Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running

Marathon Mondays – Week 1 of Training done!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aย BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outย BibRave.comย to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Holy moly is my body sore. I think I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew. LOL. Let’s recap how this past week of marathon training has gone, shall we?

(Planned miles) Actual miles

Monday (4 miles) 5 miles: I was supposed to log 4 miles, but because I normally run a bit shorter on Wednesdays, I upped the mileage here to 5. It helped a lot that I was at a group run and the friend I ran with was so in shape. LOL. It pushed me to keep going when inside, I was mentally finished. I had gone swimming the day before and it was my first time swimming in years soooooo there was a lot of soreness happening.

Tuesday (Rest) Rest: Tuesdays are normally my day for intervals, but with this plan, Tuesdays are rest days. I did in fact rest, but I’m not sure I will in the later weeks. It was incredibly difficult from running every Tuesday to not running. I was intending on filling up the rest of my Tuesdays with some short weightlifting sessions so we’ll see how that goes.

Wednesday (5 miles) 4.5 miles: Another group run and managed to push myself to 4.5 miles. A lot of walk breaks were taken during this run once I was running by myself. LOL.

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Thursday (5 miles) 2 miles: I had an extremely busy day at work and with the weight lifting plan I needed to do, I could only squeeze in 2 miles before speeding off to have dinner with friends.

Friday (Rest day) 2 miles: I felt pretty guilty about being behind by 3 miles already during the first week so I made a quick trip to the gym during my lunch break to squeeze in some extra miles.

Saturday (6 miles) 7 miles: Being only a mile behind in my plan, I decided to add it to my long run. It was extremely warm when I started in the morning so I made it a treadmill run.

Sunday (Rest) 1 mile swim: I figured that since I had access to a pool this past weekend that I should take advantage of it so I went out and swam a mile. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was low impact and apart from inhaling a little pool water, the swim felt great.

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Total mileage (20 miles) 20 miles + 1 mile swim

Thoughts: I probably should not have squeezed in those extra miles on my actual rest days as I was exhausted by Sunday, but I’m happy I hit my target mileage. This next week will be 23 miles so wish me luck. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question for you: Are any of you training for a marathon? Which one?ย 

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Posted in Running, Training

Countdown to the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aย BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check outย BibRave.comย to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own

It’s almost a year later and I find myself counting down to my 4th San Diego Rock N Roll Half marathon. ๐Ÿ™‚ 4 years ago, this was my first half marathon. FOUR. I actually had to look back at my first medal to see what year it was. LOL.

Even as I type this, I am in just disbelief that it has already been 4 years since I embarked on this crazy running journey and 21 half marathons, 3 marathon, and 1 very hilly 21 mile race later, I am ready to run my 22nd half. LOL.

I remember the first time I went to the Health and Fitness Expo 4 years ago. I was in awe at how big the expo was. I had taken the day off from work and went with my brother to the expo and walked around and around. I played games that some vendors had, grabbed the free snacks, and got my very first medal rack and that very first medal rack led me to my Instagram and Twitter Handle: Once_upon_a_run. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that’s enough walking down memory lane. In 7 days, I will be running through the streets of Downtown San Diego once again. I will start out near the San Diego Zoo and head through the neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Normal Heights where there will be drag queens and the neighborhood bar at mile 4 where neighbors wake up early just to serve you shots of tequila and whiskey. LOL. I’ll run through North Park, where a lot of great food is at and then make my way towards the downhill finish in Downtown San Diego by the Waterfront. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Training on the my old stomping grounds at UCSD

My game plan for this upcoming week will hopefully be a lot of rest and stretching. I haven’t race a half since January and I think I’m a little out of practice. Most of my training runs are at a much slower pace and I just checked my course PR on Athlinks and it was a 1:54:11. Crap. My muscles have been a lot tighter this year than they’ve ever been in the past so I’m trying to stretch as much as I can and foam roll after my runs. I can’t even touch my toes anymore! Ack. My hope is to at least stay ahead of the 2 hour sub half marathon crowd. Des Linden, the 2018 female Boston marathon winner and also a San Diego native, will actually be pacing the 2 hour half marathoners and I hope that I can stay ahead of that group, finish, and then wait around to see Des cross the finish line. She’ll also be at the expo on Friday and Saturday so I’m hoping to see her one of the days. Eek! So excited.

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Foam rolling

Wish me luck!

