2017 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Race Recap

Last month, Melanie and I went to Walt Disney World for an out of this world weekend at the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. This race was the second Star Wars themed race for this year us as we participated in the Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon in Disneyland in January.  We decided to participate in both of the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathons this year because they are part of a special challenge race series called the Kessel Run Challenge. If you complete the Star Wars Light Side Half and Dark Side Half Marathons in the same year, you get a special Millennium Falcon medal! We love extra bling, so we did not hesitate to register for both events!

To make things even more exciting, Melanie ran a 10k and a Half Marathon on the Dark Side. She earned an epic Death Star medal for completing both of those races. Here is a breakdown of how the weekend on the Dark Side went:

Expo:

We went to the race expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Friday afternoon.  We always try to time our trips to the runDisney expos so that we avoid crowds and lines of non-runners who are there only to pillage the merch to re-sell on eBay. We’ve found in the past that the expos are less crowded in the middle of the day, so we timed our visit for early afternoon on the second day of the race expo.

No crowds at the expo! We picked out each other’s outfits =)

We were pleasantly surprised to find that this race expo had very low crowds. We had no trouble walking around the expo, taking pictures, and browsing race merchandise. Almost 100% of the race merchandise was still available when we were there, so we took the opportunity to finally snag some race themed merchandise. It’s been a couple of races since we had a full selection of race merchandise when shopping at a runDisney expo. It was quite a treat! We also had the chance to stop by the Raw Threads booth to pick up our patch for participating in the race as a Raw Threads Club Member. The race themed patches are such a fun perk of the Raw Threads Club.

Raw Threads Club race patch!

Yes! The Dark Side has sweat pants!

The expo was very Star Wars themed with Stormtroopers patrolling the expo area. There were Star Wars quotes up on the walls of the Joesten center, and some awesome wall art in the exit area from bib pick-up.  Our favorite part of the expo was the Cantina area complete with photo opportunities. We got the chance to hang out with our friend John Biel from the Not Real Runners podcast and snap a few fun pictures at the Cantina. The only thing missing was the Cantina band.

Stormtroopers on patrol at the expo!

Hanging at the Cantina with John Biel.

 

10K Race Day:

Hi! Melanie here with my recap of the Dark Side 10K.

Costume: For the 10k I wanted a fun and simple tutu due to the amount of time I needed to spend on my half marathon costume. I printed out images of TIE fighters, used mod podge to stabilize the print-outs on some craft foam, and glued the tie fighters and star confetti to a black tutu I had made for a previous race. I wore a plain black tank top and a Galaxy Sparkly Soul headband that I purchased from Sparkly Soul at the race expo.

TIE Fighter tutu for the 10k.

 

Pre-Race: I walked into the pre-race area and saw there was photo opportunities with Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, Darth Vader…. and then I stopped and saw the wait to get a picture with Darth Vader was 40 minutes. I REALLY wanted a picture with Darth Vader, but after waking up at 2:30 AM to get to the race, doing the math on how much time I had to take the picture was not going well.  I basically stood in the same spot for several minutes by myself trying to figure out what I should do… BUT luckily standing out in the open aimlessly allowed me to find some friends! I ran into Christine (@disneymom05) and Jess (@jbullski) and got to chat for a few minutes and take some selfies. Running into them really helped me wake up and get excited to start the race, and I decided to head over to my corral.

Look who I found 💗✨🖤#runsintutus #starwars #starwarshalf #rundisney #disneyrunner

A post shared by @disneymom05 on

Corral area:  The set up for the 10k corral area was a set up I had not seen before. The corrals were set up to where you were facing the side of the start line and could see the race announcers. It made waiting for your corral to start a much better experience. I felt excited for each corral to start because I could actually see it! The corrals were also set up in waves with a shorter time in between the start of each corral and wave. I felt like I didn’t wait long at all for my start.

Race course: As far as I know, this was a new course for a runDisney 10k. The race started in the parking lot of Magic Kingdom, and we began running down the road out of the entrance to Magic Kingdom. I didn’t find this portion to be very entertaining, but that was overshadowed by my excitement to experience a completely different course. At about the halfway point, we entered into Hollywood Studios where I found Darth Maul!

Darth Maul!!

Hollywood Studios had a lot of Stormtroopers out, and this is where I felt the course got really fun. We exited out of Hollywood Studios down a walkway to Epcot. The walkway was a little narrow which made this section fill a little crowded, but it was short and we were able to quickly spread out once we entered the World Showcase. We approached Spaceship Earth where there was a fun photo opportunity with Stormtroopers and Spaceship Earth in the background!

Race Finish: There were Stormtroopers guarding the finish line to watch all who completed what the Stormtroopers called at the beginning of the race “training” for the First Order. They warned us not to disappoint Captain Phasma, so I crossed the finish line and made Captain Phasma proud! I received my medal, banana, and box of snacks and headed back to our hotel to get ready for some Disney World park time. Overall, I really enjoyed the course entertainment and all the costumes at the 10k!

Now, back to Christine for a recap of the Half Marathon!

Half Marathon Race Day:

Costumes: Melanie and I were pretty excited about our race costumes for this event. A few months prior to the race, Melanie and I teamed up with a group of other runners who wanted to dress as Boba Fett/Disney character mash-ups.  I was a little nervous about the mash-ups because I am far more of a Disney expert than I am a Star Wars expert. Thankfully Melanie is a pretty big Star Wars buff, so she helped me make sure that my costume was as true to Boba as possible. Melanie dressed as a mash-up between warrior Mulan and Boba Fett, and I dressed as a mash-up of Mary Poppins and Boba Fett. Melanie chose Mulan because she is a super strong warrior capable of saving a nation. I chose Mary Poppins because she is practically perfect in every way, and because I really feel like the Dark Side needs more sparkle and lace.  Here are some pictures of our costumes and our group of Boba mash-ups.

Mary Fett/Boba Poppins mash-up costume. Lacy and sparkly armor was so much fun to make! Also loved the tiny umbrella and carousel horse details!

Mulan Fett. Melanie hand painted the Mushu detail on the armor!

Boba Fett mash-up group!

Our friend Sam was also in our group. She had an amazing Tink Fett mash-up!

