While many of my peers growing up were glued to Power Rangers and Nickelodeon Guts, I was completely and utterly consumed with the Disney classics. I strived for Ariel’s sense of adventure, Mulan’s fearlessness and desperately wanted to be Jasmine because, come on, her outfit rocks and she has a pet tiger.
So when I was invited to join Team New Balance—the official shoe of runDisney and Disney Resorts—for last weekend’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, naturally my inner-kiddo was jumping for joy. Three spectacle-filled parks with a nightcap waiting at the finish line? Count me in. My princess idols would totally approve.
But like any other race, I had a few reservations, mainly concerning timing. Despite being a night race veteran, this go-round was especially late for an early bird workout gal like myself: 10:00 p.m. (past my bedtime) with a two-minute wave start. Gulp! What do I do all day to prep? Heck, what do I eat?
Like Ben Greenfield recently told us, I stuck with what works when it came to fueling. (Lots of fresh Florida oranges and Larabars!) And as far as being tired, the positive energy coming from more than 12,100 runners is contagious and kicks the sleepies to the curb. The fireworks that erupt for each corral certainly fire you up with a bang, too. Would you expect anything less from “The Happiest Place On Earth?”
All in all, this was the most fun fit venture I have done. Ever. From jogging Minnies (timeless!) and fairies to Cruella de Vils—a few of her dalmatians included—innovative ensembles are a must and add to the fun in true Disney fashion (special thanks to Sparkle Athletic for my polka dot threads!). All the more magical: the character photo opps along the course. Guessing who will pop up next is a mind wandering game that helps the miles fly by. My personal fave was running into Rafiki during our Animal Kingdom loop.Want to get your selfies on? Be sure to sign up (and train for) a speedy corral so you can beat the long lines. Our group averaged 8:30-minute miles and never had more than two people waiting in front of us. Talk about pace-pushing inspiration.
To get the 13.1 distance in, there are a few boring stretches between all the pomp and circumstance, but nothing friendly runners can’t get you through. I actually loved seeing the behind-the-scenes hubbub, like a disco-themed costume warehouse in Hollywood Studios. It really made you appreciate how the magic is made day in and day out! Oh, and the cast members (Disney employees) along the route that worked after hours to cheer us all on? The best.
If I had to pick a top stop, though, it would have to be running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. The twinkling displays had me grinning ear to ear (like everyone else around me), singing along to the blasting holiday tunes. Tis the season! As if the race isn't fun enough, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is waiting for you at the finish line. I highly suggest the tuna poke seaweed salad dish from Hawaii.
So should you participate in a Disney race? That shouldn't even be a question. Whether its a gal pal getaway weekend or fun run with your Prince Charming, it's an adventure of a lifetime you'll remember forever. Just be sure to buy the exclusive 2014 runDisney shoe by New Balance Running as soon as you sign up to commemorate the magical miles! For more information, be sure to visit runDisney's website and follow them on Twitter.
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