Running Disney v. Non-Disney

I’ve done a lot of events over the past 2.5 years. A lot…probably more than I should have, but that’s a story for another day.

This post is about Disney events versus Non-Disney events. I’m only going to be talking about events that are 10k or longer since that is all I have run with Disney. I have a lot to say about 5ks and fun runs, but again…story for another day.

 

I thought I’d break it down into categories to compare: Pre-race day/weekend, Expo, Race Start, Race Course, Race Finish, Post-Race, and Price/Value.

The races:

2011 Nike Women’s Marathon San Francisco (Half)

2012 Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler

2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon

2013 Hershey 10k

2013 Nike Women’s Half Marathon D.C.

2013 Disneyland 10k

2013 Disneyland Half Marathon

2013 Hershey Half Marathon

2013 Philadelphia Marathon Weekend (Half)

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Full)

 

 

Pre-Race Day/Weekend:

I ran my two Nike half marathons and the Hershey 10k through Team in Training so they took care of registration. I did receive some pre-race email information, but it was limited. I am not sure if non-TNT runners receive more info or not, but there isn’t much to talk about with those.

I find that registration for any race is relatively easy. I am not a big fan of how quickly the Disney races have been selling out lately. I think a lot of this has to do with their allowance for early registration for special groups. Perhaps they should consider a lottery system for future races? I know a lot of other races have converted to lottery picks — which is why I’m not running the Nike DC half this year.

I don’t feel there is much difference in pre-race emails from disney to non-disney. I am FOREVER edgy for more information and information sooner.

I do feel like Non-Disney races tend to have essential information posted a bit earlier — course map, expo info, etc. I get very frustrated with not-knowing this important info until 3-4 weeks before the race like Disney has been doing lately.

Best Pre-Race Day: It’s a tie…

 

 

Expo:

Disney definitely does an expo well. There are usually lots of vendors, great signage and lots of fun little extras. I was seriously disappointed with the two Nike expos I’ve been to. There were not a lot of outside vendors and very few “freebies.” I love a good sample freebie … (maybe that’s why I love Costco so much??).

Disney seems to be working out the kinks as their participant numbers continue to grow. They take runner feedback seriously and adjust as necessary. This is a huge plus. Many of the other expos have either been very limited (Hershey is only 2500 runners) or just look like mass chaos.

Overall, I kind of loathe the expo. I like that many runs have been putting the necessary stuff at an easily accessible area so you can avoid the huge crowds and nonsense if you want. I really wish they would find larger venues and spread things out a little, but I know there’s a cost/value factor on the organizers part that must be considered.

Winner: Disney by a landslide

 

 

Race Start

I love race starts. Disney gets points for the fireworks, but they are long and repetitive if you’re not in one of the front corrals. And, if you run more than one Disney race.

The Philly marathon/Half was an awesome start. Granted my wave’s start song was not the most empowering, but they changed it up each time which helped those of us in the back deal with the long (and I do mean looooong) wait to the start. I also liked giving the Mayor a high-five as I crossed the start line!

Nike does an awesome job with the start line. The music rocks and everyone is so hyped up.

I am giving a huge plus to the later start time most Non-Disney races have. A 230 wake-up call so the parks can get cleared…yeah that sucks.

I feel like Hershey shouldn’t even be considered. With only a small number of runners everyone starts at the same time. Its a little chaotic and very informal, but kind of nice (homey).

Winner: This one goes Non-Disney. The later start time and variety at other race starts is what pushes it over.

 

 

Race Course

Seriously? Is this even a question? Who can beat running through Disney parks? And with Disney characters and they have TONS of support along the course (food, drinks, cheer crowds, entertainment).

I was disappointed with the Disneyland Half course, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as mile 11 of the Philly Half when I was dragging beyond all belief and there was NO ONE along that mile to cheer you on. Disney always makes sure their runners are not out there alone and that counts for a lot when you’re not an elite runner.
As a side … we are looking at running a marathon in November that has water/food every 2 miles for the first 20 miles and then every mile after that. I like the consistency of knowing how often the water stops are. Disney’s are a little random and that can be difficult if you train a certain way. Especially since the course maps come out so late so you can’t even train according to the course map (you can refer back to the year before, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be the same on race day).

