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Running the #PrincessHalf with my Princess

It was finally time for the Princess Half Marathon presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and just like our Wine and Dine experience we were certainly not disappointed!

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430 am we arrived at All Star Music though some crazy rain and hydro-plaining but safe and sound

We drove down again this time with just the 4 of us and because of that, we made really good time!  So, silly us, we thought “hey we could spend money on a hotel somewhere in South Carolina or Georgia or we could just split up the last 8hrs of driving and stay at Disney an extra night”!  One quick call to The Disney Travel Company and BAM a room would be waiting for us upon our new arrival date!

Ahh the health and wellness expo! This is beginning to be one of our favourite parts of runDisney weekends!  We always start our racecations with this and we always get to meet our favourite people!.  This time, however, was extra special because we took the time to meet and speak with Jeff Galloway the training guru for runDisney.

None other than the famous Jeff Galloway

None other than the famous Jeff Galloway

The expo is always filled with lots of cool running stuff!  You could literally spend a whole day there!  I esp like meeting my new running peeps and checking out the runDisney branded gear for the run!

My favorite purchase from the expo!

My favorite purchase from the expo!

Its going to take a long time to get through this!

Its going to take a long time to get through this!

The shoes!  The shoes!

The shoes! The shoes!

An autograph from Jeff Galloway!

An autograph from Jeff Galloway!

As always, a trip to Disney would not be complete without a meet up with Carrie Burrows from www.carrieburrows.com and Kristin Long from BamagirlRUNS

Gotta love Carrie and her #TeamBlurrySelfie pics!

Gotta love Carrie and her #TeamBlurrySelfie pics!

Ok so enough about the expo lets talk about the #PrincessHalf!

It's almost time!  I'm only really pretending to be nervous runDisney events always fun!

It’s almost time! I’m only really pretending to be nervous runDisney events always fun!

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This was our first time running early in the morning!  Kinda sucks setting the alarm for for 330 but not totally unusual for two shift workers!  We got up, got dressed, ate some protein bars and headed over to Epcot.  Wish I had eaten some more! I found myself quite hungry for the last few miles;  very thankful for the Gu stations near the end!   Now that we’ve done this once before it was not so overwhelming to see the mass of people, the stages, the rows and rows of porta potties and the line for bag check.  We did not have any bags to check thankfully so we picked a spot and plopped ourselves down on what used to be a section of parking lot for Epcot.  My wife began to stretch her hurting knee 😦 and I just paced around back and forth.  I always find myself so excited before a half marathon that I cant sit still on the ground or stand in one place.  Some distraction; a text from Carrie that she was in the holding area as well!  “Who-Who” Time for a pre-race selfie!

With that it was off to the sea of porta-potties and into our coral!  They gotta find a better word for these holding areas!  It just perpetuates the feeling of being a bunch of animals being herded into a pen!  This is the place where you get your music ready, head phones on, all your clothes (costumes) adjusted and wait for your turn to start!  Each Disney race has many corals that all start in succession to one another spaced by about 10 mins or so.  As each coral starts the next one is moved up to the starting line.  And in true Disney fashion each coral starts with a bang!  Literally!

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And with the #PrincessHalf is underway!

A post shared by Mike Influencer Blogger Runner (@paramedic_mike) on

As you can see it is still quite dark out and the first coral gets started at aprox 530am but it doesn’t take long for the sun to come out and light the way!  The first few miles are pretty uneventful as you leave the Epcot parking lot and head along the roadways that interconnect the parks.  Somewhere between mile 1 and mile 2 was a character spot for Jack Sparrow.  We decided not to stop at this point since it felt like we had just and really the line was just too long!  Thankfully we didn’t since we found out that we would be running right by them again on our way back!  Mile 2-3 was Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope; again didn’t stop.  Next was all the evil queens together in one spot!  We had to stop and get a pic here:

While we were waiting in line for this one I noticed Brittney Smith from Main Street Memories. I stopped her and we chatted for a bit but now I’m kicking myself for not getting a pic with her cause she is awesome!!  After we got our pic with the evil queens we carried on running through the expansive Magic Kingdom parking lot.  We then began to hear some of the most amazing drumming we have ever heard and saw this!

