5 Things Friday XXVIII

Happy Friday! It’s very happy for me indeed because I am in Orlando at Hilton Bonnet Creek at BlogHer! (well I guess that is actually #1 on my 5 things Friday list!) I am having a blast here with SO MANY BLOGGERS. It’s a little overwhelming but also fun. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HeathersLG for updates and Instagram stories.

2.) This Thursday I will be at the Port of Tampa for a press event with Carnival Cruise Lines as they have a special bon voyage celebration to mark a special occasion: the Carnival Paradise will be sailing to Havana, Cuba! They will also be creating the largest Cuban sandwich at sea. Here is a flashback to when I was on the Carnival Liberty with the largest cheeseburger at sea!

3.) The following day, the 30th, I will be a part of the blogger caravan for social media day Tampa! I’m so excited! We will be driving around town in VW beetles before the main event that night. More on this in a post next week so stay tuned!

4.) My mom and dad finally moved down here and are in their rental house while their new home is being built. It’s so weird having them “local” (well, 45 minutes away), but it’s great having their help so I am able to do some of these events/more often. We have never had my parents local (I haven’t lived near them since high school!) so this has been nice so far!

5.) We are in the middle of potty training with Emma Kate, and she is doing great! We aren’t “there” yet as we have to remind her a lot, but it’s nice to make progress. We want to be able to take her on a Disney cruise but you can’t go in the pool with swim diapers so it has spurred me on to get things moving. If you have any great tips (especially for getting her to do #2) let me hear em!

That’s it for this week! be sure to tune in to all the BlogHer17 fun buy following along with the #BlogHer17 hashtag.

QOTD: Have you sailed with Carnival before? What is your favorite ship? Any potty training tips? 

Creating a Social Media Content Calendar + New E-Course News

I spend a lot of time on social media, talking about social media, and researching social media. A lot of people spend mindless hours each day copying and pasting, retweeting in real time, etc. Instead of doing this, I spend a larger chunk of time once a month (or week in some client cases) planning out a content calendar for my own blog and for my clients. That way I only have to do a little maintenance here and there throughout the month. Let’s take a look at my process:

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The first thing you need to do is get a calendar template. You can use a Google calendar, a free template in Microsoft word, whatever you like the most (heck, pen and paper is fine, too…well, I would use pencil because you will probably end up erasing things).

Once you have your template, it’s time to fill it out…But with what? This is where the researching comes in handy, but don’t worry, once you have done it a few times you will get a lot faster and will be able to skip most of this part. When I first started managing social for my clients, I had to learn about their niche or brand. So let’s say you are doing social media for a clothing boutique. You will need to research…

1.) The best hashtags to use (which periodically changes)

2.) Their competitors (see what is working for them and what’s not)

3.) The clothes they sell (who is the demographic? Are there certain brands or types that are selling better? What words and phrases would appeal to this demographic?)

4.) Which platforms you are using and what times of day perform better on each? (it may take a little trial and error for this one).

This front end research will make your scheduling and posting go much quicker later on down the road.

Ok, so you have your calendar and you have done your research, now you need to decide what types of posts you will be posting on your/your clients pages. These categories will help mix things up so your page isn’t just images or just text or just product information. For instance, some categories for a clothing store could be:

-product photos

-sale information

-videos

-question and answer

-FAQ

-news from the industry

-other people’s content you share/repost/retweet

-repurpose old content <—yes this is ok to do!

Be sure to mix things up! These categories will help you greatly when it comes to plugging in information into your scheduling tool. Like I said, you will get faster and faster each time!

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The next piece is to actually come up with the content, which should be easy since you already have your categories and have done your research. This piece may involve creating graphics, finding relevant content to link to, coming up with news or product info, taking pictures or videos, etc. Once you have your content figured out (I personally like to create one long word document with all of my social posts for a client), it’s time to plug it into your scheduling tool.

I personally use Sprout Social. It’s not cheap, but it makes my life easier and my work more efficient so I don’t mind the price. Then it’s just a matter of copying and pasting my posts into the scheduler and picking the times. I then transfer everything into the calendar so I can send it to my client (**Some clients require the exact links and words I am using, others are fine with just knowing what topic I am posting about on what channel/what day.)

