Tara Gidus

Healthy Cure for Your Sweet Tooth

I have a weakness for dark chocolate and peanut butter, and while I am a firm believer in all things in moderation I do indulge that chocolate craving. When I'm training hard for an upcoming runDisney race and want to fuel my body with as many whole foods as possible, I seek other ways to get my chocolate fix.

And this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie does the trick. This smoothie has natural sweetness from the dates, which by the way are also a great source of potassium, an electrolyte lost through sweat. And let's talk about protein. The trio of peanuts, milk, and protein powder pack a big protein punch, as this smoothie clocks in over 30 grams of protein for only 325 calories. Major win in my book!

What are you waiting for, go make this smoothie now! What is your favorite healthy way to cure your sweet tooth? Questions or comments, tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
Makes: 1 smoothie

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, no sugar added
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1½-2 cups ice

Place milk, cocoa, peanut butter, protein powder, and date in high-powered blender then process until mixture is smooth. Add ice and blend until creamy.

NUTRITION FACTS: 325 calories, 8g fat, 41g carbohydrate, 240mg sodium, 6g fiber, 30g sugar, 31g protein

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

Five Reasons to Run the Fifth Anniversary Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Five Reasons to Run the Fifth Anniversary Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Get your fairy wings ready for a race sprinkled in pixie dust! We are celebrating the fifth anniversary of Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry at Disneyland® Resort May 5-8, 2016. With plenty of magic in store for the weekend, here are five reasons you don't want to miss this anniversary race.

1. Special Anniversary Medal

One of the ways we celebrate a runDisney anniversary is with a commemorative medal. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon anniversary medal will be sure to delight with its colorful design and focus on Tinker Bell. Look out for the reveal of the medals in early 2016.

2. Experience the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration

The last Tinker Bell Half Marathon race marked the first time participants experienced running through Disneyland® Park during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Don't miss your chance to enjoy this remarkable celebration of 60 years of Disney magic.

3. Celebrate Mother's Day

Tinker Bell Half Marathon is the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day. Whether you run alongside your mom or she cheers you on from the ChEAR Squad, she will never forget this special weekend you share together.

4. Earn your Coast to Coast Race Challenge Medal

Participating in Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World® Resort in February? Now is your opportunity to earn a pink Coast to Coast Race Challenge Medal for running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in 2016.

5. Put on your fairy wings and escape to Never Land

As one of our uniquely themed races, runners show their Disney style in a variety of ways from colorful fairy wings to embracing their favorite "Peter Pan" characters. Where else can you have a fairytale finish quite like this?

It's not too late to participate in our pixie-dusted race. Reserve your spot today to run in the fifth anniversary Tinker Bell Half Marathon here. We will see you in Never Land!

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Wine & Dine Welcome Reception

Preparing for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon - Weekend Heat Advisory

Just like many of you, the runDisney team is making their final preparations for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Central Florida area is experiencing warmer weather than usual for this time of year and we want each of you to be prepared for what to expect this weekend. Here are a few important tips to consider:

  • Closely monitor your pace and do not overextend yourself. This may not be the event to attempt your personal best.
  • Stay well hydrated prior to the race and maintain fluid status with alternating water and electrolyte-based hydration options throughout your race and the entire race weekend.
  • Slow down and ask for assistance at any signs of heat illness.

As a reminder, all medical stations will have the appropriate flag color displayed according to existing heat conditions. For more information, please review page 33 of your race program.

Any adjustments to the race are at the discretion of the Event Management team and are for everyone's safety.

For live updates follow @runDisney on Twitter and RSVP to our Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Event Page on Facebook.

All of us at runDisney hope you have a safe, magical run. See you at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!

Jon Hughes, Race Director
Dr. James Scelfo, Medical Director

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Tara Gidus

Spice Up Your runDisney Training Meals This Fall

Pumpkin spice and everything nice! With the pumpkin spice latte back and all things pumpkin at the grocery store we are jumping on the bandwagon over here to celebrate the season. Although we haven't seen our first cold snap yet in Florida, we are trying to get in the spirit of fall at least in the kitchen anyways.

This Pumpkin Vegetable Chili is truly nourishing from the inside out. A bowl of this chili is true comfort food that is healthy to boot! As a runner, we need electrolytes so I don't shy away from canned vegetables, especially beans because they are rich in sodium and potassium. Beans are a triple whammy for runners providing hydration benefits, good-for-you fibrous carbohydrates, and iron.

Iron is a mineral that helps with transporting oxygen throughout the body and is also lost through sweat and blood loss, which isn't uncommon in runners who are logging long miles. Female and vegetarian runners are especially at risk for iron insufficiency thus all the more reason to eat your beans!

This chili is pretty simple to toss together on a weeknight and if you have a stocked pantry, it's likely you have all these ingredients already!

Pumpkin... love it or hate it? Tweet me @DietDivaTara!

Pumpkin Vegetable Chili
Makes 6 servings

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Green onions and sour cream, for topping if desired

1. In large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions to pan, and sauté until starting to become translucent.
2. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes with juice and pumpkin puree.
4. Add cumin, pumpkin pie spice, salt and cinnamon sticks then stir to combine.
5. Stir in beans and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until ready to serve. Top each bowl with green onions and sour cream if desired.

NUTRITION FACTS {per serving}: 217 calories, 2g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 678mg sodium, 825mg potassium, 40g carbohydrates, 13g fiber, 7g sugar, 11g protein, 49% vitamin A, 54% vitamin C, 16% calcium, 31% iron

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Infinity Gauntlet Challenge Medal Reveal

Are you gearing up to brave the ultimate Super Hero adventure – the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge during Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend? By completing the Captain America 10K plus the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, runners will claim the coveted Infinity Gauntlet Challenge medal in addition to the half marathon and 10K medals.

Now, let's take a look at Earth's mightiest medal and test your Super Hero knowledge. The medal is comprised of the Infinity Stones, which are six incredibly powerful cosmic artifacts, each stone representing a different facet of existence. Possessing all six of the Infinity Stones grants the bearer virtual omniscience and omnipotence. One must successfully wield the stones to obtain complete control over its respective aspect.

Each stone represents a different power. Here's where we test your knowledge. Do you know what each stone represents? This year we are highlighting the Space Stone on the back of the medal. The Space Stone grants dominion over the very fabric of space, allowing for teleportation and the ability to exist in multiple places at once.

Due to their incredible power, the Infinity Stones are nearly impossible for any mere mortal to use without being overwhelmed. By embedding the stones in a special containment glove (on this medal), their energies may be controlled, allowing anyone who wields this Infinity Gauntlet to dominate the entire universe. And you thought you were running just another race!

Good luck participants on your quest to obtain the Infinity Gauntlet.

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Wine & Dine Welcome Reception

You're Invited to the Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is approaching, and we have an exciting appetizer for the race weekend to share – the Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception.

Runners and Guests are cordially invited to this first-ever premium event where they will enjoy an exclusive evening to give their taste buds a preview of the delectable weekend ahead!

Among the many features of this event, Guests will enjoy delicious food and wine pairings. There will be an opportunity to shop at the runDisney Official Merchandise Store before anyone else as well as special gifts for Guests. Some of our favorite Disney characters will also make appearances along with our official training consultant, Olympian Jeff Galloway. Runners will be able to pick up all bibs and participant shirts, making this a convenient and easy one-stop premium service.

This first-class event will take place on Thursday, November 5 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

To purchase tickets to the Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception visit here.

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Tara Gidus

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Energy Bowl

Finding nutritious, fueling, and appetizing breakfasts can be tough. Finding an easy-to-pack, high-carb breakfast for a race morning while traveling is even harder. The last thing you want to do is settle for convenience and choke down a nutritionally subpar bar that early in the morning, or risk being late by cooking up your usual rock star breakfast. But one thing we do know is, a carb packed pre-race (or pre-run) fuel is absolutely necessary.

Why not try something that checks everything off the list, like this Oatmeal Energy Bowl? High carb—check. Quick and easy preparation—check. Travel friendly, nutritionally substantial and delicious—check, check, check!

Oats are a leading source of carbohydrates, especially before physical activity. They are an immediate source of energy (without the crash due to blood sugar stabilizing properties), easily digestible, and very filling. In addition to its high carbohydrate content, oats are rich in fiber, manganese, zinc, and even have some protein.

The benefits of adding apples to this energy bowl go beyond providing additional carbs. Apples are rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to improve endurance performance and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Almond butter in this energy bowl not only adds some flavor, but also provides a serving of healthy fats (as does the coconut!) and a little extra protein to top off a very well-balanced, substantial, pre-race breakfast!

This energy bowl can definitely be made the night before (or a few nights before if you're traveling) and reheated race morning. It also stores nicely in a container if you want to grab it and go.

Eat up and enjoy the run!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Energy Bowl
Serves 1

  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ honeycrisp apple, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Coconut flakes for garnish

1. Add oats, water, apples, raisins and cinnamon to a pot, and bring to a boil.
2. Let the mixture cook, stirring frequently until it reaches desired thickness. Remove from heat and spoon into a bowl.
3. Top with a drizzle of almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut. Enjoy!

1. Add oats, water, apples, raisins and cinnamon to a microwave safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 2-3 minutes (depending on desired thickness).
3. Top with a drizzle of almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut. Enjoy!

If you wish, other delicious toppings could be sliced bananas, walnuts, granola and more apples.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Mighty Medals Revealed for Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

Mighty Medals Revealed for Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

The inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend set the bar high with an epic ensemble of finisher medals for our Super Hero runners. This year, designers accepted their own mission to craft mightier medals and medallions, which included an additional race and challenge medal.

Mission accomplished!

Our race for the tiniest runners calls for an Avenger of similar stature – Ant-Man. With the release of Marvel's "Ant-Man" this summer, designers found this half-inch hero to be the perfect fit for the runDisney Kids Races finisher medallion.

The Mighty Avenger, Thor, wields one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe –Mjolnir. Thor's iconic hammer is brought to life on this year's Avengers Super Heroes 5K medallion.

The inaugural Captain America 10K medal features our favorite patriotic Super Hero's iconic shield. Designers also incorporated Captain America's signature red, white and blue color scheme in the lanyard to complement the shield.

