Enjoy Early Registration for runDisney Events

Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members have access to early registration for runDisney events before the general public.

Today, Tuesday, January 27, 2015 early registration begins for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend at noon EST / 9 AM PST on the applicable Annual Passholder Program and Disney Vacation Club benefit pages.

2015 – 2016 runDisney Early Registration Dates:

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
Event Dates: September 3 – September 6, 2015
Early Registration Starts: January 27, 2015 – noon EST
Early Registration Ends: February 9, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
Event Dates: November 6 – November 7, 2015
Early Registration Starts: March 3, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: March 16, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
Event Dates: November 12 – November 15, 2015
Early Registration Starts: March 24, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: April 6, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
Event Dates: January 6 – January 10, 2016
Early Registration Starts: April 14, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: April 27, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation
Event Dates: January 14 – January 17, 2016
Early Registration Starts: June 2, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: June 15, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Event Dates: February 18 – February 21, 2016
Early Registration Starts: June 30, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: July 13, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry
Event Dates: May 5 – May 8, 2016
Early Registration Starts: July 28, 2015 – Noon EST
Early Registration Ends: August 10, 2015 – 8:00 PM EST

My Race Tips for runDisney’s Grumpy, Goofy, Dopey and Everything in Between!

Photos from 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend:  Family 5K, 10K, Half, Full

Photos from 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Family 5K, 10K, Half, Full

The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon “Weekend” is right around the corner.  And feelings of excitement, dread, fear, nausea, etc. have probably begun to set in if you haven’t experienced Marathon Weekend before – and probably even if you know EXACTLY what you are up against.

2014 Race Bibs for WDW Weekend

2014 Race Bibs for WDW Weekend

In 2015, I will be celebrating my 7th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  I will be running my 7th WDW Marathon, my 6th Goofy and my 2nd Dopey Challenge.  I’ve learned many things from the addition of the 10K to Marathon Weekend.  I offer you some NEW tips to put your mind at ease.

Please note, I have written other blog posts on tips I’ve learned for the WDW Marathon Weekend Races – please feel free to click the links below:

Tips for Experience runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

11 Tips for Running Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

My Top Walt Disney World Marathon Tips

Tips For the Week Before You Leave for Marathon Weekend:

Packing costumes for the 2014 WDW 5K

Packing costumes for the 2014 WDW 5K

  1. Begin Getting Up Early:  You may of heard you will have to get up EARLY (the middle of the night) for the WDW Races.  This is true – probably between 2:30am to 3:00am is when you should be up and out the door to catch the bus or monorail to get through security (checking of your bag, race belt), and to bag drop (a secured location, alphabetically organized where you can leave your belongings in the runDisney clear bag until after the race), prior to walking to the Corrals.
  2. Fuel Up:  Now is the time to put down the holiday sweets and get focused on the races at hand.  Nutrition is all about eating what you have been eating during your training.  You know what works for you – DON’T CHANGE IT NOW.
  3. Hydrate:  Begin your hydration now.  Carry a water bottle with you and be conscience of your intake.  How do you know you are drinking enough water?  Check you urine.  Your pee should be light in color.
  4. Plan it Out:  Meals, grocery list, Expo shopping list, get it together now while you can think clearly before the excitement of being in WDW hits.
Packing for the 2014 WDW 10K

Packing for the 2014 WDW 10K

Packing List: 

Race attire laid out for family - 2014 WDW 5K

Race attire laid out for family – 2014 WDW 5K

I use MouseSavers Ultimate Packing List.  Google it since it will not allow me to place a link here.  It is the BEST Packing List I have ever seen and I have been using it for years.  For a great Running Checklist I use A Runner’s Race Checklist.  Below are some of my additional items:

  1. Fuel:  Bring what you need from home.  Yes, there will be vendors selling this and that, but use what you have been using during training for Marathon Weekend.  Leave the new stuff for post WDW races.
  2. Hydration:  Bring a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE – carry it empty through security, fill it for the plane, carry it with you to the expo, in the parks.  Refill it often.
  3. Race Waivers & Photo ID:  Both are needed to pick up your race bibs.  There are printers at the expo if you forget, but save time do it now.
  4. Magic Bands, Annual Pass, Disney Vacation Club Card:  Both the Annual Pass and DVC Membership cards will give a 10% discount on runDisney official merchandise.  You will be able to use your Magic Band for changing privileges at the official runDisney merchandise store.
  5. Power-strip:  With Kindles, iPad, iPhones, Garmins, cameras – there are never enough outlets.  A power-strip consolidates all your electronics in one spot for ease and efficiency.
  6. Race Shoes:  I bring 1 pair per race – for Dopey I will bring 4 pairs.  I will bring different shoes for park touring.
  7. Costumes:  If you haven’t been to a runDisney race, the costumes are part of the fun.  Do dress up and have a great time!
2014 Walt Disney World Expo

2014 Walt Disney World Expo

The Walt Disney World Expo:

  1. runDisney Merchandise:  My tip is to create a shopping list prior to arriving.  Here is a link to the Official 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Merchandise.  To say that it can get down-right crazy at the expo is an understatement.  Stay calm and smile.
  2. New Balance runDisney Shoes:  If you would like to purchase the official New Balance runDisney shoes registration begins Wednesday, January 7th 6am via this link.  You can obtain a shopping time and hold your desired shoe type and size.
  3. Create a Shopping List:  The Walt Disney World Expo is a runners paradise.  I’ve attended some large running expos – New York, Boston, Marine Corps and Chicago – Disney is one of the best.  TIP:  strollers are not allowed, if you must bring a child into the expo, I would use a carrier.
2014 Expo bags for family

2014 Expo bags for family

Magic Band and Finisher Bracelet

Magic Band and Finisher Bracelet

Tips for Grumpy, Goofy and Dopey – Multiple Races in Multiple Days:  adapted from my 11 Tips for Running Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge with the addition of the 5K

