Posts Tagged by Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Dining During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Nutrition can be one of the most difficult things to manage when you are traveling away from home for a race, or if you are Dopey, races.  This is especially true when you are surrounded by all of the goodies at Walt Disney World.  Joe (you might remember him from his Coast to Coast coverage last year!) is just back from WDW Marathon Weekend and is here to share his tips for dining during a runDisney race weekend!

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When traveling away for a race weekend, runners of all abilities will tell you that any race you run should be no different than your training runs at home.  That goes for shoes, clothing, fuel, and of course food.  So when the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend came upon us, as a runner who was participating in the Dopey Challenge, nutrition and eating while down at Walt Disney World is just as important as making sure that you have the right shoes with you.

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I arrived down in the World on Tuesday before marathon weekend began.  With all of the running that was ahead of me, especially coming from a cold weather climate, hydration was going to be key.  I was staying at Port Orleans French Quarter so having access to a kitchen to make my own meals was not available. However, having a fridge in the room was a big positive. I made sure during the week that I stayed hydrated all the time. In order to accomplish this, I would drink plenty of water and save and reuse the bottles I purchased from the Port Orleans food court.  (WDW allows you free water fills at their food courts and also water fountains throughout the park.)  **This is a GREAT money saving tip!!**

As for eating properly, when running 4 events over 4 days, you have to watch what you are putting in your body days before your events are to commence.  So, I stayed away from salads and other fried foods/burgers that tend to be found all over Walt Disney World and went with healthier options.  Our food court at POFQ had many healthy options for breakfast to include egg whites, fresh fruit and bananas, bagels, etc. I would usually eat these after the races were completed .

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After waking up early, competing, and eating breakfast afterwards, I was not a big fan of lunch as I did not want to feel like I had to eat just for the sake of eating.  But if I did get hungry while walking around the parks in the afternoon, I could grab a lite snack. Like their options in the food courts, Disney has gotten much better over the years with offering much healthier options throughout the theme parks. I would refill my water bottle in one of the water fountains, and grab a banana or piece of fruit while touring the parks.

As for dinner, as someone who does not like to eat before a race in the morning, dinner was going to be the most important meals for me while down for Marathon Weekend.  If I was staying in a DVC or off property, it would be easy to just head to Publix and buy some pasta from the grocery store for my dinner.  However, since this was not an option, ADR reservations would be extremely important as thousands of runners would have similar ideas as me for places to eat before the races. (Italian Restaurants are obviously the most popular). The restaurants that we chose to eat at were Via Napoli in Epcot, Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and the food court at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort.  The reason why I chose these restaurants is because they all offered the one meal that I like to eat before a race, pasta.

I checked with numerous websites before I made my ADR reservations to make sure that they had the types of food that I would want to eat.  At Via Napoli, even though the majority of the food on the menu is Pizza, they do offer a spaghetti and veal meatballs option.  The spaghetti was typical spaghetti but the veal meatballs were a nice change of pace and offered some lean protein, which is always beneficial to runners.

At Trattoria al Forno, the menu was a little more fancy. After glancing at the menu, it took some going back and forth with the waiter but I was able to order some linguini with short rib.  Now at first, I wasn’t too sure about this since I thought that beef short rib was going to be too heavy.  However, the portion size was perfect and the flavor of the meat was amazing!  I would highly recommend this dish on a regular/non-running night and am definitely going to add this restaurant into our restaurant rotation for Disney World.  Also, there was plenty of bread to fulfill any lacking of carbohydrate fueling one might have had.

The Wave

At the Wave, the menu was somewhat limited. However, I decided to mix it up a little and have the free roaming chicken breast with plenty of bread on the side. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the portion size was proper, and it did not make me feel like I was loaded down with heavy food or feeling bloated.  I consume a lot of chicken breast while at home, so having chicken breast at the Wave with some bread fulfilled my carbohydrate and protein needs before the 10K race.

