Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Writerly Goals for 2015

If you’ve hung around this blog for a while you know I’m a huge fan of stating your goals (See my Importance of Avoiding Neck Beards post).

Why is it so important that we document our goals? Because writing down your goals has an almost magical effect. It cements the goal in your mind and you consciously (and sometimes unconsciously) move toward completing that goal. But there’s more to it than ‘magic’.

Documenting your goal makes it real. And real things have value. Your goals have value and meaning and worth. But we can, too often, focus on the daily grind of our lives and pack our goals away for another day.

Stop packing away your goals. Start documenting your dreams today and you may just breathe life into them.

In the spirit of the new year and new beginnings I’m defining my goals for all to see. I believe goals should be four things:

1. Goals should be both personal and professional (meaning don’t sell short your personal life, those goals matter too).

2. Goals should be stated in the affirmative, like ‘I will rescue 8 kittens this year’ and never in the negative, as in, ‘I will not let any kittens go unrescued this year.’

3. Goals should make you stretch (hello, challenge) but should also be realistic (I learned this one the hard way in 2014).

4. And last but not least, goals should be SMART:

Just saying “I want to write more” or "I want to run more" aint gonna cut it. You need to be specific when defining your goals.

Now, I’m thrilled (terrified) to be starting law school in 2015. This means my life, writing time, and fitness time will be in major upheaval this year. Knowing that I can’t control what my life will be like after I start school (in Aug) I decided to shorten my year. Instead of allowing myself 12 full months to accomplish my goals I’m allowing myself 8 (Jan – Aug).

Less time to accomplish goals meant I had to laser focus my goal setting on what’s important to me.

Here are my SMART goals for 2015

Professional: Improving Craft

Take one online writing classes before Aug 2015

Query at least one project before Aug 2015

Complete 2 revisions before Aug 2015

Professional: Idea Generating

Plot NA sequels before Aug 2015

Plot YA sequels before Aug 2015

Plot UF sequels before Aug 2015

Plot any shiny new ideas before Aug 2015

Professional: Efficiency

Define writing time (once law school class schedule is finalized)

Research alternate platforms before Aug 2015

Better integrate social media presence before Aug 2015

Personal: Fitness

Run a 10k before Aug 2015

Run 2 or more 5k’s before Aug 2015

Define law school fitness time (once class schedule is finalized)

Personal: FUN! (Because I’ve heard my 1L year of law school might not be fun)

Go on a Caribbean cruise before Aug 2015

Visit Alaska (one of my bucket list items) before Aug 2015

Go camping or backpacking before Aug 2015 (a local fun thing that we sometimes forget to do because we get ‘too’ busy)

Go tubing/float trip before Aug 2015 (another local fun thing that we sometimes forget to do because we get ‘too’ busy)

Personal: Family

Take at least one highway ride on the bike with Handsome Jack

Visit STL before Aug 2015

Visit FL before Aug 2015

Now these goals are pretty steep goals. But it’s called goal setting for a reason. You don’t want to remain content with the status quo (or else you wouldn’t be setting goals in the first place). Just remember to keep things reasonable. This is actually the 4th edition of my 2015 goal list. Why? Because I had to cut and trim goals to be reasonable.

There is nothing crappier than setting a goal and failing to meet it (in my opinion). Might this be why I gave up on ever finishing NaNoWriMo? Yes, yes it is.

As always, I plan to evaluate my progress often. Since my goal year is shortened (Jan –Aug) I plan to check in around April. If I’m falling short I can make the necessary corrections in an attempt to get back on track. But if my corrections can’t get me on track that’s okay, too. These goals can be restated (like I did in 2014. See my goal restatement post here).

What goals do you have for 2015?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cover Reveal: Naked by Stacey Trombley

I'm so excited to bring you details on a hot new novel scheduled to release this summer:

Title: Naked
Genre: YA Contemp Romance
Author: Stacey Trombley
Release Date: 07/07/15
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Length: 305 pages

Cover Reveal Organized by:YA Bound Blog Tours

Summary of Naked from Goodreads:

A teenage prostitute looking for redemption must face her secrets before they destroy her...

When tough teenager Anna ran away to New York, she never knew how bad things would get.

