RunDisney Paris 2017: Day 3 and Half Marathon

This morning Dad and I were up bright and early yet again, this time to run double the distance we did yesterday! The half marathon started at the same time as the 10K did the day before, but as Dad and I could join our actual corral B today, it meant we got across the start line quite a bit earlier than we did on the 10K.

The race itself was absolutely fab! The course was slightly different to last year, and we actually spent more time running in the parks which was great, and the characters that were out were so good! We skipped quite a few stops, but I did meet the Three Caballeros, Scrooge McDuck, Timon and Rafiki and Judy Hopps! Dad and I kept a good pace and we came in with a great time, collecting both our medals for the half marathon and also the Bibbidi Bobbidi Challenge, and I also got my second Castle to Chateau medal. While I had a few issues with some of the goings on from this weekend’s races, this race really turned around how I felt about things – I couldn’t fault it.

After the race we were on a bit of a tight time-frame, so we went straight back to the hotel to shower and change before packing up, checking out and rushing back into the parks, which was done at a bit of a waddle given the stiff leg situation. We were rushing as we had a lunch reservation at Captain Jack’s, which is the rebrand of the former Blue Lagoon Restaurant, set inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

I wasn’t sure how I felt when the rebrand was announced, as Blue Lagoon fit in nicely with the Blue Bayou restaurants of Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland, both of which are also inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride of their respective parks, but as the Paris ride has just had its refurb, I thought it was nice that the restaurant was getting a spruce up too. The actual restaurant, however, was pretty much exactly the same as it was before, just with a few added pirate flags, and Jack doing the rounds while you eat.

The food, however, wasn’t as good as when I ate here before. My meal at Blue Lagoon on my 21st birthday was absolutely flawless, and not a single scrap was left, but I just didn’t feel quite as wowed by the dishes this time around. I loved my starter, but my main was just a little bit blah and I didn’t finish my dessert either, which was partially down to my lack of appetite post-half marathon, but also because I didn’t totally love the food.

After we’d eaten, it was unfortunately time for us to leave as we had to drive back to the airport for our flight home. I was sad to leave as this trip felt very rushed – races always seem to take so much time away from the weekends – and the weather was so lovely!

If you love reading my trip posts, fear not guys – my next trip is at the end of October!

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Friday Favourite Five – RunDisney Moments

Nothing brings me back to normality more than a regular blogging series, and 2016 welcomes the return of FFF!

If you’re a new reader, every Friday I choose five of my favourite things of a certain topic, simple! Oh, and welcome!

I’m still reeling from my Disney trip, and with four RunDisney races under my belt, I’m choosing my favourite moments from those experiences!

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1. The first time we entered Epcot on our first race

All of the races start outside of the parks, so that first step from backstage into the actual parks is pretty special. On our first race, the 5k, we race into Mexico on the World Showcase and the lake was lit all around with torches and all the countries were lit and it was just kinda surreal!

2. Running down Main Street USA

During the WDW half marathon, we got to run down the middle of Main Street, with crowds cheering us on as we headed towards the castle.

3. This selfie

If you read my post on the WDW half, you’ll know I really struggled with a chest infection the whole way round, so seeing this little guy and getting a hug and a selfie at the 7 mile mark was really helpful!

4. The Star Wars 10K

This was actually our favourite race; lame as it sounds, it was just all really good! We ran a good pace, it was a good course, we got to see a load of the parks, BB-8 was there..

5. The three medal finish line

Finishing the Star Wars half marathon sealed our completion of not only that race, but also Rebel Challenge AND Coast to Coast, meaning we received all 3 medals then and there. It was everything we had worked for and it was 100% worth it.

Have you ever run a Disney race? Would you?

WDW Day 5 and RunDisney Half Marathon!

Has anyone ever run a half marathon with a chest infection? No? Just me..?

Yep, today was the big day, and the cold I’ve been battling since arriving in Florida was rearing its big ugly head, manifesting in my chest making every single breath hurt. Throw in the stress of all this setting off the weird little heart palpitations I get from time to time after about 9 miles, and I was not exactly fighting fit..

But we did it. It was not a record time, and I couldn’t even muster a sprint finish, but it was still epic. Looking back on it, now 12+ hours later, it was even more epic, mainly because I can breath properly now but still! There was a tonne of great entertainment, the cheering crowds were incredible and some of the sights were phenomenal.

We started once again in the Epcot parking lot, and from there ran up to the Magic Kingdom, down Main Street USA and right into Tomorrowland, then into Fantasyland and through the gloriously lit castle, before heading through Frontierland and out backstage. We then took a fairly straight route back down towards Epcot, finishing up with a loop down to the World Showcase and back, and finally that magical finish line was in sight!

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To celebrate, lunch was at Beaches and Cream, and included an sundae the size of my face – not that I could finish it! From there we walked into Epcot via the International Gateway so we could catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom ticket centre, then decided to get the ferry boat to the park from there.

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Despite exhaustion, we still packed a fair amount into our afternoon: Philharmagic, character meets, a ride on the train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain etc, but the rain began to pour down so we didn’t fancy sticking around to get soggy on a Jungle Cruise, and having been up since 3am, we settled on an early return to the resort so we could get some washing done.

Hello bed..

RunDisney 2016: 4 Weeks to go!

4 weeks *tears up with excitement*

Now a lot of exciting things have happened this week, but running sort of hasn’t been one of them. We kicked off the week with a recovery run on Tuesday; I call it a recovery run because it was in no way a training run, we just had to keep moving following Saturday’s half marathon distance – we lasted about 25 minutes and everything was hurting a little. For me, that was the end of my training for the week. Remember that knee problem I’ve mentioned before? Yeah well our recovery run tipped it over the edge and I’ve spent most of my time this week with an icepack taped to my leg.