To close out the heroic weekend, runners will assemble for the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon where they will be awarded for completing the ultimate 13.1-mile journey. This extraordinary medal features the signature Avengers "A" as well as the symbols for Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

There is still time to put your skills to the test and join forces with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the half marathon race. Reserve your spot today here.

Runners who will defy odds in the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge must stay tuned for the reveal of the inaugural medal. For more information on Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend and other runDisney events visit

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Tara Gidus

Five Creative Fuel Sources for Distance Runners

How should you fuel during your runDisney race? Some runners who are on the course for two to three hours may stay well fueled during their race with just carbohydrate-containing fluids such as sports drinks, but for those who are on the race course longer may also need solid foods for extra calories. As an endurance runner, you want the source of fuel during your race to be simple carbohydrates or carbohydrate in the form of sugar. Sugar eaten before and during long periods of exercise can help with maintaining steady blood sugar levels, preventing high rates of carbohydrate breakdown, delaying the onset of fatigue, and improving endurance performance.

The body can use simple carbohydrates for energy quicker than it can use complex carbohydrates, which take longer for the body to breakdown into energy. Simple carbohydrates include things like sports drinks, fruit snacks, dried fruits, candy, cookies, white breads, and white rice or pastas. Most sports drinks have multiple sources of sugar like glucose and sucrose, which are rapidly absorbed and quickly converted to energy. The sugars in sports drinks have been shown to help athletic performance when the duration is greater than an hour.

After the first hour of exercise, about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour is recommended. One study suggested about 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour is ideal for endurance events greater than 2.5 hours. For the runners who may be on the course longer and need a little extra boost on top of your sports drink, special sport foods such as gels, sports beans, and energy bars are good options. You can also get a similar benefit from other fuel options listed below.

1. Red Licorice: One vine of red licorice has 9 grams of carbohydrate and 40 calories. Three vines are equivalent in calories and carbohydrates as an energy gel packet.
2. Fruit Snacks: Fruit snacks provide calories and simple carbohydrate that will breakdown quickly in your body. One single serve packet of fruit snacks has about 21 grams of carbohydrate and 80 calories.
3. Granola Bar: One granola bar has about 25 grams of carbohydrate and 140 calories. Check labels to see what your brand contains. Choose your granola bars wisely, as some can be higher in fat which takes longer to digest, and may lead to stomach cramps.
4. Raisins: Raisins have been shown to be comparable to commercial carbohydrate sport chews. One box of raisins contains 22 grams of carbohydrate and 90 calories. Other dried fruits can be used such as dried mango, tart cherries, or cranberries.
5. Dates: Dates are high in simple sugars and carbohydrates. One Medjool date has about 18 grams of carbohydrate and 66 calories. For some people, the fiber load in dates and other dried fruits may cause gastrointestinal pain or cramping.

Sports drinks include both carbohydrate and electrolytes so if you plan to choose one of the options listed above it may be beneficial to supplement with a sports drink for the fluid and electrolytes. Water and a small package of salt could also be used to provide fluids and electrolytes.

Remember, when you try these options for the first time, try them on training days and during practice first. Pick the ones that work best for you to use on race day. If you have questions or comments, tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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10th Anniversary Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed

10th Anniversary Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed

This September, thousands of runners will journey to the Happiest Race on Earth to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. With just a couple months left of training, we wanted to share some special motivation to encourage you as race day approaches – the 10th anniversary finisher medals!

The Disneyland® 5K kicks off the weekend, and its medallion showcases classic Disney characters in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but there is a hint of evil lurking in the shadows.

Disney Art Director Scott Auerbach says Maleficent as a dragon appears in the 5K medallion to foreshadow the evil to come the next day in the Disneyland® 10K.

Fans of Disney Villains will be in for a treat when evil takes over the 10K course. Auerbach illustrates this theme in the 10K medal with the Magic Mirror from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Capping off the weekend will be the 10th anniversary Disneyland® Half Marathon.

For inspiration for this extraordinary medal, Disney Yellow Shoes Art Director David Brotherton looked to the Disneyland® Resort Diamond Celebration to not only commemorate 10 years of the race but also 60 years of magic at Disneyland® Resort. Brotherton says the diamond shape of the medal incorporates Disneyland's 1950s look and feel while still accommodating the spinner inside the diamond.

Runners who put their endurance to the test in the Dumbo Double Dare will earn this Dumbo-inspired finisher medal after completing 19.3 miles between the 10K and half marathon.

"I wanted the Dumbo Double Dare medal to have the charm of the classic film but also reflect strength, boldness and the untapped courage that we all possess," Auerbach says.

From the 10th Anniversary Party to the magical miles through Disneyland® Resort, runners are sure to remember this historic race weekend with their new bling as the perfect memento.

For more information on Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend and other runDisney event weekends, visit

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Tara Gidus

Sweet & Sweaty Summertime: Training in the Heat

Heat, humidity, and more heat. Summer ushers in sun-filled days and balmy nights, but can also pose a major threat to your training plan. Temptations to relax and live in vacation-mode, coupled with scorching hot conditions, can hit your motivation hard. With so many runDisney race opportunities coming up in the fall, it's important to stick to your training plan now more than ever. Consider these guidelines below as you get ready to hit the roads this summer!

  • Start hydrated. Easier said than done. You need to ensure you're hydrated before heading out the door. Urine color and urine volume are easy indicators of this – aim for a high volume of pale-yellow urine. Drink 20 fluid ounces of water or sports drink 2-3 hours prior to your run and then another 10 fluid ounces in the last 10 minutes before your run. If you plan to run in the morning, hydrate before bed – a few nighttime trips to the bathroom will be worth it!

  • Rehydrate. Drenched in sweat and salt after your summertime run, you walk inside to the air conditioning and hop into a cold shower. But before you get too comfortable, you need to make it a priority to rehydrate. Your fluid levels have been hit hard, so drinking enough water and electrolytes after your workout is crucial to recovery. Drink 24 ounces for every pound lost through exercise.

  • Don't forget about electrolytes. While water can do wonders for hydration, electrolytes can assist in fluid absorption and balance. Sports drinks provide both electrolytes and carbohydrates to ensure a boost in energy and performance. Electrolyte tablets can be added to water, making it more appealing to drink and also offering a no-carb option. If you plan to run for more than an hour in the heat, consider bringing an electrolyte-packed drink to sip on.

  • Beat the heat. Mid-day workouts might have been effective during the cold winter months, quite the opposite is true during the summer. The best way to get in your run during the summer is to beat the sun – wake up early and hit the roads! It's important to compensate for your earlier alarm by getting to bed earlier. Nothing will hinder your workout more than lack of sleep.

  • Stay realistic. Extreme temperatures and humidity have an impact on your ability to perform, and it is important to recognize this when creating your training plans. When your body's cooling system becomes overloaded, blood that was previously routed toward your muscles is instead sent to your skin to help cool it down. This can hinder your speed. Stay calm and realistic when evaluating your performance during the summer. Slow down. Often pace can and should slow 30-60 seconds per mile in the heat and humidity.

What motivates you to get in your run during the hottest months? Questions or comments tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Chicken & Veggie Pasta Salad

As runners, it's important to combine training with good quality, substantial meals in order to keep energy up, properly recover, and see improvements in performance. In the midst of a busy schedule, coming up with healthy, runner-friendly lunch options to bring to the office, or wherever the day takes you, can be quite a challenge.

This pasta salad is easy, satisfying, balanced with nutrition and makes for easy transport for on-the-go eating. I love the fact that I can prepare a batch of this in advance and eat from it all week! Because it's typically served cold, all you need to do is put it in a container and take it with you. There's no need for a microwave, but it is also delicious warmed up too!

With pasta salad, it's easy to get in your carbs, protein, veggies, and healthy fat all in one. Just throw the ingredients together and voilà—a perfectly balanced meal! The carbohydrates from the pasta will provide energy for your post-work run, the chicken sausage will deliver muscle-building protein, the veggies will give antioxidants for recovery, and the olive oil will provide healthy fat to promote hormone regulation and absorption of nutrients.

Go grab a spoon and dig into this Chicken & Veggie Pasta Salad—you guys are going to love it! Or layer it into a Mason jar and take it for lunch.

Chicken & Veggie Pasta Salad
Serves 6


  • 1 box (13.5 oz) whole grain pasta
  • 4 links pre-cooked chicken sausage
  • 1¼ cups grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1¼ cups chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup (3.8 oz) canned sliced black olives
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In the last minute of cooking noodles, add broccoli to pasta water to soften a bit. The broccoli will turn bright green in color.
  3. Drain the noodles and broccoli.
  4. In a large bowl add noodles, broccoli, and remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Let's Talk Heart Health

Knowing how to keep our hearts healthy, especially as runners, is essential. The heart pumps blood into our bodies to sustain life and it keeps us active and doing the things we love to do, so it's important to be aware of ways to keep it beating strong.

As athletes, we focus on training other muscles in our body, so why should this one be any different? Here are three nutritious ways to support your ticker.

  1. Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains
    • This is a given, but can never be said enough. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are very rich in fiber.
    • Fiber can help to prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and can help you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full longer.
    • Set a goal for yourself to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and choose whole grains when available.

  2. Reduce "bad" fats and cholesterol
    • High blood cholesterol levels are dangerous because they can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries that increases susceptibility to heart attack and stroke.
    • Reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet by limiting intake of butter, fatty meats, cheeses, creams and fried foods.
    • Check nutrition facts and ingredient lists on processed foods to reduce consumption of trans fats. Hydrogenated oil is another name for trans fat!

  3. Eat more good fats
    • Don't avoid fat, but get the right kind. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for your heart.
    • Fill your diet with foods like olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.

When it comes to matters of the heart, follow these three nutrition tips so that you don't miss a beat.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Iron 101: Are You Getting Enough?

Iron is a mineral that helps make red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. In addition, iron also helps make much needed energy for working muscles, enhances the immune system, and heightens brain function.

Seems important, right? Because it is! Yet, iron deficiency is far too common among runners and athletes, male or female. Iron deficiency anemia is higher in the athletic population, particularly among young females, vegetarian athletes, endurance athletes, and athletes with calorie restrictive diets. Symptoms of iron deficiency are fatigue, irregular body temperature, and an increase in infections, all of which can negatively affect training and athletic performance.

