Thursday, September 19, 2013

5 Reasons Why runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon is my Favorite Disney Race

If there is one race at Walt Disney World I truly get amp'd for, it's runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon! With less than 50 days until we head to Walt Disney World, I thought I would share with you my top 5 reason why this race is one of my absolute favorites...and probably will always be!

Number 5: The EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

I'm not just a runner. I am a total foodie and lover of wine. I have so many wine memberships it's sick...does that mean I have a problem? Nah I don't think so. Anyway, not only do I get to go to Walt Disney World to run a great half marathon, but I also get to partake in great cuisine from around the world, and sample some incredible wine! This vacation literally is perfect in every way!

Number 4: It's The Runner's Night Out

This is a change of pace. Normally, we are all up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3AM getting ready to head out for an exciting early morning race...not at Wine and Dine! The race doesn't even kick off until 10PM! So not only can you spend the day wandering around the Walt Disney World resort, and perhaps catch a nap in your favorite resort hammock, but you get to get pumped up at the pre-race party on the lawn at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, then head to your corrals for an exciting night. We take over the resort property! It is really an experience!

Number 3: The Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios Takeover

What's fun about this race is that it starts at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, then you make your way to Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is where you get to run past the beautiful Tree of Life which is illuminated at time time to show off the spectacular details. Then you get to wave hello to The Yeti as you blast past Expedition Everest (which is one of my favorite Disney World attractions)! Then you make your way towards Disney's Hollywood Studios where you can experience the glitz and glamour of the movies...before you head to The Boardwalk and into the backdoor of EPCOT's World Showcase. Running the theme parks at night is an experience I think everyone should take on!

Number 2: The Laser Show at Mile 13

This was my first time running a race in Florida, let alone a runDisney Florida I had no idea what to expect. I knew my first runDisney event a the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon was a lot of fun, but let's face it...Florida does a lot of things bigger and better. Something that was so much fun and gave me that extra jolt to finish with a smile on my face was the awesome high energy laser show at the mile 13 marker right outside of EPCOT! I literally stopped dead in my tracks and just said 'WOW!' It was insane. Fog, lasers, and loud music greet you and help propel you to the finish! It is seriously incredible...and at Midnight...I needed the extra help!

Number 1: The People!

This is the race where I traveled to Walt Disney World alone for the first time. I knew no one and was very new to running. I am fine traveling by myself, but really wasn't expecting what I encountered. Nothing but love. Nothing but smiles. Nothing but people willing to help and hoping I had a positive experience. MANY of those people I still talk to constantly today! Those people helped me earn my first Coast-To-Coast at this race. Those people now friends were kind to me at my first runDisney meet-up, and welcomed me with open arms. I will never forget it! People and relationships is what this community is all about. Not just runDisney but the running community in general. It is an awesome place! And I will always be grateful...and that is why I love this race so much! It will always be a special race to long as there is plenty of cabernet waiting for me at the finish.

Do any races hold a special place in your heart?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Listening To Your Body

I like to think that I am a machine, robot, or cyborg (I mean I have the new INKnBURN robot kit coming to prove it), I was reminded recently that I am in fact a humanoid. So rude. Runners typically suffer from knee, leg, or foot injuries as a result of over exertion or poor form. Luckily, my legs and servo motors are still in tact. My rude awakening came a couple weeks ago during the Ventura Marathon.

I touched on this on Twitter and on a previous blog post, but allow me to paint the picture for you. Imagine running 26.2 on a flat and fast beachside course. Imagine that you are pacing strong with a 4:00 pacer who is doing an amazing job and imagine that you are feeling stronger than you have ever felt before. Your training, dedication, and focus are paying off. WELP. Imagine a sharp pain in your left ear, and imagine literally being halted as you approach mile 12. That happened to me. I didn't think much of it, I just thought maybe my ear popped due to sinuses or something. So I continued to try to run. Strike 2! My body literally stopped. I had a hard time standing for a few minutes and even felt like I was going to fall over as I continued to move forward. A really bizarre feeling if you can imagine. At that point, I knew something was up. Not only was my head rattling like I was a bobble head doll given away at Dodgers Stadium, my legs and quads started to tighten up as well. This is where I got concerned.

