Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Running Resolutions

In 2016, I want to break all my PR's.  That's my biggest new Year's Resolution.  5K, 10K, Half Marathon & Marathon.  I'm running my first marathon in January so that's automatically a PR.  Gotta love those automatic PR's!  I want to run a second marathon in 2016 and beat my January time, though.  Doesn't every runner want to beat their personal record?

In order to beat ALL my PR's, I've come up with some additional resolutions to help me get there!  After all, beating a PR takes more than just showing up for the race.  Here are my 2016 Running Resolutions:

I'm particularly awesome at planning out my runs.  Take a look at my agenda!  It's full of cheerfully color-coded running distances and good intentions.  In 2016, I am going to run every run that I write down in that Lilly Pulitzer agenda. 

What helped me in college was actually writing down the time I was going to work out or run.  Dinner at your boyfriend's parents' house tonight? OK, your run is going to be on your lunch hour.  Adding that one little extra detail, the time of my run, is the key to not skipping them.  It's like an appointment you have to show up for.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very nutrition-minded when I fuel up for my long runs.  If I know I'm committed to a 10+ mile run the next day, I've been known to eat pizza as my carbo-load.  Somewhere around mile 8 is where I begin to regret that decision.  Especially if I added in extra carbs with beer.  No more alcohol the night before my long runs.  I've seen the effects and how it slows me down the next day.  I've already committed to eliminating alcohol a week before a race so I have no problem eliminating it the night before a long training run either. 

I'm going to be using The Runner's World Cookbook and Runner's World Meals on the Run cookbooks to ensure proper nutrition.  Recipes like Mediterranean Pizza are much better options for fueling my runs than anything the pizza guy can deliver.  There are 300 recipes between these two cookbooks, so I'm pretty excited for this resolution.

I'm notorious for finishing a run and reaching for some Riesling.  In 2016, I want to focus on proper stretching and re-hydrating after runs.  Unfortunately, wine doesn't count as hydration.  I use my foam roller until it hurts but I realize I should probably roll my muscles out a longer. Plus, maybe I won't be so sore if I start fueling up properly!

I know I do not replace my running shoes often enough.  Most experts advise replacing them every 300-400 miles.  I absolutely LOVE my Asics Gel-Noose Tri 9 sneakers.

I'm currently shopping for my next pair because these puppies are about to retire.  Not replacing sneakers often enough can lead to injury and I've got a PR to beat!  Don't think I'll be beating a PR if I injure myself from running on worn-out sneakers.

I made it a goal to fit back into a pair of size 6 Lilly Pulitzer shorts by the time Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend rolls around.  It would be nice if I could fit back into all of my Lilly clothes, though!  Imagine how much faster I could run if I were 20-30 lighter?  We are talking PR territory here...

I really just want more running buddies but it would be great to see other women fall in love with running the way I have.  My Mom is participating in her first race EVER next year but I can see by the way her training is going that she's not going to be a running fanatic.  Running has changed my life so I'd like to focus more on my blog and spreading running love all around.

Well, these are the six changes I want to commit to in order to beat my PR next year.  I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a great running year for me!  I'm really looking forward to these resolutions and I can't wait to blog about how I stay committed throughout the year.  Cheers to 2016!


Note: This post includes a few Affiliate links.  Although I may receive compensation for including these links in my post, I strive for ethical excellence.   You will only see an Affiliate link to products I absolutely love. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Bounce Back After the Holidays

What we eat in between Christmas and New Year's is much less important as what we eat between New Year's and Christmas.  While the holidays can be somewhat damaging to your progress, it's not enough to completely ruin all the hard work you've put in this year.  All you babes shouldn't feel guilty about indulging in holiday traditions!  It's only once a year that we get to surround ourselves with friends and family while feasting on all the food in sight.  If you're feeling a little off track and don't want to throw all motivation out the window, I'm here to help you reverse the impact of the holidays on your waistline!
I whipped up some sugary Cranberry-Rosemary Sangria and had extra helpings of mashed potatoes and I'm not afraid to admit it.  After my pants were feeling a little tight I realized I need to bounce back before I let this "winter body" get the best of me.  Fully focused on getting back into the healthy lifestyle, I've got some tips on how to bounce back after the holidays.  You'll feel totally refreshed- just in time to rock a cocktail dress on New Year's Eve!

1. Stay Away from Leftovers
When you live an active lifestyle, it's perfectly normal to eat a large plate of food (or two) on Christmas Day.  I like to call that balance.  It's even OK to have leftovers the day after Christmas.  At this point in the game, you may want to cut your losses and walk away from the remaining leftovers. 

Don't get me wrong- you shouldn't regret any of the foods you ate over the holidays.  Keeping unhealthy food around post-holidays makes it more tempting to continue with the unhealthy eating habits, though. Set your (non-refrigerated) ingredients for your morning shake out the night before to make it easier on yourself for breakfast.  You'll think twice before grabbing leftover cookies on your way to work when your normal healthy options are readily available.  Anything else you can do to avoid holiday eating will encourage your body to bounce back quickly!

2. Drink Plenty of Water
If you're feeling bloated or dehydrated from the holidays, the best trick is to replenish your body with ample amounts of water.  Remember the general rule of thumb: drink half your body weight in ounces.  For example, if you weigh 160 lb. you should be drinking 80 oz. of water daily.  You can sneak this into your protein shakes or fill up your water bottle several times throughout the day.  Whatever you do, just make sure you're getting the H2O your body needs! 

3. Clean up your Diet
Now is the time to especially focus on lean meats and raw vegetables. Remember when I said to avoid leftovers? There's one exception: turkey. I sliced up some leftover turkey breast and added raw broccoli to my salad last night and it was delicious! Focus on clean eating more particularly than usual for the next few days to help shred any weight put on over the holidays. Stay away from highly processed foods and foods high in sugar, too. These foods are OK in moderation, but for right now you want to cleanse your system of holiday indulgences.  Getting them out of your system will keep you from craving all the wrong foods. 

4. Kick up the Cardio 
In addition to any weight training you may be doing now, you'll want to sweat it out with a little extra cardio after the holidays. Sign up for a few calorie-blasting classes to help burn off any extra weight. Kickboxing is my favorite, but other options such as Spin and Zumba can be nearly as effective.  You may even want to run a few extra miles.  Not only will it help your metabolism, you'll feel more accomplished and ready for the new year! 

