I never thought I'd go to Disney World twice in one year, but both trips were dreams come true. I am not sure if words can describe how amazing this trip was so I will try my best to convey to everyone reading this the joy and happiness I felt for the four days in Disney.
On Wednesday, I thought the day would never end. I was counting down until it was time to go to the airport. I was very nervous about not making our flight, that is typical of me. So Ryan, Daniella, Leilannie and I were early enough to get dinner and drinks at the airport. As we boarded, we were all smiles! How could we not be...we were going to the happiest place on earth. We landed at exactly 10 pm. We didn't arrive until midnight at All Star Movies. After some problems with the front desk staff, we found our room and chatted with Elsbeth until we fell asleep.
Thursday morning came fast and we were ready for our day at Magic Kingdom! Gosh, where to even start in Magic Kingdom? MK is one of my favorite parks. The magic started with a special ride from a special cast member, Randy. Did you know there are little carts to take guests down Main Street USA to the castle? They do and we were one of the lucky groups that got a ride! I am so thankful for that magical experience that started the day off right. We made another music video! If you're thinking, another? Check out our Princess 2013 music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyJDT92aF3g&list=UUXvkSVeTBXf-cIWTs_Mgfbw
And if you remember that one, enjoy this years:
I think our music videos really highlights the best parts of day 1 of our Disney trip! Did you see Cinderella's Castle? The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? Disney Characters? The Move It Shake It Parade? The Festival of Fantasy Parade? Space Mountain? Gaston's Tavern? The Storybook Circus? The Electrical Parade? The Disney Fireworks? Did it feel like a game of iSpy? I hope you enjoyed it! It was amazing that we got to do the two big things we wanted to do- Meet Anna and Elsa and ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
Besides all of the rides, another piece of Disney magic happened. I should call it Disney DPhiE magic. Five DPhiE sisters, Daniella, Leilannie, Ryan, Bri, and I, proposed sisterhood to Danielle. She said yes! She will be joining Delta Phi Epsilon! We spent the full day at Magic Kingdom on Thursday and was excited for day 2 in Disney in Epcot.
On Friday, we went to Epcot! I knew if we had time for a second park day, I wanted to go to Epcot to see the Food and Wine Festival. I was really looking forward to it and was not disappointed. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I ate delicious foods, drank delicious drinks, made memories with my best friends, and met Princess Jasmine. Do days get better than that one? I don't think so.
Race day came fast. And I would be lying if I didn't say on Saturday morning we were all feeling pretty nervous. We met for a late breakfast. As everyone made plans to go to the expo, a little voice in my head told me to stay behind. I didn't want to leave my friends but my feet were hurting like they have never hurt before. But I trusted my friends and I trusted in KT tape. And I made the right decision for sure. I told the woman taping me that I have mild plantar fasciitis and both arch and heal pain. She taped both feet and we went on our way. I'm really happy with no overspending at the expo! Even going 2 days, I only got my vinylmation medal and free bookmark!
We took a quick nap and grabbed a roll in the All Star Movies restaurant. After a few pictures, we hopped on the bus. I cannot believe it was 7 pm with a horrible weather forecast and we were going to run a half marathon. But I was excited, how could I not being dressed as Minnie? The race went by pretty fast. Although my time wasn't my best, I am really happy with the race. A lot of people posted on social media that they were not happy with the race but I am happy. I would say the only reason why I wasn't faster is because I struggled in the beginning to find a good steady stride. I imagined my body saying "um its 11 pm, the only running you do at 11 pm is to the bathroom or to the fridge." But once I realized I had a lot more ahead, I found a good pace for me.
I stopped running around 2 am. And my friends were all soaking wet! Then I realized I was too but I was just too happy to care! All of the nerves were gone, I had finished what I wanted to! After the race, some friends parted separate ways to go to their dry, warm rooms. But not Elsbeth, Leilannie, Ryan, and I! We were ready to celebrate. Despite the rain, we rode Soarin, ate cronuts, and enjoyed the countries in Epcot. What a way to celebrate the end of an awesome race and an awesome weekend! Sadly we had to go home after this but thankfully some of us will be back in January for WDW Marathon Weekend!
