Posts Tagged by tara gidus

On The Road To Disney Parks: runDisney Visits Atlanta!

I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Be Our Guest Podcast for at least 4 years now.  Not only is the show a great way to fill that Disney void between trips, but the community is like nothing else!  Everyone is beyond friendly and supportive, and there are a bunch of runners in the community as well!  So when I saw that one of the hosts of the show, Rikki Niblett, was lucky enough to get into the first runDisney Meet Up on the road in Atlanta, I reached out to her to see if she’d cover the event for RAD.  I’m so glad she agreed because she wrote up this awesome recap of the event.  This got me so excited for future runDisney events around the country!  Take it away Rikki!

I am not a runner.  I don’t pretend to be.  Running has never been something that I’ve been interested in.  Matter of fact, I’ve always said that I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.  At Disney races, I’ve always been a member of the chEAR squad. I love to support the real runners, but that’s as far as I like to take things.  (Heck, I even married a runner and while he was out doing “fun” runs around the neighborhood, I would sit at home happily on the couch with my iPad in my hands and the TV on.)

So, I bet you’re asking yourself…how did this non-runner get signed up to attend the first stop in the runDisney On The Road To Disney Parks Atlanta meet up?

For that story, we have to go back two years ago, back to 2011.  You see, a friend of mine’s daughter was supposed to run the (then) Disney Halloween 5K, which was tied to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  With no training, what-so-ever, I said I would run it, did so, and thus started my running relationship with runDisney.

2011 Race

I hadn’t done a race since then, at least until this past July.  My best friends are all runDisney participants, so when we were all onboard the Disney Dream, they wanted to run the Castaway Cay 5k.  I begrudgingly got up early to go run around the island.  Run…heck…I walked it…came in last, but I still got my medal!  So, here’s this non-runner that’s now two runDisney events.

Castaway Cay 5k

Which brings me to a couple of weeks ago.  My one bestie told me that she’d seen that Disney was going to bring their first ever On The Road To Disney Parks events to my city, Atlanta!  I decided to stalk the website with every intention of just signing up my husband.  Once we sent his email off to be entered to be chosen for the event, I thought about it and decided…you know…it’s only two miles…I’d just done three a couple of months ago…I should sign up too.  So, I did.

A few hours later, the list of names was announced and we were both on it.  Which is when panic mode set it.  Um…I was going to have to do this two mile fun run.

So, I logged onto my Pinterest account where I’d recently and ironically saved information on the Couch To 5k method.  I better start “practicing,” as I like to call it.  So, out I went, every day for practice runs.  I went from someone who could barely run 2 minutes to being able to get in 7 full minutes of running right before the event took place!  I’d officially run a little over a mile in my neighborhood during my practices and…I was kind of liking it.  I was ready for the event!


The On the Road To Disney Parks event took place on Saturday, November 16.  My husband and I got super up early and drove down to Turner Field, where the Atlanta Braves play.  Check in started at 6:15 am and as soon as we walked in, we could see the large runDisney logo emblazoned on the video screen.  We checked in, got our shirts with the awesome logo on the back and waited, snapping pictures and meeting up with friends, both new and old.


The event started off with an introduction from Michael Cain, who represented the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Then we learned about Good Form Running from Brian with New Balance.  After that, Mickey Mouse came out to help cheer us on as it was now time to run!

Mickey's Here to ChEAR!

Mickey’s Here to ChEAR!

They split us up into two groups.  Group one was full of the runners, where as group two would be going out with Mr. Jeff Galloway himself to try out the 20/20 running method.  (Running for 20 seconds/walking for 20 seconds.)  I of course, chose the Galloway method, since I certainly couldn’t run the whole time.  Group two would also feature the 2008/2012 British Olympian Barbara Parker! (Who I kind of ran with for a few minutes during the event…how cool?  I can now say that I’ve run with an Olympian!)

Running With Jeff Galloway ©Disney

Running with Jeff Galloway!