I pulled over and sat down as I approached the half way point. I didn't stop at a medical tent. I stretched out, began to hydrate more than I normally would at said stop, stretched and did some light breathing exercises just to keep my head in the game. I didn't know what was wrong. What I thought was I just overworked it the first half and just burned my engine to early.

Long story short, my body had enough at mile 15 and from there I made the long walk back to the finish. Yes I finished, and I am absolutely proud of that finish. I still beat my longest time by a long shot, so like I say any finish is a proud finish.

The next day I went to the doctor to see what exactly happened to my head. Turns out...I ran 26.2 miles with a middle ear infection. So no wonder I almost fell over! No wonder my body got tight! My body was literally fighting an infection! It was sending all of my energy and nutrients to my ear drum! So this freaked me out. I haven't had an ear infection since I was 7.

So I have literally been grounded from running since Ventura. I am going NUTS! I had to make the tough choice this week to remove myself from Ragnar Relay Napa Valley taking place in two days. I am still bummed about this decision but I know it is for the best. Again, the team will go up there and kill it! Do work you guys!

The ambitious me wants to hop on a plane and land in San Francisco tomorrow night and jump in van 2 and make it happen...then I said...yeah probably shouldn't. My ear at this moment is STILL plugged. I am still nursing myself back to health. Probably not a bright idea to fly at thirty thousand feet then run, then stay awake for 48 hours while your body is fighting an infection. In fact, that just seems damn stupid. So I will be here at home enjoying Netflix and iOS 7 with the rest of the population.

My point to all this banter is simple. You can't perform at optimum or peak levels when you are injured or sick. Take the time, listen to your body, and sit. Be sure to hydrate, and treat your body well. All I want to do is lace up and go out...but I know if I do something bad might happen. Same thing goes with foot or knee injuries. If you don't give your body adequate time to heal can do more damage. It isn't worth it. So...focus your energy in other places. Maybe you can review your training and/or nutrition plans. How about some light cross training that won't make your injury worse? It's never to late to start looking at new races you'd like to experience.

TAKE CARE OF YOU! This is coming from one of the most ambitious people that can't ever sit still! When my body makes a mention that it isn't okay and it needs me to help...I listen. And I hope you do the same. I care about my readers. I want them to be well and run well. Live your best life!

Run On!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sharp's RealiTea September 2013

So, there's a lot going on this month. I thought I would do something different and hit you with what I will now be calling Sharp's RealiTea! This monthly update will usually be written after the 15th of the month depending on the amount of activities I have going on, and is a way for me to share raw thoughts that may not necessarily fit into a specific post or should be fun! Who knows, this may turn into a YouTube video type update...maybe.

Let's start with talking about Disneyland Half weekend. That was a really fast-paced weekend for me. The Disneyland 10K, The Dumbo Tweet Up, and the Half Marathon. Not to mention the INKnBURN friends and family sale...where I literally went and bought all the things! It was awesome to spend some time with some friends, and of course making some new ones. The humidity was completely abnormal for us native Southern Californians so we were melting in our shoes. But lucky for the kids that came from the east and the guys train and live in humidity so no concern there. Lucky. Hope to see many of you at some upcoming races!!

So that brings me to the Ventura Marathon. This was an AWESOME race! In it's first year, it was very organized, and executed with top notch precision. Ocean front course, beautiful views, and a flat and fast course made for an amazing morning. Now onto rule number 426 sub clause 43A...don't try to run a marathon with an ear ache. What I thought was a minor ear ache was actually a middle ear infection. So, here I am crushing this marathon pacing really strong with the 4:00 pace group. Amazed at my performance when all of a sudden, my body sends me signals as I approach the mile 12 marker and nearing the half way point to snap back. My legs started to tighten and my head started to hurt. Little did I know that was my ear infection making it's presence known. HOW RUDE! I don't have time for an ear infection, I am in the middle of the best marathon of my LIFE! So sadly, my amazing pace was slowed and ultimately turned into me walking 11 miles back. I finished the race in under 5:30 which actually made me happy. I was bummed I didn't get to snag what could have been at least a solid 4:30 finish, but I crossed that finish line, with a hurting ear and my body felt strong...tight...but strong. I am currently still nursing this bad boy. Hopefully, my hearing will return by the end of the week in my left ear.

