Running

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I did it, why yes, I did! I ran my second half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon! I can say without a doubt it was a very positive experience and definitely worth all my training and even those ice baths. It has been a week and i’ve started my training for my next half marathon but I couldn’t not give a Disney Princess Half Marathon recap for anyone who is interested in running this race in the future.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend actually started on Thursday but I wasn’t able to make my way down to Disney World until Friday. I rented a car, drove threw severe thunderstorms in South Carolina and stopped to pee more times I would like to share (good hydration starts way before the race!) but I finally made it to Florida and Disney World. Childhood happiness and giddiness came over me when I saw the Disney World sign.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I found my way to my resort on Disney property. I stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. There was a sign for the Princess Half Marathon as soon as I entered the door. I got my self checked and off to my room I went.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

After driving around and finding Trinidad South I found my room and saw that I had been upgraded to the Pirates room. This made me wish my family was with me. My youngest son loves Pirates of the Caribbean  and would have loved this room.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

The fridge was hidden in the barrel. No microwave in the room though but those who need their coffee in the morning there was a coffee maker (with coffee of course but no tea).

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

The details even continued into the bathroom and the bathtub. Flying Dutchman bathtub anyone?

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

There of course were also Mickey soaps that smelled like citrus.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Overall the Caribbean Beach Resort was a pretty nice place to stay!

Saturday morning I woke up and the first thing I did was head over to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Packet Pickup was quick and easy. I had brought my waiver but for those who didn’t they had computers set up so you could do it there. After picking up your bib you were sent across the street to the expo.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Walking into the expo it was pretty impressive.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Most anything running related could be found at the expo. Chiquita banana’a were there giving away banana’s, KT tape was there taping people up for free,you could try different types of luna bars and a local hospital was doing body composition analysis along with many other free things. You could find Sparkle skirts, Sweaty bands, Bondi bands, running GPs’s from Garmin to Polar, Gu’s to Cliff shots, hydration belts, running shirts and more. There was also official Run Disney merchandise but unfortunately every single thing I had hoped to pick up from Run Disney was sold out.
At the expo I saw Jeff Galloway and could have said Hi and had my picture taken with him but since I was by myself I didn’t… should have but didn’t. Instead I picked up my bag and browsed  and left picking up some free Dannon Oikos greek yogurt on my way out.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Not without finding my name first.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Curious about what you get when you run. Look no further! You are given a clear bag for race day bag pick up, a champion tech race shirt, race “bible”, some Craisins and…

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

 a mini Luna Bar. I gave mine away on the bus. Darn Coconut and Soy.Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

After the expo Icaught a bus and walked around Downtown Disney for a bit. I loved seeing how so many things were the same from 11 years ago when I lived in Orlando and all of the new things.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

 After a bit of shopping I made my way back to the buses and back to the resort. Stopping in at at the Resort’s Old Port Royale Food Court. There were several food options. Pizza, Pasta, Hamburgers and more. I stuck to some of the and more and had roast chicken rice and broccoli  for my pre-race dinner. Breaking my gluten free diet and getting some pizza or pasta sounded good but I was good.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

After dinner and a rain shower I went for a easy 2 mile run/walk around the resort.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Under the bridge these guys made me smile!
Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

After my run I had bought a special dessert for after dinner. A cupcake from Babycakes at Downtown Disney. Their cupcakes are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Vegan and made without refined sugar. So needless to say I was excited to finally have a treat I could eat.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I took a bite and decided to look and see what they were made of and I became instantly sad. This Gluten and Soy Free girl is allergic to coconut and I found the allergy warning on their website. The cupcakes had coconut in them. My throat got a scratchy and a few hives popped up. I just hoped for the best. It was to sad to think of coming so far to be sidelined by having a bite of cupcake. Off to shower drink more water (and a bottle of Skratch) and to bed I went hoping for the best.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Of course setting my alarms. I am not a morning person and going to bed before 9pm was HARD!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I didn’t sleep that well but I was rested and excited for the day, at 2:30am. I still had a couple hives but otherwise I felt ok. I got myself dressed and gathered up everything I needed and ate a quick breakfast. I brought my own breakfast. I didn’t want to be left trying to find something at grab and go or running out to a store. I ate my usual rice cake with peanut butter with maybe a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff on top. It is my gluten free version of a fluffenutter. I then left for the bus stop. I walked up to the bus stop as a bus was leaving at 3am but that was ok because there were 4 buses behind it. They even let the next bus pass and I got on the next one and off to Epcot we went.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

We get off the bus and we are left to walk. I thought this was the 20 minute walk that Disney tells you about but I was wrong. Spaceship Earth looked great at 3am- ish.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Couldn’t help but take a selfie like so many others were doing. Really when else do you get this opportunity?