After surviving as a prostitute, a terrifying incident leaves her damaged inside and out, and she returns home to the parents she was sure wouldn't want her anymore.

Now she has a chance to be normal again. Back in school, she meets a boy who seems too good to be true. Cute, kind, trusting. But what will he do when he finds out the truth about her past?

And when a dark figure from New York comes looking for Anna, she realizes she must face her secrets...before they destroy her.


Sounds amazing right? I know I was like 'Um, What!!!' This book sounds a little dark, a lot sad, and topped - hopefully - with a happy ending. (There is a hint of a happy ending in there, right? It's not just me.). In other words, Naked is my kind of read.

Add to Goodreads or Pre-Order here: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo Books

Now, let's get a look at that cover.

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Okay, now this image is perfect for the cover, IMO. It's a little dark and a lot sad. But, again, there is hope here. It's just a perfect cover image. Congrats to Stacey and the folks at Entangled on the upcoming release.

About the Author

Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.

She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough. Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015

Want more on the Author: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Friday, January 23, 2015

"This is Hard" and 10 other Dopey Challenge Observations #runDisney

Many runners ask themselves "would I do another Marathon?" after completing their first 26.2. I'm not one of those runners (I always knew I'd run more than one) but reflection is always good. So I thought I'd spend some time detailing my thoughts about our recent trip to the Happiest Place on Earth and the 2015 Dopey Challenge.

11. I love staying on property.

I do. I can't help myself (and if I could, I wouldn't want to). I love Disney World. It is a fantastic place to vacation. Every time I've stayed on property at one of the WDW Resorts I've left the vacation feeling relaxed and happy. On a budget? (Aren't we all, LOL) That's okay - the Value Resorts are still amazing and offer nearly all of the Disney extras as the more expensive resorts. I have always stayed at the ALL STAR resorts and loved it. It starts with the luggage and Disney's Magical Express. When you fly into Orlando or Anaheim you have nothing to worry about because the ride is taken care of and the luggage pick-up is too. The rooms are clean and comfortable but the best thing about staying on property is the Magic Hours. Handsome Jack and I got to do/see a lot during our Magic Hours. I can't imagine doing Disney any other way. If you are at Disney for a runDisney event, staying on property is essential. The transportation provided from your resort to all the race related functions really takes the stress out of getting around on race day.

10. Meal plan is a mixed bag.

Handsome Jack and I enjoy trying new cuisine and there are plenty of restaurants to try at WDW. We went with the Deluxe Dinning Plan (three meals a day plus a snack). We used our meal plan to dine at some of WDW's best restaurants (Citrico's, the Brown Derby, and Le Ceillier) as well as fun restaurants (Akershus - where you get to meet the Princesses - and the Sci Fi Dine In). A lot of our meals would have been very pricey if not for the meal plan (180$ - 200$ before tip). So on the one hand, the meal plan is awesome because it allowed us to enjoy fine dinning. On the other hand, we probably ate more than we normally would (not a huge problem, this is vacation after all). Also, if you are at Disney for a run you will likely miss breakfasts due to the early morning race starts. This wasn't a big deal for us because we brought race day staples from home. But if you aren't interested in attending some fine dinning options (where 2 meal credits are deducted per meal) you may end up leaving meals on your card. Just something to think about. So, as you can see, it's a mixed bag. I definitely loved the meals we ate while on our Disney vacation. Next time I might shop for a lesser meal plan.

9. Goodbye race etiquette (sorta).

This is not unique to runDisney events. The loss of race etiquette plagues a lot of popular, crowded races and runDisney races are no exception. You may be super psyched to be racing trough a Disney park (or even on a Disney Cruise) and imagine all the other runners will be equally jazzed. Not the case. Just remember, there are grumpy runners at every race. It is worth mentioning that several places throughout the Disney courses are narrow (running through the Castle is a good example). A lot of folks slow down in the narrow passages and it only takes a few walkers side-by-side to completely clog the course. Just be aware of the space around you. Be the example you wish to see.

