I can’t believe it’s almost the end of October, and Week Two of Fairy Tale Challenge training!
For this week’s challenge, I invite you to try one of my favorite exercises: the plank! As a runner, it is imperative that we teach our core muscles to respond to the constant stress we put on them. One way to truly strengthen your core, is to add in planks to your workout routine!
As for me, I’m going to try and plank before every long run. When I incorporate 3-5 minutes of core work before running, I notice a huge difference in my posture, speed, and stamina. I will be posting some of my favorite plank moves soon, but until then, I challenge you to time your plank and see how you do!
You may perform a plank hold on your hands, or elbows, just make sure you note which one you choose, Modified planks are held on knees, not toes. Make note of your time, and be sure to check on your progress in weeks to come by incorporating this fun total body move into your workouts and/or daily routine!
I’ll be posting a fun plank routine to my Instagram very soon!
Posted below is Week 2 for #fitfabprincessacademy
I'm so excited to introduce my very own spin on training for the Princess Half Marathon/Fairy Tale Challenge! I decided to create an easy way for members of the #fitfabprincessacademy to log miles, track workouts, be apart of the runDisney community, AND improve their strength and stamina for the ultimate end goal: completing the Princess Half in 2021!
This past week was the first week of training for the Fairy Tale Challenge, so I just uploaded the first week's page for anyone who's interested in joining the academy!
Just so you know...you can follow along no matter what! Whether you're doing the 5k, 10k, Half, or ALL the above! I wanted to make this program to help keep each other accountable and motivated during this crazy time of not having runDisney races to look forward to. (Prayers for Star Wars Weekend 2021.)
Even though things have moved to being virtual, I fully believe that we can take this time to learn more about ourselves as runners. We can focus on corrective exercise, and proper biomechanics to help improve our race times AND keep us safe from injury.
Every week along with uploading PDFs, I'll also be sharing some of my favorite exercises and documenting my own journey during Princess training. There is so much more to come, and I'm SO excited to have you running alongside me.
My one request is that you donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Any amount is helpful. October is breast cancer awareness month, and I firmly believe in helping any princess in need. We are here to support and uplift one another through these truly trying times. Thank you for your donation in advance.
More info to come soon, but until then, be on the lookout this weekend for a challenge I hope y'all are willing to accept!
And don't forget to tag me @fitfabdisney in any post, and use the hashtag #fitfabprincessacademy if you use my PDFs!
Click below to download your first week's mileage log! And be sure to check-in on Instagram and my blog for frequent updates! You may also feel free to print and share with friends! Please DM me on my Instagram if you'd like a digital file for your IG stories!
Happy training, princesses!
Hi, fellow Disney fans!
Welcome back to my magical little blog! At long last, I've officially curated a list of my so-called "Dopey Lessons"! Upon many requests, here is my first (of many) DOPEY posts!
As many of you know, runDisney fans everywhere were glued to their computer, mobile device, and/or template, on May 12th, 2020. WDW Marathon Weekend registration opened to the general public on May 12 at 10 AM EST / 7:00 AM PST. Within the first few hours of opening, runDisney managed to sell out yet another magical race weekend. Hats off to the mouse!
I already have quite a bit of FOMO, because WDW Marathon Weekend is just every bit as magical as a race weekend can be (in my humble opinion). Last year I was able to register myself for all FOUR marathon weekend races, which made me officially DOPEY. It was a weekend I'll cherish forever, and an experience that I'll certainly never forget.
The infamous Dopey Challenge, is known far and wide to all runDisney aficionados, as THE quintessential runDisney experience. For those of you who aren't as familiar with The Dopey Challenge, it is a four day series of races including a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, and full marathon run on consecutive days. It takes place at Walt Disney World Florida, typically in the beginning/middle of January. For those of you who don't enjoy doing math, the miles add up to 48.6 over the course of four days. I'm assuming this is why it's called The Dopey Challenge. :)
Last year when I signed up, registration day was on April 16th, 2019. This year, due to the recent pandemic and the uncertainty of the upcoming race weekends, runDisney decided to push back registration for many of its races, and even ended up canceling Star Wars Weekend (April 17-April 19, 2020).
It's crazy to think that just last year at this time I had just recovered from my third knee surgery AND start training for Dopey on July 2nd. I underwent my arthroscopic meniscus repair on June 10th, and was absolutely dreading the beginning of training. As a former collegiate athlete, I had pushed past my limits before, and I was worried I'd once again land myself on the sidelines with an injury. Which leads me to my first Dopey Lesson...
Lesson Number 1: Know Your Limits
The summer months I used to train my body back into running were some of the toughest. I had regained almost full range of motion in my knee, but my surgery leg was still not quite up to speed. On the days I had off from running, I trained smart. I didn't run on days when I didn't need to. I sacrificed my favorite kind of HIIT workouts for low intensity strength training, or kicking my legs from end to end in the swimming pool using two water noodles.
Ultimately, I didn't push further than what my body could handle. That's mentally the hardest part about training for an endurance event such as Dopey. Your mind says "I can do more" but your body will be saying "I need my rest".
The funny thing about training is, the hours you spend running aren't all that matters. The hours you spend in recovery allows your body to adapt to the physical stresses you place upon it during your training runs.
Fun fact: running causes actual physical damage to your muscles. It physically stresses your body. Lets say you push your body to run 15 miles one weekend and were majorly sore after, because CONGRATS, you've never run that far! Here's what I like to think of it as: totaling your bod. That's right, like totaling a car. You've taken on damage, stress, and have taken a hit. Having said that, would you drive your totaled vehicle the day after it's been put through the ringer? I sure hope not.
You have to imagine your body in ways that make the most sense to you. My car analogy helped me, because on certain days I could feel my legs getting heavy, my head getting light, and my heart giving out. My first instinct was never to push because of fear of failure, but to try again tomorrow and be better because of it. I needed repairs. Running on fumes just wasn't the answer. Catch my drift?
Avoiding an injury at all costs requires knowing your body and taking care of it. End of story.
Lesson Number 2: Designate a hydration station
Another major part of recovery is hydration. Water flushes toxins out of your body and transports nutrients to your cells in order to help regulate your body temperature and pH balance. Keeping your hydration in check is a great way to restore your damaged muscle tissue, and speed up your recovery process. Your muscles are made up of 75% water, which means when they become dehydrated, your protein synthesis (which builds and repairs muscles) will be substantially slowed. The easiest way to recover quickly, is to keep your water intake in check.
Once I had my training schedule mapped out, I made sure to keep my house as a designated "hydration stop" during my longer runs. Not only did this make me stop and get a drink, but it also allowed a little time for rest and to pretend as if I were waiting in line for a character stop. :)
I've gotten used to not running with water, however, I do have a hydration belt in which I purchased a few years back at the Princess Half Marathon Expo. I don't mind using it for shorter runs, because I honestly don't like wearing anything that gets jostled on my hips for too long. I'm very particular about anything I wear on my legs and hips, but I know bringing water bottles along for a run work for many runners!