Also — because you run on Disney property, they are able to add additional stops or support along the course at the last minute. Several of the last Disney races I’ve done have seemed to add water stops because of high temperatures. That kind of control is really nice and an added bonus for beginner runners who aren’t as adaptable to changes in temperatures or water intake.

A downside for Disney is that they keep throwing in the darn loop around the bases. I HATE this. you kick up dirt and dust into the heels of your shoes or on the backs of your legs and it just cakes because of the sweat you’ve got dripping off of you at that point. I HATE it. Would love to see this come out of the races, but I know many people enjoy it.

Winner: Disney

 

 

Race Finish:

Nothing beats the finish line at a race.

A few of the non-disney races have had confusing finish lines or finisher shoots that go on seemingly forever.

Disney doesn’t have this one in the bag though. I wish ice was available sooner at each race or was in the same spot or something. Also, I feel like I get turned around and confused as I’m going through the shoot to get out. I was really disappointed at the Marathon in January because there was a large wall blocking much of the shoot. So as a spectator I ended up missing my husband come through.

I feel like I don’t feel like I’ve finished until I am back to my family or see my family and Disney races make this difficult. Philly was probably the best for meeting up with people and one of the best for spectators to watch at the finish line.

Winner: Tie

 

Finisher Area/Family Reunion Area:

I really give Disney credit for setting up tents with the alphabet to help families find each other. I also recently learned that there are public cell phones to use to get in touch with family members. I can’t comment on if other races have these cell phones since I usually run with mine in my spibelt.

I feel like it was easier for family to see and find runners at non-disney races. There are tons of bottle-neck issues at the Disney races and I saw very few signs or posted maps to help guide family members. It is also crazy-crowded at disney races. Oh, and as a note…Disney can be difficult for runners to get around to see various parts of the race — one disadvantage of having the race almost entirely on property.

Winner: Non-Disney

 

Price/Value:

Disney races just keep getting more and more expensive!  It is very frustrating and a definite deterrent for runners. There is the added value of the additional course support and entertainment, but the cost is prohibitive for those on a limited budget.

That’s not to say other races are cheap. There are some very affordable races, but if you’re doing a 10k, half, or full, you can expect to have put put out some dough.

Winner: Tie — Disney’s added value is so great, but the entry price at other races is better.

 

Totals:

Disney – II

Non-Disney – II

Tie – III

 

Overall: Here’s my lame total…its a tie.

Here’s why…

I LOVE running Disney because I love Disney. So the value for the price is totally worth it to me. If you LOVE running and that’s really you’re motivation, you will probably be happier at a non-disney event. Especially if you’re fast. Do not expect to run disney and not encounter walkers or walk/runners. Disney is for “fun” runners which is what I love.

 

Other thoughts:

You should research a race before you register for it. Look at some information from people who have run it before to gain an understanding of the atmosphere/attitude of the race. You’ll want to know a few things: how often are there fluids on the course, is there any food/fuel on the course, what food/water is on the course, how are the spectators, how is transportation to/from the finish line, look at the course map and look for elevation and where elevation occurs, blingity bling bling (Nike takes the cake with their Tiffany necklace, but I do love my disney medals!), and location (travel/non-travel).

 

Best wishes if you decide to take on ANY race. I’m always around for tips/pointers/feedback. Lord knows I’ve done pretty much everything wrong that I could possibly do wrong.

 

See ya real soon!

~H

 

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#13 of 13 done!

Well guess what! I finished my 13 in 13 challenge this morning.

 

Two dear friends of mine joined me for a local 5k turkey trot.

