Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay 5K

Update: This post about the Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay 5k was originally published in 2013, but I have since updated it and am republishing it now, in October of 2018.

Disney Cruise Line has a private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay. They also have a FREE 5k race you can run with a real medal given to you at the finish line. I have written other Castaway Cay 5k posts, you can search for them after reading this one, which is Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay 5K including a walkthrough of how the morning goes. (If you want the short, bullet point tips version scroll down to the bolded wording)

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island that most of their cruises sail to at the end of the voyage. The Castaway Cay 5k is considered a runDisney run. It is a free fun run and is a 5k distance that has a race clock so you can see your time at the end.

The process of the 5k has changed over the years, but as of January 2018 when I last ran, below is the process:

-You sign up at the shore excursion desk and are given “tickets” telling you where to be and when.

-There will also be information in your navigator on where/how to sign up and where to be the morning of the race.

-We met in the main nightclub area which will be different depending on the ship you are on.

-They won’t let you in to “sign in” until a certain time, and the line outside gets quite long.

-BRING YOUR ID AND SHIP CARD. They will sign you in, and give you a race bib and safety pins

-Take a seat and hang out and meet new people until they come on stage explaining the debarking process and race map to you.

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Typically, you walk off the ship together and to the starting point by the bike rentals. Please note it’s a pretty long walk, so be prepared.

At 9:30 when we were cleared to go ashore onto Castaway Cay (time changes depending on sailing). We walked together off the gangway as a large group and onto the island. A cast member led the way.

PRO TIP: Grab some towels to put into your backpack. Backpack? What backpack? That leads to my most important pro tip. Bring all your stuff for the day with you! They have a large box to store belongings in at the start/finish line. Trust me, you don’t want to walk aallll the way back to the ship after to shower and change then come aallll the way back. That will waste an hour of your day on this beautiful island. Instead, we pack a bag with our swimsuits, shower wipes, deodorant, sunscreen, and anything else we will need for the day post-race. Then after we run, we shower off outside the bathrooms, then go in to change, wipe off, and get ready for the day.

Ok so where was I. The starting line is also the finish line, and there are directional arrows on the course. The biggest problem people have is that they don’t listen. You have to make TWO TOTAL LOOPS at one point in the race and for some reason, this is confusing for people.

castaway Cay 5k

There will be cast members there to help get everyone lined up and ready.

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Just like any race, it’s harder to move at first then it thins out pretty quickly.

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Soon after you start you will see your first directional sign in red (below). As long as you aren’t in first place just follow the people in front of you ha!

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You will then see a cast member standing by a water stop directing you into the bike loop.

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The loop is my least favorite because you have to run it twice and it’s just tree after tree.

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After you exit the loop, you head down the airstrip to Serenity Bay.

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Once you get to the end you are supposed to loop it like a cul de sac and come back the other way then head into the loop again. Some people cut this turn short and cheat but I feel that only cheats yourself so just run the whole thing. 🙂

You then head back down the airstrip and this would be a great time to grab water before heading back into the loop if you need it.  After you make it out of the bike loop you head back towards the finish line which was the way you first came/also the start line. The finish feels great, and be sure to watch the clock as you cross so you can see what your time is.

Castaway Cay 5k

There are water coolers at the finish line, plus your medal! There was a photographer as well who was taking pictures. If you buy a photo package they have adorable little race decals at the bottom!

There are bathrooms near the finish (which is where we change) and there is also a shop that sells 5k merchandise. Be mindful that they have been known to run out, so don’t wait until the end of the day if you want a cute shirt.

We then grab our bags out of the box and change, then head to the tram stop which happens to be right by the finish line. We then head out to Serenity Bay, and hit the beach for an amazing and relaxing day on Castaway Cay!

Here are my best tips summed up that I have learned after doing the Castaway Cay 5k 10 times that may be useful.

1.) Bring your beach clothes and things with you in a bag or backpack so you don’t have to go back to the ship. You will waste a good 45 minutes to an hour walking back, showering, and coming back out when you can change and shower at the beach. They have a large bin you can keep your things in at the start line.

2.) Get towels when you get off the ship. I am so glad we did because they did NOT have towels at Serenity Bay and we would have had to go back and get some.

3.) Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. It’s HOT and there isn’t a lot of shade on the course, especially on the airstrip.

4.) Hydrate! They set up a water stop at the bike loop, but you can also take advantage of the water stops in the bike loop and at the Serenity Bay tram stop.

5.) SOMETIMES they have a Disney character waiting at the finish line (didn’t this time but did last time) so bring a camera or phone to capture the moment!

6.) If you want to see the island but don’t want to run, there is an “island power walk” that leaves just a few minutes after the 5k that you can join in with, or you can always rent bikes.