8. Don't get sick.

Seriously. Racing while sick is the worst! We did it in 2013 (5k,+ Goofy) and it soured us to running for an entire year. We don't know when we caught the flu in 2013 (either on the plane or shortly after arriving at Disney) but we were full-on sick with flu about half way through the Marathon. Every single fiber in our bodies hurt and the race was torture (the unseasonably warm weather probably added to the torture that year). Remember to take precautions seriously. Stay hydrated. Take vitamins. Get good rest. Wash hands often. Stay healthy and you will have a better experience.

7. Cold? Hot? Rain? Plan for the worst case scenario.

Running at Disney requires a 'come to Jesus' with the 'over-packer' in all of us. Embrace it. Over-pack.It is essential to bring clothing for all weather scenarios. In 2013 it was super freaking hot during the Marathon. This year, the 5k was frigidly cold and it rained a little during our Marathon. If you are running in costumes think about ways your costumes can be modified for different weather situations. My hubby and I didn't plan for cold weather. We expected it would be warm like it was in 2013. We were uncomfortable a lot of the time because we were under dressed for the weather. Worried about checking your gear at the race? Don't be. The runDisney gear check is the best gear check I've ever experienced.

6. Running with friends is so much more fun.

Simple but true. In 2012 and 2013 we ran alone. No friends. No supporters on the course. No one. This time we had family with us. And my awesome friend Cherylanne came by to run the 10k with us and cheer for us during the Marathon. Just knowing she was on the course ready to cheer for us was motivating.Running with friends makes the entire race so much more enjoyable.

5. What about the parks?

In 2012 we messed up. It was our first full Marathon. We knew we needed to get to Disney and allow time to soak it all up. We arrived 4 days early and spent them at the parks and Expo. But we did too much (too many hours in the park before a run can really be tough on the feet and legs). The race was tough and we were hurting the entire time. in 2013 we learned from that mistake and spent less time in the parks each race day. We had scheduled two 'fun' days after the race but 2013 was the year of the flu (see number 7 above). Instead of having fun in the parks we slept in the room and barely moved. This time around we did a little of both. We stuck to our 'not much time in the parks before a race' strategy and it paid off. Our feet and backs were not sore at all on race day. However, we only allowed 1 'fun day' after the race. The weather was bad for our 'fun day' so we felt like we didn't really get to do as much as we would have liked. *shurgs* We are thinking next time we might do less races and more fun.

4. Dopey is Big but Goofy is King.

I think a lot of folks see gold when they hear the Dopey Challenge comes with 6 race shirts and 6 medals (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, Goofy, and Dopey). But the Dopey is also very expensive. The 5k and 10k are fun but they are also easy. The meat of the Dopey Challenge is the Goofy Challenge. Goofy is a huge undertaking (running a half and a full over consecutive days). It's mentally tough and physically tough. If you don't have the funds or the time to do the Dopey but can afford the Goofy don't feel like you are some how lesser. The Goofy is seriously tough and super respected.

3. What's wrong with just running 26.2 miles?

Handsome Jack and I started chatting about this near the end of the WDW Marathon. What happened to just running a Marathon? Ever since we became Marathoners we have been tacking more races to the 26.2. In 2013 we did Goofy + the 5k. In 2015 we did Dopey. Maybe it's time to revisit running the Marathon as a stand-alone race. Instead of focusing on endurance we could focus on time and really get our Marathon time down. Just a thought.

2. Running naked is actually fun.

Okay, let me explain. By 'naked' I mean without music and without heart rate monitors. I never- in a million years - thought I'd be advocating for running without music but hear me out. The music creates a wall between you and the rest of the runners with you. And example: this year we saw a woman running in the cutest Dumbo costume ever. A firefighter/medic riding by on his bicycle commented on how awesome her costume was and she didn't even hear him. How sad is that? I was running as Rapunzel but a lot of people were not familiar with her character. I got a lot of questions during the race from other runners about the frying pan on my belt (and a lot of compliments). Not wearing headphones allowed me to really soak of up the race, connect with other runners, and really take in the support from spectators and volunteers. Can't imagine running without music? Don't worry, there is tons of music and entertainment along the course including music at ever mile marker.