You may be at risk for iron deficiency if you get less than 18mg per day for women and 8mg per day for men. Runners may need even slightly more than that because iron is lost through sweat and marathoners can be susceptible to blood loss due to foot strike hemolysis, which occurs from a breakdown of muscle and red blood cells during prolonged exercise. Bleeding can also occur in the gut from taking aspirin or ibuprofen for long periods of time to control pain. Women are at an even higher risk due to blood loss from menstruation.

Tips to boost iron intake:

  • Eat lean meats. Iron from meat, fish, and poultry are three-times more absorbent than iron from plant-based sources.
  • Pair animal proteins with plant sources of iron. Iron from animal products increases the absorption of iron from plants, so it's beneficial to eat lean meats with green leafy vegetables or beans.
  • Eat iron-rich veggies with Vitamin C. Vitamin C also promotes iron absorption, especially iron from plants. For example, add vitamin C-rich strawberries to a spinach salad. The best plant sources of iron are beans, spinach, tomato sauce, tofu, cereal, cream of wheat, pasta, and rice.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low iron and are unsure of where your levels are, getting a blood test is the only way to truly know. Don't supplement without getting your iron levels checked from a doctor because supplementation without deficiency can lead to toxicity.

Food sources are the best ways to get iron in the diet (in comparison to supplements) so it's important to get plenty of high-iron foods in at every meal to benefit your health, training, and athletic performance. If you do need a supplement, look for a slow-release formulation to prevent constipation as a side effect.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Meagan Franks

Tinker Bell: The Progression of a Disney Character

Have you ever wondered how a drawing comes to life as a Disney Character? Take Tinker Bell for example. Where did that spunky, rebellious, temperamental, yet charming character come from? When looking at the facts, Marc Davis, the animator behind such classic characters like Bambi, Thumper and Cinderella, was ultimately responsible for the iconic character affectionately known as, "Tink," but one woman helped bring life to his drawings.

The woman behind the pixie dust is Margaret Kerry. She was the real life model for the sassy and loveable fairy. Davis had Kerry pose with larger than life objects to help capture the perspective and personality of the feisty pixie we know today.

Margaret Kerry is a Disney legend for playing the iconic role of the live-action reference model for Tinker Bell in Walt Disney's 1953 classic animated film "Peter Pan." Join Margaret at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo during the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend located at Disneyland® Resort where she will share how she helped bring Tinker Bell to life.

Meagan Franks of runDisney is here to share information on our Speaker Series during the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo.

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Tara Gidus

How to Fuel Your Child for a runDisney Race

Ever wonder how to feed your child who loves to run? Whether your athlete is 7 years old sprinting the 400-meter or a 17-year-old cross country runner, nutrition plays an integral role in his or her wellness and performance. One of the many wonderful components of runDisney is that the whole family can participate. Likewise, the whole family should be fueled properly, and different family members have differing nutrient needs.

Keep these nutrients in mind while your child is preparing for a runDisney race:

  1. Hydration
    Children in general need ample fluids to carry out basic metabolism and growth, but especially active kiddos have an even higher need due to sweat losses. Children are more susceptible to heat strokes than adults are, and proper hydration plays a key role in prevention. It is suggested that children consume an additional 8-12 ounces of water for every half hour of physical activity. Water is the ideal form of hydration for children who are running an hour or less. Sports drinks are typically recommended only for runs longer than an hour.

  2. Adequate Calories
    Adults look to have calorie output match calorie intake to maintain weight. Children are growing and therefore need to be eating more calories than they're using in order to continue to grow. This means that especially active children may have increased calorie needs compared to their less active peers. You may notice that a child is hungrier during a running season, which is completely normal!

  3. Calcium and Vitamin D
    Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for bone strength and muscle functioning. It's especially important to consume these nutrients as a child athlete because this is an important time of building bone. Bone density typically peaks around age 25 and generally declines thereafter. Getting calcium from food sources is ideal and examples include milk, dairy products, soymilk, almond milk, broccoli, spinach, kale and fortified orange juices. Look for milk and orange juice that is also fortified with Vitamin D.

  4. Iron
    Young athletes who participate in intense exercise on a regular basis often lose more iron. Due to these losses, they may need more iron in their diet than other children their age. Teenage girl athletes are especially at risk of iron-deficiency anemia. Food sources of iron to offer your child include nuts, iron-fortified cereals and whole grains, beef, dark leafy greens (such as spinach or kale) and dark chocolate. It is recommended that iron supplements be avoided unless indicated by a health professional due to potential toxicity risks.

Enjoy fueling your child athlete for the upcoming Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry or another Disney event with fun for the whole family! Tweet questions or comments to @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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runDisney Mom

Mother's Day in Never Land During Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Don't forget your favorite running mother! Show her she's appreciated this Mother's Day with these ideas for celebrating her special day during Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend. Because at Disneyland® Resort, she'll never have to grow up.

  • Disney Floral & Gifts - In the Fairy Garden Bouquet. Even if you're not attending this fanciful race weekend, you can show your support from home by surprising her with this lovely bouquet. It can even be delivered directly to her Disneyland® Resort Hotel!

  • Celebration Cakes - Nothing could be sweeter than to celebrate your race accomplishment and being "mom" by ordering a specialty custom cake. These made-to-order creations are available for delivery at most table service restaurants at Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure® Park or Disneyland® Resort Hotels.

  • Mandara Spa at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa - Pamper yourself and melt away while you dream of a mermaid lagoon underneath a magic moon. With a host of spa services to choose from, this could be your escape to a mother's perfect Never Land.

  • Special Mother's Day Dining Options - Steakhouse 55, Storytellers Cafe and Goofy's Kitchen are just a few of the table service restaurants that will play host to a special Mother's Day brunch.

  • Disneyland® Guided Tours - See Disneyland® Resort in a whole new way! Take a "Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps" and discover Walt's inspiration behind creating Disneyland® Park. Or immerse yourself in the history of California and see this Golden State through Walt's eyes.

In addition to unique experiences, there are also commemorative items mom is sure to love.

Whether you're off to Never Land for a girls' weekend or you're traveling as a family, there is no better way to spend Mother's Day than surrounded by the magic of the Disneyland® Resort during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry. Just remember, it's the second star to the right and run on 'till morning!

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Tara Gidus

Be Proactive with Probiotics

Probiotics are often referred to as "the good bacteria for your stomach." These active cultures are found in food, aid in digestion and can offer multiple health benefits for the general population. Bonus, there are additional positive correlations between probiotic intake and runners.

Incorporating sources of probiotics into your diet as an athlete strengthens the gastrointestinal tract and may help to prevent or reduce exercise tummy troubles. There have also been indications that probiotic consumption could help to enhance immune function in runners and may even help athletes to maintain a healthy body weight.

Check out these sources of probiotics to be proactive toward your stomach today.

  1. Yogurt
    Yogurt is often one of the first probiotic-rich options athletes begin to incorporate in their diet. Be careful though, a lot of yogurts are loaded with added sugars! Pick yogurts packed with protein, like Greek yogurt for even more nutrition. Shoot for yogurts that have the "live and active cultures" slogan on them for the maximum benefits from these healthy bacteria.

  2. Sauerkraut
    A German favorite, this pickled cabbage offers probiotic health benefits! Try topping it on a sandwich. If you're watching sodium, be aware that sauerkraut has a decent amount of salt, which can be a good thing for a healthy runner that needs extra salt in their diet.

  3. Olives in Brine
    Live active cultures thrive in olive brine, thus olives can provide a good source of probiotics. Pop a few in your salad or on top of your pizza.

  4. Kefir
    This choice may initially sound a little bit strange to you, but don't knock it until you try it! It's a product that is what you might envision the offspring of yogurt and milk to be—a bit thinner than yogurt but thicker than milk. It's a great source of probiotics and vitamins, and can be paired with fruit, cereal or granola. I love to blend plain kefir into my post-workout smoothie!

  5. Kimchi
    This Korean dish is a twist on cabbage—it's fermented and pickled. It has calcium, many vitamins and also probiotics. It's often very spicy, so if you're looking for a hot way to get probiotics into your diet, this one's for you.

  6. Kombucha tea
    This drink is of Asian origin and is also known as "fermented tea." It can be consumed hot or iced. Give it a try to aid your digestive system!

  7. Tempeh
    This is a meat substitute that could be a good source of probiotics for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, or any athlete looking for protein varieties (and probiotics) for that matter. Plus, it's also packed with vitamin B12, and is super versatile to cook.

  8. Dark Chocolate
    Who would have thought, right? In addition to antioxidants and iron, dark chocolate also offers probiotics that can help maintain healthy stomach bacteria levels.
    *Note: this doesn't give you an excuse to eat the whole box! Moderation is still important for it to be beneficial.

Have a favorite source of probiotics or question about one of these? Tweet questions or comments to @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Leslie Kay

Avengers Assemble for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge & Captain America 10K

Calling all Avengers! Join forces with Earth's mightiest heroes for the ultimate test — the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge during Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend.

Any Avenger who wears the Infinity Gauntlet wields unimaginable power, and only a true Avenger can stand up to the challenge this November at Disneyland® Resort.

Those ready to brave this Super Hero quest will begin their journey with the inaugural Captain America 10K as they channel their inner super soldier through the 6.2-mile star-spangled race. To conquer the challenge, runners will assemble for the most extraordinary course on Earth — Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

Both action-packed courses will take runners through Disneyland® Resort Theme Parks and surrounding areas with Disney entertainment along the way as well as some of your favorite Avenger Super Heroes cheering you across the finish line.

After combatting the toughest trial yet, runners will earn the coveted Infinity Gauntlet Challenge medal in addition to 10K and half marathon medals. (Participants must be registered for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge in order to receive the medal)

Take a look at the top three reasons to unleash the Super Hero within you:

Registration for Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend opens April 7 at noon ET. To sign up for an email reminder visit here.

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Tara Gidus

Running on Plants: Is it healthy?

It seems hard enough as an athlete and runner to get enough nutrients in your diet, but add being vegetarian or vegan on top of that and you might as well diagnose yourself with every nutrient deficiency under the sun. Right? Wrong!

Vegetarians, vegans, and those who don't have access to their usual chicken breast today, read up! Fueling without meat or animal products in general isn't as impossible as one may think.