7.) Be sure to look at your finishing time as you cross, it’s on your left up high in a brown box

8.) At the souvenir shop right by the finish, they sell 5k finishers shirts. I wouldn’t wait until late in the day to get one in case they run out of your size. I snagged mine right after I finished the race and they had plenty.

9.) Bring your ID and ship card or you can’t check in for the race or get off the ship!

10.) Have fun! Just remember, you burned extra calories so now you can enjoy an extra Konk Cooler on the island!

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(This photo is taken from the start. When you are coming into the finish, the clock is facing the other way so you can see your time.)

Special note: Apaprently this happens VERY RARELY but it does happen and unfortunately it happened to us. We were unable to dock on Castaway Cay on one of our cruises, but we still had the 5k on the ship! We had to run around a certain number of times (9 maybe?) and they had a water stop set up and we got our medals. Not ideal, but it was nice to still get to run the race anyway! Read more about that Castaway Cay 5k experience here.

I have loved running the Castaway Cay 5k on the beautiful island, it’s a great way to start your day and you get a fun souvenir, too. Slow or fast, it doesn’t matter, be sure to give this a try on your next cruise!

Visit Travelwiththemagic.com for Disney Cruise Line information.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap 2018

When I ran last year’s runDisney Star Wars half marathon, I had no idea I would be running again this year. Thanks to the generosity of Raw Threads, I was able to do the challenge and I had a blast! I ran both races by myself and just had fun (and yes my lack of training was disturbing) but it didn’t matter, I was in my happy place.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

My alarm went off at 3:15, and I had no idea if it was raining or not. (Before I went to bed it was looking like it was going to be a soggy run.) I got dressed and headed out to my car, and there was no rain! I drove the easy drive over to EPCOT, and sat in my car and ate breakfast before walking over to the buses. I again went to the bathroom here as opposed to at the Magic Kingdom (DO THIS. Lines were INSANE at MK parking!) I got on a bus around 4:35, and made it to the start of the race and into my corral at 5:05. I really liked not having to wait so long in the corral, and didn’t mind driving to EPCOT at all. It was all pretty relaxed!

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon corral C was moving up, and I got a shout out from race announcer Rudy before the fireworks went off and we started the race. I try not to do a ton of “thinking” at the start of a half marathon because I can easily psych myself out. Mile one hits and you think “crap I have to do this 12 more times!” The first several miles were boring and dark (and smelly, running by one of the plants) with a few characters scattered about. I stopped for one, this little guy.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon  we headed into Animal Kingdom. I had a cut on one of my toes from the day before, and my band aid came off around this time and was in my sock driving me crazy. So when we got to Pandora I took my shoe and sock off, stopped to do an Instagram story, and also went to the bathroom (no rushing for me haha!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I enjoy running through Animal Kingdom I think because I have run through it the fewest number of times. Something I really liked about this race that I now remember from last year are the abundance of character opposites. So. Many. Characters. As we were leaving Animal Kingdom, there were literally about 10 different photo oops, so I just got in line and started taking selfies (not posting them all because there were so many!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

As I was standing in line, I spotted someone familiar right in front of me. Dave! Back in the day Dave and I ran Wine and Dine half together. Maybe 2011, 2012? I Hadn’t seen him in years so it was great to catch up for a minute!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

This one was kinda creepy but fun! About this time it started sprinkling on us but thankfully never turned into a full blown rain.

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

After spending about ten minutes taking photos, I decided to move on because I knew the longer I was on my feet the more it was going to hurt!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

I was then back out on the road, headed towards Hollywood Studios. These couple of miles were pretty boring, but I took some sport beans, some Twizzlers from a stranger, and lots of Powerade to combat the humidity and trudged on. I made the turn into Hollywood Studios, took more photos with characters (not posting them all, again there are so many!) and knew I was getting “close” and at least the rest of the race would have interesting things to look at. runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Almost as soon as I came in, I was out of the park and on the Boardwalk. Thankfully I had stayed enough ahead of the masses that it wasn’t bottle necked yet. I did stop for this fun photo around that time though.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

By this time I was ready for it to be over and said I wasn’t stopping anymore (I ended up stopping for two more pictures!) I mean I couldn’t resist this guy.

Now I was in EPCOT and int he home stretch. I enjoy this part of the course because we go all the way around World Showcase like at the end of the full marathon.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I stopped one last time in front of the EPCOT ball for a quick picture and then came on home. Actually, there was one more stop right before the final turn. I just couldn’t run by when there were no lines haha! I videoed the finish for Instagram as I ran through, and I finished around 2:45. I got my half medal and challenge medal, and headed to the car. No photo taking this time, I wanted to get off my feet and out of my soaking wet clothes.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Yes it was humid, yes it was hard being untrained, but I had so much fun and am so glad I decided to run. runDisney will always hold a special place in my heart, and I don’t see myself turning down any of those races anytime soon!