Finally, the last race night, we took it easy and had something at the Port Orleans Food court.   One of the stations at the food court was an Italian type station that had macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, meatballs, and pizza. Of course (as you can see a pattern here), I had the spaghetti and meatballs.  It was a nice quick meal that didn’t require an ADR and that we could eat at our convenience and head to bed early in preparations for the marathon day.

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I learned that it was important to make ADR reservations as soon as our 6 month window opened because most runners would flock to the Italian type restaurants of Walt Disney World.  My greatest fear would be to be searching for something to eat the night before the marathon and not be able to get served at a restaurant that served pasta or some type of Italian food.  I did witness this at Trattoria al Forno as we were leaving the restaurant, I witnessed a runner arguing with the hostess at the front of the restaurant about trying to obtain a to-go order of pasta.  This runner stated that he was a runner and just wanted a plate of pasta to go.  The hostess stated that they could not accommodate him because he didn’t have a reservation.  So, note to all runners out there, it appears that Disney won’t let you order to go meals at a restaurant if you do not have an ADR.

I know its hard to travel to a place that we all love and not consume Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, Dole Whips, citrus swirls, popcorn, and churros to name a few things.  But you have to remember, we all paid a lot of money for these races, took time off of work and our real lives to travel down here for them, and also trained for months and months to have the best possible experience.  It would be a shame to throw all of that hard work away by not fueling your body properly.  All it takes is some planning ahead, take note of what you would normally eat while at home, and apply it while you are on vacation.

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Finally, of course when you are done with your events, there is nothing wrong with having a nice big glass of beer and a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar! Because after all, you earned it!

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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.  You can follow along with his racing adventures on Twitter and Instagram!

The Secret to WDW Marathon Weekend Expo

The first stop of any runDisney race weekend is the Health & Fitness Expo!  This is a HUGE event in itself and can get a bit overwhelming.  Suzanne is here today and fresh from Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  She’s got some great tips (and secrets) on how to navigate the Expo and get the most out of your visit!

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You are registered. You are super excited to go get some goodies. Where do you start? First of all, WDW does a great job of marking and directing your stop!  First stop is at Packet Pick Up. Be sure to have your ID ready for them to check you in. If you forget your waiver (which is a must) you can print them outside the entrance to the packet pickup area.

The VoluntEARS are so wonderful about getting the participants in and out. We didn’t have to wait very long at all to get your bib, shirt and gear check bag.  One of the very nice things that WDW makes sure to do is to have everything you need in one bag. When you leave the packet pick up area, you aren’t juggling 52 things in your hands along with your bib. It is all nicely wrapped in the gear bag for you, which is awesome as well because it means one less stop!

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The next best thing is that just a few steps away there was a spot for people to try on their shirts. I, of course, had to try mine on right away. I can’t have a shirt that doesn’t fit. I need to be able to show it off! If yours didn’t fit, you could go and exchange your shirt in just a few more steps. It was really nice to have everything for your packet in one area without having to make 15 stops along the way to get all your Disney goodies. Well played Disney!

Our next stop was to the Health and Fitness Expo. Almost everything that you might need for your race was available. One thing I will be sure to mention is that it is VERY busy and VERY crowded during the expo. If you are interested in getting the PRIME Disney merchandise/souvenir selection, then be sure to get to the expo early on the first day that it opens to get your Disney souvenirs. Literally, I witnessed one man have his shopping basket FULL of pins and magnets. There is no limit to buy on Disney racing souvenirs, so if collecting pins is a hobby for you, try to hook up with some other runners that are going on the first day if you can’t make it. I don’t know if they hold back souvenirs for each day, but based on the feeding frenzy that I witnessed, you better have what you want in your hands and don’t set it down!

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One of the bonuses is that there are two Disney race merchandise areas in two separate halls, so if you are interested in getting a souvenir and it is out in one location, be sure to check the other location. When it was time to check out from the merchandise area, even though the line wrapped outside the booth and and down the row, the line moved very fast and the Disney staff was very organized to keep the lines moving.