If you’re into doing things last minute and want to sign up online, you still can until Sunday night! You can use code “RNRBRP2018” for $15 off either the half or full marathon. This code works on most Rock N Roll races (excluding Vegas) ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Question for you: What stretching tips do you have? Foam rolling? Post recovery tips are greatly appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Oh the Hills – Big Sur 21 miler Race Report

โ€œDisclaimer: I received a free entry to theย Big Sur 21 milerย as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aย BibRave Proย (ambassador), and check outย BibRave.comย to review find and write race reviews!โ€

And BAM, just like that, the Big Sur 21 miler has been conquered. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a wonderful experience running Big Sur and despite my legs hating me oh so much right now, I’m sure they’ll get over it and I can start running again soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Without further ado, my race report:

The Health and Fitness Expo: I flew into San Jose Saturday morning and rented a car to drive down into Monterey Bay. There was plenty of parking and as long as you could get out of the expo in one hour, there were no issues. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made my usual rounds. There were plenty of photo opportunities.IMG_6112

I found my name on a HUGE Big Sur poster and took an awesome expo photo in front of this ginormous sign.ย IMG_6126

Thinking about it now, I should have known. Everything was so big. That should have tipped me off that the hills would have been the same. LOL. I stopped by the Motigo booth, where I talked to one of the Co-founders Dan. He was super cool and told me to open the app prior to the race to make sure all of my cheers were downloaded. I refreshed the app like a mad woman that day. Seeing more cheers being sent my way made me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

After grabbing my race swag and visiting the vendor booths, I quickly made it outside to sight see a bit. Then a massive headache came about and basically spoiled the rest of the night. Luckily, I passed out around 8 pm to get ready for my early wake-up call at 3:45 am.

Morning of: I was pretty worried the morning of the race. I had been experiencing stomach cramps for the past few days and was worried they’d make an appearance during the race. I was too scared to eat, but managed to gulp down some gatorade and had half a bagel with cream cheese right before the race. Everyone met at a pick-up location and was shuttled to the start line for our respective races. Since my race was 5 miles shorter than the marathoners, we started further along the course at mile 5.

RACE! The start of the race was actually a little anticlimatic. LOL. The reason being that the start line banner doesn’t actually indicate the start. The timing mats were located 0.2 miles up a hill and that’s where we officially started. So as we crossed the banner, most of us slowly stretched our legs up the hill. I even overheard a Pennsylvanian say that “Californians were really chill.” LOL. When we hit that timing mat, we were off. I started my Motigo app, my Garmin (because if there’s no data, did you really run it?), and was off. I started off pretty quickly. I think I was so excited to hear cheers for the app that I ran faster than I should have. Hah.

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The scenery was extremely pretty. I took a lot of videos and pictures and was just in awe from the hills and the greenery. ๐Ÿ™‚ We were running along the coast and I got these gorgeous views of the waves crashing against the rocks of the cliffs.

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The course was marked for the marathoners and just the marathoners so we all laughed when we started running and already saw the 5 mile marker. ๐Ÿ˜› Hooray! 5 miles done, 16 to go, right? The first few miles were a breeze.IMG_6152

I heard a few cheers and then later found out that the app had unfortunately crashed due to really really poor reception in the area. Seriously. Plan ahead to meet your loved ones at the finish line. There is barely any reception in the area and I’m pretty sure I ran 19 miles of it without any cell service. I ended up listening to my cheers at the finish line, which was still pretty awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

At my mile 5 (10 for the marathoners), we began our ascent (into madness, jk, only sort of kidding) up the massive hill. We ran up maybe 600 feet over the course of 2 miles? It was this intense trek up and honestly, I had no idea when it would end because the course kept winding and so I couldn’t see the top. You’d turn and then see another hill. Seriously, I can’t believe I complained about the La Jolla Half. That race was nothing compared to this one. Also, once you got higher up, the wind got stronger. LOLIMG_6165

At mile 7, we started heading down towards Bixby Bridge, where we got to see this awesome piano player! He was playing lullabies when I ran by. LOL. I took about a million photos of the area and continued the trek. Around mile 10, the first place male marathoner passed me by. LOL. They were fast. At mile 15, it started to sprinkle, which was actually kind of fun. I kept leap frogging with another runner for a few miles, but at the 2 last miles, she passed me. At mile 17, I started feeling pretty tired. I liked to think that running down hill was my strongest skill, but at mile 17, that was not the case. My knees started feeling the the impact from pounding on pavement up and down. My stomach felt very empty at mile 17 and I worried that I had not fueled enough and I’d hit the wall. Luckily, it didn’t happen. and I managed to make it to 20.5. Mentally, I was done. I started walking, but soon after, another runner touched myย back as he passed by to encourage me to keep going so I did.