Star Wars 10k Race Recap 2018

Thanks to my friends at Raw Threads, I was able to run the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge this year. First up, my recap of the 10k race.

Since I was staying off property, I woke up at 3:15 then drove my car to EPCOT and hopped on a bus to the Magic Kingdom parking lot. It was super easy and not stressful at all, plus I got to sleep later than normal so I was fine with it. I got in B corral at 5:00, just as they were moving A to the starting line and preparing B to move in behind them.

I had no goals for the race really. I was very under trained, but thought I would try to run hard and just “see what happened.” I knew I was going to stop for photos the next day during the half so I didn’t really worry with it for the 10k. I tried to get as close to the front of the corral as I could, and just took off when the fireworks blasted above my head. It was dark. Really dark. I couldn’t see my Garmin so I just ran by feel. The first three miles are really boring because you just run straight down World Drive in the dark. I would glance at my Garmin every now and then when we went under a light and I was consistently running in the 9:00’s but I don’t know what I was running when I wasn’t looking in the light so I just wasn’t really sure what my overall time was going to end up being.

It was super humid and it started to get to me about halfway through, as did my lack of training. However I only stopped one time and it was to take a GU and drink some powerade. We finally made it to Hollywood Studios and things got more fun since there was a lot more to look at.

I made it across to the Boardwalk, and there were several people out cheering. I got into EPCOT, and that last mile was tough for me. I wasn’t looking at my Garmin (still dark) and honestly I didn’t want to know. I was pushing pretty hard, not I’m going to throw up hard but I was giving it a good try. I crossed the finish line in straight up 59 minutes, about 30 seconds slower than my PR. Of course I wanted to PR but was proud of my effort and how close I got!

After I got my medal I stood in a couple of character photo lines since I was by myself and didn’t really have anything else to do. Plus I knew the lines would be a lot longer the next day.

Aside from the boring first couple of miles, I definitely enjoyed the back half of this course. There were a lot of characters out for photo opportunities and it’s a must for any Star Wars fan!

Tampa Lucky Run 5K Race Recap

On Saturday morning, I ran the Inaugural Tampa Lucky Run 5K.

Reasons I ran this race:

1.) Close to my house

2.) Holiday race

3.) Discount through Orange Theory and we had a “team” running

4.) I had been dying for a 5K PR and thought I was ready.

I really didn’t do much “research” on the race, but realized it may be a bit disorganized when the only thing we were told about packet pickup was that it was Friday at New Balance at the Outlet mall (race was also at the outlet mall). I emailed AND posted on Facebook asking if we could get our bibs Saturday morning…crickets. Finally the afternoon before the race I got an answer. Yes we could.

Saturday morning we had very unusual weather for Tampa, as in it was 46 when we got to the outlet mall! I wasn’t mad about it though, I much prefer running in the cold so I knew it made my chances better for a PR. We parked the car, and walked over to where everyone was gathered. I looked for a table to get my bib…and was told they hadn’t arrived yet. Apparently New Balance was supposed to bring them and they hadn’t shown up yet and were not answering their phones. #Fail. This is also when I learned this was an inaugural race. Dang it. I usually avoid those like the plague because of, well…this. I did feel bad for the race director though he was really trying to make the best out of the situation and was apologizing to everyone.

I took this waiting time to find the bathroom. One huge plus of the race was we had access to the “regular” (nice and clean) outlet mall bathrooms, yay!

So then the bibs came but they had no safety pins. I told Bobby I probably had some old ones in the car from past races and he went back to look. I guess this is the one time I can be happy my car is filthy and never gets cleaned out? So in the meantime they were duct taping bibs on to people. Duct tape. Bless it. About the time Bobby came back with four pins (he also told me I may get tetanus because they were very rusty and gross) pins arrived so no duct tape bib for me.

Then the race shirts arrived and it was a hot mess trying to get in line to get those. I had pre-registered so was waiting for my small and they couldn’t find any. About that time everyone was lining up and the race was about to start! I told Bobby to get my shirt and I ran over to the start line. I was frantically trying to untangle my headphones (shocker) and get my GPS to get satellite and it did just before the race started, so no time to warm up or stretch, but oh well.

Oh, one more thing. I had said that I didn’t really research the race (totally my fault) and as I was cursing my headphones in their huge wad of hatred and knots, I heard them say we were making two laps around the parking lot. Say what? This is what happens when Heather assumes. I assumed the race would run out on the road then maybe wind through the outdoor corridors where the shops are. Nope. We were literally running 3.1 miles in the mall parking lot. Two laps.

Not only was it two laps, but I would come to learn it was two laps full of very sharp cutting left turns up and down rows in the parking lot. My right knew is bad so I literally had to stop running and turn because I can’t twist my knee like that when running quickly so it messed up my cadence terribly. Again, totally my bad for not checking it out, but really? A parking lot?