Myth 1: A vegetarian diet lacks protein.
Protein is packed in plant foods like lentils, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. In fact a half-cup of beans has the same amount of protein as one ounce of meat. To meet protein needs it's recommended to get 0.8 g/kg (or 1.8g/pound) of body weight per day, and the typical American eats well over this amount. Endurance runners likely need a bit more, about 1-1.2g/kg body weight. Many vegetarians incorporate dairy proteins like eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese, making it even easier to meet protein needs.

Myth 2: A vegetarian diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Vegetarian diets can be very healthy if done correctly. Just like any diet, if you don't eat balanced you set yourself up for nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin B12 and iron are rich in animal sources. Vitamin B12 is important for healthy nerve cells and iron helps produce red blood cells. Vegetarians can get enough B12 by incorporating dairy and seafood into their diet. Nutritional yeast flakes can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or salads and are also a great source of B12. To meet iron needs in a vegetarian diet, combine iron-rich foods with good sources of vitamin C like oranges, tomatoes, and broccoli. Good iron sources are spinach, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, pinto beans, potatoes, cashews, and fortified cereals.

Myth 3: Vegetarians never eat animal products.
There are many different types of vegetarians. There are some that just avoid animal meat and others that avoid all animal products, and then there are those that don't eat meat but incorporate seafood.

  • Vegan: Eats no animal products including meats, dairy, and eggs
  • Lacto Vegetarian: Eats no animal products except for dairy
  • Ovo Vegetarian: Eats no animal products except for eggs
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: Eats no animal products except for dairy and eggs
  • Pesco-Vegetarian: Eats no animal products except for fish
  • Flexitarian: Eats small amounts of meat occasionally

Myth 4: Vegetarians are healthier than non-vegetarians.
Not all vegetarians are healthy. Vegetarians who eliminate meat, but continue to eat highly processed foods are not getting the benefits of a plant-based diet. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is the best way to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Are you fueled by veggies? Tweet me @DietDivaTara!

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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A Taste of Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

A Taste of Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend may be months away, but it's not too early to start planning for this weekend getaway to Walt Disney World® Resort. As registration time approaches, here are 10 facts to give you a taste of the most appetizing race weekend in the most magical place on Earth.

  1. It's the sixth year of the race weekend.
    Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend returns to Walt Disney World® Resort for the sixth time with all new medals, mementos and memories to last a lifetime.

  2. Pre-Race Taste at the Indiana JonesTM Epic Stunt Spectacular! Theater in Disney's Hollywood Studios®.
    To kick off the weekend, guests can partake in a private party at Indiana JonesTM Epic Stunt Spectacular! Theater. The event features entry to Disney's Hollywood Studios®, four tastes from the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, and Disney characters as well as other entertainment throughout the evening.

  3. There's a holiday-themed 5K through Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.
    Participants run on the "wild side" during the holiday excitement of Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K through Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

  4. Kids get in the spirit of running at the runDisney Kids Races held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
    From diaper dashing infants to toddler sprints to a one-mile race around ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, kids 13 and under are invited to join in on the running fun at the runDisney Kids Races.

  5. It's the only nighttime runDisney half marathon.
    With a 10 p.m. start time, Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is the perfect nightcap to your Saturday night.

  6. The 13.1-mile course runs through three Walt Disney World® Theme Parks.
    From ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, runners embark on a journey through Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios® before concluding their race at Epcot®.

  7. The half marathon course takes runners through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios®.
    Running through this majestic light display is a sight to see!

  8. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse cheer runners on.
    Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse welcome you with open arms as you cross the finish line at Epcot®.

  9. Participants can cheers to their half marathon finish with a complimentary glass of wine or beer.
    Included on participants' race bib, runners can use their tear-off drink voucher to delight in a glass of wine or beer after their half marathon finish.

  10. Runners and spectators celebrate at the Finish Line Party at the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival.
    After finishing the half marathon, runners are invited to the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival to taste their way around the World as they celebrate their accomplishment. Spectators are also welcome to join and can purchase tickets once race registration opens.

Registration for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend opens on March 17, 2015 at noon ET. Sign up for a reminder email here.

All event information is subject to change.

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Celebrating the Ultimate Girls Weekend at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Celebrating the Ultimate Girls Weekend at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

It was the ultimate runDisney girls weekend as more than 49,500 registered runners participated in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at Walt Disney World® Resort.

From our princesses in waiting competing in the runDisney Kids Races, to more experienced princesses participating in the Disney Princess 5K, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the weekend was filled celebrating the attributes of a true princess – commitment, perseverance and determination.

The crowning moment came on Sunday when more than 24,000 runners participated in the half marathon. The 13.1-mile journey took runners to Magic Kingdom® Park, through the Cinderella Castle and finished with a royal celebration just outside Epcot®. Waiting for runners was one of the most coveted rewards, the Disney Princess Half Marathon finisher medal. And for those special princesses registered for the Glass Slipper Challenge, completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday (19.3 total miles), an additional medal was bestowed upon them, the Glass Slipper Challenge medal.

Although every runner had something to celebrate, one runner's journey was just a little more magical.

After falling on ice and breaking her hip one year ago, and fearing she would never run again, 30-year-old Lauren Passell from New York City was the winner of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Dressed in a Tinker Bell inspired outfit, Passell had a winning time of 1:22:59. She was followed by second-place finisher Heather Schulz of Orlando (1:23:28) and Mariela Ortiz of Argentina was third (1:23:45).

Congratulations to all who ran and celebrated like a princess. We hope the following video helps you relive your accomplishment. And for those who weren't able to participate, we hope it inspires you to join us February 2016.

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Tara Gidus

Weight Loss and Running: What's Tripping You Up?

You're training hard and watching your weight diligently, and yet, the number on the scale won't budge! Many runners striving for weight loss have experienced this frustration and confusion. Why does running cause some athletes to lose weight and others to gain weight? Let's talk about the common culprits that derail weight loss goals.

Nutrition: What Am I Missing?

  • Not enough protein—Protein for runners is crucial in increasing muscle growth and speeding recovery… and keeping you more satisfied! Did you know protein is the biggest metabolism booster? It can take up to twice as long to break down! Protein assists in rebuilding muscle fibers torn during a run. Insufficient protein intake increases the risk of injury, while adequate intake reduces risk of injury. Distance runners need more protein than the average person, and athletes trying to lose weight might need even more! I recommend anywhere from 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (there are 2.2 pounds in a kg) a day, which equates to about 75 to 120 grams of protein for a 165 pound runner.
  • Not enough fat—Contrary to past beliefs, fat is a critical component of weight loss and overall health. Healthy unsaturated fats such as those found in olive oils, walnuts, salmon, avocados and ground flaxseeds help keep you satisfied and tend to reduce hunger. Healthy fats also help reduce injury and inflammation while providing protective heart benefits.
  • Quality carbs—Eating the right kind of quality carbs can positively affect your waistline, improve performance, increase energy throughout the day, and aid in weight loss. Slowly digested, fiber-rich carbs found in whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, etc.), lentils, fruits, and vegetables help replenish muscle and liver glycogen (stored energy) post-workout.

What Behaviors May Be Hindering My Weight Loss?

  • Realistic weight loss goals in a realistic time frame—Know how many calories your body needs. Keep a food diary to track progress and challenges.
  • Skipping snacks or meals—Your body may try to conserve calories by decreasing metabolism and calorie burn throughout the day. Muscle fatigue and slower recovery may also occur if you're not obtaining enough calories.
  • Lack of sleep—This has been associated with increased calorie consumption. Try to go to bed earlier or switch runs to later in the day.
  • Not incorporating strength training—Even though cardio burns more calories during exercise, strength training helps build metabolically active muscle, which burns more calories throughout the day. Strength training also helps improve leg strength and enhance endurance.

Extra Ways To Cut Calories

  • Make your own granola instead buying store-bought versions. You're able to control ingredients, calories, fat, protein and sugar. Plus it's cheaper!
  • Grab string cheese and an apple instead of an energy bar. Packaged energy bars may be sugar- and fat-laden.
  • Make your own salad dressing using two parts vinegar and one part oil to control calories.
  • Eat fruit prior to a meal. Studies show that people who ate an apple 15 minutes before a meal ate 187 fewer calories.
  • Walk during lunch for 20 minutes; sitting all day negates some of the health benefits of your workout.

Do you have questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon

The 411 on runDisney Corrals

We know runners choose runDisney events for many reasons, but one of the most common is they are great for both running enthusiasts and first timers alike. If you've never participated in a big race weekend event, like some of our charity runners, there may be a lot of questions swirling around in your head including, "What is this corral thing all about?" If that question is on your mind, you are not alone! We've received several questions about corrals and placement from our Children's Miracle Network Hospitals charity runners, so we sat down with the runDisney team to get the scoop on how it works.

Q. Let's start with the basics. What is a corral?

A. A corral is a group of runners that are classified by their estimated finish time.

Q. Why are corrals helpful?

A. Grouping runners by estimated finish time allows each runner to be surrounded by other runners who will keep the same pace. Corrals also help the condition of the course by spreading out runners so that there is less crowding, leading to a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Q. How are corrals assigned?

A. Corrals are assigned by the estimated finish time the runner submits when he or she registers. Proof of time must be provided from a certified race that is a 10K or longer. Proof of time is not required for runDisney 5K and 10K races. If no proof of time is available, runners will be placed in one of the last corrals. The number of corrals is determined by the number of participants in the race.

Q. How will runners know which corral they are in?

A. Corral assignments are posted to the runDisney website approximately one month before each race weekend. Runners can look up their corral assignment using their bib number. Runner walk-out to corrals begins approximately 1.5 hours before race start for races that are 13.1 miles or longer. In order to find your corral, simply follow event signage or ask any Cast Member or volunteer for assistance.

If you are running during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, you can find your corral assignment HERE.

If you need assistance with determining your bib number for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, you can find it on your waiver which is available HERE.

Q. What if a friend, spouse, or child is assigned to a different corral but they want to run together?

A. In a place where every mile is magic, we know our runners may want to share their experience with someone. Runners can move backward in corral assignments to join a friend, child, or spouse, but they cannot move forward. For example, if you are assigned to corral G, and your friend is assigned to corral K, you can move back to K, but your friend is not able to move forward to corral G. You do not need to notify runDisney if you choose to move back in corrals. Simply follow event signage to the corral of your choice, keeping in mind that you cannot move to a corral ahead of your pre-assigned corral.

Please note that no corral changes will be made at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo.

