriving in a few short hours.

Good Morning Epcot!

Good Morning Epcot!

5K & Half Marathon Finish Lines!

5K & Half Marathon Finish Lines!

We all checked in, signed our lives away to Disney waivers and were given a runDisney t-shirt.  I LOVE these shirts…the women’s cut is great!

Amanda & I in runDisney Gear

Amanda & I in runDisney Gear

What a gorgeous morning, despite the insane humidity.  There is something different about Florida skies that we just don’t have up here in Connecticut.  The clouds are breathtaking…what a treat!

SE Sky

Before the morning started, we had some time to chat with the runDisney folks, celebrities and fellow runners.  It was great to see a lot of new faces at the meet up and also reunite with some old friends from past races.

Me & Tony from Pacebook Running Club

Me & Tony from Pacebook Running Club

Amanda, Susan and I Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Amanda, Susan and I
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Group Shot

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Before I knew it, it was 7:00 am and we were ready to start our run!  We were briefed by the runDisney team on the course, a 3-mile run around World Showcase and Crescent Lake finishing in the Germany pavilion.

SE_Bob

Tony_Start

There were two groups that went out.  The first was a faster group keeping a 9 minute mile pace and led by reigning Princess Half Marathon champion Rachel Booth.  I’m nowhere near fast enough to keep up with that crew, so I decided to stick with the group led by Jeff Galloway.  I’m a huge fan of Jeff’s, so any chance I get to run with him I will.  Plus, the 30 sec run/ 30 sec walk intervals are more my speed.

We went through Future World and clockwise around World Showcase Lagoon…and look we saw some Princesses along the way!

Run_1

Future World

Run_2

Norway

Snow White in Germany!

Snow White in Germany!

When we reached the International Gateway, we headed out towards the Boardwalk Resort and around Crescent Lake.  This is a gorgeous area for a morning run, but running around there was bringing back some painful memories of the Walt Disney World Marathon a few weeks prior!

We entered back into Epcot and circled back towards Germany where a nice breakfast (they still need some healthier options!) and some much needed cold water were waiting for us.  We were welcomed by Bob Hitchcock and Faron Kelly of runDisney who told us a bit about the history of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon and gave us ladies some serious props for making running so popular.  Did you know that this race has grown from 7,000 runners in 2009 to 27,000 in 2013?!?  Go ladies!

Bob Hitchcock

Bob Hitchcock

Faron Kelly

Faron Kelly

Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus, official nutritionist for runDisney, took the stage next to give us some helpful tips for the race.  A heat advisory had been issued for the weekend and they helped prepare us for dealing with that, including proper nutrition, hydration and pace.  Rachel Booth, two time Disneyland Half Marathon winner and reigning Princess Half Marathon winner, also made a brief appearance.  What an amazing athlete!!

Tara Gidus & Jeff Galloway  Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Tara Gidus & Jeff Galloway
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Rachel Booth

Rachel Booth

Next up were the truly inspirational moments of the morning.  Ali Vincent, the first female winner of The Biggest Loser, spoke about her weight loss journey and how adopting a healthy lifestyles completely changed her life.  She had a few gym towels to give away and had a very unique way of choosing who received them.  She asked everyone who had ever lost weight to raise their hands and then asked people to put down their hands based on how much weight they had lost, getting up to 100 pounds.  It was quite amazing to see how many people had lost significant amounts of weight and be able to congratulate them for their accomplishment.

Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent

Most inspiring of all was April Holmes.  Wow…just wow.  After a train accident 12 years ago resulted in April losing her left leg below the knee, she set out to be the fastest Paralympic athlete in the world and accomplished that many times over.  April has won numerous gold medals in the Paralympic Games in both 2008 and 2012 and continues to break World Records every year.  Her story of loss and overcoming the odds almost brought me to tears and motivated me to try and be better in everything I do.  She left us with this: “Your gold medal comes from being better than you were yesterday.”  From now on when I’m having a tough day, I will think of April and her strength.  Simply amazing.

April Holmes

April Holmes

The final presentation was from the folks over at Senses Spa, which recently opened at the Grand Floridian Resort.  They talked about various recovery techniques including foam rolling and massage.  Two lucky attendees were chosen for the demos!

Massage Demo

Massage Demo

Now it wouldn’t be a runDisney event without some giveaways.  The folks at New Balance were on hand to talk about the success of the new runDisney shoes that debuted over Marathon Weekend and they gave away a few pairs!  Look who chose the winners…Sean Astin!