 

Seriously folks — sign yourself up early for one of these next year. The race itself was a really nice course. It was BITTER cold out and my hips/feet are still bugging me from Philly so Erin and I walked most of it. Jon (her’s…) ran it and did it in an awesome 35+change finish time! For his first 5k ever! Hoping to get them out for some more in 2014!

 

Here is a photo of us after the race!!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

~H

November catch-up!

I’m posting like crazy this morning!

Here’s where I stand with my November goals:

1- Start boot camp. Done. I just did by 5th of 12 classes yesterday. I am REALLY enjoying this and its a definite mood booster. I’m also seeing some change in my body which is awesome!

2 – Train with my trainer. This one has been a little more difficult. I did get in a training session on Wed, but the remainder of the month has been rough — my trainer had a procedure which took her out of commission for a few days. Then I was busy and away for work stuff. Its on my schedule for this week though! So 2 of 4 weeks for Nov!

3 – Add in an extra class each week. I had signed up for a TRX class on thurs this week, but bailed. I was just too exhausted. We were also hosting Thanksgiving for DH’s family on Sat evening so I used the time to do some of the prep work. I did a TRX class the week I couldn’t train with my trainer and I’m signed up for a yoga class this Fri (day after thanksgiving).

4 – Run -well…epic fail. This week I want to run at least 2x. Then try to pick it up to 3x starting next week. I NEED to do this if I’m going to survive the WDW Marathon in January. I have researched some stretches for my hip so I’m going to be working on those too.

5 – tracking my food — epic fail. I looked at my food journal a couple times. And, I’ve been trying to be more aware. I just haven’t been writing it down. Maybe I’ll get to it this week. Otherwise, I’ll add it to my Dec goals.

6 – Fitbit — I did this! and then I took it off and forgot to put it back on. I’m going to charge it today and put it back on for the week tomorrow morning.

7 – Homemade food – well…we are working on this. Its always a work in process. I did pack my lunch three days this week. Which is HUGE b/c work has been VERY stressful the last two weeks.

8 – Host Thanksgiving for DH’s family — DONE and a success. We had 9 adults, two kids and a baby. The worse part was that we ended up putting puppers in his crate most of the evening. More for his own protection — from kids who don’t have dogs and food scraps left on the floor (FYI – Sage and nutmeg are dangerous for dogs).

9 – Survive T-Day #2 without gaining too much weight — well have to wait and see on that one. Boot camp halfway weigh in is on Sat 11/30!

10 – Fundraising for spring 2014 TNT — I’m working on setting up a vendor fair on 12/7 so this one is going well!

 

Welp! That’s my catch up!

~H

Race #12/13 — Philadelphia Marathon Weekend Half Marathon

Another rough one!

Have you ever had a BAD run? One you finished and thought “I probably should have bailed on it and stayed in bed this morning?”

A few months back I went insane and thought “well, if I’m doing 4 half marathons this year, I might as well do 5.” This is stupid logic. Don’t listen to that voice in your head. Or, AT LEAST give yourself some more time between the half marathons …like…one every other month or something. I completed the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge on 8/31 and 9/1 (you’ll remember I wasn’t feeling well afterward — that lasted about 2-3 weeks), then rolled into the Hershey Half Marathon on 10/20 (7 weeks later, 6 weeks after returning from Disneyland), and then the Philly Half on 11/17 (a mere 4 weeks after Hershey). Also — If you’re going to do this, and I cannot say this enough, TRAIN.

Anyways…to the actual race.

 

The Wake up was MUCH colder than I expected so I was cold…didn’t have enough layers … but not freezing. I just kept trying to move around. I drank to much before the start and too close to the start. My wave started a little after 730a (7a start time for the race and I was in the last wave). I had to stop at the first bathroom to pee (around mile one). I was feeling tight and couldn’t get my stride right from the start (before the start actually). The bathroom stop actually helped and I was feeling a little better. I nailed mile 2– but maybe a little too fast (about 2.5 mins faster than my previous time). I kept it up until we hit south street (around mile 6) and saw my cousin!! She lives near there and came out to cheer myself and our other cousin (in a different wave) on! Seriously though..South Street smelled AMAZING! The restaurants had started cooking and there was this awesome barbeque-ish smell just wafting in the air.

