Friday, January 31, 2014

Dick Batchelor Run for the Children 5K - Race Recap

Last weekend, my husband, friend and I participated in the 33rd annual Dick Batchelor Run for the Children.  I love theme parks and I love running so any event that puts these two things together is great for me.  This race was another one put on by Track Shack.  They are behind some great Orlando races including the runDisney races.  This was our second Track Shack race - the first one being the Vanessa Welsh Reindeer Run in December.

This was an awesome course starting at the Universal Orlando Resort parking garage, going through both Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure and finished at City Walk in front of the Hard Rock Cafe.

We left my house at 5:30am since we are about one hour away from Universal Resort.  A quick stop to get some Cliff bars and water and to meet up with my parents who were joining us to cheer us on.  When we arrived at Universal Resort, there was a lot of traffic to park but employees got everyone parked quickly.  Rick and I went to pick up our bibs and t-shirts while our friend Keith went to do same day registration.  It was all very quick and efficient.  

We then sent my daughter and parents to the viewing areas while we headed to the start line.  A few minutes later, the National Anthem and then we were off.  Rick is a much faster runner than I am so he went on ahead.  Keith was walking the race so shortly after crossing the start line, I was on my own.

Keith, Rick and I at the start line

The beginning of the race took us Hollywood way, under Universal Blvd, back towards City Walk and towards Islands of Adventure entrance.  Spectators were able to view from the second level of  City Walk.

Entering Islands of Adventure...

 Before I knew it, we were already at the first mile marker

It was around Toon Lagoon that my bladder betrayed me.  I had to make a quick pit stop and was thankful for a real bathroom.

When we entered the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there were Hogwarts "wizards" cheering us on so I took a selfie with this great guy.

More support from the wonderful wizards of Hogwarts through Hosmead

Beautiful view of Hulk coaster

The transition from the Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios included some back stage areas.  This was also where the water stop was for the race.

Shortly after entering Universal Studios, we pass the second mile marker.

Looking down Studio Drive.  We then made a right turn towards Universal's newest ride - Transformers

Running towards Transformers.... I so wanted to ride.  I love this ride.  If Universal opened rides during this race, it would take me two hours to finish.

Some Universal employees were out cheering us on

Empty New York streets

Running by Central Park

Revenge of the Mummy... I love this's my favorite indoor coaster 

More empty New York streets

Heading towards the construction area for the new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Running through Springfield.  I almost wished that Lard's Doughnuts was open for our run.

Heading back down Hollywood Blvd, I knew the finish line was probably close

Mile marker 3 right before we head back towards City Walk

The finish line

Rick finished the race in 30 minutes.  I finished in around 45 minutes.  I once again forgot to stop my Runkeeper after crossing the finish line.  Because this was a fun run, it was not chipped.  Keith came in shortly after I did.    

This is a great race and I highly recommend it.  It's not too big, it's well run, and has great scenery.  There were vendors at the finish line but we were cold and did not take the time to walk around.  Instead we headed straight for the Starbucks at City Walk for some hot coffee.  

We then decided to stay and play in the parks for a few hours.  It was fun to spend some time in the parks with my favorite people.

What's your favorite local race?  What's your favorite park about it?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My guess on estimated start time for Disney's Princess Half Marathon


Hello Princesses!!

So with all of the excitment of the corrals being released today by runDisney, I decided to see if I could put together estimated start time for each corrals.  This is just a guess and in no way official from Disney.  Just going by reports from the WDW Marathon weekend and then guessing based on the number of runners in the corrals.

Again, this is just a guess. 

It appears there will be 25,090 runners participating in the Half Marathon on Sunday.  So even if you are running "alone", we will all be surrounded by over 25,000 wonderful runners all participating in a Magical race.

Disney Princess Half Marathon - Corral Placement and Course Map released

Hello Princesses,

The day have finally arrived!!!  Disney has release our corral placements for our big weekend next month. 

How do you find your bib numbers you ask??

Check out this link for your bib number

and we also have course maps to drool over for the next 24 days....

24 Days left!!!
All of the details can be found on the runDisney website (except for the bib info) 
I'm super excited to be in corral M!!  Which corral are you in???

