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

 

 

 

Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

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We’ve been back from Disneyland for a couple of weeks now, and we are still on a pixie dust high from the amazing Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend. It’s taken us a little while to process all the magic, but we are ready to cover a few of the highlights! Today I will focus on the half marathon race itself. Amanda and Melanie will follow-up later on with some more exciting recaps of the 10k, Expo, and other weekend shenanigans.

First and foremost, let me say a big THANK YOU to all the team tutu friends we saw over the course of the weekend. We were so excited to connect with our friends that we interact with on a daily basis via Instagram. We gave out over 120 temporary Tink inspired tattoos! It was a super tutu party! We were also very excited to attend the Tink Facebook group meet-up where we connected with some truly inspiring fairies!

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As far as the half marathon goes…This was my first Tink half, and it certainly did not disappoint! Last year was a bit of a bummer year for me. I had pneumonia leading up to the Tink Half weekend, so I wasn’t medically cleared to be able to finish the race in 2015. That was really just the start of a series of really crummy events (I’ll spare you the unmagical details) that made 2015 a true test of resilience. The promise of being able to return in 2016 to the Tink half was really what kept me going through the ick of 2015. This race was like a giant reset button for me.

Race morning for the Tink Half went really smoothly. First, we had to get dazzled up in our race costumes! This year, Melanie ran as the Fairy Godmother from the live action Cinderella. Her costume was 100% DIY and included our PUFFIEST tutu to date. To make the tutu extra puffy, Melanie used a crochet waistband instead of an elastic waistband which allowed for multiple layers of tulle. You can buy the crochet waistband material by the spool at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s in the ribbon section.

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Puffy tutu shadow!

Amanda dressed as Joy from Inside Out. She wore a DIY  skirt and yellow shirt with iron on blue stars cut out from heat transfer vinyl. To make the blue stars, I hand drew the cut file then printed it out on the heat transfer vinyl using the Silhouette Cameo 2. This is a great time saver since you don’t have to individually cut each shape.IMG_0871

I ran the Tink Half dressed as Zarina (aka the Pirate Fairy.) I wore a pirate shirt from INKnBURN and a DIY tutu with a crotched waistband for extra puff. I also wore child sized wings to avoid any rubbing on my arms. For extra comfort, I pinned them to my shirt instead of wearing the arm straps.

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Christine as Pirate Fairy

This year, we stayed at the Hyatt at the convention center, and we were really impressed with the race transportation. We got on a bus as soon as we walked out of the lobby and we were dropped off at the parking lot near the entrance to the parks. We had to walk through Downtown Disney to get to our corrals, but it was definitely a shorter walk than what we experienced getting to our corrals at the Princess Half Marathon. Amanda and Melanie decided to run the race together in the same corral so that Melanie could help cheer Amanda on while she muscled through a knee injury. We agreed that I would stay in my assigned corral to give me the best chance at finally finishing this race. It was the first time I ran without one of my sisters next to me!

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Getting to my corral was a tiny bit difficult. The porta potties were all lined up against the flow of traffic right where all the runners were trying to get through to corrals. It was hard to tell who was waiting in line for a potty and who was trying to make their way to a corral. I attempted to wait for a porta potty, but quickly gave up due to the crowds of people.

Once at my corral, things were much more spacious and magical. There were photo pass photographers waiting to take pre-race pictures, and it was easy to see and hear the pre-race entertainment. The time between corrals passed pretty quickly and before I knew it, I was off and running into the park.

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The first half of the course was pretty much nonstop park scenery. We ran past the Lost Boys, through Sleeping Beauty Castle and saw plenty of pixie pals. The race course also included a great view of Cars Land and California Adventure.

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The second half of the race course was pretty much all outside of the parks through the streets of Anaheim. There were some places without much to look at, but the weather was great and there were plenty of hyped fellow runners to keep me company. As far as out of the park entertainment, there were a couple of great bands on the course, and spectators with amazing signs. There were even a few spectators with pixie dust!

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The Red Hat Society Ladies were by far the best entertainment on the entire course! There were so many of them out with signs, smiles, and high fives! It was exactly what I needed to keep going during the last few miles of the race. There were even a few Red Hat Ladies in tutus! Here are a few of their sweet signs.

