Feeling aches & pains during runs? Try these tips for improving running form!

We are all familiar with the aches and pains that can pop up during a long run. Knee pain, hip pain, stomach cramps or maybe it’s the day where your big toe randomly decides to hurt. If you run enough, you are bound to feel those aches and pains at some point! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you are a bionic woman and we are all super jealous.)

The good news is there are things you can do to protect your body and minimize the discomfort that you may feel while running. Improving your running form is a great place to begin. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Relax your shoulders.

Take a moment during your runs to focus on your upper body. Are you holding a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders? The goal is to keep your shoulders low and loose. Relax them down and back, drawing them away from your ears. Sometimes it helps to give them a little shake to loosen the tension. This will help you maintain good posture and reduce neck pain after a long run.

  1. Activate your gut and your butt.

You can make a lot of progress by focusing on activating the proper muscles. First, your core should always be working when you run. Think about bracing and tightening your midsection. This will be especially useful if you tend to feel back pain after a long run. If you aren’t sure what it feels like to brace your core, just cough. See if you can use some of those cough muscles more often.

Second, make sure you’re using your glutes (aka junk in the trunk.) A lot of runners rely solely on hamstrings, quads and calves to propel them forward, and this results in under-active, weak glutes. The main problem? Your glutes are what stabilize your hips. Everything in your body is connected. Unstable hips lead to unstable knees. Unstable knees lead to unstable ankles..etc. etc. If your glutes are asleep during a long run, you may run into a number of problems such as knee pain, ankle pain or IT band pain. (Side note for anyone who needs it – your IT band is a ligament that runs down the outside of your thigh from your pelvic bone to your shinbone. I could write a whole post about the notorious IT band but I’ll save that for another time.)

So how do you activate your glutes? There are a lot of exercises you can try such as squats and floor bridges. For more on that, check out our posts on how to perform a proper squat and best exercises for runners. The goal is to actually feel those muscles contracting when you run (like how you feel your biceps contract when you show off your arm muscles.) Next time you go for a run, be aware of the muscles you feel and try squeezing your glutes as you push off in your stride.

  1. Land mid-foot.

Pay attention to how your foot strikes the ground when you run. Here’s what you DON’T want to do. DON’T let your heel strike the ground first. “Heel toe” running used to be the standard a few decades ago, but now we know it leads to unnecessary impact on the joints and it’s counterproductive. Think about it. You are trying to move FORWARD. If your heel strikes the ground first, you have a force pushing you backwards. You also have extra impact running up your leg to your ankles, knees and hips. Try this instead. Land lightly toward the middle of your foot, then roll forward and push off with your toes. Try not to sound like a Tyrannosaurus Rex when you run. More noise means more impact. Try to keep it quiet and springy!

OK now also make sure you pat your head and rub your belly. Just kidding…but I know it’s a lot to think about. Don’t try to conquer all of this at once. Next time you go for a run, see if you can pick one thing to focus on to improve your form. Once you’ve got that down, move onto the next thing. Before you know it, all of these tips will come naturally and you won’t have to think about it quite as hard!

Good luck runners and I hope these tips are helpful! Post any questions in the comments below.

-Amanda

runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Details

We just got back from a wonderful weekend in Disneyland where we ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. It. Was. Magical. We are in the process of writing up our weekend recaps and can’t wait to share them with you!!

In the meantime, it’s time to talk about another awesome runDisney opportunity that was just announced a couple of weeks ago! Thanks to virtual magic, runDisney is now offering a series of three 5K races this summer (May 15- June 30, 2016). The series is called the Virtual Running Shorts, and it allows runners to earn runDisney bling in their own backyards!IMG_1000

Here are some more details about the races:

1. Runners need to register here in advance

2. There are 4 opportunities to earn the race bling.

  • The Yellow Shoes virtual run (May 15-June 1)
  • The Red Pants virtual run (June 5-June 18)
  • The White Glove virtual run (June 19-June 30)
  • The Virtual Running Shorts Challenge: This registration option is a commitment to run all 3 virtual 5Ks within the time frames listed above. Finishers receive all the virtual 5K medals AND a special finishers medal for completing the challenge. The challenge also includes a Mickey tumbler!

3. Proof of run is not required to meet the completion requirements for the runDisney Virtual Running Shorts events. Simply go out for a 5K between the allotted dates and earn that virtual bling.