5. Avoid Alcohol 
With New Year's Eve approaching, this one may be a little difficult.  I plan on drinking champagne when 2016 hits, but I'm cutting alcohol out of my diet until then.  Alcohol can sneak hundreds of extra calories into your day if you're not careful.  It also tends to make us feel sluggish during our workouts.  If you want to be your absolute best in the new year, cutting down your alcohol intake for the next few days will help wonders!  Trust me, when the bloating from Christmas goes away you'll hardly even miss the alcohol. 

I am so excited for the new year.  I hope my tips have put you in the same mindset, too.  We are going to rock these next few days!  Bouncing back from holiday eating will be a breeze and now you can focus on conquering those New Year's resolutions!  Now I'm ready to watch the ball drop- how about you?!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Wine and Dine (Half of a) Half Marathon Recap

It's taken me a while to get around to it, but I am FINALLY sharing my experience on the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World.  I debated on whether or not I would ever participate in this race weekend again because of how miserable the weather was for the 2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  I ultimately decided to register because the weather of a race shouldn't determine how fun it is. Because of that mentality, I STILL had a blast during the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend!  The heat/lightning/humidity never bothered me anyway!

I arrived on Disney property around 4:00 pm on Friday and headed straight the the expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I picked up my packet, shirt, and Coast to Coast Challenge bracelet.  I did a little bit of browsing through the expo too!  I stopped to talk to Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, bought a Castle to Castle tank from Raw Threads (which is the tank I wore during the race), and admired the Marathon weekend medal display.  I can't wait to receive the six medals for Dopey Challenge next month!  I then headed to Epcot to get my first stamp in my passport towards earning the Annual Passholder wine glass!  Speaking of wine glasses- I had a hunch the Wine and Dine Half Marathon wine glasses would be sold out by the time I arrived at the expo, especially since I arrived on day two.  What do ya know?  They were long gone by the time I got there.  Luckily a friend of mine picked one up for me.  I am now 2 for 5 on snatching wine glasses for the runDisney events I've ran.  I could complain for hours about the wine glass situation but I just won't go there this time.  At least I got one!

We spent the rest of the night walking around Disney's Boardwalk and Downtown Disney.  I also carbo-loaded up on pizza.  I say you can never go wrong with pizza, pre or post-race.  

The day of the race, I headed to Magic Kingdom with my boyfriend and cousin.  We woke up around 8:00 am and planned to spend the entire day there.  Not the smartest thing I've done...  The best piece of advice I can give to you when participating in a runDisney night race is to take it easy during the day.  More specifically: avoid the parks.  I logged an extra six miles just casually walking around MK that day.  Plus, it was HOT.  Record-breaking hot.  I mean, it was in the 80's.  Splash Mountain would have seemed like a great idea if there wasn't a 50 minute wait- that's how hot it was.  Moral of the story: save the parks for after your race.

The race takes off at ESPN Wide World of Sports and ends at Epcot.  Runners can park at Epcot and take a ride to ESPN on one of the many buses, so that's what I did.  I rode with several other runners, some anxiously talking about their excitement for their FIRST EVER runDisney race or half marathon.  I remember how excited I was for my first half marathon, The 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon so I LOVE seeing people experience it for the first time.

When our bus arrived at ESPN, the driver announced we would be staying on the bus until further notice and that runners were being "evacuated" from the starting area due to weather.  We saw lightning on the way from Epcot so none of us were really surprised at the decision.  After approximately 30 minutes, they allowed us off the bus but instructed us to take cover at The HP Field House.  I headed upstairs to sit and charge my iPhone while we waited for the weather to pass.  At this point, runners were either getting anxious because they were eager to start or they were getting tired because, like me, they had walked all over the parks that day.  I was a combination of both with a mix of FOMO that the delay would take away from the post-race party at Epcot.

I never heard an official announcement but everyone suddenly stood up and made their way to the starting line.  When heading up to corral G, I heard several announcements being made about changes to the race.  I was on Twitter so I had already seen the tweet about a shortened course.  They announced that approximately five miles were being cut from the course.  After running the course, it was apparent that 6+ miles were actually cut.  No changes were being made to the end time for the after party!  I went from mile marker 1 to mile marker 8 with approximately 3/4 of a mile in between.  I'm totally NOT complaining there! Corrals started approximately two minutes apart.  In my experience, corrals are five minutes apart on average.  I believe runDisney did whatever they could to ensure we took off as soon as possible.  With all the commotion, the race was only delayed just under 60 minutes. 

Although it never rained during our evacuation, there were rumors of fallen branches and debris on the course.  Either Disney did an exceptional job clearing everything out or the affected areas were cut out of the course because I luckily did not run into any problems.  The course was clear and although it was humid, there was no rain.  The only extreme weather condition that posed a threat to our safety was the heat.  I think runDisney communicated the dangers of the unusually high temperatures well, also reminding us to hydrate appropriately.  I definitely stopped at every Powerade/water table to stay hydrated.

The best part of this course for me has always been The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  It was announced earlier this year that 2015 would be the last year the light show was featured at Hollywood Studios.  I think all runners were really anticipating this part of the race.  The music was blaring and the lights were twinkling as I turned into Hollywood Studios to see the lights one last time.  Every step was bright and cheerful.  Despite the unusually warm temperatures, it actually felt like the holiday season.

I finished this "half marathon" with my first sub-2 hour time!  LOL.  I knew there was no chance at a PR on this run because of the odd distance, so I just had fun with it.  I stopped to take pictures and recorded a video while running through the lights show.  I took my time because of the humidity, but I didn't take TOO MUCH time.  I was ready to drink around the world at Epcot! I quickly accepted my finisher's medal and proceeded to the Coast to Coast tent.  Beside it was the Perfect tent for Legacy Wine and Dine Half Marathon runners.  Both tents were small, as there weren't many participants running for the Coast to Coast Challenge or legacy status. 

Upon crossing the finish line, runners can accept a glass of wine or a beer.  I absolutely love wine so I went with the wine.  Lesson learned- it was Chardonnay and it was nasty and I should have gone with a Michelob Ultra.  I don't think I'm the only one who disliked the wine because I saw many full glasses overflowing the trash cans outside the entrance to Epcot.  Next year, I'll run for beer.