Another great way to hydrate when you stop at your "hydration station", is to grab a nuun hydration tablet! When you sweat, your body is losing vital minerals and electrolytes that need to be replaced for healthy and optimal performance. Nuun drink tablets do a great job at keeping you happy, healthy, AND hydrated! On days when the warmer weather would set in, I would quickly pop one of these little tablets into my water and get back to my run feeling rejuvenated.
During each race of Dopey, I stopped at almost EVERY water station. I alternated between Powerade and water the entire time. Please, do NOT skimp on hydration. Teach your body to love water. Know how to differentiate cravings from lack of hydration. Know when your muscles cramp or feel fatigued, that it's your body's way of telling you it needs more H2O. Implement hydration stops or stations (really whatever you want to call them) into your runs to keep you on your feet and prepared for race day(s). It's also nice to be able to stop at home to pee, just sayin'.
Lesson Number Three: Share your Journey
Somehow I have an Instagram account that seemingly blew up overnight after I had one of my pictures featured on the runDisney Instagram account page. My @fitfabdisney IG was never meant to become influential, however, now that I've conquered my first Dopey Challenge I hope to inspire more to take part in this amazing feat.
Prior to having almost 2k followers, I really just wanted to document my journey during my Dopey training as something to look back on in awe. Never would I imagine it to become a space where fellow runDisney lovers would reach out with amazing questions and congratulatory messages. I'm so thankful I can be of ANY assistance to my fellow Dopey's out there!
With that being said, I obviously have more to come on Dopey Lessons, but I wanted to make this 3rd and final lesson of this post very clear. Document your journey. Journal your food. Record your voice saying "I can do this". Screenshot your best runs. Screenshot your worst runs. Take hold of your health and well-being. Commit to a training plan. STEP INTO YOUR POWER (true fans will know). And most importantly, be there to motivate others who aspire to to become fellow Dopey's one day.
In retrospect, I wish I had documented more of my time spent training. I love looking back on selfies I took while running through the changing seasons. I still pull up old workouts, meals, and running logs every now and then because I love seeing my progression. You will too. Just know that every journey is different, and I thank all of you for wanting to be apart of mine!
ChEARS to the Dopey 2021'ers!
Princess Half Marathon Weekend is officially right around the corner - isn't that nuts! If you're running, I wish you the best of luck! Princess weekend is my favorite, and you'll absolutely enjoy every minute. <3
I decided to put together a fun list of some of my favorite items dedicated to Disney Princess style! I hope you enjoy some of my "must-haves", and understand that this list could go on and on and on... :) Expect a Part II in the future!
*All items are linked*
*Treat Yo Self*
Disney Princess Face Mask Collection ($14.50) Who doesn't love a good face mask? Spoil yourself and your princess squad with fun Disney-inspired spa time.
It's A Princess Thing Shadow Palette ($22) This gorgeous neutral and jewel toned palette speaks to me. The perfect palette for all occasions and at a decent price! Prince Charming will be all over you, girl.
Pink Princess Backpack ($14) This fun little accessory may or may not be for children, but who cares?! Cute little backpacks are easier to carry around, plus it's the cutest gosh darn thing. Sequins and patches? Need I say more?
Frozen 2 Anna Nature Backpack ($78) Danielle Nicole does Disney RIGHT. The unique designs are fun, eye-catching, and feature beautiful embroidery and mixed textures.
Princess Denim Jacket ($79.95) A royal throwback to the 90's, this jean jacket is EVERYTHING. Available sizes are limited because it's so dang popular. The perfect park day OOTD.
From AM to PM ($18.74) Cindy is the official princess of Glow Ups. Grab this fun shirt right now online OR at Disney Springs!
Glitter Sneakers ($85) These fun Keds x Kate Spade Sneakers are the perfect glitter getup for any pretty princess. Available in a wide range of glitter (rose gold, metallic, and white to name a few), these sneakers are fun and flirty for a perfect photo day in the parks. Brides or Brides-to-be, these would be perfect for a Disney photoshoot or for a fun WDW bachelorette weekend!
Princess Shoes ($210) These fun and crafty shoes are a step above and beyond! Get your favorite princess heels or sneakers from fundotcom, they're extravagant and undeniably Disney!
Princess Athletic Wear:
Raw Princess Wear ($38+) RawThreads has quickly become one of my favorite Disney-inspired shops. The quality and comfort of their products are unmatched, plus they have so many Disney-inspired collections. Find their booth at runDisney expos!
Crowned Cuties ($58) Crowned Athletics has amazing runDisney-inspired athletic and flowy tank tops! Their fit and flare looks are exceptional, and incredibly perfect for those race day photos! They also sell amazingly detailed princess headbands and scrunchies.
Princess Skirt ($69+) Samantha, the owner of Dottie and leader of Team Butt Bow has established herself as one of Etsys top performers in the runDisney costume department! Her skirts are simply amazing, elegant, and fit like a glove. Prepare to get all the compliments, princess.
Princess Leggings ($23.99) *Now sold out* These 'make it pink, make it blue' leggings are perfect for any runDisney fan! The hype is real, and apparently every princess wanted to get their hands on a pair! Maybe we will see some at the runDisney merchandise area for Princess Weekend??!
Pandora Princess Charms ($65+) Celebrate like a Princess and get yourself a beautiful addition to a bracelet or necklace! Disney x Pandora has the cutest charms to add on to any jewelry piece. It's the perfect gift for a princess after completing a runDisney weekend!
Princess Charm Bangle ($44.95) Another great gift for any princess is a Alex and Ani charm bangle. They're so fun to stack, and can quickly become a tradition to buy one on each visit to Disney. Surprise the princess of your dreams (or BFF, or Queen, or mini princess), with these beautiful and delicate bangles. My favorites are the princess quotes!
Princess Park Accessories:
Gus Gus Fanny Pack ($34.90) One of my favorite things about Princess Weekend is you get to dress up and run in costume, but the fun doesn't stop there! If you choose a specific princess to run as, you can then carry that "disneybound" into the parks after the race is over! Add little touches like this Gus Gus fanny pack if you're Cinderella bounding. There are so many fun little add-ons for every princess bound! Carry that Princess style (and bling) with you all day!
Princess Buttons ($4.99) Another super easy add on to show a little princess flair to your backpack, tote, or denim jacket! I personally love adding buttons because they're great to personalize your Disney accessories. Don't forget you can get FREE ones from Guest Services as the Disney parks and Resorts.
Princess Boss Babe:
2020 Princess Planner ($21.74) Every runDisney planner needs to schedule training, massages, and fastpasses. Get one of the amazing Disney planners from Papier, because every Disney boss babe needs a princess-style office! You can also customize your planner!
I Want More Mug ($18) Doesn't every sleeping beauty need her coffee or tea in the AM? Get this fun and runDisney inspired mug for your collection immediately! Raise your hand if you sung the song while reading the mug.
Comfy Squad ($29.52) I think I'd be doing Vanellope a disservice if I didn't find a way to include her! This iconic moment in Ralph Breaks The Internet is finally on a cozy sweatshirt, and I'm here for it. Now on sale at Hot Topic, get yours now and snuggle up with your pet sidekick and a Princess movie on Disney +.