So thanks to my ear having it's own agenda...I had to cancel my very first race. And it is a really hard decision to make. I had to make the very tough decision to step down from my Ragnar Relay Napa Valley team earlier this week. I can't fly with an ear infection and I also don't feel comfortable driving 6 isn't safe. It also isn't safe to push my body on a 2 day relay race when it is fighting infection. I tell people all the time, listen to you body. Your Captain is taking his own advice. So I will be here in Southern California this weekend, cheering on my team! Go get em you guys!

I am really looking forward to October! The new INKnBURN Halloween collections will be shipped! I have an amazing array of races lined up. I will be owning San Jose as Brian from Pavement Runner and I tear up Rock n Roll San Jose and we will hit you guys with a repeat performance when he comes to my turf for Rock n Roll Los Angeles! Let's not forget Bank of America Chicago Marathon and Haunted Trails of the Night 10K. Oh, and the Spooktacular half marathon which I will be running as a virtual.

So watch out for some awesome stuff coming your way in October! I have a busy schedule...and I am looking forward to having some fun! Be easy and Run On!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Save runDisney TV!

If you remember my previous post about runDisney's magic being sustained...the magic is sustained because the PEOPLE are what make the events a success! One person who many runners look forward to shaking hands with, high-fiving, exchanging a smile with would be runDisney TV's past host Dennis Marsico! I sadly say 'past' because I received personal confirmation from Dennis last night that 'runDisney TV is no more.' I was shocked. I was stunned. I was hurt. Not for any personal reason, but for the fact that Dennis worked very hard for us runners. He connected with us via social media. He knew and remembered our names. He went out of his way to be friendly, open, and supportive. And we all looked forward to his teaser videos and recap videos!

Clearly, with the wonderful things I've stated above it is hard to fathom why runDisney would make this choice. Well...the choice that was given to us was 'budget concerns.' I personally find that hard to believe...and I am not buying it. First of all, runDisney is expanding at a large pace, adding races and raising entry fees every year. So with that expansion and growth in revenue I have a hard time believing that Dennis and his small staff of 5 would be enough to break the bank. Now I haven't seen the financial reports for runDisney...but I am pretty sure I am dead on with this one.

Second, Dennis is a runDisney staple! I look at him as runDisney's Uncle! We all have that uncle in our family that make you laugh no matter what! That is Dennis. Now he is no longer with runDisney and I personally am not happy with the choice. I respect runDisney in their position, however I also respectfully disagree with this choice.

I am a runDisney fan. This is no secret, and I will continue to be a runDisney fan. But when something happens that I don't agree with, I am going to speak up...and this goes for any circumstance in life. So please don't assume I am bashing runDisney.

Good news is, we can help. A petition has been started to SAVE runDISNEY TV! Please take a brief moment and sign this petition. There is no telling if this will work or even get runDisney's attention, but WE HAVE A VOICE! We are the consumer. The guest. The athlete. We are the foundational glue that helps runDisney to be as successful as it is. So I would honestly hope that our voices are at least heard and taken into strong consideration. I trust in democracy.

So, please do not flood runDisney's email box or voice mail with anger filled messages fueled by emotion. Please sign the petition and focus good energy. If Dennis is not to return, wish him all the best in his future endeavors as he as always wished us! I believe in Dennis. I hope to see him return, but if he doesn't he will be missed...and there isn't ANYONE that can replace the energy and vitality that he brought to YouTube and to the races. Know that!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

INKnBURN Halloween - Pirates

AVAST MATEY! Every runner is a pirate at heart if you think about it. We all look at maps, run towards the X that marks the spot on the finish line in hopes to find the buried treasure of our finishers medal! Running is always a quest, and no two races are typically the same. Since we are pirates at heart, and Halloween is nibbling at our boots the INKnGhoulsnGoblins have released their second Halloween inspired kit for presale! This kit I am extra excited about personally...allow me to introduce... PIRATE! ARRG!

Ladies! Feast your eyes on this beautiful kit! The pieces for women include the awesome short sleeve technical tee, 4arm sleeves with lovely pearl bracelet details, and the pirate striped capris. Each of these pieces are sold separately, but are very versatile. There is also a pirate striped tech tube that compliments this outfit that I recommend to bring the look together.

Men! Be the First Mate or the Captain of your journey with this outfit! The men's pieces include the short sleeve technical tee and 4arms. No shorts or pants are available at this time...but you'll never know what those INKnGhoulsnGoblins will uncover ;). I also recommend the pirate stripe tech tube as a compliment piece to this collection. Use it as a beanie to give yourself an awesome pirate look...heck why not even draw a fake scar under your eye for an amazing effect! So many ideas!