1. This is Hard.

My hubby said it best, around mile 21 of the Marathon, "This is hard." Running is hard. Running 26.2 is hard. Running 39.3 is hard. Running 48.6 is hard. The Dopey Challenge was so freaking hard. We were better trained for this race than any of our previous Marathons and it was still hard. Don't underestimate the challenge. Train seriously. But don't forget to have fun along the way. The miles are magical and the runDisney races are seriously the best I've ever participated in. Enjoy it! The Dopey was a ton of fun and I am so proud that we accomplished such an amazing thing together.

Would I do the Dopey Challenge again? IDK. My knee and my budget might be limiting factors in that decision. Here I am icing it after I got home (don't mind mess - we still hadn't fully unpacked from the trip).

I can safely say I would absolutely do another runDisney race (maybe a half or a full (though not necessarily both)).

Want more thoughts and reflections about the WDW Marathon Weekend? Check out these great posts by the lovely ladies at We Run Disney:

Goofy is Getting No Respect

Goofy Training

10 Reasons we love WDW Marathon Weekend

How about you? Would you do the Dopey or Goofy again?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

We've recapped the 5k, the 10k, and the Half. The time has finally come to recap the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon (and hold on tight, because this is a long one, folks). Our costumes for this race were Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (aka Eugene).

Originally, I was going to wear a costume for this looong race and my hubby, Handsome Jack, was not. However, as time wore on he warmed up to the idea of a simple costume for the 26.2.

Isn't he adorable as Flynn? *swoons*

Okay, back to the race. Our alarms were set for 3:30 am. Yep. We got up and got dressed a little slower this time. I think the four previous days of wake up calls between 3:30-4:00 were catching up to us. We ate in our room before heading down to the lobby of the ALL STAR SPORTS resort to catch the bus.

While in the lobby we ran into my SIL and her hubby. They were catching the Magical Express back to the airport. Their vacation was over. It was sad to say goodbye because having my SIL there for the Half was a ton of fun.

The weather was much better for the Marathon. It was chilly but not jacket weather. We wrapped ourselves in heat shields and trash bags to stay warm while we waited for the start.

during the long wait before we were released to the corrals I need to use the bathroom. I went FOUR more times before the start of the race. FOUR! Every time we passed a bank of porta potties I had to run over and get in line. I think it was nerves. It was intense.

We finally made it to the corrals and waited for our chance to move up. We weren't in the last corral but we were close. In 2014 I read a lot of drama about runDisney's corral placements for the Dopey. This year I think there was significantly less drama. AND it seemed that the corrals were well managed (meaning I started and finished near a lot of people from my corral. We were the same pace. Unlike in 2013 when people lied about their time to get into high seated corrals only to finish back with me. LOL).

There were three minutes between corrals. Eventually our group got to move up and we passed porta potties. I panicked. Like a true panic attack style panic. The urge to pee was so strong that I jumped the fence (corrals are created using waist high fencing) and ran over to the potties. This is while our corral was moving. There was no guarantee we would find them again and we really didn't want to start off in the slower, last corral.

I peed (for the fourth and final time before the race) and ran back to find our corral. This stressed out Handsome Jack to no end. our pre race time was not as laid back as it should have been. And instead of focusing on the race we were focusing on my need to pee. It was a mess.

Eventually, we saw the tell tale fireworks of our corral. The race had begun.

We trotted along using our same strategy (1:1). Our legs felt great and considering we had a 5k, 10k, and 13.1 under our belt we felt like the 1:1 strategy was paying off.

The beginning of the Marathon course is identical to the course we ran the day before. Here's a pic of the course map.

The best part about the Marathon is that you get to run through all four Disney parks. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Even so, let's focus on the sunshine and rainbows part - the Magic Kingdom.

Shortly before the 5k mark we were running under the gate to the MK. I really really love this part of the race. After crossing under the gate we snaked toward the Contemporary and through a service area before entering the park.

It's hard to describe the incredible rush you feel running down Main Street USA lined with spectators and volunteers cheering you on. The roar of the crowd alone can get your blood pumping. But then you see the Castle in the distance and then you get really excited. It's hard to rein in that excitement and keep a steady pace but we tried our best.

Here we stopped for some pics near Cindy's Castle.

