Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gasparilla Half Marathon

It was a early 3:00 am as I headed out into the foggy cool morning to pick up my running friend, Jen and head to Tampa for the Gasparilla Half Marathon. This would be my first time running in the Publix Gasparilla Distance Challenge, a four race series (5k, 8k, 15k. and Half) over two days and with new PR dancing in my head, I decided to just run the Half, since I didn't know what to expect. Jen and I had visited the area the day before to pick up our race bibs and check out the running expo that was held in the Tampa Convention Center.

I must admit, that alone had been an overwhelming experience, with all the traffic, road closures, parking problems, expensive parking garages and people everywhere. But to our surprise, when we arrived the morning of the race, all was calm, quite and glowing in the lights of the large buildings all around us.


We found a parking spot pretty easy and headed over to the starting line which was probably a good 3/4 mile away.
The race went off without to much fan fare and the route was good, weaving through the town to start and ending up by the water for the majority of the race. Unfortunately, the weather was overcast and foggy and I couldn't see much of the water for the entire race. Plus, there also wasn't much in the way of entertainment on the course, unless you count a man trying to play a keyboard and another man blaring Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" from his radio as he played air guitar.


The race ended close to the convention center, near the waterfront district and if it hadn't been so foggy it would of been a gorgeous finish. After the getting your medal you were able to take finisher pictures with some actual pirates and then on to the recovery food.

Jen and I were pleasantly surprised to find a local restaurant serving up a warm breakfast, besides the normal bananas, granola bars and water, but boy oh boy did we have to wait for that meal!

All in all, it was a good race. It wasn't as entertaining as a runDisney race but then again it wasn't as expensive either.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Walt Disney World Inaugural Minnie 10k

This January, I had the pleasure of participating in the Inaugural Minnie 10k at Walt Disney World in Florida. I personally love running the 10k distance, so I was pretty excited when Disney announce that they would be adding this race to their already impressive line-up, during Marathon Weekend. 
Besides, the perfect race distance for a novice or seasoned runner, this particular race route is one of my favorites. I particular like the fact that you enter Epcot, run around the countries, then exit on to the boardwalk before returning back to Epcot. It really keeps you motivated and entertained and nothing sounds better than your feet pounding down on the wood planks of the boardwalk.

For this race, a group of my running friends and I decided to dress-up as a group. We all decided what better group costume than a crew of pirates, from the Caribbean of course!
The Crew of Pirates Before The Race
Part of the crew after the race.

 So, if you are thinking of running a Disney race, and wondering which one to start with,  I would recommend this one highly. You will enjoy yourself throughout the whole course and even have the energy to hit the parks right after you cross the finish line.
See you there next year!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What I Have In Common With Walt Disney!

As many of you may already know, December 5th was Walt Disney's 112th Birthday.
But what you may not have known is it is also my wedding anniversary. Now, I know you are probably thinking I planned that, especially when it is obvious that I have a slight Disney obsession, but I have to be honest, I didn't have a clue when Walt's birthday was 18 years ago! Sure, I grew up going to Walt Disney World as a child and enjoyed many visits to the parks but it wasn't till I was an adult, with my own child, did my love for Disney begin.
 It is also no surprise that my love started with the man who created it all, Walter Elias Disney. I have had the pleasure to read many great books about him over the years (oh how I wish I could of meet him) and it isn't just the fact that he was a talented artist or a visionary of his time, no, it is the little known facts that have made me grow to love the man and all that he has created.  
First and foremost, did you know that Walt was a Christian?  He came from a Congregationalist Christian background and was even named after his father's friend and their family's pastor, Walter Parr. In 1949, Disney wrote in Guideposts magazine: "I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, in its powerful influence on a person's whole life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storm and stress of life and keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish. All I ask of myself, 'Live a good Christian life.' To that objective I bend every effort in shaping my personal, domestic, and professional activities and growth."
I am sure Walt's Christian background also influenced his love of people and most importantly his love of family. Walt was know for driving his girls to school each day and either Saturday or Sunday was always Daddy's Day. Did you know that Walt adopted his second daughter, Sharon? After a few devastating miscarriages, Walt & Lillian decided to step out in faith and adopt a baby girl in 1936. Besides his love and devotion for his own girls, he shared that love with the whole world in his family friendly cartoons, movies and theme parks.

I honestly could go on and on about the wonderful things Walt has done but lets not forget, it all started with a mouse, who just happens to be the most recognized icons in the world today. Walt's character, Mickey Mouse was designed as a purely innocent creature, filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. Did you know that these characteristics are also mentioned in Galatians 5:22 by Paul when talking about how our lives will be when filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit?  I don't think it is coincidence that all of these godly virtues are wrapped up in Mickey and in his followers.

 So, Happy Birthday to a brilliant man, filled with the love of the Lord, the love for others and good old family values. I would like to think that it is divine alignment that I get to share my anniversary every year with the birth of this wonderful man!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wine & Dine Half runDisney Meet-Up

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I recall my first runDisney meet-up?

Last Thursday night around seven o'clock, myself and 124 other runDisney fanatics gathered at the entrance of Epcot to start the first ever nighttime meet-up. We were greeted by a table of friendly runDisney staff members, that happily handed out official runDisney tech shirt, a ticket into the park and a fast pass for Test Track to each of us. We had an hour an a half to hang out and play in the park before our special viewing of Illuminations, so off a group of us went to put those fast passes to use!