4. The Virtual Running Shorts series benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society charity

All three of us at Runs in Tutus are registered for the Virtual Running Shorts Challenge. Our plan is to make the virtual races as magical as possible (we are already thinking about our race outfits). We will be live tweeting our virtual runs and sharing our virtual run experiences on Instragram. We thought it might be fun if we got some of our readers and team tutu friends together (virtually) to run the virtual races at the same time. Here are the days we plan on completing each of the 5Ks.

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If you are registered for any of the Virtual Running Shorts and would like to join us for some team tutu virtual fun, grab your running shoes and join us on May 30, June 12, and/or June 19. You can tweet along with us or share your team tutu pics Instagram or twitter by using #runsintutus.

And finally…For some extra magic – Here is a set of free printable stickers inspired by the Virtual Running Shorts Series. Simply download the file here, print, cut, and stick to your planner or training log using glue or adhesive of your choice!

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Can’t wait to “see” all our virtual friends on the course!

-Christine

Countdown to Tinker Bell Half Marathon: What Should I Do the Week Before the Race?

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend is officially one week away. We’ve been busy putting the final touches on all our crafts and costumes to make the weekend as magical as possible. One of our Runs in Tutus traditions is making matching tote bags and Mickey ears to wear at the parks and Expo. We are happy to say that after a sister weekend of intense crafting and eating too many homemade Mickey pancakes, these have been finished! If you see three weirdos walking around the park in coordinated outfits and matching tote bags, you have likely spotted us.

IMG_8801These cute bags are definitely exciting, but it turns out there is more to race weekend then just crafting. We also have to run a race. We’ve all worked really hard over the past few months with early mornings, long runs and sore muscles. The work isn’t over just yet. The final week of training is crucial when it comes to having a successful race day.

Here are some things you can do this week to prepare for race day:

  1. Take care of your body. You want your muscles to work seamlessly on race day. Take some time this week to stretch and foam roll. You can find some foam rolling tips here. Sports massages are another great way to prepare your body, but any massage should be done at least 48 hours before the race. I’ve also become a big fan of the BFF, a body buffer that vibrates and “buffs” your muscles. This thing is awesome for getting muscles to relax and recover quickly, and even Jeff Galloway has endorsed it. If you see their booth at the Expo and you’re feeling sore or tight, definitely stop and give it a try.

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink A LOT of water throughout the week. You want to start hydrating well in advance of race day. It’s easy to forget this when traveling, so be sure to always have a bottle of water with you on long flights or road trips.
  1. Plan ahead and keep race day stress free. We already feel anxious enough about race day. Being prepared and planning in advance can help alleviate unnecessary stress. If you’re flying to the event, bring all your race items in your carry on luggage; give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport so you don’t feel rushed. Know what you’re wearing on race day and have plans for your meals, especially the night before and the morning of the race. Start packing early so you don’t forget anything! Check out our Tinker Bell Half Marathon Packing Checklist for ideas on what to bring.
  1. This isn’t a final exam; don’t try to cram. Unlike a final exam, cramming for a race is not effective. If you procrastinated on training or missed a few long runs, don’t try to squeeze it all in this week. Get in a few short runs, but don’t over do it. You will just end up feeling sore and fatigued on race day.
  1. Visualize success. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line on race day. Focus in on every single detail: the crowd, your outfit, Mickey, the California sun. What does it feel like? Try to feel those exact emotions as you visualize your success. Open your eyes. Did you dream it? Good. That means you can do it.

  1. Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust. Think happy thoughts. Believe in yourself and trust that your training is sufficient. Have faith that this race will be the best race ever and make it the best race ever! Also, start to hoard pixie dust so that you have it stockpiled on race day.

See you in Disneyland!

-Amanda

Tips for a Long and Healthy Life

FullSizeRender-1When I started my journey towards a healthy lifestyle, I decided it was going to be a long-term commitment to myself to feel better and stronger each day. While I try my best to stay the course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel overwhelming. I try to get the weekly recommended amount of physical activity, eat veggies, and get plenty of sleep, but sometimes I fall off the wagon. I get busy… and Netflix…and cake. The struggle is real.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have been pretty hard on myself when I feel like I can’t get the “perfect” workout done. I’ve become so focused on the short-term struggles that I have lost sight of my long-term goal of a long, healthy life. In an effort to stay the course on my journey towards a healthy lifestyle, I’ve done the only two things I know to do when face a problem: 1) I talked to my sisters, and 2) I turned to science for answers. After consulting my sources, I have come to the reassuring conclusion that I’ve been making things way too complicated. Small health changes in the short-term can lead to significant rewards in the long-term!