  1. Pace Yourself:  The Challenges are all about survival and pacing yourself.  Conserve your energy.  Get your rest.  Minimize time on your feet.
  2. Switch it Up:  I bring 1 pair of shoes per race.  This is especially important for the Half Marathon and Full Marathons.  Remember to bring addition footwear options for park touring.  Remember it’s Florida and it can rain at any time.
  3. Be Prepared:  I layout my race attire in drawers, on hangers, on the floor for all 4 races so I don’t need to think about it as the days progress and the mornings come earlier and earlier.  I stack my clothes backwards with the last item I’m going to put on, on the bottom.  I also lay my sunblock, deodorant and Glide next to my race attire so I don’t forget to use it in the morning.
  4. Use Compression:  I recommend compression socks for each race if running the Goofy and Dopey.  Wearing them racing will change your life – no joke.  If traveling long distances via car or plane, wear compression on the flights to and from the weekend.
  5. Remember Your Challenge Bracelets:  After each race, when running a challenge, runners will have to check into the Goofy or Dopey tent to receive their race completion bracelets.  After the 5K, 10K, and Half you will receive a bracelet.  These must be worn until the completion of all your races in order to receive your challenge medals.
  6. Get a Rub Down:  Bring money for the Massage Tent.  It is $1 per minute and helps with recovery between races especially for the Goofy/Dopey.  Note, the Massage Tent is only available for the Half and Full Marathons.  Another option is booking a massage at Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs or The Grand Floridian.  Also, remember to pack and use your Stick or foam roller.
  7. Fuel Up & Hydrate:  Yes, you are on vacation, but a race-cation is a different animal.  It is not best to eat foods you haven’t prior to racing.  Keep to your known foods to minimize porta potty time during the race(s).
  8. Stay Calm and Carry On:  I think this is the most important tip.  It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the starting line.  There will be fireworks.  There will be stories of inspiration.  You must not succumb to the craziness of others.  Run your own race.  Stick to your race plan.  When using run/walk/run move to the side and stick to your intervals from the very start.  Focus.  Stay true.  Keep your eyes on the prize.
  9. Focus on the Now:  Remember to concentrate on the race at hand.  Take each day one day at a time.  Don’t worry about the full marathon on the 5K morning.  Break up the distances and focus on the NOW.
  10. Get Your Rest:  Go to bed early.  Remember those mornings come soon enough.
  11. Walk it Out:  Rest is great, but sitting around is not.  Remember to walk to help ease recovery and avoid tightness.  And ROLL BABY ROLL!
  12. Celebrate Your Accomplishments:  It doesn’t matter if it is your 1st race or your 100th.  To quote Bart Yasso, “never take a finish line for-granted.”  Be proud of your accomplishments.  Celebrate your achievements, you earned it.  Tip:  It is common for runDisney race finishers to wear their medals – 5K, 10K, Half, Full, Goofy, Dopey – in the parks and around the resort during WDW Marathon Race Week! 
2014 WDW 5K

2014 WDW 5K

Tips – Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K:

  1. Arrive Early:  Characters will be available for pre (and post) race photos.  There will also be a DJ to warm up the crowd.
  2. It’s a FUN RUN:  The 5K is not officially timed (unless you are running the Dopey) so now is your opportunity to stop & pose for photos!
  3. Conserve Your Energy:  If you are running multiple races during the weekend it is best NOT to push yourself during the 5K.  Why risk injury?
  4. Pay Attention:  The race begins prior to sunrise.  There are runners of all different abilities on course.  Please keep your eyes and ears open.  Watch for uneven pavement, puddles and sharp turns.  Watch for children.  Don’t stop short or worse in the middle of the course to take a photo.  Always move to the side!
  5. Have a Race Plan:  When running with family members make a race plan the night prior to the race.  Not in the morning, it’s too early.  Confirm a meeting place both pre & post race.  Designate race buddies.  Wear Road ID’s.  Give the children instructions on where to go if you get separated.  Give the adults instructions on where to go if you get separated.  Make sure everyone knows their hotel name & bus number.
  6. Communicate:  Because of the concentrated amount of runners at the race start and finish line, it is best to use TEXT as a mode of cellular communication rather than phones.  Make sure all members of your party know your chosen mode of communicate prior to arrival.
Finishers of the 2014 Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K and Kids Races 200, 400 meters

Finishers of the 2014 Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K and Kids Races 200, 400 meters

Tips – Walt Disney World Kids Races:

  1. Arrive Early:  The Kids Races are located on the track of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  It’s a hike from the buses.  Leave enough time to go to the bathroom and find your meeting location.
  2. Find a Volunteer:  It’s “organized chaos.”  The kids are lined up by race – 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters.  Trust me, find a volunteer and have them point you to the correct location.
  3. Keep the Child Claim Ticket:  Each child’s bib has a claim ticket.  Once the race is over the child will wait until a parent with the correct claim ticket comes to the chute to claim the child.  No ticket.  No child.
Linda Ambard and I with Biggest Loser Winner, Ali Vincent

Linda Ambard and I with Biggest Loser Winner, Ali Vincent

Tips – Walt Disney World 10K:  

  1. See Tips for 5K
  2. Bring Your Camera & Smile:  As the race distances get longer the opportunities for Character Photo stops increase.  runDisney race professional photographers will be on hand to snap your official race photos plus they will also snap photos with your personal camera or cell phone.  Please note official race photographs cannot be combined with Disney’s Memory Maker.  Tip:  Have your camera on and ready to snap a photo so the character lines continuously move.
  3. Course Support:  Water and PowerAde stations will be on course before mile 2, 3.5 and 5.5 if you require fluids before these stations, it is best to bring your own.  First Aid tents are also on course and have Tylenol, BioFreeze and Vaseline on hand.  Volunteers will be stationed throughout the course and on bikes.  Flag them down if needed.
  4. Medals and Finisher Chutes:  Once you are through the finish line remember there are multiple volunteers awarding medals so keep moving forward and don’t cluster.  Remember to pick up ONE water, ONE PowerAde (available in multiple flavors) and ONE recovery box.  Don’t forget to pose for your official finisher photo.
Running through the castle!