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The finish line of this race was a super emotional moment for me. I started tearing up as soon as I saw the hat at the Disneyland hotel. After so many months of sad things, I was so thankful for the chance to finish this race feeling strong! I channeled a little Emma Swan from Once upon a Time, texted my sisters at mile 13, and said, “I’m about to finish this race and break the curse!”

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Once I saw the finish line, it was full water works. By time I got to the sweet volunteer who gave me my medal, I was in full on ugly cry mode! The crowds at the finish line were minimal, and I grabbed a snack box and stretched for a little while in the reunion area admiring the Tink Half and Coast to Coast bling. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we earned both the pink and blue Coast to Coast medals this year for completing Princess and Tink in the same calendar year.

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When exiting the race, we had to go through park entrance security in order to access the bus transportation back to the hotels. There wasn’t a line available for people without bags, so I waited about 15 minutes to get through security at the end of Downtown Disney. After I made it through security, I was still on such a pixie dust high from the race that I quickly forgot about the crowd and walked back to the hotel while I listened to the glorious clank of my newly earned bling!

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That’s all I’ve got for now. What did you guys think about the Tink Half? What was your favorite moment of the race? Let us know in the comments below.

-Christine

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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2016 Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and Expo Recap

FullSizeRender-1The Runs in Tutus team has just returned from our trip to the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This is our version of the Super Bowl. We wait all year for this race because it is our absolute favorite. Now that we’ve said goodbye to the Princess life and returned home, we are so excited to relive the magic on the blog! Since this adventure was so extensive, we’ll be publishing a few posts over the next couple weeks to recap all the different events.

runDisney Health & Fitness Expo Recap

This was our third time participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge which includes both the Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon for a total of 19.3 miles. The weekend began with the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo which is one of the BEST race expos around. There is nothing like the goofy photo ops that you find at the Princess Expo!

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The energy and enthusiasm at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is unlike any other race event I’ve been to, and it brings out some of the very best race vendors. We were able to visit a lot of our favorite booths including Raw Threads, Sweaty Bands, Sparkly Soul and The Stick. We also ran into a few new booths including Disney Style and the BFF Miracle Body Buffer (I purchased this and I’m obsessed with it, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Melanie and Christine arrived on Thursday hoping to snag some of the official runDisney merch before it sold out, but the popular items were gone a mere 30 minutes after the expo opened. We shook it off though and still had a great time. Here is some of the cute merchandise we did get to see:

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Expo merch from runDisney, New Balance & Raw Threads

At this year’s Expo, New Balance was selling Dumbo, Mickey, Minnie and Ariel inspired shoes in collaboration with runDisney. I was so excited to purchase the Ariel shoes! I signed up on the virtual queue for Friday and the process was surprisingly well organized. The shoes came with purple seashell clips and you had the option to purchase Flounder clips for $5. These are the most comfortable New Balance shoes I’ve purchased so far from the runDisney collection.

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New Balance Shoes

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Close-up of Ariel inspired shoes

Disney Princess Enchanted 10K Recap

After finishing up all the expo shenanigans, it was time for race day! The Disney Princess Enchanted 10K is the first race in the Glass Slipper Challenge. Since this year’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend was Ariel themed, we decided to dress up in costumes inspired by The Little Mermaid. Melanie dressed up as Ursula, I was one of Ariel’s sisters Alana, and Christine made an awesome Ariel with her red hair!

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Christine finishes strong as Ariel

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Melanie sporting a tutu as Ursula

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Me representing Daughter of Triton Alana.

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Group shot with our friends

This race was extra special for us, because we were lucky enough to have three of our cousins join us! Our cousins Don, Bernadette and Deidra completed their very first race at the Enchanted 10K! We are so proud of their accomplishment – and their impressive costume design skills. It can take a lot of courage to register for your first race, but all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and then before you know it, you’re at your first finish line!

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Congratulations Don, Bernadette and Deidra!

The Enchanted 10K was action packed with magic, so it’s hard to narrow down the best parts. After much deliberation, here are a few of the most memorable highlights for us!

  • Meeting some of our blog and Instagram friends – We were lucky to run into some of our virtual friends at this race. We’re always excited to finally meet the supportive friends we’ve found in the online community. These friendships are what really set a runDisney race apart from any other race.

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    We ran into @disneymom05 at the 10K! We LOVED her Ariel costume

  • The Fairy Godmother and fireworks at the start line – “Salaca doo la menthicka boo la, 3, 2, 1!”
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Start Line

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Fairy Godmother starts the race!

