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The Wine & Dine Half-Half; Sergio’s first #runDisney experience

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The plan was to go back and conquer the #WineDineHalf, the goal race that planned all our very first running around.  A race that we were literally soaked to the bone from head to toe, colder than the flash freeze of Arendelle at the hands of Elsa.  But wait a minute it wasn’t that bad!  You had a lot of fun and really enjoyed that race!  You said so right here!

Okay, okay so we did have a lot of fun 🙂 But we were not happy with our time and how we felt physically after that race.  So after our bump in confidence from #PrincessHalf and wanting to give our good friend Sergio ( who came up with the crazy idea to run Dopey before we turn 40) a runDisney experience before Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, we decided to sign up for Wine and Dine Half.

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The weekend was planned to be done on the super cheap so we drove down (spending on $80 US on gas one way!!), stayed off property at a cheaper hotel, and didn’t get Park tickets.  We arrived Thursday after  lunch and were VERY hungry!  So where’s the best place to go?  Well Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs of course!  I highly recommend eating at one of their many locations if you ever get the chance!  You wont be disappointed!

 

Friday Sergio treated us to tickets to Universal Studios!!!

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Karen and I had never been before and Sergio wanted to be our guide for our first trip much like he did for our first Walt Disney World trip! 🙂  We really enjoyed these two parks and all the crazy ride but we were really glad we tried it without the kids first!  While Universal does have quite a few rides for younger kids it felt to us like this place is more geared to the pre-teen and older category.  Perfect for us 3 since it meant we could go on any and all the crazy rides that were open.  We started the day at the main park and rode: The Simpsons Ride & Men in Black Alien Attack. Then we went off to see Diagon Alley! Wow did they ever put a lot of thought into the detail of this!  We were in aw from the moment we stepped into it!

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Saturday!!  Race/Expo day!!  I always like going to the runDisney expos, mainly because we get to see Jeff Galloway and also because we get to checkout the latest runDisney & new balance merchandise.  We learned the hard way, however, to never go to an expo on the second day!  There was hardly any runDisney gear left at all!!  From now on we will always go first thing in the morning on the first day!  We did get to see Jeff Galloway though which we always loves!  I was so busy listening to him give us advice though that I forgot to snap a pic with him 😦 oh well I will definitely do that during the Dopey expo.  Changes with the speaker line up meant though that we missed Jeff’s formal talk!  We were very sad about this!  (Jeff didn’t even know until the morning, I think there were a lot of unhappy people that didn’t get a chance to see him since his talk was pushed earlier than what was printed).  We still got great Dopey advice though when we spoke to him personally at his booth.

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Always love checking out the New Balance booth!

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I’ts almost go time!!

With bib in hand it was time for some lunch and a nap!  wp-1449033281535.jpeg

Man sure is nice to run a race in shorts and a t-shirt!  After we all ogt dressed we drove over to Epcot to park the and catch the shuttle to EPSN.  We got of the bus and headed over to bag check and got that all taken care of.  We had some extra time so we checked out the entertainment and the host for a while then went to the beginning of the line at the entrance tot he corals. We had this wicked plan, since we were in the last coral, to get to the very front so when they released everyone to the corals we could be at the front.  We stood at the front for a good 30 mins before the wind picked up.  and I mean PICKED UP!!!  The palm trees were bending over like crazy, a-frame signs were tipping over and cups and debris were blowing all over the roads.  Then we get word from the race official that the need to evacuate us to shelter???!!!  What the heck is going on???  All the runners were then escorted from the parking lot area back to ESPN zone to the baseball stadium.

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Waiting here for what seemed an eternity allowed us to scan social media and find out there was a big storm that was coming close to the route.  We later found out that there was a lot of lightening and the storm passed right over Animal Kingdom.  We were very worried that the race was going to be cancelled all together!  We didn’t get too many updates either and the ones we did get over the loud speakers we couldn’t even make out!  I like always tried to remain positive unlike someone I know …..

Finally the time came for us to go back to the holding areas so we goes filter into our corals. During the time while we were waiting in our coral we heard the dreaded announcement 😦 The race officials thought it safest to cut out the Animal Kingdom loop.  They were essentially cutting out 6 miles from the half marathon which essential made this now a 7.1 mile race!  Bummer ….  Not the worst news but not the greatest!  It was comforting to know that runDisney had our safety as their number one concern!

Our coral made it to the start line so that meant it was time for one last selfie! wp-1449033279366.jpeg

One of my favorite things about Disney races is the fireworks they blow off for every coral of each race and I finally caught ours on video.

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And we're off!! #WineDineHalf

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We began to weave our way forward snaking our way through other runners and came to one of the character stops Lilo and Stitch!  Lets stop here and get a pic guys!