I've been to a few Disney races and knew that if we were going to see Rapunzel on the course it was probably going to be in Fantasy Land (because Disney characters cannot just appear all over the park. They are only staged in parks that make sense with their story: Belle in France, Mulan in China, Rapunzel in Fantasy Land, etc). But as we tore though Fantast Land we didn't see her. I figured she must be on break and my heart sank a little bit as we continued to Frontier Land.

We stopped for a on-course potty break (the bathrooms in Frontier Land are open and under utilized. Rarely a long wait). From there we crossed the train tracks and headed out of the park. I was definitely feeling pretty sad but I understood that even princesses need to take a break. Ah well.

When we made the turn to go through the park gates into a back lot area I saw her. There. Beside a massive castle float. Rapunzel and Flynn!! We had to stop for pictures. And even though the line was about 10mins long it was soooo worth it!

Riding the high of that awesome picture stop we ran a bit faster. We were now back in a pack of mostly walkers and slow joggers (which, for the most part was fine with us. Except the walkers made it very difficult to navigate the narrow passages throughout the course. Remember, when walking a course you should never be wider than two people shoulder to shoulder. If you end up walking at the same pace as a group of strangers fall back to single file, slow down, or speed up to ensure there is space enough for runners to pass.)

We made our way towards the DAK where we were greeted by some of their animal guests. My favorite (sorry no pic) was a giant tortoise who was wearing a race bib and slowly but surely marching toward the finish. Another racer yelled "look everyone, we're faster than the turtle." We all laughed. And the DAK handler said about the turtle "She tries to finish every year and doesn't quite make it." Ahhh. So cute.

The run through the DAK park was a little uneventful - mostly because there were barriers up as parts of the park were under construction.

We passed Expedition Everest and people with race bibs were getting off the ride. I'd read that racers will peel off course and grab a ride on the roller coaster before rejoining the race....but I'm slow. I start in a slower pack and by the time us slow-runners make it to DAK the park is open. That means runners would have to wait in line with regular park goers to catch a ride on the Expedition Everest.

Still, I met a few people who did it and were so happy they did. They said the ride was the best part of the course! Who knew?!?!

After DAK we take a trip around the Speedway. This is Handsome Jack's LEAST favorite part of the course because the hill down and up to get into the Speedway is ridiculously steep and narrow. It's a tough part of the course to be sure.

We made our way out of the dreaded speedway just in time to feel the first drops of rain. Yes. RAIN! A soft misty rain. Not a full on down pour. It was a bummer and we hoped that it wouldn't make things more humid as we kept on.

I'm sorry there aren't lot of pics during this phase. For the most part it's a pretty typical road course except for the AMAZING entertainment. My favorite are the Marching Bands. I guess because I was a bando when I was a kid, but the bands always keep me pumped. And the character stops are fun too.

My favorite stop is the Disney Villains which ALWAYs have a long line. Here's a pic I nabbed from the sidelines.

We turned toward the ESPN Wide World of Sports Center (where the Expo had been held) and my heart sank. I hate this part of the course. I mean, I hate it with the fire of a million suns. In 2013 this is the section where we unraveled. Sure, it was due to being sick with the flu and the unseasonably warm weather, but still. I hate it.

At mile 17 you are running down the right side of the road toward ESPN and on your left is mile 21 heading away from ESPN. It's a bit soul crushing to be looking at a spot and know there are 5 miles between you and it. *sigh*

The course through ESPN is very loopy/curvy. You twist your way between soccer field and baseball fields and around an actual track (kill me) before running through the Braves Spring Training field (where you are filmed and shown on the big screen. Tons of spectators fill the stadium to cheer you on). Still, I hated it. Urgh. I think it just brought back a lot of bad memories from our 2013 race.

We passed another bathroom and I doubled back to use it. The line was longer here and I had to wait. Still, it was worth it. There wouldn't be another bathroom for a while (porta potties, yes. Bathroom, no).

We grabbed a banana at a fuel stop and kept on trucking.

One of my favorite characters spotted along the course at this point was the main guy from Big Hero 6. I haven't seen that movie yet but a runner explained that the robot (who appeared on course as a giant, inflatable, balloon) is a health care robot. All around him were messages asking runners if we were under distress (apparently a common line from the movie). The scene made me giggle and I am determined to see this movie!!! Such a cute premise.