This kit along with Robotics are now available for pre-order and should ship within 2 weeks. Plenty of time for those Halloween parties and Halloween themed races. Click Here to view the Pirates collection on the INKnBURN website! And of course don't forget that first time customers can use discount code 'LinzieToldMe' to save 15% on their shopping cart and earn 10 dollars toward their next purchase :)

I know I can't wait for my pirate gear to arrive! I plan on wearing it A LOT!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

INKnBURN Halloween - Robot & Fembot

One thing INKnBURN does well is use their imaginations! Because INKnBURN is art on apparel, they have the unique opportunity to create one-of-a-kind amazing designs that not only perform incredibly, but look intergalactic! As Halloween approaches..this is the time of year the INKnGhoulsnGoblins come out to cause mischief and reveal some amazing designs! The first which is now available for pre-order is the Robotics collection for both men and women!

I know when I am running a race, I totally imagine I am a robot! I even tell friends of mine that they may want to take care of their Servo Motors (Hi Matt!) Now you can give the appearance of actually being a robot during your robotic performance! The INKnBURN Robot collection is now available for pre-order just in time for Halloween!

Ladies! You can really have some fun here! Serve Fembot Realness with these great items! The highly anticipated ladies Robot Capris which are comfortable and have incredible detail. To keep your gears warm during a brisk workout outdoors, add the 4arm sleeves. The Bot Wire sports bra looks great while offering support and style. And of course the tech tee is a beautiful addition to the INB collection! There is also a Bot Wire tech tube which compliments this outfit!

Cyboys! The INKnGhoulsnGoblins didn't forget about us! We receive the awesome Robot tech tee and 4arms as well. No pants or shorts yet...but who knows in the future. I also highly recommend the Bot Wire Tech tube as a companion piece to this kit! I love that the tee and arm compliment so well, and that the robot actually looks fast and aerodynamic! This is an absolute must your your wardrobe!

Now are you wondering how you can get your gears in line to own these amazing pieces that are proudly made here in the U.S.A.? Well, you're in luck! INKnBURN is now taking pre-orders for the Robotics collection! You can click here to see the full collection and place your orders! Create an INKnBURN shopping account (it only takes a few moments) and feel free to use discount code 'LinzieToldMe' to save 15% on your first purchase! Best news is, you'll get ten loyalty points (which is ten dollars in INB credit) toward your next purchase. This is for first time customers only please :)

I want to know how you like this outfit! I already placed my order! I can't wait to wear it! Don't be afraid to make a statement! Distance Yourself with INKnBURN!

Monday, September 9, 2013

runDisney's Magic Is Sustained

With the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon weekend behind us, most of us are beginning to now adjust to our regularly scheduled programs. Life doesn't seem as 'magical' when we aren't galavanting down Main Street U.S.A. We miss the smell of the popcorn cart, and even miss the congested traffic during Mickey's Soundsational Parade. But there is one thing that is certain...most if not all of us are counting the days until our next runDisney race weekend!

Now, we all know that Disneyland Half Marathon weekend was incredible for 999 haunting reasons...which is why I am not going to recap the races themselves. Instead, I want to focus this post on something that I believe to be part of the success recipe that is the runDisney brand. US! The Runners! For me it isn't about the races on runDisney weekend. I am always more interested in who I get to see that I haven't seen in months, who I will meet for the first time, and what new memories will be created. We all know when we arrive to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort for race weekend that 5K, 10K, 10 milers, 13.1, 26.2, 39.3, or 48.6 miles await us. And yes, environment does make a difference when you are running these long distances...but runDisney has something that I have yet to find anywhere else on the planet...and trust me I'm a unicorn!

runDisney has one of the strongest followings I've ever seen. Part of why runDisney exists is to bring families together and to encourage fitness in people of all ages while providing that touch of Disney Magic that the company has been famous for for more than fifty years! Disney is all about creating special moments that last for generations...and I think the runDisney brand is no exception to this.