Later on  we found Woody and Buzz and stole a selfie with them out side the line since we didn’t want to wait!

One of my favorite things about running Wine and Dine is running through The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!

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After the lights there isn’t that much farther to go as you run along the boardwalk and into Epcot to get your medal!  We were really disappointed to not see any Star Wars characters this year though! 😦

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Medals in hand were were off to finally get the chance to see what the Epcot Food and Wine Festival was all about!  We sampled some amazing food and drinks and even got to go on some rides at 330 in the morning!  Not too many people can say they rode Soarin and Test Track at that time of day! 😉

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Just about to ride Soarin

Overall we still had a great time.  It was a severely shortened course and left us feeling a little unaccomplished at the end and I wish Disney would have moved some of the characters from the eliminated Animal Kingdom loop to soften the blow o the shortened course.  I really loved getting to experience the Food and Wine Festival this time since we couldn’t last time.  I also really loved getting onto some of the Epcot rides in the middle of the night!   Now that we’ve done this race twice I am not sure when we will be back.  I still highly recommend this race to people when I talk about it.  Its the only runDinsey race, so far, that happens at night, allows you to ride the rides at that time, gives you access to amazing food, its the only one that gives you a drink voucher for beer or wine  and is the only place licensed to serve alcohol so you can sample so other cool world drinks!  I can’t wait for Dopey in January and Star Wars in 2017!!!

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Cause you gotta wear your medal around on the next day!

#KeepSmilin 🙂

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Twice is Nice! @RBCRunForTheKids 2015 review

It’s time for another race review!  Saturday September 19th I ran the RBC run for the kids for the second time.  It was also my second time being an Ambassador for the race!  I must say: twice is nice!, times 2! 😉

Ambassador-Badge

Being an ambassador for two years in a row allows me the unique opportunity to reflect on last years program and compare it to this year.  I cannot express enough how much the program has improved in one short year.  Myself and 5 others returned as ambassadors along with 19 others to form a very diverse group of runners.  I was very excited at who was selected because many of runners selected I had already befriended or met so I was really looking forward to working with them more closely.  The program was expanded this year from 13 Ambassadors last year to the 25 this year.  Our jobs were to use our social media profiles to create buzz around the event, interact and support other runners and complete one blog post for the race website.  This year we worked very hard to create that buzz and interact with people to encourage them to sign up and meet their fundraising goals.  The race again sold out well before race day!  We were very supported this year by our leader Greg and communication between group members and him was fostered by emails as well as a newly created Facebook group.  The Facebook group proved to be a very invaluable tool for us all to stay informed, learn about each other and coordinate social media promotional events.  New this year was an Ambassadors run which was organized to help us get acquainted with one another.  I, unfortunately, was not able to attend this event but from what I heard from others and saw on social media was very successful and fun!  Next year!…  Also new this year and something I was very excited and extremely thankful for was that New Balance Toronto provided each of the Ambassadors with a $250 gift card to spend at their stores for gear to use while training and during the event.  I couldn’t have been any happier with the gear I selected, how it performed as well as New Balance Toronto’s commitment to us and the race!  You can read more about the gear that I selected and what I thought of it here.

Race day came and we were all told to meet at 730 for a picture and a brief meet up before the 15k runners were to go to the corals.

We ended up being a quite pressed for time so there wasn’t a lot of time for mingling or meeting these people I had been working with for the last few months which was kinda disappointing but there was some time for a couple of other pics.  Like this one with my favorite people left-right: Lisa RootCathy van DergeestMe, Matt Small, Melly Ciffo & Sandi Swan

The 5 of us were all running the 15k together so we made our way to the coral.  No race for me would be complete without some mid race runfie’s of course!

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Who says #Running can't be fun!

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The course was the same as last year and, again, I had no real problems with it.  It was a good mix of hills and flats as well as street vs park environments.  There was just the right amount of water/gatorade stations and I also saw lots of porta-potties along the route.  Many of the streets in the area were shut down and drivers, for the most part, were very understanding.  Well except for one tiny street we crossed I believe it was Grantbrook street where we heard a lot of angry honking, sorry! At this point I would like to send a huge thank you to all the Toronto Police Officers who were out controlling traffic for us!  It made a huge difference to know you were keeping us safe along the route!  Also this event could not have run as smoothly as it did without the many volunteers and event staff.  They all did such an amazing job, THANK YOU!

As the finish line approached Melly and I decided that we would try to finish sub 1hr 30 mins.  We were able to meet that goal, just barely,  and get our bling!

Now that we had our bling (which was the same as last year but the ribbons were different for each distance {a welcome change}), it was time to enjoy the post race party and food!  I always love the post race party after this race.  Two years in a row now I have nothing bad to say.  The music and entertainment is great the food variety, supply and quality is unmatched.  There were baskets everywhere with bananas and chocolate milk, there was grilled cheese, amazing cookies, egg wraps, coffee and I don’t even think that was all that was available!   Please keep this up for future years!