 

Pre-race fun: We stayed at the Pop Century resort and had no problems catching a bus to the pre-race village for some fun.  There were a lot of photo opportunities before the race, but we chose to sleep a little later and forego the pre-race photo ops. We did have the chance to snap a quick picture with our Boba mash-up group and see their amazing costumes. We also had the chance to see our friends John Biel and Autumn Ziegler. They had some amazing costumes at this race. John dressed as kyber crystals which are the power source for light sabers. Autumn dressed as a sparkly 40th Anniversary edition Millennium Falcon.  After talking with Autumn and John for a couple of minutes, the most magical thing happened us. We were interviewed by THE Star Wars Show!!! As in the one on starwars.com.  The same show that interviewed CHEWBACCA MOM!  Squeeeeee! It. Was. Epic! We loved getting the chance to share a little more about our costumes and talk with a crew who really appreciated the costumes we made. Thank you, Star Wars show, for interviewing us (even though there wasn’t time to include us in the webisode)!

Pre-race with Autumn and John.

Corral area:  As was the case with the Princess Half Marathon, the Star Wars Dark Side corrals started in waves.  Each corral was divided into separate waves so that there wasn’t as much crowding at the race start. We really like this change and felt like it helped cut down on course crowding at the beginning. We were very happy to see that runDisney provided a full fireworks show at the start of each corral that was very substantial compared to what we saw at Princess Half.

Melanie and I ran in separate corrals for this race because we both weren’t feeling 100% at the start of the race. We didn’t want to hold each other back during the race. I had a cold the week leading up to the race, so I was a little concerned about how I would fare in the heat. Melanie has been battling a flare up of her autoimmune disease as well as a knee injury.

Race course: The race course for this race was a brand new course! We were very excited to have the opportunity to check it out.  The course started in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, ran towards and through Animal Kingdom, then through Hollywood Studios, through the Boardwalk area, and then finished in Epcot. This was by far our favorite race course in WDW to date! We loved that the stretch of the race that was on the highway was in the middle of the race vs. at the end of the race as is the case at other runDisney events at Walt Disney World. The first part of the race course had beautiful tree scenery and the race directors took full advantage of the scenery to add a little bit of Star Wars flair to the course. At about mile 3 the Ewoks were out in the wooded area and there was fog, lasers, and the music from the battle at Endor from the movie!! This was such a cool touch, and made for great on course entertainment during the portion of the course that was outside of the parks.  We also loved that this race ran through 3 of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks. It was very motivating to have some of the best park scenery at the end of the race as the sun was coming up and when we were getting tired.

Finish area and medals:  We loved the finish area for this race because of the awesome scenery complete with Stormtroopers and music. I was pleased that I made it to the end of the course with all my costume pieces still intact. That was a personal win for me. The most amazing part of the race finish had to be Melanie’s experience on the course! She has been working very hard on her fitness and running over the past few years, and her improvement has been unbelievable!! She has transformed into one strong warrior, and been such an inspiration to Amanda and me! Just when we thought Melanie couldn’t level-up anymore in her beast mode game, she proved us all wrong by getting a PR at Dark Side Half Marathon!!! This wasn’t just a small PR, this was THIRTY MINUTES FASTER than her fastest half marathon!! What makes this PR even more impressive is that she achieved this victory while battling an autoimmune disease flare up and a knee injury on the day after running the Star Wars 10k!! Way to go, Melanie!

Melanie after her epic PR!!

After crossing the finish line, it was time to enjoy some sweet Star Wars bling! Here is a picture of all the bling we earned over the weekend.  Melanie and I both earned the Kylo Ren medal for completing the half marathon, and the Millennium Falcon medal for completing the Kessel run challenge (the Light Side Half in Disneyland and the Dark Side Half in Disney World). Melanie also earned the Death Star medal for completing the Dark Side Challenge (the 10k and half marathon in the same weekend). The Stormtrooper medal is the medal Melanie earned for the 10k the day prior.

 

Allllll the bling!

Postrace fun: Melanie and I used the weekend as an opportunity to have a “Treat yo’self” weekend. We went to Epcot and enjoyed the topiaries and outdoor kitchens and the Flower and Garden Festival on Saturday. On Sunday, we had brunch at Ohana and went to the Magic Kingdom and watched the new Happily Ever After castle projection show. We also couldn’t pass up the chance to take the PhotoPass picture with the floating lantern from Tangled! We were sad that Amanda couldn’t join us, but she decided to stay behind in Disneyland so that she could attend Dapper Day with our friend Kirsten from Crowned Athletics. We think Amanda looked adorable at Dapper Day and had a great time that weekend, too.  All in all, it was a magical weekend!

Enjoying the Flower and Garden Festival.

We had some yummy snacks!

Breakfast at Ohana

Watching the floating lanterns gleeeeeam.

Amanda at Dapper Day in Disneyland!

That’s all we have for now!  Up next for us is a trip back to Walt Disney World to preview Pandora at Animal Kingdom.  Amanda will  also be posting her recap from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend later this week. She represented Runs in Tutus at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in Disneyland last weekend. Did you run the Dark Side Half Marathon events? If so, let us know your favorite part in the comments below.

-Christine and Melanie

 

 

 

 

2017 Glass Slipper Challenge Race Recap

 Hello, friends! We’ve been back from the Princess Half festivities for almost a month now, and we are finally ready to give  a recap of all the fun of the Glass Slipper Challenge.  We usually post a recap of the 10K and the half separately, but we thought it might be fun to recap the whole experience of the Glass Slipper challenge in one extra magical post. Here is a super-sized recap of how the races went down this year:

Registration:  This was our fourth trip to the Glass Slipper Challenge, and we were really excited to head out for another magical 19.3 miles. The challenge includes the Enchanted 10k on Saturday and then the Disney Princess Half Marathon the following day.  As with the Princess 5k, we registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge via our Raw Threads Club membership. We love the ease of registering with Team Raw Threads.  For more information about the Raw Threads Club you can visit this link .

Packet pick-up/Expo: Melanie and I went to the Expo on Thursday late in the afternoon. We don’t usually go to the expo on the first day, but I had to go that day because I needed my 5k bib for the next morning.  We’ve learned from previous expo experiences that it’s not very fun to arrive at a runDisney expo when it opens. The lines tend to be long and full of non-runners who are only at the expo to buy a bunch of merchandise to re-sell on eBay.

Thankfully, we had no issues with crowds or crazy eBay merch-buying trolls when we arrived late afternoon. We were able to walk around the expo without any issues, and even had a chance to snag the coveted Tervis water bottle!  Amanda went to the expo on Friday, and also had no issues with packet pickup. We loved the race shirts this year!  We especially liked the fact that the Glass Slipper Challenge shirt paid tribute to Cinderella rather than Beauty and the Beast.

No long lines at the expo when you go in the late afternoon!