I will admit, personally, this fun run was really hard for me.  It could be because of a couple of reasons.  One was that I’d never trained like that, so it was difficult for me to get a handle on it.  The second reason why I had a hard time doing the 20/20 method is because the majority of the runners participating in the event were also doing this method.  This meant that there was quite a large crowd all running together and by the time the front runners were starting running, we were just starting to walk…it was incredibly difficult to keep the correct pace.  I’m not knocking the method.  I’m sure it’s a wonderful one to use.  But for me, a new runner, it was incredibly difficult to get the hang of.  (Maybe I need to go outside and practice with it around my neighborhood to get the real sense of how it’s supposed to work.)

Despite how hard the running ended up being for me, I had an absolute blast!  It was kind of a chilly and foggy morning, but none of that mattered once we got on the road!  We started by running through the streets of Atlanta, going through a portion of the area that was used in the 1996 Olympics and past the Olympic Rings (with an Olympian!  Crazy!).  We then made it to the Capitol building, running all around it, then circling back to Turner Field.


running through rings

Once we made it into Braves country, we started to run inside the stadium, through the back tunnels.  This was fun!  Then, we turned a corner and saw the light, literally, as we could see our path lead us to the field.  Once we got on the field, we started taking photos in the dugout (I’m a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan, so I made a joke about the Braves postseason run…though can’t say we’re the champions either…) and then we got to meet up with Miss Minnie Mouse herself.

in the dugout

with Minnie

We ran the rest of the way, around the warning track and made our way back to the main entryway for the park.  Here, runDisney had a fantastic breakfast for us that featured yogurt, cereal, a spinach and egg quiche, coffee, fruit, and water.

Once settled in, the guest speakers series started.  First off, Tammy Jacobson, marketing area manager for runDisney talked about a new hashtag that will be introduced called #WhyIRunDisney.  People will be encouraged to submit their own stories of why they run Disney and they may just want to share your story.

Jeff Galloway then discussed his run/walk method and gave encouragement that truly anyone can run in the big races.  Diet Diva Tara, runDisney’s nutritionist, got on stage to discuss proper nutrition and the importance of fueling up for runners.  She talked about how gaining wait while training can happen if you over indulge because you know you ran.

Diet Diva Tara

Diet Diva Tara

After that was the part that most of the crowd was excited for…the representatives from New Balance.  While they didn’t show the actual shoe, they did give us a sneak peek at which Disney character would be featured on the heel.  (Sorcerer Mickey will be on the men’s version, and pretty in pink Minnie will be on the women’s option.)  The shoes will be the same model, but an updated version of the 360.  Also announced was that there would be a kids shoe that would correspond with the adult version.

2014 Men's Shoe Design

2014 Men’s Shoe Design

2014 Women's Shoe Design

2014 Women’s Shoe Design

Olympian Barbara Parker then got up and spoke about what it’s like to train for the Olympics and she also announced that she was pregnant during the race that day.  She shared a few tips on how to properly run while expecting.

Barbara Parker & New Balance

Olympian Barbara Parker & New Balance

Finally, from Runner’s World, Warren Greene discussed that they are bringing back their challenge to the 2015 runDisney events.

Warren Greene from Runner's World

Warren Greene from Runner’s World

We all then got to take photos with Mickey and Minnie together!  Once it was over, we received some awesome swag bags, with a water bottle, Cliff and Luna bars, a gift card for Puma, and more.

With Mickey and Minnie

It was a truly awesome event that I am so, so glad I got to participate in.  If one of the One The Road To Disney Parks events comes near you, I strongly suggest you try to sign up!  They did a phenomenal job.

Personally, I believe I am living proof of what runDisney’s mantra is.  That anyone can run.  While I still wouldn’t call myself a runner, I have to say, I am excited to get out and go running now.  I can’t say that I’ll be doing the next Disney race I can sign up for, but I can say that I’m ready to get more active, a Disney race may be in the cards though.  You never know.  As for right now, I think I’m going to head for a run.  Thanks runDisney!  You officially worked your magic on me!