Q. Do the corrals all start at once or is the start staggered?

A. Corral start times are staggered and the time between each corral varies based on the number of runners. This staggered start allows for more space on the course and gives each runner a better opportunity to set a personal record, or check out the amazing sites (and special surprises!) along the course!

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is the presenting sponsor and celebratory charity of Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

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Darcy Clark

Fuel Up for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Downtown Disney®

I've got a few runDisney races under my belt, and though I'll never be an elite runner, I've come to really enjoy the sport and all that goes along with it … the feeling of accomplishment, the friendships, and fitness, and of course, the food! While it's always important to strive for healthy, balanced eating, it is especially true during race week.

As someone who gets to experience Downtown Disney® on a daily basis, I thought I'd share some of my favorite meals to get you ready for your big run (or walk!). WARNING: The list below will likely make you hungry, so read responsibly:

AMC Dine-In Theatres – Bistro Chicken Mac & Cheese: it's as decadent as it sounds – a creamy blend of cavatappi pasta, Cheddar Jack cheese, bistro cheese sauce and juicy chicken slices, served with a warm soft pretzel breadstick. (This is a great post-race option, too, if you want to give your legs a chance to rest while you take in the latest big-screen flick!)

Bongos Cuban Café – The Gluten-free Penne Primavera with Lemon Butter Sauce is overflowing with vegetables, and the Linguine with Cuban Style Meat Sauce is a great choice for meat lovers who crave some extra protein.

Crossroads at House of Blues – Options abound… whether you choose the Cajun Chicken Pasta, Jambalaya, Lobster Mac & Cheese or Linguini Primavera, you can't go wrong. (I'm not a huge fan of too much spice, but the Jambalaya gets it just right!)

Fulton's Crab House – Like linguini? You'll love Fulton's version featuring shrimp, scallops, calamari, littleneck clams and mussels simmered in a tangy tomato and crab broth.
*Show your race bib or finisher's medal to save $5 on this dish all weekend long.

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – There's only one word to describe the sausage and Parmesan covered Rigatoni Calabrese: Delizioso!
*Show your race bib or finisher's medal to save $5 on this dish all weekend long.

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant – Take spaghetti pasta and add Irish smoked salmon, shrimp and spinach tossed in a light tomato gin sauce and you've got this delight from my favorite authentic Irish pub.

Rainforest Café – Planet Earth Pasta: Italian sausage and cavatappi pasta lightly tossed with olive oil and garlic in marinara sauce, then topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. Even better? Gluten free pasta is available upon request.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes – Steak Alfredo: the newest pasta dish on the menu is already a huge hit with guests and with 20% off for runDisney athletes all weekend long, it's a real winner.
*Show your race bib or finisher's medal to take advantage of the 20% off discount.

Wolfgang Puck Express – For a fast casual option, the Cavatappi Chicken Alfredo with crimini mushrooms, baby peas and goat cheese or the gluten-free Half Rotisserie Chicken with garlic butter, rosemary and mashed potatoes from this Marketplace hot spot can't be beat.

Wolfgang Puck Grand Café – Shrimp Pesto: a simple and delightful dish that's impeccably prepared. I can't promise it will make you run faster, but I do know it will leave you satisfied.
*Show your race bib or finisher's medal to save $5 on this dish all weekend long.

I hope you make it out to the Downtown Disney® area for the Happily Ever After Party to celebrate your accomplishments during Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, but also, for a meal or two leading up to your race day. I've finished 13.1 miles and I know you can, too (especially with the right fuel) – good luck out there!

Darcy Clark is a Marketing Manager for Downtown Disney® at Walt Disney World® Resort here to share how you can enhance your race weekend!

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Tara Gidus

Are You Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?

We all know fruits and veggies are important in our diet, but are we getting enough to maximize our workouts, stay healthy, manage our weight, and prevent chronic disease? According to current MyPlate nutrition recommendations from the USDA, Americans should be consuming two or more servings daily of fruit and three or more servings of vegetables per day. Sadly, only 33% of adults meet the recommendation for fruit consumption and only 27% get the recommended servings of vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, and prevent diabetes and some types of cancer. In addition to an array of health benefits, fruit and vegetable intake significantly impacts athletic performance.

How do fruits and vegetables affect athletic performance?

Vitamins and minerals within fruits and vegetables play an important role in maintaining overall health. Strenuous exercise causes more stress on the body, which increases the risk of illness and infection. Athletes training intensely may need higher amounts of fruits and vegetables to help combat excessive stress on the body. High fruit and vegetable intake optimizes exercise performance, energy production, and tissue recovery during periods of physically demanding exercise. On the other hand, inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables can increase the likelihood of fatigue, muscle damage, lack of muscle strength, and impaired immune function.

How do I get more fruits and vegetables into my diet?

Here are seven tips to boost your daily intake:

  1. Create a goal amount. If fruits and vegetables rank low on your daily menu, start by eating one extra fruit or vegetable a day, slowly building to the recommended amounts.
  2. Pack snacks. In between meals, munch on fruits and vegetables. Try carrots and hummus, a banana and almond butter, or Greek yogurt and raspberries.
  3. Boost your breakfast. Instead of a bagel or donut, make an omelet with your leftover veggies. Or add blackberries, strawberries, or dried fruit to cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  4. Try a fruit smoothie. Whether in the morning or afternoon, a fruit smoothie with leafy greens (I promise you won't taste it!) is a delicious and healthy way to incorporate more fruit and veggies into your diet.
  5. Roasting does wonders. Roasting veggies at a high heat brings out nutty, sweet flavors. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other spices to enhance flavor. My favorite—roasted broccoli! Preheat the oven to 425 and bake broccoli for 20 minutes until tops are slightly browned. Amazing!
  6. Try something new. Variety is the spice of life. Check out exotic fruits or vegetables you've never tried or something new that's in season.
  7. Sneak them in! Add veggies to macaroni and cheese, tomato sauces, smoothies, and even desserts (such as zucchini bread, carrot cakes, etc.) for an added boost of nutrition to your favorite foods.

How many fruits and veggies do you eat a day? If you have questions or comments, tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Join the Celebration at the Disneyland® Half Marathon 10th Anniversary Party

Join the Celebration at the Disneyland® Half Marathon 10th Anniversary Party

As part of the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, you are invited to a special anniversary party to kick off the race weekend.

On Thursday, Sept. 3, party guests are invited to Disneyland® Park starting at 4 p.m. where they can enjoy the entertainment and attractions before the private gathering begins at 9 p.m. at Disneyland® Park West Side.

The party will feature an exclusive viewing of the "Paint the Night" parade, as part of the Disneyland® Resort Diamond Celebration, as well as other special entertainment, including Disney character meet and greets.

Guests can also enjoy select attractions including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana JonesTM Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain.

Don't miss your chance to join this special celebration as part of your Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend! For more information please visit here.

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runDisney Mom

Add Some Extra Magic with the Miles!

If you've experienced a runDisney race event, you know every mile on the course is magic, but did you know there are other opportunities to enhance your race experience off the course? Whether you're traveling with family, friends or solo, runDisney offers several pixie-dusted ways for you to add an extra bit of magic to your race-cation.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! For all you princesses out there preparing for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, it's not too late to make your girls' weekend more royal than ever.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Breakfast - A Royal Celebration!
Available following the Disney Princess 5K and the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, this post-race breakfast will allow you to show off your bling as you mingle with your princess peers, as well as meet & greet the Disney Princesses for that perfect photo. My favorite aspect of the breakfast is the ability to see so many happy runners enjoying themselves with a bountiful buffet, a climate-controlled tent, and smiles that go on for miles! Want your family or friends to join you? They can! Tickets are available for spectators as well – truly making it an affair for all.

Race Retreat - The Ultimate in Princess Pampering
This is the ultimate way to pamper yourself both before and after your race! Open to runners at 3 a.m., the Race Retreat will allow you to escape the elements before the race while you fuel up with a continental breakfast. In addition, there is a private gEAR bag check, private restrooms, character meet & greets, large screen viewing of the finish line, comfortable lounge seating, and a full-breakfast buffet upon your return post-race.

For spectators that have purchased the Platinum ChEAR Squad package, the Race Retreat will be accessible beginning at 5:30 a.m. This is the perfect location for your fans to relax and enjoy themselves before they head over to the reserved grandstand seating to watch your big finish. Another great feature is the Kiddie Corner, an area designated for the littlest princes and princesses in your group to color, make ChEAR Cards, or watch a Disney movie while in their still-sleepy state. One of my favorite benefits of the Race Retreat is having somewhere for the ones you love to be comfortable should inclement weather arise while you're running.

*Moms Panel Tip: Make sure your ChEAR Squad registers to follow you through Runner Tracking! Your split times, as well as estimated finish time, will be sent via text message to their smartphones, giving the perfect heads-up on when they should head toward the finish line.

Pasta in the Park Party - The Most Royal of Events
I extend an invitation for you to attend the most enchanting event in the "world," the Pasta in the Park Party. Food, fun, music and a room full of royalty make for magical memories. Your evening begins as you enter World ShowPlace Pavilion, a beautiful venue tucked away between Epcot®'s Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions along World Showcase Promenade. You'll be transported into a fairy tale as your favorite Disney Princesses are there to greet you, and face painters and balloon artists add to the festive feel. Oh, and don't forget your glass slippers! A DJ will be on-hand to ensure you dance the night away. Once you've had your pasta buffet fill, you'll be escorted to a reserved viewing area for the perfect way to end the evening – Epcot's nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Refections of Earth.

*Moms Panel Tip: Upon entering, head all the way through to the opposite side of the venue. Guests like to stop at the first few tables, but there are buffet lines and a lot tables on the other side as well. This is especially useful if you have a large group.

With a menu like this, adding extra magic to your runDisney-cation is as easy as Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! But don't let the clock strike midnight; availability for these events during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is going fast.

Do you have runDisney vacation planning questions? Send them my way on the Disney Parks Moms Panel! I am here to help you plan a fairy tale race-cation.

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Leslie Kay

How to Avoid Injury from Overtraining

Whether training for a 26.2 mile marathon, or your first 5K, when working to improve your fitness level, you must push yourself and your body to achieve new milestones. Challenging yourself to work harder and run further will train your body and help you achieve your running goals. However, pushing yourself too hard and skipping recovery time can eventually lead to exhaustion and even injury.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of training, but overtraining can not only impact you physically, but can lead to negative psychological effects. Overtraining can lead to recurring injuries, slower race time and a sense that running has become all work.