After perusing the runDisney Merchandise area, it was onto the expo. Keep in mind that the expo is in two locations. If you are looking for running gear, massage systems, or just all around fun items (think tutus), there is all you can imagine. Be sure to head outside as well because there are vendors outside the exhibit halls, too. Located on the outside of the exhibit halls was the awesome, leather-smelling, Dooney & Bourke purses booth! You could smell the scent of the brand new, never been used leather as soon as you walked into the room. The great news was that you could purchase a purse even if you hadn’t pre-ordered one. I was worried that I might have missed the opportunity, but no worries! They had a location. I was able to go in and see the purses to see if I needed to purchase one. I like to see the purses first to be sure it is something I will actually USE. I am so glad that I walked around the outside vendors. I might have missed out on commemorating my vacation with an awesome purse!

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The last stop we made was at the Disney Artists booth. I didn’t even know this existed. Right next to runner tracking signups are these great Disney character artists. For FREE (which as you know, very few things are free with Disney), the artists will draw a picture of you in a funny, cartoon-like manner. They are such phenomenal artists and to see what they draw is so fun! In speaking to them, they said that they work for Disney and do different Disney events. They are incredibly talented, and I was super-excited to get my own personal piece of Disney memorabilia.

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So, what’s the secret? Get there early if at all possible and if you can, PLAN IT. If you are taking Disney Transportation (which is awesome by the way…no too small yellow school buses for runDisney people… charter baby, all the way), be on the first bus there! If you are an experienced expo-goer, try to plan out the booths that you want to go to first. It makes it much easier to navigate, and you don’t have to feel like a sardine in a feeding frenzy for long. If you are a first-timer, check out all the booths. It is pretty fun to see what is out there in the running world. If you forgot any items like me (who needs gus when you can pack your much needed Minnie ears!), it is easy to pick them up at the expo. However, if you desire a certain type/flavor of an item (nourishment/hydration), you may not be able to get your favorite one there. But at least you won’t be without an item that you need. Yay! Disney to my rescue!

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Disney does A LOT of things right (transportation, navigation, people moving, friendliness, course support, etc). They are awesome about moving A TON of people around expertly. Think 30,000+ people over the course of 3 days! They have a variety of vendors for the expo, and they are fantastic about getting wonderful, friendly voluntEARS to help them. Be sure to say thank you to all the voluntEars and the workers at expo and at packet pick up. They will love you for it! If you have the chance to runDisney, DO IT! You won’t be sorry!

Run strong,

Suzanne Berkey

 

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Suzanne Berkey is a Disney-loving, motivational speaking, running junkie. She is the chief writing officer aka “The Boss” of The Warrior Within Me blog. She uses her own personal 100lb. weight loss experience to guide others to find their own warrior within them. Why does she run? Because she is finally able to! Check her out at www.thewarriorwithinme.com.  

Contributors Needed for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!

Contributors WDW Marathon

Are you running one (or all) of the races over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend next week?  Will you be at the resort as a spectator?  Are your kids running in a race?  If so, then I need YOU!

I’m looking for runners, walkers, spectators and Disney enthusiasts of all kinds to cover the variety of events over that weekend!  Here are the some ideas for posts:

  • Race Recaps
    • Disney Family Fun Run 5K
    • Walt Disney World 10K
    • Walt Disney World Half Marathon
    • Walt Disney World Marathon
    • Kids Races
  • The Dopey Experience
  • The Goofy Race and a Half Experience
  • Castaway Cay Challenge 5K
  • A Spectator’s Point of View
  • Health & Fitness Expo
  • runDisney Speaker Series
  • First Time Disney Runners
  • Race Weekend Dining
  • New runDisney New Balance Running Shoes
  • Pasta in the Park Party
  • The Cool Down Party
  • And anything else you can think of…

Choice of topic will come on a first serve basis, so email me at sarah@runningatdisney.com if you are interested in covering one or many aspects of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend for Running at Disney…the more the merrier!!