Sean Astin

Goonies Never Say Die!

New Balance assured everyone that there would be plenty of shoes at the Expo that weekend, but encouraged people to get over there early just in case certain sizes sold out.  Good advice because the Expo was CRAZY!  More on that later…

The meet up wrapped up with an appearance by none other than Princess Minnie!  I mean obviously she would be there.  We also found out that is was Sean Astin’s birthday, so everyone joined in to sing to him!

Minnie & Bob

Happy Birthday Sean!

Happy Birthday Sean!

We all headed outside and were given some great giveaways of H2O products, a water bottle and other small tokens from the sponsors.  Princess Minnie and a few other Disney princesses were waiting for us for exclusive photo ops…score!  Minnie and I shared a few laughs and we’re now BFF.  Would you expect anything less from me?  The meaning of Sarah is Princess after all 🙂

Besties!

Besties!

S A & Minnie

The 3 Best Girlfriends!

Rapunzel!

Rapunzel!

Snow White confirmed the Dwarfs were hard at work in the mines...

Snow White confirmed the Dwarfs were hard at work in the mines…

And that concludes another magical runDisney meet up.  These events are so fun and give you a great opportunity to learn more about runDisney and get inspired to become a better athlete!  If you are interested in attending one of these meet ups, watch the Disney Parks Blog for an announcement about a week before any runDisney race weekend.  The competition is fierce, so you’ve got to be quick!  Hope to see you at the next event 🙂

 

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.

A RAD Wine & Dine Meet Up!

The Wine & Dine Half Marathon only 5 days away and a ton of us runDisney fanatics will be descending upon the World.  So let’s all get together for a Running at Disney Meet Up!  Here are the details:

Running at Disney Meet Up

Friday, November 9, 2012

1:00 pm

Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

Outside Seashore Sweets 

Stop by, say hi and chat with your fellow runners.  I’ve been getting to know so many of you though the blog and other social media this year and I would LOVE to be able to meet you in person.  And look what I just got…Running at Disney Bondi Bands!!  5 lucky readers will have a chance to win one at the meet up…you know you want one 🙂

RAD Bondi Bands!

And of course there are RAD buttons for everyone 🙂

Visit the Running at Disney Facebook page and RSVP for the meet up here.  I hope to see you there!

Pre-Race Stress Leading to Vacation Bliss (Hopefully)

For some reason, my life becomes incredibly hectic prior to my races.  For my last half marathon in June, the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, I had a 3-day conference I was coordinating right before the race, which was insanely stressful and exhausting.

This week has been no different.  I have the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler coming up on Saturday and this week has been less than simple.  Not only have I been dealing with my health issues of having a UC flare, but I had to travel overnight to Boston this week for a planning meeting on that same conference!  Maybe this conference is trying to give me a sign…  Also, my ongoing issue of procrastination as led me to me driving all over the state of CT (thankfully it’s a small state) to pick up business cards, buttons and everything else I need for the trip.  Oh…did you hear there will be buttons?? 🙂

So that brings me to now.  Thankfully, I’ve gotten this packing thing down for my Disney trips, but it still stresses me out because I’m not the best traveler.  I’m also one of those people who has to bring EVERYTHING with me…this drives B nuts.  These are just my things.

Now if I can fit all of this into my suitcases, I will be MCO bound in the morning.  The next few days are jam packed with events, meet-ups, food and most importantly running!!  You’ll be able to find me all of the World this weekend and I would love to meet everyone who will be down for an event.

I will be at the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run Saturday morning to cheer everyone on.  Keep an eye out for the Be Our Guest Podcast Chear Squad signs.  Then Saturday afternoon is the big Running at Disney Meet Up!!  We’ll be meeting in the outdoor seating area of The Liberty Inn of the America Pavilion at 2:00 pm.  Not only will you get to meet a ton of fellow runDisney enthusiasts and grab your RAD swag, but we will also be joined by my friend Carrie from Kingdom Magic Vacations who will have information on how you can win $100 off your next Disney vacation!  Then we’ll finish off the day with the main event…The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler!!  Just a little hint, but I will be wearing zebra stripes 🙂  I’m starting in Corral C, so keep an eye out for my stripes if you’re around.

Safe travels to everyone making the trek to WDW and I can’t wait to say hi soon!