What is even more interesting is that social media is a large reason (in my opinion) that runDisney races continue to gain popularity. There are various Facebook groups, and Twitter chats that exclusively follow runDisney races, news, and current events. This serves as an amazing outlet for people to share their thoughts, emotions, and experiences with others that share their interests. What's even more impressive and I am absolutely guilty of this awesome we actually seek out our runDisney friends and run non-Disney races with them! The friendships are just so organic and refreshing...sort of like homemade lemonade. The best part of runDisney race weekends aren't the races themselves...although those are awesome! It's the people that make it magical.

Through runDisney events I have met some of the most incredible people! First, my #CorralG running friends are I continue to get closer and closer. We are indeed one big happy nutty family and it was so wonderful to be able to share some time with Katie and Joe this weekend when they were here! The highlight for me was when Katie yelled out 'MERIDA!' in her loudest Scottish voice as a runner dressed as Merida from Brave ran past...I was laughing so hard I started to tear up! It's funny, when you meet complete strangers on Twitter then run a marathon with kind of get bonded for life!

Katie and Joe from the original #CorralG Family

Next, I want to talk about Connie! Connie is one amazingly sweet lady! She found me on Twitter and I like to call her a friend. She is a mom who found her love in running and will be starting a blog soon talking about achieving your goals at any age...which I think is FABULOUS! We all know I am all about sharing that Inspirational Tea! Connie has run a few races that I have attended and has even come out to spectate and cheer me on! I remember her and another fellow runDisney friend Erica came out and cheered me on at the Pasadena Half Marathon a couple months ago! Connie snapped a great photo of me and they both had ice towels and frozen grapes at mile 12...which were needed because it was HOT that day! I appreciate Connie! She's a sweet lady with a wonderful energy and I am very happy I've gotten to know her.

Connie & Sharp
Jen and Krissy! Jen is also a member of my #CorralG family who I adore to the ends of time! She is funny, sassy, and always makes me laugh! She and her husband both now share this exciting hobby called running and of course I think it's awesome! So glad to see her this weekend! Now Krissy! Krissy is too much for me to handle and I LOVE IT! She is hilarious, has an amazing energy, and everytime I'm around her I just LAUGH! I've known Jen and Krissy since Wine and Dine 2012 and they are incredible people! Again people I would have never met had it not been for runDisney!

Jen, Katie, Krissy, and Sharp
Brian and Kat...enough said. These two just give me LIFE! I can't wait to hang out with Brian again when we Rock n Roll San Jose AND Los Angeles! Kat and I will cause mayhem in 60 days at Wine and Dine!

Kat, Sharp, & Brian

So as you can matter who you are or where you come from, runDisney has the ability to bring people together. Social media meet ups, asking a fellow runner for advice in the start corral, making a new friend, or just experiencing the magical energy. runDisney has something for everyone. But I will tell you...these weekends are nothing without positive fun loving big kids at heart! I have the time of my life during runDisney race weekends...I am exhausted for 3 days after but it is all worth it! I get to run, see people who I adore, eat great food, and party! How could this be bad???

I met so many amazing people this past weekend! I want to take a few seconds to say thank you! So many of you awesome folks yelled my name, stopped for photos, gave me hugs and high fives and it to this day blows me away! I am humbled by your support and will continue to do a good job for you! So to everyone who I met and reconnected with...thank you, you're welcome, and RUN ON!

QOTD: Why do you love runDisney races?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Coming! The Haunted Trails of the Night 10K

BOO! Halloween is approaching, and you know what that means! Halloween themed races and costumes of course!! My friend and race director Keira Henninger is conjuring up one very wicked spell in her cauldron. She is introducing the Haunted Trails of the Night 10K which will take place in Paramount Ranch here in Southern California on October 26th!

I am personally very excited for this 10K trail race. First, because it is the night before Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles so what a way to warm up! But also because running trails at night can be one of the most serene things to experience...well, unless it's Halloween in which case it could be a little spooky!

The course will consist of two 3.1 mile loops of runnable non technical single track trials. The course is rather easy is little to no hills or climbing required. The trail will be marked with frightening glow sticks, and keep an eye out for goblins along the way! The course will have two very well stocked aid stations that will have fruit,  sweet and salty snacks, Clif gels, and electrolyte drinks. Aid stations are a mile 1.5 and 4.6.

Runners of all levels and abilities are invited to experience this great event! Like all of Keira's events, they are fun and very safe. After the race, stop and stay a spell for the Haunted Post Race Party in the historic old ghost town of Paramount Ranch!