Princess Meme Tank ($22.95) This looks like the perfect tank top to wear while you're unwinding after a invigorating Princess race! You can also style this tank top to the parks, to yoga class, or to bed! I give this tank a 10/10 because I am literally all of those princess memes. Well played, Shop Disney.
I hope you enjoyed looking through all the Princess goodies I currently have in my shopping carts! :) Let me know if you have purchased, or are looking to purchase any of the amazing items I listed above. Maybe we can be matching princesses? And honey, we never go out of style.
Thanks for visiting!
Hi, fellow runDisney fans!
Today I'm blogging about my favorite photo spots, tips, and tricks for getting the best insta-worthy pics during your runDisney race and vacation! I hope you enjoy reading along, and if you use any of my photo ops...please let me know! I'd love to hear how your pics turned out. :)
1. CASTLE BLING
I realize I'm starting a bit backwards here, but these are my favorite POST race photo ops to date! This past WDW Marathon Weekend had the most beautiful and cooperative weather for post race photos! I spent at least an hour walking around the Castle and Hub Grass area in MK to explore plenty of picturesque spots.
The best time to explore this part of the park is during "golden hour". This is when the sun starts to set and serves up a soft light with less harsh shadows AND less heat. :) My favorite spots to take pictures with my medals are off to the left side of the castle (no crowds here), and near the hub grass where you can hang your medals along the fence. This year I went for a fountain background because less people were walking behind my photoshoot. The "medals along the fence" photo op is one of the more popular for all race weekends because the scenery is iconic.
My new favorite photopass stop is located on Main Street just leading up to the castle. You can either pose as a "T" with your medals dangling down from your arms OR go for the look I did, where you sit on Main Street with your medals spread out in front of you. The cast member who took my photos shot at least three to four candid pics and was incredibly helpful laying out my medals for me. Don't forget to purchase Memory Maker in order to download all your photos from that weekend! It's well worth it, I promise!
2. INDIVIDUAL MEDAL SHOTS
You'll definitely want to get individual medal shots with your beautiful bling! I loved posing with all the medals proudly displayed on my arms, but I also loved seeing them enjoying their own spotlight. Hold your medal up and get the castle in the background for the ultimate post-race bling pic! I also love traveling to Epcot with my medals to take pics in front of Spaceship Earth and with the Festival backdrops. #aestheticgoals These pics are especially crucial if you ran through the castle on race day (not all race courses go through Magic Kingdom).
If you have a favorite character - I found the little statues surrounding the hub grass area at MK to be quite charming and unique! Bonus points if you can work your way around to the Walt and Mickey statues (located in front of Cinderella's Castle) for a shot of your medal with Walt reaching out to grab it! Warning: there will be plenty of families wanting this shot as well, your best chance for a less crowded pic will be 10-30 minutes after the parade.
It's also super fun to wear your runDisney merch after your race and take pics with the medal that matches the shirt or theme of the weekend! For example: I loved wearing my Dopey Challenge Hoodie and runDisney pink leggings for photo ops with my medals. I also loved placing my Marathon 2020 Finisher hat alongside my medals and of course wearing it on and off throughout the day at the parks.
I highly advise visiting the parks after a race because you can proudly wear your medal(s) and congratulate others on their race as well! It's so fun! Plus, it gives you the chance to walk around and diffuse any post-race stiffness. It's also fun helping first time runDisney folks take their first medal pics. :) EVERYONE will be taking photos, so don't feel embarrassed or stress about being emotional. It's a special achievement and it earns you the right to be proud and take photos! And of course you can always pose literally minutes after you've earned your medal because you'll still be in costume. :) I also highly advise showering and changing before you head off to the parks. Hehe
3. POST RACE PICS
You've done all the hard work, so now is your chance to slow down and enjoy all you've accomplished! Running in any race, big or small is a HUGE deal. Slow down and don't rush through the finish line (unless you're trying to PR of course). Try to get some photos right after you finish so that you may update friends and family that you made it past the finish line! It's also super fun to get a pic receiving your medal from a runDisney volunteer. PS all of the runDisney volunteers are super friendly and plenty of fellow runners would love to help you take a photo! This specific photo op is especially fun if you're running with a friend or family member who's running their first race. (BEST RACE EVER) Snap a photo of them (with the medal being presented) for a candid shot they'll cherish forever. I also highly suggest removing Mickey Ears before receiving a medal haha. Also, make sure to stay moving after the finish line so you don't get run over! There's plenty of room off to the side to slow down, walk, and take selfies LOL.
Post race photos are also great if you're looking to celebrate immediately after your big race! Once you're out of the finish line shoot and past the water and Powerade stations, you then receive a "snack box" and bananas from volunteers. If you're doing a runDisney Challenge (multiple races), this is where you'll receive your other finisher medals. Right after this, you'll head to a photopass area with runDisney backdrops where you can hold up "I Did It!" signs. These are usually shorter lines, and really fun if you want a professional pic with each medal you receive. These photos get linked to your memory maker on the My Disney Experience App, but you may also ask a cast member or friend to take your photo at this location free of charge.
Once you are back to where you hung out all morning before the race AKA usually Epcot parking lot, you can purchase additional food and/or drinks. A lot of post-race beer, champagne, and coffee are usually offered to runners and spectators. Get yourself some bubbly and celebrate with friends and family. YOU DID IT! Also, PLASTC CHEESES CUPS are given to you FOR FREE! What a time to be alive. I also spotted some Mickey shaped donuts last race weekend, so don't forget to have credit card, ID, and/or magic band with you!
You can also take post-race photos with characters who were out before the race began. Sometimes these are the better photo ops because you can pose with your medals and the character interactions are so fun! More on that to follow!
4. FINISH LINE PHOTOS
These photo ops are often the most coveted of all the runDisney race photos. Disney Photopass cast members line up on either side of the finish line like paparazzi eager to get you that finish line portrait. Sometimes the runDisney gods are in your favor, and other times you run behind a large group and get short-changed. It's no one's fault really, everyone wants that epic finish line photo. My best advice is to pick a side early on, be aware of the crowd around you, and try to find a pocket of space that allows you to get out ahead of the crowd. This may require a short speed up, so save a little extra energy for the end! It's also easier for the announcer to mention your name when you're not apart of such a large group of runners. Break away from the crowd as best you can, but be thoughtful of personal space and others crossing the finish line.
I haven't mastered a certain finish line pose yet, but I will stay away from jumping at the finish line. I think it's always best to cross the finish line with a smile and play it safe! I would hate to come down and twist an ankle right at the end! One day I may actually look right at the photographer, but until then I will relish in the fact that my happiness is always very apparent!
Make sure to also look for certain characters at the finish line and don't be scared to go in for the high-five! If a great finish line photo is your #1 goal, then make sure you have your bib in clear sight and go in with a game plan! There are photopass photographers seen AFTER the finish line as well, and if your costume and/or exuberance is inspiring, they may even ask you to stop and pose for the runDisney website!
5. PARK HOP PICS
One of the coolest things about a runDisney race is the chance to run through the theme parks. The WDW Full Marathon allows you to run through ALL four WDW parks plus Blizzard Beach (new this year). These are often the most exciting moments of the races along with crossing the finish line. Some of my favorite photopass stops that should not be missed are in front of the castle, running through or down the castle walkway, running down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, and stopping for favorite character photos!