Thanks so much Rikki for this great recap!  I love to hear when someone else gets inspired to get out there and get fit from a runDisney event…that’s what it’s all about!

Where do you want to see the next On The Road To Disney Parks event ?

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!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Speaker Series

Something I look forward to during every race weekend are the speakers at the Health & Fitness Expo.  Marathon Weekend has a phenomenal line up of speakers this year and I wish I could just sit there all day and listen to them.  But there is a lot going on that weekend so I thought I would list the speakers here so you (and I) could catch those presentations that really resonate with us!


Individual Presenters

beardsley_beach_thumbDick Beardsley, Athlete, TV Host & Motivational Speaker
Against The Wind
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:00 am
Dick will inspire and motivate you as he shares his surprising story of growth, reaching the pinnacle of running and overcoming challenges. Dick’s message is not just for runners and his personable style and sense of humor will capture your attention.

Panel of Past & Present Boston Marathon Leaders of the Pack
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Never before outside of Boston have so many unique and gifted Boston Marathon competitors been brought into a discussion on one panel. You’re not going to want to miss this!

Jeff GallowayJeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant
Strong to the Finish
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 9:15 am
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Jeff will reveal tips from his training programs that have helped thousands of runners stay injury-free and enjoy the celebration afterward!

The Best Running Coach’s National Panel!
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm
You’ve read their books, tried their training programs…now see them in person and bring your questions!

Pacing and Motivation
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Jeff will discuss proven techniques that have helped thousands of runners – at all levels – enjoy their events, every year. Bring your questions!

Tara GidusTara Gidus, Official runDisney Nutritionist
Nutrition for Runners
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:00 am
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:15 am
Tara is a nationally recognized expert in sports nutrition and the Team Dietician for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. She is the perfect person to provide last minute nutrition tips before your race because good nutrition is vital to sports performance!

Keith & Kevin Hanson, Coaches, Hanson-Brooks Olympic Distance Project
Hanson-Brooks Olympic Distance Project
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Kevin and Keith will introduce you to their team members of the Hanson-Brooks Olympic Distance Project, the remarkable team from Michigan that forms the nucleus of Hanson-Brooks development squad.

Lori Tubbs, Sports Dietician, Clif Bar Pace Team, 2X Ironman and 60+ Marathon Finisher
Improve your Athletic Performance with a Performance Nutrition Plan
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Wondering how you can refine and define your optimal nutrition plan? This is your chance to get the inside secrets to crafting your best nutrition schedule. Let Lori help re-write your path to nutritional success!


The Runner’s Studio
Moderator Creigh Kelley will interview this amazing group of elite runners!

thebostonwranglermay500_0Dave McGillivray, BAA Boston Race Director, Author, Athlete and Philanthropist
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Creigh will interview this quiet and inspiring leader in the world of distance running. Prepare to be excited as you discover how he brought together inspiration, perspiration and determination to make a difference in thousands of lives across the United States!

341px-Frank_ShorterFrank Shorter, Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist, TV Commentator and leader of the Sport of Running
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Creigh will visit with Frank and explore his life as depicted in the heartfelt story described in the October ‘11 issue of Runner’s World Magazine. You know Frank as the father of the modern running boom and now you’ll discover what drove Frank to greatness!

bartyassoprofile-300x200Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer, Runner’s World Magazine
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:00 am
Creigh will visit with Bart and explore his life as an athlete (competed on all seven continents, raced Death Valley and been chased by a rhino), as an author (My Life On The Run) and as a coach (one of the principal designers of the 16-week training plan for the Runner’s World Challenge), a special highlight of the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend!


Panel Discussions

Last Minute Tips & Information for Runners & Spectators

  • Jon Hughes, Race Director,
  • Tom Ward, Course Director,
  • Mary Ancona, Spectator Advisor

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm
Jon, Tom and Mary will provide helpful last minute tips and race information for both runners and spectators including a course review and insightful tips for spectators. A question and answer session will be included.