A key sign that you may be overtraining is a change in pulse rate. If your walking resting pulse increases by more than a few beats, you may be suffering from overtraining. Other signs include decreased appetite, insatiable thirst, lack of sleep, abnormal muscle soreness, decreased strength or endurance or even personality changes. If you experience any of these symptoms rest and take a day off from your training schedule. If the symptoms persist, contact your doctor.

To avoid overtraining follow these tips to get the most out of your training and avoid injury:


Keeping regular rest days is just as important as your long runs because your body needs to rebuild muscle tissue that is broken down during each workout. If you skip your rest days, your body will eventually decline and will result in injury. Rest days are also important for your emotional wellbeing. Those who overtrain express negative feelings toward working out, which can lead to mental roadblocks and eventually lack of interest altogether.


Sleep and rest days are two different, but equally important, steps to follow when training for a marathon. During periods of heavier training, your body requires sleep to help rebuild and heal. The amount of sleep recommended depends on the person. Teenagers need about 9 hours on average, while adults require 7 to 8 hours per night. Factor in your sleep like you would a run to avoid fatigue and overtraining.


If you keep the same workout every single time and don't add any variety, you will subject your muscles to the same stress over and over. Eventually those muscles will be overstrained, which could lead to injury. Incorporating alternative exercise into your running routine can help build muscle but also give your joints much needed rest.

Follow a Training Plan

Training for a marathon should include easy distance runs, long runs, interval workouts, hill sprints and rest days that will help you slowly build mileage and progress to the final finish line. A training program is an important tool to help you map out what activities to do and when so you don't become fatigued too quickly. Keep in mind that most programs are a suggestion, however. Listen to your body and if you're experiencing any discomfort or having difficulties with the program, alter it to fit your specific needs.

Cigna® is the presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend and Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend.

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Tara Gidus

What's Really in My Energy Bar? Five Ingredients to Know

In any grocery store or convenience store, you'll most likely see an entire aisle devoted to energy bars. High-protein, low-carb, low-sugar—the list goes on. Navigating all of the ingredients can get exhausting! So what should you know?

Energy bars or nutrition bars can offer a healthy and convenient alternative to help meet your calorie, protein, carb and fat needs when food choices are limited or eating whole foods is not an option. Depending on your exercise regimen, energy bars can also provide a great pre-workout boost in available energy or help replenish glycogen stores and repair muscle post-workout. Even though certain energy bars can be useful and healthy, some products contain ingredients that are less than stellar. Take a closer look at these five ingredients the next time you need a grab-and-go bar.

  1. Palm Oil
    • Use of palm oil in processed foods has skyrocketed 60% in the past seven years. After a 2006 FDA ruling that mandated trans-fatty acids to be on the Nutrition Facts label, food manufacturers began increasing imports of palm oil, a naturally trans-fat free alternative.
    • Palm oil is odorless, tasteless and solid at room temperature, making it ideal in processed foods to enhance the texture, mouthfeel, and shelf life.
    • Palm oil is high in saturated fat, which is known to raise LDL cholesterol but is safer to consume at higher amounts than trans-fats. Note: Saturated fats should make up less than 10% of overall energy intake for healthy athletes.
    • Aim for bars rich in healthy fats like whole nuts, nut butters and seeds!
  2. Sugar Alcohols
    • Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH). Look for –ol at the end of ingredient names, usually it's a sugar alcohol.
    • Used as sweeteners and bulking agents in many sugar-free items.
    • As a sugar substitute, sugar alcohols provide about a half to one-third fewer calories than regular sugar, and are often used in diabetic friendly and diet foods.
    • Eating too many of these sugar alcohols is likely to cause digestive issues such as uncomfortable gas, bloating and diarrhea.
  3. Protein
    • If protein is a priority in your bar, choose bars that use high-quality sources of protein such as whey, whey isolates and micellar casein.
      • - Whey isolate is highest in protein content and commonly found in quality energy bars.
      • - Whey concentrate contains 80% protein in addition to small amounts of fat, minerals and lactose.
    • Whey protein naturally has the highest percentage of branched-chain amino acids including leucine, which plays a large role in muscle protein creation.
    • Whey protein is also quickly digested and absorbed to support muscle growth and repair more effectively than other protein sources.
    • Collagen and gelatin may contribute to protein content in energy bars but are considered low-quality protein, meaning it does not contain all of the essential amino acids the body needs.
    • Keep in mind these proteins are okay in moderation, but I've seen athletes down 2-3 protein bars a day. The best way to boost protein intake is get a bar filled with whole protein rich ingredients like nuts and seeds, and drink with a glass of milk for whey protein instead of relying on processed powders.
  4. Fiber
    • Obtaining enough fiber in the diet helps maintain a healthy digestive system and helps lower cholesterol, control blood sugar, and supports weight loss or maintenance.
    • Too much fiber pre-workout can cause bloating, gas or diarrhea and leave you feeling too full during a run. Bars lower in fiber (about 5 grams or less) may be helpful in reducing these common symptoms.
    • Post-workout, fiber is beneficial in increasing the feeling of fullness and curbing appetite.
    • Dietary fiber is natural and should be obtained through eating foods like nuts, seeds and beans. Often energy bars are lurking with synthetic fibers like inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose that can lead to gas and bloating, and may not have the same health benefits.
  5. Added Sugars
    • While sugar is needed to provide the "glue" and keep the energy bar from falling apart, make sure that your bar is not loaded with added sugars.
    • Some sugars are natural like the ones found in dried fruits—dates, cherries, raisins, apricots are common fruits and the healthiest sugars found in energy bars.
    • Check the ingredient list on the nutrition label! Foods are labeled in order of largest to smallest quantity in the product. If added sugar is one of the first three ingredients put the bar back.
    • Other names for added sugar: Brown Rice Syrup, Agave Nectar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Beet Sugar, Barley Malt, Date Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Fructose, Glucose and the list goes on.

While energy bars can be a convenient snack, some can be as rich as a candy bar, so check the ingredient list. If you want to know first hand the ingredients that go into your energy bar, try my Peanut Butter Pistachio Energy Bites recipe!! Questions or comments tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Star WarsTM Half Marathon Weekend Kicked Off With the Wookiee Welcome Party!

Star WarsTM Half Marathon Weekend Kicked Off With the Wookiee Welcome Party!

Runners fueled with "Wookiee Wookiee Sugar Cookies" and other treats out of this world to kick off Star WarsTM Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland® Resort.

Participants mingled over snacks, and received special greetings from Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and many more! Located right in Tomorrowland at Disneyland® Park, runners had the unique opportunity to enjoy select attractions after the Park closed to the public.

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Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend Runners Cruised Through the Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge

Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend Runners Cruised Through the Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge

After experiencing the magical miles of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, more than 700 runners set sail on Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream to embark on a fun run in the sun in the inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge.

Runners cruised along a brand new 5K course on Disney's private tropical island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, making it the first-ever international runDisney race. Alongside sandy white beaches and sparkling turquoise water, participants enjoyed photo opportunities and entertainment throughout the course.

In order to partake in the Challenge, runners had to complete at least one WDW Marathon Weekend race. After breezing through the finish line, runners received multiple treasures including the Castaway Cay 5K finisher medal as well as a Castaway Cay Challenge medal. Aboard the ship, cruisers also enjoyed special activities and access to merchandise exclusively for Challenge participants.

If you missed out on the inaugural race, it's not too late to sign up to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Castaway Cay Challenge next month!

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Cole Horton

Running Costumes From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

There are more than 17,000 characters in the Star WarsTM universe: From gallant heroes to vile villains, the galaxy is full of weird and wonderful beings to inspire your next running costume! As a Star Wars writer and new runner getting ready for the Star WarsTM Half Marathon Weekend, I've put a lot of thought into my own gear. Here are just some of my own crazy ideas.

Jabba the Hutt

The galaxy's best-known gangster, Jabba the Hutt is perhaps the Star Wars character least likely to run a half marathon. As unique as this costume might be, wearing a giant slug outfit is just too hot to run a race. That tail dragging the ground isn't allowed either.


If you are like me, you were absolutely blown away by the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My favorite new character is BB-8, the small ball of a droid. While we don't know much about this little droid, I do know that my crazy costume idea is just too bulky to work at a runDisney race. Like all of us anticipating the next film, this costume will just have to wait.

Boba Fett

A quiet, mysterious bounty hunter, this Boba Fett costume might actually work. Rather than a helmet that covers my face (not allowed for the race), I envisioned a Boba-inspired headband. Complete with kneepads, arm sleeves, and a cape, I just don't have the time to complete this costume.


As a new runner, I'm going to keep my inaugural outfit simple. My favorite character, the little astromech droid known as R2-D2, inspires my costume. His robot counterpart C-3PO once called him an "overweight glob of grease"—a fitting description for me at the beginning of this journey. But like R2, I've equipped myself with the best tools and resources to complete my first runDisney 5K and 10K. Look for me at all of the events, where I will be covering the action for

As you put the finishing touches on your own costume, be sure to review the official costume guidelines. Also, don't forget to give your outfit at least one test run to make sure it will go the distance as you race.

Cole Horton is a historian and blogger for, Marvel, and more. Find him on Twitter @ColeHorton.

Costume concept sketches by Jennifer Horton.

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Running My First Half Marathon

"I've just completed my first half marathon"

I didn't think those words would ever leave my mouth.

You see, if you're reading this with the idea of completing your first half marathon in your sights and you find yourself thinking, "Can I even do this?" I'm here to tell you that you can, because I was just like you not too long ago.

As a former "kid-who-sat-out-in-gym-class" turned fashion blogger, I used to think the only 13.1 miles I would ever complete would be compiled of laps around a shopping mall. When it came down to nutrition, I could eat a salad and protein, yes... or I could eat a pizza. Carb load! I am a driven individual when it comes to my career, but when it came to my own physical health I preferred to stay within my comfort zone. I never considered myself to be a runner, only having a couple 5Ks and one 10K under my belt. I thought half marathons and marathons were only for those verging on Olympian status and that those runners would create an unwelcoming experience for any of those who came out on race day just to give it a try.