Laura, Adrienne & Jen ready to ride Test Track!

After meeting up with some more friends we all took a 65 mile-an-hour spin around Test Track and then made our way to our special viewing area behind the Duffy gift shop to watch Illuminations.

As always, the show was spectacular and afterwards everyone just hung around the viewing area talking, taking pictures, tweeting and meeting people only known by their twitter names. It was so good to see old friends, make some new friends and finally put a few faces with names.
 About an hour later, an escort was sent to gather us all up and walk us down to the American Gardens Theater. When we arrived we were offered a wonderful spread of food and vegan wine (who know there was such a thing?). Mickey and Minnie were there to take pictures and we got to hear some great speakers. There was Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus to give us some great running and nutritional advice. Plus, New Balance reps were on hand to give a sneak peak of the extras that will be coming with the new 2014' runDisney shoes. No, they wouldn't give us a sneak peak of the shoes themselves, but instead they did give-a-ways a few pairs of New Balance shoes. I just happen to be one of the lucky winners and I even scored a new running jacket too!
My favorite mouse!

Tara Gidus & Jeff Galloway

The 2014' redesigned box for the New Balance runDisney shoes.
Olympian Jenny Simpson drawling my name for a new pair of
 New Balance shoes & that cool jacket she is wearing.
Yes, I was a picture happy at this meet-up & this photo proves it!

 After the speakers, we were all separated into two groups to run two laps (about two miles) around a deserted Epcot. I decided I would take Jeff Galloway's run/walk group so I could enjoy all the sights and sounds of the evening and I am so glad that I did. It was really exciting talking with Jeff while we ran around the countries about how he and his wife have been using a 20sec run/ 20sec walk for their marathons. He also said he finds a lot more people can make longer distances with this specific pace. I honestly thought it was a little hard on the knees and shins with all the starting and stopping, especially with the hilly terrain in Epcot but who am I to argue with an Olympian.

I love this picture, the expressions say it all! Although you can't see me,
 I am right there, behind Nina and next to my friend Jen with the blue shoes!

After the run we gathered again at the front of Epcot, took a couple of group pictures and celebrated an awesome night with a toast of champagne given my Faron Kelly, Director of Marketing for runDisney & ESPN WW of Sports.

Members of Team Run Disney

Farwell Toast

 I feel truly blessed to have make it into this one-of-a-kind event and I can only hope there are many more in my future. Have you been to a runDisney meet-up? What is your favorite part?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

runDisney Dreams Come True

 When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
As a huge Disney fan this is one of my favorite songs and this past week I can honestly say one of my biggest wishes has finally come true.
I made it into the runDisney Wine & Dine Meet-up!
This meet-up, which marks its three year anniversary, promises to be like no other and will be the first ever done at nighttime. This is what the Disney Park Blog had to say about it...

It’ll be our first runDisney nighttime meet-up, so you will definitely want to be able to say you were there. It’ll have many of the same magical elements of our previous Meet-Ups, but with some cool new twists that only the nighttime can provide.

For instance, we’ll kick off the event with a special viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the nightly laser, light and fireworks show. After that, selected participants will get to taste and learn about some of the extraordinary cuisine and wines that are part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, hear from some Olympic endurance runners and get some expert advice on safely running at night.

Then, selected participants will get to put some of that nighttime running knowledge to work during a starlit fun run “around the world” at Epcot well after the park closes. And of course there will be a few magical surprises throughout the night.

So you can see why I am super excited about this awesome event and I can't wait to tell you all about it! You can follow me Thursday, November 7th from 8:00-12:00 pm on Instagram & Twitter @kimrunsdisney or check back here for all the highlights.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Runing for God at the Chick-fil-a 5k

I belong to an awesome church, honestly! I know some of you are probably wondering what that has to do with running but if it wasn't for my church, Deep Creek Community, and all the great programs it has to offer, I would of never had the pleasure of being apart of a small group called Run For God.

This twelve week running and devotional program is designed to take the average person and train them not only physically but mentally to finish their first 5k. As you know, I am not new to running, but I am fairly new to my church, so I thought what better way to get to know like minded people than to join. Boy, I am so glad I did! I had the opportunity to meet and make friends with some wonderful people who have a variety of different running backgrounds. This made the 12 week program seem to fly right by and before I knew it, our group was meeting for the last time at the Chick-fil-a 5k/10k in Port Charlotte, FL.

Run For God Group Getting Ready to Run

This was the first time Chick-fil-a has brought this racing series to our area and even though packet pickup, the day before, was a little crazy, the race itself was well thought out, organized, and a lot of fun. It was a family friendly event with live music, bounce houses and exciting give-a-ways! It also was pretty cool to have ChronoTrack chip timing at this small local race (This statement proves I am a running geek!).

Packet Pick-up

Race Day
It was absolutely the perfect race to finish out our Run For God program and every member of the group made it across the finish line, some for the first time and others with new PR's to feel proud about. I personally ran a strong run with a time of 32:46 but best of all, I had the great pleasure of running with a young girl named Destiny. She has been my running buddy a couple times before at a few of the Girls on the Run 5ks and it is always fun to watching her grow as a runner. This race she completed with a whooping 2:00 minute PR and I couldn't be more proud of her!