Team in Training

  • John Bingham, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society National Spokesperson
  • Jenny Hadfield, National Coach

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm
John will share his fascinating experiences gathered throughout his travels with Team In Training®, while Coach Jenny Hadfield will talk about last minute tips on how to best prepare for your race.

The Olympic Podium

  • Frank Shorter, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Jim Ryun, Olympic Silver Medalist

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Meet the superstars of our sport! What was it like to successfully represent your country on the biggest sporting platform in the world? This is your chance to visit in person with these sensational leaders in our sport!

The Physical and Mental Benefits of Staying Fit

  • Eddie Mason, NY Jets & Washington Redskins linebacker, 8 years in NFL, 5x Nominee for Special Teams Pro Bowl
  • Don Davey, Green Bay Packers & Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle, 9 years NFL, 4x Academic All -American
  • Dr. Tony Massey, Behavioral Specialist, Cigna
  • Mark Marsters, Senior VP, Cigna, Moderator

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 11:00 am
How can the NFL and long distance running be in the same sentence? Bring your questions as Mark Marsters, senior vice president of Cigna’s Disability Operations spotlights the surprising similarities between these two seemingly dissimilar groups of athletes! Like runners, NFL athletes follow a pre-season, during season and post-season regimen. Mental preparation, training and diet are just three of the topics Mark will explore!

The Best Running Coach’s National Panel!

  • Jeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant
  • Jenny Hadfield, Columnist for Women’s Running Magazine and Coach
  • Keith Brantly, 1996 Marathon Olympian, 7x National Road Racing Champion and Coach
  • Jon Sinclair, Ranked by Runner’s World Magazine as the “Best Road Racer in the World for a Decade!” and Coach
  • Kim Jones, 3x World USA World Marathon Championship Team and Coach
  • Kevin Hanson, Brooks-Hanson Olympic Development Coach

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm
You’ve read their books, tried their training programs…now see them in person and bring your questions!

Panel of Past & Present Boston Marathon Leaders of the Pack

  • Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson , Kim Jones, Greg Meyer, Desiree Davila, Dick Beardsley
  • Dave McGillivray, BAA Boston Marathon Race Director, Moderator

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Never before outside of Boston have so many unique and gifted Boston Marathon competitors been brought into a discussion on one panel. You’re not going to want to miss this!
The Olympic Dream: From the Debut of the Women’s Olympic Marathon to Present

  • Joan Benoit Samuelson, USA Olympic Gold medalist “and Former Marathon World Record Holder
  • Suzy Favor-Hamilton, USA 3x Olympian and former USA Record holder 1000M and 800M
  • Desiree Davila, USA 2012 Marathon Olympian and runner-up 2011 BAA Boston Marathon
  • Janet Bawcom, USA 2012 10,000M Olympian

Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 11:00 am
Meet the women who fought through the “impossible” Olympic barrier in 1984 and the present elite contenders from the United States. Explore what it takes to get there and stay in the top echelon of world class competition!

Giving Back to your Community & Society: Impacting your Overall Health & Well-Being

  • Eddie Mason, NY Jets & Washington Redskins linebacker, 8 years in NFL, 5x Nominee for Special Teams Pro Bowl
  • Don Davey, Green Bay Packers & Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle, 9 years NFL, 4x Academic All -American
  • Dr. Tony Massey, Behavioral Specialist, Cigna
  • Mark Marsters, Senior VP, Cigna, Moderator

Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm
NFL players and long distance runners share common ground – giving back through charities! From the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to NFL Play 60, both groups arrive at the same finish line. Learn why this is essential to reaching your full potential on and off the field and race course. Discover how both have reached out to “pay it forward”!