Running through the castle!

Tips – Walt Disney World Half Marathon:

  1. See Tips for 5K and 10K
  2. Spectators:  Have a plan for your loved ones of where they can see you on course and/or at the finish.  Tracking is available via runDisney, however, it is best to use a different source like the Garmin tracking app for precise tracking.
  3. Main Street U.S.A.:  The best thing about running the Half and Full marathons are running up Main Street U.S.A.  The roar of the crowd is deafening.   However, one must pay attention.  There are trolley tracks in the middle of the street so watch your footing.  Do not stop suddenly for photos – please move to the side.
  4. Cinderella Castle:  Make sure you pose in front of the Castle.  If we are lucky, the Christmas lights will be lit.  There are multiple lines going simultaneously.  Go to the X, smile and move on – you’ll be happy you stopped.
  5. The Hill:  The “hill” is a ramp to an overpass located on Mile 10, but it is a hill.  It is also a smaller, banked ramp.  If you choose to walk, then please alert those behind you by raising your arm before you slow down and move off to one side.
Alison screaming her head off during our Expedition Everest Ride!  She was terrified and I was peeing my pants laughing at her terror.

Alison screaming her head off during our Expedition Everest Ride! She was terrified and I was peeing my pants laughing at her terror. (Note Perfectly Goofy Gail smiling)

Tips – Walt Disney World Full Marathon:

  1. See Tips for 5K, 10K and Half
  2. Be Prepared for Anything:  Meaning it might be a 5 plus hour day – it all depends on the weather.  Therefore, bring Chap Stick and TP.  Wear sunblock and Glide.  Bring your sunglasses and/or visor/hat.  Salt tablets are not such a bad thing to carry.  I also wear a race belt with NUUN and carry my own Gels.
  3. Walt Disney World Speedway:  Watch your footing in and out the steep ramps.  Note  – the speedway is banked.
  4. Riding Expedition Everest:  By the time most of us are entering Animal Kingdom, the park is opening and you may get the opportunity to ride a coaster DURING a Marathon!!!  If it is, then proceed to the Single Rider Line and prepare to hold on to your hats and sunglasses!  Tip:  Remember to pause your Garmin or keep it on to record the fastest mile of your race! 

Good luck!  And see you next week at the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  Next up –  Going Coast to Coast:  The 2015 Inaugural Star Wars Weekend – 7 days and 71 miles of fun!

What did I forget?  What are your favorite Tips for runDisney’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?  What item do you recommend everyone pack?

Closing the Door on 2014 – AKA The Year I Out Ran Cancer

Photos from 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend:  Family 5K, 10K, Half, Full

Photos from 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Family 5K, 10K, Half, Full

2014 was one of the best years of my life – hands down.

I mean what’s not to love.  I finished chemotherapy.  I got new boobs.  My hair grew back.  I got to run 50 races.  Seriously, what more could you and should you really ask for in life?

So here are some of my highlights from 2014:  

Finishing Chemotherapy: 

I don’t know a better way to kick off the year except by completing chemotherapy treatments.  On Thursday January 2nd, one day earlier than scheduled due to an impending snowstorm, I recevied my 6th and final chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.  I would still require an additional 13 Herceptin treatments, but Herceptin wasn’t as debilitating to the body as Taxotere and Carboplatin.

Some photos from different stages of breast cancer treatment.

Some photos from different stages of breast cancer treatment.

As the chemotherapy drugs left my system I grew stronger.   Every time I sat in the cancer ward to receive treatment, with fear and suffering around me, I left re-energized to live my life to the fullest and appreciate the NOW.  Every opportunity I was given I took advantage.  I celebrated being alive.  I reflected on the past and made a plan for the future.

With my doctor and some brave patients receiving treatment.

With my doctor and some brave patients receiving treatment.

Outrunning Cancer: 

Running through breast cancer treatments and surgeries wasn’t easy.  My oncologist supported and encouraged me to run knowing it was my way of coping having breast cancer and loosing my breasts.  At any age, a double mastectomy is not an easy process.  It is not just one surgery, but a series of appointments with lots of recovery – both physically and mentally.  And as you know if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I used running as my coping mechanism.

Races 4-7:  Tinker Bell 5K, 10K, Half, Princess 5K

Races 4-7: Tinker Bell 5K, 10K, Half, Princess 5K

I wasn’t always feeling good and running wasn’t always easy. But I completed 50 races in 2014 with a total of 485.49 racing miles/843.97 miles in total.  Here’s some of my running stats:

Providence Half, Ragnar Cape Cod, Iron Horse Half, Runners World Hat Trick

Providence Half, Ragnar Cape Cod, Iron Horse Half, Runners World Hat Trick

  • 17 5k’s
  • 7 10k’s
  • 14 Half Marathons
  • 4 Full Marathons
  • 8 – other distances including 1 duathlon
  •  2 PR’s, 5 hats, 11 states, 41 bibs, 44 shirts and 48 medals

Not bad (and quite crazy) considering I wasn’t allowed to run for 9 weeks of 2014.

Breast Cancer Walk, 1/4 Marathon, Legends 4-miler, Simsbury 10K

Breast Cancer Walk, 1/4 Marathon, Legends 4-miler, Simsbury 10K

Became A Media Whore: 

Why not turn something not so fun to talk about into something inspiring to motivate others?  I was given the opportunity to share my breast cancer story and share I did.  First, I celebrated finishing chemotherapy at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon completing the Dopey Challenge.  My story was documented by runDisney for their Why I run Disney series:

Then I was asked to appear on Emotional Mojo by Diet Diva herself Tara Gidus.  Here’s the link to the segment on EmotionalMojo.

I Got New Boobs: 

Yup, Christmas came early for me in 2014.  The Tuesday following runDisney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend, February 25th, I went back into the hospital for a complete hysterectomy and my new breast implants.  Unfortunately, the entire breast reconstruction process is a long, tedious process and I went back into the hospital again on August 1st for additional reconstruction.

