Monday, January 19, 2015
Disney's Health and Fitness Expo and the 2015 Family Fun Run 5k Recap
I'm back from Walt Disney World and am still riding high on the wave of awesomeness from race weekend. I plan to recap all the races here so be on the check back this week for additional posts. Now, let's start at the beginning - the Expo.
What can I say about the Disney's Marathon Weekend Health and Fitness Expo? It’s an amazing event. If you follow runDisney events I’m sure you’ve seen details about their expo. It’s big. Bigger than Big. It’s infamous. Because at the Disney Health and Fitness Expos’ you can buy limited edition Disney running shoes and limited edition runDisney themed Dooney & Bourke bags.
My husband and I flew in early on Wednesday so that we could attend the Expo the first day it opened. When we arrived it was a madhouse. The entire ESPN Wide World of Sports center was crawling with people and vendors. The place was alive with energy.
Note: Attending the Expo on opening day isn't a must - we checked back a few days later and they still had tons of merch. So if opening day isn't for you, no worries.
RunDisney volunteers did a great job of organizing the crowds. We made our way through packet pickup without any challenges (unless you count me tearing my gear check bag and having to get another one a challenge).
TIP: Remember to print your race waivers ahead of time. It saves a lot of time and stress when you arrive at the Expo for pick up.
We then headed to the official runDisney booth to buy some souvenir gear. This is where things went a little sideways. The runDisney booth was already picked over. And people were a little pushy when it came to finding that last coveted size or logo shirt.
But we made it through the madness, grabbing a bunch of limited editions pins. I love to hang these pins on my cube wall at the Day Job.
The race shirts were super high quality (at least compared to 2012/2013) and I picked up a cute, pink, runDisney shirt as well. We also grabbed a boat load of fuel for the weekend's many races and some essentials we forgot at home (like our massage stick (a must!), compression calf sleeves, and gloves).
After the expo, my hubby Handsome Jack and I made our way to the Polynesian where we ate at the Kona Café. Which, might I add, has some delicious food!
We called it an early night and set our alarms for an early 5k pick up time the following morning.
Family Fun Run 5k Day (aka Frozen 5k day) –
We woke up at 3:30am so we could catch the 4:00am bus to the 5K start. Our costumes for the 5k were Russell and Kevin from up.
(Note how happy we look. These were taken before we went outside and realized how cold it was.)
We met up with my MIL, SIL, and her husband in the lobby of the ALL STAR SPORTS Resort.
We knew it was supposed to be cold that morning but nothing could have prepared us for the true, frigid, reality that awaited us.
Some sites report temps as low as 27 degrees - in Florida? That's cray cray.
When the shuttle dropped us off at Epcot we made our way to the corrals. The wind cut through our thin costumes. Everyone was a bit put off by the bad weather. Everyone, except, Sean Astin, that is. He was wonderful, upbeat, outgoing, and funny. He joked with fellow runners as we progressed through the bitter wind to the corrals. He teased my hubby, who was dressed as Russell, orange backpack and all. He said “I wore a backpack for years.” (lolol)
We huddled with a group of fellow runners for about an hour before they gave the call for everyone to head to their corrals. Our entire group was in the same corral (the last corral) so we had to stand around – in the artic, winter air - for another hour in the corrals before would be released to run the race. This proved too much for my SIL who was planning on running her first Half Marathon in just two days. My SIL (dressed as Pooh) and her husband (dressed as Jack Skellington) left the corrals, bailed on the race altogether, and went to the huge, heated race retreat tent to get warm. We couldn’t blame her, after all, in running it’s so important to listen to your body.
We discussed strategy with my MIL (dressed as Eeyore) – she had never done a race before and was planning on walking her first 5k. My hubby and I were running as part of the Dopey Challenge and believed we would have to maintain a 16 min mile in order to qualify/finish. My MIL’s walking pace was a little slower than 16 min per mile so we decided to split up.
The race began with the fireworks and pomp you’d expect from a Disney race. We ran through a service areas surrounding Epcot. Here's the course map.
And by the time we entered the park we were warm. Handsome Jack and I decided early on that we would do a run-walk method. With some of the recent injuries and delays in training we decided to stick with the 1:1 ratio. The course took us around the World Showcase and then into the futuristic part of the Park. We passed the ball and finished in the parking lot where we would be finishing the Full Marathon later that weekend (cue emotional response).
We waited a few minutes for my MIL to finish.
She was ecstatic having faced down bitter, unseasonably cold weather to finish her first 5k. From there we went rejoined my SIL and her husband in the race retreat/breakfast area. We warmed up and ate our fill before getting interviewed by local news crews about running in the cold.
After the race we got cleaned up and spent the day taking in some rides at Epcot.
The fun didn’t stop there. We had another early night before the 10k on Friday.
Did you run the Family Fun Run 5k (aka Frozen 5k)? What did you think?
Check back here for race recaps of my 10k, Half, and Full experience.