Ok I can do this. I really wanted that PR. So I started out on the first lap with a goal of keeping my pace under 8:30. I stayed between 8:00 and 8:20 for the first mile and a half/lap. I however got a little discouraged going around doing the same thing AGAIN. When I got to about mile 2.5 I started to really struggle and I looked up and saw Bobby!

He didn’t have my child with him which was super confusing but I literally didn’t have the energy to ask him where she was so I just kept running. #MomofTheYear

I was however a little confused when I saw that my watch said 2.53 and I kind of calculated in my head where we were on the course, which was not that far from the finish. I thought oh well…math has never been my strong suit, so I pressed on, and turned the final corner and could see the finish line.

So my eyes are bad, but I knew I saw a 23 on the clock and knew something wasn’t right. I KNEW I had not run paces in the 7:00’s the whole time. It all (slowly) started to click that the course was short. NNNOOOO! I crossed at 23:47, and after recovering for a second saw that the course was about two tenths short. Sad times!

However, I did some quick calculations based on my average pace and what distance I needed to make it a 5K, and I still got a killer PR of 25:30! (Previous PR was 27:13)

Bobby and Emma Kate even missed me finishing because he had started a timer when I started running so he would know when to circle back to the finish to watch me, and he also knew I couldn’t run a 23:45. He was just starting to walk up when I crossed, hence why I have no finish line photos.

Oh, I also found out that Emma Kate was playing on the (within sight) mall playground when Bobby came out back to film me. Apparently she didn’t want to watch me run by so he just left her there (seriously he was like 100 feet away. I really don’t need hate emails about child neglect k thanks.) He even said “I thought you would ask where she was when you passed” and I told him I had no energy to even speak ha!

So while I love holiday races on cool mornings close to my house with good bathrooms that I get at a discount, I do NOT like running laps zig zagging around mall parking lots with duct taped bibs and late starts and no communication. Oy. They did try hard and I hope they now can do better next year. The money went to a good cause so I hope they don’t give up. Oh, and while I was running Bobby DID manage to snag me a shirt in the right size. So all was not lost. Heh. I am now the happy owner of a shiny new PR, and a funny experience to share with you all.

runDisney Enchanted 10k Race Recap 2018

At the end of February, I participated in my SEVENTH runDisney Princess half marathon weekend by running the Enchanted 10k. It was my first time “just” running the 10k, and it was nice to only have to wake up super early one morning! I did miss the beautiful bling of the half marathon and the challenge, but it was a nice break to just worry about one race, and I had a blast!

runDisney Enchanted 10k Race Recap 2018. My race at Walt Disney World through EPCOT and the Boardwalk as part of the Princess half marathon weekend.

By pure randomness, I ended up running with my friend Jen (the other Jen unfortunately couldn’t make it) and it was her very first runDisney race! It was fun to show her the ropes and see how much she enjoyed it.

I woke up at 2:45 with plans to catch the 4:00 bus from Caribbean Beach resort. Normally I would sleep until 3:15, but I bought a last minute Moana costume on Amazon a few days before I left and had never tried to “fix it” for running and so I knew it may take awhile to figure out the best way. (Note I do NOT recommend

 

this strategy, especially for a half or full marathon!) I knew I would be fine for 6 miles even if it was uncomfortable.)

 

As predicted, it did take some time (and a LOT of safety pins) to get my costume situated, and I was out the door at five minutes to 4:00 and was met at the bus stop with a super long line. The problem was, I was in the Jamaica section which was the last pick up, so by time the buses got to us they were full. Finally they sent and empty bus straight to our stop and we were able to get on about 4:10 or so.

I was texting Jen and saw we were both in A corral via her Instagram photo. She had been injured, but we decided to run together until she started to hurt then her plan was to hang back and walk while I went on ahead. Worked for me! I finally found her and then some other friends and blog readers chatted with us and then it was go time!

We realized a little too late that they had already closed off and moved corral A up to the front, and we were bummed we had missed it. So we got in B, and saw they will still letting people into A if they could get to the front, and that’s a big “if”. B was packed full of people but we gave it a shot and said excuse me about 100 times and I can’t believe it but we made it up to the tape and they let us in our corral! We were in the third and final wave of corral A but that was totally fine I was just excited we made it up there.

Soon it was time for our wave to take off. My plan was to run a comfortably hard pace (so maybe about 75-80%?) and get ahead of some of the picture taking crowd, and then maybe have some short lines in EPCOT because of it. Honestly, the first three miles are pretty boring anyway, so Jen and I just chatted and passed the lines as we made our way to EPCOT. We had plenty of running room and there were only a handful of people around us which was nice. We got into EPCOT and stopped for the first time (for water) strike that—I stopped at mile 2 to rip off and throw away my grass skirt #CostumeIssues. It was driving me crazy. Seriously people, do as I say not as I do.