The most popular characters can be found before the races, and usually it costs standing in line for up to 30 minutes. Since you're waiting for the corrals to open anyways, this isn't a terrible option especially if you want a picture with a certain character or princess. I usually stretch and drink water while I'm in line, and it actually does make the time go by a bit faster. Characters usually have special costumes on depending on the race weekend, which makes them "rare" and worth the wait! If you miss them in the beginning before the race, they usually can be found in the same spots after the race with a shorter wait time.
Character photos are what really makes the races much more enjoyable and gives you a chance to rest and just enjoy. You are running through the happiest place on earth, so take it all in and experience as many of the fun options you are given! You'll never regret a photo with the main mouse himself!
7. FRIEND AND FAMILY PHOTOS
Another fun way to celebrate your race is with photos of friends and family before and after your run! Sometimes the pictures aren't as great so early in the morning when it's super dark out, but definitely make sure to get some "after" photos! Nothing says runDisney like sweaty hugs from your best pals. Make sure you chEARs to those new medals, you've done GOOD.
One of the best parts about runDisney races are the people you get to experience them with! I feel so honored to be apart of such a large community of such spirited and kind-hearted people. I've met so many fun and inspiring individuals through runDisney, and so many of the relationships continue to grow. Take as many pics with them as you can, they're the ones who deserve to be apart of your huge accomplishment!
8. EXPO FUN
Before any Disney race, there's a runDisney Health and Fitness Expo. You must go if you're a runner, because you have to pick up your bib at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports location in order to participate in the race(s). Before you pick up your bib, you'll want to head into the Arena first to purchase official runDisney merchandise! Head here for fun photo ops and character meet and greets as well. For princess weekend, they usually have Cinderella's carriage out where you can pose in front of it with her footmen. During WDW Marathon weekend, you could get free temporary tattoos of select Disney characters. Merchandise will be everyone's top priority aside from getting their race bibs. Get your merch, and then have fun checking out fun photo backdrops and vendors at the Visa Athletic Center.
Throughout the complex there are specific photo ops where you can hold up your bib and take pics. The Visa Athletic Center has plenty spots to hoist your bib and commemorate the weekend with more merchandise. Now is the time to carry around champagne and shop to and take pics to your hearts content. (This is also THE spot to get any kind of last minute costume item you may need!)
My favorite runDisney expo pic was with cardboard Dopey and his buckets of diamonds. Dopey Challengers lined up for almost an hour to get this photo op! 100% worth it, might I add.
Bib photos are also really easy and fun to take. Hold up your bib in front of the many runDisney backdrops. You'll find plenty to pose in front of, and each race/medal has it's own particular spot along the pathway leading up to The Field House (bib pick-up). Another fun option is to pose with your bib and drink of choice. Boomerangs are also a great option to do with your bib or during a celebratory Disney drink toast among friends! The photo limit does NOT exist.
9. Fun & Fancy Flatlays
A lot of my favorite and memorable photos are the pics I snap of my costumes prior to the race. These photos have become a runDisney tradition of mine, because I'm able to remember the nervous jitters, the anxious excitement, and the fun of running in costume.
A lot of runners do "flat" photos of the outfits they will be running in (gear, bib, and all), while others just take a pre-race selfie or mirror selfie. I've done both, but I'm a really big fan of laying out my costume the day before or the morning of, and snapping a pic for the gram. I've done flatlay sneak peaks, I've done flatlays 15 minutes prior to jumping on the race day bus, and this past WDW marathon weekend I took my first post-race flatlays with my medals and race shirts.
It's certainly a lot of fun to post these pics to your IG or FB story to let your friends and family know that you're getting ready for your big race! Trust me when I say that you'll get so many words of encouragement and praise! I also loooove seeing everyone's flatlays on Instagram! Make sure to tag #runDisney and use the race weekend hashtag so everyone can be inspired by your outfits!
If you're celebrating a special anniversary, birthday, or first visit in addition to the race weekend, get on Etsy and get crafty! I put together a "Princess Party Pack" for my family who ran with me during my birthday weekend (Princess Half Weekend) last year! Small and creative "thank you's" are a great way to celebrate your weekend with the people you love most. It's important to remember those special moments and small gifts with photos! Your friends and family definitely won't mind posing with you.
10. Celebratory Food, Drink, and Merch
My last but certainly not least option: pics celebrating your big race weekend. These are pics you have a friend or family member take so you can enjoy your food, drink, or merch while holding up your medal or just enjoying your big accomplishment. I currently have 6,000 photos on my phone, and I can tell you about 4,500 of them are runDisney photos. LOL. I just love having those moments to look back on, what can I say? A good way to end the weekend is by getting a pic with your favorite Disney World food, drink, or both! End the weekend on a sweet note, and get yourself a Dole Whip or Churro (Mickey bars are up there on the list as well, just a tad too messy for pics).
Don't forget to pick up an "I'm Celebrating" Button at Guest Relations and various spots around the resorts or parks. You have a lot to celebrate, and no runDisney weekend should go un-celebrated! These buttons are free, and a cast member can help you write what you want on your button.
Also, get yourself a damn Mickey Balloon. They're actually the cutest for photos and well worth the $12. Plus, it's super fun to hand them off to a kiddo once you're done taking your pics.
And if you're SUPER into photography like I am, then you'll want to have some professional pics taken! My cousin Carrie and I did a photoshoot in Magic Kingdom for my birthday during Princess Half Weekend in 2018. It was so much fun, and you'll have those memories to hold onto forever. Celebrate big, my friends.
I can't wait to see all your runDisney achievements! Please tag me in a post if you used this blog for taking the perfect race, and race weekend pics! Follow me over at @fitfabdisney on Instagram for more runDisney fun! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!
See ya real soon!
Welcome back, friends! I'm so excited to share some of my favorite tips for helping you become a runDisney expert!
I recently reached out via my Instagram story (@fitfabdisney) to ask my followers which questions they'd like to see answered in this blog post. I figured instead of listing my answers, I'll combine them all into one easy-to-read article. Hopefully my various tips and tricks will allow even the biggest runDisney novice to reach out and run their happily ever after. Shall we begin?
What to Know Before You Go
Before you head off to WDW for your runDisney race, it's important to make a list of all you want to accomplish while you're on your racecation. This is crucial because it will determine where you stay, your number of park tickets, and your ultimate agenda. If you are totally new to runDisney, then you'll need to know registration dates, expo dates/hours, race weekends, race themes, training plans, spectator info, and additional park happenings for the weekend you'll be attending your first runDisney race(s).
What I Wish I Knew
There are three specific things I wish I knew before my first runDisney half marathon weekend.
I'm Injured, Should I still Sign Up?