  • Elsa and Anna giving shout-outs from the overpass and making SNOW!

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  • Running around the Epcot World Showcase – This was one of my absolute favorite parts. I love running past the different pavilions, and we even ran into a few characters along the way like Pinocchio in Italy and Lumiere and Cogsworth in France!
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Lumiere and Cogsworth

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Characters in Italy

  • THE FAIRIES – always a crowd favorite

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    Fairies!

  • Running on Disney’s Boardwalk – It’s beautiful AND a little easier on the joints than all that pavement. It would be fun to stay in one of the hotels here one time!

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    Courtesy of Disney.com

  • The incredible spectators and fellow runners. There is nothing like the camaraderie that you find at a runDisney race. You don’t have to go far to find a friend. There is always someone close by to give you support or tell you to keep going. The spectators also seem to go that extra mile to help get you to the finish. This is always a runDisney race highlight for me and one of the reasons I keep going back.

What were some of the Enchanted 10K highlights for you? We’re looking forward to attending again in 2017! We hope to see you there with us!

-Amanda

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One of my favorite things in life is crossing a finish line with my big sister. I was so happy to do it again at the 2016 Enchanted 10K.

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>

 

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: How and Why You Should Register

The Runs in Tutus team has been doing some extensive planning for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November. We will soon be posting some information about our planned activities which will likely include wine tastings, special tours, Eat to the Beat concerts and more. In the meantime, one of the most important times of the year has arrived: REGISTRATION FOR THE DISNEY PRINCESS HALF MARATHON WEEKEND! I consider this to be the Superbowl of runDisney. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the runDisney races I’ve run. I even enjoyed the 2012 Tower of Terror 10 Miler despite it being so hot and humid I almost puked at the finish line. But there is something about the Princess weekend that makes it even more magical than the rest.

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All four Runs in Tutus runners are already officially registered for the 2016 Glass Slipper Challenge which includes the Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon for a total of 19.3 miles. The official registration for all races associated with the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend will open up on July 14th at 12PM eastern time. Now that the race has become so popular, you literally need to be at your computer at 11:55AM ready to register when the clock hits 12. Do not pull a Cinderella and start running to your computer at 12:02. When registration opens, it will take you to a virtual queue based on who got to the site first, then you will be able to register when it’s your turn.

You may feel extremely stressed during this time. The race WILL sell out and it will happen fast. JUST BE PREPARED!

If you would like to avoid registering through the virtual queue, there are a few other options. Caroline got access to early registration by being an Annual Passholder. Melanie, Christine and I registered through one of the runDisney travel providers. With this option, you purchase both your race bib and hotel at the same time by contacting the travel agent. They haven’t listed the travel providers on the Princess website yet, but they’ve already started selling bibs. Some may have sold out already, but you should give it a shot. The travel providers sometimes receive more race bibs later on if they sell out (or so I’ve heard). Here are some you can try:

  • Acclaim Travel
  • Cruise Planners
  • Cruise Planners-I Can Show You The World
  • Dream Departures Travel
  • Foerster Travel
  • GET Sports
  • Girl on the Run
  • Heart of the Valley Travel
  • Marathon Tours
  • Once Upon A Time Vacations

Another option is to run through a charity organization. Not only does this guarantee you a race bib, but you also get to raise money for a great cause! They have not listed the charities yet, but there are more and more each year that you can run with. They even had the ASPCA listed as an option for the Wine and Dine this year. Just keep checking the Princess registration page here. Click on “registration” then click on “charity groups.”

I know what you’re thinking. This registration process sounds like a nightmare – why should I bother with it? Here are FIVE reasons why you SHOULD NOT miss the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. 