Anyway, we took a picture by the mile 3 sign just before we made it into a back entrance to the park and stopped for these guys becasue there was no one waiting.

We grabbed water, I took an Insta story video, and we carried on around the World Showcase. I love how the torches are lit during this race! We came to a character stop, Pinocchio, and saw there were three people in line. I asked Jen if she wanted to stop, which she did, so the fun began!

I also taught Jen about finding the green tents to get photopass pictures.

We took off again, and soon saw another character stop, this time for Genie! Again, maybe 3-4 people in line in front of us so it went super fast.

Making our way around, we stopped in France for Marie.

Then it was time to exit the park and run around the Boardwalk, which I really enjoy. There were plenty of spectators along the route which was fun. Of course we had to stop for Goofy by ESPN club. He probably had the longest line with about 8 people ahead of us.

Soon we were running back into EPCOT, and the race was almost over. Jen saw Pluto basically hiding off to the side and we snagged a quick picture with him before running towards Spaceship Earth.

It was really humid and it was starting to get to me, but we were almost done!

I was surprised that my quad nor knee were bothering me, but definitely not complaining about that. We grabbed one more quick picture with Figment in a nod at the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival, and then we were in the home stretch.

I loved that I got so many photopass pictures, and there are even more I’m not posting. Sssoooo many.

So we saw the finish line in our sights, and threw our hands up, with a finish time of 1:13, which I will gladly take with all the stops we made! Also i haven’t run more than three miles since Wine and Dine in November (oops). I Honestly had a blast at this race and it didn’t feel like work or not fun, which is honestly one of the reasons I haven’t raced as much lately, so i was glad to find some joy in this one! I mean, can’t you see it on my face?

Loved loved loved this race, and am so glad I ended up not having to run it alone. Thanks so much runDisney for a fabulous time!Enchanted 10k Race Recap 2018

 

Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2017

This was my first time running the Wine and Dine Half in the daytime, and my first time participating in the two course challenge. Being tired and having my leg hurting me from the 10k the day before I was not feeling optimistic, but had no goals other than to have fun, and that’s what I did!

Keep in mind I was very under trained, I had run a 10k a few weeks prior and did a 9 mile run/walk (more walk than run) training run on a very hot day, but that was the extent of my training.

I was running solo again, and knew the first few miles would be dark and kind of boring, but I was ok with it. After my coral was set to go, I just got into a good rhythm and stuck with it. My leg started bothering me right from the start, but I pushed through, and am glad I did, because I ended up having a good race! I didn’t take any photos on the course because it was so. humid. My entire body was covered in sweat most of the race (and in the beginning before I was too sweaty, it was too dark!) and my fingers wouldn’t unlock my phone, but thankfully I got a ton of great photopass shots! (great as in I’m smiling and still running, not as in I look cute, because I don’t. I look like a sweaty mess.)

Running through Animal Kingdom was really fun because we were the first race to run through Pandora. I was kind of bummed that there were no photographers taking running shots of people in Pandora, just one if you wanted to stop and take a photo. Oh well, moving on.

So my quad and knee were really tight and hurt, but then honestly they just kind of went numb and were just a dull pain from mile 7 or so on. The only walk breaks I took were from stopping at water stops for about ten seconds each, and I stopped at every single one. Check out the photo below. The bottom left of my shirt is the color it’s “supposed” to be.

Running through Hollywood Studios was also fun because they had up their Christmas decorations. Once I got into this park I knew I would make it to the finish because the rest of the scenery was at least interesting after getting off the main roads.

I exited Hollywood Studios and headed towards the Boardwalk. OH! A total runner #fail I forgot to mention was fuel. Typically, runDisney races have GU packets which is what I take when I train anyway. However, this race handed out sport beans, which totally threw me off. Make sure to read all the info so you know what to expect. Do as I say, not as I do.

So I kept plugging along and realized I was keeping a pretty good clip despite my under trained status and the awful weather. I decided to keep pushing and see what I could do without absolutely killing myself. After all, I did want to end with a smile on my face and continue to enjoy the run.

Wwweeeeee!

I made it into EPCOT and knew I was in the home stretch. I was not anticipating turning RIGHT into EPCOT and going all the way around World Showcase (again, runner fail. I’m sure the map was in the runner guide). My GPS is always off so I thought we would be turning left and going around the “short side” so that kind of knocked the wind out of my sails, but I knew we were still close.

I love running around the World Showcase, lots of room, pretty scenery, and it also means you are almost done!

So up until this point I had stopped for zero characters and the only time I walked was for water stops. As I approached this little guy, he had NO ONE in line and I felt bad for him so I jumped in, took a picture and kept going. What a cute little guy. He just needed a friend.

