Posts Tagged by spaceship earth

Sticking Together for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Talk of rain began in the days leading up to Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. There is always afternoon rain in Orlando as the 4:00 pm thunderstorms roll through, so I didn’t think much of it at first. However once race week rolled around, the sense of dread started to set in. It was looking more and more like the rain was going to arrive late Saturday night and on through Sunday morning. This was not just a passing storm…

Fun fact…I have never ran in the rain before. Maybe through a few sprinkles on a training run, but for no longer than 3 miles or so. Another fun fact…I hate having wet shoes. This is one of the reasons I’ve never done a Warrior Dash, Spartan Race or similar mud-themed race. Wet shoes = blisters and an unpleasant time.  Wait…are those really FUN facts?? Sigh…

So I arrived on Thursday before the race and enjoyed all things Food & Wine and even went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time.  I was having a blast…life was grand!!  Then I woke up Saturday morning to grey skies and a not so promising weather forecast.  I can’t say I was thrilled about the race at this point, but I was just going to make the best of it. I knew that I had a bunch of friends that were going to be in corral H with me so my new goal was to get through it with as many laughs along the way as possible.

My running buddy Amanda and I decided that since the rain was imminent our best bet would be to leave her car at Epcot so we could make a quick exit after the race incase we were soaked. We were able to park close enough to the finish line (or so we thought) that I left my gEAR bag in the car instead of schlepping it all the way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to check it. So we boarded the buses to the starting line and our journey began…

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Since we hit quite a bit of traffic on the way over, we didn’t have much time to check out all the pre-race festivities, but I did notice that they made some nice additions this year. There were quite a few concessions available including a beer cart for the spectators. I actually found that to be a cruel joke because I had to run 13.1 miles to get my beer, but here was a cart right at the start line!

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There were also quite a few picnic tables set up which was a nice alternative to sitting in the damp grass.

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However our friends Kevin and Carrie decided to sit in the grass because they were sporting the trendy look of the day…trash bag chic.

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After a quick stop at the sea of porta potties and some hugs and well wishes from friends, it was time to head into the corrals.

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Photo Credit: Amanda Tinney

It was great to see that even with the threat of rain, the spirit of many of the runners was still going strong. There were tons of great costumes around and many were themed around the theme of the race, food and wine! Here is my favorite…she’s a Dole Whip!!

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The sprinkles started around 15 minutes before the start of the race so out came the ponchos and ziplock bags.  Earlier that day we took a trip to Walgreens to stock up cheap ponchos.  Well worth the trip off property to grab them for $1.49 instead of spending almost $10 for a Disney poncho.  You won’t feel bad tossing it if you need to either.

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Hey did you know that you can use your iPhone through a ziplock bag??  It was a HUGE revelation among the group…minds were blown.

Since we were in corral H, we didn’t actual get going until about 30 minutes after the start of the race.  The rain was turning into more than just a sprinkle at this point and the winds were picking up so we were all anxious to get going.  This is the first runDisney race that I didn’t get photos or video of the start line because of the rain, but I was happy to see that each corral was still getting a spectacular fireworks show! Once we got going I couldn’t help but laugh at how loud this race was due to the noise from all the ponchos and garbage bags moving around 🙂  I ditched my poncho after the first mile as it was making me quite warm, but this was something I would come to regret later.

There were 6 of us who decided we were going to stay together and run through the suck…remember the goal was laughter!  I had run this race with my friend Jim back in 2012 so I was happy he was in my corral again this year.  Unfortunately he was dealing with an injury and by mile 2 he encouraged us to just keep going after much protest.  Marc and Tiffany pulled ahead at some point and we lost them for a while, so Amanda, Charles and I trudged along to Animal Kingdom and we were actually making decent time when we hit the 5K mark.

By the time we got there, the rain was coming down hard.  The uneven terrain of the park was a bit treacherous and the paths were crowded due to all the construction going on.  This is also where I stepped in my first puddle…wet shoes, my favorite!  Blech.  When we left the park and made our way around the parking lot, all that was going through my head was “I’m COLD!”  Being soaking wet in the dark when it’s 58 and windy is not fun.  Here’s where I really regretting ditching that poncho.  I was hitting a low point and seriously considered stopping…but I just kept moving.