Panel of Amazing Road Racing Champions

  • Kim Jones, 3x World Marathon Team, top 3 New York, Boston & Berlin Marathons, Author & Coach
  • Desiree Davila, 2012 US Olympian, and runner-up 2011 BAA Boston Marathon
  • Janet Bawcom, 2012 US Olympian
  • Bill Rodgers, 1976 US Olympian, 3x New York & Boston Marathon Champion
  • Jon Sinclair, Former US Champion, Author and Coach
  • Greg Meyer, Former 15K and 10M World Record Holder, Former National Record Holder in 10 Events
  • Keith Brantly, 1996 Marathon Olympian and 7x National Road Racing Champion
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson, USA, Olympic Gold medalist and Former Marathon World Record Holder

Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Adding up their outright victories, these athletes have beaten the best of the best at over 100 world class road races. Learn their secrets to success and discover what common traits they share and what makes each athlete unique.


Unfortunately, I don’t get in until Thursday evening, so I will miss some of the great speakers that day. I was looking forward to Lori Tubbs. I think I’m going to try to catch the 2 panels on Friday: The Physical and Mental Benefits of Staying Fit and The Best Running Coach’s National Panel. Keep in mind that the presentations will take place in HP Field House where packet pick-up is, not in the Josten’s Center where it usually is.

For more information on the events at the Health & Fitness Expo, take a look at the official race program here!

What presentations are you looking forward to?

Wine & Dine Half Marathon runDisney Meet Up

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Well the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend definitely lived up to all of my expectations!  This was by far the best race weekend I have attended so far.  The expo was great, the race was exciting, and the after party was a ton of fun!  More to come on all of that later…  Now, let’s start with a recap of the amazing runDisney meetup I was invited to attend on Friday.

The meetup was held in Epcot and it was early.  My roomie (and partner in crime) for the weekend, Amanda from Disney Every Day, and I made our way over to the park just as the sun was coming up and got to see this amazing site…

There were about 40 people in attendance, along with a few runDisney folks and some special guests.  We all checked in, got our awesome runDisney shirts and got to know each other a bit.  It was great to finally meet so many fellow runners that I have been talking to through social media for so long!

runDisney fans ready to run!

Amanda & I
Photo Courtesy of Disney Every Day

Now it was off to run around Epcot!!  Instructions were given out by the runDisney team and we were told that there would be two groups taking off to run the 1.7 loop.  The first would be the super fast runners (clearly not me), who would be  running the entire time at a 9-10 minute per mile pace.  Leading that group would be Anton Van Zyl, two time winner of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  The next group would be led by Jeff Galloway and using his run-walk-run method…definitely more my style.

After the first group left, we were off!  It was really neat to have Epcot all to ourselves just as it was waking up.  Our group did a 30 second run/ 30 second walk with Jeff Galloway leading the charge.  And look who we met along the way…

Runner Mickey!

From Future World, we headed into World Showcase and went clockwise around the lagoon.  We did one full loop and met up with the other group back in Germany.

Approaching China

Good Morning Epcot!

Arriving in Germany

Once we all got to Germany, we went into Biergarten for a continental breakfast and some really great presentations!  I had never been inside Biergarten, so I was stoked about that.  it was also nice to share those big tables with friends and fellow runners instead of with strangers eating sausage…just sayin.

runDisney Presenters: Bob Hitchcock, Faren Kelly, Jeff Galloway & Tara Gidus

Bob Hitchcock and Faren Kelly of runDisney both welcomed us to the event and talked about the evolution of runDisney over the past few years.  Did you know that the brand has only existed for two short years?!  It has become more than just a few races weekends, but it is transforming into a lifestyle.  Can’t I attest to that!!  With the addition of training and dietary consultants, runDisney is giving runners the tools to incorporate healthy changes into their everyday lives.