GUESS WHAT? I am working on an e-course for those looking into becoming a social media manager as a full time gig or side hustle. I’m SUPER excited to share all I have learned with you, and help you get your first clients and start making money from home! My course isn’t quite ready yet, but you can sign up here to be notified when it is, and also get a FREE printable, a social media manger checklist printable. Just go here to sign up and download!

QOTD: have you ever thought about making money from home with a side hustle?

5 Things Friday XXVI

Hola! Happy Friday my friends. It’s literally been raining here for a week, so I think I may need an ark before long to get outside of my neighborhood! I hope you are having better weather than us, and I hope you had a good week! The past couple of weeks here have been super busy with events and such, so I thought I would do a 5 Things Friday event recap of all the fun I have been having.

1.) Biggest Cheeseburger at sea with Carnival: Recently I had the opportunity to board the Carnival Liberty for a fun press event where we witnessed the largest cheeseburger at sea, and even got to flip our own burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint. It was a blast!

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This burger had fifty pounds of toppings and 50 pounds of flour to make the bun. So crazy! 2017-05-25_10-54-12_513

2.) Food and Wine Conference Fun: At the end of May I spoke on a panel at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando. I love having so many conferences “close to home!” Anyway, it was great getting to meet some more local bloggers and make new friends, as well as learn new things. I also love speaking so that was fun, too! I did lots of stories and social media posts so hopefully you followed along.

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3.) Tampa Margarita Festival: I was invited to the Tampa Margarita Festival, and Bobby and I (who both love margaritas) used it as a fun date night. It was hot outside but everyone seemed to be having a great time. We didn’t stick around for the concert (Barenaked Ladies) because we had to go pick up Emma Kate, but we really love having fun local things to do on the weekends!

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4.) Tijuana Flats new summer menu: I had never even heard of this place until we moved here, but it is becoming one of my favorites. They have a great menu, and Bobby and I were invited to try out some of their new summer offerings last week, and everything was delicious! My favorites were the Bangin chicken tostadas and the the lime steak street tacos. Be sure to stop by your local restaurant and check out the new items!

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5.) BlogHer is quickly approaching: I have always wanted to go to BlogHer, and thanks to it being close by and to their generosity, I was able to make it happen this year. I am rooming with two friends from Tampa, and it just so happens to be at one of my favorite resorts, Hilton Bonnet Creek! The conference is June 22-24, so be sure to follow along then because of course I will be updating you all as I go!

QOTD: How is the weather where you are? Have you tried any new restaurants lately?

Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

Disclosure: I was hosted by Wyndham for my stay in their resort. However, all opinions are my own.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Bobby and I decided we wanted to take Emma Kate to her very first water park in Orlando. When Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive invited us to stay as their guests, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity.

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The best thing about this resort is that you can stay where you play. It is the official resort of I-Drive 360, and there is so much to see and do, many things within walking distance (Like the Orlando eye). It’s also only twelve miles from the airport, so you are literally close to everything. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.

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I loved all the greenery and tropical plants surrounding the walkways and the pool areas. There are also plenty of dining options including a bar in the lobby and at the pool. The resort is also home to Gatorville, he poolside grill and bar.

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The rooms all have pillowtop mattresses, 40” flat screen tv’s and mini refrigerators. We were in a king room/family suite that included a separate area with bunk beds and another TV for the kids.

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I really love the idea of the bunk beds, I just wish there was a door or partition to close off this area from the rest of the room. Emma Kate LOVED the bunks though and hung out on the top one all evening.

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Another thing I liked is there is complimentary wifi at the resort. I was given a password upon check in and logging on was super easy.

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Also, there are TWO outdoor pools as well as a heated spa, and a renovated fitness center. The lounge chairs at the pool looked so nice and relaxing!

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This resort also boasts over 60,000 square feet of meeting space. There are two grand ballrooms, and a catering team ready to meet your wedding, party, or business needs.

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I wish we had more time to explore the area, as there were so many things within walking distance we could have done! There is the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, the 7D Dark ride adventure, and great restaurants and shopping like Tervis, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Sugar Factory.

Probably the best thing about this resort is the price. Rates start at just $79 per night, so it’s perfect for a quick getaway, girls weekend, or business trip.