 

2017 Glass Slipper Challenge shirts.

The Tervis water bottle. The back says, “Live like a Beauty, Run like a BEAST!”

The 10K -Costumes: We initially wanted to all go with the Beauty and the Beast theme for our 10k costumes. We already dressed as Mrs. Potts, Belle, Cogsworth, and Fifi the feather duster at previous races, so we had to dig deep to find some characters.  I went pretty low key and dressed as the Beast. I wore my brown tutu that I made for my Ewok costume I wore for Light Side Half in January. I bought my Beast themed shirt from a company on Etsy called Kawaiian Pizza.

Melanie and Amanda were far more creative with their costumes for this race. Melanie dressed as the Enchanted Rose and made a tutu out of the petals from one of those huge silk roses sold in the floral department at Hobby Lobby. She looked so enchanting!

Amanda went off theme for this race and made one of her best costumes to date! She decided to dress as Wall-E for this race.  It. Was. Epic. Amanda hand painted her Wall-E shirt. She made some modifications to her Ewok tutu from light side half so it looked like wheels. She also made a Wall-E face and attached it to a visor. One of the cutest touches to her costume was the adorable small boot she carried around for the entire race.

From left to right: Amanda as Wall-E, Melanie as the Enchanted Rose, and Christine as the Beast.

Amanda’s amazing boot she made to carry with her Wall-E costume.

 

10k course and medals: We arrived at the 10K in plenty of time to enjoy the pre-race party and to meet up with some friends. We got a chance to say hello to our good friend Leslie (@ldayres), and to get a good warm-up via some sweet dance moves. We take pre-race dancing very seriously.

Pre-race fun with Leslie.

Pre-race dance warm-up. We take pre-race dancing very seriously.

We love the Enchanted 10k course.  As with the 5k course, we got to run through the World Showcase and around Spaceship Earth. The 10k also includes a lap around the Boardwalk area. We adore Boardwalk area! It’s always our favorite part! We thought the crowds were pretty manageable for this race and we appreciated that the corrals started in waves this time. It seemed to minimize the crowding at the start of the race compared to previous runDisney events.  We didn’t stop for any character stops at this race but we enjoyed waving hello to the characters as we ran by. Some of the character stops were repeats from the 5k (For example, Dopey was in the same place at the 5k and the 10k). That didn’t really bother us much, but just an FYI for those who like to run in multiple races for the purpose of meeting unique characters.  We crossed the finish line together and loved the look of the Beauty and the Beast themed medal!

Princess Half Marathon costumes:  We decided to dress off-theme for this race because we had literally already dressed as every Beauty and the Beast character. Melanie dressed as Moana because that movie is amazing, and because Moana is a fierce voyager. Melanie made her costume by sewing together 2 children’s costumes. She sewed the tube top to a tank top, and it turned out to be a very comfy costume. The best part of her costume had to be the light up necklace. It was a very fun detail!

Amanda and I decided to dress as Mulan and Mushu. For the Mulan costume, I purchased a shirt from Kawaiian Pizza to save time on trying to make the top of Mulan’s dress. I made a light pink tutu with a red overlay for the skirt. I ironed on a small Cricket so that I could have some good luck on the course. I made a flower for my hair out of foam and tied a red ribbon around my hair bun. Amanda made the best Mushu costume ever.  She has mastered the art of the visor headpiece. She made an epic Mushu headpiece out of a visor and foam.  I told her she needs to write a full blog tutorial about how she made the epic headpieces for her costumes for Princess Half Weekend. She hand painted her Mushu shirt, and made a super cute dragon tail!

From left to right: Christine as Mulan, Amanda as Mushu, and Melanie as Moana.

Melanie’s Moana necklace.

 

Princess Half Marathon pre-race excitement: We stayed on property for this race because we wanted to have the perk of easy bus transportation to and from the races. We stayed at the Art of Animation resort to keep our hotel costs as low as possible so that we could have extra funds for future races. This was our first stay at a value hotel, and we enjoyed the Ariel themed room and the overall décor of the resort. The resort is very large, so we were initially concerned about waiting for a long time for race buses. We didn’t have any trouble catching a bus to the race, and the bus staff was very well organized. The bus staff made sure to pack as many people as possible on each bus.

On the day of the half marathon we were able to get right on a bus, and we were so excited to take the quick ride to the start. Our bus pulled out of the parking lot behind a line of race buses. We watched 3 buses in front of us take the left turn out of the resort towards the start.  Unfortunately, our bus driver decided to turn right instead of left out of our resort.  That’s when the not so magical craziness began.  This wrong turn meant we did not get to enter the race area in the bus entry area. We instead got the pleasure of waiting in the super long line of cars waiting to park in the parking lot for the race. It took us almost an HOUR to get to the race.  I get a lot of anxiety about arriving late (just a trait of my type A personality), so that bus ride was a pretty stressful hour for me!  We got to the pre-race area with barely enough time to take the walk to our corral. Thankfully, they started the race about 10 minutes late. Otherwise, I think we may not have made it to our corral before the start of the race.

Once we settled in our corral, we had a pretty fun time. We liked the fireworks at the start of each corral. We noticed that the Fairy Godmother was not at the start of the race as she has been in past Princess Half Marathons. We missed her magical send off at the start of the race.

Race course:  Full disclosure: we were a hot mess the week before this race. Melanie and Amanda had both been sick, and I was nursing a foot injury.  Given our less than stellar physical condition, we decided to take it easy during the half marathon. Our plan was to run until we got to Magic Kingdom, and then to chill and take it easy for the rest of the race.  This race was far from a PR for us.

The first few miles of the race course are not in any of the parks. We felt comfortable just running a steady pace and not stopping before we got on park property. There were several character stops on the course before entering the parks so there was plenty of entertainment to see. We passed Jack Sparrow, the Pixie Hollow Fairies, and the Villains all before entering the Magic Kingdom.  The best part of the first few miles was when Melanie saw Moana cheering us on from one of the overpasses. Melanie yelled, “AHHHH MOANA!! WE KNOW THE WAY!!!” Then Moana said, “Yes, we know the way!” It was super inspiring.

Once in the Magic Kingdom, we noticed higher crowds relative to previous Princess Half Marathons. Even though we were in about the same corral as last year, we had a lot more people around us while running at the castle. We always come to this race prepared to share the course with a lot of other people, so the crowds didn’t bum us out too much. The Princess Half is the happiest race ever. Crowds or no crowds, it’s one of our favorite race experiences.  We still managed to take a good castle pic in front of the castle, which is pretty much the number one goal of the race course for us. Here is our pic from the front of the castle.