Here are some of the take home messages I’ve learned about healthy lifestyle choices that are helping me stay motivated (in case there any friends out in cyberspace who are struggling to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle….and because I love sharing science):

  1. Move more, sit less. Physical activity is an important aspect of maintaining well-being. Until I turned to the literature, I was under the impression that physical activity meant working out. As it turns out, there are two components to physical activity: regular workouts and limiting excessive sedentary behavior (e.g., sit less).  Sitting for long periods of time has emerged as a risk factor for poor health outcomes such as diabetes  and cardiovascular disease. The good news is that moving more and sitting less can be easily worked into a daily routine. Small changes can make a big difference over the long-term. I’ve been incorporating some fun workout suggestions from our friends at Chobani. Having a delicious 100 calorie snack or even something as easy as playing with your kids for 23 minutes can go a long way!

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Way to keep moving Baymax!

  1. Healthy lifestyles are associated with longer and happier lives. Amanda recently shared a report with me from the Stanford Center for Longevity . This report states that individuals who live longer, happier lives tend to be individuals who adopt healthy lifestyles. It was very motivating for me to read that making small healthy choices such as getting enough sleep, eating more vegetables, and moving more could help me lead a longer, better quality life.
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Veggie Cobb salad with baby kale, cucumbers, quinoa, summer squash and avocados. Yum! Choices like this can help us live a long healthy life.

  1. Social engagement is another way to improve well-being and longevity. Making new friends and joining a community of other individuals who share my love for healthy living, Disney, and all things crafty has been one of the best side effects of my journey towards a healthier life. I was excited to learn from the Stanford longevity report that social engagement, such as participating in a community and developing relationships is also associated with longer and happier living! This means that decisions to show up to ballet rehearsal, or complete a runDisney race, or have a chat with my sisters about a new recipe are also cultivating an additional predictor for a longer, happier life!!
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Social bonds are a vital part of long, healthy lives.

 

Well, friends, I think that’s all the main points I’ve learned so far. If you have any tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle please let me know in the comments section. I am always looking for ways to stay motivated!

-Christine

How to Perform a Proper Squat

IMG_8423The Runs in Tutus sisters are currently in the middle of training for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon which is coming up quickly on May 8th! Whenever we’re preparing for a race like this, training runs are absolutely crucial, but cross-training is just as important. Incorporating strength training, mobility work and even a different type of cardiovascular exercise can greatly improve your performance as well as minimize the aches and pains that arise during long distance runs.

Today I wanted to talk about one of the most functional strength exercises you can do: SQUATS. It’s a movement we perform again and again throughout the day every single time we stand up out of a chair. It’s also a great exercise choice for runners because it targets running-specific muscles such as glutes and hamstrings. Long distance running is a great way to increase muscular endurance, but it isn’t the most efficient way to build muscular strength. That’s where exercises like squats come in. Strengthening the muscles in the glutes and legs allows us to run faster, increases our stability and protects our joints. As an added benefit, the glutes are the body’s largest muscle group which means that it requires a lot of energy to use them. In other words, you burn lots of calories doing squats because your body is working hard to use those big booty muscles.

To perform a proper squat follow these steps:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips
  2. Look straight in front of you, not at the ceiling or the floor
  3. Put your weight in your heels (you might want to try lifting your toes up off the floor at first to get the idea)
  4. Keep your midsection tight
  5. Push your hips back and bend your knees (push your butt back FIRST then bend your knees.) It’s a gross image but the best way to describe it is imagine you are using a public toilet and trying not to sit completely on the seat.
  6. Once you get to the bottom, drive through your heels, squeeze your butt and abs, and stand back up

There are a few common mistakes that you want to look out for.

  • Direction of your knees: You want to keep your knees in line with your feet. A common mistake is the knees caving in as you squat. Think about pushing your knees out to stay in line with your toes. Whether you have your toes facing completely forward or slightly turned out doesn’t really matter in my opinion, as long as your knees and toes align. But if you are a big time fitness nerd then you probably know there are a million different theories and opinions on this.