We entered the park and hopped right on Spaceship Earth without a wait.  All of the rides had short lines so it was a great opportunity to get on park favorites like Test Track and Soarin'.  We then proceeded to "drink around the World" with our first stop in Dominican Republic.  After getting over his disappointment that they weren't serving Brahma, my boyfriend and I drank a Presidente.  I was on the search for food after that and headed to Ireland for the Lobster & Scallop Fisherman's pie.  OMG.  It was worth every hair-frizzing mile to get to enjoy that delicious dish.  Other options that caught my eye were the Reisling flight in Germany, the lobster roll in Hops & Barley and the DOLE WHIP SOFT-SERVE WITH BACARDI COCONUT RUM.  To my disappointment, the Dole whip machine was out of service when I went to order this long-awaited frozen concoction.  I guess that means I HAVE to run Wine and Dine again in 2016... We didn't leave the parking lot until around 4:30am.  You could definitely say we got our money's worth out of the race and after party.

I know there was a lot of negativity surrounded by this race, but I had a blast.  It's not every day you get to run around Disney and drink around the world.  For me, half the course still delivered all the fun.  I'm actually kind of relieved it was a 7-miler because I got more time to experience Epcot with my boyfriend.  We rode Test Track, drank around the world and celebrated the holidays early.  I also want to remind everyone that this race sold out in under 30 minutes.  If you're looking to run it in 2016, good luck with registration!  As an annual passholder, I couldn't get in during early registration and had to wait for it to open up to the public.  I really learned how to avoid letting weather ruin a race for me and I can't wait to experience many more Wine & Dine Half Marathons at Walt Disney World! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Running of The Balls 2015 Recap

On December 12th 2015, I had the pleasure of running my second Running of the Balls race here in Greensboro, NC.  I've gotta tell you- it's my favorite 5k(ish) in the world.  The best way I could describe it last year was "Last nights Running of the Balls race definitely put me in the holiday spirit!  There were carolers, lights, a middle school band playing "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel."  Did I mention there were TONS of lights? It was pretty spectacular!"  Well, there was all that and then some this year. 

For the first time ever, I got to experience a race with my Mom.  Yes, Mama Donnelly participated in the Running of the Balls with the walkers!  The company she works for, Premier Federal Credit Union, was the official sponsor of the race.  Because of this we both received free registration.  I've paid for this race in the past and I would pay to participate again so as always, you're getting my genuine opinion.

The Running of the Balls race takes place in the neighborhood of Sunset Hills off W. Market Street in Greensboro, North Carolina.  It's called the Greatest 5k(ish) on Earth, measuring in at approximately 3.3 miles.  Put on by Jones Racing Company, this race is not officially timed. 

For locals in the area, this neighborhood is known for the balls of lights hanging in the trees and dangling across the street.  Vehicles drive by nightly to look at the spectacle every year.  Runners and walkers alike have the pleasure of putting on their holiday gear and parading through the streets as carolers sing and residents pull up a chair to cheer them on.  With the unusually warm temperatures (the race started in the mid 60's) there were even more spectators than usual this year.  The course wraps around the neighborhood three times, but each lap runners can catch a different soundtrack so the experience feels fresh and new.

I picked up our packets on Thursday night at Omega on Battleground.  I only had to wait in line for a few minutes before I took off with our shirts and bibs.  Pre-race packet pickup was much more convenient than having to stand in line prior to the race.  The lines looked preeeeetty long that night.  When we got to the race, we were able to walk up to a VIP tent provided by Premier Federal Credit Union.  There was a fire pit near all the VIP tents although with the warm temperatures, we really didn't need it before the race.  Runners lined up for the 6:00 start time.  The horn signalled for us to take off around 6:08.  Although this is a VERY popular race in the area (it typically sells out a month ahead of time) they try to limit the number of participants to 3,500.  Even with the restricted number of runners, the course felt a little crowded at first.  I don't think anyone minded though.  We were all in the holiday spirit ringing our bells as we strut up the first hill. 

About half a mile in, we encountered a stage with musicians singing an original song, "Running of the Balls."  Prior to that was a middle school band, once again playing my favorite song from last year, "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel."  Once we wrapped around back to the starting line there was the main stage with a band singing Christmas carols and covers of Top 40 hits all night.  After finishing the race, my Mom and her co-workers from Premier Federal Credit Union took off with the runners.  The course for the runners was one lap and approximately a mile. 

There were tables lined up with volunteers passing out hot chocolate and cookies for race participants.  My favorite part was the frozen yogurt provided by D'lishi in several holiday flavors.  With the temperature still in the 60's, I wasn't really in the mood for hot chocolate.  I think most runners were feeling the same way since most we waiting in line for water. 

After the race, my Mom and I stopped to get a Christmas tree and we went home and baked cookies.  I'm not even kidding.  The race put us in the holiday spirit.  Plus, it fell during Hannukah this year.  Last year's Running of the Balls took place a few days before the first night of Hannukah.

If you live near the area, I highly recommend participating in this race.  Everyone is here for the fun and it's not competitive at all.  With the shirts, refreshments and excitement, it's definitely a good value at around $35 to register.  I'm looking forward to next year's race!  Hope to see some of you there!!

Run Barbie

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Post-Race Burnout

We've all been there- We stay disciplined for months to cross the finish line of a big race. After early-morning runs and sacrificing time to put in the miles, it's all worth the sense of accomplishment. But for some reason or another, it's hard to get back into the swing of running after a race. It's that dreaded post-race burnout. Every runner faces it at one point or another. I've definitely experienced it but I am here to tell you I overcame it. You can too! I've put together my ten best tricks at overcoming post-race burnout so you can enjoy runnning again. You may even break a PR!

The first three tips are actions you can do BEFORE your race. You can definitely prepare yourself to avoid crashing before you even get to the starting line.

1. Register for another race 
It sounds silly to register yourself for another race before even completing your next one. Trust me on this. Having another race to look forward to is motivating. It also eliminates a lot of room for excuses. When you invest money into another race, you are more likely to train for it. Set a goal for it, too. You don't have to set a new PR with every race. For example, I've set a goal for a future race that has nothing to do with my time. I want to fit into a pair of size 6 Lilly Pulitzer shorts that have been sitting in my drawer. This goal involves overall fitness and eating well. I may hit a PR because of it, but I'm focusing on the goal itself.

