Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2017 – The race that did not happen

My original plan for the start of 2017 was to run a Coast to Coast to Coast (C2C2C) challenge. This meant running Walt Disney World Half Marathon, a week later running Start Wars Light Side Half Marathon, and a month later run Princess Half Marathon. Well that C2C2C turned into a Vacation to Coast to Coast challenge.

Expo
Getting to the expo and getting my bib wasn’t too bad. Lots of twist and turns and weird signs but overall not bad. My dad did have a few issues with his bib but it was a misunderstanding about a limited edition pin he purchased that sent us on a wild goose chase.

Once that was sorted out finding our shirts for the Half Marathon and Goofy Challenge was hard. The expo was super crowded and hot which did not help us navigate the chaos. We quickly got our shirts and got out of the hot Jostens Center and back to the hotel.

When we got checked in and settled my dad and I realized we did not have our standard bag check tags for race day and the buses were a bit different compared to previous years.

Weather
The weather in Orlando was a bit humid for January, but each year I’ve run during marathon weekend it’s been super humid. We were told via email and Twitter that runDisney was following the weather closely and they would let us know if the race was canceled. Friday we went into the parks and we went to the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning and then went to EPCOT for our pre-race dinner. We chose the Garden Grill, I highly recommend this place.

After we finished my dad and I both checked our phones to see if the race was happening. Well it turns out it wasn’t but the only notification we received was a FACEBOOK POST. Yes it was a Facebook post, no supporting emails, no supporting Tweets, just a Facebook post. This is one of my frustrations, I did not find out the race was “officially” canceled until 11pm via email the night before the race.

I understand it was a game time decision because of the weather situation but there were other ways to notify participants and their families. runDisney could have sent a notification text and email via runner tracking along with the Facebook post but waiting two hours to send the email was frustrating. I do agree with their decision to cancel the race and I am happy runDisney did the right thing for the safety of their participants, staff and volunteers.

Disney’s customer service
runDisney did offer many options to refund the runner. You could go to the expo and get a full Marathon bib for Sunday, get a gift card for the full entry fee, get two one-day park tickets, or get a transfer entry. I chose the transfer entry but have yet to receive some sort of confirmation. I am very grateful runDisney offered participants options for the canceled race I do wish there was a bit more Disney magic when it came to communication post-race weekend. I know I am supposed to receive a finisher medal but honestly, I have no clue when that will arrive. (Update: Finally got my race medal at the end of March!) I did receive my Coast to Coast medal at Star Wars even though I did not run a race in Florida. I did bring it with me to Princess so I could take pictures with it after running my “third” half. I am also grateful that I did get to have a family vacation at Disney World. We spent more time together since I did not run the race. So, there was a silver lining in all of the disappointment.

Vacation
I did have a great vacation! We went to all of the theme parks, saw the new parts of the park and got to spend more time together than we hoped. I am returning for Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend with my boyfriend and his family and I hope it will be just as fun as this trip.

Have you ever traveled to a canceled race? Let me know your frustrations and your silver lining in the comments!

Blooms to Brews 10k, reflection

As I put the finishing touches on my NYC Half recap I realize that I have a few races coming up quick in the next few weeks.

This weekend is the Booms to Brews 10k in Woodland, Washington and a few weeks later I have another 10k in Seattle, the Tenacious Ten. I love the 10k distance and am super excited for both. Not sure if racing is in the cards for Saturday but I know my legs are finally rested for race day.

If you want to join me this weekend use code “Lucky7” for $7 off your registration for Blooms to Brews this weekend. Online registration closes April 7th.

SmellWell Review

It’s been a while since my last post. New York was a whirlwind and I will post about it soon!

But today I’m going to tell you about a life saver- SmellWell!

They are pouches filled with fresh smelling beads that soak up moisture and fight microbes that cause bad odors. They fit perfectly in any running shoe, cleat or even dress shoe. These pouches come in some fun patterns and they are available through Blue Chip with a Buy 3 Get 1 Free deal or through Amazon. They are non-toxic, all natural, and last up to three months.

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Here are a few more reasons why you should consider SmellWell:

One, SmellWell can be used anywhere! I am serious, shoes, gym bags, I even left one in my laundry basket after a long run. The smell of dirty laundry was pretty much gone by the next day!

