I Run, Therefore I Am A Runner

As I make my slow return to running, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘runner’. You see, as I’ve been away from running since the start of April, and have to very carefully ease myself back in on my still-healing ankle, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a bad runner.

And then it hit me.

If I go out and run, that makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I go out every day, or once a week, or even less often than that, taking part in the activity of running makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 mile or 10 miles. I have never been a fast runner, even at my peak, but d’you know what? A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile.

I’ve never taken running overly seriously. I’ve always written my own training plans, changed things up on the fly, and if I’m being perfectly honest, last year I didn’t really train for any of the half marathons that I ran. I guess I’ve always been lucky to be able to get away with it, but things are different now. I’m finding it hard being so set back from where I was before, and feeling the pressure of my upcoming marathon, but it is just that, a setback. Setbacks are made to be overcome.

But despite all this, I’m still a runner. I don’t have to run a 10K every day to call myself a runner, I don’t have to have a precise training and nutrition plan to call myself a runner, and I don’t have to be a fast runner to call myself a runner. Anyone who gets out and runs is a runner, and that’s what counts.

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My RunDisney Medal Collection

So I know I have been totally AWOL for the last two weeks, but moving house is insane y’all! I honestly thought I’d only be away from blogging for a few days to maybe a week but I have had NO TIME lately with sorting the house out.

But I’m back! And as today is registration day for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my existing RunDisney medal collection! I managed to get registered on Tuesday in the DVC early registration window, which I’m so happy about, and I wish everyone registering today the best of luck!

Walt Disney World races

2016 – If you’ve been following me for that long, you’ll know that I started doing RunDisney events in 2016, and every single race has been an amazing experience for me. My dad and I started off in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend , taking part in the 5K and the half marathon, which was actually our first half marathon. Back then, 5K medals were 2016 rubber ones (you get a proper metal one now), so Pluto here was our first RunDisney medal. The half marathon was one of the hardest races I have ever done because a few days before I developed a chest infection and I honestly felt like I was going to die before we’d even hit mile 4, but we did it and it was so worth it.

2017 – Running solo for the first time, I started off the year with the Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. By this point I had the bug for challenges, so I did the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and half marathon). The races were all Beauty and the Beast themed that year, which I was so happy about as I had already planned to run as Chip before the medal designs had been released, although the challenge medal was still glass slipper themed.

Disneyland races

2016 – The week after doing the marathon weekend in 2016, we left Florida and flew across to California to take part in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, and this was where we completed our first race challenge, Rebel Challenge, which was completing the 10K on the Saturday and the half marathon the next morning on the Sunday. By this point my chest infection had cleared up, and I actually set my half marathon PB on this course.

2017 – In May I did the Pixie Dust Challenge at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. I saw a lot of hate on social media over these races but I had a total blast. The Disneyland 10K course is my all time favourite RunDisney course (RIP California races) and I think my favourite medal was from the 10K, although they are all so stinkin’ cute!

Coast to Coast

Both in 2016 and 2017 I earned a Coast to Coast medal for completing a half marathon* in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, but in 2017 I got a bonus of the ‘pink’ Coast to Coast, which was for doing the Princess and Tinkerbell weekend in the same year. The medal was essentially the same as the normal Coast to Coast, just in a pinky colour palette instead! 2017 was also the 10 year anniversary of the Coast to Coast challenge, so the blue medal was extra special!

*to earn a Coast to Coast medal, a minimum distance of half marathon must be done in each park!

Disneyland Paris races

In 2016 I took part in both the inaugural 5K and half marathon in Disneyland Paris (there was no 10K in the first year), and then in 2017 I did the 10K and half marathon, earning the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge medal! Both years I also got an additional challenge medal, the Castle to Chateau Challenge, for completing races in the US as well as Paris – the medal was the same for both years, just with a different ribbon.

Virtual Running Shorts

I only did the virtual shorts in 2016, which was the first year RunDisney did virtual races, mainly because its quite expensive to do considering you don’t get an actual event, but I loved the medals I got because they were huge!