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Then it was back to walking to the race area with all of the other runners.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

 In this area they had a DJ playing music to get us going, they had a couple areas to take pictures but I didn’t see any characters. This is also the same area you go for Race Retreat if you had bought that option. I didn’t and didn’t have any issues without it. It was warm, I had my water and I had no issues sitting on the ground.  There were lounge chairs you could grab and take a nap on. I did some light stretching and drank the rest of my water while in the pre race section. Around 3:45 I made my way over to the porta potties and then left for what I thought was the corrals. Just a note the porta potties are dark… I used the flashlight on my phone for light.
I was wrong though alike some others who were off to the corrals at the same time.  We thought the letters outside related to our corrals. What they really were for was for gear check. I fully blame my blonde hair.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

It was after going through gear check that the 20 minute walk that Disney tells you about begins. We walked and we walked. There were marathonfoto photographers along the way and volunteers helping tell us which direction to go. I found my corral and ended up in about the middle of it.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Then as time grew closer we had a few people from RunDisney emcee’ing, Miss America spoke and there was a special birthday message to a lucky military spouse. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother came and started the races. Each corral was counted down and had their own fireworks. Sadly though the Fairy Godmother only counted down the first few corrals and then she had to go.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Before I knew it my corral was off. I started off running and had issues with my water belt so I made my way to the right after being annoyed long enough. I walked and adjusted it and that is when I fell into a group of walkers and those running intervals. I then ran when I could and otherwise walked, weaving and going around others. Even going into the grass but training on muddy trails I was ok with that. I first came across kites from Mary Poppins and was in love. Next up was Jack Sparrow, there was a long line and it was still dark so I skipped him and decided to stop on my way back to Epcot. I continued running and even more excitement came over me as I entered the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

The character stops continued as we went on. On our way into the Magic Kingdom there were the Heroes, a couple race car drivers and cars and Villains such as Malificent. As much as I wanted to stop I had already decided what characters I wanted to stop for if I could. I had a huge fear of the balloon ladies despite my being positioned in a decent corral to start. I took pictures as I ran. Some weren’t the best though. Like this one was running downhill under the bridge to enter the Magic Kingdom from a backstage area I haven’t seen since I was in High School and preformed with my high school choir at Candlelight Processional each Christmas season. On top of the bridge was a DJ with giant Mickey hands.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

One of my favorite moments was running down Main Street USA. One of my must get pictures was of myself in front of the castle and after waiting my turn a cast member took my pic for me. Then off to Tomorrow Land I went and off to storm the castle!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

This was probably my next favorite part of the half marathon. It was a little slow moving but awesome!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

The trumpeters were out and playing as we approached and went through the castle. It was also at this point my phone crashed as I entered the castle. Thankfully I got it up and running again.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I continued on through Frontierland and exiting to another back stage area I had again not seen since I was in high school. In this area was Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip and a bit later the 10K check point. We continued on seeing the Train that goes around the Magic Kingdom and more character stops. I can’t forget to mention we heard our “power song” Let it Go.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I kept on going more walking than running but a lot of weaving.  I looked at my time and saw that I was on my way to a PR so I just kept going. Up and over an overpass was next. My first half marathon was up and over the Franklin Mountains and my training had been on hilly trails so this was not that bad for me. I especially loved the green soldier. He was a mean drill sergeant who was making us laugh as we went up. Once we got up to the top and I saw over the overpass and how many people were still behind me the fear of the balloon ladies completely went away. I didn’t slow down my pace though. Although Disney races are typically more for fun and not PR’s, I was going to PR.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Next thing I knew there it was, Spaceship Earth and the last mile. There were so many people out cheering and clapping. Every Starbucks cast member was standing and clapping as well as many other Epcot cast members. I ran past the Fairy Godmother and Sophia the First. Then a Gospel Choir right before the last stretch. I ran (dropping my phone and having to go back) and gave Mickey a high five and finished triumphantly with my hands held high.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I did it, again. Thirteen point freaking one in 100% humidity and I PR’ed.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Those photos’s I had wanted. I missed Mickey and Minnie. I’m still holding hope that Marathonfoto got a pic of me high giving Mickey at the finish. Jack Sparrow well he decided to take a break as I was approaching the pirate ship. It’s all good though after the race I got a pic with my favorite princess, Cinderella.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