But everything changed for me when I stood at the finish line of the 2014 Disneyland® Half Marathon. With a hot tea in hand, I cheered on the first hundred finishers as they ran across the finish line, while Mickey and friends celebrated and gave out high fives. You see, after the elite and professional runners, I watched thousands upon thousands of everyday people cross the finish line. Some were young while others were young at heart. Some were running, others walking, while some even skipped over the finish line.

They came in all different shapes and sizes, but there was one thing they had in common: they were all finishing a half marathon.

My first half marathon was the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I made sure to take in the speaker series, which is offered at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, and ask as many questions of as many people as I encountered who had already run a half marathon. In my mind, I broke it down into four 5K races. After each 5K, I did a full-body analysis and told myself, "You're feeling great! Onto the next 5K!"

It was around the 10-mile mark, as we were exiting the gates of Disney's Hollywood Studios, when all worry left me. I was going to complete my first half marathon! My race partner and I began to really enjoy ourselves at that point. "I've had a foot cramp since the third mile, but I'm still doing it!" I said out loud. "You go girl!!!" A stranger responded. The camaraderie and friendships you make out there on the course are unlike any other. You're surrounded not only by thousands of the best cheerleaders, but by thousands of your best friends.

Nearing the finish line, tears started to well up in my eyes. I realized I was about to have that moment that I've watched so many others have.

"I did it. I finished my first half marathon. I pushed through my own personal doubts and the doubts of others around me. I may not be the fastest runner or the most athletic, but I ran and I finished."

That finish line belongs to the 10,000th finisher just as much as it does to the 1st finisher. There is an electric sense of accomplishment and pride at a runDisney finish line. I want you to know that you, too, can experience that feeling.

Leslie Kay of DisneyBound is here to help inspire your runDisney outfits! Tweet her at @LADisneyBound

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Leucine: Secret Weapon For Staying Lean

Leucine: Secret Weapon For Staying Lean

Leucine. Have you heard of it? It's a branched chain amino acid that might be the secret to building muscle and losing body fat. While lots of research is underway on this nutrient, incorporating leucine-rich whole foods in your diet can benefit the runner—especially the aging runner. Let me explain.

We know as we age we lose muscle mass, and as a consequence our metabolism slows… hello middle-age spread. While it might be in part due to a poor exercise routine that doesn't incorporate strength training, research is pointing to nutrition as being the ticket to maintaining muscle mass as we age. In fact, high quality proteins (rich in leucine) become even more vital as we get older.

If you're a runner and you're young, about 20-25 years old, your body doesn't need as much of the amino acid leucine. About 1.7g does the trick. But as we age, especially over 60, the body requires 2.5 grams of leucine or more to trigger muscle protein synthesis. Between 25 and 60 years old? While more research is needed, likely the ideal range is somewhere between 1.7 and 2.5 grams.

So with all this talk about leucine, you might be thinking that you need to go out and purchase a supplement. No need—you can easily get this nutrient through whole foods. The trick to maximizing the muscle-building pathway is to eat whole, intact proteins (and carbohydrates… we are runners) every 4 hours. Two grams of leucine is about 20 to 25 grams of animal protein. If you're a vegetarian, you will need to eat more (about 30 grams of protein) since the leucine concentration is not as high in plant foods.

The key to all this talk about leucine is to space your proteins throughout the day. Most people get 50 grams of protein at dinner and struggle to get 10 grams at breakfast. You don't have to be a pro at math to know what to eat. I'll show you how you can do this plan below.

8 AM Breakfast:

1 egg + 2 egg whites with ½ ounce cheddar cheese

1 slice Canadian bacon

1 slice whole grain bread

4 ounces orange juice

12 PM Lunch:

3 ounces tuna

½ cup spinach

2 slices whole grain bread

1 apple

4 PM Snack:

5-ounce container Greek yogurt

1 cup fresh berries

1 ounce almonds

8 PM Dinner:

3 ounces grilled chicken breast

1 cup brown rice

1 cup lettuce greens

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

As always, if you have any questions or comments, tweet me @DietDivaTara!

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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runDisney Mom

Disneyland® Dining:
The Happiest Meals On Earth!

One of my favorite aspects of planning a runDisney-cation is selecting where to dine, and Disneyland® Resort is no exception. With so many unique offerings exclusive to the Happiest Place on Earth, you're sure to find the fuel and fun you have come to expect from Disney Parks. Need some dining suggestions for your next Disneyland® Resort race weekend? Here are a few of my favorite dining experiences for a little inspiration:

Disneyland® Park

  • Cafe Orleans—Two words: pommes frites! I also suggest "N'awlins Vegetable Ragoût" with blackened chicken. The vegetables used in this delectable dish are low in fiber once steamed, making it a great pre-race option.
  • Carnation Cafe—There is something here to please the whole family while the runners in the group can enjoy penne pasta with shrimp (but go light on the sauce).

Disney California Adventure Park

  • Carthay Circle Restaurant—Step back into Hollywood's golden era and enjoy one of Disneyland® Resort's signature dining experiences. You can be sure Chef Andrew Sutton will be serving fresh, seasonal dishes pre- or post-race. The house biscuits are a must! I also highly recommend the World of Color Dining Package, which offers a fabulous fixed dining menu with a preferred viewing option for the World of Color nighttime show.
  • Flo's V8 Café—Get your eats on Route 66! And get the BBQ pork ribs... or the roast beef & cheddar... oh, and one of Flo's Pie-O-Rama's!

Downtown Disney District

  • Catal Restaurant—Disneyland® Resort's best kept secret! Nestled high above the Downtown Disney District, this signature dining location has never disappointed! The food is exceptional. And when you dine during a race weekend, they offer a special, off-menu pasta dish.
  • Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen®—I could dine here multiple times a trip just for the New Orleans Bread Pudding! But order early, this rich dessert takes 20 minutes to be delivered to your table.

Resort Hotels

  • Napa Rose Chef's Counter, or "Vintner's Table"—This is about as exclusive as you can get for dining experiences at Disneyland® Resort! And it's worth every quick service meal you need to eat to mark this off your bucket list. I've had the pleasure of enjoying this experience a few times and I am always impressed with each course. Not only is the interaction with the show-kitchen staff great fun, but they've always been so gracious to work around my aversion to seafood.
  • Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar—This is usually my first stop upon arrival, well before race day. A "Shipwreck on the Rocks" and a Hawaiian cheeseburger is how I like to start a race-cation!

Favorite Disneyland® Resort Snacks/Treats

  • Dole Whip® Float—Tiki Juice Bar, Disneyland® Park
  • Chimichanga—Edelweiss Snacks, Disneyland® Park
  • Corn Dog—Little Red Wagon, Disneyland® Park
  • New Orleans Mint Julep & Mickey-shaped Beignets—Mint Julep Bar, Disneyland® Park
  • The World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae—Ghirardelli® Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, Disney California Adventure Park

Race Morning Options

One aspect of running Disney that is unique to Disneyland® Resort is the ability to grab a coffee and pre-race snack en route to the Start Zone Area. Many of the food vendors in the Downtown Disney District are open to runners/spectators during the wee hours of race morning! No need to skip your coffee run.

Hungry yet?

Have a Disney Dining question? Send them my way! As the runDisney Specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, I am here to help you plan a magical runDisney-cation.

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Another Mother Runner

Running Free

With the bulk of the racing season over, it’s time to give yourself a running gift that doesn’t cost a thing. What is it? A naked run. No, not one that encourages frostbite on your most tender parts, and causes your neighbor to draw his blinds.


A naked run is one where you leave all your devices—music, GPS and anything else electronic that you don’t need for safety or communication—at home. If that sounds like torture to you (How will I know if I’m running a 9:45 mile, not a 9:30 or 10:00 one? How will I be motivated without Taylor Swift?), you owe it to yourself to try it.

Why? Because when you run naked, you tune into your body. Not into your music or your numbers, but into you, the complex machine that actually does the work. Your body actually talks to you during every step of the run, but more often than not, you’re too preoccupied to listen.


Without distractions, you notice your muscles that are firing, your breath that going in and out, your mind that is controlling the whole effort, your footfalls that become your rhythm.

You soak up and remember what an easy run truly feels like, and how labored your breath becomes during a tempo run. When it’s race time, knowledge can guide you much more capably than a GPS can. 


Before you break out into a nervous sweat, here are a few ways to slowly step away from the gadgets:


—Lose one piece at a time. If you simply must have your newest playlist, take your tunes. But leave your GPS at home and notice how that feels.


—Run a familiar route to mitigate the data loss. You likely already know that your park loop, from beginning to end, is 3.7 miles. So you can still record your mileage manually.


—Downsize a bit. Use a stopwatch instead of a GPS. Take your music, but only listen for the second half of the run. Store your GPS in a pocket and don’t look at it until you’re done running.


—Run with a pal, and focus on being present in your conversation. Worst-case scenario: she can wear a GPS, and give you the readout at the end. (Do your best not to ask for any numbers mid-run!)


Aim to log at least five naked runs in December—and do more if you can handle it. Come January, when you load yourself up again, chances are, you’ll be so pleasantly surprised by your progress, you might just schedule a naked run weekly for all of 2015. 



If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Another Mother Runner

Light Up Your Holiday Running

Let’s be honest, many runs this time of year are completed with the singular goal of burning off whatever we plan on consuming that night. Guilt-free eggnog and peppermint bark are good for a few miles, right? Yet often when it’s dark and dreary outside (or in the basement, where the treadmill resides), caloric burn isn’t always a strong enough impetus to exercise.


For additional incentive, embrace the holiday spirit with your runs. Here are four ways to turn your huffing and puffing into ho-ho-ho-ing.


1. Let there be light: Map out your running route for the best tour of holiday lights. Bonus points if you stop and sing carols! If you’re typically a morning runner, this is a great excuse—um, we mean reason—to sleep in and run in the evening instead.


2. Icing you won’t slip on: Organize a group run with friends and have it end at your house for hot mulled cider and cookie decorating—sampling strongly encouraged. Extra points for a running gingerbread man complete with a race number and laced-up shoes.  


3. Jingle all the way: Coordinate a free community or school-wide 5K. In lieu of an entry fee, runners and walkers (adults and children) bring a donation for a food bank. Encourage participants to dress in costume or holiday colors, and give everyone jingle bells for added festive fun. We know of one mother runner who had 44 runners the first year she organized a neighborhood 5K, and she’s got more than 80 folks signed up for this year’s event.