1. It is perfectly acceptable to wear a tiara and sash from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. In fact, if you wear a tiara, virtually every Disney cast member will refer to you as “princess” throughout the weekend. 
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2. You can pretend like you’re a kid again and dress up like your favorite princess. This is strongly encouraged and the costumes get more elaborate every year. Here are a few of the costumes we’ve had over the years:

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Rapunzel, Mulan, Princess Tiana

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Elsa, Ariel, Vanellope von Schweetz, Mrs. Banks “Votes for Women” costume

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Evil Stepsisters

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Silvermist

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From left to right: Glamour Cinderella, Pink Dress Cinderella and Maid Cinderella

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Mad Hatter and Rapunzel with Fairy Godmother

3. You can buy tickets to attend Pasta in the Park the night before the race. We tried this last year and were amazed to find it was a BLAST. The evening was “Arabian Nights” themed with character appearances from Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar and Genie. There was also a dance party, a magician going around to tables doing card tricks, and Mickey ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

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Sorry I ate your face Mickey

4. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend has the best race expo and the best race merchandise. There are so many fun things happening at the race expo! Our absolute favorite thing is the goofy photo booth opportunities. Be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss out on the awesome race merch like cute wine glasses, shirts and mugs. Here are some of the fun photo booth opportunities over the past few years:

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5. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is the ultimate girls’ night out. I use this weekend to do all the extremely girly things that I love with the girls that I love. We sew costumes, have a tea party, wear tutus and tiaras, meet princesses and have the time of our lives. We even meet other runners who are doing the same thing, and we all relish our girl power awesomeness. This race weekend is a place to be yourself. You can be that Disney fanatic who loves Princess Tiana and has seen The Princess and the Frog a hundred times. You can wear the most extravagant costume, cover yourself in glitter, and you will fit right in. You don’t want to miss this race because it’s a place to be HAPPY, make friends and celebrate SISTERHOOD!

Are you convinced yet? We are really looking forward to meeting new princesses at the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. We hope to see you there!

-Amanda

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend, the Runs in Tutus team trekked across the country to Anaheim, California for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in Disneyland. We had a blast, and we are proudly displaying our pink Coast to Coast medals that we earned for completing both the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons in the same calendar year!

Coast to Coast Medal - Pink Edition

Coast to Coast Medal – Pink Edition

For me, there were a lot of highlights in this race and very few disappointments. As is always the case with RunDisney races, packet pick up was amazingly organized. The Expo was full of awesome photo booth opportunities, and we took advantage of each and everyone of them. We also met Jeff Galloway. I wanted to jump up and down and scream like a little girl, but I managed to keep my cool and act somewhat normal. Meeting an Olympian? NO BIG DEAL. I told him about finishing the Shamrock Marathon in March and he said it’s totally normal to cry during a marathon. Thanks, Jeff!

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Keeping it cool with Jeff Galloway

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Here’s the one major buzz kill of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo. The official MERCH sold out like a friggin’ Madonna concert. Seriously, we got there on Friday and Disney was so low on merchandise that they started filling the shelves with generic Tinker Bell products to make it look more full. Lesson learned: get there a few days early if you want to buy merch. I did however manage to score the holy New Balance Tinker Bell shoes. I’ve already worn them several times and they have vastly improved my quality of life.

They are even sprinkled with REAL pixie dust.

They are even sprinkled with REAL pixie dust.

We chose not to participate in the Pixie Dust Challenge (10K + Half Marathon). This was my first time visiting Disneyland, so I wanted sometime to explore the parks, and that’s exactly what I did Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (yes, I’m exhausted). More about the parks will be coming very soon.

The Half Marathon took place on Sunday with a bright and early 5:30AM start time. Here I am all ready to go in my homemade Fawn costume! Side note – it was FREEZING outside before the race so I had to veto wearing shorts. WTF Southern California?

Shout out to the Neverbeast!

Shout out to the Neverbeast!

Me, Caroline and Melanie as Fawn, Smee and Queen Clarion

Me, Caroline and Melanie as Fawn, Smee and Queen Clarion

I was miraculously placed in CORRAL A which means I got to start the race in the very first wave! At Tinker Bell, you can get placed in Corral A with a 2:15 Half Marathon time which is pretty rare for any race. The best thing about being in Corral A is that you get to all the characters and photo spots before there are any lines. I didn’t have to do any weaving around other runners, and I ran through the castle with zero crowds. Here are some pics of my favorite race spots.

Disney California Adventure: 

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Paradise Pier

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Cars Land – Mater!

Disneyland:

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Sleeping Beauty Castle!

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The Lost Boys on the carousel

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Jack Sparrow and the pirates!