This year has been totally RunDisney-less for me, which has been really sad, but I’m also quite happy as I’ve had so many injuries to deal with! I’m also still a little heartbroken that the California races have been cancelled until further notice, but I’m just praying they’ll return soon and I’m so excited to get back into training for the marathon next year!

Have you ever done a RunDisney event?

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5 Reasons I’m Excited to Start Marathon Training

A few weeks ago I announced that in January 2019 I will be running my first ever full marathon. This announcement should have been the start of my training, but the universe had other ideas for me and I was struck with a knee injury that’s had me out ever since.

Fortunately, I gave myself over a year to train, so this little set back doesn’t bother me too much, and instead of starting now I’m just gonna rest, recover and prepare myself for taking the bull by the horns come January, and I’m actually starting to look forward to it more than I am dreading it! Here’s a few of the reasons why:

Carb loading

For the most part, I will be concentrating on eating as well as I can come the new year, but while I’m a firm believer in eating what you want and not having to justify food choices to anyone, I’m pretty excited for big bowls of pasta with the excuse of needing to carb-load.

Getting to be ‘that’ person

Marathon runners are kinda like vegans, pilots and people who do Crossfit* in that they tell as many people as they possibly can that they’re training for a marathon as if you’re the first person in the world to ever do one. I don’t care, its a huge deal for me so you’re damn right I’m gonna spread it like Love Island gossip. (this is already the second post I’ve talked about running a marathon in the space of a month, so there’s the proof)

*Dear vegans, pilots and people who Crossfit, please know that I’m making a joke and I have the utmost respect for all of you!

Running regularly again

Sometimes I feel like the most pathetic excuse for a runner because in the past year I have been the furthest thing from consistent. Sure, I’ve completed 3 half marathons and 3 10K races, but I’ll be the first to admit that I did those with practically no training and only a few intermittent 5K ParkRuns and the odd short distance run, and part of the reason for this is because I knew I could get away with not training. Well that’s not gonna be the case for this.. I’m gonna spend the next few weeks putting together a proper training schedule (which I thoroughly enjoy making) and sticking to it like an octopus on your face.

All the fun runs

I currently have no actual races planned for 2018, so I’m on the hunt for as many shorter distance races and fun runs that I can do to keep myself motivated through the coming year. A few on my list are Race for Life, Run or Dye and the Great South Run, and if you’ve got any recommendations please drop me a comment!

The satisfaction of a good run

When Dad and I started training for our first ever half marathon, there was nothing like the feeling of completing the next milestone both figuratively and literally. Back then it was 8 miles, or 10 miles or 12 miles, but now I’m looking forward to the feeling of doing my first ever 15, 20 and 25 milers.

I’m sure there’ll be a million and one reasons that I start dreading training too, but for now I’m concentrating on the positives! Wish me luck!

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26.2

Guys, I’ve got an announcement to make.

Now I’m back from WDW (waa!), its time for me to get my butt back into running, not just because I’m back from holiday but because something big is coming.

I am going to run a marathon.

Yep, yikes. I have six half marathons under my belt now from the last two years, and I set myself the goal a few years back that I would like to run a marathon before I turn 25, which will be in October 2019, so although dates have not been set and registration isn’t open yet, I will be entering the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2019.

I’m terrified. This last year I have been very relaxed with my running, and hardly trained for any of the races I’ve done, but this is double the distance and therefore a million times harder, which is why I’m giving myself over a year to train.

The distance is one thing, I mean, I’m halfway there I guess, but its the mental aspect of the marathon that’s going to take real work. Its knowing that when my GPS clocks in at the 13.1 miles that I’m used to, I then have to do the whole thing all over again. Its pushing on for hours and knowing there are still a few more hours to go.

Then comes the potential for injury. In half marathon training I faced knee problems, shin splints, and even ran a race with a stress fracture, plus all the little aches and pains that come and go. I will have to be so careful in knowing my limits and knowing when I can and can’t push further.

