February 27, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Meet-up Recap

We had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Princess Half Marathon Meet-up on Friday morning.  We were asked to be at the Epcot gates by 6:30 AM for check-in and the event started promptly at 7:00.  Our fellow Pacebook and Team #runDisney buddy Stephanie graciously offered to pick us up at Port Orleans.  It was so fun meeting she (and another Stephanie!) in person at last.
Waiting to head to the meet-up
Once we got to Epcot, we signed waivers and were given a runDisney black tech shirt to wear.  Christine was really excited to wear this shirt (given that she was a wait list attendee at Wine and Dine, she got a random shirt size, which unfortunately was XL and doesn't quite fit).  We changed into our shirts quickly and passed off our bags to be retrieved at breakfast.  Soon we were meeting lots of other princesses and seeing some other friends from past meet ups.  And before we knew it, it was time to begin.
Good morning, Epcot!
Tony Morreale (sports PR Manager) kicked off the morning by introducing and thanking many members of the runDisney team who made this event possible.  The event included star studded attendees including Jeff Galloway (Olympian and runDisney training consultant), Tara Gidus (Disney's Diet Diva), Ali Vincent (the first female winner of the Biggest Loser), Sean Astin (from Goonies, Rudy and LOTR), Rachel Booth (reigning champion of the 2012 Princess...and now 2013!) and Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell (co-authors of Another Mother Runner).  Amazing, right?!
The group of 50 attendees (photo courtesy of runDisney)
Tony Morreale introducing the day's events


Ali Vincent - super friendly and fun with the crowd!
Check out who's in the background on the far right...tweeting away! (photo courtesy of runDisney)
Bob Hitchcock and 2012 (and now 2013) Princess Half Marathon Champion


The crowd was divided into two groups for the run.  The first group, led by Rachel Booth, would be a straight run at about a 9 minute mile pace.  The second group, led by Jeff Galloway, would be a 30:30 run:walk.  Given that we'd run with Jeff before, we decided to take on the straight run.  We had a blast!  It was a smaller group, so it was nice to get some time to chat with some of the big wigs.
Getting started on our run! Check out cutie pie, Kelly, dressed as Cinderella!
Kelly and Dimity  
Beautiful morning in Epcot
 We looped up into the World Showcase from Spaceship Earth.  Along the way, we passed Snow White in Germany and then happened upon a fun surprise in France - the Fairy Godmother!
Seen on our run...a pretty princess

NBD...just hanging with Sean!!!  I inquired about his outfit for the half...he ended up in a tiara.
Next, we were headed out toward the International Gateway to the Boardwalk resort area.  I enjoyed chatting with Sean Astin.  He is amazingly friendly and down to earth.  We enjoyed hearing about his Disneyland race experiences.  We had a small hitch as we started heading toward the Boardwalk area-the gates into the area weren't open yet so we had to wait for security to come open them.
Uh oh!  The gates weren't open to head into the Boardwalk resort area
We all joked with Bob about an obstacle course run for the meet-up.  As we ran past the Boarwalk, Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts, we chatted with Sarah and Dimity, sharing our favorite races, what we love about running and the greatness of runDisney.  It was very cool to hear about how they got started and how they find sanity in running.

We looped back through the International Gateway, finishing the World Showcase loop and ended at the Germany pavilion.  We headed inside the Biergarten in Germany for some breakfast.  There was a great spread with bagels, breads, pastries and fruit.  Plus more than enough coffee, OJ and water to keep us hydrated and sufficiently caffeinated for the speakers!  Faron Kelley kicked off the event and shared some really cool stats about runDisney and women's running in general.

Faron Kelley kicking off the speaker portion of the event
Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus
After Tara and Jeff gave quick tips on training and nutrition, Rachel Booth spoke to the crowd and talked about how she's lowered her mileage and isn't putting as much pressure on herself.  Next up was Ali Vincent and she was fabulous!  She shared very candid thoughts on running, weight and self esteem.  She then asked the crowd about who had lost weight...the last ladies with their hands raised (7 in total, who had lost more than 75 pounds each) were given a hot pink "Live Big" gym towel.  There were 3 ladies at our breakfast table that received them - totally amazing!
Our friend Jodi won a towel!
Next up was April Holmes, three time Paralympian.  She lost her leg in a train accident and as she was recovering, decided she wanted to get back into competition.  She's won many gold medals and broken her own world records multiple times.  She was funny and inspiring, even sharing that she has so many gold medals, she can't find them all!