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I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:25:56 and a big smile on my face. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had conquered the hills of Big Sur. And I placed 80th/1010 overall. You can bet I put my results into Athlinks. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Question for you: What was the hardest race you’ve ever run? Mine was probably Big Sur. ๐Ÿ˜› Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again though.ย IMG_6172

Posted in Running

Less than 2 weeks away. Crap.

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I am less than 2 weeks away from embarking on my first 21 mile race at Big Sur and holy crap am I terrified. Yes, the view will be amazing. Ever since I saw pictures of the Bixby bridge, I’ve wanted to run along it and take a billion photos of the view. ๐Ÿ™‚ So yes, the view will be amazing, but oh the hills. I guess that’s the only way you can get great views, right? From lots and lots of hills? Just by looking at the map below, it doesn’t look tooooo bad, but you know I won’t be saying that in two weeks when I’m running this bad boy. LOL.

Big Sur Elevation Profile

So that’s where you guys come in. I’ve signed up for Motigo, which is this really cool app, that sends cheers to a runner during their race. All you have to do is sign up, record a cheer, and pick a mile marker for me to hear your cheer. Isn’t that kind of cool? You don’t even have to be awake the morning of my race. LOL. Just pre-record the cheer and have it play at say mile 5 (mile 10 on the map, but it’s really 5 since I start 5 miles further away from the marathon start) when I start that hike up the hill. ๐Ÿ˜› Or really at any point along the course. 21 milers is a very long distance. ๐Ÿ˜›

I’ve done some hill training, but not much. Last night, I ran Mt. Soledad, which is this pretty steep hill and it felt AWFUL. Getting to the top felt amazing, but the run up the hill was causing my legs to cramp and I had to stop multiple times along the route to stretch. I will admit that tears were shed. LOL. My training has gone fairly well if you disregard the lack of hill training. I know I can do the distance, but I’m still not too sure about the hills. I guess only time will tell. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe I’ll just walk up those hills and take glorious pictures instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sooooo any tips on how to get through hills? They will be much appreciated!

 

Posted in Running

#SKINSorNothing – Compression tights Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SKINS DNAmic Compression 3/4 Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I do apologize I haven’t been posting as regularly. Work has been keeping me extremely busy and with all the running I’ve been doing after work, I’m sometimes too pooped to blog. Ahhh. Sorry! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’ll try and be better about it.

Anyway, I’m writing to tell you about the new Skins DNAmic Compression tights I got to try out for the past month. I tried out their A400 shortsย a few months back and really liked how form fitting they were and how easy they were to run in. This time around, I wanted to try out their 3/4 tights. I mentioned previously that I don’t normally wear compression clothes. I’ve tried long compression socks in the past, but because of my ginormous calves and how they swell during my runs, I simply can’t wear them on my runs. But I thought that the 3/4 tights might work out since they don’t cover my calves. Hooray! Here are my first impressions below:

First glance – I ordered an XS. Based on my height and weight, it said to order XS. When I got them, I thought HOLY CRAP, I’M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TEST THESE OUT. IT’S WAY TOO SMALL. Seriously. Those were my exact thoughts. Other thoughts included, “Dang’t. They’re really cute too.” and “Why did I think I could fit into an XS?”

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First fitting – Despite looking really small, I actually was able to fit into them just fine. It took a little bit of effort to move the fabric up my thighs, but since I’ve done the same thing with pantyhose, it wasn’t a huge problem for me. Once I got them on, I still worried that they would rip on a run. Wouldn’t that be super embarrassing on a run? AWKWARD. They felt really tight, but then again, these are compression tights. They should be tight, right? Can you tell I was over thinking everything? LOL

First run – For someone who was worried about ripping their tights on their run, I wasn’t the smartest in choosing what my first run in them was going to be. I ran in them for the first time during INTERVAL training. Yup. That’s right. I ran in them when I knew I needed to be moving really quickly and wanted to know if they could withstand really quick movements. VERDICT? THEY CAN. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was pretty thrilled by how well they withstood my running. And this could totally be a placebo effect, but I really thought I did super well with intervals that day. Maybe it was the increased blood flow due to the compression wear. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Yes, they are form fitting, but they actually don’t constrict your movements at all. I feel completely fine running in them and I’ve run in them at least 6 times in the past few weeks for short runs, long runs, trail runs, etc, and they’ve held up fine. There hasn’t been any fraying or deterioration in the fabric. I’ve also washed them and they didn’t shrink. Woohoo!