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Iridessa and Rosetta

The portion of the race through the parks was amazing. I have to say it seemed like there was far more time in the parks in this race than Princess or Wine&Dine, and there seemed to be more characters and excitement. Out of all the RunDisney races I’ve done, this was the best run through the parks. Unfortunately, after about mile 5 or 6, there was no more Disney! The rest of the race was through the neighborhoods surrounding the parks. There were plenty of crowds, dance teams, cheerleaders and marching bands (and they were great!). I was just hoping for a little more Disney magic toward the end when I was losing steam. I did run into these guys around mile 8 and they melted my heart.

photo-3Other race highlights for me include a massive cheering section of red hat ladies, someone running in a full Zurg costume, a runner dressed as Iridessa yelling “Good Job Fawn,” and Tinker Bell sticking her tongue out at me while posing for a picture with someone else.

Tinkerbell and random person

Tinker Bell and random person

All in all, it was a great race and I will definitely consider doing it again. I got a high five from Daisy Duck at the finish line, but Melanie lucked out with a high-five from Mickey!

Melanie at the finish line

The Mickey high-five

Congratulations to everyone who completed the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon and Pixie Dust Challenge!

-Amanda

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon Preparations!

May is an exciting month for the Runs in Tutus team because we’re all in Disneyland for the RunDisney Tinker Bell half marathon.  We ran the Princess Half in February, so we’re eligible for the pink coast to coast medal!

In some not so magical news, I got a horrible case of pneumonia and I am on running restrictions until end of June. This means no coast to coast medal for me. #unmagical.

One benefit of being sick for over a month was that I had plenty of time to prepare some magical accessories for our team.  Here are a few of the magical extras we put together for this trip.

1. Luggage tags: I used these adorable chipboard tags from Joann’s to make luggage tags. Love my wing girls!

IMG_3386.2015-05-10_0057272. Body jewelry, bracelets and tattoos: No Runs in Tutus race trip is complete without a million body jewels, plastic bracelets, and temporary tattoos. Party City has a great selection of magical accessories.

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3.  Pixieworthy Fashion: I Found this gem at that store for 15 year-olds called Wet Seal. Picked it up for 10 bucks and wore it to the expo.

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4. Room Decorations: To add a little extra magic to our hotel experience, we brought our own fairy decorations from Party City!

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5. Totebags: Last but not least our signature handmade tote bags for park time. We found the sparkly green bags for $1.00 at Joann’s. The straps were too short, so we bought extra bags and sew master Melanie used the extra bags to make longer straps. The bow on the front is from hot topic, and the rest of the details are simply hot glued ribbon. Shout out to Melanie for handling all that hot glue by herself. We usually make the bags as a team, but pneumonia kept me out of the game for this round of bags.

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We’ve had a blast so far at the Tinker Bell Health and Fitness Expo and a visit to the park! Look out for our recap posts coming soon. Here’s a little sneak peek of some of our experiences so far, including Expo photo booths and the epic adventure that is the virtual New Balance queue. Tinker Bell RunDisney shoes were acquired and WORTH IT.  You can follow our tinkhalf adventures on Instragram and Twitter for some live updates from the weekend. We’ll be back in touch soon!

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May the pixie dust be with you all!

Christine

Am I really a marathon runner? Yuengling Shamrock Marathon 2015 Race Recap

This weekend I ran my first full marathon at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. I wanted to share my experience in this race because although I work in a gym, running has never come easy for me. No matter how many races I do, I still doubt that I’m really a “runner.” I have the same insecurities as everyone else. Even after training for the marathon, I got to Virginia Beach and felt really doubtful. I didn’t think I was the kind of person who could run a marathon.

Allow me a moment to explain just how impossible I thought it was to run 26.2 miles. A few years ago, I wrote out a bucket list. Number 19 on my list was “run a marathon.” I thought about it for a few days after I wrote it, and I considered removing it from my list. I said to myself, “I don’t want to be disappointed when I never cross that off. I probably can’t do it.” Number 35 on my list is “go to space,” but I never considered removing that. I seriously thought I was more likely to go to space than run a marathon.

1239371_10101812793394407_7006970070084625933_nThe Yuengling Shamrock Marathon weekend is extremely well organized and a great option for a first time marathoner. The weekend includes an 8K on Saturday and a Half Marathon and Marathon on Sunday. You can also participate in the Dolphin or 11084289_10101812840325357_6381370201316309645_nWhale challenge (8K+Half or 8K+Full). My friend Megan ran the 8K (she did awesome!) and I ran the marathon. We had a blast goofing off at the Race Expo, and as an added bonus there was a craft fair going on in the convention center at the same time!