Basically, I’m going to be about 13.1 miles outside my comfort zone. I’ve been winging it for the last two years and have been lucky to get away with it, but now I have to be serious, do my research and be ready to push myself. Of course I’ll be documenting the good the bad and the ugly, so everyone else can get some entertainment out of me torturing myself!

Can I do it?

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Photos to Take With your RunDisney Medals

Maintaining your fitness, a sense of achievement, or pushing your limits; anyone might think these are the reasons to participate in a RunDisney event. Sure, there’s an aspect of this in every race, but really its all about the medal at the finish line, and I’m definitely not the only Disney runner who thinks this.

If you’ve never seen a RunDisney medal before, let me tell you they are every bit as awesome as you’d expect them to be and more. For starters, they’re huge, and weigh a fair bit, but as well as they’re they are always so detailed and well themed, and well worth however miles you just sweated for.

For many, the completion of the race might be the end of the event in your eyes, but you’re gonna want to document everything perfectly, and in the hours and days after your race, medal photos suddenly become a priority. With 5 RunDisney weekends under my belt, I have perfected the art of the medal photos, and if anyone’s about to take part in their first event, here’s the definitive list of photos that you’re gonna want to take.

1. A finish line medal selfie

A volunteer has just hung that glorious medal around your neck and you’re stumbling towards the water table but what you really need to do is document that finishing moment with a good ol’ sweaty selfie!

2. A photo with the finishing board

Once you’ve picked up your free bottles of water and Powerade and grabbed your food box, the next stop before reuniting with your friends and family at the end of the race is to get that official RunDisney board photo.

3. A photo of your weekend medal collection

If you’ve run more than one race, or completed a challenge, be sure to get a photo wearing all of those medals at the same time, even if its too heavy for you to wear them all all day!

4. A photo in front of the castle

Sometimes this shot needs a helping hand of someone to hold the medal while you get the position of the photo just right, but its a classic!

5. A photo with the character on the medal

If you’re medal is themed based on a certain character, as so many are, be sure to go and see them to show off! They absolutely love seeing medals!

6. A photo in a themed location

If you’re in a park that has an area theme that matches your medal, grab a photo there too!

7. Your medal display at home

However you hang your medals at home, take a photo after every new medal has been added!

My next RunDisney event will be Paris in September when I’ll be running the 10K and half marathon for the inaugural Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge and also getting my second Castle to Chateau challenge medal! Who will I be seeing there?

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Disneyland Day 5 and Tinkerbell Half Marathon

And another challenge weekend is over! The Tinkerbell half this morning was probably one of the most comfortable ones I’ve run, which is incredible considering how much my feet ached yesterday!I stopped for a few photos with various fairies, and also pirate Pluto, but aside from those few stops I kept a really consistent pace and completed the race in just over 3 hours, with about 25 mins being waiting for characters. I also walked away with not one but FOUR medals: one for the half, the Pixie Dust Challenge medal for doing the 10K yesterday as well, a regular blue 10th anniversary Coast to Coast medal, and also a pink Coast to Coast for having run the Princess and Tinkerbell races in the same calendar year!

After dragging myself back to the hotel, I soaked my legs in the pool then showered and had a nap, while Sarah headed into the parks, and I met up with her at about 1:45 at Fantasyland Theater for another Mickey and the Magical Map performance, before I got my long awaited burger from Galactic Grill. We then swung by the castle for me to take some medal photos, then went across to Frontierland and met Dr Facilier on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

On the hunt for more characters, we headed back to Town Square to no avail, so instead went to take some photos by the Small World wall (Disney basic) and went into Toontown for a bit. Being passed 4pm, Tinkerbell’s meeting spot in Pixie Hollow was now empty, meaning I could go in and take some more medal photos, then we hid out at my favourite sneaky parade watching spot for Soundsational.

After the parade, we went into one of the stores on Main Street so I could buy a jumper, having forgotten to bring my jacket in with me, and knowing it would cool down before the fireworks tonight, then took a few final photos by the castle before going into Fantasyland and doing the Storybook Canal Boats, only to realise while we were in the line that the last Mickey and the Magical Map show was due to start soon, so we ended up cutting out early to go see that one more time instead!

