Saturday, November 30, 2013

Countdown to the WDW Half-Marathon: Itinerary planning

From my running blog at Run Kimmy, Run!
Tomorrow is December 1st!  It's getting closer!  I'm starting to get excited!  No, not about the holidays.  I'm getting excited for my first ever half-marathon and my first ever Run Disney event.  I'm looking forward to the entire experience! Only 38 days until I embark on this journey that just a year ago was not even on my radar!  The fact that we all have literally gone from couch to 5K and then 5K to 13.1 miles in 9 months is impressive, even to us!  Disney is a powerful motivator!!
Donald half marathon 13.1 runDisney 2014
To get us organized, the girls I am travelling with held a planning meeting this past week.  Three of us are running and one is 'support staff'.  She, along with my parents and aunt, will be our chEAR squad members. It's so nice to know we'll have friends and family out there rooting for us.  They are making plans on where they will be positioned to spectate, making signs and my parents and aunt will be festive and in costume.  My mom will be the fairy Godmother, my dad Goofy and my aunt Peter Pan.  They all live about an hour from Disney and are annual pass holders, so it was an easy choice for them to plan to come see us run.
Our costumes have all been chosen and I think we all have all our running gear for race day.  My sister has a Wishes themed costume and our other running friend will be in Cheshire Cat attire!  I have a delightful Tinker Bell costume complete with a green Tink inspired sparkle skirt, green compression socks, a green running bra, Tink inspired running sleeves, a Raw Threads Fly thirteen point one green running tank with glow in the dark wings on the back (!) and a Tink green sparkle headband and pony holder for my hair.  I have a long sleeve lime green tech half-zip in case it's cold and fleece warm up pants and a jacket if it's really cold, both of which I can toss pre or mid-race if I need to as I know Disney donates them.  And, of course, my running shoes (and a back up pair).  I've made my packing list and the list of things for race day alone is surprisingly long.  In addition to my costume, I need my iFitness fuel belt/water bottles, my phone and extra battery, camera (lightweight point and shoot), clif shots and sport beans, ear phones, blister band aids (just in case), body glide (pre-race application), sunglasses, interval timer (back up) and running watch.  Oh, and my race bib!
We've been planning this vacation since last March with the help of the amazing Suzy at Mouse Fan Travel. They rock!  If you need to plan a Disney vacation, especially a Run Disney one, give them a call!  My sister is the Disney guru so she has held the reins and is doing a fabulous job of organizing our Disney experience.   We have quite the itinerary, complete with spreadsheet for reference!  We tried to plan as best we could a racecation that was a good balance of touring the parks, preparing to run and recovering all while having a blast with the girls.  Yes the girls!  Did I mention no husbands and no kids!  Disney for grown ups!  Yay!  Of course I had to sign up to run a half-marathon to manage that... Hmmmmm.
One of the highlights is we're staying at the Beach Club Resort.  The proximity to EPCOT is intoxicating but so is the fact there is that amazing Stormalong bay and hot tubs!  Oh, and Beaches and Cream, of course. There is also a jogging loop in close proximity for that last 3 mile jog before the race.  The 4 of us are able to stay in one room and there is even a mini-fridge!  We've selected our Magic Bands and chose our fastpass times at our planning meeting.  We have only 2 ADR's but they are good ones!  Via Napoli for our post race celebration (can you say Tiramisu?!) and Be Our Guest the next evening because why not celebrate twice? We plan to just use the counter service restaurants when we feel the need to eat the rest of the time since we all have different fuel needs.  We are all also planning on bringing some of our favorite snacks and race fuel favorites with us from home.
I'm looking forward to the Expo.  We're planning to go there right after we arrive on Wednesday (via the Magical Express from MCO of course) to get our race packets.  We have the first flight out of Providence, so we will arrive bright and early to Orlando.  The entire race experience for me will likely be once-in-a-lifetime, so I want to take it all in, but I also want to get to the MK later that day!  I've already purchased a Run Disney warm up jacket from the Disney Store which is awesome, so although I'll browse, there is nothing I particularly covet at the Expo other than the 13.1 mouse ear car sticker!
From the Expo, it's back to the Beach Club to drop off  our packets and then off to the MK for the rest of the afternoon/evening.  We've already selected our fastpass times for the evening and of course, we will take in Wishes.  I hear we might be glowing with the show! We plan to end our first evening with a toast in the Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian.
Thursday is a long and fun filled day.  We plan to be up bright and early to take that last 3 mile run, since race day wake up call is in the middle of the night, we might as well stick to our early morning wake ups and get a taste for running in the dark.  Then we are planning to be at the MK by 8am for rope drop!  At least my sister and I are!  After spending the morning at the MK, we will grab a late breakfast or early lunch and spend the rest of the day at EPCOT.  We've got Soarin, Mission Space and Land fast passes.  We plan to ride Test Track stand by if the line is reasonable and then work our way around the World Showcase.  We're attending the pasta in the park party and have VIP seating for Illuminations that evening.  There will likely be a stop at the hotel lounge before turning in for the night.
Friday is all about fuel and rest.  We're planning to be up early for a good breakfast and will be spending the morning at Hollywood studios with fast passes for Toy Story Mania (of course!) and Tower of Terror (I'll be shopping during that one).  We aim to attempt to lay low in the afternoon to rest our legs so we're hoping for cooperative weather and an afternoon at the pool.  It may be hard to resist the World Showcase though.  We will meet our parents for a late lunch or early dinner and have our final race planning meeting with our chEAR squad members so we know where they will be!  We're hoping to get to bed early but we figure that is not likely to happen with the excitement for race day!  Those crazy people doing the Dopey challenge will be 2 races done at this point!
Saturday is our big day.  The 2:15 am wake up call is going to suck, but the adrenaline and excitement of it all should motivate us.  We don't want to be rushed, so we will aim to be on the first bus to the start area.  We want to soak it in.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and it won't be too cold or too hot, but mostly, I'm hoping for dry weather and sunshine.  We will have a blast and celebrate in style after the race.  My sister plans to attend the WDW radio meet up in the afternoon.  Other than a Test Track fast pass at 4 pm and Via Napoli at 5:45 pm, the afternoon plan is going to depend on how we all feel.  I think it may be spent at the pool!  We expect to be dead tired after dinner, so early to bed is definitely the plan for Saturday evening!
Sunday is our last day at Disney and we tentatively plan to spend the morning at the Animal Kingdom.  The safari and Everest are our chosen fast passes there.  We have a dinner reservation in the MK and then we plan to hit Jellyrolls for our last night of celebration.  We will cheer on the marathoners of course, too.  Bling around our necks all day, of course!
On this last day of November, I am giving thanks for this amazing opportunity.  I am grateful for my health and the support I've had in training these many long and hard weeks to increase my mileage to half-marathon distance.  I'm grateful for the bond that has developed between us running girls and for the opportunity for 'girl time' together.  I'm grateful for the support of my husband, kids, parents, family and friends as it's really helped and yet meant I've been less available, especially on those long training run days.  It's also meant my husband has had to step up to the plate and take over some of the duties I usually claim, especially while I'm gone for my racecation. He is amazingly supportive and I so deeply appreciate his support.   I am grateful for the opportunity to fulfill this bucket list dream that sort of happened on a whim.
Life is short.  Carpe Diem!
I can fly!

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