Mile 7ish takes up on a 100 ft elevation incline for about a mile. Brutal. Someone at the start told me this was rough and I think I ended up psyching myself out too much. I took the incline slow. Really slow… And then lost it all.

The last 2.5 miles were the WORST. My hip hurt and made me incredibly tight so my knees started throbbing. I actually considered pulling out of the race around 11.75-12. The worst part was by the time we got here most of the spectators (which I imagine were few during this stretch anyway) had moved on so there was no crowd to push you along with their cheering. I literally limped my way to the finish line.

All-in-all I ended up with a time that was my third best overall. I was mad though… At the halfway I was on par to PR by more than 20 mins. Oh well, maybe next time!

Here’s my before and after!

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DH was supposed to come down with me, but puppers ended up with a scratch and ulcer on his cornea and needed eye drops. My mom said she thought she could take care of it, but DH felt better staying home to do it himself. He was supposed to clean too …

My best friend stepped in and came down with me at the last minute. She took some pics of the race in general which turned out really nice!

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See ya real soon!

~H

 

Race #11/13 — Hershey Half Marathon

Finally! I’m getting to my Hershey Half recap.

 

This was a rough race. It was pretty cold (40ish or less than at the wake up). It is also quite a hilly course.

DH came down later and brought our dog to cheer me on. Wow — the puppers decided to be “Super Bad” and try to chase EVERY single car on the roads. DH was exhausted by the time I finished. And, once again, about two hours after the race it was difficult to tell if it was me or puppers who ran.

(Not from that day, but what he looked like)

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So onto the race…

 

I am pretty proud of my time at the halfway mark lately. I seem to be increasing my speed and feeling really good by the 10k split or halfway point.

I was actually doing pretty well until around mile 8 when things started to fall apart. At mile 8 you do a small hill climb then run around the Milton Hershey School. It’s really awesome because the kids from the house families all come out and are cheering the runners on — lots of pushing you forward! What’s not so great is the wide open space on a cold and windy day. It just wipes you out — especially if you haven’t learned your less from your 4 other half marathons and haven’t trained like you should. (Stupid Hannah problems)

All-in-all I finished with a PR …although not as awesome as one I wanted/hoped for.

My brother had his camera out along the course and took some photos (my sister-in-law was also running).

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My hip was really tight and was bothering me quite a bit by around mile 11. I sort of limped my way through the end. I love that I ran the last bit with a man who had on a Philadelphia Marathon shirt (2012, the 2013 being my next race). Around 11.9 I stopped to stretch my hip at a sign post and he said “come on, don’t give up now, we’re almost there.” I absolutely love the camaraderie at running events! It gives you renewed hope in the human race.

 

Anyways, I finished and then fell asleep.

As a half marathon runner you receive two tickets to HersheyPark in theDark. DH and I visited on Nov 1 and had such a good time. We mainly hit up the roller coasters (and realized how old we are getting!). Then headed off to Troeg’s brewery in Hershey for some dinner before getting back home to puppers. THAT was a great day.

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See ya real soon!

~H

Disneyland/LA Recap

I’m going to keep this relatively brief!

 

DH and I went to Disneyland/LA from 8/30-9/7. Wow…what a long trip. It was the first time we had left our pup where one of us wasn’t home. He spend the week with my parents which means I spent the week a nervous “mommy” away from my furbaby. He did just fine and my parents are great at taking care of him, but I just worry.

 

Anyway, onto the trip itself.