Top:  Post hysterectomy/reconstruction  Bottom:  Post reconstruction

Top: Post hysterectomy/reconstruction Bottom: Post reconstruction

 I Touched Greatness: 

The running community is not only inspiring, but humble and incredibly giving of their experiences, expertise and time.  Here are some of the greats I got to met “in the flesh” in 2014!

With Dimity & SBS, Bill Rodgers, Mr. Yasso and half of Team Hoyt.

With Dimity & SBS, Bill Rodgers, Mr. Yasso and half of Team Hoyt.

With Aly Raisman, Meb Keflezighiand Kathrine Switzer

With Aly Raisman, Meb Keflezighi and Kathrine Switzer

I Became Part of the Team:

It was quite a honor and humbling to be asked to apply to represent the inaugural Team HMF.  Even though I run and I “race”, I don’t always consider myself a “real” runner because I’m not really fast.  But regardless, I was one of the 14 women and 10 men representing fast and not-so-fast runners (me) for the 2014 Team HMF.

Representing Team HMF at the Manchester Road Race, Norwich Winter Fest, Huffing for the Stuffing and Mitten Run.

Representing Team HMF at the Manchester Road Race, Norwich Winter Fest, Huffing for the Stuffing and Mitten Run.

I also was honored to win a spot and represent the national Team Chocolate Milk.  I only was able to run Las Vegas for Team Chocolate Milk in 2014, but hope to inspire and run more in 2015!

Avengers 5K, Avengers Half, Representing Team Chocolate Milk in Las Vegas, Malibu Fitness 5K

Avengers 5K, Avengers Half, Representing Team Chocolate Milk in Las Vegas, Malibu Fitness 5K

I Crossed Items Off My Bucket List:

My bucket list is always evolving and I was able to cross a few items off in 2014!  I ran my first Ragnar – Cape Cod and then a few months later I got to run another for Team Bondi Bands at Ragnar Adirondacks (an ultra no less).  I also completed my first duathlon, set a new 10K PR at the BAA 10K, and a new 5K PR at HMF Women’s Red Dress 5K.

Completing the Shamrock Duathlon

Completing the Shamrock Duathlon

Two H-U-G-E Disney bucket list items were accomplished in 2014.  First, I got to tour Walt Disney’s apartment on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland.  (I also got to see the BATHROOM).

Standing in Walt Disney's apartment.

Standing in Walt Disney’s apartment.

And then we were asked to dine at the private, and legendary, Club 33 in Disneyland.

Enjoying lunch at Club 33

Enjoying lunch at Club 33

I Took the Trip of a Lifetime: 

My family and I finally got to take our National Park “Death Tour.”  In 16 days we traveled 4,671 miles by car to 17 states, 12 National Parks, slept in 11 hotel rooms,  and took over 2,000 photos.  We saw bison, elk, moose, prairie dogs, wolves and even 1 black bear – UPCLOSEANDTOOCLOSEFORCOMFORT.    We saw the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Indian Reservations, geysers, waterfalls, dinosaur bones, etc.  We hiked, fished, rode horses, dug for fossils and even white-water rafted. 

IMG_4850

Celebrated My 43rd in Style!

I turned 43 in 2014 and decided to turn the milestone into an event.  I first got to attend a meet & greet for Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic to the Stars (all time favorite fluff to read).

096

With the author, Sophie Kinsella (pen name).

 

But best of all – I asked for and received the best 43rd birthday present a cancer patient could ask for…her chemotherapy port removed!

Pre-surgery for port removal on my 43rd birthday!

Pre-surgery for port removal on my 43rd birthday!

So these were some of my highlights of 2014.  I am looking forward to an outstanding 2015.  The best is yet to come!

With Gratitude: 

Thank you to my family and friends for allowing my dreams to come true.  I also want to thank my social media family sharing my story and supporting me through my struggles and my triumphs.  Thank you for your continued love and support.  Many people have reached out to me throughout 2014 to share their personal struggles of how my story has helped them to reach their goals.  I am humbled by your kind words.  If you see me at a race, please introduce yourself, because I would be honored to meet you in person and to shake your hand.

Special thanks to Cherylann, Sue, Mary, Tara, Candice, Terri-Ann, Jo-Lynne and Nicole for allowing me to call on you at any and every hour of the day.  To my Best Running Friends, Alison and Janice, for allowing me to abandon them completely in 2014 on my “outrunning cancer” quest.  To Perfectly Goofy Gail for being game and crazy enough to run beside me.  To my medical staff of nurses and doctors at Hartford Hospital who took care of me while in surgery, recovery and throughout treatment (I don’t WANT to know what you did when I was under).  And to my family and friends for putting up with my running obsession this and every year since 2008.  But most of all, to my husband Jack, who shakes his head, but willingly “allows” me to follow my heart and continue to live my big crazy dreams – you all have made me a stronger, braver person because of your love and support.  Here’s to an even better 2015!

CHEERS TO 2015!

#DrinkAllTheDrinks – CHEERS TO 2015!

Mother Bear:  Last Minute Holiday Gifts for the Active Mom

IMG_7593

It’s December 17th and frankly, I’m a little behind with my holiday shopping.  This year, I decided to focus on enjoying the holidays by putting up the tree (early for once) and enjoying it (sitting and staring at the twinkling lights in my clean living room sans runDisney costume parts) instead of running around up until Christmas Eve trying to make everything perfect.