Unfortunately, injuries can prevent us from living out our dreams to the fullest. All injuries are subjective to the individual athlete, but if you or your doctor are questioning the runDisney race, then perhaps its best to attempt a local race first. This gives you a chance to start small and see how your injury handles a simulation effort. Also, smaller and more convenient races are often less expensive (no refunds for a runDisney race), and provide good insight into how you may fare during a bigger race. If your injury is manageable and you can do physical therapy, then by all means give it a go. Above all, listen to your body and follow your training plan. I follow Jeff Galloway's runDisney training plans (available for free on the runDisney website), and he advocates a unique run, walk, run method to prevent injuries from happening. Most runners run into (no pun intended) a few hiccups here and there, but as long as you stay the course and DO NOT overtrain, you should be able to complete your runDisney race to the best of your abilities.
Post Race Recovery
One of the questions I get asked the most is "how do I recover after my race?" My top tips after any run are to stretch, foam roll, ice (if necessary), and elevate your feet. If you're doing multiple days of running back to back, then I highly suggest an epsom salt bath or a custom massage. Your body needs proper rest and recovery in order to perform at its best. I also suggest recovery items such as compression socks, oofos shoes, CBD balm, and electrolyte drinks. Make sure you are carrying water with you throughout the day, and that you're staying hydrated on the course. You'll also want to be mindful of what you eat, and try not to overdo it with how much active time you spend in the parks, especially if you're doing more than one race. If you're accustomed to taking a bath before or after a run, then I suggest making sure the resort you're staying at has the amenities you need. I was wrong to assume my room at Animal Kingdom Lodge had a bathtub, and upon arrival I was slightly upset at the sight of a rain head shower (under no other circumstances would that have been upsetting). If you're someone who knows they will need an icebath, then check with your resort to make sure your room is accomodating for your needs. It never hurts to ask. If you have a post-race recovery routine already in place, do what it takes to make that recovery time happen. Disney World will still be there after you rest up and take the proper steps to ensure your safety and wellbeing! If you're visiting the parks each day, then definitely make sure to book earlier fastpass times and get to bed early!
First Time Dopey
Yes, it's possible to run your first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge. I wouldn't change my experience for the world, BUT I do think it's better to have the marathon be your first and ONLY race for a first time marathoner. My personal reason for this is because I'm a girl who loves spending time in the parks. I arrived to WDW two days before the races began and my feet were already tired because I love the hustle and bustle of a full park day. To me, that is when I get the most out of the Disney magic. Time spent in the parks is the absolute best. I would've loved to have stressed less and enjoyed more time riding rides, eating treats, and watching fireworks over sitting on multiple park benches, drinking water, and heading to bed at 8 PM. Doing Dopey is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever do...but it comes at a price. Know what you're in for, and just own it. Dopey is amazing because it is a culmination of your hard work over several months. If you're all in, be all in. Don't skimp on training, and plan your trip accordingly. If I could change one major thing, I would tack on a day or two after the races to just enjoy the parks without the worry of the impending marathon weighing on my mind. Again, I will never regret doing Dopey. I had the best experience I could possibly have. I just felt that I had to share my first marathon experience among the other races. I hope that makes sense, and I know you'll choose the race and/or races that best suit you!
Odds and Ends
Here's the section where I'm just going to answer some of the questions I have not yet touched on!
Until next time, xx
Hi, again! I know it's well past due, but I've finally pieced together this long awaited Naples Blog post! As many of you know, I was lucky enough to visit Naples for the 5th or 6th time (I've already lost count) in early August. Steve and I absolutely love it there because of the beautiful beaches, calm waters, sophisticated restaurants, and amazing architecture. We typically go during the summer because the days are hot, the nights are cool, and the crowds are minimal. We stayed for four nights at Inn on Fifth, which sits only seven blocks from the beach, and is positioned on the most bustling avenue in all of Naples. We love staying at Inn on Fifth because we are in the center of restaurant row, and only a ten minute walk from the sugar-like white sand beaches. I also enjoy the beautiful rooftop pool, and amazing views of Fifth Avenue when staying in one of their luxury suites.
Honestly most of our days spent in Naples consist of walking to the beach, walking around downtown, and eating our way around this beautiful little city. Steve and I always look so forward to heading out to dinner each night, because the culinary scene hosts some of the best restaurants in the country. Attached to Inn on Fifth is Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crabhouse, as well as Ocean Prime. Both restaurants serve impeccable seafood with unique cocktails and drool-worthy appetizers.
Truluck's always came so highly recommended as one of the best restaurants in Naples. Although it's a tad on the pricier side, you can't beat the outstanding service and meal delicious options. Steve ordered the crab cocktail for starters, and I always opt for a cup of Lobster Bisque. Both we're ridiculously good, and a good size portion for a pre-meal meal to go along with our wine and pretzel bread. For dinner, I ordered the sweet and spicy Dutch yellowtail served with crab, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and rice pilaf. The entire dinner was delectable and the fish was outstanding. If you are visiting Naples during a busier season, you should most definitely book a reservation.
Ocean Prime may just be our favorite restaurant of them all. We love the modernized club-like seating with large windows to see out onto Fifth Ave. The service is always amazing and so attentive. Steve and I always splurge on fancy cocktails here, and some of our favorites are the Berries and Bubbles, Black Orchid, and Black and Blue Mojito. Their sushi rolls are always so fresh and unique, and their main course items are always so hard to choose from! The Ahi Tuna still stands as my absolute favorite.
Other outstanding dinner spots include USS Nemo, The French, Bleu Province, and Chops City Grille. To put it simply, you just can't go wrong. There's something for everyone!
For brunch bites, Steve and I love Captain and Krewe for their amazing seafood sandwiches and side dishes. We also frequent the Cafe for a healthy breakfast/brunch, and their next-door neighbor Delicious Raw Juice Bar. Hob Knob is also a great place to visit during Happy Hour or to share appetizers before dinner. I have also been known to journey to the hotel rooftop and order myself a drink poolside. Aside from one spring break spent in Mexico, this is the only time I'll allow myself to have Miami Vices and/or Pina Coladas. No regrets.
Another great little insta-famous spot we visited (more inland) was called the Hampton Social. If you don't get a picture in front of the "rose all day" wall, then were you even there? I sipped on some $4 specialty drink (due to the restaurants anniversary), and ordered deviled eggs and fancy avocado toast. I felt #basic and #blessed. I'm so glad Steve allows phones and photos at the table. ;)
Aside from all the amazing food we ate within a short period of time, our stay was incredible due to the low key crowds and heavenly beach days. When it's not randomly raining (lol, Florida), we spend a majority of our time walking along the beach in search of shells and friendly dolphins.
No matter what time of day, you'll find the beaches to be quite breathtaking. Steve and I are always saying how underrated Naples is. Beyond walking the beaches and taking a stroll down Naples Pier, there are plenty of shops, golf courses, and swamp lands to explore. I should also mention that Naples has some of the most beautiful and luxurious homes I've ever laid eyes on. It isn't everyday you get to dine at Oprah's former chef's restaurant or saunter through one of the wealthiest areas in the United States.
If you're looking for fun activities, you can rent kayaks, go bird-watching, visit the Naples Zoo, take a day trip to Sanibel Island, or even head to the Everglades. I think it is safe to say that this quaint little city has stolen away our hearts with it's unique ability to charm us in more ways than one. Rain or shine, it is always peaceful, pleasant, and relaxing. We are always able to find summer solace in this fun and prosperous city off the Gulf of Mexico. I hope you get a chance to explore it in the near future! I can't wait until our next trip to Naples.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy all the "foodie" photos! As always - much love!