As we got close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the rain began to taper and I could feel my motivation coming back a bit.  We were more than halfway done and the best part of the course was coming up.  I couldn’t help but smile when I turned the corner to see one of my favorite sites, the Hollywood Tower Hotel!

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It seemed safe to take out my phone now and I was happy to get back to my usual habit of snapping tons of photos along the course.

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Just before we reached the Streets of America, I got a text from Tiffany asking where we were and to my surprise her and Marc were just ahead of us enjoying the Osborne lights!!  We were so happy to be reunited that we just had to dance it out and Marc got it on video 🙂

We all actually spend a good amount of time here and soaked it all in.  It seemed that a lot of other people were doing the same thing and enjoying the break in the rain.  I’m not a huge Christmas fan, but you can’t help but smile and be happy when surrounded by all of this.

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We were all feeling pretty beat up from being cold and wet so we just banded together to finish the race.  Oh what a welcome sight Spaceship Earth was….just beyond that was the finish line!

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This had been a mental and physical challenge from the moment we crossed that finish line, but it would’ve been much more difficult if we didn’t all stick together.  It was a great feeling to have this support team by my side and I think everyone felt the same way.  We all knew that we were going to cross that finish line together and we did it hand in hand 🙂

After the race I grabbed up a mylar blanket that the voluntEARs (BIG thanks to the voluntEARs the stuck it out in the rain for us!!) were oh so thankfully handing out and we made our way through the maze to get out. I also grabbed my free beer and we high tailed it to the car.  I was a bit disappointed to not go in and enjoy the Finish Line Party, but I was so wet, cold and tired that all I could think about was a hot shower and my comfy bed at the Waldorf.

This was my worst race time by A LOT and there were many times that I was cursing myself for doing it, but looking back now, I actually had a great time.  I have made so many wonderful friends and have great memories from my journeys running at Disney…this was just another one of those times.  I’m lucky enough to be able to complete these races and share these stories…there nothing bad about that.  Even with all the rain, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is still one of my favorite races and I hope to continue doing it for years to come.  I mean, who doesn’t like free beer after a race?! Cheers!

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Running Coast to Coast with Joe Quattrocchi

It’s time for the second installment of Running Coast to Coast!  This month Joe is here to share his experience as a new Disney runner, a first time marathoner and of course a first time Coast to Coaster!  Congrats on an awesome finish!

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Hey guys. My name is Joe Quattrocchi and I wanted to share with everyone my experience with completing the 2014 runDisney Coast to Coast challenge.

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This was my first year “Running at Disney” and the reason why I decided to start running at the Disney theme parks was to become a healthier person. I am a reformed cigarette smoker and quit smoking about four years ago. When I quit smoking, like most people who quit smoking, I gained some weight (about 25 pounds or so). I did not feel good about myself and for the first time in my life, I hit the 200 pound mark. This is when I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better and as someone who grew up going to Walt Disney World twice a year, what better place to sign up for a marathon and to get in shape and lose the weight than at Walt Disney World! So I decided to take the plunge, sign up, and start training for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. Not only did my journey to better health begin there, but also my passion for runDisney began.

I started my 19 week marathon training program that would lead me up to the WDW Marathon. Before I knew it, January 2014 was here, I was twenty five pounds lighter, and in the best shape I have been in a long time. I was ready. I had studied the course map, read every runDisney blog imaginable (Thanks RAD!), ordered books on Disney Marathons, listened to the Mickey Miles Podcast (Thanks Mike and Michelle!) for tips on Marathon weekend etc. I then arrived in Orlando and was ready to hit the expo. I was excited to pick up my race materials, marathon bib, take photos, and walk around the expo and take in all that marathon weekend had to offer. When I arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a feeling of excitement had overcome me that I had not experienced ever. I felt elite, like I was part of an exclusive club that I was going to have the privilege and honor of running in the Walt Disney World Marathon. This was a race that sells out so quickly and I was going to be a part of it. At the same time, immense jealousy plagued me as I saw the booths at the expo for the “Dopey” and “Coast to Coast” challenges. Thinking about how excited I was, I thought to myself, oh I got to do that next time!