Be realistic when planing your next race. Keep in mind the amount of time it will take to recover. Some runners plan races back to back. It's great to do race weekends back-to-back. Consider how back-to-back races may contribute to burnout, though. Be realistic, too. Another race a week or two apart won't help you in the long term. I suggest committing to a race 2-3 months after. Races in between are even better! Anything to keep you focused will help.

2. Pre-determine how much time you will take off 
It's easy to cross a finish line and decide you won't run again for another month. It's smarter to pre-determine how much time you'll take to rest and STICK TO IT! One or two weeks is a good amount of time to recover from a half marathon or marathon. Make that determination while you're still disciplined and training for your race.

3. Find an accountability partner 
I have formed several friendships with fellow runners from group boards. We text each other about our runs and stay accountable for the miles we need to put in. You could join a running club for support, too. If you're lucky enough to have a local friend with a passion for running, run together! There are so many ways to connect and stay accountable. Your partner doesn't need to run all the same races as you, either.

The next several tips you can take advantage of immediately following your race.

4. Take care of your body 
You just put your body through a lot. Foam rolling, hydrating yourself, and icing joints are all important at this stage in your training. You may even want to do a little bit extra and take a bubble bath or get a massage or pedicure. The hardest run of your training is likely to be your race so make sure your body feels great afterwards. Aches and pains lead to excuses and there's no time for excuses when running!

5. Don't over-indulge during your post-race meals 
My favorite food to eat after a race is cheese fries. Preferably waffle fries with shredded Monterey Jack and ranch on the side. I limit myself to one order and normally follow it with a salad. Eating pizza and burgers for your next few meals will most likely make your body feel like crap. Just try to enforce a little healthy balance and you'll be fine. Also, keep in mind a half marathon burns approximately 1,500-1,800 calories so you don't want to go overboard.

6. Take an energy supplement 
I don't drink coffee or soda, so I don't get caffeine regularly. I do however, add a booster to my protein shakes occasionally. With long runs I usually feel like I need an energy booster but I don't want something to have a negative impact on my runs. My favorite natural option is Focused Energy. Just one scoop gives me enough energy to tackle a long run or stay focused after working long hours. It prevents me from crashing after a race, too. 

Following these six steps should make the next four steps a piece of cake!  Ahhhh I love cake.

7. Reward yourself for hitting your goal. 
When you set a goal for your race, attach a reward to it.  For example, I decided I would buy myself a new Lilly dress if I beat my PR during the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  We all know how that race went...  It doesn't have to be a splurge.  I have made a tradition out of buying a new Disney Alex and Ani bracelet for every runDisney weekend I participate in.  You could make a charm bracelet and add a charm for every race.  There are so many ways to reward yourself for hard work.  Don't allow food to be a reward, though!

8. Show off your pictures/certificate 
In my cube at work, I have a certificate and/or medal hanging for every race I've completed.  It's nice to look at and remind myself what I'm capable of.  You'll be motivated to get back into running when you add a new commemorative piece to your collection.

9. Get new gear 
Sometimes a new pair of running shorts are all I need to get in the miles I need.  I find myself buying a new running item anytime I'm starting to lose motivation.  I bought new socks this week and was able to stick to my runs because I was excited to try them out.  It's the little things.  If running is your passion, spending a few bucks here and there shouldn't make you feel guilty.

10. Schedule runs and STICK TO THEM 
Each week I write down which days I'm going to run and how many miles I'll need to put in.  It makes it easier to break your plan down into weeks.  It's less intimidating and more achievable this way.  When I know I have a run on a busy day, I'll even write down what time I can squeeze in the run.  I did this in college when planning homework and studying and rarely missed a workout.  Most days I'll write out a To-Do list and even though I'll have a run written down in my planner, I'll still add the run to the check list.  There's something rewarding about checking a run off your list.

I hope these tips help you!  Let me know which ones you find most effective and what race you're training for!  I'd love to hear your feedback!


Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Carowinds Run & Ride Race Recap

This past weekend, I experienced my first Run & Ride Race.  If you haven't done one of these races yet, I highly reccommend you put it on your agenda!  It is a race series that currently takes place at five different Cedar Fair parks: Carowinds, Cedar Point, Dorney Island & Wildwater Kingdom, Kings Island, and Valley Fair.  They allow you the opportunity to choose a race distance varying from a 1 mile fun run to a half marathon, run the course, then spend the day riding the coasters.  I love roller coasters and running, so I think this combination is the best thing since beer runs.  It was a fun and rewarding race and I'm so excited I get to share my experience running it.  I will start by saying that my race fee was waived as a blogger but I still want to share my honest opinion with my followers. 

This weekend consisted of a 1 mile/5k run on Saturday, September 12th and a 10k/half marathon on Sunday, September 13th.  I participated in the half marathon and picked up my race packet on Saturday afternoon.  The packet included complimentary tickets to the park for TWO days!  5k and 10k runners received one complimentary ticket.  All runners had access to discounted park tickets for themselves, friends, and family.  I felt like this was a generous gesture and an awesome way for Run & Ride to express their gratitude for supporting this race series.  Packet pickup was Friday and Saturday and runners received an email prior to race weekend outlining available times for packet pickup.  

I have a season pass to Carowinds so I brought a friend on Saturday with one of my complimentary tickets.  We spent about two hours in the park.  The park was pretty crowded, as usual on Saturdays, so I knew I would have the opportunity to ride my favorite coasters the next day with a smaller wait time.  After leaving the park, I of course indluged in a carbo-load.  For those that don't know me, this ritual is my favorite part about running a half marathon.  I'm a bread head so I ate lobster roll for this race. I typically avoid alcohol the entire week leading up to a race,  but we went to a local bar and I couldn't resist one pint of pumpkin ale.  Beer has carbs too, right?  Plus, my college alumna, ECU, was playing in football so I had to cheer on my boys in typical Pirate fashion!

I made it to bed by 11:00 pm since I would be waking up around 6:00 am.  I arrived at the park at 7:00am for the 7:30am start.  Runners were able to park for free and there was a parking lot reserved just for us.  That lot just so happened to be right next to the starting line, too!  I love how convenient they made everything in this race.  There wasn't much entertainment going on before the race, though.  There was, however, a photo opportunity with Snoopy which I of course took advantage of. 

