2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Part III

IT’S TIME FOR A FAMILY REUNION!

When you’re at Disney, there’s no such thing as sleep! On Friday morning, we got up early to head to Epcot for the Family Reunion Breakfast! The breakfast was new to us because we attended the Pasta in the Park dinner during Princess Half marathon weekend. When we arrived, we walked towards the enclosed Race Retreat tent where the breakfast was being held. The 10K was still going strong and there were people still cheering on runners while others were finishing. Once we got on the inside, it was very spacious. There was a buffet-style breakfast with warm breakfast yummies, fresh fruit, pastries, and beverages. There was also a kids area with bean bag chairs and a television playing Disney movies which definitely kept the kiddies occupied. Over to our right were Disney characters who came to greet us! We ate and headed on over. Guess who was there?! The Goof Troop, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and (Uncle) Scrooge McDuck and Lunchpad McQuack from the DuckTales! SO! MUCH! FUN! Ducktales Usie With Ducktales Goof Troop Usie Chip N Dale and Usie Chip N Dale and Artie Cakes As we were getting ready to leave I glanced over to my right and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I mean, I knew he was there…but I wasn’t ready. It was Bart Yasso! If you know me then you know how much I LOVE him! For those who don’t know…Bart is heavily known in the running world and is the Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World mag! One of my goals for 2015 was to meet (and get a selfie) with him in person—Mission Complete! It was such a pleasure to meet him! Me and Bart Yasso We headed towards the shuttle and I heard the cutest, southern voice calling my name. I turned around and to my surprise it was my sweet frieeeeend Kristin (aka BamaGirlRUNS!) I love this girl! Her BFF, Carrie, was also with her and thanks to Kristin, I felt like I already knew her. They both ran Dopey this year which meant they had just finished the 10K to complete day 2 of 4. We took photos, not with my phone, so unfortunately I don’t have a pic of us *wannnhh* — just know she’s beautiful inside and out (just like Kristin) AND she will keep you TOTALLY motivated on your health/fitness journey! Don’t believe me? Check out her blog here! KristinandMe1 After leaving the Family Reunion breakfast we headed back to the hotel to rest up before heading to a special Cigna Blogger Event. You can read that recap here. Later that evening, we swung by the expo to pick up a few last minute items before the Hubby’s half marathon the next morning. I made my rounds, literally, and then stopped by the runDisney booth of course! Jeff Galloway and his wife, Barbara, were there. It’s ALWAYS a pleasure seeing/speaking with Jeff Galloway! I’m thankful for him and his training plan which has helped me along with countless other runners get to the finish line and achieve their goals!

 

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Me and Jeff Galloway 2

Figuring out the best ratios to get me to the finish line!

We left the expo and headed over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill in hopes that the Magical Meet-Up hosted by Kristin (BamaGirlRUNS), Jen (Pink Cupcake Girl), and Carrie (Carrie Burrows) was still going strong. Luckily, it was! I missed the first group photo, but we did get another photo before we left. This entire weekend came with blessing after blessing. Everyone that I met during this marathon weekend was genuinely sweet and so much fun to be around! When I met Christi, I knew she was a gem. Make sure you visit her blog Colt’s Wish and you will see why. I’m also glad I got to meet Jen’s super sweet BFF, Erin, and a few others not pictured. It’s true when you run Disney, you become family! I feel pretty honored to be “#runningwiththeCOOLKIDS”!

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The Hostesses with the Mostesses!

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Christi, Erin, Jen, Kristin, and Meeee!

After leaving the grill and getting one last photo — it was starting to get real! The sun began to set so it was time to get some nourishment, then get rested up and prepared for a 2:00 a.m. wake-up call. My HB would be running the WDW Half Marathon…bright and early! Martahonweekend  

WALT DISNEY WORLD HALF MARATHON (13.1)

We woke up at 2 a.m. to get ready and board the shuttle by 3:30 a.m. The line was much longer than it was for Princess Half weekend. We went to the end of the line and boarded bus #4. Did I mention it was freeeeeeezinggg!? It was so cold that I brought my Snuggie + I was tripled layered, including long johns. I knew the runners would be fine, it was just the waiting part. 20150110_034044

Black Spiderman

Black Spider-Man is ready!

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Before Black Spider-Man headed to his corral!

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Beautiful day at Epcot!