Tuesday evening also came with one of those exciting things I opened with: corral announcements, and the release of the event guide! So we’ve been placed in corral F, with a predicted time of <2:21, which we’re capable of, but I very much doubt we’ll do what with photo ops and character meets along the course. The release of the event guide means we now know our race courses, the expo set-up and all the timings and transportation details, so I can start memorising everything in an attempt to mentally prepare myself!

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Exciting thing number 2: we’ve received some of the details for the Star Wars weekend from our travel provider, so it’ll only be a matter of time before we have our corrals and other info through from RunDisney! Unfortunately techincalities have meant having to reschedule one of our breakfast reservations, but its really not the end of the world!

Dad ran on Saturday without me, partially because of my knee, but mainly because I was in London for the day with my lovely friend Chelsea (because I know she’s reading this), eating pizza and amazing cookies, but considering we walked over 10 miles around the city I think that counts as training! And despite a slight complication at the end of the day, I came home to a package from Walt Disney World – our travel documents!

This is happening!

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RunDisney 2016: 13.1 (5 Weeks to go!)

I know that I post my RunDisney training updates on Sundays normally, but this week is a special exception for two reasons: 1) I have a special Christmas post for tomorrow, and 2) today’s run needs talking about.

Quite simply, we did it.

13.1 miles.

2:40:40.

Done.

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Despite many people believing that you shouldn’t run the distance you’re training for before the race itself, given that Dad and I have been physically ready for this distance for a good while having trained for almost a whole year, we wanted to just get out there and do it, to feel 100% confident in our ability to do it, and also to set our first PB, and a time we can work from.

Knowing this was our goal for the week, we kept our midweek runs short – around 30-40 minutes each, and pretty much entirely flat, leaving us in a good position for this morning.

Conditions today were not ideal. The wind at the seafront was ridiculously strong, which despite giving us a nice extra push for the first 5-6 miles, it was kicking up all the sand from the beach which got into our face and shoes, forcing us inland for the second half, at which point we had to turn around and start running back against the brick wall of wind. It was hard work, and had conditions been better we would have been totally fine, but the extra work took its toll mentally as much as it did physically.

In terms of pacing and split times, we remained fairly consistent. For the first 7k, 1/3 of the total distance, we kept an average of 11 min/mile, and completed it in just under 50 minutes, and despite feeling much longer, the second and third 7k splits only actually took 55 minutes, so we were pretty well paced the whole time, even if fighting against the wind drained us of energy.

After finishing, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, although I was too exhausted to do either! I’m honestly just so relieved and impressed, and 100% feeling prepared for January now!

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RunDisney 2016: 7 Weeks to go!

I know I probably say this every week, but I can’t believe how fast the time is going, and the excitement is really getting to me – there’s a lot of squeaking going on!

We’ve had another good week; we only ran twice, but that was a tactical decision following last weekend’s mini rebel training and knowing we had a long distance this weekend. I also think given the amount of time we train, missing a run here and there really doesn’t put us behind like it used to, and the recovery time is good for us occasionally. Our first run was a classic training run – we went out for about an hour and did about 5 miles thereabouts, which is fairly normal for us on these sorts of runs.

Saturday’s target distance was 10 miles; a distance we haven’t covered in 9 weeks, but we took the same approach yesterday as we did back then: slow and steady. By holding back on our pace, we’ve found we’re able to go much longer continuous distances and avoid tiring, and today we ran well over 5 miles before pausing for a quick walking break. We were really lucky to have clear and dry conditions, but the winds were very strong at times, and the temperature had dropped considerably overnight, so it was pretty nippy! At the 10k mark, we’d been running for 1 hr 10 minutes, which actually isn’t too far off our race pace for that distance, and despite aiming to complete the full 10 miles in around 2 hours, we actually hit it at 1 hr 52 minutes, which was great!

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Better still, because we’d finished the distance quite a way from home, after a quick breather we kept on running, and not only did we carry on to 19k (11.8 miles), which is the longest distance we’ve ever run, we did it in a pretty impressive 2 hr 20 minutes – 4 minutes faster than our 18k record. Unfortunately by the 19k mark my ankle was feeling a little dodgy, otherwise we would have pushed the final 2k to the full 13.1 mile half marathon distance, which would have taken us around 12-15 minutes, so we can assume our half marathon time to be approximately 2 hrs 30!

Feeling much more confident about our efforts this week, I’m pretty happy to be going into our last 6 weeks of training, yay! We’ve sorted our American Visas this weekend too, so now all that’s left on our to-do list is sort our car hire for California! Eeeek!

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RunDisney 2016: 11 Weeks to go!

And another week has flown by, moving us ever closer to the big day, or days in our case!

This week has been our first full week back in training after my trip, so its been a case of taking things fairly easy. We’ve also had some issues with fitting in running this week, so we’ve only run twice.

Our first run was a standard 45ish minute run, taking a regular route down to the beach and back. We kept a good continuous pace, with a few walking breaks, and it was raining which was a good motivation! Overall we did about 7km in just under an hour, which is slow by our regular standards but a good way of getting back into it.

Yesterday was an 8-miler. We had a good start, but running into the wind for the first half was pretty tiring! That said, we were still keeping a good pace, and once we got to the turnaround point, it was a lot easier with the wind behind us, and going back seemed much easier. It took us about 1hr 40 altogether, which is a totally acceptable time, but coming back from time off, I’m still struggling a little with getting back into a positive mindframe.

Next week will be a better week though! We’re doing another mini rebel challenge, and I’m getting back on track with healthy eating and gym training, so once I’m back in the place I was before my trip, it will all fall back into place!

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