The course itself was relatively flat which made me super excited.  I HATE HILLS!  We started our first mile and a half in the parking lot.  On the first lap, we went through the park, the water park and Carowinds Campgrounds.  This campgrounds were pretty hilly and I heard other runners complaining about it on the course.  Fortunately, we did not have to run through that area on our second lap.  It was pretty exciting that the entire time we were on Carowinds property, at any given time you could look around and see multiple rides.  The hard-to-miss Fury 325 coaster was visible at pretty much any point on the course.  Side note: This is the most thrilling roller coaster I've ever been on.  If you haven't ridden it yet, the roller coaster itself should be motivation to train for one of next years' races.  There were also plenty of water stations.  And by water, I mean Powerade.  I love it when races offer water AND Powerade.  Water just isn't enough to hydrate me while pushing through 13.1 miles.

I beat my PR on this race by 4:36.  Compared to other races, there was little congestion and the distance was pretty accurate.  My favorite part was the announcer saying my name as I crossed the finish line.  I've never participated in a race that does that!  The medals were also pretty nice.  The ribbon displayed the Carowinds logo for the half marathon and all others had solid blue ribbons.  Every medal displayed the distance, but there was no date or park on the medal.  I'm not a fan of generic medals, so hopefully they'll switch it up for next year. 

After completing the race, runners had access to a table of fruit, bagels and cream cheese, and beverages.  I noticed most runners left the finish line area almost immediately after finishing the race.  I'm a fan of mingling with other runners afterwards.  Maybe a little post-race entertainment would encourage runners to stay a little longer?  Results were available immediately after crossing the finish line.  Photographers were spread throughout the course, and their pictures were made available on Monday FREE OF CHARGE.  I loved not having to pay for pictures from my race.  I also loved riding the coasters with literally no lines on Sunday morning.  The park was not crowded AT ALL that early in the morning.  I walked right up to Intimidator and Fury 325, two of the best roller coasters in the park. 

If you're looking for food after the race, I'm typically not a fan of park food.  BUT Carowinds recently added Harmony Hall and they have healthy choices that taste great!  If you want to eat immediately following a race, you can get fresh salads and fruit bowls in there.  They also serve personal pizzas and beer.  What's the point in running 13.1 miles if you can't enjoy a little pizza and beer afterwards?

The next day I received an email requesting me to complete a survey on my experience.  I appreciate how much they value our feedback, so I gave an honest opinion.  I thought this was a great race, so there was little for me to advise.  I do think the starting time should have been about an hour earlier.  I am by NO MEANS an early-riser but the park opens to the public at 10:00.  There were still runners on the course at this time.  Being a bling-junkie, I of course voiced my opinion about the generic medals.  Hopefully next year we will have a date and park name on the medals.  It would be REALLY cool if the medals featured a ride the park is most known for, but that may be pushing it a little.  I whole-heartedly would reccommend this race to friends (I even had a friend run the 10k with me this year)!  Considering everything you get, it's a great value.  At the time I registered, the half marathon was $110.  For this fee, you not only get to experience an incredible race, but you get park admission for two days.  I can't think of another race that compares to this one in terms of value.

This race series has two more stops for the 2015 year.  Run at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom October 3-4 or at Kings Island October 23-25.  The Kings Island weekend includes a 5k Glow Run on Friday night.  With the half marathon on Sunday morning, I would add the 5k into my race itinerary for the extra miles and the extra bling!  All five locations will host this race weekend in 2016 with the addition of Kings Dominion as their sixth destination!  Living in North Carolina, I'm excited to see a Virginia race added to the series.  It's not too far of a drive for me to go up there for the weekend and it's one of my favorite parks.

Tell me about your experience running at Carowinds, or any Cedar Fair park for that matter!  I can't wait to hear your stories. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Disney Princess Half Marathon Training Playlist

If you've signed up for The Glass Slipper Challenge and are using The Jeff Galloway running program, you begin your first run on October 20th.  The training program includes 45 minute runs every Tuesday and Thursday.  If you're a runner like myself, you're likely running 45 minutes a few times a week anyways.  I've put together a fun Disney Princess-Inspired playlist for my fellow runners to get you in the spirit for Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  I used a combination of hits directly from Disney movies, as well as energizing songs from artists who got their start through Disney.  I hope my list gets you pumped and brings back some memories!

1. Demi Lovato- Cool for the Summer 3:34
2. Ashley Tisdale- Kiss the Girl 3:24
3. Hilary Duff- Come Clean 3:34
4. Demi Lovato- Let It Go 3:47
5. Britney Spears- I Wanna Go 3:39
6. Hilary Duff- Sparks 3:05
7. Mandy Moore- When Will My Life Begin? 2:32
8. Demi Lovato- I Really Don't Care 3:35
9. Hilary Duff- Why Not 2:59
10. Britney Spears- 'Til the World Ends 3:57
11. Miley Cyrus- See You Again 3:10
12. Demi Lovato- Heart Attack 3:30
13. Kelly Clarkson- Breakaway 3:57
14. Carrie Underwood- Ever Ever After 3:29

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Racecation. What is it? The insanity of traveling somewhere far away to run an outrageous amount of miles. So what's the point in making a weekend (or weeklong) trip for a race and how does one prepare for one? I'm about to tell you! Plus, I share seven popular races that are on my racecation wishlist.

I experienced my first racecation in February 2014 when I drove to Orlando, Florida for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Traveling from North Carolina, I experienced a race weekend that I never could have imagined in my hometown. Greeted with a Health and Fitness Expo which was fit for a princess, I instantly felt connected to the thousands of women who had traveled to Walt Disney World in order to earn their glass slippers (and right to be called a "half marathoner"). I also got to see Disney World through a runner's eyes. After the race, I proudly wore my finisher medal around Magic Kingdom. Passing other runners in the park sporting their hard-earned medal, we would all smile and congratulate each other.  I also never got tired of hearing Disney cast members say "Congratulations, Princess!"

If you truly want to celebrate your accomplishment, I highly recommend travelling to a large weekend race.  There's something special about spending an entire weekend immersing yourself in race activities and sharing your passion with thousands of other runners.  If you've never ran a half marathon, it definitely keeps you motivated during training to know you will be rewarding yourself with a getaway for your race.