QOTD: Have you ever stayed here? What do you look for in a resort?

New Mizuno Wave Sky


Disclosure: This post about the new Wave Sky is sponsored by Mizuno through Fitfluential. All opinions are my own.

If you have been reading my blog lately, you know I have been struggling with a quad/knee injury that sidelined me for around 8-9 weeks. Not running was no fun, but I knew I needed to be extra careful when I did come back to the sport. When I was asked to try out the new Mizuno Wave Sky, I was pumped as the timing was when I was coming back from my injury, and I couldn’t help but think maybe some new shoes would help my knee to not hurt.

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Well, I was absolutely right. Not only has my knee not hurt running in these new shoes, but I feel like I am running on a springboard. There is just something about running in new shoes that makes me run taller and faster. However, after five runs in the Wave Sky, that feeling has not gone away with the cloudwave technology in these shoes.

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This is a neutral shoe, but it has plenty of cushioning, and as someone who prefers a wider toe box, I am happy to same my toes have not gone numb like that have in other shoes. I also really like the new thicker premium sock liner for a better, more comfortable fit.

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This shoe comes in three great combos for the women, and you can check them out here. I have a feeling I will wear these out really quickly and will need a new pair, I’m digging the pink and want to get those next time!

QOTD: What do you look for in a new shoe? Have you tried Mizuno running shoes before? What is your favorite color combo on the new wave sky?

June 2017 Goals

Happy Summer! Even though I have been doing it for weeks already, you are officially cleared to wear white jeans, mmkk? Smile How did you do with your May goals? Let’s take a peek at mine before looking at my goals for June (How is it June? Next month will be the SECOND HALF of 2017!)

1.) Eat Salad 3x’s a week: C+ I did great on this the first 2.5 weeks of the month, but then I went out of town, and then came home and was playing catch up before going out of town again, and my diet just wasn’t the best in those in between times. However, even though it’s a new month I am still trying to eat salad 1-2 times a week.

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2.) Organize my guest room: Done about as much as I can do. We just need to figure out a good storage solution. I give an A-. It’s all organized but still looks cluttered to me. I found some Disney socks when I was cleaning, which prompted me to search for more on Amazon. How cute are these?

3.) Lose 4 pounds: This one is interesting. After the 10 day cleanse with Advocare, I lost 3 pounds. Then I went to the food and wine conference, had my least favorite “time of the month” and gained two pounds (says the scale). Now It’s saying I lost two, but I look thinner than I did before so maybe I gained muscle? We will see when I do my final 24 day challenge results next week. So I will say B- for now.

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Now let’s take a look at June:

1.) Get my pre sale for my new course up and running: That’s right folks! I have had a new digital product in the works for a couple of months, but content creation has been slow going with my busy schedule. I figure if I put it here as a goal for all of you to see, then I have to do it, right? I have my outline done, I just need to fill in the gaps and get my sales page going, then record all my content. Nothing, right? (haha)

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Emma Kate is excited about my course presale

2.) Read a book: I find that in the evenings I either mindlessly watch TV or mindlessly scroll through social media, and I prefer to be more intentional with my time. I love to read, but it seems to be the first thing that gets crowded out, so I’m making it a goal to read a book this month!

3.) Make at least two new brand connections at BlogHer17: That’s right! I am attending BlogHer in Orlando this month! I have always wanted to go but could never swing the cost of ticket, flight, and room. However, thanks to it being in Orlando and the generosity of BlogHer, I am able to make it happen. I can’t wait to meet new blogger friends and also make some business/brand connections.
I'm going to #BlogHer17 in Orlando!

Looking for a way to keep track of your monthly goals or fitness progress? Download my FREE fitness and goal tracking printables here.

KidsPark: Easy, Fun Childcare

When we moved to Tampa at the end of last year, I knew one of the things we were going to miss most was being close to family. Not only did we enjoy hanging out with them on a regular basis, but we really loved the option for babysitters, and never had to have a stranger watch our two year old!

Not only does Tampa offer a wide range of fun activities I wanted to attend, but as a blogger I get invited to special events and dinner etc., too. Not knowing anyone made it difficult to find a baby sitter, so when I saw an ad in a local paper for KidsPark, I knew I needed to investigate.

