Disney Trip Report

I’m back from vacation.  And it was exhausting.  And I didn’t even run a race while I was away.  (I know, it’s a rarity for me.)  I didn’t even bring workout gear with me, since I knew I wouldn’t bother to get in a run.

The Magic Kingdom was beautifully spooky at night.

Of course, that meant that I had to do a Tuesday night ten mile run on my treadmill when I got home, but these things happen

At some point, I will learn to take relaxing vacations.  That day is not today.

If you couldn’t tell from the picture, I just got back from a trip to Disney World.  It was my one-year-old niece’s first trip, which made it extra special.  That kid had six adults around to entertain her. She is definitely living it up.

While I’m not a Halloween person, I love going to Disney at Halloween because I love the creativity of all of the decorations.  I love that the carved pumpkins placed all over on Main Street are themed to their respective locations (film strips over the theater, jewels over the jewelry store, etc).  I love that the characters wear Halloween costumes.  Because come on, characters in costumes are awesome!

Halloween season also means it’s Food and Wine season and if there’s something I love, it’s eating and drinking delicious things.

This was also my first trip to go see Pandora, the new land based on the Avatar movie. When it was first announced a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what I thought.  The movie was already old (and while I did watch it, I don’t remember being all that enthralled).

Guys, this place is incredible.

The theming is amazing and the space is just gorgeous.  Even just walking around was so impressive.  We got to ride Flight of Passage, where you ride on the back of a banshee, and it was incredible.  The technology is so cool and the experience was phenomenal.  If you’re going to the parks, make sure you get a Fast Pass for this ride.  We had Fast Passes, but because the ride was having some issues, we still had to wait almost an hour.  (The regular line was a 4.5 hour wait!)  No complaints here, it was totally worth it, but thanks to that, we were also given a Fast Pass to ride Na’vi River Journey, a ride that my niece could also join us for.  That was also absolutely gorgeous.  I want to go back and experience the space after dark, because I’m sure that it will be beautiful all lit up.

And yes, I do believe my niece had a blast.

While it’s not my place to put someone else’s child on social media, I think the back of her head is probably okay. Also I’m pretty sure Dad had a good time too.

Next Up – Tinker Bell Half Marathon

tbhmw2016_bannerNext up on the race calendar is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.   I haven’t run this race since the inaugural year, so I’m looking forward to going back for the 5th anniversary to see how much it has changed.  I’m also excited to go back to Disneyland.  It’s been a few years, and I always love visiting.  Even when crowded, it always feels so much less hectic than a trip down to Walt Disney World.

In terms of the race, I’m feeling relatively unprepared.  I mean, I’m fairly sure I’m trained well enough, though let’s be honest, anything can happen.  I’m not in any danger of getting swept or anything, but I’ve been focusing so much on my biking that I forget that I’ve got a running race on the schedule.

This is the last runDisney race on my schedule for a while.  I’ve definitely gotten a bit burnt out by the the cost and the attitudes.  My worst experiences have been at Princess, so I’m hoping this women’s themed race doesn’t have the negative presence that I’ve seen there.

I think the biggest problem is that these have gone from running events to… marketing events?  Social events?   Experiential events?  I don’t know what to call them.  But the racing is no longer the draw, and that feels weird.  I like a good race experience as much as the next person, but it’s the actual race that is the draw, not the surrounding experience.  I actually want to run.  I don’t think everyone who signs up for these races feels that way.

Either way, next up, it’s off to California (which is stupidly far from DC, so it’s going to be a lot of traveling).  Here’s hoping it’s somewhat of a relaxing trip and that I don’t end up on the phone with the office half the time!

Drama at the Princess Expo

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Oh my goodness.  After yesterday’s post went live, I started seeing reports of lots of drama at the Disney Princess Expo.  Some highlights:

Lines.  So many lines.

People shoving and throwing elbows to get merchandise before others.

Women throwing wine glasses and breaking them (I think trying to toss them to each other for buying purposes?).

People grabbing at jackets as they came out of the back room.

People buying entire boxes of merchandise to resell.  Apparently there’s a new rule that you can only buy 25 of any one item, so there’s that.

One of my favorites – people posting items on eBay using photos they took at checkout.  Not even waiting to get back to the hotel room to list that puppy for up to twice what they paid.

My favorite – shoving and punching over merchandise.

Apparently the crowds got so heavy that the Fire Marshal came in and shut it down so the crowds could clear out.

People.  It’s just stuff. I mean, I get the desire to have a cool shirt or jacket for your first half marathon.  I’m sure I’m going to want all of the 70.3 gear later this year.  But can’t we be a little bit civil?

Why I’m not at Princess Half this weekend

This weekend is the Disney Princess 10K and Half Marathon.  I’m not going to be there.  Even though this race was the reason I got into half marathon running, I’ve taken it off of my schedule.  And I’m not the sort of person who has a problem repeating races.

I’ve said it before, but I don’t like what this race has become.  And it’s not runDisney’s fault.  It’s the fault of the racers.  Not all of them, of course, but enough that the spirit of the race has changed.

Let me rewind.