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  • Position of the chest: Bring your shoulders down and back and try to keep your chest up. When you lean your chest forward, you are taking the weight off of where we want it and your glutes are doing less work. It’s also putting more stress on your lower back. If you’re having trouble squatting with your chest up, try just sitting onto a chair then standing back up until you get stronger.

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  • Not driving your hips back: A lot of people will try to just bend their knees and not drive the hips back. When you do this, your heels will probably come up off the ground and your knees will trace way in front of your toes. This is not so great for your knees and it’s also pretty much taking your glutes out of it. Remember – butt back first!

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So how low should you squat? This really depends on your flexibility and your body. A healthy range of motion is to squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. If you can squat lower than that without compromising your form, then go for it because that’s even better.

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If you can’t squat to parallel at first, don’t sweat it. You can still improve your strength by doing a small range of motion. Also remember that everyone’s squat is a little different. Here is one of my favorite stretches for opening up the hips to allow for a deeper squat. Make sure you keep the heels down just like you would in a squat.

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My final advice is for anyone who feels intimidated by doing strength training at the gym, because I hear that all the time from friends and clients. Don’t be. Everyone at the gym is too busy worrying about themselves to care about what you are doing. Just get in there and do your thing. Channel your inner Mulan. You know she felt out of place at first, but then she saved China.

Go get ’em!

– Amanda

 

Frozen Themed Workout Inspired by Winter Storm Jonas!

Someone really made Elsa angry this week! If you live anywhere around the Northeast, you are currently stuck at home braving Winter Storm Jonas AKA “SNOWZILLA.”

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Photo courtesy of Washingtonpost.com

I’m in Washington, DC where we have over 20 inches of snow. I’m bored out of my mind, and I can’t get outside for a run. Instead of going insane, I decided to create a Frozen themed workout to embrace Elsa’s powers and eventually blow this snowstorm away. The whole workout takes about 10 minutes. It goes along with the soundtrack, or you can try it out while watching the movie! Good luck!

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For the First Time in Forever: Run in place for the duration of the song. Every time you hear Anna sing “for the first time in forever,” do a burpee! This will get your heart rate up for sure.

Let it Go: This is a booty track! Work out the glutes and get in some toning. Watch the video to get the exercises down then try it on your own! I guarantee your butt will start to burn right away.

Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People: Hold a plank for the entire song

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In Summer: Alternating lunges for the whole song. When you get to the bridge, hold a lunge on one side, then try to balance on one leg!

Stay safe in the storm everyone!

-Amanda

Cupid’s Undie Run

FullSizeRenderI am very proud to say that this year will be my third time participating in Cupid’s Undie Run. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile run in your undies (or whatever goofy interpretation of that you prefer) that takes place in cities around the globe on Valentine’s Day weekend. I know what you’re thinking – why would anyone want to freeze their butt of in the middle of winter for a mile run??

Cupid’s Undie Run raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation in an effort to bring an end to Neurofibromatosis (NF), a debilitating genetic disorder which causes tumors to grow all over the nervous system and can cause blindness, deafness, learning disabilities and severe chronic pain. There are millions of children out there suffering from this painful disorder, and I think it should come to an end.

This event doesn’t just raise pocket change for the cause – it has raised over 8 MILLION DOLLARS since the first event in 2010. When Cupid’s started, there were ZERO clinical trials for NF treatments; fast forward 5 years and there are TWENTY FIVE! That is HUGE. This is really making an enormous difference.

Many of the staff and volunteers for Cupid’s Undie Run have kids or family with NF – or even have it themselves. Here’s a quick look at the personal story that led the founders to create Cupid’s Undie Run.

You also may recognize co-founder Bobby Gill from Runner’s World. Last year, he was featured on the cover after winning the Runner’s World cover search!
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It’s definitely a cause worth joining. But I have to add – this is also a RIDICULOUSLY FUN event. I very loosely refer to it as a mile run. It’s more like a goofy mile long parade down the streets of your city followed by a party. You even win really fun prizes like plush robes, backpacks and tundra hats based on how much money you earn.
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2016 Fundraising Incentives – photo courtesy of cupidsundierun.com

This event is now in cities all over the world – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, San Diego, Sydney and more! Check out the website here to see if it’s in your city and to register.