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Motivational Wednesday

 WOW!!  Only 25 days left before the Princess Half Marathon

Only one more long run (if you are following Jeff Galloway training plan)

Soon we will be receiving one (or all) of these...

All the details are coming together 

So remember Princesses... in the words of a wise man.....

Have a great week everyone!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

ENERGYbits Review

Please Note: I am not sponsored by ENERGYbits and received no compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest to win a sample pack of ENERGYbits.  I had been hearing so much about them on different blogs that I was interested in trying them for myself.  Imagine my delight when I was contacted by Jonathan from ENERGYbits to try a sample.  I was super excited and could not wait to try them on my next long run.

What are ENERGYbits you ask?  Well here is the description from their website.

Made from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab. Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.

100% Algae and only 1 calorie per tab!  Sounds great to me.  What is Spirulina Algae you ask?
I had no idea either but a quick search on the ENERGYbits website lead me to this information..

Spirulina is a fresh water blue green algae that was the first plant life on earth (along with chlorella) billions of years ago. It is so concentrated with nutrition that forty years ago, the World Bank and United Nations declared it to be the healthiest food in the world. Its nutritional profile is so impressive that the scientific, nutrition, sports and medical communities have conducted over 100,000 scientific studies about its health benefits (along with chlorella).Spirulina provides the highest concentration of protein in the world, all in the form of essential amino acids for muscle, health and cellular growth. It also has over 40 nutrients for full spectrum health and its natural nitric oxide provides immediate and enduring physical and mental energy.

Its' also know to have these health benefits;

  • Helps stop Fatigue
  • Helps stop Hunger
  • Helps with Weight Loss
  • Helps stop Cravings
  • Provides Physical Energy
  • Provides Mental Wake up
  • Helps Improve Athletic Performance
  • Helps Build Muscle
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Helps Lower Blood Pressure   
  • Healthy High Protein Snack    
  • Aids wellness and longevity       
  • Great replacement for animal protein or greens       
  • Helps strengthen skin, hair, nails and bones
Here is some nutritional information

So yesterday morning, I got ready to head out and took my ENERGYbits on my way to my favorite running trail.  I swallowed the 30 bits about 5 at a time.  They are small enough that it was easy to swallow 5 at a time.  They do have a "green" smell to them but nothing that deterred me from taking them and I'm super picky when it comes to food smell.  The website says you can chew the bits but I didn't want green teeth so I just swallowed them.   I had a 12.5 mile run planned for today and didn't eat anything else prior to going out.

I felt great the entire 12.5 miles.  I was never hungry.  They did not upset my stomach.  I felt like I had a great level of energy for the entire 3 hours and 15 minutes it took me to complete those 12.5 miles (yes I'm super slow).  At about mile 3, I had a pain in my right toe/upper foot area that almost stopped me from continuing but I felt so good otherwise, I just powered through.  It would stop hurting as soon as I stopped running/walking (I do intervals while running) so I knew I wasn't causing damage.

I also felt great the rest of the day.  I'm usually pretty much done after a long run.  I'm relatively new to running and the long runs take all of my energy.  But yesterday, I continued to have energy for hours after the run.

Would I use them again?  Definitely!!   I plan to buy a bag of ENERGYbits to use before any long run or race.  I liked how I felt during and after my run yesterday.  They are not cheap at $115 for a bag of 1.000 bits but since I'll only need 30 before the race/run, I'm sure it will go a long way.  Plus it's better than paying $3.50 for an energy drink full of caffeine and other stuff that's not good for you.

The Giveaway!
The folks at ENERGYbits agreed to send a sample to a reader of my blog!  The giveaway will be open until Sunday  February 2, 2014 at 8:00pm (Eastern time).  Open to US residents only.   I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on my blog Monday morning.
To enter the giveaway, do any or all of the following:
  • Comment on this post with why you’re excited to try ENERGYbits, or what your favorite product is to fuel your runs. (1 entry)
  • Follow @hildyp on Twitter*.  Leave a comment below to notify me you did so.  (1 entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment below to notify me you did so.*  (1 entry)
*Note:  If you don’t have a Twitter account, you are definitely not required to follow on Twitter in order to enter!
Good luck!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

WDW Marathon - a Volunteer's view

Last weekend WDW had their Marathon weekend where over 70,000 runners participated in a combination of 4 races; 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday.  It's the largest marathon weekend in the US and Disney knows how to do it right.