Oh and costumes are highly encouraged! I heard that INKnBURN is getting ready to launch their Halloween collection on their website in the next few weeks, so I would keep my eyes open for that!

So what are you waiting for! This race is already close to selling out, but there are some spots still left! You can use code BOO2013PM10 to save $10.00 on your registration. Click here to register and get in on the action!

See You On The Trail!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dumbo Tweet Up Recap

Saturday was one amazing day! The inaugural Disneyland 10K was first thing in the morning. After which I went to INKnBURN for the friends and family sale where I purchased ALL THE THINGS! Then the time came, the moment I have been waiting for! The Dumbo Tweet Up hosted by Brian from Pavement Runner, Kat from Sneakers & Fingerpaints, and myself! Brian had this wild idea to gather as many runners as we could together for a really fun social media event! He reached out to Kat and I, and some emails were exchanged and POW! The #DumboTweetUp was formed!

Brian, Kat, and I walking to the venue
We linked up at about 12:45 on Saturday and made our way through Downtown Disney. Once we arrived at the venue, we got ourselves set up! I prepared our raffle tickets, and unwrapped markers for our 'Hello My Name Is' stickers! We thought this would be a great touch! The idea was for people to put their Twitter handles on the name tags...since this was a social media event after all. Before we knew it, people started to make their way to the outer patio of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa! Our mini social media party under the monorail beam had begun!

Guests arrive

The three hosts made their rounds, said hello, shook hands, took pictures, and accepted gifts! Sarah (@essayareayaitch) brought me BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE BEANS from San Francisco!!!! My mind was blown and Sarah...for the record...THEY ARE DELICIOUS!!!! Thank you so much, that was amazing of you!

Sarah hooked me up!

We continued to raffle off some amazing prizes! Thanks to our friends at Outside PR, we were able to score some Pearl Izumi shirts, socks from Injinji, and some GU samples. So again, thanks to Outside PR for the love!!!

Brian and The First Lady Selecting Some Winners

Some lucky winners picking up their prizes
I got the opportunity to meet so many great runners, hear some awesome conversations, and share in some wonderful stories! The running community is really awesome, and this event is living proof of that! A positive environment where people can come, mingle, learn, laugh, and smile! All in all, I think I counted 50 runners who came out to support us! This event was for you! We were very happy to help host it, and were blown away by the response, support, and love we received from all of you! Team SharpSneakerRunner is truly a great team and we work together really well. I found that the three of us have way more in common than I originally guessed, and I am happy to say I've made two new friends!

Thank you to everyone who came out! It meant the world to me! Let's tweet up again soon...and yes I will wear the Tweet Tweet INKnBURN shirt again :)


Kat, Me, & Brian...Team SharpSneakerRunner or Voltron!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The New runDisney Medals - Revealed

This news was so awesome, I thought it deserved it's own post! The lovely folks at runDisney have done it yet again! Just when we think we know what is coming...we are proven wrong...and we LOVE it! During the Disneyland Half Marathon Meet-Up, Faron Kelley the director of marketing for runDisney made a very special presentation that no one expected. Faron revealed 7 new runDisney medals that participants will have the opportunity to earn during this year's Wine and Dine half marathon in November, and during Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January 2014.

I want to give each of these medals the time and attention they deserve in this post as they are each in my opinion beautiful works of art! I also must say I am quite excited I have the opportunity to earn each and every one of the following medals!

2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon - November

This reveal surprised me most out of all of the medal reveals. Normally, runDisney refreshes their medal designs every five years. Which means we would have seen the classic Spaceship Earth design for the last time this year, with the hope of anniversary bling next year. Well, runDisney surprised us with this beauty! It stays true to the classic Wine and Dine medals in it's circular shape and grey and silver color. They have removed the charms that dangled from the bottom of the classic medal and instead placed them directly on the medal. I personally think this was a great move since I have heard that the charms sometimes fall off. I love that the medal showcases the race logo of Mickey Mouse running with his tray. I can't wait to add this to my collection of bling this fall. Wine and Dine is my favorite east coast Disney race! It truly is the Runner's Night Out! It will be even sweeter to share the weekend with my #CorralG family!

2014 Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K

The Fab Five is rounded out with the addition of Pluto to the race medal line up for Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. This silicone medal is vibrant and will certainly be a great way to kick off marathon weekend. Pluto is a welcomed addition to the race weekend line up! I wonder how many runners will dream of Plutopia before earning this medal?