I wandered around after for a bit. I checked out the Run Disney tent but it was the same merchandise as the Expo. There was a massage tent that I would have loved but it was cash only. There were various food trucks and champagne for sale at the finish also. I ended up going back to my bus line which moved quickly and back to my room with my post race goodies.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

We were first given cooling towels  after finishing the race and then our medals. Mine was put around my neck where other people had theirs handed to them. Next we were sprinkled with Pixie dust. We were given our mesh bags drinks and food boxes. Finisher photos were in there somewhere too.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

The boxes were all pretty much the same. Pop chips, hummus, chocolate covered blueberries, a piece of toffee, more craisins and a Luna bar.

After rolling my legs with my foam roller and a hot shower. I got myself ready and headed for the bus to head to Downtown Disney for the Happily Ever After Party. I made it there just in time for the start of the free socks giveaway at little mismatched and then I went over and spun the wheel at fit2run’s booth and won a great Brooks tech shirt. I am all about Finding Your Happy Pace!

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Overall the Disney Princess Half Marathon is a good race! I would love to do it again but I have to say it is a race that you do with friends. It’s not nearly as fun to run it by yourself. I hope to run it again someday!

I think I have found a new love for RunDisney races!

My Best Running Advice

Back in 2007 I started running, for fun, for fitness and overall good health. I had signed my oldest son up for a race on the Navy base we lived on and at the same time I signed myself up for my first 5k. That was the moment it all began. My son went on to win his race as well as being an Army child winning the Navy kid run. Myself, yeah I didn’t win but I finished and I wasn’t dead last so that was good for me. I went on to run in more of the free 5k’s that the Navy base held, PR’ing every single time. I read all sorts of advice that of course was the best running advice to see what I needed to do to improve my running.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

There are so many things that I have learned over the years but there are a few pieces of advice that I can give to anyone who is  wanting to start running.

My Best Running Advice

1. Every person is different and what may work for one person may not work for you. You have to figure out what works best for you.

The moment I figured this gem out my world of running changed for the better.

Being a runner does not depend on what you look like. Runners come in all shapes and sizes.

Being a runner does not matter how fast or slow you go or even if you walk some of the time.
 If you walk it doesn’t make you any less of a runner. There are great programs out there that incorporate walking like couch to 5k or the Galloway program. Just remember everyone starts somewhere.

The clothes you wear do not make you a runner. You need clothes that fit YOU well, not clothes that someone else says are the best. It may take trial and error but you will figure it out. Something to look out for in clothes is if it is going to make you chafe. Anti-chafing sticks like Body Glide or simple petroleum jelly can help out if you do. Another factor is dressing for the weather. What you need to wear on a cold day may not be the same as the next person. Like I hate it when my ears are cold and depending on the temp I will wear a hat or a headband. At the same time though I have gone out when it was 25 degrees in a cold weather top and a hoodie and I was too warm. That is me though you may want more or less.

Same thing goes for shoes. While I highly suggest going to a running shoe store and getting properly fitted. Every person out there has a different foot and what works well for me may not for you. There is variation in the different shoes for your type as well. Find what feels good for you not because the shoe is a certain brand. I learned my lesson the hard way. I picked a popular stability shoe  and ended up with Plantar Fasciitis. Personally, I now wear minimals and they have helped me tons but again they are not for everyone.

Hydration is important in running but how you hydrate is up to you. Some people carry water and other hydration drinks and others don’t. Some only carry if they are going a certain distance. Some think it is ridiculous to wear a fuel belt in certain races but it doesn’t matter.  You have to do what is right for your needs. I use to always carried water while I ran, it was easy. I pushed my daughter in my BOB stroller and just brought a bottle even if I was only doing a couple miles. As she grew and I no longer pushed her in a stroller I tried out hand held water bottles but they annoyed me so I started running without water and did fine until one day. It was a nice cool day and I was going out for 10 miles but I severely cramped at 9 miles and was stuck sitting on the side of the road waiting for my husband to rescue me. I now have a fuel belt that I always wear on runs that are 4-5 miles and longer. I carry a bottle of water and a bottle of Nunn or Skratch Labs, sometimes I drink it sometimes I don’t.