Our castle picture. This is where you stop to take a picture after running through the castle.

Speaking of the castle…. You may have noticed I did not share a picture of our running through the castle moment. Instead of a running thought the castle pic, here is a PSA for any princesses who plan to run the race in the future. The photo pass picture as you are running through the castle is meant to be an action shot.  Please don’t stop running as soon as you see a photo pass photographer at the castle. You can stop and take a pic in front of the castle as soon as you run through the castle.   If you stop running suddenly during a race, the person behind you may not be ready to stop, and you are likely to create a collision with a fellow princess. I feel so bad because this is exactly what happened to us as we ran through the castle. Several people in front of us stopped suddenly and I accidentally ran into them because I was not prepared for a sudden stop. I almost stumbled over the girl in front of me!  I felt horrible.   I know that running through the castle is the highlight of the Princess Half Marathon. The thought of running through the castle is literally the only thing magical enough to get me off my rear to train for a race. It can be so tempting to want to stop in the middle of the castle to take it all in (Especially considering how pricey it is to run a runDisney event!). That being said, it is really unsafe to stop suddenly in the middle of a race. So, for your safety and the safety of those around you, please don’t slam on the breaks when you see the castle.

Ok, now that the PSA is over, let’s continue with the magical coverage of the second half of the Princess Half Marathon race course! This is the point in the course where we went into chill mode. We walked a lot of the stretch between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We stopped to take a picture with Mary Poppins Penguins, and we got a chance to meet a few of our Instagram friends in real life on the course.

We were pretty delighted to run into the Princess Men! We loved all of their costumes this year. Especially, Christopher (@biggsjeep on Instagram) as Mulan. John Remus coordinates the Princess Men crew, and he did an incredible job writing a recap of all of their adventures at the princess half marathon. We highly recommend you check out their recap here .

We also got the chance to catch up with the lovely Rachelle and Erica from @reignitefit.  It was fun to get to know them on the course, and to find out that they are literally my neighbors! I hope to see them around the corner from my house soon!

The lovely ladies from @reignite fit on Instagram!

As we got closer to Epcot, the sun began to get warmer. We decided to pick up our pace and avoid a sunburn (redhead problems are real, y’all).  Amanda made a quick stop at the medic tent so she could cut the sleeves off her Mushu shirt, and we guzzled a few gummy bears for fuel. Other than that, we were in full speed ahead mode as we went through EPCOT.  When we got to the last mile of the course, Amanda and I squealed with delight because we saw MUSHU!! We jumped for joy, and obviously had to stop for a pic with him. It was our favorite character stop from the course.

OMG!!! MUSHU!!!


We were elated the see the finish line of this course because all three of us were ready for some rest time.  We loved the finish line because got 3 medals at the end of this race! We got the gorgeous Enchanted Rose medal, the Glass Slipper Challenge medal, and the blue 10th Anniversary Coast to Coast medal for running this race and Light Side Half in Disneyland. They also handed out pink drawstring backpacks at the finish line.

All the bling!

Princess swag.

Woo hoo! We finished!

After the race we took a long nap, and then we headed to the parks to eat all the foods. All in all, it was a great race weekend!

Well, that’s all for now!  Let us know what you thought about the Princess Half weekend in the comments section below. Next up for us is the Dark Side Half Marathon weekend in Disney World in April. Will we see you there?

-Christine

 

 

 

2017 Pro Bowl 5k Race Recap

Greetings, Team Tutu!  A couple of weeks ago, Melanie and I decided to take a last minute trip to Orlando to run the Pro Bowl 5k. This race wasn’t on the official runDisney schedule, but it was advertised via a runDisney newsletter and managed by runDisney, so we thought it might be worth the trip.  The entire race experience from start to finish was so much fun and definitely exceeded our expectations! Here is how the weekend went down:

Registration, transportation, and packet pickup:  We registered for the race on active.com less than a month before the race. Registration was a breeze and we only paid $49.00 for the 5k!  Compared to the $90.00 fee for a typical runDisney 5k, this was quite a pleasant price to pay!  There was plenty of information about how to get to the race and pick up packets on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Website, so we knew exactly how to get to the race and pick up our packets.  Melanie and I decided to stay off property because there weren’t any official race transportation buses provided for this race. We booked a last minute flight, hotel, and rental car deal on Priceline (yet another way we cut costs for this last minute trip). We flew in late Friday night, and we drove to the race on Saturday morning without any issues. This race had packet pick-up the morning of the race, which was a very nice perk. We didn’t have to take off of work on Friday just to go to an expo to pick up our bibs. The race registration did not include a race shirt, but that didn’t bother us because we have waaaay to many race shirts already.

Our costumes:  We come from a big family of Steelers fans, so Melanie and I were excited to have an opportunity to represent our favorite team at a race!  Melanie and I both wore black and gold tutus, Steelers themed eye blacks, black and gold knee socks, and black and gold Sparkly Soul headbands. I made us some matching bows, and we brought along a football to carry through the race. I wore my Ben Roethlisberger jersey and Melanie wore an Antonio Brown jersey.

The race:  This was an untimed race, so there were no corral assignments.  The race was small enough that there didn’t seem to be any issues running the pace we wanted to run. We didn’t wait in any lines to pick up our bibs, and we were able to enjoy some prerace entertainment. The runDisney commentators (including Carissa) were out at the start to get the crowd hyped. We saw prerace coffee available with no lines, and there were plenty of port-a-potties to go around.

The race course was the exact same course as the Princess 5k!!! That’s right, we paid 49 bucks and got to run through the World Showcase with less than 3,000 other runners!! We started in the parking lot of Epcot, ran through the World Showcase, past Spaceship Earth, and then back out to the Epcot parking lot.  Melanie and I took our time on the course, interacted with other football fans, and took a lot of fun pictures.

Some of the course highlights for us were:

  • When I fumbled the football less than a mile into the race. Another friendly Steelers fan recovered the football and attempted to throw it back to me, but I was unable to catch the ball. I am clearly not a NFL caliber athlete, so the football hit me right in the head, and I dropped the ball for a second time. Finally, I somehow managed to recover the ball, and we kept the ball fumble free for the remainder of the race.
  • Taking pictures along the World Showcase. There were some fun photo backgrounds out in Epcot for the International Festival of the Arts, so we took advantage of those for some race photos. There weren’t any race photographers on the course, so we tried to take as many fun pictures as possible!
  • That moment Melanie decided to twerk in front of Spaceship Earth. Antonio Brown is well-known for his signature touchdown twerk dance. Melanie thought it would be great to channel her inner Antonio Brown right in front of Spaceship Earth, and IT. WAS. WORTH. IT.