"Just needs a little more cowbell" please tell you me you get the reference

“Just needs a little more cowbell” please tell you me you get the reference

This is just one of the many reasons we love running runDisney races!  Disney just does such a dam great job entertaining you!  Next it we ran past the Contemporary resort and entered the park via some secret employee entrance I’ve never seen before.  Magic Kingdom has now opened and there are seas and seas on spectators cheering us on!  No words can describe that feeling of running through Magic Kingdom and having all those people cheering you on!  I heard lots of “Who-Who” (I think I was the only Oaken on the course btw SCORE! {props to my wife for the idea}) and wonderful cheers of encouragement!.  After running up Main Street you make the right turn into Tomorrow Land where there was a character stop with Buzz Lightyear. We trudged onwards across the top of the park so as to enter the Castle from the rear side.  What an amazing sight; Elsa Anna and Kristof were standing at the top of the Castle waving a cheering everyone on.  They even took the time to have a conversation with me!  I think they liked the costume ;).  Don’t ask me why I didn’t take a selfie with them in the background!!  I must have been too distracted with the castle and they fact that those 3 were just talking to me from the balcony lol! There are no words to describe running through the castle as a #DisneyDad and runner other than to just experience it!.  We stopped for a big hug, a few kisses and a selfie and we continued on!

Photo bombed!  no time to wait for people to clear!  theres a big line to get pics here!

Photo bombed! no time to wait for people to clear! theres a big line to get pics here!

From here on you run towards the outside of Magic Kingdom through Frontierland where you could stop for a pic with the locomotive from the Walt Disney World Railroad.  This section along Floridian way is quite boring esp being this far into the race but at least they had members of Reedy Creek Fire Department posted at one spot along to route cheering us on and “Protecting the Magic” as they say 🙂

Had to google search for this pic; credit to https://smilesthroughmiles.wordpress.com/

From researching this pic I discovered that this was the halfway point of the race; We were still feeling great here.  Again one would think that me being a Paramedic and being a friend of Jeff Armstrong I would have snapped a pic here but sadly I failed again lol.  Onward!  From here on out the route follows the roads and is not through and Park.  So to keep you motivated there are more character stops: the Glass Slipper, the Gene in his vacation outfit with a Mickey Golf Cart, the Princess and Jack Sparrow with Barbosa.

Some of the Princess were more interested in out selfie than the professinal photographer!

Some of the Princess were more interested in our selfie than the professional photographer!

I thin Sparrow is plotting a way to plunder my Princess

I think Sparrow was plotting a way to plunder my Princess

From here on in its the last push along the roads that lead back to Epcot helped along by a Toy Story soldier ordering everyone to keep going!  The  section with the Children’s Miracle Network cheer squad had some really amazing encouraging and uplifting signs just before the entrance!  You enter Epoct and there’s a character stop for Sophia the Worst uh Last uh I mean first :). Keep running!  Lots of cheering from spectators at Ecpot as well; it was very uplifting and motivating!  Disney fans are amazing!!  From here you run past the Ball to the beginning of the world showcase.  We ended up seeing Carrie and Bama run past us going the other direction.  This very encouraging for us since this meant we were running a great race time even with the stops that we had taken.  We met them again at the choir and stopped for another selfie with them 🙂

Prise the Lord we’re almost done! Thanks for the pic Carrie

Now its a very short run to the finish line where Mickey is there to cheer you on and give highfives!

 

As usual we were blown away by the Quality of the medals!

As usual we were blown away by the quality of the medals!

The next morning you go to the park and show off your medal

The next morning you gotta go to the park and show off your medal

 

Starbucks and a Medal!

Starbucks and a Medal! Note the name on the cup 🙂

at Splash Mountian

at Splash Mountian

at Splash Mountain

at Splash Mountain

Gotta show the bling off at the Castle with our bestie!

So in review I really don’t have anything bad to say about this race!  It was yet another amazing memorable experience with my amazing Princess wife that I will cherish forever!  The whole experience was amazing from start to finish, for all aspects!  The one thing I would change is to stop and take more pics to enjoy/remember the experience after.  We did make more stops this time under the advice of Carrie and very thankful for that but in hind-site now I don’t think we stopped enough.  We paid enough to be there for the race and to have the characters out we may as well enjoy it!

Well how bout you?  Did you run #PrincessHalf? Have you ever run a runDisney event before?  Do you have any questions about a runDisney race?  Let me know in the comments section.

#KeepSmilin 🙂

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New to running? So am I! Here’s what keeps me going!

So I was running on the treadmill today and got to thinking about my goals, why I run and how I stay motivated being new to this. This is going to be directed at those like me who are new or thinking about getting into running. I already gotten into some of the benefits that I’ve noticed in a previous post so I won’t get into that here.
Today I want to focus on motivation and how I am able to keep at it in the hopes I can help some of you do the same!