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Two, SmellWell works in any shoe or boot! I brought SmellWell with me on my trip to NYC and they kept my Bean Boots and socks smelling fresh. Bringing home by dirty running clothes and running shoes wasn’t so bad because they didn’t stink either.

Overall, I enjoyed testingSmellWell and will most likely buy another pair once my current pair expires.

Disclaimer: I received a SmellWell® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

UV Reflective Half BUFF® Review

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was so excited to test this product. I love BUFF® but the regular version is a bit too long for me and I found it hard to wear. But, the Half BUFF® length with the reflective details makes this my favorite BUFF® yet. The material is soft and I did not have to fidget with it all the time like the regular length. I did get this product in Black but it comes in many more bright colors too. I was able to test out the UV Reflective Half BUFF® in both Seattle and Orlando. It worked great in both locations- rainy Seattle and humid Orlando.

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Here are a few great things about the UV Reflective Half BUFF®:

One, it is stink-free. Yes, you heard me, it’s stink free. This was great for Florida when I wore it twice on group runs that were super humid. I would air it out in my hotel room and then wear it again.

Two, the reflective details. The reflective detailing is wonderful. It is very visible and bright. I took it out on an early morning run and felt very safe wearing it long with my regular running jacket.

Three, it’s easy to wear. When I didn’t need to wear is on my head I could easily put it around my neck or wrist. Once there, I did not realize it was there. When I put it around my wrist I made sure the reflective details were facing outward to make sure I was seen.

Overall, I highly recommend getting a UV Reflective Half BUFF®. It is very easy to wear and it’s another great piece of reflective gear to add to your running wardrobe.

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Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K Seattle

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

After months of training, or not training that is, race day finally arrived and the results were pretty great all things considered.

Expo
I went to the expo on Saturday and packet pickup was a breeze. The expo, like last year, was a bit small. Lots of Hot Chocolate 15k merchandise, a bunch of local races and my favorite booth Tiger Tail! If you haven’t heard of them check them out. I browsed for a 45 minutes or so looking at all of the booths. On my way out I sampled the chocolate covered marshmallow (which were awesome!) and then headed back home.

 

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The goodie bag this year was great! The hoodie is so soft and true to size. I can’t wait to wear it everywhere. I also picked up some Nuun vitamins at the expo and a sweet Nuun Seattle water bottle.

Race Day

Starting with Cassidy. Photo from Hot Chocolate 15k

Getting to the race was pretty was easier than I thought. My boyfriend found a close parking spot and then we walked to the Seattle Center Armory. I found my lovely Oiselle teammates, Shannon, Cassidy, Jen, and Tiffany then stretched out. Right before the start time we walked over and squeezed our way into corral B. We had a difficult time getting into the corrals this year, there were very few entrances and we had to jump over a rope or two to get in. There were also way too many sets of pacers. It was very confusing and we thought we were in the wrong corral because of them.

Right at 7:55am the first corral started and then two-ish minutes later we started. The course is one skinny long loop that goes to Pike Place Market and then up onto Highway 99. The first half a mile is downhill which makes it hard to pace. We ran a 9:37 for the first mile and then a 10:10 for the second. The first four miles felt pretty good it was hard to maintain consistency because of the hills in course. But this was just the beginning.

Finishing strong in the finish chute

The last portion of the race is rough. Mile 5 takes you up to the Aurora Bridge then mile 6 goes up to 46th Street and the miles are pretty much rolling hills. Mile 6 is a monstrous hill. It’s over a half a mile long.  This is the hardest part of the course. I was so thankful that at the 46th Street Bus Stop a whole bunch of Oiselle Birds were there cowbelling. It was so amazing. One of them had Nuun which was a lifesaver too.

As we made our way down the hill to the last three miles of the course things were rough. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time to run the last 3.4 miles but I and my teammate could PR. We chugged a long and finally hit the last mile. This was go time. I knew there was a hill going up Mercer to Mercer and onto 5th Avenue. I ended up walking part of it but knew that I would PR if I ran the last stretch.

The best part was seeing Cassidy’s husband and then my boyfriend at the finish line knowing that it was all over and in fact I did PR by all of 30 seconds! Yes, that’s right 30 seconds. I will take as a good omen for my half in two weeks. What was great is I finally met fellow BibRave Pro Ambassador Jeannie. Check out her blog, she’s wonderful!

Overall, I did enjoy this race not sure I would run it again but it is great to finish a large mug of chocolate, free race photos, and a sweet medal.