Marathon morning came and you could not ask for better weather! It was a nice and cool 55 degrees with little humidity. I was in corral “E” and ready to take on 26.2 miles of magic that were in front of me. The countdown for the race started and one by one, each corral was released with a spectacular fireworks display. For lack of a better phrase, it was awesome, and I got Goosebumps as my corral was released. The miles ticked away quickly and before I knew it, I had arrived at the TTC and the first real sign of spectators. Then, we headed past the Contemporary Resort and hit the Magic Kingdom and Main Street U.S.A. Main Street was packed with spectators and as a Disney fan, it was everything you could imagine it could be.

The miles ticked away as we passed the Grand Floridian, Polynesian (where I got my picture with Lilo and Stitch), and headed to the rear of the Animal Kingdom. Running through Animal Kingdom was pretty cool and I was very tempted to jump on Expedition Everest for a quick ride, but decided against it! However, I did see a few runners take advantage of this perk! At this point, we were at the half marathon point (about 2 hours or so) and the crowds started to build everywhere. We then headed down Osceola Parkway which was probably the worst part of the race. This road was just extremely straight and just boring, but once we hit ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, I knew we were starting to make some head way towards the finish. A few miles in ESPN and back out to the roads and headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This was another favorite part of the race for me as by the time we hit the studios, it was open to the public for the day. It was amazing to run through the park as it was functioning at the same time. Some of my fondest memories of that race day was random guests cheering my name telling me to “keep going” and that “You (I) could do it!” Just amazing!

Lastly, we exited the studios, ran past the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts and entered EPCOT where we were down the home stretch. Many things were going through my mind at this time. I could not believe that I actually made it this far and that I was about to cross that finish line and complete a marathon. Secondly, I couldn’t believe that something that I had thought about as a kid, thinking it would be cool to run the Walt Disney World Marathon and not knowing anything about long distance running at all, was actually going to happen. Lastly, I didn’t want this journey to end. It was a year long journey from deciding to run the race, to signing up for the race, to training for the race, and then actually running the race. I didn’t want my runDisney journey to end.

Well, I finally saw Spaceship Earth and made that right turn and crossed the finish line in 4:56:19. It was an awesome feeling having that marathon medal put around my neck knowing I completed a goal I had set for myself. I wore that medal proudly for the rest of my trip. When I returned home, there was one thought I could not get out of my mind. That thought was, “I gotta go Coast to Coast!”

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I made my decision to sign up for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and the Dumbo Double Dare. (Actually signed up for the Disneyland 5K too!) As someone who had never been to Disneyland before, this was going to be exciting not only visiting the “Happiest place on Earth” for the first time, but also to get my coast to coast medal.  It was a long trip across the country (from New Jersey) to Anaheim but it was totally worth it. Arriving at the Disneyland Hotel and entering the convention center, the excitement which I experienced in January was present again. I picked up my Dumbo race packet and got my Coast to Coast Challenge wristband, I was ready to go. I then proceeded upstairs to the expo and began to wait online for official race merchandise. While standing in line, I began to strike up conversations with others who were also attempting to complete their coast to coast challenge. Everyone started to share stories of which race they completed in Florida and how that experience was. It was almost a bonding experience you were sharing with other runners that you just met but running the coast to coast challenge, it felt like you were on a different level as a Disney fan!

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The next few days passed very quickly as I completed the 5K on Friday and then the 10K race on Saturday. These races were a lot of fun, but I was looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon where I would not only complete my Coast to Coast Challenge, but also the Dumbo Double Dare as well.

Race day was finally here and I was all set to go. I started in the B Corral and was waiting for the start of the race. The command was given and we were off! One thing I was disappointed in was that there was no fireworks shot off at the start of the race ( I am sure it was because the hotel and neighborhoods are so close to the starting line). However, runDisney made up for it with lots of lights and lasers and goodies like that. The crowds were fairly good at the start and unlike Walt Disney World, we saw spectators right from the start of the race which was really a nice touch. We raced past the outer perimeter of the Disneyland and Paradise Pier Hotels and made a left hand turn into Disney’s California Adventure Park.   Like Walt Disney World races, you get a lot of backstage time in the theme parks and Disneyland was no different. We entered the rear of DCA and then ended up in “Cars Land” which was probably one of the hi-lights of the race.