Race bling and Finish: As we approached the finish line, we got to see NFL mascots and cheerleaders cheering for us.  There was so much room at the finish line that Melanie managed to capture another Antonio Brown stretch move (fellow Steelers fans might know  this move as the “Immaculate Extension”) right as we crossed the finish line. 

The medals for this race were amazing, especially considering this was a 5K. They were the same size and quality as most of the runDisney medals we have earned.  We got post-race bananas and water in a bottle that had the Pro Bowl logo on the front. We were so excited at the end of the race we did a touchdown dance in the middle of the Epcot parking lot.

We had no issues getting out of the Epcot parking lot and back to our hotel. The race crowds were low enough that we didn’t sit in a long line of traffic trying to exit the race.  After the race, we took a quick rest break (and proceeded to share our adventures on social media). We opened our Twitter account and squealed with delight because THE STEELERS TWEETED US!!  EEEEEEEE!!!  It was a huge surprise to us  because we don’t usually have  many exciting notifications on our Twitter feed! We are definitely more active on Instagram.  Here is the moment our football fangirl dreams came true live on Twitter:

Extra Magic:   Melanie and I headed straight to the parks to celebrate our race. We were so excited because we were able to enjoy the Inaugural Epcot Festival of the Arts. We booked a dining package that included breakfast at the Garden Grill and a fastpass to return to Epcot that evening for a concert featuring Disney on Broadway hits performed by Broadway singers! We heard music from Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Aladdin, and Tarzan. The concert and the festival were absolutely amazing! There were tons of food booths and adorable art themed snacks.

 

The next day, Melanie and I headed to Magic Kingdom to sneak in some last minute park time before heading home. The park crowds were so low that we literally managed to ride everything in Magic Kingdom! All in all, it was a pretty magical weekend!

Next up for us is the Princess Half Marathon weekend. We are busy finishing up our costumes (and training, I guess). We definitely want to meet some of our team tutu friends at Princess Half! We are preparing some more fun race-themed tattoos to give away over the course of the Princess Half weekend. Stay tuned to our Instagram, blog, and Twitter for more updates on our Princess plans!

 

-Christine

 

 

runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series Recap

2016-10-04_11-04-09_000Happy fall, Team Tutu!   We are currently training and preparing for our next trip to Disney World in November for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  We love fall races, but logging the training miles in the heat of summer can be a challenge!  We signed up for the first ever runDisney Virtual Running shorts series to help keep us motivated to keep our training up over the summer.  This was a three part series of virtual 5ks with a Mickey Mouse theme (Red Pants 5k, Yellow Shoe 5k, and White Glove 5k). The races could be done as an individual event or as a challenge that required registration for all three races. We elected to complete the Virtual Running Shorts Challenge because it included a bonus medal and a runDisney tumbler. We can’t resist an up-sell on Disney merch and medals!

Here is our experience completing the Virtual Running Shorts events:

Registration:  Race registration for the challenge was a breeze. We registered the day the event was announced and the process was very similar to other runDisney events. The time window to complete each event was clearly printed on the registration information, and it was clearly communicated that no proof of finish would be required to receive medals. Other than that, there wasn’t a lot of information from runDisney following registration. We had to do a bit of searching to find details on where to find printable race bibs, and when to expect the medals to be mailed. We learned it is important to follow runDisney on all forms of social media, and to follow the individual pages for each race. The race included a free printable bib, and bib download information was initially released on the event page for the races on Facebook.  The race bibs were adorable, so we were really happy we figured out how to download and print them.

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Pre-race fun:  We had never done a virtual race series like this before, so we decided to make the event as fun as possible. We selected a day to run each of the events, and wend to our Instagram, Twitter, and blog to recruit as many friends as possible to run virtually with us. It was so much fun to feel like we had a team of tutu friends running with us for each of the 5ks! We had over 100 friends run with us!

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RACES

Yellow Shoe 5k:

Amanda’s experience:  Amanda ran the Yellow Shoe 5k in Washington, DC and took a tour of the monuments. She had so much fun pretending she was running through the castle in Disneyland!

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Melanie’s experience: Melanie ran the Yellow Shoe 5k in Austin, TX. To make the event a little more magical, she made an adorable shirt inspired by the logo we made for our free printable stickers. The magical shirt made bearing the Texas heat much easier!2016-10-04_10-35-24_000

Christine’s experience: Christine ran the Yellow Shoe 5k with her good friend Ashlea. It was Ashlea’s first runDisney event, and her first ever 5k! Ashlea’s daughter joined in on the fun, too! They dressed in tutus, and Mickey themed shirts. They even made mile markers and a finish line to help make the race extra magical. In a moment of ultimate magic, Christine’s yellow shoe 5k picture was selected as the runDisney fan of the week pic!!!! It was truly an awesome first race for Ashlea and her daughter!2016-07-04_003121000_f9bcb_ios

 

Red Pants 5k:

Amanda’s experience: Amanda completed this event with a little help from her adorable doggies!  They strolled through the streets of DC for an extra magical family 5k!

Melanie and Christine’s experience: Melanie came to Fort Worth and joined Christine and her friends for the Red Pants 5k. They elected to dress in Alice in Wonderland themed attire from Raw Threads because the new Alice in Wonderland movie had just been released. They made mile markers and used the same finish line from the first race. In yet another ultimate magic moment, Christine and Melanie’s Red Pants 5k picture was selected as the Raw Threads fan of the month picture!!2016-07-04_014132000_2008a_ios

 

White glove 5k:

Amanda’s experience: Amanda finished up the virtual race series with one last run through DC with friends before she moved to Dana Point, CA!  She was sad to say goodbye to her friends, but she is super excited that she now lives 35 miles from Disneyland!!

Melanie’s experience: Melanie got hit with some oppressive temps and rain in Austin, so she took her white glove 5k to the treadmill. Melanie managed to make the treadmill look extra magical by rocking her race bib and listening to some Disney tunes.

Christine’s experience: Christine ran the last race with her friend Ashlea, Ashlea’s daughter, and her friend Leslie.  They went with a princess theme because they were all hyped up about princess half registration. Thankfully, they had just enough red streamers left to take some epic finish line pics!

