2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 3rd Disney Marathon, which was my 5th full marathon overall.

There is a lot to love about runDisney events, but after running a handful of non-runDisney events (halves and fulls) I’ve come to learn that runDisney definitely leaves a few things to be desired as well.

The Good Stuff

  • The Bling–Disney events tend to feature some pretty nice finishers medals. This year was no different in my book. Big. Gawdy. Heavy. Love it.

20140114-164405.jpg

  • Characters on the Course–If you’re running in a Disney race, you’re going to see lots of characters out there to take pictures with, if you’re so inclined. Not only are Mickey and Minnie out there, but there are also a lot of characters out and about that aren’t regularly seen in the parks. This was my 8th runDisney event, and this was the first time I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Great decision.

20140114-164416.jpg

  • Lots of Company–This is a double edged sword, because having lots of fellow runners means that the course can be a little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to finish.

The Not-So-Good

  • Corral Placement is a Joke–On paper, putting runners in order by their projected finish time, and sending them out in waves is a good idea. runDisney fails when it comes to putting this idea into practice. Nothing against walkers or run/walkers, but they shouldn’t be in one of the first couple of corrals in a race this size. When they stop, and usually it’s more than one person at a time, it creates an instant road block. And since the course is crowded virtually the entire way, it can be a hassle to get around them. I don’t know how some people got into the corrals they did.
  • Lack of Guest Relations/Customer Service–For a company that is so focused on making guests happy, Disney dropped the ball when it comes to runner relations at the race expo. I have a friend that ran the race, her first full, and when she registered she didn’t have a qualifying time to give her a good corral placement. She was hoping for a sub-4:00 race, and ran a half in November in 1:50 and change, which should have placed her in one of the better corrals. runDisney, however, decided that November was too late in the year for a change in her corral placement to be changed on her bib, and for the first time that I’m aware of, they wouldn’t permit her to change her corral at the expo even though she had a verifiable qualifying time. She still managed to run 4:01 while weaving through, literally, 1000’s of slower runners that were able to get corral placements that my friend should have.
  • Post Race Food–I’m not going to blast runDisney over the price of the race, which is high, but I understand where the money goes. One place the money doesn’t go, however, is to the post race spread. I’ve been to races that cost $40-50 that have huge buffets, hot food, lots of drinks (read, free beer), and entertainment for all runners. Disney gives you, what amounts to, a poor-mans boxed lunch. We got a few bagged treats (corn chips, almond puffs, crasins), a banana, and a powerade. Spare no expense. (To be fair, all food items were gluten-free, which isn’t often the case concerning post-race foods, so I do really appreciate that thought from the race organizers.)

All in All

When it’s all said and done, I had a blast running this race.

Stopping for pictures with the characters was a first for me, and it really made all the difference. If you’re trying to run a race for a fast time, and don’t want to stop for pictures, you might want to try another option. But if you’re looking for a fun race to run, the Disney Marathon is a pretty good choice.

I doubt I’ll make the Disney full a regular event on my race schedule, even though I’ve run 3 of the last 4, but I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. I’m thinking about doing the Goofy Challenge next year, but that might be my last Disney full for awhile.

Anyone want to run it with me?

Have You Ever Run a runDisney Event? Did You Run in the Marathon Weekend This Year? What Were Your Thoughts of the Event?

A Runner’s Knees

Stop me when this sounds familiar.

You’re talking to a non-runner about whatever. During the course of the conversation, the fact that you’re a runner comes up and the non-runner decides to stir the pot a little bit.

9256013385_697fc46f6b

Image by Pascal Maramis via Flickr

“You’ll be sorry you’ve been doing all that running one of these days, when your knees are shot, arthritic, and it hurts to even walk around for more than a few minutes!”

Really, non-runner?

I know I can’t be the only runner to ever have a conversation come to a screeching halt because of a statement similar to this. But what are you supposed to do? Someone who doesn’t run is telling me that something I enjoy, something that’s good for my health, and something that makes me feel better than I’ve ever felt before is telling me that running is going to make me miserable.

Am I’m supposed to just smile and carry on like it’s no big deal?

Are The Nay-Sayers Right?

I like to think they’re not.

Being a personal trainer, and coming from a sports medicine/athletic training background, I understand the physics and physiology about what the non-runners are claiming. Running puts a lot of stress on the body, and the longer you run (both in terms of distance and duration) the more stress your body has to endure.

Let me say this about that.

Our bodies are the most complex, amazing, and mind blowing machines ever. We are able to adapt like crazy, and these adaptations can help us stay healthy and continue to run for years.

If you get off the couch after years of sedentary behavior and go run a marathon, then you’re probably going to be hurting. Your knees, hips, ankles, feet, quads, hammies, calves, back, and glutes (did I miss anything?) will all be screaming at you.

But you didn’t give your body a chance to adapt to the demands you placed on it.

Instead, do a 5k. Then maybe a 10k. Build up your distance over time and follow a training plan. In the end, you’ll be able to make it a full 26.2 miles without feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. Just give your body time to adapt and recover, and you’ll be surprised at what it can do.