2014 Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K

Let's officially welcome Minnie Mouse to the Walt Disney World marathon weekend roster of 'Mousecots'! The Walt Disney World 10K was added earlier this year and runDisney fans were all very excited to hear this news. Ladies particularly were excited because it was announced that Minnie Mouse would be the character to represent this race! The 10K distance is growing in popularity and I am sure this medal will help the popularity continue to rise. Set in shiny and matted gold tones this medal feels and looks classic. Note the wreath on those sides of the medal. I love the sunburst detail behind Minnie. This medal is solid and will surely be a wonderful memento and reminder of an amazing accomplishment!

2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Introducing the Donald medal for Walt Disney World Marathon weekend! This year, we watched as Donald Duck stole the Mickey Mouse medal in a tantrum during the great medal caper! Looks like he will get a new medal for 2014 and he won't have to go ransacking offices to get one. This medal has some of the details from the 2013 medal, namely the sunburst and the banner across the front. runDisney has gone away from the duck profile silhouette and is giving Donald a full body appearance with a touch of sweat launching from his forehead. The design is simple, elegant, and strong. I like it! The ribbon is cool too!

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

I'm just going to say it... I LOVE THIS MEDAL! The 20th anniversary bling from this year will always be special, but this is one beautiful piece of medal! We find a rather large Running Mickey taking center stage on this medal in front of the classic ear logo and sunburst. This medal is simple in design but strong! This medal also has a good deal of weight to it. So marathoners (me included), don't fret, your accomplishment will absolutely be recognized with this beautiful piece of medal! 

2014 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge

LOOK AT THIS!!!!!!! runDisney DID IT with this medal!!!!! This medal is another example of a redesign prior to an anniversary year! I was not expecting this medal at all! I also wasn't expecting this design! We are served classic goofy with a sunburst, reminiscent of the opening of a classic Goofy cartoon. We are also treated to orange, and blue tones blended with the matt and shiny gold within the medal! The stars that traditionally take stage on the top of the medal were not removed, and I am happy to see this! If you will be earning you Goofy status or renewing your commitment to crazy in are in for a treat! I need this medal and I will crawl to the finish to have it!

2014 Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Look at this beauty! The Dopey Challenge is inaugural for 2014, so this medal had to be special. Notice the purple circle on the medal, which is drawn from Dopey's hat. The medal is quick and to the point. It is a stand out piece. I found it interesting that there was no sunburst in this medal, when it was present in all the others. Also, I thought the Goofy medal was more embellished than this medal. Don't get me wrong, I really like this medal! It is just as strong as the others. I think I am just missing the thread that ties to together with the others. Whatever, it's still awesome and it's mine in January! What do you think?

So ladies, I know you are wondering where the Glass Slipper Challenge medal is. The answer is I don't know because they didn't show it to us at this event haha! But as soon as I see it, if I can share it, you'll be the first to know!

So what do you think about these medals? I love them! Each one is strong and beautifully designed! Which ones will you be earning?

runDisney Half Marathon Weekend Official Meet-Up Recap

There is one event that occurs during all runDisney half marathon/marathon weekends that is probably more coveted than the actually races themselves. Eager participants literally sit at their laptops, computer, tablets, and smart phones (all at the same time) and stalk the Disney Parks Blog waiting for the moment runDisney will announce the official meet-up/tweet up! The 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon weekend was no exception to this. With the introduction of the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare and the Disneyland 10K, the energy and excitement level of this weekend were at record highs. I was fortunate enough to receive my invitation to this exclusive event! runDisney didn't disappoint! 

When I arrive at The Disneyland Hotel bright and early on Friday morning I was greeted by runDisney coordinators who checked me in and handed me my runDisney tote with my name on it...this was a nice touch! Inside the bag we found some awesome swag from H20+, and the wildly popular runDisney technical tee. runDisney's first surprise of the morning...the shirts were BLUE! A huge change from the gunmetal color that we are used to seeing. Every last runner was excited about this color change. Sometimes it is the little things! I shook hands and met some runners I follow and finally was able to put some real faces to names! I was really excited to meet Heather from Through Heather's Looking Glass! We hit it off the second we met! She really is a delight!