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Medals: It took exactly 30 days from the end of the race series for the medals and tumbler to arrive. It seemed like a long wait, but it was definitely WORTH IT!  runDisney did not mess around with these medals. They are HUGE (as in bigger than nearly every runDisney medal we own).  The tumbler is hand wash only, but very adorable. It is Tervis style, but is not a Tervis brand. It isn’t as durable as some of the Tervis tumblers we own. Melanie’s tumbler arrived with cracks in the bottom, but after a quick email to runDisney, they sent out a replacement tumbler. We thought it was a nice touch to include the tumbler with the challenge race. Especially considering how hard it is to grab a tumbler during a traditional runDisney race expo.

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Overall, we had a great experience doing the virtual races and would definitely do them again. It was a great way to stay motivated to train over the summer months.  A special thank you to all our team tutu friends who joined us virtually for the 5k events. It was so much fun to see all your pictures and to share this fun experience with people who love running and Disney as much as we do. It looks like runDisney is planning to continue the virtual races in 2017. 2017 Virtual Shorts information  is up on their website with some hints that there could be a new theme to the medals next year! Perhaps Pluto??

Next up for us: Lumiere’s 2 Course Challenge! We hope to see some of you in real life at the race!

 

That’s all for now , friends!

-Christine

 

2016 Disneyland 10k Race Recap

2016-09-21_222618000_d9197_iosHello, team tutu! We are so excited to share a recap of our trip to the Disneyland 10k!  In a series of very magical events, all three of us were able to snag a bib for this sold out race! It was a last minute opportunity that we still can’t believe happened! Here’s how it went down…. In late July, Runs in Tutus little sister Amanda accepted a new job and relocated from DC to California. The minute Amanda arrived to Cali, she got an annual pass and decided to sign up for the Disneyland 10k. We are Raw Threads Club members so she was able get a bib from Team Raw Threads well after the race sold out.

Melanie and I initially decided not to join Amanda for the Disneyland 10k (because adulting), but as the race day drew closer, our will power diminished. We couldn’t resist the urge to see Amanda’s new home and run the 10k with her!  About two weeks before the race, Melanie and I hopped online, purchased 10k bibs from Raw Threads, and booked last minute plane tickets to Cali!

After the pixie dust settled from our last minute booking, we quickly got to work on our costumes and packed for the race!

Here is our summary of the race weekend:

Expo: Amanda headed to the Expo on Thursday by herself because she had to work on the Friday before the race. She had the opportunity to see the expo right when it opened.  Her first stop was to the Raw Threads booth to check in (she was literally the first club member to check in!). Club members who sign up for a race with Raw Threads receive a swag bag and a commemorative race patch! This was our first race with Raw Threads so we were pretty excited to receive our swag and to meet up with other club members.  We can’t wait to collect the rest of our race patches for Light Side Half, Dark Side Half, and Princess Half races!

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Amanda picking up her race swag at the Raw Threads booth!

Packet pickup and expo browsing was an overall pleasant experience for Amanda.  She tried to get a look at the official race merch, but as usual that area of the expo was pretty crowded and Black Friday-like. She decided to skip out on race merch and enjoy other aspects of the expo. The race signage and theme was adorable. Especially the Aladdin and Genie logo on the race shirt and bib.

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Melanie and I went to the expo on Friday afternoon. When we arrived to packet pickup, we had a short moment of panic. Melanie discovered that she was placed in the last corral despite submitting a proof of time at the time of her registration. While we have no problems being in the last corral, we prefer to be a little further up in the corrals so that we have enough time to stop and take all the pictures for our blog and Instagram (priorities). Also, Melanie has really been working hard over the past couple of years on her pace, and she wanted to be able to run at the pace she had been training.  Melanie let the volunteer at bib pickup know she was placed in the incorrect corral and he redirected her to the runner relations booth. She was told that corral changed rarely happen, and that there may be nothing that could be done about her corral placement at this point.   We headed over to the runner relations booth and anxiously waited in line. The volunteer at runner relations was very friendly and quickly looked up Melanie’s race registration to see what was going on with her corral.  Thankfully, the volunteer was able to see that Melanie did submit a proof of time, and she got moved from corral G to corral C. We literally squealed with excitement when the volunteer placed the corral C sticker on Melanie’s bib. The best part about this corral change was that it meant that all 3 of us would be able to run the race together for the first time in the same corral!

After sorting out the corral placement issue, Melanie and I headed to the expo to play. We took our time shopping around the expo and had a blast. We made this super fin GIF at the Cigna booth!

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Race Day: We were so excited about our last minute tutus for this race. We decided to dress as our favorite park attractions. Amanda dressed as the Mad Tea Party, Melanie dressed as the Mickey Fun Wheel, and I dressed as It’s a Small World.

Here is a look at our race costumes:

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Our journey to the start line was pretty rushed. We stayed at a hotel near Downtown Disney that was close enough for us to walk to the race on race morning, and dramatically underestimated how long it would take us to walk over to the start. We left a little later than we should have. We ended up having to do a quick warm up jog to get to our corral just as the wheelchair start was happening. Lesson learned. We walk slower at 3:45 in the morning.

Once we arrived to our corral and caught our breath it was all smooth sailing from there. This was our first time to run this race and we enjoyed every minute of the course.  A lot of the course is in the parks so it really made every moment of the race extra magical. We also LOVED the rare character stops along the way.  We saw Pinocchio and Geppetto, the Incredibles, and our personal favorite MAX GOOF!

Here are a few pics from the course and the moment we got to meet Max!

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We also got the opportunity to meet some of our Instagram friends in real life. We always enjoy meeting new friends and old friends at runDisney events.

The final highlight of the race for us was the moment that we got to cross the finish line together as sisters. This was the first time that all 3 of us ran together for the entire race, and it was so much fun!  We also loved the medal with Aladdin and Genie!

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Post-race and park time: After the race we walked back to our hotel. We had a little bit of trouble navigating through the crowd of people post-race in Downtown Disney. We didn’t really have a way to exit the race without going through the bag check line. This happened to us at Tink Half and we were hoping runDisney had sorted the exit issues out. In the future we will avoid walking through Downtown Disney towards the parks after a Disneyland Race.  Amanda had to head to work right after the race, but Melanie and I stuck around for a little while to enjoy the last few moments of the Diamond Celebration.  Here are a few of our favorite things from our time in the park.

 

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Overall, we had a great experience at this race and would definitely do it again!  Up next for us is the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in Disneyworld in November. We can’t wait to run the inaugural Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge. Hope to see you there! Amanda will also be making a stop at Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland so keep an eye out for some spooktacular highlights!