Jeff Galloway took the stage next to give us some tips to keep in mind for the race the next day.  The most helpful I found were to:

  • Pace yourself out of the starting gate
  • For night races, don’t over eat after noon and focus on foods that digest easily
  • Drink at least 6 glasses of water throughout the day prior to the race
Next up was 2 time (now 3 time!) Wine & Dine Half Marathon winner, Anton Van Zyl, who was quite impressive.  A few weeks prior to this event, he completed the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii, which is one of the world’s most difficult events.  He seems to take a very relaxed approach to racing and doesn’t look at them like a competition.  He advised all of us to enjoy the moment, not run too hard and to find something that motivates you for when times get tough on the course.  Other helpful advice for both races and training was to:
  • Create a mantra
  • Focus on pumping your arms
  • Don’t skip aide stations
  • Use compression for recovery
  • Make sure to take rest days when training
  • Nutrition and hydration is very important – he finds Coke very helpful…interesting!
  • Use caffeine to stay focused, not to increase speed
  • Have fun!  Anton shared that his favorite character to take a photo with at runDisney events is Donald Duck 🙂  (Yes, he wins races AND stops for character photos!)

Anton Van Zyl

We were then treated to some very helpful nutritional advice from the “Diet Diva,” Tara Gidus.  The biggest take away I left with from her presentation was that HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat.  It is very important to eat in the morning before you run and then continue to eat every 2 -4 hours throughout the day.  Before races, it is important to stay away from high fat foods because they don’t digest as quickly.  Also, it is just as important to focus on what you eat after a run.  You want to try to consume carbs within 30 minutes after a run and then protein within 2 hours of that.  Great items to have are antioxidant rich smoothies or chocolate milk.

Tweeting out this great advice!
Next to me are Jenn from Eat, Sleep, Run, Disney, Heather from Running with Sass and Marc (@PlazaAndMainSt)
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

After Tara’s very helpful presentation (you know how I love nutrition!), we were treated to a culinary demonstration by Chef Steff, aka the Sports Chef.  It is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, so the day wouldn’t be complete without some food!  We were treated to a tasting of Chef’s Famous Spaghetti Pie, which is a great post-run meal.  I’m trying to avoid gluten, but I did have a few bites and it was very good!

Chef Steff’s Spaghetti Pie Demonstration

There was one last surprise in store for us before the program was over.  Mickey had changed from his run and came out to to help Chef Steff cook!  I love Chef Mickey!!

Tara Gidus, Chef Mickey & Chef Steff answering questions

Once the formal program was over, we all headed outside for photos…lots and lots of photos!

Me & Jeff Galloway…too cool!

Me & Chef Mickey!!!

Photo of the day goes to my friend Daniel & Chef Mickey
Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

Before we left the park, the group made one last stop at the Norway pavilion.  Next to the Stave Church, there is a beautiful bronze statue of Grete Waitz.  Grete was a marathon runner who won many races, including nine New York City Marathons.  She held numerous other world records during her career in almost every race distance.  She sadly passed away last year from cancer at the age of 57.  As fellow runners, we all stopped to pay our respects and take a group photo in tribute to this amazing athlete.

Photo Courtesy of runDisney

What an amazing morning!  I have never had more fun getting up at 5:30 am!!  It’s events like this that make runDisney race weekends stand out from other races and why I keep coming back.  Have you ever been to a runDisney meet up?


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.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Starts Today!

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend starts TODAY and I couldn’t be more excited.  The Health & Fitness Expo opens at 10:00 am at the ESPN Wide Wold of Sports Complex with vendors and great speakers, such as Olympic runner Jeff Galloway and nutritionist Tara Gidus, followed by all of the races tomorrow.

Here is some important information from runDisney about the weekend:

I’m up and ready to head to the Wine & Dine Meet Up over in Epcot, so make sure to follow all on Twitter all morning.  The hashtag will be #WineDineHalfMeetUp  I’m sure there will be some very valuable information that we can all use for the race tomorrow!


Oh and don’t for get about my RAD Wine & Dine Meet Up today!! It’s at 1:00pm at the Boardwalk Resort across from Seashore Sweets.  There will be giveaways and a lot of great Disney people there…you won’t want to miss it!!