After a long day at the Food and Wine Festival, I was really worried that I wouldn’t wake up in time for the runDisney Meet Up event on Friday morning. (Remember when I attended the Meet Up and Eat Up event during last year’s Wine and Dine Race Weekend? Well I was selected to be one of 40+ participants in this year’s event.)
On Thursday night, I made sure to set the hotel room’s alarm clock for 5:15 AM to make sure I had plenty of time to get ready. The alarm never went off! Thankfully, I was so nervous that I woke up at 5:46 and still had enough time to get ready. I left the hotel at 6:15 and drove over to Epcot. When I arrived, a bunch of the other participants were already there. I checked in and grabbed my first goodie bag.
While I was waiting, I met some wonderful blogging/twitter/internet friends. One of the things that I love most about this community is that I am able to connect with so many different people in very different ways. When I get to meet them in person, it is almost like we have been lifelong friends!
After everyone arrived, we divided up into two running groups. The first group (the faster runners) ran with Anton Van Zyl, the two-time (now three-time) winner of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. The second group ran with Jeff Galloway and ran an easy :30/:30 pace.
Our route went from the front of the park straight through Future World, where we ran into Mickey in his track suit. The group stopped and we took a bunch of group photos.
Then we continued running through the World Showcase. During the run, I talked with Julie about everything related to Epcot. She had never been to Walt Disney World so I gladly shared some of the many stories I have.
After one and a half loops around the World Showcase, our group ended up at the Germany Pavilion for breakfast and a chance to learn from the special guests. We learned some great tips about running and avoiding injuries from Jeff Galloway, the official runDisney training consultant. He also gave us some great tips about what to eat before a night race.
Then we got some tips about the actual race from Anton Van Zyl. He probably knows this race better than anyone else, especially since he has won the race twice! I really enjoyed listening to Anton. Not only is he an athlete but he is also a coach. He understands the mindset and knows that not every day/workout/run is the best one. He promised us that he wasn’t planning to win the half marathon but I guess he was the best runner after all!
Next up was Tara Gidus and Chef Steff. Tara recently became the official runDisney nutritionist and is a runner. She gave us a few tips on how she maintains a healthy diet (and a not-so-healthy diet). She recommends eating every 2 to 4 hours so keep your blood sugar level throughout the day. Tara also told us to eat a meal with carbs, proteins and antioxidants after running. I had no idea that antioxidant were important after working out!
Chef Steff gave us a great demonstration (and recipe) of a meal that has Tara’s recommended balance of carbs, protein and antioxidants. This simple meal can be made ahead of time and easily reheated after you return from your long run. I plan to try this recipe out soon. By the way, red pepper flakes are FULL of antioxidants and are the secret ingredient in this dish!
After breakfast (and before the park opened), we finished up the morning by taking the time for photo opportunities with Jeff and Chef Mickey! (I think I might have a new profile picture. What do you think?)
[In front of the Germany Pavilion]
[In front of the Norway Pavilion with the statue of Grete Waitz, an Olympic runner]
If you are interested in participating in the next runDisney Meet Up event, be sure to watch the runDisney twitter account and the Disney Parks Blog for more information. The next event is going to be during the Walt Disney World Marathon Race Weekend!