 

-Christine

 

 

 

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

5 Reasons We’re Excited for Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend!

FullSizeRenderThe Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend is only 9 days away! At Runs in Tutus, we are so excited that virtually all of our recent conversations revolve around Disney. It’s hard to focus at work knowing the magical weekend is almost here. I can feel the pixie dust already! Last year, we all participated in the Half Marathon and we had a great time. You can check out last year’s race recap here. This year, I’ll be doing the Pixie Dust Challenge, Melanie and Christine will be participating in the Half Marathon, and we will all three be earning that pink Coast to Coast medal!

 

Here are 5 reasons we’re excited for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race weekend:

1. Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration and the All new Disney Paint the Night Parade: The Disneyland Resort is celebrating 60 years of magic, and this summer is the last chance to experience the Diamond Celebration. We are so excited to catch it before it leaves, and we are particularly excited for the Paint the Night Parade! Luminescent floats, character appearances, more than one million glowing lights, high-energy music and cutting-edge special effects are some of the words used to describe this parade. Count me in. Disney says it’s “a dazzling after-dark experience beyond anything you’ve ever imagined,” and I am inclined to believe them. We made a reservation with the Paint the Night dining package, so we will be dining at Blue Bayou for the first time before the parade.

2. Running Costumes: In true runDisney tradition, we will all be sporting a character costume at the Tink Half. We’ve been making some serious progress on the costume designs, and my apartment is currently covered in fabric, glitter and miscellaneous crafting supplies. We are also excited to see what everyone else has in store. There’s no costume show like a runDisney race!

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So much glitter and pixie dust!

3. Disney Snacks: We will be eating anything and everything shaped like Mickey and all the food we would never allow ourselves to eat at home like cotton candy, churros, giant cookies, etc. etc. To make this year even better, there are also tons of limited edition snacks and desserts in honor of the Diamond Celebration. To name a few – Diamond Tiramisu at Wine Country Trattoria, Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart at Blue Bayou, White Chocolate Bavarian Diamond Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake at Carnation Café and Diamond Celebration Chocolate Cake at various locations.

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Diamond celebration themed desserts. Photo courtesy of disney.com

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Cotton candy at last year’s Tink half weekend.

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4. Meeting some of our friends in real life: We created Runs in Tutus about a year ago, and we can’t believe how many friends we’ve made this year. Through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, we’ve been able to connect with tons of amazing people who share our love for Disney and fitness. Race weekends are an opportunity to finally meet our friends in real life. If you see us on the course or around the park, don’t forget to stop and say hello! We’ll be giving out tattoos with the different race distances on them. Follow @runsintutus on Instagram or Twitter to see where we are and what we’re up to throughout the weekend.

If you see us at the Tink Half, stop and say hello for a Tink tattoo!

5. Being together: Lastly, we’re excited to be together. Race weekends are a special time for us to celebrate each other, make memories, laugh, and feel carefree. We really cherish that sister time and we’re looking forward to it in less than two weeks.

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Hang in there fairies! Race weekend is almost here!

-Amanda

RunDisney Registration Options: What To Do If The Race Sells Out

IMG_0605We are so excited to announce that all of the Runs in Tutus team successfully registered for the inaugural Lumiere Two Course Challenge event in Walt Disney World! RunDisney events sell out very quickly (like in minutes), so we never know how things will go on general registration day. Today’s registration was no exception. The Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and challenge events all sold out in a matter of a couple of hours. We saw several comments on social media from folks who were not able to get into the races due to the high demand for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.

If you didn’t get into the races today, don’t despair! There are other ways to get a chance to earn that wine and bling. Travel agents and charity partners are both ways to score a race bib even after general registration sells out. Here are some details and pros and cons of each of the options.

Travel Agents

Details: RunDisney provides a select group of travel providers with bibs for all of the race weekends. The official list of approved travel providers can be found on the runDisney website under the registration tab for each race. The list can vary from race to race, so be sure to double check the official runDisney provider list before getting going with a travel agent. We ended up using a travel agent for Wine and Dine Half last year and the Glass Slipper Challenge earlier this year. It was overall a seamless process. We used Jim Stone at Acclaim travel, but we know that there are also many other great travel agents available to help you with your runDisnFullSizeRenderey race weekend.

Pros: RunDisney travel agents sell race packages that are predetermined by Disney. The travel packages offer complete coordination of your race weekend. The travel agents are able to help with park tickets, room reservations, race registration, and in some cases a meal plan. This can make for a stress free planning process for those runners who plan on spending some of the race weekend in the parks and staying on property. While there are typically travel agents with additional race bibs after registration day, the biggest perk of using a travel agent is that they typically get bibs in advance of the general registration. This means you can register in advance and not have to worry about the stress of hitting the refresh button over and over again at noon. We did early registration with a travel agent for Glass Slipper Challenge and it was real magical.

Cons: If you use a travel agent you have to buy the whole package. This typically means if you want a race bib you also have to buy a couple night’s stay in an on property hotel and a multi-day park hopper for everyone on your reservation. If you already have an annual season pass or don’t have time to stay for multiple days in the park, then it might be inconvenient to be locked into a package deal. The packages have varied thus far from race to race so for full details it’s best to talk with a travel agent directly.

Charity Partners

RunDisney also partners with a select group of charities. This allows runners to enjoy a great race weekend and raise funding and awareness for a cause. Here are some pros and cons and details about charity partners.

Details: Select charities receive race bibs for each of the runDisney events. The list of approved charities can be found on the runDisney webpage on the registration tab for each event. The list of approved charities varies from race to race so be sure to look specifically at the list of approved charities for the race that interests you.

Pros: As with the travel agent, you can choose to register early with some charities which helps avoid the stress of open registration. Some charities offer extra perks like training groups, guidance, and a community of teammates to help make the race training extra magical. The biggest perk of running with a charity is that you get the chance to make a difference and raise funds for a great cause. That’s a pretty magical option!

Cons: Not all charities receive race bibs for runDisney events, so there may not be a charity that you are passionate about. If there aren’t any charities you are super passionate about, it might be hard to get the most out of the experience. While the charities all offer help and tips for raising funds, there is typically a required fundraising amount for each race. Make sure you are well aware of the fundraising goal and are confident you can raise those funds or cover the funding goal from your personal funds before you make the commitment to run with a charity.

IMG_0603If you are still hoping to get into the race of your dreams we highly recommend taking a look at charity and travel agent options.  According to the runDisney website, as of 5:00 PM eastern on 3/29/16 there are still bibs available through travel agents and charities for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. There are also travel agents and charities with bibs remaining for other sold out runDisney events such as the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. Just yesterday, the Children’s Bureau of Southern California team all4kids reached out to us to let us know that they still have race bibs on their team! The Children’s Bureau is a great cause and there are openings for the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon events during the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend! For more information about team all4kids click here.