No my best time but no regrets!
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -Walt Disney
Who is going to Disney again in 2014? That is right, I am! The 2013 Dream Team and 2014 Slipper Sisters are taking over Disney AGAIN this November! I hope Disney is ready for us because this is going to be a fun and memorable weekend!
I am the type of person who will fight as hard as possible to make a dream, even if it seems impossible, happen. I took on the Glass Slipper Challenge, the 10K and half marathon, plus the 5K of Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Some people called it #DopeyLite but I call it a journey. The journey was a long one, the journey started with training. The training was challenging in Connecticut’s cold winter, but I knew exactly what I was getting into. The honest truth: I was scared. Then the planning started, Brianna, Chelsea, Daniella, and I planned on staying at the Art of Animation. When Leilannie signed up as a charity runner for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, we went through a few different options including squeezing into one small room but in the end, we decided to upgrade to a Finding Nemo family suite. Welcome to the suite life!
On Thursday morning, I woke up at 3:15 am to take a 6 am flight. Our flight landed at 9 am and we went straight to the suite. The suite was spacious and gorgeous but there were so many kids! Last year, All Star Sports was so quite and peaceful. It was full of runners with few children. After that, we went straight to the expo, the expo was at Wide World of Sports. The expo was spread out and also spacious, I was really happy to have no problem exchanging my shirts and pick up some goodies. I purchased a tank top and enjoyed checking out what is trendy in the running community. I was so happy to run into Danielle and Steve at the expo! We got celebratory beers at the expo and lunch then headed back to the suite. Thursday was the first day we swam in the pool, there was a fun vibe at the Finding Nemo pool but it was so crowded with too many kids. Thursday night, we struggled to get to bed early because Leilannie, Daniella, and I were all in the front room and talked late into the night.
Friday was the 5K and that came fast!! We all pushed back to Corral C so we could start together. Some people in our group were walking the entire 5K but I needed to see how I could do. I wasn’t in it to PR but I pushed myself to run or walk to get my legs comfortable and my body used to the Florida weather. I ended up staying with Leilannie and Daniella which was thrilling to me. Leilannie and Daniella are two very strong runners, both have ran marathons, so to be able to run together was amazing! They really motivated me, I love that they are running buddies and run together. I have looked for a running buddy who is at my pace for a while but I am realizing as I get stronger, I might be able to keep up with my runner friends more than just next to them on a treadmill. The 5K was untimed which almost made it more fun! After the 5K, we relaxed at the pool, went to an amazing meet up called #runnerslove, and then went back to the expo for day 2. The meet up was amazing, it was planned by 2 runners who met through social media and felt the #runerslove. Meg, one of the runners, is from CT so I knew I wanted to go to meet her. Kristy, is the other runner, and we actually ran into each other during the half marathon and ran together! I was so happy to get to enjoy the half way point of the half marathon with her! The meet up took place at the Polynesian Resort, at their bar, they sell a rum based cocktail out of a pineapple. I was so happy to check something off of my bucket list during this vacation! Side story: drinking out of a pineapple was only added to my bucket list after I fell asleep early on my spring break cruise in 2011 and missed the one pineapple drink party. So since then, I promised myself I would have one. After #runnerslove, we went right to the expo for the runDisney New Balance Shoe line, my time was at 5 pm and I got there at 5:30 pm. I got the last pair of 7.5 Cinderella shoes! We also got in line at the KT tape line to get my hamstrings taped (not for an injury, strictly preventative). We met some friends in that line as we waited. We planned on splitting up as a group on Friday, but I am glad we did not. It was such a memorable and happy day for me!