Now, unlike a Walt Disney World race experience where essentially you are running completely on the property and are surrounded by areas where characters and entertainment are set up for you, in Disneyland, about mile 4.5 or so, you exit and hit the streets of Anaheim and head towards the Honda Center and Angels Stadium. Even though you are not in the parks and are not seeing any character stops for 8 miles or so, Disney has done a great job of organizing local car clubs, ethnic group performers, cheerleaders, and local bands to help entertain you while you run outside of the Disneyland property. Its not quite the same experience as Walt Disney World, but Disneyland does the best they can with what they have. This is one of the main reasons I think that there is and won’t be a full marathon at Disneyland. Just not enough room. As the end of the race approached, it was a real treat to run through Angels stadium and see literally thousands of people that were outside and inside the stadium and to watch yourself on the jumbotron of a Major League Baseball stadium was pretty cool. In Walt Disney World for the marathon, you also run through the baseball stadium at Wide World of Sports, but this was just way better.

Coming to the finish, we ran around the parking lot of the Disneyland Hotel and finished beside the hotel. The finish was good but not as good as the finish in Walt Disney World where you see Spaceship earth and hang a right hand turn and head home with large grandstands on both sides of you. But don’t get me wrong, every finish at a runDisney race is Magical!

Finally, heading through the finisher corral and getting that Coast to Coast medal was an amazing feeling. After just completing the half marathon and Dumbo Double Dare, I wasn’t even looking forward to those medals. The one that I had my eyes on was that beautiful Black and Gold medal depicting the partners statue.

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After receiving that medal, walking around the parks all day and striking up conversations not only with other Coast to Coast finishers but with other park guests in general comparing stories was a lot of fun. This experience is something that I definitely plan on doing again in the future and I hope that runDisney continues to grow this program!

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Joe Quattrocchi is from Riverdale, NJ and is a proud member of the Essex Running Club.  He has been visiting Walt Disney World for much of his life and has taken over 30 trips to the resort.  Having recently caught the runDisney bug, Joe is the running correspondent for the ResortLoop.com Podcast and has recently joined the Mickey Milers.  He is now registered for the 2015 Dopey Challenge and you can follow along with his racing adventures on Twitter and Instagram!

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Have you completed the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge?  Want to share your experience?  Send me an email to sarah@runningatdisney.com to be featured on an upcoming Running Coast to Coast!!

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RAD Reads and Weekly Review: October 14, 2012

Whoa, RAD Reads & my Weekly Review have been on an unplanned hiatus for 2 weeks.  Send me to Walt Disney World and my schedule gets thrown all out of whack.  I was busy doing this:

Playing Checkers with B in the Future!

And this:

Having beer samplers with my girls Leslie & Amanda at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!

I fell WAY behind on my blog reading while I was away, but I think I’m now caught up for the most part.  I don’t know about you, but I always fall into a post WDW funk after I get back from a trip.  Keeping up with all the great Disney bloggers out there helps fill that void, which has been so true this past week.    

So what a whirlwind, these past few weeks have been!  Hopefully you’ve read my recaps on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend so far.  I’ve covered the race, the expo and post-race snacks.  I’ve also talked about it on WDW for Grownups this week!  I’ll have a spectators view from the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run coming up soon, so stay tuned for that.  runDisney race season has officially began so I’ve been super busy over here at RAD.  But I love bringing you all of this information and I hope you’re enjoying it as well.  The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is now less than a month away and I will be back in WDW bringing you full coverage of that event…can’t wait!

I also want to take a moment to say how thankful I am to have met so many of you while I was down in WDW for the Tower of Terror race.  All of you Disney runners are so inspiring to me and I was so honored to be able to chat with you even for just a few minutes.  Big hugs to Kim who absolutely made my day when I ran into her on the boat from Epcot to the Boardwalk…good luck on your upcoming marathon!

Ok enough gushing…now on to some RAD Reads for the week!