Before Disney racing got really big, this race was a lot of fun.  A friendly women’s race (with a few men along for fun) with great costumes and lots of smiles.  But slowly, the tone changed.  The races started selling out much more quickly and the goal of the race went from finishing to getting the medal and looking fabulous while doing so.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen posting online about how they haven’t run more than 5 miles (often significantly less), but they plan to go out and do their first half marathon in their fabulous costume and it will be great.  And hey, if they don’t finish, they still get the medal, and they’ve earned it.  (Personally, I believe it’s a finisher’s medal, but I can’t let someone else’s decision to take a medal affect me.)  I’ve heard many people say that the medal is earned during training.  But if you admit you didn’t train, then how can you claim to have earned the medal?

Do I think anyone can do a half marathon?  With proper training, yes.  Do I think everyone can do a 3:30 half marathon?  Most people sure, again, with proper training, but depending on your fitness level, it could take you a while to get there.  No shame if you can’t do it.  As people say, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.  Start with a race with a longer time limit, or start with a shorter race.  Don’t sign up for a race and not train and be surprised when you get swept.

The race has a 16 minute per mile time limit from the last starter.  That means if you start farther up, you have a bit more time. This has led to people sneaking into faster corrals or even having someone else run under their name in a local race so they can get a good proof of time.  Unfortunately, that just leads to people who are way too slow starting in front of people who are significantly faster than them and then blocking the way.

I think the biggest problem is that many racers have developed a sense of entitlement and it is seen heavily at this race.  I run/walk, and my parents race walk.  I have no problem with walkers.  But you can’t walk five across.  Two is fine in the wider parts of the course, and when the course narrows, you need to stay single file.  It’s just the polite thing to do.  Of course, the walkers aren’t the only problem – there are plenty of runners who have no issue shoving slower people out of their way.  Again, politeness and respect for others goes a long way here.

It’s true that if you’re a slower runner, you probably won’t get to stop for pictures if you want to avoid getting swept.  It’s not unfair.  It’s just how life works.  As I said to April in January, it is kind of a bummer to not get pics, but what you can do is go back after the race, get cleaned up, and then get character pictures in the parks.  You actually end up with cuter pictures because the characters will oooh and ahh over your medal.

Now, I don’t mean to scare people off.  This race can still be a lot of fun.  It just lost a lot of the fun for me.  But it would be nice to see it change.  There’s nothing wrong with being polite to the other runners.  In fact, I think it’s more fun when you find yourself meeting new runners on the course and making new friends.  But as I said multiple times about the Donna Half, “This is what Princess is supposed to be.”  A positive environment, a fun run, and people just having fun.

So if you’re running this weekend, be polite, even if people aren’t polite to you.  Kill ’em with kindness.  And have fun and take pictures of the fabulous costumes for me!

Cigna Blogger Event Recap

Now that I’m almost recovered from my cold, it’s past time I do a recap of the awesome Cigna blogger event that I was invited to during Disney Marathon Weekend.  Cigna is the main sponsor of marathon weekend and it was great to be a part of their blogger event.

This year’s event was themed “Go.  Know. Take Control.”  We learned a lot about preventing common health issues, while having quite a bit of fun in the process.

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The event started with a quick meal where we got to meet other bloggers, then we were divided into teams.  I loved this because I got to meet all sorts of new people and meet a few people “in real life” instead of just online.

We learned a lot through playing games.  There were multiple choice questions where you had to perform an action to “call out” your answer.  Doing squats, jumping up and down, all sorts of of fun things.  (Well, I’m not sure squats are ever fun, but you know what I mean.)  I was proud of myself for knowing a lot of the info about things like a healthy BMI and good cholesterol numbers, but some of the facts were pretty shocking.

Cigna did a study of their insurance holders and 45% of them didn’t know they should have an annual checkup.  And if you have insurance, this checkup is free, so all 45% of them were missing out on a hugely important health resource.

I get it.  A lot of people think “Oh, I’m healthy.  Why do I need to go to the doctor?”  And I get it.  I’m relatively healthy too.  But you know what I can’t tell from how I feel or look?  My cholesterol numbers.  My blood glucose numbers.  My blood pressure (okay, sometimes I can feel that rising).  And your annual checkup can tell you other things as well.  Cigna profiled a 50-year-old man whose doctor discovered his cancer thanks to preventative screenings.  Early detection, early cure.  The same goes with my mom and her breast cancer.

As I have discussed before, my test numbers aren’t bad (well, my BMI isn’t good, but it’s getting there).  But they could be improved.  So I have taken charge of my health and am working to prevent any problems before they start.

You can learn more on Cigna’s website.  They have a lot of great tips on how to improve those key numbers.  This is something that I find hugely important, so I’m not just sharing it because I went to Cigna’s event.  I’m under no obligation to write any of this, but I really think that preventative health care is so important.  And if it’s covered under your insurance, what are you waiting for?  GO!

Back to the event.  Apparently, I was at the smart table, because ultimately, we won the competition.  Personally, I think it was all about our skill at picking up penne noodles using a spaghetti noodle held between our teeth.  But look at our delight in winning!

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I am clearly super excited here. I like to win.

And then, some special guests came in to say hello.

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This girl is never going to turn down a chance to get a photo with Mickey and Minnie – though next year, maybe Minnie can be playing football too.

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