At 43, I realize the ONLY person who cares about perfection is ME.  So this year I’ve decided to be, if I can quote My Fair Lady, “more like a man” and not stress out and see where inspiration takes me…

Scott James Jewelry

Scott James Jewelry

Here are some gift ideas on MY holiday wish list – Click on the item name.  A link will bring you directly to the shopping page:

  1. Clarisonic Cleansing Device  Let’s face it – runners are exposed to the elements.  Wind burn, sun burn, extreme cold, rain you name it.  Keep those lines away and protect your skin.  I love mine and have had it for YEARS.  Seriously – years.    $99 and up
  2. Barefoot Dreams What’s the first thing you want to do after a 20-mile run?  Right – cuddle up in the fetal position and die, I mean nap.  How about napping wrapped in an ultra soft, like butter, Barefoot Dreams wrap.  I have 2 wraps and a blanket I used for chemotherapy treatments.  I gave a wrap to my mother-in-law last Christmas.  Worth every penny.  $90 and up
  3. Bondi Band Hats I love Bondi Bands hats – lightweight, dry wick material, cool colors.  These are great for cancer patients as well.  I love the choice of ponytail or pigtail holes!  $18 each
  4. Scott James Jewelry I love my medals, but it’s frowned upon to wear them post race.  This is where race jewelry comes in – goes hand in hand with car race magnets as conversation starters to discuss running and your races with anyone who is too dumb to know better ;-) $10 and up
  5. Alex and Ani bangles. They have running themed bangles, inspirational, favorite charity, sports team and Disney bangles.  You are welcome.  $28 and up
  6. Something with Wonder Woman on it – a coffee mug, a water bottle, underroos, a make-up bag.  She will love it, because if she grew up in the 70’s, she loves Wonder Woman.  Trust me.

If you need more gift ideas check out my mother’s day list.

Stocking Stuffer’s:

Let’s discuss the importance of the Christmas stocking.  Please remember to fill your significant others stocking.  There is nothing sadder than a limp, empty Christmas stocking on Christmas morning.  I have to fill my own so I here are a few items I will be stuffing in my stocking this year:

  1. Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, Bubble Baths – get the travel size.  My favorite flavor is birthday cake!
  2. Krave Jerky – You must try the Black Cherry. My favorite.  My kid’s favorite.
  3. Shower Pill – I have a few squirreled away when I need them. One is in my work desk drawer.  Another in my car.  And another is in my gym bag.  Perfect for Ragnar Relay Races.  Perfect to have on hand ICE.
  4. Chap Stick – It’s winter. Everyone needs multiple Chapsticks (try Cake Batter and Candy Cane) for their purse, their car, their desk drawer, their ski jacket and then add a few more because one always goes into the dryer and melts all over your clothes.
  5. EOS Lotion & Lip Balm– With lip balm flavors of Honeysuckle and Tangerine what’s not to love.  Their lotion is good too, but what I’m really buying is the cool packaging. I love it.  I’m a sucker.
  6. Real Time – I’m not sure which race expo I was where I was made to try RealTime, but let me say – I attended an expo the following week and purchased a $30 tube. Yup – so good I’m over BioFreeze.
  7. Sweets – There is nothing better than a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa, Pez, the Lifesaver “book,” you get the idea – don’t be stingy.

 What’s on your shopping list?  Have any suggestions?

Race Report:  Ragnar Adirondacks – Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid, New York

Home and then back on the road again...

Home and then back on the road again…

Sure I’ll run a Ragnar ultra in the Adirondack Mountains – how hard could it be?!!

I was beyond excited to run my second Ragnar of my life/the year – Ragnar Adirondacks for Team Bondi Bandits.  I had run Ragnar Cape Cod in May as a member of a 2-van 12-person team and had an excellent experience so I jumped at the chance to run for Ragnar Relay Series sponsor, Bondi Band.  Plus I knew running both Cape Cod and Adirondacks would give me the opportunity to earn the Dock and Dacks medal in addition to the Cape Cod and Adirondacks medals (I am a medal whore).

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For those of you not familiar with the Ragnar Relay Series - Ragnar is a “overnight running relay race.”  “You and 5 of your crazier friends (for an ultra team) pile into a van and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style.  Only one runner hits the road at a time.  Each participants runs three times, with each ultra leg ranging between 8-16 miles.”

 

2014 Ragnar Cape Cod Team Runs on Dunkin - Cranberry Edition

2014 Ragnar Cape Cod Team Runs on Dunkin – Cranberry Edition

If you would have told me I would have found it “fun” and be excited about sleeping (barely) in a van with 5 others and running in the middle of the night in the middle of east bum-fudge, I would have thought you crazy.  But I was so super excited to run this race, an ultra no-less, in the mountainous Adirondacks that I conned my pal, Perfectly Goofy Gail into running with me.  Also representing Team Bondi Bandits was Lisa Bjerklie, Adam Rice, Jenny Rice @RunningThriver, Tina Garstad @Crantina.  Supporting us were Sandy Sawyer, Sales Manager, Bondi Band and our driver – Jay Gruebele.

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Our sponsor Bondi Band/Sandy had also secured sponsorship from:

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Running All the Races can sometimes be a challenge – especially when you also have to work to support your running habit!  My work schedule had me coming directly off a plane from Alabama, with only a few hours home to kiss my family, unpack and repack in order to pick up Gail from the airport and make the 3.5 hour drive up to Lake George, New York.  Fate had it that my flights were uneventful, but Gail was stuck in Las Vegas without a flight to Connecticut.  Somehow Gail managed to secure a flight into Albany and we celebrated her arrival with a couple of margaritas.

When in doubt #DrinkAllTheDrinks

When in doubt #DrinkAllTheDrinks

The margaritas helped lessen the pain of trying to find the Lake George hotel in the dark.  The alarm and morning came too soon, but since we are seasoned racers, we got out of bed to meet our teammates and pack the van – our home on wheels for the next 36 or so hours.

Team Photo Pre-Race

Team Photo Pre-Race

The race check-in and start was at Saratoga Springs.  Here we would check-in as a team, pick up our bibs and packet/”Race Bible,” show our safety gear (vests and lights) and attend a safety briefing.  Then at 7:15am we would send Runner #1 (Lisa) off to begin our 200(ish) mile UPHILL relay to Lake Placid (I’m not even remotely kidding – it was uphill all 200 miles see the elevation chart).

At the start sending off Lisa for Legs 1 & 2.