Anyway, by the time we finally got back around to mile 21 we saw it. THE END of the runners. We were truly near the back of the pack. Which we knew to be no big deal. However, a runner around us began freaking out. And if I remember correctly, back in 2013 they were freaking out as well.

This is when the negativity really started to come through. Runners began discussing the sweepers and how not to get swept. I understand the fear. No one wants to be swept off the course. And if you are reading this thinking you would never do a WDW Marathon for fear of the sweepers let me tell you - The sweepers pick up people who voluntarily ask to be swept or who are injured and cannot continue. They do not pick up people who are trying to finish the race and are near the pack. All that negativity and worry was bringing us down so we sped up a bit in hopes of leaving those folks behind.

We turned toward Hollywood Studios. Which is just killer. You run up a hill and back down. And in 2013 the sun as baking us alive during this stretch. We actually saw people passing out on this part of the course in 2013. Now, it was raining. Full on raining at this time and a lot cooler than in 2013.

I was excited because my friend Cherylanne was waiting for us inside DHS. Knowing that she was there (near mile 23-24 I think) was a huge motivator. And DHS is a pretty cool section of the course if you love PIXAR movies. A lot of PIXAR characters are out (we saw the Incredible (love em) and Sully and Mike from Monsters Inc (also totally love). We stopped for pics with Cheryl's Dopey (he even has running shoes on - so cute) before heading into Epcot.

The trip through Epcot was a bit unreal. We were feeling good. Not great but good. And my knee had finally stopped hurting (it had started hurting pretty early on, unfortunately).

I saw Danielle Nardi, from one of my favorite running blogs: Live Run Grow, at mile 25. She had already finished and was cheering on runners. How awesome is that?

My favorite part of the finish is the gospel choir just under the ball before you turn to see the end. When we past them they were taking a break (probably a much needed rest for their voices) and recorded music was playing. A little bit of a bummer but it happens.

We made our way to the finish feeling really pretty good. It was a slow race but we ran our fastest, most consistent splits. It was amazing to be done with Dopey!!!

We iced our legs and headed on to collect our Goofy and Dopey medals. Check out this haul!

We were DONE!! We made our way back around to enter Epcot in order to meet up with Cherylanne for some much needed FOOD (real food, not the sugary blocks we had been munching on all race - ugh). While we were slowly making our way over we saw something truly wonderful.

We saw the end of the Marathon. The very last three people who crossed. And when they crossed Mickey was there and ran with them across the finish line. They shot off confetti (just like they would for the first finisher). It brought tears to my eyes to see how they celebrated the very last finishers of the race. It was amazing. Congrats to them and to anyone who ever finishes a Marathon. It's something to be proud of.

Want more on the WDW Marathon? Check out these great posts:

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon by Live Run Grow

Chunking the 26.2 Live Run Grow

Goofy recap at Live Run Grow

Goofy training at We Run Disney

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Walt DIsney World Half Marathon Recap

Alright, we've talked about the Expo, 5k, and 10k. Now it's time to dig in and talk about the first 'big' race of the weekend: the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

I love this distance. Absolutely love it. 13.1 miles is long enough to burn through the tough early miles and slide into the 'runner's groove.' I've finished half marathons before with no recollection of miles 5-10. They just melted away.

And what's not to love about the WDW Half? The course takes you down Main Street and under Cinderella's Castle (probably the most magical stretch of any race, ever!). Here's a pic of the course map.

Our costumes for this race were Alice and the White Rabbit. We are wearing jackets again because it was still cold.

This race requires another early wakeup call. However, our entire running party (Me, Handsome Jack, and my SIL aka Tigger) knew we were in the back, near the last corral.

We knew it would be nearly an hour between the official race start and our start. So we caught a later shuttle to the race start. This meant we spent less time standing around in the cold before the start. We also did not go to he corrals when the runDisney volunteers first suggested. We stayed back near gear check, used the porta potties, and took our time.

Note: This strategy worked for us but may not work for everyone. If you are nervous before a race you may not want to risk missing your corral by hanging back to stay warm.