If you aren’t participating in the event, you can also help by making a donation to a runner’s page. See if you have a friend participating, or you can donate to my page here: https://my.cupids.org/AmandaSchmidt

If you’re in Washington, DC, join us at Balance Gym on Saturday, February 6th for a three hour Zumbathon® benefitting Cupid’s Undie Run!

Let’s use our joy of running to make a difference this year!

-Amanda

Advice for Runners from Physical Therapist Dr. Karen Bonney

karenWhen I started training for my first full marathon, my biggest concern was preventing injury and getting through the race safely. I wanted to cross the finish line feeling awesome – not like I was just hit by a bus. Because of this, I decided to schedule a Functional Movement Screening (FMS) with Dr. Karen Bonney at Elite Performance and Rehab in Washington, DC.

The Functional Movement Screening is an assessment tool to observe human movement through a ranking and grading system. It is performed by a licensed physical therapist like Dr. Bonney who is certified in FMS. Particularly useful for athletes, this screening technique allows your therapist to assess where your body is strongest and weakest in order to provide an optimal recovery program.

Even though I didn’t have any existing injuries at the time, this assessment was still extremely beneficial for me. By identifying the weak and strong areas in my body, I was able to recognize the more vulnerable muscle groups and therefore prevent injury before it even started. For example, I learned that I needed to perform more barefoot balance exercises in order to strengthen my feet and ankles. I highly recommend the FMS for both new and experienced runners!

Being the nerd that I am, I recently decided to pick Dr. Bonney’s brain a little further regarding injury prevention for runners. She shared some valuable information with me, and I’m very excited to share it with all of you.

1. What are some of the most common injuries you see in runners?

Running injuries vary across the spectrum, but I often see overuse foot and hip/back injuries. 

2. What can runners do to prevent these common injuries?

Runners can prevent these common injuries with the proper balanced workout routine each week. This routine has a combination of running, hip/core strengthening, flexibility and mobility.

Remember, foam rolling is an important part of mobility training. You can learn a little about foam rolling here. Also, check out this video for some great hip flexor stretch ideas. Hip flexors are notoriously tight for many long distance runners!

3. Is there any particular type of exercise you would recommend in addition to running to prevent injury?

There is no magic exercise, but I would highly encourage runners to make sure that there is in fact a strengthening component to their weekly workout routines.

Check out a few of our recommended strengthening exercises here.

4. When done safely and correctly, should long distance running be pain free or is it normal to feel aches and pains during long runs?

Even when your training is done safely and correctly, there is always room for aches and pains to creep in during long runs. I think the most important part is understanding the difference between “good pain” and “bad pain.”

  • Sharp, acute pain that continues to increase throughout the run – is not good.
  • Pain that travels, radiates up or down a body part – is not good.
  • Numbness or tingling that continues to increase throughout the run – is not good.
  • Pain that makes you change your running mechanics throughout the run – is not good.

 All of the above examples are reason to seek out guidance and/or an evaluation from your local Physical Therapist!

5. Do you have any advice for selecting the appropriate footwear?

Footwear is a complicated one but ultimately the latest research out there shows that REGARDLESS of your foot anatomy, your best bet is to make sure the footwear that you purchase is COMFORTABLE on your feet. It must feel good to you. Do not buy footwear with the notion that “you need to break it in” – that is just not true!

6. Who is your favorite Disney princess?
I love Goofy!!! 
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Princess Goofy?

7. Anything else you would like to add? 

The most important advice I can give runners and all athletes is to make sure their weekly workout routines are balanced and thorough! When in doubt, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions!

Learn more about Dr. Karen Bonney at www.karenbonney.com or on her latest blog post through Active Life DC, http://activelifedc.com/elite-performance-and-rehab-physical-therapy-in-dc/116048

Contact Dr. Bonney (DrBonney@KarenBonney.com) with any questions or to schedule a Functional Movement Screen or initial evaluation! Follow her on Twitter @BonneyKaren.

Wishing you many successful and pain free runs!
-Amanda

Beauty and the Beast Workout

If you are anything like us, you’ve spent the last few days being completely lazy. My activities this Christmas have included going to brunch, opening presents, eating fudge, watching movies, sleeping and eating more fudge. It’s the most wonderful time of the year – to put on extra pounds and fall completely off the fitness wagon! With time off of work and the whole family around, it’s almost impossible to stick with our regular workout routines. Well, today Melanie and I decided to force a workout into our Christmas vacation with this awesome Beauty and the Beast Workout. Just follow along while you watch the movie and burn off those cookies!