At the start sending off Lisa for Legs 1 & 2.

It got warm mid-day, but the course was beautiful with fall foliage close to peak.  I was Runner 5 and began my 1st Leg at 1:55pm.  My leg was a total of 10.19 miles with only a 328-ft elevation gain.  Unfortunately, there were a few unsupported legs, no-shoulder, rail-trail, where we couldn’t pull the van over to check on our runners, but Leg 1 for all 6 of us went off without a hitch.  Soon it was time for Leg 2 – night running.

Ready to start my 2nd leg at 3am...

Ready to start my 2nd leg at 3am..

I don’t do well without sleep and need a minimum of 2-hours in order to barely function.  But I was prepared to sleep as well as one can in a van with my eye-mask, ear-plugs and sleeping bag.  I don’t know exactly how much sleep I got, but when it was my time to run, I jumped out of the van and waited for Gail in the exchange.  Gail was running only 15 minutes behind schedule and I took off for my 2nd Leg at 3:37am.  My leg began in Crown Point, New York.  There was nothing out there.  I got passed by four runners the beginning of my first leg and then I was all by myself.  I heard rustling in the woods, but refused to look keeping my eyes straight on the road and my ears at high alert.  It was scary and I was as alone as I could be.  I tried to keep positive and tried to keep moving forward.  I reached civilization and the town of Port Henry where I would run through the exchange and continue on to finish my 15.75 mile leg (with an elevation gain of 1,732 feet).  When I arrived to the exchange to hand off to Runner 6/Tina, I was exhausted, but overjoyed to be out of the silent darkness and safe in the warm inviting van.

I have never been so happy to see my teammates and get off the road.

My face says – “Thank you for rescuing me.”  I have never been so happy to see my teammates and get off the road.

During my 15-mile leg, I had figured out we were one of the last teams out on the road.  It turns out there were only 11-ultra teams running Adirondacks.  Because we were a leg or 2 behind the other teams, Ragnar advised us to double-up running legs together so we could catch up to the other teams and not be all by our lonesome.  This suggestion sounded a whole lot better than running by ourselves and we decided that Lisa & Jenny would run Lisa’s leg.  We’d have Adam run an easier leg then the nightmare we had originally planned for him and Gail and I would run Tina’s leg of 10.45 miles into the finish.  Did I mention it was uphill the entire 10.45 miles into the finish?!!

Finishers!!

Finishers!!

Misery always loves company and the plan of running together and laughing – okay bitching – about the hills, the heat, everything and anything was made more enjoyable with Tina and Gail by my side (or behind me and in front of me – I don’t know I was delirious from the stupid hills!!!)  We made it to the finish line and crossed as a team.  The beer at the finish line party never tasted so good!

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Would I run Ragnar Adirondacks again?  Absolutely – it was a beautiful course and Ragnar throws one heck of an event.  Would I run Ragnar Adirondacks as an ULTRA?  Hmmmmmmm – I would have to give that great thought.  The course is tough.  We ran parts of the Ironman Lake Placid course.  I think when you run Ragnar as an ultra you can’t have as much fun as you could running half the distance.  It’s fun, but a different type of fun.  It’s all about the running.  My three legs were a total of 36.39 miles.  That’s a lot of running without sleep surviving on ClifBars, Krave Jerky and Nuun.  It can be done, but I personally rather run less, rest more and enjoy my time with my teammates.

For Tips to running a Ragnar Ultra, see RunAllTheRaces (post uploading shortly).  To see highlights of our 200(ish) mile Ragnar Adirondacks race please click on the video below.

 

Product Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 18 – Realize the Power Within

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I recently received a complimentary pair of women’s  Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s to review. This was my first ever pair of Mizuno running shoes.  I had heard only positive reviews from my BRF, Janice.  Janice is an official tester for Mizuno and is constantly showing up to our long runs in yet another pair of Mizuno’s to test (lucky girl).

010Style:  The color sent was Black/Silver/Florida Key colors.  I would have never picked out black shoes for myself, but I was open to trying something new and the color grew on me.  I really liked the Florida Key color accents on the soles and laces.   Styling was fresh and current – I felt like a hipster.

I love how design of the black into the silver

I love how design of the black into the silver

Cushioning: The shoe is designed for neutral runners and I found there was enough support for me.  I didn’t feel the need to add a shoe insert.  The Wave Rider 18’s were quite springy and lightweight/airy.

They even looked good lounging around...

They even looked good lounging around…

Wear test:  I received these shoes to review right between my 2 marathons – Hartford, October 13th and New York City, November 2nd.  I decided to break in the Wave Rider 18’s running errands and on my short runs.  Then I decided to give them the full test during the Hershey Half Marathon on Sunday, October 19th (my 38th race of 2014).

Mizuno Wave Rider 18's with my Hershey Half Race Essentials

Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s with my Hershey Half Race Essentials

What I liked:

  • The fit – I normally wear a size 9 in a running shoe and the Wave Rider 18’s Women’s size 9 fit perfectly (meaning perfect amount of extra room for my toes while not allowing my heel to move).
  • The support was perfect for my run especially the race.  The shoe was stable, yet lightweight and durable.  The hills of the Hershey Half were rolling, I had tripped and almost fallen on my face, the shoes kept me grounded.
  • They are new shoes so I felt the difference in cushioning right away.  It will be interesting to see how they wear once more miles are put on them.
Mizuno Wave Rider 18's broken in during the Hershey Half

Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s broken in during the Hershey Half

What I didn’t like:

  • The shoelaces were short.  I had to loosen the laces to allow for swelling and I couldn’t double knot my laces.  I had to stop and retie during the race which was an annoyance.
  • When I got tired my ankle rubbed against the right (and only the right) side of the shoe.  Not a fault of the shoe, but my tired gate.

All in all – I liked the Mizuno Wave Rider 18.  I thought they were a good solid, sturdy running shoe – perfect for a wide range of neutral runners.