First and foremost what you need and what did/does it for me is to have a goal! Now you and I being new it is best to pick a goal that you will reach 6 or so months down the road. For me I chose the @RunDisney #WinedineHalf in Nov. This is a half marathon (13.1 miles) that runs through mine and my families favorite place to be: Walt Disney world. For you it can be anything a race, weight loss change of body shape etc. Just pick something that’s important to you and allow yourself enough time to reach it!

The second thing I’ve found that has been a huge help is to surround yourself with others that have similar interests and goals! People that will cheer you on and encourage you! For me it’s been a huge help to have my wife @karenvanmil running the same race as well. SM is reall big for me as I’m sure you know so I try to follow people and accounts that inspire encourage and check in on me and my progress! When you know people are in your corner and are following your progress it’s a huge help! Avoid the people that will get in the way of your goal. There will be people that will tell you not to post stuff about exercising and getting healthy you need to ignore them. Follow me I’ll encourage and support you! Follow @carrieburrows she’s was my first supporter and continues to as well. She is also a wealth of knowledge on how to get to where you wan to me check out her blog there is a whole library of information and inspiration there!

The next thing that really helps me in the short term for each run is a good music playlist! I saw some where (don’t have the link) that music at least 120 beats/min helps you to run faster. It may not be music you typically listen to but trust me, put on some upbeat dance pop or rap and you’ll forget you’re even running! There are a vast amount of music playlist/players out there for smartphones. I and currently using @Songza it has the biggest and best playlist and truly multi-platform even on the web!

The last thing I use on run is visualization. I picture myself actually running the half marathon in Disney and how it will feel when my wife and I cross that finish line together! Picture what you will look like with extra weight gone, how your body will look when you get it where you want it or just how much better you will feel overall!

And finally I leave you with my two favorite hashtags:

#Runstrong
#KeepSmilin

Thanks for reading and please do let me know how it goes for you! I’d love to hear from you and help you along with words or encouragement! 🙂

She’s got the @RunDisney Shoes

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Well it’s Karen’s birthday today and a certain special someone pulled some strings and called in a favor to get her the most amazing shoes out there! Her reaction was all I needed to see to confirm I had just made her the happiest woman on the planet!

The RunDisney force is strong with this one

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The excitement to try them on and use them was too much! So much so that she just HAD to get on the treadmill and take them for a test run! After her run she could not believe how much better her feet felt! If you’re ever having pain anywhere when running or walking I highly recommend your solutions start from the ground up and invest in a really good pair of shoes. New Balance and RunDisney have really hit the mark here combining the best shoe on the market and themed them with your favorite Disney characters for men, woman and children. Don’t take my word for it see for your self!

The shoes are only available at RunDisney events so come out and join us on our run in November when we complete the Wine and Dine half marathon; the more the merrier!

PS another special thanks goes out to @CarrieBurrows and @T_Burrows for making this shoe idea of mine happen! 🙂 . Long lines, a 3 hour flight, a coffee date and little bit of pixy dust made it all happen!

#KeepSmilin 🙂

What? Me running? Can it be so??

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So I’ve decided to take up running with my wife (@Karenvanmil).  Why? For months now I have been very interested and following Carrie Burrows blog posts and tweets about her Run Disney accomplishments.  She has been such an inspiration to me and through her careful pushes, nudges, words of encouragement, and support I brought the idea to Karen to complete a RunDisney event during our next Disney trip (we are fortunate enough to be able to take our kids  on a Disney vacation for the last 3 consecutive years with no plans to stop).  It didn’t take long for her to decide to jump on this idea as she has always had a close relationship with her treadmill so adding a running event to what we both think is the most magical place on earth is like a match made in heaven (like us hehe ♥)

I can’t begin to tell you what this has done to her to me and to us!  First off to have a goal and date set has been huge for both of us in terms of our determination and dedication to get on that treadmill as many days as we possibly can.  It has made us push harder and harder everyday.   Also, Karen mostly, we’ve noticed how much exercising can do for stress.  Each time after a good hard run we both can sense the weight of life/work stresses lifted off our shoulders and the things that would have bothered us before don’t seem to matter anymore.   Our relationship has also seen a renewed boost!  To have a common goal to work together on has been great for us.  We have a renewed energy and boost; we can talk about our runs whats been good whats not.  It allows us to encourage and support each other which I think is huge to keep up in a relationship.

I am very excited about looking forward to the months ahead and training for this personal goal of both of us to complete the Walt Disney Wold Wine and Dine half marathon!  All our Disney vacations have been magical experiences for our whole family and this will add a whole new element that only experiencing will reveal to us!

I look forward to sharing with you my road to the half marathon and my experience there when its done!  Stay tuned …….

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