Best of luck to everyone running and I can’t wait to hear from you!

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Mission to Marathon: Packing for a RunCation

I can’t believe the time is almost here for Hannah to take on the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge!!  It seems like just yesterday when she wrote her first Mission to Marathon post on putting her training plan together for this race weekend.  Boy time sure does fly!  Well as she is continuing to taper, she is getting ready to leave for Walt Disney World and she is here with some great packing tips for a RunCation!

Best of luck Hannah and we can’t wait to see you get all that runDisney bling in a few short weeks!

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Holy Moly, can you believe its December! And, halfway through at that!? Time is flying…I would know. I turned 30 on the 5th and it just came and went and wow…I can’t believe I’m in my 30s now! But enough about me, here’s some info on how to get yourself all packed up and read for your Disney RunCation! This post is highly focused on those flying into their destination, but modify as you will for those driving/train-riding/etc.

[Side note that I’m still in my temporary living arrangements so I wasn’t able to dig out the suitcases (in storage) or do a big full Disney packing photo montage. Sorry!]

First things first…

BEFORE you pack anything, check the weather and then check it again, and again, and possibly plan for weather different than what you’re anticipating…Florida is notorious for drastic weather changes.

Your Race Day gear is the MOST important thing you’ll pack. I strongly recommend laying out the clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, etc that you will need for the actual race before you do anything else!

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Pack your race day gear into your carry-on luggage. You do not want this getting lost.

Next up I add in my cover-wear (my throw-away clothes).

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And finally I add in all my race “extras.” Things like my sunglasses, my running belt, compression socks (for after the race), gels, etc…

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You can use your discretion with what is “essential” for race day to determine what needs to go in your carry-on. The rest can go in checked luggage.

Here’s all my race stuff laid out, ready to be packed!

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Once your race day gear is packed, you will have a better idea of how much room you’ll have for other stuff and how much luggage you’ll need.

When I pack for Disney I tend to know ahead of time what park I will be visiting. I then plan my clothing accordingly. I will typically pack one black pair of shoes and one blue pair of shoes and then make sure all of my clothing matches one of the two pairs of shoes. For each day I lay my clothes out like this:

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Once I get my whole trip laid out I will pack it all into my luggage.

This trip will be a bit interesting as we are flying with a new airline and are limited with both carry-on and checked luggage (ugh, don’t these new airline luggage rules stink?!). Between the hubs and I we are planning for one carry-on, one checked bag, and two personal items. Make sure to check your airline for their restrictions and guidelines before you start packing.

I hope this helps you out and allows you some relief from the packing stress!

Things to remember about packing for a running vacation (because we all know I can’t resist a list):

1 – No NEW is good NEW… pack the stuff that’s tried and true for you. This is not the time to find out that the cute new top chaffs like no other.

2 – Extra shoes if you’re running multiple races. You do not want to be starting out a marathon with soggy shoes because it rained the day before.

3 – Check out the expo and race info online before you go to see if they’ll have the gels/fuel you like. If not, pack some from home!

4 – Don’t freak out if you forget something. While its not ideal to wear new shoes for a race, it can be done. Don’t let missing something in your packing add additional stress where its not needed.

5 – HAVE FUN. If you’re running a Disney race, then you will definitely have a good time. But don’t let PR’s or PB’s, or PD’s, or anything else get in the way of enjoying your race. 99% of us are not running for a place in these races, so just remember to have fun with it!

 

Here is my January 2014 Run Training Plan:

**RACE WEEK!**

28 – Week Jan 5: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 13.1; Sunday 26.2

        Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – long stretches

29 – Week Jan 12: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 3 miles

29 Alternate: Walk Disney Parks!

        Stretch, Stretch, Stretch and then stretch again. 🙂

30 – Week Jan 19: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 3 miles

31 – Week Jan 26: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 3 miles

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Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

Mission to Marathon: Crunch Time and Taper

I think that Hannah and I are sharing the same feeling of craziness in that our lives seem to be getting more hectic by the minute!  However she is at crunch time for her marathon training on top of everything else, so I give her a lot more credit for keeping things together!  Today she is back with some great tips (and fun photos) for getting through the final push of training and onto the all important taper.  