Mizuno’s Wave Rider 18 are available in both Men’s and Women’s sizes in a wide selection of colors.  The Weight of the Men’s shoe is 9.2 oz.  The Weight of the Women’s shoe is 7.8 oz.  The suggested MSRP is $119.99.  The Mizuno Wave Rider 18’s are on sale now nationwide and on Mizunorunning.com – Check out the Fuchsia Purple color!

Disclosure:  I was given Mizumo’s Wave Rider 18 product to review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Product Review – Win Detergent

WIN sports detergent: green and regular

WIN sports detergent: green and regular

 

If your family is actively participating in sports, then you probably do A LOT of laundry.  Since my daughter is running cross country and I am running 48 races this year, we are constantly in and out of active gear!  And what I know about active gear is – it can stink!  And what I also know about sports gear is that if you don’t use a sports wash, the tech gear can retain the stinky smell.  I was sent two bottles of WIN Sports Detergent to put to the test!

 

A cup of WIN

A cup of WIN keeps the stink away!

I like to use sports wash for my sports gear because I spent lots of money on my gear and I want them to last for years.  I find washing with WIN on the delicate cycle/cold and then line drying keeps my clothes in tip top, non-stinky shape!  WIN removes pesky sweat & odors and helps keep my favorite workout clothes fresh and new.

A full load!

A full load!

I really liked the GREEN version of WIN.  It is dye-free and fragrance free.  My skin can be very sensitive and the GREEN version was very mild.  I didn’t even notice a scent when trying this new version.

Also used WIN for hand washing my Tower of Terror costume

Also used WIN for hand washing my Tower of Terror costume

Both versions of WIN are made in the USA, with a bottle made from 25% post consumer recycled plastics. WIN is septic safe, phosphate free, and can be used in high efficiency washers. WIN does not do any animal testing.

Trying out WIN GREEN

Trying out WIN GREEN

Now here’s an opportunity for you to give WIN a try!  Use coupon code WINGIVE1  at WIN’s Amazon page

Giveaway:  I’m giving away two bottles of WIN (one regular, one green) to a lucky reader!  Enter here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was given WIN product to review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

2014 runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon, Part II Dumbo Double Dare

At the start of the half

At the start of the half

The Disneyland Half marathon is hands down my favorite runDisney Half Marathon race (although the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is a very close second).  The Disneyland Half Marathon holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but what made the 2014 running of the Disneyland Half so special was I would be earning my 50th runDisney medal (actually 50, 51 AND 52) at the completion of the half marathon.  Not only that, this race would also be my 30th half marathon.  Note:  Perfectly Goofy Gail earned HER 50th runDisney medal at the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon – coincidence? 

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For my 4th straight Disneyland Half and 2nd Dumbo Double Dare, I was excited to share the miles with some BRF’s – Sweaty Band Merle and Perfectly Goofy Gail. Gail and I were dressed as Dumbo the flying elephant – complete with his magic feather and the ring master. Merle’s costume was her Sweaty Band ;-)  Note:  I have a mission to get her into a costume.

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The Disneyland Half Marathon begins where both the 5K and 10K started days earlier on Disneyland Way.  We headed south past Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, turning left on West Katella Avenue and then another left onto South Harbor Boulevard. There we turned into Disney California Adventure for our 3+ magical miles through both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park.

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Our race plan was to “take it easy,” but Gail and I took off like jackrabbits pulling Merle along for the ride.  Thank goodness we planned on stopping at all the photo opportunities because we seriously needed a break to catch our breath!

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Even though the Disneyland Half Marathon spends the least amount of course time in a Disney park, it is still my favorite race because of what it offers outside the park. Yes, the course outside the park is unspectacular, however, the people of Anaheim and the community/cultural groups who come out and support the race ARE spectacular. As with previous years, there were school bands, school cheerleaders and dance teams, cultural dancers, and my favorite part – the vintage classic cars! The cars are grouped together, not only by type, but by decade.  Photo stops included a DeLorean, Herbie the Love Bug and even a hearse.

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Although many complain and see miles 4 through 12 as boring, I personally find they ‘fly by’ and remember them fondly.  My favorite part of the Disneyland Half Marathon, other than running through Sleeping Beauty Castle, is running through Angels Stadium. The stadium is located at 15K or 9.3 miles – where energy can be lacking.  Once you enter the stadium (watch the steep hill) the energy is electrifying. The stadium is filled with both Boy and Girl Scouts cheering you on as your round the bases!  New for 2014 – an announcer interviewing runners!  Gail & I took the opportunity to take an #Usie with him!

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Unfortunately, the fun of the Disneyland Half Marathon only lasts 13.1 miles and IMO is over too quickly. We soon headed towards the Disneyland Resort and on property to finish the race. After we collected our Disneyland Half medal (my 50th runDisney medal) we also collected our blue Coast to Coast medal (our 2nd of the year since we had collected our Pink Coast to Coast at the finish of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend).  We then picked up our 5th runDisney medal of the weekend – the Dumbo Double Dare.

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I thought the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon/Dumbo Double Dare was on-par with other Disneyland Half Marathons I have run (2011, 2012, 2013).  Course entertainment was stellar and there was a good assortment of photo stops:

  1. Green Army Men
  2. Mater and Lightning McQueen
  3. Firetruck
  4. Jake
  5. The Three Caballeros
  6. Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia and Prince Charming
  7. Darth Vader
  8. Maleficent
  9. Jafar and The Evil Queen
  10. Cruella de Vil and Dr. Facilier
  11. Big Thunder Ranch assorted animals

The runDisney volunteers were outstanding as usual.  The water stations were well stocked with happy and encouraging volunteers.  I also think the runDisney post-race recovery box is getting better with each race!  The tech race shirts were finally available in ladies sizes this year (YAY!!!!) and the colors and designs were pretty.  The medals and their ribbons consistent with the runDisney standards.  To me, it was a success and I cannot wait until 2015!  For a full video recap please see the link below:

What was your favorite part of the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon?  Are you coming back in 2015?