I had such an amazing time “going further for youth mental health”   I would recommend this event to all my running and non-running friends.  With the change to 5, 7, and 15k distances it really caters to all abilities.  I was surprised to see how many young children there who had completed the run!  As I’ve said multiple times before this race makes a huge impact in the lives of our most vulnerable youth and I am so happy it sells out every year!  So please make sure you include this run in your calendar each year and register early!  Thanks to you the $1000 we raised contributed to over $2 million in total for the Family Navigation Project! Way to go everyone!!  I look forward to participating in this event next year and I hope I will be selected a 3rd time as an Ambassador since it gives me great pleasure to raise money and spread awareness of youth mental illness in our community.

Twice is nice but I’d love a three-peat 😉

#KeepSmilin 🙂

Twitter Thank You

New gear! @NewBalanceCan sponsors the @RBCRunForTheKids Ambassadors

Ambassador-Badge

This is my second year now as an ambassador for the RBC Run For The Kids and New Balance Canada has stepped up their sponsorship game with a $250 gift card to spend on gear!  This comes with the preface that we use this gear while training and post on our SM wearing the gear.  There was no obligation for me to do a blog review and I do so at my own choice and offer my honest review here for your benefit.

Thanks New Balance Canada

Thanks New Balance Canada

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Bayview Village New Balance

I chose to visit the Bayview Village location.  The staff there were more than helpful as I explained what sort of items I was looking for.  First and foremost I wanted a new pair of kicks!  I showed the associate what I am currently running in so she would have an idea of what type of shoe I needed {she didn’t even mind that it was a competing brand ;)}.  With the general idea in mind of what I wanted she still did a proper gait and walking analysis to ensure she would be bringing me the proper models.

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My “Foot Print”

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Just a small selection of the men’s shoes available

I was then presented with these shoes:

 New Balance 880v5:

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Vazee Pace:

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Fresh Foam Zante:

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While they all really felt amazing and gave me great support I found the Zante’s fit my foot the best.  I prefer a shoe that doesn’t feel like it has a high sole and the Zante gave me exactly what I was looking for under my feet.  I find with some shoes that the top sometimes is too snug across the top of my foot and the upper of this shoe wrapped around my foot like a grove.  Since it fit so well I did not need it to be laced too tightly until I got to the last eyelets where I like the back to be tight around my ankle.

My new Zante's in all their glory!

My new Zante’s in all their glory!

Along with the shoes I also picked up some sweet New Balance clothes!

Windcheater Jacket

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Technical deets:

  • Material: 100% Polyester moisture wicking fabric
  • Athletic fit
  • Lightweight performance woven
  • Reflective logo
  • Reflective tape at back
  • Two zipper enclosed pockets
  • V-fold binding at hem and cuff
  • Water-resistant
  • Wind-resistant

Accelerate 5 Inch Short

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Technical deets:

  • Material: 100% Polyester moisture wicking fabric
  • 5 inch inseam
  • Athletic fit
  • Contrast color mesh insets
  • Internal key pocket
  • Reflective logo
  • Sleek woven

My thoughts:

The shoes are amazing!  The have performed exactly the way that I need my shoes to perform!  They are not heavy and feel so light on my feet! The cushioning on the sole is exactly right.  The upper is the perfect fit for my foot shape and requires little tension on the laces to keep my foot snug.  The toe box is roomy and airy and with the all the vents on the shoe they breath really well!  I never have any soreness on my feet from my short runs to my long runs.  I have a really good feeling that New Balance is going to be my go-to shoe from now on!

The jacket and the shorts are both made with the same NB DRY material. They but work perfectly at wicking the moisture away from my body.  I wore the jacket for a run along the lake on a windy but still very warm day.  I found it worked very well as a wind breaker and at the same time did not find I was sweating or overheating any more than usual in the heat.  The length of the shorts is perfect for me since I don’t like long shorts riding up and down my leg with each stride.  They come with and inside liner which does exactly what I need it to do.  The NB DRY material means all of the sweat I generate is quickly evaporated away from my body!  I actually find myself reaching for these shorts over all my others now!

I am so happy with all the New Balance gear I was so lucky to have been given!  I would recommend all these products to my friends when asked.

I want to send out a thank you first to RBC Run For The Kids for giving the opportunity to be an Ambassador again, New Balance Canada for sponsoring the run and providing the gift cards to the Ambassadors and to Fit4Balance for all their expertise and help with selecting and purchasing this amazing gear!

See you out there!

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#KeepSmilin 🙂

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 🙂

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