Hi, guys! I'm so excited to finally be sharing a blog post about some of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks, drinks, and where to find them!
Before I dive in, here's a fun fact for y'all: Walt Disney World is approximately the size of San Francisco, (double the size of Manhattan!) and home to 4 theme parks with plenty of room for expansion! I would absolutely LOVE the chance to try every snack on Disney property, but there's just no way! Also, I don't think my jeans would allow it. :)
For the past few years, I've been visiting Walt Disney World during the winter and summer months. I've been lucky enough to try a lot of their famous festival treats along with fan-favorites that stay in the parks year round! Since becoming a personal trainer and learning more and more about nutrition, I can say that Disney is 100% my go-to place to indulge! (If you'd like me to do a separate blog post about allergy friendly foods at Disney, please let me know in the comments below or on IG!) Many of the snacks and drinks I'll be mentioning are currently still at the parks, resorts, and/or Disney Springs location. I'll be sure to give you the proper details on each, so that you may too try some of my favorite WDW snacks & drinks! Let's begin now, shall we?
This iconic breakfast item can be found at several locations on Disney Property! My favorite places to get Mickey Waffles include Ohana (located at the Polynesian Resort), The Grand Floridian Cafe (located at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa), and at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments (located in Magic Kingdom).
Each of these dining sites have their own delicious spin on this breakfast must-have! Ohana serves up a family-style breakfast buffet where you can pose for pictures alongside Lilo and Stitch, while chowing down on miniature sized Mickey Waffles.
The Grand Floridian Cafe is a casual sit down breakfast with Victorian charm and plenty of side options for your Mickey Waffles. My favorite is when I order from the children's menu, (I'm sure you're all surprised at that one) and they ask if I'd like my waffles served with a side of sprinkles. Um, does Winnie the Pooh love honey? SERVE ME UP SOME SPRINKLES. But seriously, even if you're not celebrating anything, the tiny Mickey-shaped confetti sprinkles are totally worth the extra cals.
Last but not least, I love ordering the GIANT Mickey Waffle from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments located in Magic Kingdom. This little quick-service restaurant is right around the corner from Cinderella's Castle and has plenty of sweet and savory options. The giant Mickey waffle can be served with powdered sugar or whipped cream and strawberries. My advice would be to skip the whipped cream and strawberries, and just opt for the powdered sugar. Hot park days and whipped cream don't mix well together...you've been warned!
One of my favorite non-alcoholic refreshments at Magic Kingdom is LeFou's Brew. I'm definitely partial to the frozen drinks, especially when the park gets crowded and hot in the early afternoon. You can find this tasty drink at Gaston's Tavern located in Fantasyland. Besides using antlers in all of his decorating, Gaston can also serve up some pretty yummy snacks. This one in particular is frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, AND topped off with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. Do yourself a favor and try one, but nix the souvenir cup unless you want to spend $13. *insert shrug emoji*
The Pongu Lumpia is one of my favorite Disney snacks to order at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Located at the popular refreshment stand, Pongu Pongu in Pandora, these decadent little spring rolls are filled with pineapple and cream cheese. It's a weird combination initially, but the flakiness of the spring roll and the sweetness of the pineapple really go quite well together. This snack is not overly popular amongst Pandora explorers, but they're worth giving your tastebuds a shot! (They'll also hold you over for when you're waiting in line for Flight of Passage.)
Jack-Jack's num num cookie
Let me just say how INCREDIBLY hard it is to stay away from a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie!! Jack-Jack's Num Num Cookies made their debut at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios not too long ago, and they are delicious! Disneyland was the first to showcase this mega cookie when Pixar Pier opened last summer, and us East Coasters were definitely jealous. Along with new Incredible theming, Disney's guests can now delight in other snacks like this one at the Neighborhood Bakery (located at Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios). This snack is the perfect size to share with a friend and is always served warm!
Cool-Headed monkey and hovito mojito
If there ever was a time to splurge on souvenir cups, Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar drinks would be your best investment! I personally love all of the theming that goes into every restaurant at Disney Springs. No matter what you're in the mood for, Disney has a way of flawlessly transporting it's guests from one adventure to another. Jock Lindsey's is considered a "dive bar", and is set inside an airplane hangar from the 1940's. There are many appetizers and alcoholic drinks available for the 21 and older crowd. Those who are fans of Indiana Jones will love the theming and the exotic signature drinks! The Cool-Headed Monkey was my favorite - it includes the souvenir mug and is a mixture of rum, tangerine liqueur, fresh lime juice, watermelon, and pineapple juice. As for the Hovito Mojito, Steve gave this one two thumbs up...plus the glass is a totally fun souvenir! We also tried the Snakebite Sliders and the Nang Tao Spicy Popcorn Chicken while we sipped on our drinks. It's the perfect stop pre-dinner reservation for fun drinks and an adventurous atmosphere on the water. (Located at The Landing in Disney Springs).
Walt Disney World did it right when they adopted Disneyland's New Orlean's Square Mickey-shaped beignets. Originally only found at the Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland Park, these doughy beauties recently made their way over to Walt Disney World's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Aside from the French Quarter being one of the best WDW resorts to stay at, they now host this famous treat in either three or six piece portions (with dipping sauce options). You can find these sugar powdered breakfast treats over at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. Be sure to bring your appetite!
Joffrey's Shakin' Jamaican Cold Brew Coffee
If you've never tried Joffrey's Coffee...you've never truly lived. I'm a millennial and of course I love Starbucks, but Joffrey's always offers refreshing twists to their coffee drinks besides offering amazing smoothies and all-natural tea. This drink in particular can be served with or without alcohol, and boasts hints of vanilla AND caramel. Joffrey's is the official specialty coffee of Disney, and can be found in every Disney theme park, resort, and three different locations at Disney Springs. My favorite Instagram-worthy drink of theirs, is the latte topped off with character art of either Mickey or Minnie Mouse! (Not available at every Joffrey's location)
One of my favorite stops along the World Showcase is Japan. During my last visit to WDW this past February, I HAD to try the Instagram famous Sushi Donut located at Takumi Table in the World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot. This donut shaped fan food had me wanting more, but that also could've been the alcohol from previously visited countries (hehe). This item featured salmon, tuna, shrimp, avocado, and masago with wasabi on the side. The price wasn't too bad either, and the sushi was 100% fresh. Make sure to always stop by Epcot during one of their many festivals for special food, drink, and fun activities! I'm hoping to make it to the Food and Wine Festival this year in November!
Mickey-Shaped Rice Krispy Treats
Just like our favorite Mickey Waffles, Mickey-shaped rice Krispy treats can be found all over Disney property! (You can even watch them being made at Disney's Candy Cauldron in Disney Springs.) These mouthwatering goodies come in all different flavors, but my personal favorites are the ones dipped in M&M's with milk or dark chocolate drizzle! Two other locations house many of these treats including The Confectionary on Main Street, USA and Big Top Souvenirs in Fantasyland (both in Magic Kingdom). This dessert is well worth it, and in the case of Mickey-shaped rice krispy treats, character-inspired candy apples, and churro flavored popcorn, it's best to just "treat yo'self". Your diet can start tomorrow.