Saturday was the Inaugural Enchanted 10K. This was the day I started not feeling great. That was concerning to me, I had big goals for this weekend but I felt like the obstacles were too big. Mentally, I was not into the 10K. The course was gorgeous (we ran by a boardwalk that I had never seen) but I was not feeling good so I was not in it to run. I struggled with the heat more on Saturday than I did on Friday. On Saturday, we went back to the expo for the third time! Daniella’s knees make me nervous, when she told me she wanted to get them re-taped, I supported her and volunteered to go with her! I got my second KT tape application on my calves (same as the hamstring application, strictly for preventative measures). Right from the expo, we hopped on the bus to grab a Dole Whip at the Polynesian as our snack, Disney dining plan perks, then went right to Downtown Disney. I got my first pair of Minnie ears here! I went to Disneyland when I was a kid and don’t remember much, I know I have a pink pair of Mickey ears but as soon as I saw Leilannie’s Minnie ears, I knew I wanted them! I was so happy to get Minnie ears then go to the DPhiE Runners dinner at Paradiso 37. It was a Mexican restaurant and with my crazy stomach, I had no clue what to eat! I hate stressing about eating and stressing about eating before running. I try to stay as sane as possible because as I always say, if running isn’t fun, I am not going to do it. I chose the black bean burger, I ate one at a work lunch when we went out at a vegetarian restaurant, and really enjoyed it! It was a little spicy but still really enjoyable. I was losing my voice so I did more listening than talking. I talked to some major dignitaries of my sorority-- former international presidents, future international president, and other amazing, current volunteers. I am very grateful that I did not say I was too tired and that Daniella stayed with me. I know she was just exhausted as I was but she stayed, I think I thanked her 10x for being an amazing friend at dinner but I’ll thank her once more here. Thank you, Daniella!
Happy Sunday! I will make a bold statement about Sunday: You can have run for time AND have fun while running at Disney. I PRed my time by over 30 minutes and made my goal of a half marathon under 3 hours!! I didn’t know if it was possible but you CAN have it all. You can be sporty and girly, you can have fun and be fit, you just have to work hard and dedicate the time to having it all! The half flew by, I guess that’s what happens when it you are under 3 hours! The beginning of the half was special, I met up with the 2:45 pace group in Corral H. Michelle was the leader and she was amazing! I had a feeling it would be hard but it was much harder than I expected. She did the Galloway style at a 5:1, which means we had to run 5 minutes then walk 1 minute. Those single minutes flew by! Katie and I both started in Corral H and decided we would stay with Michelle. After 2 sets, 1.5 miles, Katie decided it was too much. I agreed with her but decided I wanted to stick in a little longer. By mile 2, I realized I needed a better balance of running for time and having fun. I wanted to run for time but was willing to still take time for pictures and enjoy it which the pace group wasn’t doing. I ran with a huge smile on my face as I realized I was 5 minutes ahead of a 3-hour half marathon. I turned on my phone at mile 10 to see if my twitter times were posting. They were not but seeing texts from Daniella and Ryan was exactly what I needed to push through the last 3.1 miles. I finished with a huge smile on my face and searching for Miss America, she was there for the Children’s Miracle Network. Although I did not see her, I was happy to have her there to support all runners. I went to meet Danielle, Steve, Leilannie, and Daniella. To our surprise, Steve had proposed to Danielle at Cinderella’s Castle! I cried, I was so overwhelmed and so happy. Danielle and I had met in communication classes at Southern and remained close friends. To spend this magical weekend with her was my honor. Steve and Danielle are the type of couple that are just so fun to be around. After we all finished, we all headed down to the champagne toast tent to toast to an amazing race and the happy couple! It was a perfect morning and there was still so much time left in the day. After the half, we went to Epcot after laying by the pool and swimming the sore muscles. We didn’t exactly drink around the world but we enjoyed a few celebratory drinks in France, England, and Germany and then dinner in Mexico. We split up at the end of the night and half of us went to Test Track and the other half went to the Epcot fireworks. I chose Test Track because it is one of my favorite rides in Epcot.
Monday was our final day in Disney World, we enjoyed that day of celebration at the Magic Kingdom. I absolutely love so many things about MK but I absolutely love their new Fantasyland. I had one goal on Monday, to eat the Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest, a new Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant.
“Try the grey stuff. It’s delicious, don’t believe me? Ask the dishes.”