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The website is very informative, and I found out that KidsPark is actually a pay by the hour daycare franchise with many locations throughout the country. I was super excited as my babysitting problem was solved! Not only that, but Emma Kate would get to play in a new environment and have fun interacting with other kids all at a very low hourly rate, while mom and dad go to have fun of our own. Lucky for us, the nearest location is less than ten minutes from our house. The best part is there are NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! You simply show up, check your child in, and leave. Some people drop their kids off for an hour or two so they can go get groceries or go to the doctor, and some leave them for a full day of fun. It’s up to you!

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When you arrive, you register and pay a small registration fee, and then are charged by the hour for your child’s time at KidsPark. At the end of the day the price per hour is WAY less than I would have to pay an in home sitter, plus my child is getting to be in a new fun place with new friends, which I prefer.

There are cubbies at the front for your child’s belongings and shoes. Children are required to take their shoes off, but must wear socks, so don’t forget them!

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Another thing that I love is there are meals and snacks at KidsPark. Meals at our location are $4.00, or you can bring your own meal from home (we have done both, it just depends on the menu and home much time I have as to what we do). Snacks are at no additional charge. Wondering about ages and activities? Kids can start going to KidsPark at age two through age eleven at our location. The “big kids” also have a special play area so they aren’t constantly on top of the little kids, so no worries there!

They even help assist with potty training. Emma Kate wears a special color sticker on her name tag so they know to remind her about the potty. Awesome! Sometimes Emma Kate comes home with a craft or picture that she drew, so it’s nice to know they are doing different activities with the kids. They also have different themed days and weeks depending on time of year, holidays, etc.

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As you can see from this happy face, Emma Kate has never been upset when we leave her! There is so much to do, and so many new friends to make! Another favorite thing about KidsPark is that it is open on a lot of holidays when regular schools are closed. There have been times when EK’s daycare was closed that we brought her to KidsPark because I needed to get work done. They are also open late into the night for those date nights for mom and dad (midnight on Friday and Saturday!)

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Another option we have not taken advantage of is that KidsPark operates as a preschool during the day. It’s a traditional preschool with a modern twist, so think music, drama, art, math and science for your little ones. You can even start a young child at one day a week and move up to five days.

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Emma Kate LOVES the little house and kitchen area!

KidsPark is even open for private parties on Sunday mornings and evenings when the center is closed to the public. You get a hostess to help with your party so you can enjoy instead of clean up, lead games, etc.

Don’t forget KidsPark is licensed and all the teachers have early childhood backgrounds and pass background checks. They are great at making your child feel comfortable and they always remember Emma Kate’s name, even after she had only attended a couple of times (they know her as the girl with the big bows, of course!) KidsPark’s mission is simple: Happy kids, happy parents, and in our family, they have succeeded!

Click here to see if there is a KidsPark location near you!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

5 Things Friday XXV

Hey guys! I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought it would be fun for this Memorial Day weekend Friday.

1.) Me, Bobby, and Emma Kate are headed to Orlando on Sunday and will be hitting the Disney Waterparks (her first time at a water park!) We will be going to Blizzard Beach because I hear that is the most kid friendly of the two. I can’t wait! I haven’t been to a Disney Waterpark in YEARS.

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2.) While we are in Orlando we will be staying at the Wyndham I-Drive, which is the official hotel for International drive. I will be posting pictures and Insta stories on Sunday and Monday, so stay tuned!

3.) I attended a Carnival Cruise Lines event yesterday at Port Canaveral, and will be posting a blog post about it soon. We were on the Carnival Liberty for a couple of hours, eating hamburgers!

4.) You may have noticed I am finally back to running! I haven’t done anything over three miles, but my leg is feeling better and better. I still have to foam roll and stretch really well, and don’t have 100% range of motion when I squat or lunge, but I have no knee pain!