Citrus Swirl Orange Float
The slightly less hyped younger brother to the famous Disney Dole Whip Float: the Orange Citrus Swirl. This drink/ice cream duo is perfect for fans of vanilla soft serve and orange soda alike. I was probably in college the last time I had orange soda, but that heavenly sweet bubble taste came rushing right back to me after taking one sip. The sweet vanilla and citrus flavors are a great pairing, and the lines are usually much shorter than that of Aloha Isle (House of Dole Whips, lol). You can find this citrus swirl float at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom. It costs $5.29, but the sugar coma is FO FREE.
Cheshire Cat Tail
Located at the Cheshire Cafe in Fantasyland, these tasty tails pair well with a cold brew coffee for the perfect morning treat. Many bloggers and youtubers have deemed this pastry as one of the best snacks in all of Magic Kingdom! If you're a fan of chocolate chips, creamy filling, colored frosting, and a flaky crust, then you need to make a stop at this counter service window located near the teacups.
Andalusian Nights cocktail
If you're drinking around the world at Epcot, make sure to try the Andalusian Nights Cocktail located at the Morocco Pavilion. This drink includes apricot brandy, rum, orange juice, and pina colada for a strong yet sweet taste. Morocco is one of my favorite countries at the World Showcase, because it has so many fun photo spots and so many unique flavors of food and drink. The next cocktail on my list to try is called the Cyprus Sun, but I've also heard the Tangier's Breeze is amazing. (This drink in particular can be found at the walk up bar in Spice Road Table.)
Cheeseburger Spring Rolls
These housemade Spring Rolls located in Adventureland, are the perfect mid-day snack. The Spring Roll cart is very unassuming, but it serves up specialty roll flavors like Bacon Macaroni, Philly Cheesesteak, and Buffalo Chicken. The cheeseburger spring rolls are definitely numero uno on my list, but I'm sure the other players are just as yummy. Be sure to hit up this food cart before heading to Pirates, and maybe you'll even catch Captain Jack Sparrow stumbling by.
Sprinkles Ice Cream
It's no surprise I'm a HUGE ice cream fan, and Sprinkles (located at Disney Springs) offers some incredible flavors and plenty of allergy-friendly options. Sprinkles sundaes can also be topped with their famous cupcakes, or be delivered to you posthaste via a real-life cupcake ATM. My personal favorite item to order is two scoops in a waffle cone. Shown above is their cap'n crunch flavor, which was SO GOOD YOU GUYS. Make sure to leave plenty of room after dinner, because this dessert stop deserves your full attention.
Millennial pink minnie ears champagne
The drink's official name is Millennial Pink Celebration Toast, and it's rather adorable if I do say so myself. My mom surprised me with one at the Health and Fitness Expo during Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and it was just too precious! I'm normally not one for champagne, but if you top it off with sparkly pink white chocolate, I just might have a change of heart. It is currently available at Amorette's Patisserie in Disney Springs along with other drinks, pastries, cakes, and macaroons that are simply TO DIE FOR. I could go on, but my mouth is watering.
Well, folks, that concludes my blog post for this evening. I definitely have more favorite snack and drink items that I'd love to share, so keep an eye out for a similar post soon! Give me a like on IG and a comment if you'd like to hear more. :) As always, thank you for reading and following my adventures @fitfabdisney on IG.
Princess Half Marathon Weekend is officially over, but I'm still LIVING for all things #runDisney.
Princess Half Marathon Weekend is quite the royal event filled with heavily themed merch, sparkly tutus, and so many beautiful princesses. This year Princess Weekend seemed extra popular with the races boasting more than 20,000 runners. A half marathon bib cost each runner $199 entrance fee, which means Disney raked in almost 4 million from just ONE of their Princess races. And to anyone who is new here, participation in a runDisney race does NOT include Theme Park tickets. For a three day park hopper pass, I spent $426 on myself ALONE. Ultimately, it costs a pretty penny to curtsy your way across the finish line, but you'll never find a more magical race on earth.
This year was my second time participating in the Fairy Tale Challenge. The Fairy Tale Challenge, which used to be named The Glass Slipper Challenge, hosts a 10k on Saturday and a Half Marathon on Sunday. Runners who participate in this Challenge receive a medal for each race and an additional medal for completing the Challenge.
Avid runDisney fans wait patiently each year for the medal photos to be released and this year there was quite the uproar. Princess Elena of Avalor graced the front of the 5k medal, and many of us were confused. Don't get me wrong, every princess deserves a shot at runDisney glory, but how many of us are watching Elena on Disney Junior in our spare time? After having Rapunzel on the 5k medal last year, I think we were all just a tad underwhelmed.
The other medals are definitely more beautiful in person, and the merchandise at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo proved to make up for the bling. Many princesses went early to the Expo and grabbed a fistful of the limited edition runDisney Princess Spirit Jerseys. Luckily, I showed up to the Expo later in the afternoon and didn't have to wait in line like I had the previous year. I definitely took my time wandering the floor and seeing all there was to offer, but ultimately I passed on any new princess merch. My favorite items were the tumblers, pins, and the long sleeve "I run for Dole Whips" shirts. In my opinion, Disney could've performed better on the apparel this year, but that just means that next year is going to be the best designs ever right?! I'm not salty, just sayin'.
This past race weekend provided us runners with record setting heat and plenty of early morning humidity. Luckily, Disney has each race begin at 5:30 AM and does a good job moving the corrals along at a decent speed. We were warned via email of a heat advisory and to be cautious if trying to get a PR for any of the races. I know one of the hardest things to do during a day at the Disney parks is to stay hydrated. I advise anyone who plans on park hopping during race days to stock your hotel refrigerator full of water bottles, and to carry one with you into the parks at all times. Starbucks gives out free water at each location, and there are snack carts around every corner if you want to pay for an ice cold bottle.
Each race was incredibly fun, and I cannot express how much more enjoyable the runs are when you're with friends and/or family. I ran the 5k with 7 of my family members, and it was so much fun posing for pictures and celebrating at the end. If you're planning on participating in the races as a group, I highly advise doing a group outfit and signing up for the race at the same time. It helped that all of us were on the same page as far as pacing goes, and we even got to cross the finish line together! This race made for some of the best memories, and I enjoyed every minute of that fun run!
Next up was the 10k, and it was just as muggy as I remember it to be the previous year. I kept my pace light for this run, because I knew the next day would be the true test of strength. My favorite part about this run was the course. We ran around World Showcase and then along the beautiful boardwalk which is home to some of Disney's most luxurious resorts. It was at this point in the run where the sun started to come up and I could feel a faint breeze off the water. It was so spectacular to run on such a gorgeous morning, that I almost forgot how gross and sweaty I was! Luckily, I had Gus Gus with me to dab away any sweat off my brow. ;)
Sunday came around too fast, and with only 4 hours of sleep under my flipbelt, I was nervous as anyone to tackle the upcoming 13.1 miles. My goals were simple: Beat my previous half marathon time and run diligently while the sun was still down. I managed to achieve both my goals, and I was so proud of myself...and still am! I was off my normal eating schedule for the few days leading up to the race, because Disney calories don't count. ;) I tried as hard as I could to focus on hydration and to stay moving no matter what! I knew that if I stopped and walked or stood too long, my legs would seize up and it would only make my muscle soreness worse. I pressed on with urgency and enjoyed every second of that run. It helps to continuously talk to yourself and be your number one cheerleader, even when the odds are stacked up against you.