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Good luck!

-Amanda

Race Recap: The Disney Wine & Dine ‘Half-Half’ Marathon

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Last weekend the Runs in Tutus crew visited Walt Disney World for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. We had a blast and we have so much to tell you about! From Character experiences to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek and MUCH more. I could go on and on about this trip, but let’s start with the main reason we visited Orlando – the actual race!

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Our crew arrived on Friday afternoon to attend the race expo and pick up our race packets. As usual, the expo was well organized with very few lines. Although we arrived pretty early on Friday, there was already a good amount of merchandise that was sold out. This year, Disney offered a last minute “Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception.” It was $200 and allowed you to shop runDisney merchandise on Thursday evening before everyone else. It wasn’t advertised until October 2nd when many people had already booked travel plans. I bet they do something similar for the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February, so if you’re really set on getting the best merchandise, you may want to look out for it. Even though some of the merch went fast, I was able to snag a wine glass and Christine bought the adorable Christmas ornament.

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Wine and Dine Half Marathon wine glass

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Other Wine and Dine merch

At runDisney race expos, the photo opportunities are always my favorite part! Always look out for the green screen photo-op above the stairs before heading down to the expo. This year it had Paris in the background with a tray of the grey stuff.

 

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On Saturday evening, we all got dressed in our race costumes and headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the start line. This year we all went with food themed costumes that we each handmade. We had popcorn, the grey stuff, a Disney Cast Member Confectionary costume and a Mickey ice cream bar.

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We all gathered on the grass for the pre-race dance party and got ready to head to the start line. This is about when the wind and rain started to pick up and we all tried to snuggle under one blanket. Our race host got on the microphone and told us that there was some “weather” in the area and we shouldn’t head to our corrals yet. A couple minutes later, they got on the microphone and told us to calmly evacuate the area and head to either the Jostens Center or the HP Field House because of lightning in the area. Over 14,000 people began to move inside. I have to give some credit to Disney because they sure know a lot about crowd control. I have never seen a massive crowd of 14,000 people move so quickly and calmly.

Aerial view of the evacuation

Our group moved into the HP Field House and to be honest we had a lot of fun hanging out in there with the other runners. We were able to use a nice restroom, stretch out on the field, and we got a great view of all the awesome costumes gathered in the stadium! There was a good amount of dancing and at one point someone started the wave. Here are the series of emotions we experienced during the rain delay.

At first we were really sad

 

Then we did not know how we felt

 

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Then we thought – hey this is actually kinda fun!

It was difficult to gather information since we couldn’t hear the announcer over the music, but after about an hour of waiting, someone screamed “THE RACE IS ON” and we all started heading back to the start line. There were a lot of rumors circulating around regarding the course, and it wasn’t until we reached our start line that we found out the race was cut 6 miles short.

I was really disappointed to have the course altered, and I was especially disappointed for all the first time half marathoners. I know how hard they worked to train, and it’s discouraging to get so close to achieving a goal and have it taken away like that. I have to look on the bright side though. No one was struck by lightning, we still got to run about 7 miles through Disney World and we still got to attend the after party in Epcot. There will be other half marathons. I’m grateful that everyone is safe, and I trust that runDisney did they best they could with the information available.

All in all, it was a hot, sweaty, short and fun race. Animal Kingdom was cut out of the course, so we only ran through Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Here are some of the course highlights at this year’s 7.1 mile Wine & Dine “Half-Half” Marathon.

1. Lightning and rain didn’t prevent the start line fireworks!

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2. We ran through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios

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3. Characters along the route included Lilo and Stitch, Genie, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, The Seven Dwarfs and more.

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4. Disco lights in the costume tunnel at Hollywood Studios

5. A sign with Olaf on it that said “I like sweaty hugs”

6. Chef Mickey at the finish line

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7. Free glass of wine and Epcot after party at the finish line!

Thanks runDisney for another great race!

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Only 355 days to go until the next Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend! Registration opens on March 15, 2016 at 12PM ET!

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-Amanda

…and if you’re still sad about missing out on those 6 miles, here’s a video of a drunk man climbing the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. It will definitely make you feel better.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c08VdzS_3OY>