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Part of me can’t believe a month has passed since I wrote my last post for RAD and another part of me can’t believe October was just a month ago. Does anyone else feel that tossed around and pulled in many different directions? We have had a crazy month and it shows by my constant yawning and deep urge to hibernate. The good news is that since it’s November, we FINALLY get to talk about crunch time and taper time for the Walt Disney World 2015 Marathon Weekend! Woohoo! We are in the home stretch!

In keeping with my compulsive list-making self I’ve compiled yet another two for you! First is about crunch time (those last few weeks of long training runs) and the second is about tapering and why it is important (reasons to repeat to yourself over and over when you get that “I just need to do another 20 miler” urge to give yourself a confidence boost). Oscar Bean offered to help demonstrate some of the Crunch time tips and provide motivation for resting during taper…

Without further ado…

CRUNCH TIME

  1. Seize the day … or the hour.

Seize

Now is the time to make sure you are getting your long runs in. These are the Saturday and Sunday runs on the RunDisney site. But while you’re at it, make sure you’re getting your weeknight runs in too. If you can’t get a full 45 mins, but can do a mile or two, that’s great. More time on your feet will help in the long run.

  1. Don’t overdo it.

Overdo

While its important to get your training runs in, don’t feel ike you have to suddenly up the game and add in extra runs. Trust the plan. Also don’t try to increase your overall weekly mileage or speed up your time too quickly. Take it easy. Remember avoiding injury is the most important thing at this point.

  1. Stretch and stretch often.

Stretch

Formal stretching is important. Where you take time to roll out on the foam roller, take a yoga class, or just stretch at home, its essential to get you to race day and beyond. BUT, I personally recommend taking little opportunities throughout the day to stretch. I love stretching my calves in the shower in the morning with the hot water on my tight muscles (I have plantar fasciitis and have difficulty walking in the morning sometimes). I also stretch at work…calf stretches at my desk, touch my toes each time I get up to go to the bathroom, and make sure I am stretching out my back, shoulders and wrists throughout the day (office work can take a toll and your arms are more important to running than you may think).

  1. Keep yourself motivated.

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Whatever it is that motivates you, now is the time to keep up with it. I love reading blogs from other marathoners and flipping through quotes on quoteland.com or Pinterest.

  1. Test stuff out.

Test

Now is the time to test out the new stuff. New gear, wear in new shoes, try new fuel, etc. You still have time to recover if something doesn’t work, but its close enough that the clothes and fuel will react the same (similar weather, etc).

TAPER TIME!

Tapering typically occurs 3-4 weeks before a marathon and 2-3 weeks before a half marathon. These are three reasons why tapering is important and why you shouldn’t ignore the sanctity of the taper.

MAXIMUM POTENTIAL: Tapering allows your body as much rest as possible before race day. A rested body will allow for maximum potential on race day.

PRESERVE CAPABILITIES: Tapering allows your body to rest without losing your aerobic capabilities (proper tapering that is…)

RELAX: Rest surpasses mileage as the most important part of your training. Enjoy it! If you’re a race addict, then this is probably one of the only times you’ll be able to run decreased mileage (b/c you’ll turn around after your marathon and start training for another one). If you’re not a race addict, then you’ve probably been dying to get some family time/couch time/extra work/holiday shopping/etc done…now is the time!

Rest

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Here is my December 2014 Run Training Plan!

23 – Week Dec 1: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

24 – Week Dec 8: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

25 – Week Dec 15: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 12 miles; Sunday 26 miles

**BEGIN TAPER**

26 – Week Dec 22: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

27 – Week Dec 29: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Long Stretches

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Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

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