Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap II

Day two  in Disney started with sleeping in until 9, blogging quick and then heading out to a busy day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports center. We started at the expo where runners could pick up their packets. I bought a pack of Rocktane Gu for the half marathon but was temped to buy a costume. 


The line to buy the New Balance Disney Shoe was ridiculously long. You can learn more about the commemorative shoes and new accessories they have in store for 2014 here. Since it was my first Disney race, I did not realize that many people dress up as Disney characters. I debated buying one of the glitter skirts. They were cute but at $25, I wondered if I would wear it again since I do most of my races alone. I ended up wearing my planned New Balance outfit with a glitter headband from Sparkly Soul, glitter cheek tattoo and a light saber thanks to Gia! After the expo, we had lunch at the New Balance track.

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We filled up on a yummy BBQ lunch complete with pulled pork, grilled chicken, pasta salad, salad, fruit and cookies before listening to the runDisney and New Balance marketing reps as well as Jenny Simpson, a professional runner who is an NB athlete.

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I learned that the runDisney series consists of 7 event race weekends, 5 in Orlando and 2 in California. Sixty-seven percent of participants are female. The 10K in Disneyland sold out in just 26 hours so despite a hefty price tag, the races are sought after. Thanks to Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method, as many as 70% of the runners are first time half marathoners. I’m excited to share that they will also be adding 2 new races in 2014 but we were not told where or when.

New Balance is hoping to bring more fitness to the Disney cast members, aka employees as well as boost options for guests like trail maps.  They also are a partner with runDisney for the racing series. They created a special shoe as seen above in the collage for the 2013 series. Not sure if people would want to buy the product, they only brought 1000 to the first day at the expo. They sold out in just 10 hours. Obviously more were produced and a special shoe will be made each year. 

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During out lunch, Jenny Simpson was going through her own workout. We were able to ask her questions and hear her story as well. She currently is not focusing on one event and taking a step back for the time being, she placed second in August in the 1500m World Championships. In 2011, she however won a gold medal at the World Championships in the 1500m race. We asked her what training elements helped her win. She shared that her biggest improvements come after she has been able to train in long blocks without injury and then tries a new distance crediting 9 hours of sleep, proper diet and training. She also happens to be a 4x NCAA champion in the 1500m. 

We also asked the Champion what her workouts looked like these days since she doesn’t have a race exactly in near sight. She said she averages 70 miles a week. It consists of 4 intentional hard workouts and 3 recovery days (which are 7:10 min/mile hour long runs). The harder or as she called them, intentional days are track workouts, tempo runs, intervals or long runs. She only takes a day off every 8 weeks!

In addition, she incorporates 3 45-minute long strength sessions that focus on core work, injury prevention exercises, and speed oriented movements. As for her diet, she sticks with things like yogurt, fruit, and oatmeal to fuel her workouts. She has a smoothie asap after a workout that has a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. 

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We continued our tour of ESPN Wide World of Sports to the baseball, soccer, lacrosse and basketball fields. They were all beautiful! The fields are mostly used by high school teams for camps and tournaments. Disney covers all the bases by providing support for teams to fundraise for their trip, offer them nutritious and affordable meals in between games, offer support with equipment being dropped off at fields so it doesn’t have to be carried from the sometimes far away parking lots and they even offer a business center for the adults who volunteer to chaperone the trips so they can check in at work back home. New Balance wanted to show us the baseball field as they now are the largest MLB cleat provider with over 700 athletes wearing their shoes on the field. Who knew!? 

Lastly, we paid a visit to the production room and new technology office to see where they come up with all the cool graphics you see on ESPN. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a little relaxing time. I went for a little 2 mile jog to shake out my legs. I was shocked there weren’t longer paths near our hotel. We went to dinner at the Wave where I enjoyed a filet, crab cake, dessert and glass of wine! It was delicious and I highly recommend checking it out at the Contemporary Hotel and Resort. 

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 I went to bed around 11:30 pm and couldn’t believe that in 24 hours I would be finishing up my 2nd half marathon. It was a busy day but I couldn’t be more excited for the race. Recap coming tomorrow!!!

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