Have you ever participated in a runDisney event via a travel agent or charity partner? If so, let us know how it went for you in the comments.

Happy Running!

-Christine

NEW 2016 Disney Wine & Dine Details!

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Stop everything you’re doing! RunDisney has just announced brand new details for the 2016 Wine and Dine Half Marathon and they are OH SO MAGICAL. Here are the big things you need to know about this update.

  • Registration will open on March 29, 2016 at noon. Be at your computer ready to register at 11:58AM because the race will sell out fast.
  • The race will take place November 3-6, 2016.
  • There will be a brand new inaugural Disney Wine & Dine 10K AND a new challenge called Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge which will include the 10K and half marathon.
  • All of the races will move to a morning time, but the Post Race Party will still take place on race day in the evening with extra hours to spend in Epcot for the International Food & Wine Festival. The post-race party goes until 1AM and runners can enter the park starting at 8PM. The party will include character meet and greets, musical performances, entertainment, select attractions and a live DJ. Runners will also still receive a $15 gift card with race entry.
  • The 10K will be Ratatouille themed.
  • There will be an extra day of runDisney Kids Races which will take place both Friday and Saturday
  • The new Frozen Ever After ride will be open at the Norway pavilion in Epcot along with the new Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom.
  • This is going to be amazing and we are definitely going! SEE YOU THERE!

-Amanda

 

2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

FullSizeRenderHi there team tutu! Last week we did a part one recap of the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. To read about the Expo and the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, check out part one here. We completed both the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon to earn the 19.3 mile Glass Slipper Challenge medal. When anyone asks me if they should participate in the Princess Half Marathon, I always answer with an extremely enthusiastic YES! That’s because this is the happiest race on Earth. Here are all the most magical moments of our 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Pre-race Events: The night before both the 10K and the Half Marathon, runDisney holds an event called Pasta in the Park. It’s a separately ticketed event that includes a buffet pasta dinner, Disney character appearances, entertainment, and dancing. You also receive entry into Epcot at 6PM and a reserved viewing area for the fireworks show IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. We went last year and the party had an Arabian Nights theme with Aladdin character meet and greets. Melanie and I figured it would have the same theme as last year, so we went to a different character dinner while Christine and our other friends attended Pasta in the Park. It turns out it had a HERCULES theme this year! Melanie and I had some serious Disney envy when we realized all the Pasta in the Park attendants got to meet some of the most rarely spotted Disney characters including Megara, Hades, Pain and Panic. We LOVE Megara, and who better than Herc himself to tell you to go the distance? The moral of the story is that this event is probably worth going to every year. You never know who will show up…

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Race Day: On the morning of the Princess Half Marathon, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. It’s the only reason I would ever happily set my alarm for 2:30AM. First let’s talk about what really matters – our costumes. We all busted out our sewing machines and made our own running costumes. Christine went as Mary Poppins, Melanie went as Agent Carter, and I decided to go as yellow dress Belle. For once, I just wanted my hair color to match the character which is really difficult when you’re an Elsa loving brunette. (#DisneyNerdProblems)

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Oh it’s a jolly holiday with Christine!

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All the women who independent, throw your hands up at me!!!

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Dress like a Beauty, run like a Beast!

Before heading to the start line, we participated in the usual pre-race dance party. Big shout out to the DJ who wore his tutu on stage!  The dancing was especially helpful for staying warm in the chilly weather! (Race tip for chilly mornings: pack a mylar blanket and bring it with you to the start line. You can stay covered up until you start running. Just be sure to get rid of it before you cross the start line since it can mess up your runner tracking.)

It might just be me, but it felt like runDisney put much less time between the corrals this year. I thought that made a HUGE difference. It felt like we spent much less time standing in our corrals waiting for our turn to cross the start line. In my opinion, that was a big change for the better.

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That much anticipated moment when it’s finally time to start running!

 

IMG_8306The course starts near Epcot castle2016and heads toward Magic Kingdom. The most magical moment comes around miles 4-6 when you run through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Cinderella Castle and Frontierland. Elsa, Anna and Kristoff were standing on the balcony of Cinderella Castle talking to all the runners as they passed. We also saw the Queen of Hearts by the Mad Tea Party, Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland, Woody in Frontierland and more!

After running through Magic Kingdom, the course moves into the resort area. Christine and I knew Mary Poppins would be standing outside of the Grand Floridian, and we could not wait to take a picture with her! It was practically perfect in every way.

“Stand up straight. No slouching.” -Mary Poppins right before this picture

We also ran past THE Glass Slipper displayed on a pillow by a group of men in tuxedos. Then we continued on past the Disney golf courses and we even got to take a picture in this amazing Mickey golf cart. Where can I get one of these? I would like to use it to commute around Washington, DC.

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The Green Army Men from Toy Story were another memorable moment in the race. They were standing at the top of a big hill yelling at all the runners to move faster. Christine stopped and asked for a picture. One of the soldiers yelled, “I don’t think so jolly holiday! If you want a picture you’re going to have to work for it!” They made her do three push-ups in the grass. She got a few grass stains on her costume, but it was totally worth it. 

It’s hard to talk about a runDisney race without talking about the amazing spectators and fellow runners. The Disney cast members and the cheering crowds play a huge part in making this race so memorable. You won’t make it very far before you hear a stranger cheer for you or offer you a high five with a big Mickey glove on their hand. I’ve also seen the best spectator signs in this race. Kudos to all the amazing spectators for their love and creativity. And shout out to the runners for the camaraderie and supportive community. We loved running into some of our Instagram and blog friends on the course.

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The end of the Princess Half Marathon course makes a loop and heads back toward Epcot. It finishes with a short run through Epcot past the fountain and the big Epcot ball. The course then takes you out of Epcot toward the parking lot area for the big celebratory finish line! My favorite part of the Princess Half finish line is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique crew sprinkling everyone with Pixie Dust (aka lots of glitter.)

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Sprinkled with glitter at the finish line

Congratulations to all of the runners who participated in the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. Whether you ran the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or all three race, we here at Runs in Tutus are proud of you for your magical accomplishment. We hope to see you at another runDisney race soon. Our next race will be the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in Anaheim. I cannot wait to spend another magical weekend with my sisters and with all the amazing friends we’ve made through the runDisney community. Keep on running princesses!

-Amanda

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