When we finally went to the corrals my SIL left us to join her corral with he hopes that we would catch up to her somewhere along the course. This was my SIL's first 13.1 and she was nervous about getting swept. This is a common fear for new runners, especially among the run-walk crowd, but a completely unnecessary one.

The race started with the awesome fireworks runDisney events are known for. And these fireworks aren't just reserved for the official start. No. Every single corral start gets these fireworks.

After we passed under the start we were on our way. Handsome Jack and I kept to our planned 1:1 run-walk strategy. The thought here was that a 1:1 would help conserve energy. We wanted to avoid the horrible fatigue we felt during the 2013 Goofy. We also planned regular fueling. As a rule during a race I try to take water at ever stop. This can be a lot of water during a runDisney event because they seem to have water every miles. In addition to drinking regularly throughout the course we also planned to eat fuel blocks every 3 miles. At our pace, 3 miles would be around the recommended 45 min guideline for fueling so it just made sense.

The start of any race is difficult to manage. There are tons of people of differing ability levels all around you. It's tough to hit your stride and it's tough to reign in your excitement. My hubby is terrible at this. He shoots out of the corral like a lightning bolt only to crash at mile 3.

But this years strategy of 1:1 run-walk really seemed to help. We kept to the plan even though we wanted to run farther/longer.

We were running without headphones so we chatted, joked, and even sang along with the music playing at each mile maker. Oh, did I mention Disney plays music at each mile marker? They do and it's totally awesome.

Somewhere before the 5k mark we heard a familiar song from one of our fave movies - Wreck it Ralph. The music was playing from a character stop including Ralph and Vanellope!!!!! Who doesn't love a brat with dirty hair?

We didn't stop for pictures ourselves. We agreed that we would only stop for costume related photo ops (for this race it would be any Alice in Wonderland related character stops). I snapped a pic from the sidelines and kept on.

Soon after Wreck it Ralph we saw Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Not long after the Jack and Sally we were turning away from the Epcot service area toward the Magic Kingdom. I think the Magic Kingdom is the best part of the course.

After crossing the 5k mark we bumped into my SIL. She was a little upset about a recent bathroom break that cost her nearly ten minutes. She joined us and our 1:1 run-walk. We made the turn toward Main Street together.

And paused near the castle for a few pics.

Near the teacup ride we saw The Red Queen! Of course we stopped for a quick photo.

Now, remember above when I mentioned how I love when miles just zip by without memory? Well, that happened here. I remember laughing and joking with my hubby and his sister. But I don't remember much about the actual miles themselves. I've run this course before so I knew what to expect.

After leaving the MK we would be on service roads between resorts or parks until returning to Epcot. Disney does a fabulous job of making those 'uninteresting' miles interesting by staging bands, DJ's, and character stops. We even pass WDW's Fire Department and the guys come out to cheer for you. Sorry, no pictures.

Now, it was somewhere in these miles that my knee began to hurt. The burning was under the patella (not to the side where my ITB has hurt before). I didn't think anything of it - figuring that it would stop hurting after the race.

Eventually, we made our way back towards Epcot. The thrill of being near the finish line overtook Handsome Jack and he ran ahead a bit. Eventually he slowed and we caught back up.

We ran through tomorrow world, under the ball, and out to the finish line marking the end of my SIL's first half!!

Handsome Jack and I were both trilled to be done. Or were we already stressing about the 26.2 tomorrow? Hard to say.

We iced up in the self treatment tents, grabbed a quick sports massage (*did I mention that runDisney events (half or greater) have a massage tent for after the race? Bring cash*), and loaded the bus back to our resort. With three races down and only one to go we were feeling pretty good. Any knee pain I was feeling earlier was long gone.

We napped, laid out or marathon costumes, and grabbed some dinner in Hollywood Studios before calling it a night.

Did you run the WDW Half? What did you think of the race?

Stop by for my WDW Marathon recap (soon). Or check out these posts:

My 2015 Disney's Health and Fitness Expo and Family Fun Run 5k Recap

2015 WDW 10k Recap

on Live Run Grow: 2015 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

on Sparkly Runner: 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend pt 1
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