I didn't participate as a runner last weekend but did sign up to volunteer.   Registration for volunteering RunDisney events usually open up a couple of months prior to the event.  You can sign up through Sports Enthusiasts.  Once confirmed they send you a confirmation email.  Closer to the event, you receive an additional email with additional information/instructions for the event.  I also received a letter in the mail about 2 weeks prior to marathon weekend with instructions that marathon volunteers must have volunteer credentials and where I could pick it up.

For the volunteer credentials, I had the choice of picking it up at the race expo on race weekend or prior to the event at the RunDisney office.  There were two dates to pick from for the early pick up.  I chose to pick up my credentials early.  The directions to the location were easy to follow and the pick up process was quick.  At this time I received a lanyard, driving directions to the check in location for volunteers (Blizzard Beach), a clear bag to put my stuff in for race day, my volunteer id to hang on the lanyard, and a "coupon" to redeem for my one day park pass.

On race day I left my home at 2:45am as I live about 45 minutes from WDW and was instructed to arrive at  Blizzard Beach at 4am.  I made a quick stop to grab a diet coke and a snack for the ride.  I arrived at Blizzard beach right at 4am as there was a bit of traffic already on property due to runners and spectators going to Epcot.  Upon arrival, the volunteer there took my name, scanned my volunteer id, I was told to pick out a wind breaker volunteer jacket and then pick up a ziploc bag to put snacks provided - bananas, Chex mix, chips, breakfast bar, etc.  I was then instructed to find my bus (bus number was on my volunteer id).
The buses were lined up in order and I quickly found it, checked in with the team lead outside the bus and loaded the bus.

Volunteer wind breaker
Ziploc bag filled with snacks

A few minutes later, after a few words from our team lead, we were on our way to our volunteer spot - mile 12.9 Power Aid station.  We would be adjacent to a water stop and would be helping them with their set up as well.  Our ride to our spot took us through some back areas of AK.  Once we arrived at our spot, it was a bit chaotic.  There was no real direction of what to do so I just followed others and helped set up the tables.  Once that was done we started to set up the cups on the table and add water.  These were set up three levels high.  It was at this time that myself and the two ladies that were setting up the table with me realized we were actually suppose to be on the Power Aid  tables.  So we finished the third level of water cups and headed over to the Power Aid side.  We were directed to the third table from the start and again started setting up cups and filling them up with Power Aid that other volunteers were making in large Power Aid containers (the big ones that you see them pour over winning coaches).

Time was flying by and before I knew it, we were hearing that the first runners were about 20 minutes away.
The Power Aid was ready for them to come by.

Shortly after, the wheelchair came flying by shortly followed by the elite runners.  They were so quick, I didn't have time to take out my phone and get a picture. This is the best I could do... they were already on the bend in the road.  We all cheered as they flew by.

We had a little break before the next runners came by so I took a picture of mile marker 13 that was set up right before the Power Aid stations. 

The next few hours flew by as we passed out Power Aid and cheered the thousands of runners that went past mile marker 13.  It was so much fun to watch them all.  I even got to see the infamous balloon ladies towards the end of the shift.
Runners coming through Mile Marker 13 
The Balloon Ladies

Once all the runner came through, it was a quick clean up process (started as the tables cleared of cups) and back on the buses to the volunteer check in spot.  Before loading the bus, some of us took pictures by the mile marker.

The check out process was just as quick as check in.  A scan of the volunteer id, you are then given your one day pass and then there was more snacks if you wanted to pick up something else.

This was a great experience and I will definitely do it again.  In fact, I'm already signed up to volunteer the Expo for the Princess Half Marathon weekend. It was busy the entire time but well organized (after the initial chaos upon arriving at the volunteer spot) and lots of fun. 

There was lots of traffic leaving the resort area but I did manage to see more runner on their way in to DHS.

Runners at WDW Marathon
Runners at WDW Marathon

Have you ever volunteered for a RunDisney event or any race event?  How was your experience? Would you do it again?