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5.) Recently we tried out FitLife foods, which has locations here in Tampa, and delivers meals right to your door. You get to pick what meals you want and when you want them delivered, and they just show up! Some of them tasted pretty good, and some were honestly pretty bland and needed some serious salt and pepper. I enjoyed not having to think/worry about what I was going to eat for dinner as a busy working mom, which was the main/huge draw for me. I just knew we had meals in the refrigerator, and so that stress hanging over my head was gone, plus I didn’t have to go to the store as much. But, the one downside for us/Bobby is that the portion sizes were too small for him. He eats a lot and works out a lot and would need 2-3 “meals” for one meal, and that gets expensive quickly.  I may give them another go the next time he is out of town and it’s just me and Emma Kate, because I truly enjoyed the convenience! If you haven’t tried it out I say give it a go one time!

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May 2017 Goals

Happy new month! I know for most of the country it’s just starting to warm up and people are thinking about getting outside and doing outdoor activities. However, here in Florida, it’s getting into the mid 90’s and it’s time to hibernate inside for the next 6 months! Before we get into my May goals, let’s take a look at April. I have some interesting stuff going on this month so read all the way down!

1.) Be able to run the Star Wars Half pain free: C Well, my knee did hurt for the majority of the race, but it was manageable and I was still able to run/walk. The good news is every day it got better and better after, so it isn’t like it stayed hurting the same amount for days and days after. It’s been over a week and I have been walking pain free for 3 days. Back to foam rolling, stretching, and walking. (Please realize I knew that running 13.1 pain free was a stretch. Anyone who doesn’t run for 8 weeks then tries to run a half is going to have some aches and pains, but I am just glad my quad gave me zero pain, which is where the injury began back in February!)

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2.) Organize extra room: B+ With Bobby’s help, we moved some of the storage items out and the room looks a lot better. I still have a couple of boxes and a handful of random items I need to find a home for, but it looks so much better than it did last month!

3.) Walk 4x’s a week: B I am giving myself a B because there was one week I only walked 3 times. It made me feel good to be able to do “something” even though I wasn’t running. We had some nice weather last month so I’m glad I got to take advantage of that before the heat set in. I was walking up to 3 miles at a time pain free!

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May goals:

1.) Eat Salad 3x’s a week: If you know me at all, you know salad is not my thing. However, I have been trying really hard at making myself eat it, and I know it’s good for me, too. I have been adding fruit and other things I like to make it easier, and so far it hasn’t been so bad (I started my experiment over the weekend). I know it will help my overall health!

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2.) Organize my guest room: Now that one room is almost completely cleaned out, it’s time to move on to the guest room. Same as last month, this room just needs some purging and organizing to make me not want to keep the door shut all the time!

3.) Lose 4 pounds: Ok guys. Here is the big one. It’s something I have been trying to ignore since March, but I can’t any longer. I was doing so well maintaining my weight when we first moved to Florida, but then I got injured. I thought I would only be out of commission for a week or two, so I didn’t bother trying to do other workouts because I thought my body could use a break. Then two weeks turned into a month then six weeks and two months. Yes I started walking after 6/7 weeks, but with the way I was eating I was still gaining weight. After our most recent trip and feeling gross after eating fried and fatty foods for a week, I decided my body needed a cleanse/reset.

I have sold Advocare for years, but I generally don’t talk about it unless someone asks me, and then I took the past 6 months off because of the move etc. However, I think the best thing for me right now is to do the 24 day challenge. I have done it a few times in the past and it’s a really good jump start for me to get back on track. Please hear me when I say it’s ENTIRELY possible to lose weight without this program. I have done it before. However, sometimes I need a little more motivation and a strict schedule to follow, an I think right now this is what I need.

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However, I would love some accountability, so I thought it would be a great idea to open this up to my readers and see if any of you wanted to participate in the challenge with me. If you purchase the products from my link and if I get enough interest, I would open up a Facebook challenge group where we can hold each other accountable, share recipes, workouts, etc. to make it through the 24 days. If you are interested in joining in, you can email me at [email protected] or just purchase the challenge bundle here and I will be notified. If you have any questions please let me know! (PS: if you want 20% off your order, you can become a distributor. There are NO auto ships and NO minimum orders, simply purchase what you want when you want, you just have to pay the $59 distributor fee and it’s good for a year. You can choose to sell to others or just keep the discount for personal use. However, if you sell enough, you can get your discount up to 40%!)

I would be happy to discuss the options with you, or go through any add on products you may want to try for the challenge. I would love for you to join in with me and lose a little weight and get healthy before swimsuit season! (I am looking to start the challenge within the next two weeks, so if you would like to participate you would need to order this week to have time for shipping!)

