First, arriving early was a perfect decision as it allowed me to get my last longer run in, while in Orlando. I had to run 9 miles on the Wednesday before the race, with 4 of the miles at 7:20 pace. I woke up at 6am to run because we were planning on going to Magic Kingdom that day. We camp at Fort Wilderness which is a ferry ride away from Magic Kingdom.
Fort Wilderness has plenty of trails around the campground and a fitness trail that links FW to the Wilderness Lodge. The fitness trail is 1 mile long, not long, but long enough. Because I forgot my iPod charger, I did that run without music. Between the lack of music and the humidity, my run sucked. Bad. I was struggling to get under a 7:30 pace. My confidence started dropping for the marathon. How was a I supposed to run 7:30's for an entire marathon if I couldn't dip below 7:30 on a simple training run in the terrible humidity? I finished that run a sweaty mess and frustrated. But, SO ready to start my vacation.
We headed to Magic Kingdom for a beautiful day. We rode many rides, enjoyed the new Fantasyland, ate lunch at the Beast's Castle, and watched the fireworks. It was the perfect start to our weekend and more than enough time for park visits on this trip. Normally we visit the parks for 7 straight days, but I wanted to rest this week, so one day was perfect.
The next day was Expo day. Sadly, I didn't enjoy the Expo like I normally do. We got to the Expo by 11am and it was CROWDED. I get overwhelmed in big crowds and the experience was just not too enjoyable for me. I didn't find any race merchandise but I did find the Ink n Burn booth where I bought a pair of the Women's Performance Denim shorts. I have had my eye on these since the Runner's World weekend where another blogger was wearing them. They are so cute and while I don't plan on running in them (you absolutely can, but I love my Brooks shorts), I am excited to wear them as everyday shorts. We left the Expo as soon as we could and spent the rest of the day at the pool. It was 80 degrees every afternoon, the warmest I have experienced in the past 6 Disney Marathon weekends.
Friday morning, was definitely an amazing experience and one I was so excited for. I managed to RSVP in time for the RunDisney Marathon Weekend Meetup. We were asked to arrive at Hollywood Studios by 6:30am. I found my way over there and found the Disney characters lined up for pictures. We checked in where we received RunDisney Tshirts and they took our bags so that we could go on a group run together. I got my picture with Mickey and chatted with a few other runners as we waited for the 7am start.
Right at 7, the run started. They divided us into two groups. I joined the 9:30 pace group and the other one was a run/walk group.
My group was joined by Adriano Bastos, a seven time Disney Marathon champion, Desi Davila, and Joan Benoit Samuelson. To say I was starstruck was an understatement. I started running right around Desi and Joan, but they were taking it a little bit slower and I wanted to keep my legs loose so found my way to the front of the group where Adriano was running. Adriano is from Brazil and doesn't speak English, yet he was incredibly friendly and acting silly.
We stopped halfway through to get our picture with Buzz Lightyear and Woody and then continued on. To my surprise we actually ran roughly an 8:15 pace for the run and finished the 2.5 mile run pretty quickly.
We ended at the Lights, Motors, Action! arena where they had a food truck with breakfast sandwiches and orange juice. We grabbed breakfast and sat in the bleachers while we waited for the other group to arrive and the presentation to begin.
The presentation included Joey Fatone, Bart Yasso, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Desi Davila, Bill Rogers, Jeff Galloway, Dick Beardsley, Drew Carey, Eddie Mason, and some New Balance representatives.
This was the second time meeting Joan Benoit and the second time that I pretty much was speechless.
Joey Fatone, wow, amazing, can't believe he was there.
I love Bart. He remembered me from the Runner's World weekend.
Eddie Mason talking about improving your core.
Adriano Bastos, incredibly good looking and an INCREDIBLE runner.
Drew Carey was hilarious and such a positive role model for weight loss and running. He gave a vacation to any of his employees that committed to run the half marathon. Only one of them made it to the starting line but he was right there with her.
Brooks runner + Disney = Robin is in Heaven!
It isn't very often that you get to brag about your half marathon PR with two running legends. Bart was incredibly impressed with my 1:35 on his Runner's World course and Dick Beardsley was quite surprised since Bart was boasting of its hills.
I had to leave the meetup quickly because I had the Kid's Races to get to, but that will be in another post as I give race recaps from both my girls' race and the half marathon from a spectator's point of view. :)
My goody bag had a few things that I would love to give to one of you. The giveaway will include: an IFitness belt, New Balance Sure Lace laces, H2O SPA Softening Foot Rub and face OASIS Mist.
To enter please leave a comment on this post telling me about who would be at your dream group run. You can get a bonus entry by Tweeting about my giveaway, please leave a link back to your tweet in a separate comment.
Rules: This contest is open to readers in the United States and you must be 18 years old to enter. I will leave the contest open until Monday, January 28th at midnight and will announce the winner soon after. The winner will have one week to contact me after I announce their name before another winner will be chosen. (I will reply to the winner's comment so if you comment with an email address you will get an email from me as well as the announcement on my blog.)