I ended up spending a week in Florida after my race. There's so much to do on Disney property, how could I possibly fit it all into one weekend? If you're going to spend a week at your racecation destination, you have a decision to make. Should you start your racecation with the race or end it with the race? In my experience, starting your trip with the race is best. A week in a new place before a long run could hinder your training. It's also challenging to stay focused and fuel your body with the right foods. Arriving the day before the race, I recommend going on a 20-30 minute run to accommodate yourself to the running conditions and stretch your muscles from traveling.

Here are some other tips I have prepared for planning your first (or next) racecation:

Ask about runner's discounts!  When I was planning for Orlando, several hotels offered discounts to those travelling specifically for the race (one even offered late checkout on the day of the half marathon to allow runners time to shower before checkout out)!  In addition, I shopped at the Lulu Lemon outlet store for some last minute necessities and discovered they offered a 15% discount with proof of race registration.  Not sure if someone will offer you a runner's discount?  Just ask!  Share with me any runner's discounts you have received while taking a racecation so I can feature them!

Don't forget to pack all your necessities.  You can never go wrong with extra socks.  I highly recommend an anti-chaffing stick.  You can even purchase travel size ones small enough to carry on race day.  I bring my own mini-breakfast to the hotel, too.  You don't want to eat anything heavy before the race, but items such as bananas are easy to store without refrigeration and can provide you with extra energy pre-race.

Make a reservation for one of your favorite restaurants the night before your race.  Depending on the time of your race, you may want to make it early in the evening.  Make sure you fuel up on carbs and hydrate yourself with a lot of water.  It's tough to remember to drink water when you're out of town, so bring a fun water bottle to remind yourself!

Now it's time for me to share the racecations I currently have on my wish list!

1) Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series:
There are two dozen cities that host the RNR Half Marathon & Marathon race weekends.  Of those 24, ten of them offer an endurance challenge allowing runners to receive an extra medal for running a 10k the day before their marathon or half marathon.  In addition, this series offers "heavy medal" race bling for those taking on half marathons in multiple cities in one year.  I'm interested in Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans and Savannah.  A five-city race tour would earn the coveted "Roadie" heavy medal.  There are also limited edition medals each year with race requirements constantly changing, so check their website for information on qualifying for those medals.  If you love bling like I do, The Rock 'n' Roll race series is definitely the way to fill up your medal rack.  And for $479, you can register for any of the races in 2016.  They also offer a Tour Pass 3-pack that allows you to select any three cities in 2016 for $219.  This is a race series that will allow you to discover new cities while doing what you love!  Where has your tour pass taken you?!?

2) Nike Women's Half Marathon: San Fransisco, CA October 18, 2015
The most popular women's-themed race in the country, The Nike Women's Half Marathon rewards runners with a Tiffany necklace at the finish line.  What could be better than running the hills of San Fransisco with 20,000 other women and receiving a medal you can wear every day? Not much.  This race has become so popular though, they have a random drawing for selecting participants.  If you're lucky enough to get into this race, it's going to be a memorable one! 

3) Disneyland Paris Half Marathon: Paris, France September 23-25, 2016
RunDisney announced the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon early this year and ever since they have been building the anticipation for their first international race.  They recently announced the decision to release an additional medal commemorating the "Castle to Chateau Coast race Challenge."  Runners receive this race bling for completing a marathon or half marathon at Disney World or a half marathon at Disneyland and the half marathon at Disneyland Paris.  I've never been to Paris, but a runDisney race seems like a good excuse to go!

4) Run and Ride Half Marathon Series:
In 2015, five Cedar Fair parks in five different cities are offering runners the chance to run through the parks and spend an entire day enjoying the thrilling rides.  You get FREE PARK ADMISSION with your registration fee!  All locations host two day events and include a 1 mile, 5k, 10k, and half marathon distance.  This race series is a great alternative to travelling to larger cities on my list.  For example, Carowinds is slightly over an hour drive from my home.  I can make a day trip, or stay with friends for the weekend since half marathon runners receive TWO day park admission with their registration!!  I will be running this race series for the first time in September with the Carowinds Half Marathon.  Visit and use offer code BARBIERUNS to receive 10% off your registration!  In addition to Carowinds, this race series also visits Cedar Point, Dorney Park, Kings Island and Valley Fair.  Who else is running this race with me?


5) New York City Marathon: New York, NY November 1, 2015
I would be totally lying if I said I wanted to run this race without the expectation of seeing a celebrity.  Ryan Reynolds has finished The New York City Marathon.  I would run 26.2 miles for the chance to see Ryan Reynolds.  This marathon has grown over the last 45 years to become the largest and most popular race in the world.  You can run through the city with over 50,000 other participants!  Plus, imagine how much pizza you could eat guilt-free after the race.  I don't think it would be difficult to find an incredible pizza pie in this city.

6) Key West Half Marathon and 5k: Key West, FL January 17, 2016
This race has been featured in Runner's World as a top race destination.  It's relatively small with roughly 4,000 finishers and features a fast, flat course along The Atlantic Ocean.  You had me at FLAT COURSE.  I would celebrate this one with some oysters and boat drinks afterwards at any of the local beach bars in The Florida Keys.

7) Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: January 6-10, 2016
This weekend offers something for all levels of runners.  Ranging from a 5k to a marathon, with challenges in between, runners can select various different distances ranging over four days.  They can also, of course, select to run all four races!  That's what I'll be achieving in January and it's called The Dopey Challenge.  It's the runDisney challenge with the longest distance and most amount of races.  Most importantly it awards runners with the most amount of bling: six medals total for the entire weekend.  Although I've never participated in this weekend, you can read about my experience with registration right here to prepare yourself for The Walt Disney Marathon Weekend.  Also, don't forget to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital so I can reach my fundraising goal!  Marathon weekend also hosts two Kids Races events with no age requirements. I don't have children, but when I do they'll be running Disney right there with me!

Have you traveled somewhere for a race?  Tell me your favorite racecation destinations!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Three Day Refresh Review

On Monday, I started The Three Day Refresh with a goal of losing at least 5 pounds.  I exceeded my goal and wanted to share my experience on this product with all of you.  I am a BeachBody coach and I promote and sell this product, but this is my honest opinion of my experience taking The Three Day Refresh.  I purchased this product on my own and did not receive any compensation from BeachBody for writing this review.