When it comes to gels, chews, beans and things of that nature everyone has a favorite. Gel’s bother some people and they eat raisins, gummy candy like swedish fish and even pretzels. The point is to help replenish your bodies glycogen levels and calories burned during your run. There isn’t a one fits all solution though because timing and frequency to avoid bonking depend on the individual using them and how their body processes it.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

 Some people run with music while others do not. Those who run with music all have different opinions about what the best music to listen to is. I know my favorite running music differs greatly from my husbands. Just as some run with both earbuds in and others just one.

Some use a heart rate monitor and others do not. Just as some use a Garmin or other GPS tracker. That in itself is a huge debate. Who has the best running app? Is it Nike+, Runkeeper, MapmyRun, Garmin. I know with the apps I had my favorites and had friends who had completely opposite opinions. Then there are those that use the different GPS watches.

With running it is very individualized to each person’s needs. There is no clear cut answer to what is best. What is best is what works for you.

2. Running is mostly in your head.

Yes, you read that right, Running is mostly in your head. It is a battle with your brain. Some days it will be easy while others it will be hard. On those hard days doing a mile will be difficult but you just have to tell yourself that you can do it and push yourself. Just remember it will be worth it. Don’t give up, you can do it, dig deep, you are a rock star!

3. Listen to your body

You need to listen to your body and what it is trying to tell you. If it is telling you to rest then rest. If you are in pain then take a break. If the pain doesn’t get better after a couple days see your doctor. It isn’t better to take a few days off instead of making a possible injury worse and needing to take a month or longer off. Again, I learned this the hard way.

My Best Running Advice  Country Girl Gourmet

As I prepare for my second half marathon this month this running advice I can safely say has been the best things to keep in mind when I run. Running isn’t all about form. It is about running your own run and enjoying it. Running is easily the cheapest therapy out there. It allows you to go out and be alone with your thoughts. It is about being grateful for the opportunity  and the ability to run when there are those who cannot. It’s about pushing boundaries and seeing what your body can do and being amazed with yourself. Running is simply a variety of so many different amazing things.

My Best Running Advice | Country Girl Gourmet

“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.” 
―Dean Karnazes

So you want to get DIRTY!

Recently I completed my first mud run. It was a cool morning and the mud was cold and honestly I sadly didn’t get really muddy. Here are some of my best tips for a successful mud run!

1. Pick your teammates carefully. Running with someone you know is more fun than someone you meet the day of the run.

2. Weigh your options when picking your heat. We went for fresh “germ free” mud but that also meant out mud was pretty cold since it was only in the 40-50’s out. If we had chosen a heat later in the day the mud  would have been warmer. Those competed later in the day were covered in mud while those of us who competed first thing, not so much.

3. Exercise. Although many races have been simplified so anyone can do them it helps to be in good physical condition.

4. Make a plan. If you are part of a team decide beforehand if it is ok to break apart or if you are staying togethers. Sometimes teammates can get separated during obstacles. This happened with my team after our first obstacle and was how I ended up doing the mud run with someone I did not even know.

5.Dress accordingly. Leave the cotton at home and go for tight fighting spandex-y clothes. I chose to capri’s to protect my knees during obstacles but saw others wearing tight booty shorts. I chose a dry-fit shirt. When choosing the color of your clothes keep in mind you will be getting wet and your clothes may become see through. I ended up wearing a black tank under my shirt for that reason.

6.Skip the socks. They add to the squish factor especially if you choose cotton.

7. Don’t give yourself a pedicure the day before. The grit from the sand will wear down the polish.

8. Shoes.. there are a couple options here. You can wear old shoes and donate later or rinse and wash when you get home. I wore minimals and they were the perfect shoe for this. While my teammate complained of squishy shoes after a couple seconds out of the mud my shoes were fine. Double knot your shoes tightly. You will be stepping in mud and nothing is worse than losing a shoe.

9. Bring a change of clothes that you don’t mind getting mud on for after the race, cheap flip flops and a towels you don’t care if they get muddy. Rinsing the mud off afterward may not be an option. I was lucky enough to be able to rinse off but those in a couple heats after mine did not have that luxury. I was able to change by covering myself in a large towel  (beach towel). If you are unable to rinse off you will need the towels to cover the sets in your car.

10. Have fun!

So those are my tips for a successful mud run. I have my second mud run coming up in less than a month and I cannot wait!

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