I passed Spaceship Earth and headed “back stage” the old familiar way I have run so many times before. I made the last corner and heard cheering and decided to give everything I had left, which turned out to be a lot! I sprinted to the end and crossed the finish line.

I did it! Another runDisney race in the books. I got my half medal, my challenge medal, and then had to document with a photo since no one was there to take one for me. I was back at the hotel, showered and in bed for a nap before most people were headed into the parks for the day, and I had a great feeling of accomplishment.

I was reminded I am so much stronger than I think, and after all these years of running, even when I don’t actually train, my body knows what to do. I ended up finishing the half in 2:17, which is just a few minutes off my PR, and that’s with running a hard 10k the day before. My mile pace was actually FASTER at the half than the 10k! It just goes to show you every day and every race is different, and this one was fun. I’m so glad I was able to run and have such a fun runDisney weekend.

 

runDisney Wine and Dine 10K Recap 2017

At the beginning of November, I had the opportunity to run the runDisney Two Course Challenge, made up of the Wine and Dine 10K and half marathon. I registered last minute and was under trained, so I just had fun with it, and fun was definitely had!

I didn’t take many photos during the race since it was dark when I started and dark when I finished, but I did take some video, which is at the end of this post. I will give a brief recap though.

I woke up at 3:00 and met my friend Amanda to go to the bus at 3:45 (last bus is at 4:00 and we were at the back of the resort). We were on a bus within five minutes, and got to the start with TONS of time to kill. (Side note: notice how straight and thin my hair looks here? Remember this for later).

This is one thing I dislike, that you are forced to arrive so early if you use Disney transportation. It was a few minutes after 4:00 when we arrived and the race didn’t start until 5:30. We hung out at the start and just chatted, went to the bathroom, etc. and then said our goodbyes and headed into our respective corals. I got as close to the front as I could and sat down. This is where I stayed for about 40 minutes waiting for the race. I didn’t want to play on my phone too much as I didn’t want the battery to die, so it was honestly pretty boring, heh. Finally they started moving the corals up, and then the race started. I was in coral B, so thankfully didn’t have to wait too long.




I started running and immediately remembered something about runDisney races, you get zero time to warm up since you are sitting in a corral for so long, then you take off on cold muscles. By the time I realized it was happening, my leg that has been bugging me tightened up like crazy and I knew I was in for a long weekend. It wasn’t bad, but I could “feel” it if that makes sense. My quad tightened then it worked its way down to my knee by mile three and was hurting a little.

Honestly, the first 3 miles were really boring until we got into Hollywood Studios. I only saw I think one character in the park, and the line was super long so I passed. We then headed across the way to the Boardwalk It was so humid the decking was slippery so I had to be careful.

I saw the line for tourist Genie, and it was long but not SUPER long, so I hopped in line because, why not? I don’t know if I have ever taken a picture with him. (Notice how wavy my hair is now!)

It was nice to take a little breather in the super thick humidity, and then I moved on to EPCOT.

I saw these guys in Canada (do you think they wold be upset if they knew I never saw their movie?)

I then knew I was in the homestretch. It was so weird running here in the dark, it’s usually daylight by time I get to this point, and think I have only run in the dark here the year I did Dopey.

I made it that final familiar stretch I have run so many times, and crossed the finish line somewhere around 1:04. Not bad for all my stopping!

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I was smiling when I finished, which is all I cared about. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to run so last minute, and in my favorite place. It’s often during races I am reminded how truly blessed I am.

wine and dine 10k

Now on to the half marathon recap! But first, in case you missed it, here’s my expo recap, and don’t forget to check out my video below:

Superhero 5k Race Recap 2017

Our neighborhood hosted a 5k last weekend so of course Bobby and I had to participate. We got to sleep in to a reasonable time and just drive to the front of the neighborhood to run. I’m all about convenience so I was excited to run it!

What I was not excited about was the weather. While it wasn’t hot thankfully (low 70’s) it was 100% humidity, which was absolutely brutal. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s back up!

I slept in until 6:20 which was nice for a race morning. We got up, ate breakfast and got ready, then woke Emma Kate up. My parents came to watch her while we ran and they met us at the front of the neighborhood where the race was starting.

They played on the playground with Emma Kate and were at the finish line when we crossed so it worked out well. Anyway, this was a very small race, and it was admittedly weird that a “race course’ was through streets that I regularly run during the week. Our neighborhood is huge, so I was bummed to see we would be making two loops around the same streets (I knew I would get bored). Oh well, it’s just 3.1 miles I thought to myself. The race was chip timed, but what I didn’t realize until after was that there was no starting mat, so everyone’s gun time was the same as their chip time. I started towards the back, and had I known there was no starting mat I would have started closer to the front, because my time is about 3 seconds off because of this.