"This 3-day program of specially formulated shakes, easy-to-prepare clean meals, and healthy snacks has been scientifically designed to help you break the cycle of bad eating habits, lose weight, detoxify your body, and dramatically improve the way you feel—without starving." 

That is the description directly from BeachBody's website.  From my experience, The Three Day Refresh delivered everything it promised.  I lost weight.  I feel extremely energized.  I slept better.  I instantly improved my eating habits.  I even lost an additional pound on the first day off the cleanse for a total of 6.4 lb. gone!  

The Three Day Refresh was certainly effective.  It wasn't easy though, and the first day was the most difficult.  My boyfriend most accurately describes my mood as "hangry," but he was supportive of my lifestyle change for the three days this cleanse lasted.  I followed the nutrition plan precisely, choosing the asparagus for my meal at dinnertime.  I love asparagus so this recipe looked the most appetizing to me.  I went to bed on day one a little low on energy and slightly bloated.  I woke up on Day 2 feeling like a completely different person, though!  I stepped on the scale to see I had already lost 1.4 lb!  In the mirror, my stomach was visibly flatter.  

This instant gratification made it much more encouraging and easier to get through Day 2.  The shakes were my favorite part.  I actually really enjoyed the Vanilla Fresh shakes.  I wish BeachBody would sell these individually because I enjoyed them THAT much!  They taste best if the water is cold.  I shook ice in my blender before mixing in the powder from Vanilla Fresh.  I've been drinking Shakeology since November 2014, so I already knew how delicious those were.  The Fiber Sweep was my least favorite.  My advice on this one: chug it.  It thickens the longer it sits, so you're best off drinking it all immediately.  At no point during Day 2 did I feel hungry.  I was a little irritated I couldn't come home and drink wine (the no alcohol limitation is probably the biggest con for me) but I got through it.  

I woke up on Day 3 ecstatic to see I had lost a total of 4 pounds!  Day 3 was the easiest for me.  The shakes and meals were so fulfilling that I didn't even feel the need to eat my second fruit or vegetable for the day.  I was full.  I didn't crave any bad foods, although I made a mental list of all the foods I wanted to eat after the cleanse (cheese fries, cheese fries, cheese fries).  Even the irritation from being unable to drink alcohol subsided.  I was feeling so great, I commented that "I could spend another day or two on this cleanse."  Once you stick through the first day, The Three Day Refresh does get better.  It gets easier and you begin seeing results from the second morning.  After the third day, I had lost 5.4 lb.

The results are lasting, though.  I woke up the day after this cleanse craving Shakeology.  I didn't rush to call my favorite pizza place and order an XL double cheese pizza.  I woke up and made healthy choices, drank Shakeology, and had a few light beers that night.  I also went through my closet and admired the many Lilly Pulitzer dresses hanging that I'm very close to fitting into.  This product was an investment and part of me does not want to ruin that.  The other part of me feels completely rejuvenated from this cleanse and wants to continue the process.  I have goals set and The Three Day Refresh has absolutely been a way for me to get closer to accomplishing these goals.  

If you have any questions about The Three Day Refresh, please do not hesitate to ask me!  As a BeachBody coach, my team runs monthly challenges the help encourage, motivate and keep you accountable when using our products.  Although I did not partake in The Three Day Refresh as a challenge, I can put you in one and  help you each step of the way.  My next step is another round of The 21 Day Fix.  The Three Day Refresh is a great way to jump start this program, too!  A video for The Three Day Refresh can be found at  If you're ready to start this cleanse, you can purchase The Three Day Refresh at by selecting "Shop Team BeachBody" and selecting "Three Day Refresh" on the left panel.  Good luck! 

xoxo, Run Barbie

Monday, May 11, 2015

Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust: The 2015 Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend Recap

This weekend, I flew out to Anaheim, CA for my very first Disney Land runDisney event!  I signed up for The Inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge last summer and the time had finally come for me to earn the coveted PINK Coast to Coast medal.  This is my experience running the third most popular women's themed half marathon in the country (behind the Princess Half Marathon at #2 and Nike Women's Half Marathon at #1).  In the end, I'll even tell you which I preferred: Tinkerbell Half Marathon or Princess Half Marathon. 

After a cancelled flight and a delayed connecting flight, I landed in LAX pretty late on Friday.  I picked up my rental car and headed straight to the expo.  Once I got valet parking, I had just 20 short minutes to make it to the expo to pick up my race packet.  I walked right up to the line and grabbed my bib and race shirts with just enough time to look around.  The first thing I noticed: almost all the merchandise was sold out, including the wine glasses!  All I really wanted was the wine glass.  After all, I will run 13.1 miles in a big circle just to drink a big bottle of wine, guilt-free.  The expo took place at The Disneyland Hotel and was open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Many of the usual runDisney vendors were at the expo.

After waking up bright and early on Saturday morning (3:15am to be exact), I took a ride on the Anaheim Resort Transportation.  Four day transportation on the ART was included in race registration fees for the weekend.  After being dropped off and walking through Downtown Disney to get to the starting line, I was ready to run.  At the Tinkerbell races, bystanders were actually able to experience the energy and excitement at the starting line.  Approximately 10,000 pixies took off just after 5:30 am in a total of four corrals.  I was in corral B, so I didn't deal with much crowding on the course. 

The course primarily took us through Disneyland and California Adventure parks.  There were photo opportunities will all the Pixies (except for Tinkerbell) and plenty of water stations along the way.  The course took us past Aurora's castle, but of course, actually running through the castle is reserved for The Tinkerbell Half Marathon course, only.  The finisher medals were great.  All the pixies were included on the medal, even Tinkerbell.  I proudly wore my medal around Anaheim on Saturday (I even wore it  the blue carpet event at The Tomorrowland World Premier!).

A carbo-load and early bedtime led to an easy 3:15 awakening for The Tinkerbell Half Marathon on Sunday morning.  Upon arriving to the race, I was greeted with much more energy and excitement than the previous morning.  With 16,000 registrants, The Tinkerbell Half Marathon spread runners across seven different corrals.  Placed in corral B again, I did experience a lot of crowding just after takeoff.  Although the course was very wide (sometimes spanning across five lanes of traffic), I felt the corrals were too big.  This course started off exactly like The Tinkerbell 10k course for almost the first two miles.  Tinkerbell made an appearance for photo opportunites around mile 4, with of course an expectedly long wait to meet the Pixie.  After going through both parks, the rest of the course took us through neighborhoods and a downtown area in Anaheim.  I did not see a character for the entire second half of the course since we were no longer on Disneyland property. 