Running & Fitness Posts
We Run Disney has some great tips for running safely among cars, trucks and dogs…oh my!  

Meals & Moves gives a great recap of Tough Mudder.  This event still looks insane to me, but maybe one day I will take the plunge!

Peace, Love & Oats finished the Chicago Marathon last weekend.  Congrats on completing your first marathon…very inspiring!

Running Toward the Prize has a confession this week…Megan wrote a book!  It’s the Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World!  I can’t wait to check this one out.

Disney Posts
Big news out of WDW this week is the soft opening of New Fantasyland.  Here are some great posts covering the event:

DaMouse once again delivers stunning photographs, this time of the New Fantasyland!  Make sure to click through to the multiple parts covering the event.

Sparkly Ever After also shares some great photos and details from New Fantasyland’s First Day!

Disney Food Blog gives us an update on all of the food in New Fantasyland!!  OMG I can’t wait to eat one of those pork shanks!

Ok…now let’s move on to other fun Disney info:

Disney Every Day visits the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and attended a Modern Mixology seminar before hanging out with some celebrity chefs…fun!

Imagineering Disney takes an awesome trip back to the 90s through the covers of Disney Adventures magazine.  My favorite has to be Joey Lawrence…or maybe M.C. Hammer.  Tough decision!

Mouse on the Mind offers some helpful tips when bringing a Disney skeptic to the World.  We all know these people, let’s help bring them to the “mouse-side” as Melissa says 🙂

Team Studios Central conquered the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and got some special medals along the way!

Travel with Rick has been putting out daily videos from Epcot’s 2012 Food & Wine Festival.  These are a great way to visit the festival from home or plan your upcoming trip.  Today Rick takes us to Japan with a very special guest…ME!

Speaking of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, make sure to get your copy of the DFB Mini-Guide to the Festival to plan your visit so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things the festival has to offer!

Weekly Review
I don’t know about you, but for me, getting back into an exercise routine after a vacation is SO DAMN HARD!  I hadn’t been to CrossFit for almost 2 weeks and I have to admit that I was really nervous to return.  Would I forget how to do everything?  Have I lost my stamina from a week of overindulgence?  I’m happy to report that all of that apprehension was for naught and I kicked ass this week.  3 days in a row of CrossFit followed by a 10-mile run this weekend…HOLLA!  (Did I really just say that?!)  Oh and let’s not forget about my 5K walk today for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer!  More to come on that….

So here you have my full of my week in training and I’m pretty proud of it. To see my full WODs, head over to my page on dailymile.

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: CrossFit – 1 hour  – Single leg dead lifts, hang power cleans, push presses, tabata pushups
Wednesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Lots of amrap (2/3 mile running)
Thursday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Power cleans & 1.25 miles running
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10 mile run

I still can’t say enough good things about CrossFit.  It has not only increased my endurance and strength overall, but it has made me more confident about what I can accomplish.  I know I’ve said this before, but I NEVER in my wildest dreams imagined I would lift a barbell…let alone clean a 73 pound barbell!  Who am I?!?!  Yes, putting in those miles is essential to race training, but I have experienced first hand the benefits that cross training has, so don’t forget about that in your race training.

Quick tidbit from today’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in New Haven: AWESOME!  It was amazing to see so many survivors and supporters out there.  About 3,000 people attended the event and over $88,000 was raised!  I’m so happy that B and I got to Make Strides for my Mom today!!  I’ll have a full report tomorrow, but here are a few photos for now.

Ok now on to some fun giveaway news!

This week I held a giveaway for ENERGYbits and I want to thank you all for participating!  And now, the big winner is:

Matt N.  

Matt, I hope you enjoy your bits and I hope you come back and let us know what you thought of the product!  If you’re interested in trying ENERGYbits for yourself you, use the promo code BLOG when you checkout to receive a 10% discount.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

There’s another giveaway going on this week that you might not be aware of…Carrie’s Getaways is giving away a Disney prize pack that includes a vinylmation keychain, Disney pins and lanyards!  You have until Friday to enter this awesome giveaway.  Here’s how:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well that’s about it!  I hope you have a fun week…make it a great one!