The grey stuff is a frosting on a chocolate cupcake. I misunderstood and thought it was chocolate mouse but it was still amazing! I am so glad we had it. I found a new ride at MK that I love which is Pirates of the Caribbean. Although I have never seen the movie, I loved the ride! Although I don’t think we got on as many rides as we did last year, it was still an amazing day with lots of magical memories made!
For any new runDisney runners, here are my lessons learned from 2012:
1) Try to find a friend to run with you at your pace unless you plan on running alone
There were 6 in our group because I was constantly inviting people hoping that there would be 1 person at my pace. Elsbeth and I stayed together at the 5K and we enjoyed it so much more together!
2) Less time in Disney parks is not a bad thing
I wish we had more relaxing time at the pool, if you want to do all 4 parks, maybe do 2 days with hoppers and give each park a half day. The entertainment at the resort pool was great! Movies at night, music and theme games during the day.
3) You can never be up too early on race day
I thought 2:20 am was an insane time to wake up but it worked in our favor because people were running over to corrals as people were already starting the race. I would never want to do that.
4) Learn everything you can before you get on your airplane
Thankfully, Elsbeth is a cast member at Disney and has run at Disney more times than a few. But I felt very prepared because I joined Team #runDisney and read many members blogs. But at the same time, I had no clue what time the busses were and what time the 5K actually started. But it always comes together in the end…that is the magic of Disney!
5) Plan out your training before you sign up
My plan was to train outside for as long as possible for my running and work with a personal trainer. And of course, in CT we got the worst winter ever so I only ever got up to 8 miles outside. Hitting 9 and 10 then 11 and 12 then 13 miles felt unreal! I was so tired and I didn’t have to be if I trained all of the longer runs that Jeff Galloway suggests.
6) If you can afford it, run the 5K the day before!
If you are not from Florida, it is a good warm up run to get used to the weather with no pressure for time. And who doesn’t want more runDisney bling!? I would even suggest it if it is your first marathon or half as long as you usually do not get sore from 5K runs.
Those lessons are still applicable for what I learned this year. I just had one thing to add:
7) Be confident!
Chelsea and Daniella were quoting a woman on vine that said “I don’t care if you like me, I love me!” That quote spoke to me. During the 10K, I turned my music up to drown out the voice that said “you cannot do this.” I felt sick but I needed to prove to myself I could. I still felt sick during the half but I wanted to make my dreams come true. I chanted positive saying the entire race. I said over and over again “I can do this. I am strong. I am a beauty (sleeping beauty). There is beauty in strength.” Without my positivity, I don’t think I would have gotten under 3 hours. Strength, kindness, positivity, optimism, and friendship are the only ways I reached my goal and continue to dream bigger and achieve more.
If you have runDisney, what lessons have you learned? Or which one of my lessons speaks most to you?
Half Marathon: 2:54:41
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” –Harriet Tubman
So if you have noticed, I don’t blog about many training runs. Why? Because there are not many training runs to talk about. Most are uneventful treadmill runs or loops on Main Street in Trumbull running behind Daniella. But this one was incredible! I did this training run with 2 princesses-Chelsea & Brianna in their hometown of Hamden, CT.
We planned on running on the Hamden Trail but it was raining in the morning. I requested that we move to the Hamden High School track so my sneakers don’t get muddy. Such a girly girl problem (side note: Brianna let me know at mile 3 that the trail is paved so my shoes would not get muddy). Thankfully, Chelsea suggested we run in her neighborhood because she has a 5.5 mile loop, much more than we would have ever done at the track.
The route was very hilly, so Brianna and I decided we’d walk up the biggest hill. The hill was so big, it felt like we were hiking more than running. We lost Chelsea around mile 4 and she let us know we were less than 10 minutes behind her. It was a nice slow pace, which usually happens for me because I don’t motivate myself as hard as I would for a race on a training run. But I felt stronger during the run and after the run. I am very grateful for that! I was a little sore the next day because of those hills but I still made it to Flex class the next morning.
Looking for modivation? This is mine. These are the 2014 Glass Slipper Challenge medals!