The race started at approximately 5:35 a.m. After watching all of the corrals take off, I stuck around and figured it would be better if I got moving to stay warm. I don’t think anyone anticipated it being THAT cold, but we couldn’t do anything about it but suck it up! At least the participants would warm up once they got moving. I walked over towards the cheer area and stopped to get some coffee on the way. I was happy that the sun was FINALLY coming up! It was truly a beautiful morning. It was also my first time spectating (and not running) so it was a great feeling. I was a little nervous about hopping from bus to bus to see my HB throughout the race, so thank goodness for great race photos to capture those moments! I sat on the bleachers and cheered on runners and got the text message alerting me that he would be approaching the finish line soon! SO EXCITED!  

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…and there he is! He found me in the crowd and heard me. Yes, I was LOUD! He sees the finish line ahead of him and that’s something to smile about!

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I’m so incredibly proud of my HB for completing his second half marathon!!! The sun was shining down and he was so excited! His Donald Duck half marathon medal is pretty sweet too! He EARNED it! I appreciate him so much for always (and I do mean…ALWAYS) being there to support me for each and every race. It did my heart good to be able to watch him cross the finish line at the most Magical Place on earth! 

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image Stay tuned for Part IV! 

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Recap(s):

 Part I: Party at the Pop + Expo

 Part II: Cigna Blogger Cook-Off and Meet-up

 

 

 

Cigna Blogger Cook-Off! Let The Fun Continue… (Part II)

cookoff with cigna

During the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, I was invited to the Cigna Blogger (Challenge) Cook-off! Cigna is a global health service company that is dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being, and sense of security. The event was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It was exciting to formally meet bloggers that I met or discovered through social media along with many new faces!

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Team Turkey Stir Fry1

 

Pascale Jean, Cigna Health Promotion Manager and nutritionist, kicked off the event! She ran Dopey by the way! After the introduction, we were split into teams. I felt like I was on an episode of Iron Chef! The challenge was for each team to create a meal fit for marathon training. We were given a protein along with an abundance of ingredients to help bring our masterpiece to life! Each team had their own Disney Chef to oversee them. Thank you, Rebecca!  We had all of the kitchen accessories and appliances we needed…so “let’s get it started” *in my MC Hammer voice*!

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superfoods

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Dicing like a BOSS!

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Kristin, Carrie, and I are ready for a taste test!

 

LET’S EAT!

I really need to say this…everything was AH-MAZING! Sampling everyone’s creation made it even more fun! From Team Turkey Stir Fry’s (you guessed it) exquisite turkey stir fry to one of the best vegan meals I’ve ever tasted! Let’s not even talk about the shrimp-n-grits. I think everyone is still raving over those grits! And the dessert! Oh…my…goodness—Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding! Divineeee!

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We had the pleasure of dining with two amazing people: Sarah from Sparkly Runner and her beau, Matthew! They were such a joy to be around. We chatted about everything during our meal: the fact that my husband was self-proclaimed support staff for the event, running, and so many other things. You would have thought we were old friends picking up without missing a beat. We already know they will be our Forever Friends!

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After we enjoyed our yumtastic meals, Chef Mickey arrived for a private Meet-and-Greet with all of the bloggers in attendance!

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cigna_PME7865This event was truly one of the highlights of my weekend! I am grateful for the experience that Cigna provided us and the opportunity to work with one of the leanest *pun intended* and meanest (I mean this in a good way) team: (Elbow Glitter, Katrina Elle, Run Knit Travel, Run All The Races, including Rebecca Bastian), and Maker Mother Marathon Runner). So many great moments: marathon training meal ideas, fun times with Chef Mickey, meeting fellow bloggers who encourage a healthy lifestyle, and being hosted by an organization who thrives on giving back to others! Thank you Cigna for the opportunity to share in this amazing event and being a company that makes a huge imprint on this world!

 

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The Cigna Team!

 

Stay tuned for Part III of my Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Recap! In the meantime, you can check out Part I here!

 


Cigna_logo4Cigna Corporation is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation. The products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. 

 “Cigna and runDisney share a commitment to inspire healthy living and active lifestyles across all ages and fitness levels,” said Lisa Bacus, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer at Cigna. “runDisney’s stature as one of the most respected race series in the nation gives Cigna and our customers and employees the opportunity to showcase our passion for community service. At the same time, we’ve been able to share inspiring personal stories of the customers, military veterans and so many others who have been part of our runDisney teams.”

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The majority of the photos in this post were provided courtesy of Cigna!

 

 

 

 

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Part I: The Pop & Expo

Hello everyone!