2014 runDisney Disneyland 10K, Dumbo Double Dare Part I

At the start of the 10K

At the start of the 10K

I really think the 10K is the perfect distance of a Disneyland Resort runDisney race.  It’s long enough for total immersion in the resort without having to venture too far out into the city streets of Anaheim.  This was the 2nd running of the Dumbo Double Dare and the Disneyland 10K.  This year I was running the race with Perfectly Goofy Gail, Photo-Bomb Rebecca and Pammy.  In 2013, the theme of the race was Alice in Wonderland.  Not thinking runDisney would change the theme, we decided to run as playing cards.  However, runDisney changed the theme of this year’s race to Stitch, but playing card costumes were made so playing cards we were!

One of the Elvis' on course

One of the Elvis’ on course

The 2014 course was exactly the same as the 2013 course.  However, this year the 5K was held on Friday instead of Saturday prior to the 10K.  This made for a much easier and less stressful morning for all – except those needing to take extra vacation time to #RUNALLTHERACES.

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The 10K course started on Disneyland Drive, continuing south until turning left on West Convention Way.  From there we ran past the Marriott and Hilton until turning left onto South Harbor Boulevard.  There we ran into the back stage area of Disney California Adventure.  We wound our way  through Paradise Pier, Condor Flats, Sunset Boulevard and down the tunnel under the bus parking into the gate of Disneyland Park.

Spectator sign - Downtown Disney

Spectator sign – Downtown Disney

From there we ran up Main Street USA and into Tomorrowland.  We ran around It’s a Small World to back stage and into Toontown, Fantasyland, Aventureland and Critter Country until we were once again in Downtown Disney and heading towards the finish.

10K Finisher wristband and Coast to Coast wristband

10K Finisher wristband and Coast to Coast wristband

After completing the race and being interview by runDisney for the video race recap, we added the 10K finisher wristband to our Coast to Coast wristband and grabbed our medal.  This Disneyland 10K medal was a beauty.  Although, I’m not the biggest Stitch fan, I do think it is one of the prettiest runDisney medals in my collection.

Race bib and medal

Race bib and medal

In my opinion, the second running of the Disneyland 10K/Dumbo Double Dare improved in some areas and lacked in others.

IMPROVEMENT:  I thought moving the 5K and having only one race (coupled with the Kids Races) was easier on the runDisney staff and the volunteers.  This year the water stops were ready and prepared for the racers.  The volunteers did not seem like they had survived an ambush like in 2013.  Note – this year the weather was on our side.  It was not as hot and humid as it had been in 2013. 

LACKLUSTER:  The course was great, however, I believe there weren’t as many character photo opportunities as in 2013.  I love, love, love me some Elvis, but I’m not running a race in DISNEYLAND to take a photo with ELVIS.  If I wanted to see Elvis I’d run at GRACELAND or VEGAS.  runDisney please listen up – we want DISNEY characters at runDisney events.  Please provide us with plentiful photo opportunities with characters that compliment the themeing of the race or the Disney Park which we run the event.

All in all – a fine, well-run event through Disneyland Resort, although a smidge disappointing if you were a veteran of the event.  For the complete video recap of our race please see the link below.

What did you think improved or was lacking at the 2014 Disneyland 10K?

2014 runDisney Disneyland Family 5K Race Report

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Photo credit: runDisney

There’s something really, really special about the runDisney Disneyland Family 5K’s.  In my humble opinion, I believe it is because you run the most park miles of any runDisney 5K in some of, if not, THE best Disney parks in the world.  The 2014 Disneyland Family 5K was my 3rd straight time running this race.  Running with me was my partner-in-crime, Perfectly Goofy Gail.

In Cars Land with Lightening McQueen

In Cars Land with Lightening McQueen

We had been working on our costumes for this race weekend for months and decided we were going to go #AllOut since we weren’t “really” going to “run” the 5K because it was a “fun run” and “not timed.”  We decided on the theme of our costumes based on the theme of the 2013 race – Alice in Wonderland.  Unfortunately, the theme was changed to Stitch for 2014, but since we were already committed to our costumes we kept the Alice in Wonderland theme with Perfectly Goofy Gail running as the Cheshire Cat and I as the Caterpillar (complete with hookah).

World of Color

World of Color

The Disneyland Family 5K course was not changed from 2013.  The race began heading south on Disneyland Drive.  From there we turned left into Disney California Adventure running into Cars Land and down Route 66.  Then we ran in front of Paradise Bay and The World of Color.  We then made our way past Grizzly Peak and Condor Flats turning left onto Carthay Circle and down Buena Vista Street out of the park and into Disneyland Park.

With Lilo

With Lilo

Once in Disneyland Park we made our way down Main Street USA and into the central hub.  From there we ran past Matterhorn Bobsleds turning left into Fantasyland and Frontierland.  We ran around Rivers of America into Critter Country.  Winding our way backstage, we ran until we were out of the park and into Downtown Disney.  This was the home stretch as we ran towards the Disneyland Hotel, turned right onto Downtown Drive and through to the finish line!

With Stitch

With Stitch

Here are the 2014 Disneyland 5K photo stops:

  1. Lightening McQueen
  2. Mater
  3. Mile 1 sign with Hula Girl
  4. World of Color
  5. Lilo
  6. Chip & Dale, Daisy Duck, Clarice
  7. Mile 2 sign
  8. Stitch with Hula Girl

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The Disneyland Family 5K race was great as always.  This is the perfect race to begin your runDisney obsession.  You’ll never get bored with the course entertainment.  And the race course itself cannot be beat because it stays within the Disneyland Resort!  A race belt is not needed because water is plentiful!  The water stops were well staffed with happy, cheerful volunteers.  And the medallion and personalized bib were delightful!  Yes, the Disneyland 5k is expensive for a 5K, but I believe it is totally worth the expense – a great 5k in a location that cannot be beat!!!

Here’s a video recap of the race and be sure to check out Run All The RacesWhat was your favorite part of the Disneyland 5K?

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