After drying our eyes and practically being forcibly removed from the theatre, the strangest thing happened: Sarah actually wanted to go to the Enchanted Tiki Room! I took her for her first time in WDW back in February and now she clearly loves it.. From there, we wandered around New Orleans Square for a little while, then decided to go to Troubadour Tavern for dinner, only to find it had already closed, so instead ended up at Refreshment Corner, although I ended up getting my food from Jolly Holiday, and we sat on the tables outside while Main Street Electrical went by. 

Once the parade was over, we headed into the centre of Main Street USA to watch the fireworks for my first and last time of the trip. They actually started with the same music as Wishes from WDW, but the majority of the show was a cute little dedication to each of the iconic Disneyland attractions – Enchanted Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain etc – which I thought was different and actually really cool! Once they were done, it was then time to say goodbye to Disneyland and drag ourselves back to the hotel. Once again this has been the most magical and I’m so sad to be leaving my happy place, but I guess it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya real soon..

Characters on the Course – RunDisney Princess Weekend

As I began another year packed with RunDisney races, I decided that much more time this year would be spent stopping for some of the amazing character opportunities on the race routes, and this kicked off with the Princess Half Marathon weekend back in February.

I took part in the Glass Slipper Challenge; 10K on the Saturday and half marathon on the Sunday, and kept note of everyone who I saw for you nosey bunch to see who was out! (I joke, you being nosey makes my blog what it is)

The Enchanted 10K:

  • Moana – Disney’s newest girl boss wasn’t available to meet, but she cheered on runners from a bridge over the road
  • Elena of Avalor – as I’m not a fan, this meet didn’t warrant stopping for, but Elena was the first photo opportunity of the race
  • The Fairies – a mini Pixie Hollow appeared on the roadside, featuring Tinkerbell, Terrence, Rosetta and Iridessa and pixie dust was everywhere! I was so excited to meet them all!
  • The Evil Queen as the old hag – complete with bubbling cauldron, but don’t take the apple!
  • Dopey – while this lovable dwarf might feature more in the January Dopey Challenge, it was lovely to see him along the World Showcase
  • Geppeto – this puppeteer took over the Italy Pavilion to make runners into real boys!
  • Marie – as I ran as Nala, it was pretty cool to see another cat on the course in the France Pavilion
  • Genie on vacation – Hawaiian shirt and Goofy hat? Check!
  • Princess Minnie – Minnie got into the full swing of the Princess Weekend in a beautiful pink princess number towards the end of the course

The Princess Half Marathon:

  • Pirates – Captain Jack and Barbossa seemed to be abandoned on the side of the road, and were available for runners to meet both on the way towards the Magic Kingdom and on the way back out
  • Princes – Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, John Smith and Phoebus were the hit of the course, and the line was full of giggling girls, myself included
  • Mrs Incredible – in case there wasn’t enough girl power going on during the race!
  • Evil Queen and Maleficent – double villain trouble
  • Buzz Lightyear – Buzz was meeting and greeting in Tomorrowland
  • Queen of Hearts – off with their heads, if you can catch them!
  • Gaston – now personally, I’d be running away from him fast, but he had quite the queue..
  • Beast – Chip (me) just had to go and see the master of the castle
  • Frozen – Anna, Elsa and Kristoff cheered on runners from the side of the castle, so no photo ops
  • Woody – the cowboy of Frontierland!
  • Royal couples – backstage, you could meet Cinderella and Prince Charming, and Snow White and her prince
  • Penguins! – I love these little guys way more than Mary Poppins or Bert, so I was so chuffed for them to be out playing on the course
  • Sarge – in case runners started losing their motivation, this green army man was prepared to give press-ups to anyone who wasn’t smiling on the final stretch!
  • Genie on vacation – Genie was only duplicate from the races, but in that outfit, who cares?
  • Mushu – a nice surprise for the last mile, this lovable dragon greeted runners as they entered Epcot for the final stretch!
  • Oh, and Goofy and Donald cheered us in at the finish line!

It was so much more fun stopping to meet characters during these races, it really does make every mile more magical!

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