So we started promptly at 8:00, and my goal was to keep a sub 9:00 minute pace which I thought was reasonable in the weather conditions. (Had it been less humid I would have shot for sub 8:45 for a PR.) Bobby took off and was way ahead of me, and I just got into a groove listening to my music and running this familiar course. I made the first loop, and Bobby passed me going the other way. We high fived, and I was still feeling good, keeping about an 8:45/8:50 overall pace for the first 1.5 miles.

I hit mile two and was POURING sweat. It kept getting in my eyes and burning, and I kept wiping my eyebrows and forehead but there was so much of it that it really wasn’t helping. I knew I should have worn a visor and was cursing myself in that moment for forgetting. I kept hanging on to my pace until I got to about mile 2.5. I looked down and realized I was running a 9:20, and I was barely hanging on to that.

I pushed as hard as I could and got it back down to right around a 9:00 mile pace, and started getting that awesome nauseated feeling you get when you are pushing really hard. My face was on fire and I just couldn’t push any harder than I was. I made the last turn and saw the finish line and my family.

I crossed in 27:39, but I estimate I ran a 27:36 with the delayed start.

My PR is 27:13 but was in 50 degree weather and very low humidity, so I think with another chance in better conditions I can beat my old PR, which is encouraging.

This is my “leave me alone I need to keep walking so I don’t puke” face.

Finish line hugs are the best.

Bobby did really well. He ran a 23:13, which is 3 seconds away from a PR!

We were both super thankful that one was over, but still had a good time.

After the race, Bobby jumped in the pool fully clothed, and Emma Kate played on the playground before we all went to change and hit the pool. It was a great day and a fun time!

Ocean Road 10K 2017 Race Recap

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to fly to Rhode Island and have a weekend of fun, fitness, and learning with Cabot and the Cabot Fit Team. We traveled to Narragansett (and it took me all weekend to remember how to pronounce it!) visited a local farm, ate tons of great food, stayed in an adorable inn, and ran a gorgeous 10k. It was action packed but still restful which I loved. I will be sharing more on the rest of the weekend in another post, but this one is strictly about the Ocean Road 10k race.

I haven’t raced since February due to a nagging quad injury, so I was really excited to have this opportunity. I really love the 10k distance and thought it would be a good chance to test out my leg while racing on a beautiful course. The race was held on Sunday morning, and it was so fun to be able to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The sun comes up way earlier in Rhode Island than it does in Florida, so when I woke up at 6:15 it was just about to peek over the horizon.

I got dressed, ate breakfast in my room, and headed to the lobby to meet my teammates. This is when I realized it was 43 degrees outside and was thankful I had packed accordingly. We all hurried into the team van and off we went to the starting line. We made it to the runner drop off area, which just so happened to be by the water, so of COURSE we had to take a group photo.

We were cutting it pretty close, the race started at 8:00 and it was nearing 7:45, but we were just having too much fun.

We finally got our act together and walked to the start line, only to discover there were VERY few port-o-potties and a line well over 100 people long. I decided I was just going to have to hold it, as they were lining people up and then singing the national anthem before I could really decide what I wanted to do. I hurried and turned on my Garmin and got Pandora working, and then we were racing! I was cold, but I have run enough races to know that I personally warm up very fast even when it’s cold outside and hate being miserably hot at a race because I overdressed, so I opted to wear a skirt, compression socks, and a throw away jacket over my team shirt, as well as something to keep my ears warm.

I started off too fast (shocker) and realized my thighs were completely numb. I just kept moving and was hitting them making sure my legs were still there, it was the oddest feeling. I got in the zone and just listened to my music and soaked in the gorgeous surroundings. They don’t call it the Ocean Road 10k for nothing. You literally run right along the ocean for much of the course. We passed gorgeous homes, beautiful tree lines streets, and rolling hills. I ended up throwing off my top layer at mile 2 and was so glad I didn’t overdress. My face was hot but my ears were cold, so I was again glad for the head wear.

I didn’t take many photos because I was just soaking it all in. I did take a few Instagram stories but didn’t save them to my phone. I kept a pretty good clip the first three miles considering I didn’t really train. I run 3 miles twice a week on the treadmill at Orange Theory, and I ran one four miler and one five miler prior to the race and called it a training cycle. (Hey, life is crazy right now ok?)

Anyway, I wasn’t expecting any kind of PR, I was just curious to see how my quad would do. Mile one was a sub 9:00 mile, and two and three were low nines. That’s where the wheels came off. At about mile 3.5ish, my leg started to get tight. I have not been training on up or downhills (I live in flat Florida!) and I foolishly thought it would still be OK. I had a goal to not walk, so I just kept on trucking even though my pace slowed down.

I made it to mile 5, and we were soon heading down a hill right out onto Ocean Road and past the inn where we were staying. This was my favorite part of the course.