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They also have sports bras to match and they’re super comfy!

Other Info about SKINS compression wear:

Gradient Compression – Compression is applied across all the major muscle groups, with the highest pressure exerted at the lower calf or forearm, gradually decreasing towards the heart. This drives the blood towards your heart making you more efficient at running.

Warp Knit Technology – SKINS develops their own fabrics that are meant for durability, stability, and stretch recovery. Their fabrics are really soft and are designed to manage moisture for optimal temperature control.

There you have it. My review of the SKINS DNAmic 3/4 tights. If you have questions about the product, please post below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, you can read other BibRave Pros reviews of the line below. I’ll update with more reviews as soon as they post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Amy Wย  – Amy Pย – Brendaย – Lindsayย – Stephanieย – Kim

ย Questions for you: Do you wear compression clothes? Do you believe that compression wear works?ย 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Races for 2018 Coming Right Up – Carlsbad 5000 and SoCal Ragnar Relay

2018 is turning out to be a year full of new types of races for me. I will continue on racing some of my favorites, but have also expanded my race resume. In this edition, I will be discussing an old favorite of mine, the Carlsbad 5000, and a bucket list race, the Southern California Ragnar Relay!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aย BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check outย BibRave.comย to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.ย 

The Carlsbad5000ย 

Date: March 24-25, 2018ย 

Distance: 5k or 20k all day

Known as the fastest 5k in the world, the Carlsbad5000 is a great flat route to run if you’re looking to PR in the 5k distance. I’ve run this race twice and have PRed both times. This race was actually my very first BibRave race so it holds a special place in my heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re one of the top 250 runners in your group, you get a medal with a ribbon that says top 250 finisher. Not only is this course super fast, it’s also very scenic as it runs along the beach so you get a great view of the ocean. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re not from a coast city, this is the race for you!

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Last year’s medal

If a 5k seems too easy, try running their 20k all day race. This is super unique in that the 20k is broken up into 4 5k races in one day. Each 5k is for a different age group and if you’re running the 20k all day, you get to run in every one. Last year was my last year running it in the 25-29 age group. Eek! I’ll be entering the 30+ age group this year. They also have an elite race where you get to watch the fastest of the fast compete. It’s one of the last races of the day so you can finish your race, grab a slice of pizza at Pizza Port, and watch these runners go.

There’s no discount code for this race, but if you want to run a Rock N Roll race, you can use the discount code “RNRBRP2018” for $15 off one of their half or marathon distances (Vegas not included).ย 

Southern California Ragnar Relay

Date: April 6-7 2018

Distance: 200ish miles

This is a bucket list race I’ve had my eye on for about a year now. It’s so popular that it’s now a lottery and I somehow managed to snag myself an entryย for my team. Like the name implies, the Ragnar race series is a relay in which you and 11 other team members run a 200 mile race. There’s also an ultra option where it’s a team of 6, but I’m not crazy enough for that one just yet. ๐Ÿ˜› Ragnar has both road and trail races so if roads aren’t your thing, try one of their trail races.

For the Southern California race, we start in Huntington Beach and make our way down to San Diego. The runners are split into 2 vans and every runner in van 1 runs before trading off with all the runners in van 2. Then, once all the runners in van 2 run, it alternates back to van 1 runners. Every runner runs three legs and each of the legs are at different distances and have varying degrees of difficulty. The race is done over the course of two days and sleep is minimal. During those two days, you get to bond with your smelly van mates and hopefully, you all make it out alive. Heh.

This is my first year doing a Ragnar Race so I don’t have that many details, but I will be sure to update you once I’ve run it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve heard it’s quite an experience so I will try to make it a good one.

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Training for all the races!

So there you have it. Two more races that I’ve signed up for this year. Stay tuned. I have a few more race updates to tell you about. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question for you: Have you ever run a relay race? Ragnar? Any tips for a first timer?ย 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Monday – Walt Disney World Race Report

Since it’s Monday, why not post about my last marathon for marathon monday? ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_4637

Because I had run 22.4 miles in the 3 days prior to this race, I had no intention of speeding through this marathon. The intention was to have fun, enjoy the journey, and take a lot of photos with all the different Disney characters. LOL No different than the past three races. ๐Ÿ˜›

I woke up at 3 am and hauled ass to the shuttle at the resort. The best thing about staying at a Disney resort is how convenient it is to get from hotel to the start line. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got to the starting area and because I had taken pictures with all of the main characters (Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, and Dopey) the previous days, I just sat on a bench and tried to stay warm. It was still maybe 40F and I was still freezing my butt off. LOL. Remember, if you are going to run a race at DisneyWorld, prepare for any type of weather. ๐Ÿ™‚ As the starting time was getting closer, I made my way to the starting corrals and just sat down with my mylar blanket. FYI, mylar blankets are a godsend. I never appreciated them more at that moment. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then, we were off. Mickey came out on stage and released each wave and with each wave release came a flurry of fireworks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, since it was its 25th anniversary, Disney chose 25 songs, one from each year since its inception. Cool, right?