After April, we heard from Josh from New Balance and he launched into some trivia questions to win free runDisney New Balance sneakers.  And unless you've been living under a rock, you know these are highly coveted.  After a few softball questions, he launched into some harder questions.  He asked about the location of their world headquarters and my hand shot in the air.  Pick me, pick me, I silently said to myself.  He pointed at me and I emphatically shouted "Boston" and he confirmed my response.  I was handed an envelope with a voucher to pick up the shoes at the expo.  So exciting!!
Winning my New Balance sneaks!
And lastly, several members of the newly opened Grand Floridian Spa, Senses, were on hand to share at home massage techniques, specific for runners.  They raffled off some plush robes and a massage appointment to some lucky runners.  And at last the morning came to a close with a special guest...Minnie Mouse in her most beautiful royal princess dress!



As we were leaving, we were each handed a swag bag with some fabulous gear - a one day Park Hopper pass, Florida Celebration Hospital water bottle, Luna fiber bar and H2O Plus Sea Salt Body Butter and Facial Cleansing towels.  We snapped a photo with Rapunzel and headed out for the Expo.




It was an incredible morning and we had to pinch ourselves multiple times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  Thank you for making this possible, runDisney - we are unbelievably grateful to have been able to take part in this incredible morning!

{Christine}

30 comments:

  1. So fun! I hope to get into the Disneyland meet up :) Glad you had a great time!

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    1. Good luck Jen. The meetups are so much fun!

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  2. Oh, looks a fun time! Now I want to go to Disney...or Florida...or anyplace nice and warm will do :) And congrats on winning the sneaks!

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    1. Thanks Kelly. Christine loves her new sneakers and yes a warm place is nice this time of year!

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  3. Love it, ladies! Looks like you had an amazing morning with runDisney!

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  4. What an awesome day! Glad you had a wonderful time! Can't wait to hear about your race!

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    1. Desiree, We hope to have our race recaps up later this week!

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  5. Sounds like so much fun! And to win a pair of the NB Disney shoes-SWEET!!

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    1. It was wonderful and yes, the NB shoes were icing on an already sweet morning!

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  6. It was definetly a fun event to be a part of.
    Great recap Pam & Christine!!

    Princess Nicole
    Fellow Meetup Attendee :)

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    1. Thanks Nicole, Yes, we all were lucky to attend such a great runDisney event.

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  7. The meet up sounds like it was awesome! Totally jealous that you got to hang with Sean Astin and won a pair of the sneakers!

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    1. It was super fun, and yes, Christine is thrilled with her new sneakers!

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  8. Wow! Did Disney invite you to the meetup or did you get in through the Disney blog?

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    1. We got in through the Disney blog....these events are hard to get into and we have been very lucky!

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  9. Great recap! It was such a fun event, I'm so glad that my insomnia paid off and that I was able to get in! Hahaha

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    1. Yes, insomnia and jet lag were a good thing in the wee hours of Friday morning! Glad you enjoyed the event too!

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  10. Love your re-cap on the Disney meet up~ How great you both were able to go...and wow...Christine won FAB shoes! :c) I've enjoyed reading your posts...

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    1. Thanks, we enjoy writing the blog and love meeting other runners through the internet. Thanks for the kind words!

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  11. It was such an awesome and fun time! I still can't believe I was chosen.

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  12. I am glad you had an awesome time and had a great meet up! Score on the New Balance shoes! I would be in tears! How exciting!

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  13. Great recap on the Meetup! I'm crossing my fingers for Disneyland! Congrats on winning the NB shoes...that's so cool!

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    1. Y'all both look very cute, by the way...in your matching Minnie skirts! :0)

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  14. Hey There! I just wanted to say that it was great to finally meet (very briefly) Pam while at the meetup, I recognized her there and introduced myself! Somehow I missed you Christine! Sorry!
    Im glad you had a great time, this was my first meetup and 1/2 and it was a BLAST!!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, Great to meet you too! The meetup was awesome, so glad you got to enjoy it too! We felt so so lucky to have gotten the opportunity!

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  15. I LOVE you guys! Always fun to spend the morning with you!

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