I saw mile six, and knew I was close, but unfortunately didn’t really have any “kick” to give, so I just kept on at the same pace, taking in the beautiful sites. I finished it just over 59 minutes, not a PR, but I was super proud of my pace all things considered.

I found a couple of my teammates who had already finished, and we cheered on the rest of the girls as they came in, then we all walked down to the beach to take pictures of course.

ocean road

we took off our shoes, dipped our tired feet in the freezing water, then walked back to the inn. It was an amazing morning and I was so happy to have had the chance to run in such an amazing place. I quickly fell in love with Narragansett, and hope to return someday.

The race is in it’s fifth year, and if you live nearby (or not!) I highly recommend running it. We got lucky with perfect weather and it really was the cherry on top of a great race.

Disclosure: I attended this weekend free of charge thanks to Cabot, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not asked to write this post. 

 

runDisney Kids races: Star Wars

When I realized our family Disney World trip lined up with the runDisney Star Wars half marathon weekend, I couldn’t believe all the stars were aligning for not only Bobby and I to run the half marathon, but for Emma Kate (2 years old) to participate in her very first kids races. I was pleasantly surprised that the registration price was very reasonable ($20!) and that each child got a medal (rubber) and a t-shirt. As a lover of the “I Did it” shirts, I couldn’t wait for my little mini me to have her very own.

The kids races were held on Friday and Saturday, but since Bobby wasn’t arriving until Friday night, we opted for the Saturday morning race. It actually all worked out nicely, as we were able to get to the expo right when it opened at 10:00, get all three of our bibs, and then walk over to the track at the Wide World of Sports and attend the kids races. Keep in mind strollers are NOT allowed in the expo, but are allowed on the grounds of WWOS, so we simply parked ours in a stroller parking area to get our bibs, then brought it down to the track with us for the races.

Of course Emma Kate had to get her picture with the kids race sign, and I wore her “future runDisney runner” shirt.

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After getting our bibs (you have to sign a race waiver for the kiddos, too) and getting our t-shirts, we headed out to the track around 10:45. I will be honest and say it seemed REALLY chaotic. Having never been to one before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured out that I was supposed to match the color of Emma Kate’s race bib with the flags at the starting line area, so we all walked over that way, to be told only one adult could actually “run” the race with the child. So Bobby and my parents headed to the side of the track behind a fence so they could see her run and hopefully squeeze in to the fence once it was time for her wave.

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It was hot outside and I wanted to get done quickly, but in hindsight I should have just chilled and waited for the last wave. We were basically put in a holding area all close together which made it even more hot. I can see how it could be overwhelming for some kids that don’t like a lot of people. There were plenty of volunteers and they all did a great job don’t get me wrong, but it was still chaotic, but I guess organized chaos would be a better word?

They would line up a handful of kids on the start line then put another group behind them, then after the first group went, the one behind would step forward, and the volunteers filled in the back with another line of kids. This part seemed very organized, but there wasn’t really a line so it was more of a free for all as to which parent pushed through the area first to get their kid to the start. We ended up somewhere towards the middle. Usually EK doesn’t let me hold her but I think all the people made her nervous so she was happy to be on my hip while we waited. She made some funny faces for me, and soon we were in the holding area for the next wave.

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I texted my family to let them know we were coming, and thankfully I was wearing pink and Emma Kate had on a huge pink bow so we were hard to miss. When we were standing behind the wave about to go, I told her to watch the boys and girls run and that was what we were going to do when the man said to go. She didn’t look too sure about it and I had NO idea how she would react.

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It was our turn, and our wave began. Emma Kate started running (sort of) and looking around all at the same time. 100 meters seems a long way when you are running with a two year old! Midway through we got a shout out from announcer Carisa who spotted EK’s big bow.

EK run 2

About 75 meters in, Emma Kate realized she was tired and wanted me to hold her. About that time I saw Mickey, so I grabbed her and went over to him for a quick hug. Then because I just can’t help it, I put her down and made her walk across the finish line herself. #RunnerMom.

EK run

We all cheered, and she got her medal, but was way more concerned about her banana oddly enough. We found my family and took some photos before grabbing the stroller and heading out. Did I mention it was really warm? (heh.)

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I had a lot of fun and loved sharing something that I do with my little girl. I feel like now that I know what to expect, the next time will be way less overwhelming for all of us.

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I love how runDisney kept everyone moving and then moved on to the next race. We got some free gogo squeeze pouches too which was nice since EK loves those things (they are a sponsor). Emma Kate wore her medal to the park, and looked adorable in her I did it shirt.

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When do we sign up again?

kids race

Here are a couple of videos from the race:


Then of course the video I shot while she was running. Please excuse my shrieking voice in the background. I was a little excited.

 

QOTD: Has your child ever done a kids race?