 

Back when I booked things we were supposed to leave at 6am (EST Time) on Friday 8/30 out of our home airport. Then we would arrive at LAX at 1010am (PST Time). About a week before the trip I got an email that said our arrival time was bumped back. womp womp…

Cut to the day of and we got stuck at our layover b/c of a plane issue. They couldn’t decide what to do for the longest time. Then they put us on the plan. Ultimately we were routed to a second layover and switched plans before heading to LAX. We arrived shortly after 2p (womp womp… again). THEN! it took forever for baggage and our shuttle never stopped for us. We ended up getting to Disneyland somewhere around 4/430p. We met up with our friend V and headed to the expo for packet pick up.

 

I am seriously disappointed at the expo. It was so packed and poorly organized. They definitely need to look at the official merchandise and figure out a better way to do it. Also…I REALLY wanted the disney sneakers from new balance, but with our delayed arrival and running the 10k on Sat, there was no way I was going to get them. I ended up with a sweatshirt (lime green) and a 13.1 magnet for my car. That’s it…

Oh well (BTW – Disney re-released some of the “I Did It” shirts and I was able to snag them online — they should be arriving today!).

Check out my sweet coast to coast wristband!! My registration wasn’t marked for C2C and I about went into a panic. After a long wait in a second line all was sorted out!! For the weekend, you picked up your C2C band at the expo and your DDD (Dumbo Double Dare) after finishing the 10k.

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We at dinner at Storyteller’s Cafe (yum) then headed to bed to rest up for the next day!

 

Saturday morning was bright and early for the 10K. Here’s my before and after!ImageImage

 

After was a the Plaza Inn for Minnie and Friend’s breakfast. I loved Captain Hook!

Sometimes I get bummed b/c characters kind of brush off adult-only tables. But the Captain was ready to play an interact with us!

Our plan was originally to run, shower, then hit the park, but timing was off a little. We ran, washed our faces and then headed to breakfast. We had the brilliant idea to hit up Splash Mountain after breakfast (wet ride) and a few others before heading back to shower. Then we came back to the park and hung out.

We lulled around Disneyland Park and taking it easy. We were able to get in some good rides (Mr. Toad’s!). But just took it easy.

This is where I say that I’m pretty sure I got sick from the whole Chobani recall. I just felt “off” starting Fri evening. Sat it hit a head and we were about to get in line for Space Mountain when I about doubled over with stomach cramps. And just felt hot and clammy. DH and V road while I rested up a little. But wow…

 

Sunday morning! Another early morning for us.

Here’s our before and after for the Half Marathon.

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The Half was HOT to say the least. It was ridiculous. The sun just glared down on you the ENTIRE race. Insane…  I was glad DH was there to run with me (his first half marathon!! woohoo!). He kept me going. Around mile 11 I finally accepted his advices to stop being modest and take off my darn shirt. Wow…what a difference! All in all, I was slower than my last half, but not too terribly. I had to stop several times to catch my breath (at the time I thought it was the heat, but now I am wondering if it was the yogurt…).

We showered then headed to Cafe Orleans where I proceeded to drop a glass of coke all over the table, myself and the floor (call me butter fingers). I still felt off all day, but we walked over to Disney California Adventure and rode some rides!

Dinner was at La Brea Bakery — bring one of these to WDW Disney!!! So good!

Monday we hung out in the parks with V until around lunchtime (Tortilla Joe’s!) before we parted ways. We actually met up after dinner (DH and I at Disneyland Hotel) and rode the Matterhorn Bobsleds. DH and I road the Jungle Cruise at night and then called it a night!

Tuesday was another park day and Wed we headed to LA.

Wed night was caught a taping of the new show “Dads.” where I was Seth Green up close on a bathroom trip!!!

Thursday we went the The Price is Right but sadly didn’t get called to “Come on down” If you watch 12/19 you can catch us in the audience, front and center!

Friday we didn’t have plans. However, b/c of the delay the prior Friday we had another day left on our Disney park tickets. We decided to see the La Brea Tar pits in the morning and then head to Disneyland to use up the last day on the ticket. On the way home we stopped at In-n-Out burger (my boss said its a must-do!) for dinner. 

Then Saturday we headed home to our furbaby who we missed dearly!

 

All-in-all a good trip!