I couldn’t put this amazing weekend into just one post, so hang on for a Magical ride! We arrived in Orlando on Thursday morning of January 8th. We boarded the Magical Express and then we were Walt Disney World bound! It was 7 degrees when we left Birmingham so we were excited to be sun-kissed by the Florida sun. It was such a beautiful day…cold, but beautiful. And we’re off…

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When we arrived to the Pop Century Resort, we were graciously greeted by the hotel staff. We were able to check-in early, even though I didn’t take advantage of early check-in. It actually worked out for us because the systems were down prior to our arrival. Thankfully, the system came back up not long after we approached the counter. Since we had a choice of which decade we wanted to stay in, you know what we chose: the 1980’s of course! 80’s baby in the houuussseee…well, hotel!

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It was such a beautiful day! As the sun was setting, it created the perfect backdrop for snapshots of our retro residence for the next five days. I thought I’d share a mini tour around the resort! From floppy disks, Walkman, Rubik’s Cube, Roger Rabbit…to Pac Man! This resort was truly taking me back to circa 1980-1989. 

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Art Runs Disney

We’re ready for the runDisney expo! Yes, those are pineapples! Can’t you tell I’m excited to be in Florida!

 

THE EXPO!

The expo is always fun because there is every vendor you can imagine and then some. I also love the Speaker Series which included: Former Olympian and official runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Ambassador John Bingham, actor Sean Astin (Yes, from the Goonies!), Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray, Diet Diva Tara Gidus…just to name a few! They also had really nice merch this year for all of the races! I was happy to snag an official runDisney commemorative marathon jacket along with some other cool items. If it’s going to be your first marathon, you gotta live it up! Speaking of living it up…also available were the 2015 commemorative runDisney Steamboat Willie New Balance shoes (available only at the runDisney expo). Last year I had anxiety trying to get my hands on a pair of Minnie’s, which I did — but this year I didn’t stress it as much. You’ll see why later. They are pretty sweet and you can read more about them here.

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all the bling

I love all of the runDisney medals! I can’t wait to earn them all!

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at the expo!

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runDisney Steamboat Willie New Balance! Mickey (black) Minnie (Grey). Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

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My Hubby’s first runDisney race! He’s pumped!!!

 After we picked up our race bibs, race gear, and checked out the vendors, we decided to head back to grab a quick bite at our hotel. We were blessed with passes to Epcot so we debated whether to go Thursday evening or Friday. Our schedule was packed so we opted for Thursday evening. We wanted to do the bulk of our walking on Thursday since Hubby’s race was Saturday and my race on Sunday.

If you ever go to Disney for a Racecation, make sure you take time for rest. Most people will want to go to at least one park. For the Princess Half Marathon weekend (read that recap here), I had no idea what to expect. I do know I was excited and overwhelmed by all of the vendors. We ended up doing more walking than anticipated on both days at the expo. Before the marathon, I knew I needed to limit my walking. If you get your activities in early (or post race)  your legs/feet won’t feel as tired. I know, it’s Disney and it may not always work out that way — but try to give yourself a day or two of complete rest before your race day. If you do walk, don’t forget compression socks and comfortable shoes!

 

Next up is Part II of my Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Cigna Blogger Cook-off!

Getting Back On Track: My Tracker Missed Me

We’ve all done it…taken a little time off and decided that we would get back on track starting next week. Next week can turn into two weeks, then two weeks into a month. Well, I made the decision — I’m starting back today! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to have time-off from the gym/running/working out to avoid burn out and enjoy the things we love (in moderation), but we can’t stay away too long.

wpid-screenshot_2015-01-20-09-04-30-2.pngOkay, you know that photo is hilarious, but it’s seriously time to get back focused! During my marathon training my Weight Watchers took a backseat. It’s tricky when it comes to marathon training and watching what you eat and/or weight loss. Your body needs energy and requires more carbs and other things I wouldn’t normally chew and chomp on; and limiting them can hinder your performance. Carbs are usually one of the first things to go when “dieting”, so we already know where my points would have gone. During that time, I was mindful of what I ate, but I snacked and did not track as consistently as I should have. I love that my WW’s app would send me reminders to track my food almost to say…”Hey, we’re still here!”

I took one week off from all activity after my marathon. I’m really excited that tonight I will be returning to Zumba after months off. I stopped attending class because I wanted to stick to cross-training activities such as: swimming, walking, yoga, or cycling. Well…I’m back and this girl is ready to Merengue and Salsa her bum off!

I’ve also found that writing in a journal or tracking is extremely helpful with staying on track. That’s why I returned to WW’s after so many years. I have so many friends sharing this journey with me — which will help me stay accountable.

How are you staying on track while maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

 

“It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.”

 

 

Now That We’re Acquainted…Hello 2015!