I finished the course with a high-five from one of my favorite characters, Minnie Mouse (my dog is even named after her)!  Shortly after crossing the finish line, I was handed a Tinkerbell Half Marathon medal.  I then proceeded to the tents to claim my Pixie Dust Challenge and Coast to Coast Challenge medals.  Although all the medals this weekend were beautiful, my favorite piece of new bling is definitely The Coast to Coast medal.  It features the iconic image of Walt holding Mickey's hand.  I received the limited edition pink medal for completing both women's themed half marathons on each coast of the country.  Since this is the only race-specific Coast to Coast medal given out by runDisney, the backside of the ribbons feature logos for both The Princess half Marathon and Tinkerbell Half Marathon. 

In the end, I had a great experience during Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend.  Would I do it again?  Probably not.  I enjoyed The Princess Half Weekend much more.  There was an element of magic that was missing from Tinkerbell.  The Princess Half Marathon kept the momentum going for 13.1 miles with music and characters all along the way.  I would run through WDW back roads any day over downtown streets and neighborhoods in Anaheim.  With the larger property, Walt Disney World is more successful at putting on an empowering race for female runners.  I recall girls crying tears of joy upon crossing the finish line at The Princess Half Marathon and did not see anything like that at Tinkerbell.  Running through Cinderella's castle was much more enchanting than running through Aurora's castle.  The atmosphere was unparalleled.  Both races were great, but when it comes down to it, I would take glass slippers over fairy wings any day.  I will run The Glass Slipper Challenge every single year until I am no longer able to run.  At that point, I still may even walk it just for the experience. 

The 2016 registration for Princess Half Marathon weekend opens on Tuesday July 14th at Noon.  If you are an annual passholder like myself, you can register early beginning Tuesday, June 20th at Noon. 

runDisney has announced they will continue to host Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend during Mother's Day for future races as opposed to their original January host weekend.  Registration for the 2016 Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend will open up later this summer. 

Have you run Princess and Tinkerbell Half Marathons?  Which do you feel is the better race?


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

RunDisney Registration

Some information has been updated on 7/12/2016 to reflect current RunDisney policies.

So you're interested in running around Walt Disney World or Disneyland and you need some help getting through the registration process... Well, you've come to the right place!  I have been participating in RunDisney for a few years and have gotten into every race I've wanted since registering for my first race in 2013.  I'm fast and efficient when it comes to registration and I have some tips to ensure YOU will get into the race you want.  Before you know it, you'll be training for your dream race!

I tell my friends all the time that registering for a runDisney event is no joke.  It takes strategy because these races sell out very quickly, sometimes in just minutes.  If you're a little late to the party, you can plan on being placed in a queue between 5-30 minutes before beginning registration.  If you're too late to the party, you can count on these races selling out!  Also, expect the website to run slower than usual (Lilly girls crashing the internet during the Endless Summer Sale kinda slow). I typically have the RunDisney website pulled up on my computer at least 15 minutes prior to the start time so I can avoid any queue line and register without interruption.  I also have an account with, so logging in beforehand and having all your information ready will speed up this process.  Once the website allows you onto the registration page, you will have 15 minutes to complete your registration. 

During registration, runners will be given the opportunity to submit a Proof of Time for corral placement if they believe they will complete a Half Marathon in 2:45 or less.  Proof of Time is no longer required for runners who believe they will require more than 2:45 to finish the Half Marathon.  Since you only have 15 minutes to complete registration, I recommend waiting to submit your POT.  This can be done up to approximately three months before the race.  A POT for a Half Marathon must be a distance of 10k or longer and a POT for the Marathon must be a Half Marathon distance or longer.  Failing to submit a POT can result in placement in the last corral so it is very important you return to the website during the time frame to submit this information.  Simply select the event you are submitting a POT for, select the registration tab, and scroll down to Proof of Time for the link.  Deadlines vary for all races, so be aware of the POT deadline for the race which you are registering. 

During registration, the runDisney Twitter page will post updates on the status of its races.

Although the runDisney website does not update immediately, the 10k is usually the first race distance to sell out.  The challenges and 5k's are also very popular.  I have seen the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon take 24+ hours to sell out while the 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon sold out in approximately 30 minutes.  Princess Half Marathon and Glass Slipper Challenge has taken approximately two hours to sell out since I began running it.  There really is no way to tell how quickly an event will sell out, so it's important to register sooner rather than later. 

Since registration can be a little overwhelming, I have a few other options to get you running the most magical miles on Earth:

1)  Early registration is available for annual passholders.  This registration opens up one week early and is also available for Disney Vacation Club members.  From my experience, there are not crazy queue lines or errors loading the website.  If you're going to run more than one runDisney event per year, it's well worth it to invest in the annual pass.  I have one and it's already saved me money on my trips. 

2) Run through a charity.  I ran the 2016 Dopey Challenge for St. Jude.  I bypassed all the craziness of registration by going directly to the St. Jude website.  I searched for WDW Marathon Weekend and was able to register for The Dopey Challenge within minutes.  At the time of my registration, only 5 spots were remaining for The Dopey Challenge.  There were also limited spots available for all other races and challenges so these do tend to sell out quickly, as well.  A full list of charities participating during each individual race weekend are listed on the event page under Registration.  The links will provide you with information regarding fundraising minimums and benefits.  For your reference, The 2016 Dopey Challenge required a minimum $2,500 donation and includes registration for all four races, a pre-race pasta party ticket and post-race hospitality tent.  If you would like to donate to St. Jude on my behalf, you can do so at

I also have tips for fundraising as well as more information on running for charity here

3) Lastly, you can run through a travel provider.  Participating travel providers are listed under the Registration tab on the event page and the links will provide you with the requirements for each one.  They typically require a minimum hotel stay or the purchase of park tickets.  These will cost no more money than if you purchased them yourself and you get the added benefit of a Disney vacation planning specialist to guide you in booking your vacation.  Requirements will be listed on their website.   

Now, you should be all set to register for a runDisney event!  What events are you running in the upcoming year?  Do you have your costumes planned out yet?  What about a training plan?  Share your experiences registerring for your first RunDisney event below!