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Magic Kingdom – We ran the back roads of the DisneyWorld resort for a bit and then made our way to Magic Kingdom around mile 6. What a lot of people do not realize is that most of the Disney races do not take place in the parks so make sure to enjoy the moments in the park.ย We ran up main street and veered right into Tomorrowland where I took my photo with Buzz Lightyear. We then ran behind the castle where I spotted the 2 ugly stepsisters and the stepmother from Cinderella. I obviously had to take a photo with them.IMG_4648

We then ran through the castle, and towards the back lot of Magic Kingdom. I found the Maleficent dragon and these two stilt walkers who were supposed to be thorns and vines. They were creepy and totally photo worthy. And just like that, we were out of Magic Kingdom and back on the roads leading to Animal Kingdom.

From Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom – There was a bit of entertainment here and there, but my favorite part of the trek was seeing the characters from Up! The best part about seeing the Disney characters is that they’re always in character so if you like the character in the movie, you’ll most certainly love the character in person. All of the Up characters were coming back from their break and first came out Russell. He came out running back towards us and had to stop midway to take a breather. Super adorable. Dug then came out running after him followed by Carl and his tennis ball covered walker. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was super sad I did not have my Russell costume on. Russell and I could have bonded for sure. At mile 10 was when the pain started kicking in. I desperately needed another character stop because my feet were hurting. Luckily, I spotted Hades, Pain, and Panic and took a break. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was super sad I didn’t see Meg though.

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Animal Kingdom – A few miles later, we entered Animal Kingdom and I immediately got in line to take photos with Timon and Rafiki. LOL. I got really excited because at 13.1 miles, you get to ride Mt. Everest. However, I didn’t know that the ride is only on when the park opens and I think I ran too fast because when I passed the halfway point, there was no ride. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So if you plan on riding the rollercoaster, make sure to take your time so that when you enter Animal Kingdom, the park will be open and you can ride it!ย 

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ESPN Wide World of Sports – After Animal Kingdom, we made our way back onto the highways and into ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. It may seem like a quick little detour here, but do not be fooled. You actually spend a good few miles running around the sports complex. At the complex, you get to see the characters dressed up in sports wear. Minnie was wearing her soccer uniform. Goofy was wearing a track suit and Mickey and Donald were wearing their baseball uniforms. We ran around a baseball field and right before we left, I spotted Sadness and Joy from Inside Out!

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From ESPN to Hollywood Studiosย – After we left the ESPN Wide World of Sports, everything else seemed like a blur. There was some more highway running and some overpasses, which were kind of tough, but it was fun because they had green army men yell at you to keep moving. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hollywood Studios – Hollywood Studios is actually a blur. You only get to run through maybe a quarter mile of the park before you leave. It’s probably the most disappointing part of the race. The park is open at that point and you do get a lot of crowd support from the people at the park, but it happens so quickly that it’s over within a few minutes.

Epcot – After leaving Hollywood Studios, you quickly enter Epcot and make the usual loop around the countries. At this point, there were no lines for any of the princess characters so I quickly stopped to take pictures with Mulan and Jasmine and headed out the park.

Finish line – Soon after you leave Epcot, you turn the corner to a choir and you’re at the finish line. It happens pretty quickly, which was a huge relief. I crossed that finish line feeling like a million bucks. I got my medals and in honor of their 25th anniversary, they handed everyone a Disney hat with Mickey ears on it. Score! They also gave us a nice box of food! Loved all the snacks and you can bet I inhaled everything in two seconds.

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So there you have it, my race report of the Walt Disney World Marathon. If you’re not down to do Dopey, I’d still highly recommend the marathon race. It was fun and requires a 1/4th of the early wake up calls. ๐Ÿ˜›

Question for you: Have you ever run a Disney race? Which one? What about a marathon? What’s your favorite marathon? I’m looking for a new one to run.ย