 

After stressing out for most of Saturday, it was finally Sunday morning and time for the race. I couldn’t have possibly been more prepared for this race. I put on my Raw Threads shirt and Sweaty Bands headband and I was ready to go. I also packed a plastic bag with a banana, Smuckers Uncrustables PB&J sandwich (I eat one of these before every race – it’s a weird tradition), and a mylar blanket (I definitely recommend this to avoid freezing at the start line).

Waiting at the start line was really anxiety ridden for me. The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon is a Boston qualifier, and because of this there are a lot of fast and experienced runners. It is very different from the runDisney crowd I know and love. To make matters worse, my corral placement was based on my half marathon PR last year. I was standing behind the 4:00 pace group, and listening to them plan their race really stressed me out. I felt so slow and inadequate! Right around this time, I happened to look over to my right. There was a shiny window a few feet away from me and I could see my reflection. I was wrapped up in the mylar blanket, my hair was pulled back tight and with the way I was standing, I could see the definition in my legs. All of a sudden, it hit me. I looked like a runner! I AM a runner! I was ready to crush that race.

Here’s a quick recap of the ups and downs on the course:

  1. Mile 1: Everyone passed me. I later saw some of these people walking around mile 18. I passed them up with my nice steady pace.
  2. Miles 7-8: We ran through a military base and I experienced my longest ever chain of high fives – all from military personnel in uniform!
  3. Miles 11-12: This is all on the boardwalk with a view of the ocean. I also saw my boyfriend Robert, my friend Megan and my two dogs here. They gave me a handful of macadamia nuts and Megan ran with me for a mile. I highly recommend having a good friend like Megan when running a marathon.

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    I found $20!

  4. Mile 14: I found $20 on the ground, and the photographer was there to capture the moment
  5. Mile 15: A lady handing out sour straws said she was really proud of me, and I had my first episode of tears.
  6. Miles 18-20: I felt awesome here, and I don’t know why. It was probably because of the lady at mile 15.
  7. Miles 20-22: This is the worst section of the course. It’s a restricted military area so spectators can’t get there. It’s also really boring. We passed a really pretty lighthouse, but that was about it. At a water stop, a boyscout leader told me I was going to make it to the finish. I answered, “I hope so.” He said “YOU DID NOT TRAIN ALL YEAR FOR I HOPE SO. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, AMANDA!” That got me through the next mile.
  8. Miles 22-25: I felt like I was going to die. My hamstrings were on fire. Megan ran with me for another mile, and Robert held the dogs up in the air. The course is a loop, so I passed the sour straws lady again. This time she was handing out twizzlers. She told me she was still proud of me and that I was making it look easy. I hope she knows how much she helped me.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to finish until I got to mile 25. The last mile of the race is down the boardwalk, past the statue of King Neptune all along the beach. The second

cryingyou get onto the boardwalk, you can see the finish line. I started crying the moment the finish line was in view. It wasn’t just one or two tears coming down, I straight up started bawling. The race is pretty small, so there were only a few other people finishing the same time as me. This means that people are really cheering specifically for you. The announcer had time to say “Please welcome to the finish line, Amanda Schmidt.” Everyone in the crowd was saying my name. “Come on, Amanda!” “You did it, Amanda!” I can’t think of many other moments in my life as amazing as this. I didn’t finisheven feel like my feet were touching the ground.

 

Here is the best part about the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon: at the finish line you get a huge medal, a beach towel, a finisher hat, AND a sparkly green shamrock cookie. You also finish on the beach and can walk right down to the sand.

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I know there are a lot of people out there who have already completed a marathon, and many of you have done one much faster than me. This part is for all the people out there who haven’t done one yet, but have some crazy distant dream of doing it. Go for it. There is no prerequisite. If I can do it, I guarantee that you can. There was a time in my life when I struggled to run even a single mile, and on Sunday I ran 26.2 miles. I will continue to post on this blog with as much advice as possible. And for all my runDisney friends out there thinking about doing a full marathon, it might seem impossible but in the words of Walt Disney, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

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Special thank you to Renata, Robert, Megan, my fellow Runs in Tutus sole sisters, my doggies Gordon and Ziggy and everyone else for supporting me throughout marathon training.

-Amanda