Heather and I

Normally the race will begin with a 2-3 mile run around the resort property, but this meet-up started with something new! New Balance is the official shoe of runDisney! What this means is we as participants have access to shoe consultants and running form workshops. The meet-up began with a running form workshop called Good Form Running! This clinic was really awesome! We learned four of the basic running form principles; Posture, Mid-Foot, Cadence, and Lean. This not only was very informative, but it was a great way to warm up before our run! So thanks to New Balance for coming out and sharing some amazing information with us!

New Balance leading the Good Form Running Clinic
Photo Credit Jimmy DeFlippo

Once the clinic concluded, The White Rabbit appeared out of literally no where! This could only mean one thing...he was late for a very important date! This signaled the beginning of our journey through Downtown Disney, Disney California Adventure Park, and Disneyland Park!

Photo Credit Jimmy DeFlippo
Photo Credit Jimmy DeFlippo

We literally ran all over the parks! We ended up being stopped at the Mad Tea Party attraction in Fantastyland where we met Alice! She was gracious enough to take photos AND we got to ride the tea cups! YAY! I got to share a tea cup with one of my favorite tweeps who I finally got to meet in person this weekend, Justin! 

Justin and I have gone MAD!
Once we said ta-ta for now to Alice we made our way to California Adventure where we concluded our run and were greeted by the Mat Hatter and some lovely breakfast items to refuel. This offered a great time to mix, mingle, and get to know some of our fellow runners! We were in great company as we had some very special guests join us at the meet-up!

Alice and The Mad Hatter

Joey Fatone fron *NSYNC

Sean Astin from 'Rudy' and 'The Goonies'

Once we got settled, it was time for the what I like to call 'talk' with the greats! First up was Faron who is the marketing director for runDisney...and he literally blew my mind with his news. First piece of news, runDisney is actively looking at 4 new races. What and where they are was not shared, but it sounded like these races were strongly being considered. So stay vigilant...I'm sure there will be more details coming soon. Now, the thing that excited me most was the announcement of new runDisney BLING! When Faron pulled that black sheet off of the medal hanger I stood up and gasped!!! 

Faron Snatching My Edges and Giving Me ALL the Life
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

The medals are beautiful! The medals for this year's Wine and Dine half marathon, and next year's Walt Disney World Marathon weekend were revealed! All of which are GORGEOUS! My personal favorite was the new Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge medal!

New runDisney Bling

The next treat we got was a chance to get a sneak peek at the new ABC show/spin-off of Once Upon A Time in Wonderland! I personally can't wait to see how this show turns out!
Next, official runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus the Diet Diva came up and gave us some awesome insight into nutrition. I always love hearing her talk! She is so full of energy and passion! If you get a chance, go to one of her talks during marathon weekend, she really is a wealth of knowledge and really approachable and sweet!

Tara Gidus Serving Nutritional Realness
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

After Tara, we heard from the legend and runDisney training consultant, Jeff Galloway. I love listening to Jeff talk! He has so much passion about running and wanting others to succeed! His passion really is infectious! Again, another person I highly recommend going to hear speak or even stopping him just to say hello! He is incredible!
Jeff Galloway Doing His Thing!
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Next up Ali Vincent from the Biggest Loser! She is just a huge ball of energy!!! She's really an inspiration and is using her platform to change the world! I can appreciate that! Go You Ali!!!

Go Ali!
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Oh, there you are Sean Astin! Sean is known for his #Run3rd platform! He is also very inspirational and a leader in the runDisney community. A really nice guy all around! He recognized me again at the finish line of the Disneyland 10K! Thanks Sean!

Sean Astin Encouraging Everyone
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

And last but not least, Joey Fatone! Fellow Goofy finisher was earning his coast-to-coast and his Dumbo Double Dare! He is hilarious! He also served us with some *NSYNC 'Bye, Bye, Bye' choreography and that was all I needed to cap off an amazing morning! Way to go Joey!

Joey said *NSYNC Isn't Reuniting LOL
Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

After all the speakers took the stage, PR Manager Bob raffled off 3 pairs of New Balance shoes, four runDisney laptop cases, and 4 runDisney roller travel bags! Now, I never win anything, but when I won the roller bag, I was ecstatic haha!

This was one amazing meet-up! runDisney doesn't have to do these! They choose to do these, and they made a lot of dreams come true that morning! I am over the moon that I was able to participate and look forward to participate in more! Seriously, runDisney is amazing! From the people, to the races...every step is magic!