If the nay-sayers won’t buy that well thought out argument concerning our body’s adaptability, hit them with a hay maker. A casual “Walking around obese and out of shape puts a lot more stress on one’s knees than running a marathon. So I’ll take my chances as a runner!”

That usually shuts them up.

An Ace in the Hole

However, as runners we now have an ace up our proverbial sleeves.

As I was reading through my new Running Times issues this morning, I saw a headline that made me do a double take. Turns out, “Running is Good For Your Knees”.

e9a2295b3db9b45c8f5484a09033c1c71cf88e3375bb7ff60456bc81c29a4e04Running does not cause osteoarthritis, according to a new study from the the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Their study showed that runners are actually less likely that walkers to have arthritis or need hip replacement surgery later in life.

So running can help you keep your knees and hips healthy instead of breaking them down. Yahtzee!

Just Don’t Be Stupid

Like anything, running too much can cause problems, so don’t overdo it.

Listen to your body, take a day or two off if you need to, and ramp up your mileage and intensity over time.

And the next time some clown tries to warn you about how your knees are eventually going to hate you for all this running you’re doing, just smile and let them in on the secret.

And then get back out there and hit the pavement.

How Do You Usually Respond When Someone Talks About Running Causing Arthritis and Knee Issues?


Rules for Runner’s – 2014

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
I’ve done a few of these, wanted to do a few more. And have probably been scared to try a few as well.

Do Any of These Rules Stand Out to You?

What’s In Store for 2014

To me, New Year’s Resolutions are a double edged sword.

I love reading about things that people are planning on doing and accomplishing for the coming year, and the chance to wipe the slate clean from last year and start fresh is always uplifting.

And then there are the posts about why you’ll never achieve your resolution and why you’ll give up by the end of the week, and it’s a bit of a downer.

Let’s not fool anyone, most resolutions don’t make it for an entire year, and keeping them for more than a few days IS difficult.

But the reason I love reading about other people’s resolutions for 2014 is because it takes balls to put yourself out there and announce to the world what you’d like to accomplish. It’s easy to keep your goals to yourself, because if you struggle with keeping them no one else knows. But by telling the world, you’re basically giving everyone permission to hold you accountable and ask how you’re progressing as the year rolls on.

But that’s exactly what I’m doing.

The Plans for 2014

  • Run 1,500 Miles–This one is entirely on me. The last two years, I’ve been able to achieve my mileage goals for the year. While 1,500 miles is my biggest target by far, it’s less than 200 miles more than I ran last year. It’s doable as I can stay healthy and consistent. Here’s hoping.
  • More Blog Giveaways–In 2013, I was able to give a few things away, but I want to be able to do more this year. Whether it is big things or little things, I just want to give more stuff away. So be on the lookout for more giveaways this year.
  • More Guest Posts–When I started the Run Bloggers United movement this summer, I had a lot of people that sounded interested but very little came from it. I had a couple of great guest posts, but not as many as I’d hoped. I’d love to get 25 guest posts this year, but the more the merrier. If you’re interested in writing a post, let me know.
  • More Foam Rolling/Yoga/Ice Massage–My 1,317 miles in 2013 were mostly injury free, but I know that adding more will continue to stress my body. The need for regular routine maintenance is there, yet I only tend to do anything when something starts to hurt a little more than it usually does. I know the little things will catch up with me eventually if it don’t get out in front of them, so that’s the plan for this year.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for me in terms of my running and I look forward to continuing to becoming a part of the online running community. Y’all continue to inspire me every day, and I hope that I’m able to return the favor on occasion.

Have a great start to the New Year y’all.

Do You Have a Mileage Goal for 2014? Any Other Running Resolutions?

2014 Blue Ridge Marathon Giveaway!

BRM_OfficialBack in August, I was lucky enough to be named one of the official bloggers for the 2014 Blue Ridge Marathon, which will be taking place on April 26 in Roanoke, VA.

The race organizers proudly advertise this as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”, and while I won’t be able to comment on the difficulty of the course until after the race, I know it’s going to be a serious challenge.

z_tough2Why? Because the full marathon course features over 7,400 feet of elevation change! Here in central Florida, our biggest hills are little more than overpasses and fire ant mounds, so mountain running is going to be a challenge.

I’m looking forward to it, but it’s going to be a HUGE test physically and mentally!

Now for the fun stuff. If you think you can hang with me in the mountains next spring, here’s your chance. You can enter by clicking the following link ( a Rafflecopter giveaway ), and the winner will be selected from all eligible entries on Monday morning, Dec 30th. I’ll email the winner instructions on how to claim his or her entry, as well as give the winner a shout out on Twitter.

What are you waiting for! Enter now! Good luck!

*Disclaimer–As an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I have been given one entry for myself and one entry to give away via this drawing. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post of the Blue Ridge Marathon are mine, and have not been influenced by anyone associated with the Blue Ridge Marathon in any way.