Happy New Year guys and gals!

So I thought I would at least get a good week in before I posted about my goals for the new year. I think my struggle with writing 2014 2015 is enough. We also, know that improving our diet and exercise habits are standard goals for life. It is, however, a great feeling to knock off one of your top goals for the new year within the first few weeks!

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Here are my randomly awesome goals for 2015:

2015 Goals

Complete my first FULL marathon (26.2 miles): Well, guess who’s having the most Magical start to 2015? I AM! I completed the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 11, 2015! What an amazing way to bring in the new year. I’m still on Cloud 9…you have no idea. I’m seriously still soaking it all in, as you can witness here. My runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend recap is coming soon!

Blog More Frequently: So I must admit, I didn’t blog as much as I would have liked in 2014, especially the last quarter of the year. I committed to marathon training and on most days, by the time I made it home, my eyes needed kickstands just to stay open. I can now shift my focus back to my blog.

Learn Spanish: I took French in high school and I don’t remember much at all…just that my teachers name was Mrs. Broglie, my French name was Arianne, and oui means yes. I do love watching French films (with subtitles); however, Spanish is where “it’s at”! Spanish is not a foreign language anymore and I feel with me living in the U.S., I need to familiarize myself with it. After returning from my visit with my Sissy in “Ellll-A” (aka Los Angeles) this past summer, I decided I was going to purchase a subscription to Rosetta Stone. Now that my schedule has freed up a bit, it’s time for me to pick it back up and practice being a good “estudiante”. The structure will eventually get there. Wish me luck!

Complete Six Half Marathons: It’s no secret that I love half marathons. It’s my favorite distance to run. I’m so excited to not have any pressing commitments, so I can have fun, run ALL the races, earn all the bling, and just enjoy running! I’m really excited that I will be running for a great cause this year, which I will share about later.

Learn How To Sew: So I’ve had this sewing machine up in my closet for over a year now. It’s time to dust that baby off and start creating some masterpieces! My name doesn’t have “Art” in it for nothin’.

newgoalsStrength Train + TRX: I’m no stranger to strength training, weights, etc. I started taking Body Pump (BP) classes back in 2011 and I enjoyed them. Then, I took some time off and decided to take on Shaun T’s 63 days of what? INSANITY! Thennn…I was introduced to TRX last year and I’m really excited to add it to my workout regimen. TRX is a total-body workout that uses gravity and your own body weight to give you an insane workout. It’s helps create a stronger core, helps build muscle, and overall increases fitness level.

Latin (Infusion) Dancing: I love Zumba! I seriously have the best Zumba instructor on the planet. Heyyy Marta! Her class is always packed with 60+ people and it is truly a dance party. I stopped Zumba while training for my marathon and I’m so happy to be back. I come from a dance/cheer background so Latin dancing gets me excited! I’m hoping to find somewhere I can take true lessons and learn the technical side of dances like the Merengue, Bachata, or the Samba! Who knows…you may find me on So You Think You Can Dance! Okay…maybe not.

I think goals are more attainable than resolutions. You don’t have to beat yourself up if you have a setback. Just keep pushing until you reach them! Happy New Year and make it an awesome 2015!

Do you have any goals for the new year?

 

 

Shine On! The Year of the Bling

Manhattan Beach, CA Shawwm

It’s a new year which means a new “season”, new goals, new opportunities…just a whole lot of newness. I have declared 2015 “The Year of the Bling!”

By definition (if you count Wikipedia):

Bling (or bling-bling) is a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious, or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories that are carried, worn, or installed, such as cell phones or tooth caps.

Okay, that definition is hilarious and may be true, but what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “bling”? My first thought: something shiny. My second thought: race bling. Think about it — bling is something beyond the definition listed above and definitely beyond a shiny, finishers’ medals. “Bling” is something that illuminates!

If you are a numbers person, then you know that 2+0+1+5 = 8. Eight is the number of new beginnings. If you’re not a numbers person and think I’m totally weird, that’s okay too — just know, I didn’t make this stuff up. Either way, this is the perfect year to let passions, gifts, dreams, etc. come to fruition. Wanna know why? Because God equipped us ALL with them! I’m so not a “deep” poster, but every now and then I’ll drop a nugget or two with “Chick-fil-A” sauce on the side. *sidebar* That is THE best condiment at Chick-fil-A, hands down! But seriously, I wanted to set the tone for the new year. I’m excited to see what great things are in store! There’s a big, bright shiny light on the inside of you AND me desperately wanting to shine through.

So…Bling-Bling On!

 

 

 

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