QOTD: What are your goals for May? Is it hot where you live?

*Don’t forget that if your goals are in front of your face all the time you are more likely to stick with them! Click here to get my set of FREE goal and fitness tracking printables.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap

My husband and I recently ran the second annual Star Wars Dark Side half marathon at Walt Disney World. Check out my recap of the race below and email [email protected] if you have any questions about the race.

My alarm went off at 2:45 am, and I was actually oddly enough already awake. I knew just laying there would make it even harder to get up, so I begrudgingly did it and got ready for the race, taping my knee, and psyching myself up. I scarfed down a Quest bar and Bobby made eggs (seriously, who makes eggs at 2:45 in the morning?) and soon we were off to the buses. It was slightly chilly (for me, but I’m always cold) but not “cold” by any means. I could tell it was going to be a humid race though.

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The bus pickup for Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary was on the far side of the convention center, so we had quite a hike to get where we were going. However a bus was there waiting and we snagged the front row. We made it to the star very quickly since it was in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, and we got in line for the bathrooms then made it into our corals with an hour left to spare. I know runDisney wants to make sure everyone gets there on time, but we got on a bus right before 4 am (which is when they say the last buses leave for runners) and we had WAY more than enough time to spare. We sat down in coral C and waited…and waited…and waited. When you are sitting there waiting to run 13.1 miles you begin to contemplate why you spent money to be tortured in this way. Anyway, soon it was time for the National Anthem and then coral A got their fireworks and start, and we were moving up to the front.

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Then we were running…and it was dark. Like REALLY dark. A lot of the street lights weren’t on/working and I was concerned about tripping on something it was so dark. We made a huge loop and ended up almost next to the start line. We were in the 3rd of 19 waves, so we kept hearing fireworks for a very long time. We then turned onto Bear Island road, which reminded me of running the marathon around into the back of Animal Kingdom, which is exactly where we were headed. But not before running into some storm troopers!

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My knee began to bother me a little bit so we did run walk intervals, which I was fine with since I had not been running since the Princess half eight weeks ago.

There were a few photo op’s that didn’t involve characters which I thought was a nice touch. Since I don’t know a ton about Star Wars (don’t hate me) I had to get Bobby to explain several things to me.

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We made it into Animal Kingdom, hit the bathrooms, and made it around the park. I was actually shooting an Instagram story in the below photo. Gotta work while I run!

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On the other side of Animal Kingdom we ran into these guys. Bobby told me to do this with my hands but I still have no idea why.

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Dark Maul was next. Clearly I am impressed with Star Wars characters. However, Bobby was in his element.

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At about mile eight, Bobby’s lack of training began to show. Poor guy doesn’t have time to run, and he ran one six mile run and a few short runs before the race, but that’s it. His hamstrings began to cramp up and his knees were aching pretty badly, so we did more walking the last few miles of the race, and stopped some so he could stretch.

I really enjoyed running a different course than the same ones I have done over and over, and in particular I loved going through Hollywood Studios an dover the Boardwalk.

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But what I did NOT like is the path going from DHS to the Boardwalk. It’s super narrow and was really congested. You can’t get around people so it was slow going the whole way. Oh well!

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I kinda like him.

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On the Boardwalk there were more fun characters to pose with.

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Selfie with a Storm Trooper? Why not!

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As we came down towards the International gateway area, we saw Chewie but didn’t see a clear path to get to him from the road, so we hopped in the grass to get over to the line and a cast member yelled at us in a not so magical voice to get off the grass. Oy.

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We made the turn into EPCOT and started around the World Showcase.

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My attempt at getting Spaceship Earth in the background.
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Near where the gospel choir is at other runDisney races, we saw these two and of course had to stop. Leia’s face cracks me up.

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We made one final turn past the mile 13 marker, and were in the home stretch. Across the finish line we went and another half marathon was now complete.

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We didn’t stick around because my parents were watching Emma Kate, and we had fastpasses at Animal Kingdom so we hopped on a bus and headed back to the resort, eating snacks from our boxes on the way. Another race to check off my list!

QOTD: Are you a Star Wars fan? Would you ever run this race?