First of all, I can’t thank you guys enough for your wonderful comments on my last post. Seriously, it means the world to me that you guys are always there for me! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I know that I will be able to finish the race on Sunday but I am still worried about the unknowns. Now on to some fun runDisney stuff!
By now, I am sure that you guys are well aware of my Disney obsession. So it should come as no surprise that my crazy social media stalking abilities kicked into high gear last Friday when runDisney announced the meet up for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I really wanted to be apart of this special event! Thankfully my email was received in time and I was chosen to be one of 100+ runners to participate.
On Friday morning, my alarm went off at 4 AM! (I am not even joking about that.) Without too much hesitation, my boyfriend and I rolled out of bed, got ready and started heading over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the #WDWMarathonMeetUp by 4:30. We made it there around 6 AM.
On my way into the park, I ran into Amanda from Happy Mother Runner, who is running the Goofy Challenge. We signed our waivers and received our official meet up shirts. Soon after we changed into our shirts, a few Disney Characters came out for a short photo session. Marcia and Meghan also showed up a little later.
I love this picture that the official event photographer took!
At 7 AM, we were broken up into two groups for the running portion. I went with the Jeff Galloway group (12:00 min/mile pace) so that I didn’t wear out my legs too much. I am running a marathon on Sunday after all. Bart Yasso, from Runner’s World Magazine, and Dick Beardsley, the 1981 London Marathon Winner, also joined our group. These guys were wonderful to run with!
[Dick Beardsley, Tara Gidus and Bart Yasso]
We ran 2.5 miles around Disney’s Hollywood Studios and had an average pace of 12:00 minutes/mile. I still can’t believe that you can easily walk almost three miles in one theme park during a day trip! It is amazing!
During the run, we saw a few more characters. The group stopped for photos with Buzz and Woody at the Toy Story attraction.
Finally, we ended up at the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, where the faster group was waiting. I grabbed my bag, some water and a breakfast sandwich from the Food Truck.
Once everyone was settle, the real event started. Bob Hitchcock from runDisney introduced a short video clip about what the runDisney brand is all about. Fun fact about this year’s Walt Disney World Marathon: More women are running than any other marathon … ever!
As soon as the video finished, a very special guest came out to talk to the group.
I am proud to say that my middle school self was kept completely in check when Joey Fatone came riding out on the director’s truck from the actual stunt show. He spent some time to talking to us and answering our questions.
Then the folks at New Balance shared some great advice about running shoes. Every pair of shoes is NOT made for every pair of feet. It is very important to be properly fitted for running shoes because that is usually the cause of many running related injuries. Also make sure you replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles.
Last week, runDisney and New Balance released some pretty amazing news about their brand new partnership. To commemorate that event, New Balance also released two very special pairs of shoes. These amazing shoes were inspired by two of the most recognized Disney characters of all time: Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Next up, a fabulous group of experienced runners took the stage. Jeff Galloway is the official training consultant for runDisney. He has run all 19 of the previous Walt Disney World Marathons and will be at the starting line of his 20th tomorrow morning. This morning he was joined by Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dick Beardsley, Bart Yasso and Desiree Davila.
Joan Benoit Samuelson really changed the face of women’s running. She was the very first woman to win the Olympic marathon in 1984. Maybe it is a good omen that she won the gold medal in the same year that I was born.
Former NFL linebacker Eddie Mason took the stage to talk to us about the importance of core strength. He is the founder of MASE Training, which is a training center in DC metro area. He provided personal training services and helps athletes get to the next level. One of the biggest things that he notices in his athletes is lack of strength in the core and stabilizer muscles. The lower abdominal region is the area that needs to be strengthened more than any other part of your body!
The last guest speaker we had this morning was Drew Carey. He talked to us a little about running injuries since he has suffered from a few of them himself. Apparently, he ran the Disneyland Half Marathon with broken clavicle!
Unfortunately, he won’t be able to the marathon on Sunday as he had planned because of another injury he is suffering from. Before he left, he did give a few pointers if we are ever on the Price Is Right.
Before the event finished, the Fab 5 came out all ready to go for a run! At this point, we were given a chance to get photos with all of the guest speakers and the Disney characters.
As we left, we were each handed a bag of goodies containing an iFitness belt, New Balance shoe laces, and some H2O beauty products.
Thank you so much to runDisney for hosting these amazing events! I look forward to attending another one in the future!