Friday, November 16, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Meetup

Last weekend I finally made it to my goal that I set back in the winter of last year. I ran the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and had a PR! But... more on that later, because I was also able to participate in one of the most memorable experiences on my life. The runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meetup (or #winedinehalfmeetup for anyone who wants to read the recaps onTwitter).

When I first began running, I also joined Twitter at the suggestion of one of my colleagues. I'm glad I did because I was able to join an online community appropriately named #teamrundisney. It is an amazing group of individuals who come together to share their love of all things running and Disney. Without this group, I would NEVER have learned about the runDisney meetups and how challenging they are to get into! For those of you that aren't famliar with runDisney meetups, they are on a "first come, first serve" basis. About a week or so before the race, runDisney makes an annoucement on the Walt Disney World Blog and people are invited to RSVP to the event. As you can imagine, it is a widely popular event and it fills up quite quickly!

From all of the information I had heard on Twitter and through fellow bloggers, I knew I had to be a part of this experience. I was constantly obsessively checking the blog beuase I didn't want to miss it. Luckily another #teamrundisney member, Krissy (@krissymurphy - in case you want to follow her or read her blog... I promise you'll enjoy it!), offered to help me out and keep me in the loop by sending me emails if she heard any news. With her help I was able to register within minutes of the "invitation." I was going to finally be part of the meetups I heard so much about!

The day of the meetup I was so excited, I didn't even mind the FREEZING weather! It was Florida and everyone was bundled up because it was so cold. We started the morning by spliting up into two groups. One group ran with 2 time Wine and Dine winner Anton van Zyl and the other group would run with Jeff Galloway, the founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program, the program I used to train for the Wine and Dine. I chose running with Jeff because I was hoping to take it easy and learn some tips from him. Plus, I was intrigued because he was running in jeans! He said he didn't prepare for the weather, but I find it hard to believe that runDisney couldn't have helped him out with warmer clothes! The run was approximately 1.8 miles and we ran around the World Showcase in Epcot. It was beautiful to see the park open to only us and to see the sunrise over the lagoon. We even met Mickey on the run!

View as we entered the park. Beautiful I know...

The start of our run.

Getting a little morning run motivation from Mickey!
The most unobstructed view from the World Showcase. It's a whole different experience when you are the only ones in the park.
Group shout with our fearless captain.
Copyright: runDisney
After our run, runDisney organized a short question and answer session with Anton van Zyl, Jeff Galloway, and Tara Gidus, the official runDisney nutritionist. In addition, we were treated to an athlete's spaghetti pie created by Chef Steff, a chef who specializes in recipes and meals for athletes.It was delicious! It had a little kick to it from the red pepper, which was right up my alley! I can't wait to make it on my own at home. It was so inspiring to hear each of these people speak because they are all incredible motivators. One of my biggest mental blocks as runner is that I can get in my own head and doubt myself. When I "slip" on my goals I start to compare myself to others and I am always afraid I don't measure of to them. One of the biggest things I took away was how each of them were honest and admitted their own challenges. It made me feel like when I am struggling I'm not alone. Even former Olympians have tough runs!

Anton van Zyl sharing his race advice. I personally loved that he enjoyed potato chips while running the Ironman Kona. Now I know what I want potato chips every time I train hard...

Jeff Galloway sharing his insights on how to enjoy the run, no matter how challenging the run may be.

Tara Gidus sharing important nutrition tips.

 After we were throughly fed and even more excited for the race on Saturday, runDisney organized us for a few last photos and sent us on our way with a complementary park ticket, runDisney water bottle and pricessless memories.
So honored to meet Jeff. His training plan is the reason I am able to run.

I couldn't pass up a picture with Mickey. My daugher was jealous!

Group shot outside Germany.
Copyright: runDisney
Another group shout outside Norway.
Copyright: runDisney

I am so honored and grateful that I was able to experience this meetup at my first runDisney event. Not only did I learn some great advice, I was able to meet a great group of runners who share a common love for Disney. As a result of this experience, I have gained a network of runners and friends that I know I can rely on to help motivate me and to celebrate my experiences with. Thank you again to runDisney and #teamrunDisney for an amazing start to my Wine and Dine weekend!

#teamrunDisney group shot.
Copyright: runDisney

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