It's really hard to put into words the feeling you get once you run through Magic Kingdom. Main Street becomes alive with spectators and fans of princesses both young and old. Music plays in the background as Tinkerbell sprinkles her pixie dust on Cinderella's Castle. It's truly what makes fans of Disney keep running back to the same race year after year.
For anyone who is eager to try a runDisney race or the Princess Half Marathon in particular, I advise you to just try your best, have fun, and soak in every magical moment. There are character stops, castle photo ops, post-race coffee and beer trucks, amazing DJ's, and plenty of chEAR squad members to keep any princess on her feet. You almost forget that you're running, because you're enjoying the atmosphere so much! It's an incredibly hard challenge, especially if you're not used to training in Florida heat, but the quality of the race and the excitement of the runners is worth being bibbidi bobbidi broke! LOL. And those medals, despite maybe not being my favorite designs this year, are incredibly beautiful and high quality. You can't help but show them off! Having said all of that, I think I'll be back for more sooner than later... :)
I cannot believe it's already 2019! Another year has flown by, but I'm super excited about what's to come.
In less than two months I'll be headed back to Walt Disney World for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend! I'll be running with thousands of princesses through the castle and around Epcot for an enchanting 22.4 miles. PLUS, it's my birthday weekend!! :)
So since the runDisney Marathon Weekend and Princess races are almost upon us, I wanted to reach out to my followers on Instagram and answer any runDisney questions they may have!
Question #1: Is there a special training plan when you are participating in more than one race? And how important is nutrition during the training?
Yes! runDisney offers runners the chance to take on multiple miles (meaning more than one race) during each event weekend. I have only ever run the Fairy Tale Challenge, which is the Enchanted 10k and Princess Half Marathon back to back in the same weekend. Every runDisney event hosts a unique challenge, and some are quite difficult. The biggest challenge is during Marathon Weekend where runners have the option to participate in the Dopey Challenge - a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon on consecutive days. runDisney provides FREE training programs for all of it's races and challenges on it's website www.rundisney.com. I have trained using Jeff Galloway's programs for every runDisney race with huge success. No matter what race or challenge you decide on, following a training program focused on the mileage you'll be running is key!!
Part II: Nutrition plays a huge factor during your training! I'm still learning what works best for my body, but following a nutrition plan and/or speaking with a nutritionist can make a world of difference. This year I've trained smarter by following a plan that works best for me, and so far I've been seeing amazing results. My running time has improved, my joints are less inflamed, AND I'm less bloated! Hydration is also super important. (Future blog posts will cover this topic more in depth.)
Question #2: What is the biggest struggle when doing a runDisney run?
The biggest struggle for me personally, was getting the proper amount of rest. I typically spend every day in the Disney parks after completing each race, therefore not allowing much time off of my feet. I would recommend taking breaks throughout the day to relax and also staying out of the sun as much as possible. It can also be hard to stay hydrated all day, so you'll need to really pay attention to your body. The actual run itself is so magical, and so much fun if you train properly. Also, don't skimp on the training. ;)
Question #3: How do you get to the race?
If you're staying at a hotel or resort that's located on Disney property, Disney will provide all your transportation needs to and from each and every race! Buses tend to arrive at each resort around 3:30 AM, and lines form rather quickly. Resorts with monorails provide transportation for the half and full marathons only. Buses are easy to locate after the races, and generally pick up groups of runners every 15-20 minutes. If you're staying off Disney property, it's best to drive and park super early, or I've heard Uber is also a viable option! The earlier you can arrive to the race, the better! Disney traffic can be nightmarish.
Question #4: What do you eat during the half marathon to keep you from your blood sugar, hunger, and energy from crashing?!
The morning of the race, I eat a bagel with peanut butter and a whole banana. (I'm no stranger to eating before endurance events.) I also make sure to drink at least one full bottle of water on the bus on the way to the race. During the race, I stop at every water and Powerade station. I believe last year Disney provided "energy jelly beans" along the course, but I packed Gatorade Energy Chews in my Flipbelt. I have also tried GU energy gels, but I prefer the taste and texture of the Gatorade Chews! After the race, I load up on Mickey Waffles. ;)
Question #5: How long should someone (new to running) prepare in advance for a race? How much should they be running as "practice"?
On the runDisney website, Jeff Galloway has training programs for Beginning Runners and Experienced Runners. Typically his 5k Training Program is 13 weeks with increased mileage every other week. I find running 3x a week to be very beneficial, with my long runs always falling on the weekends. I also highly recommend cross-training and allowing for rest days as needed.
Question #6: Do you prefer wearing pants or shorts during the race?
I prefer to run in capri leggings, but I also love 7/8 leggings. Shorts can sometimes ride up and create chafing, so just be cautious of that! I find it best to train in any outfit you think you might wear during the race. Test runs are always a must! I also usually pack a plan B outfit if the weather decides to be unpredictable.
Question #7: Is it worth the price?!
Unfortunately...YES. Disney races are known to be more expensive than most, but it's still a no brainer for me. I love being at Disney World. I love how easy everything is to get to. I love the magic, excitement, and spirit of the runners. I also love the weather and the race course. When it comes down to it...Disney does it best. The price for registration does not include your park tickets, but Disney does provide unbeatable service, constant transportation, and lots of freebies as far as food and drinks for the runners. They do such a great job putting the whole thing together, and the race merchandise is perfect for any Disney lover. AND THE BLING THO.
Question #8: What do you bring with you while you run?
I always carry my phone (fully charged), ear buds, extra hair ties, and energy chews. Depending on the length of the run, I'll also bring my flipbelt. For the runDisney races, you might also want to bring your magic band, chapstick, and any fun costume accessories. :)
Question #9: How do you recover from the race and still have time to explore Disney?
Honestly, I don't give myself mush downtime at all. I typically take it slow getting to the Disney parks around mid-morning/afternoon. I always shower, stretch, and sometimes ice and foam roll once I get back to my hotel room if time allows. Try to fit in as much as you can while you're there, but I definitely suggest wearing comfortable clothing and putting your feet up when you can. Early bedtimes are always a good idea as well. The races end early in the morning, so you'll have plenty of time to explore the parks...just make sure you're not overdoing it!
Question #10: What are your top 5 songs to get you pumped during running?
For runDisney races I always jam out to my "Run Like It's Midnight" Playlist on Spotify! There's no way I can pick just 5 songs, so my next post will cover all the beats you'll want on your running playlist! Obviously, expect to hear plenty of pop, throwbacks, and Disney classics. :)
Question #11: What are some of your favorite things to do during a runDisney weekend?
Thanks to all those who asked questions! I hope you find my answers helpful and encouraging! Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see another post like this again. Good luck to all those running soon!