4. Better to give than receive: Run a holiday 5K or 10K, then donate at least the equivalent of your entry fee to a non-profit organization that is near and dear to your heart. After all, that’s the true spirit of this season.



If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Bundle Up—And Run On

Bundle Up—And Run On

This probably isn’t news to you, but not all of us are fortunate enough to live in Florida or California, where a chilly run means putting on tights instead of capris or shorts. For most of the country, a winter run means snow, wet, wind chill, ice and other fun weather features that threaten to thwart your miles. Don’t let them; instead, follow these tips:


—Dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it really is. You should feel chilly, if not almost cold when you step outside, or you’re going to heat up like an oven within 15 or so minutes.


—Typically, you’ll want one layer on the bottom and two to three layers on top. A pair of thicker winter running tights protects your legs from most everything. (And remember: your legs are doing most of the work, so they’re going to be warm naturally.)


—On top, go for a wicking layer first. Most sports bras are made out of synthetic fabrics, but keep your next layer wicking as well that’ll pull sweat off your hard-working body and move it out into the (cold, cold) world. The second layer can be a lightweight fleece or down, wool, or another synthetic fabric. The final layer, if you need it, should be a lightweight jacket with lots of zippers and mesh inserts so your top half doesn’t “fog up.”


—For maximum climate control, have escape hatches built in, like a zip neck on your shirt, sleeves that can easily be rolled up, mittens that convert to gloves and arm warmers that can be pushed down or pulled up. Hand warmers in your mitts can also be a toasty addition if you're in really cold climates.


—Get wooly. No, not suggesting you let your leg hairs grow long enough for insulation. Instead, invest in a wool running top. It’s true what they say about this natural fiber: It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Wool socks—especially ones that cover your ankles—are a must-have for running outdoors in frigid weather.


—Remember accessories. If your extremities are cold, the rest of you will be too. A fleece beanie or headband makes the difference in being comfortable or miserable (cover those ears!). A neck gaiter keeps your neck toasty and warms the air before you suck it in. Gloves or mittens are a must-have (you can always stash them in a pocket if you get too warm). And sunglasses, even if it's not super sunny, can protect your eyes against flakes and drops.



If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Leslie Kay

Running With Your Kids at the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®

Whether you’re trying to get your family healthy, limit screen time or just looking to spend time with your children, the solution can be as simple as running. Not only can your children benefit from the regular physical activity, but running has proven to help adolescents sleep more soundly and better handle physical and emotional challenges.


The personal challenge, camaraderie while running with others, the confidence you gain when achieving a personal best and the countless health benefits are all things we want our kids to experience, but how do you safely and effectively engage your children in a running program?


Make it fun!

Running is not just about the miles or achieving the best possible time. For kids, you need variety and a fun attitude for them to enjoy an afternoon jog. Create obstacle courses, scavenger hunts or relays to engage your child in physical activity that doesn’t feel like long distance running. Variety and a fun approach will eliminate boredom and keep your child engaged.


Lead by example.

While you may be passionate about running, you can’t expect your kids to automatically have the same enthusiasm. Instead, set an example as someone who enjoys running and has fun with it. Your child will likely embrace the sport when they see a parent enjoying runs and talking positively about their experiences.


Set goals together.

Having realistic goals can motivate you and your child to run regularly. Whether your goal is to run a 5K, beat a certain time or increase your time out together, make sure it’s a goal your child is comfortable with. Work in unison to achieve the same goal and help one another to reach the end.


Make your child the priority.

Regardless of the personal bests you’re trying to achieve or the marathon you’re training for, the runs you take with your child are about the two of you. If you are training, schedule your regular runs for another day so you can focus your attention on your child and their running goals. One of the most rewarding benefits of running with your child is the one-on-one time you have while out for a jog – take advantage of this time to learn about your son or daughter and what motivates them to achieve their own goals. It may even reinvigorate your own running regimen.


Cigna® is the presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend and Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend.

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Tara Gidus

The Fat Factor

Low-fat foods were all the rage about 20 years ago, but we’ve learned that not all fat is bad and we actually need fat!  However, many runners still fear that fat will make them fat or increase their cholesterol levels. Are low-fat foods really the best option for your training? Many “fat-free” products are loaded with sugars and refined carbohydrates, which defeat the purpose. Fat often gets the rap for being the bad guy when in actuality it plays an essential role in your health and training.


How do you know what type of fat to eat or how much of it to eat? Rule of thumb is to opt for unsaturated fats versus saturated fats. Some heart healthy “good fats” are avocado, oils, olives, seeds, and nuts. So how can fat affect the diet of a runner?


Prevent Cravings. When eating a diet low in fat, people often wonder why they are craving ice cream sundaes and cookies. Often this is because they are trying to eat no- or low-fat during the day so at night or on the weekend they “cheat” and feel guilty. Fat actually promotes fullness because it digests slowly over 3-4 hours, whereas carbohydrates tend to be digested much more quickly.


Fewer Injuries. When consuming a low-fat diet, especially among women, injuries tend to increase. The most common injuries are stress fractures, iliotibial band problems and tendonitis. These types of injuries can vary in severity, but they can clearly impact training and race performance.


Improved Hormone Function. Fat aids in the production of testosterone, cortisol, estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help utilize fat as a fuel source for metabolism and directing amino acids into muscle cells, which increase lean tissue mass. When these hormone levels are low, your ability to recover from exercise is compromised.


Better Vitamin Absorption. Fats are needed as the transporter for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are key for building muscle and keeping a healthy immune system. Remember to choose full fat salad dressing to increase absorption of the nutrients in your salad.


Fights Inflammation. Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids are essential in the diet, meaning you have to eat foods like salmon, tuna, halibut, mackerel, sardines, algae, walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds for your body to get the necessary building blocks that it needs. DHA and EPA are two omega-3 fatty acids that are plentiful in cold-water fish and are concentrated in the brain and retina of the eye. Athletes can benefit from these fish because they fight inflammation, improve mental focus, keep joints healthy, and speed recovery between workouts.


Tweet how you consume fat in your diet to me @DietDivaTara.


Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.


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Leslie Kay

Overcoming Running Roadblocks for the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®

Running is a mind-body sport that challenges your psyche as much as your body, particularly for runners who are training for long distance marathons. While working to achieve a new race milestone, runners often experience a range of high and low emotions before finally crossing the finish line. In fact, experts say running is 90 percent mental.

While training, or while competing in a marathon, runners hit mental barriers that may derail them from succeeding. By recognizing these roadblocks, you can prepare yourself to move past the hurdles and continue on for a successful and rewarding experience.

Here are tips to help break through those mental barriers and achieve your goals:

  1. Stay positive. Often, mental barriers include negative thoughts or self-doubt. When you find yourself being pessimistic, turn it around by reminding yourself how hard you’ve worked and how much you’ve achieved so far. It took a lot of hours, hard work and sweat to get to where you are. Celebrate yourself and the people who inspired you reach this milestone moment.  

  2. Focus on yourself, not other runners. By accepting that some runners will be faster, and some slower, concentrate on your own strengths and maintain a positive attitude to push you through the race. At the starting line, focus on your pace and avoid the mistake of running with everyone. If you need a focal point on the stretch run, identify someone running about your pace and follow them. You’re going to the same place!

  3. Keep your goal in mind. Trying to achieve a new running time? Adding extra miles to your run? Participating in your first marathon? Visualize yourself achieving your goals and think of those who inspired you onward and had your back throughout your training. This will help keep you motivated and soon you’ll feel the wind at your back and the finish line within your sights!


For information and tips about potential mental roadblocks and how to overcome them, check out the infographic below, which details a runner’s emotional journey during a marathon.

Cigna® is the presenting sponsor of Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend and Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend.

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Tara Gidus

How 'bout them Apples?

Move over, pumpkins… apples are comin’ through! Fall means sweet, crisp apples are finally in season and taste better than ever. But, their delicious flavor isn’t the only thing worth buzzing about; apples do amazing things for not just our taste buds but our bodies, too!


Apples are full of vitamins, one of them being Vitamin C. Vitamin C keeps your immune system strong, so you’ll be able to stay cold and flu free during these chillier months coming up. Apples also contain a complex of B vitamins, which are known to keep red blood cells healthy, getting that much needed oxygenated blood flowing to the muscles and heart during an intense run. The high amount of dietary fiber in apples is exceptionally helpful with digestion problems as well, which is a fairly common issue among runners. 

Red apples in particular have a rare antioxidant in the skin called quercetin. Quercetin has been shown to potentially benefit athletes specifically in the following ways:

  • Has anti-inflammatory effects
  • Improves endurance performance
  • Prevents oxidative damage
  • Increases alertness
  • Increases concentration
  • Increases muscle recovery


So if you haven’t already, head to your local grocery store and grab some apples to put in your salad, added to smoothies, or shredded in your morning oatmeal. Or try this nutritious apple ‘cookie’ recipe to get your daily dose of apple. You’ll be glad you did!


Apple Cookies


  • 1 apple
  • Peanut butter
  • Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cacaonibs


  1. Slice apple into thin rings and remove core
  2. Spread peanut butter over one side of ring
  3. Top with walnuts, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs


Great source of healthy fats, protein, and all the benefits of apples!


Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara!


Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Another Mother Runner

Safety 101

As the year ends, and darkness eats into our daylight—and running time—we wanted to go over a few safety tips. Yes, they may seem basic, but you’d be surprised at how many runners, wearing black from head to toe, we see running with traffic at dusk and dawn. So here’s a gentle, friendly reminder; after all, we want to see you out there for many years and miles to come.


  • Run against traffic. Always.
  • Light yourself up. When you’re running in dark or diminished light conditions, have one piece of reflective wear (reflective tape, a vest) on both your bottom and top halves. Use a headlamp, hand lights, and/or other blinking lights to make yourself even more visible.
  • Never assume a car sees you. Also, don’t be reckless when it comes to traffic lights. Pause your GPS if need be to wait for a crossing signal. Thousands of pounds of metal will always beat a human body.
  • Opt for sidewalks over the road, paths over both. Concrete isn’t great for your joints, so a bike or walking path or trail is best.
  • Cover your tracks. Tell somebody where you are going: your exact route and when you expect to be home. If your running partner has the groggy drools going on when you leave in the morning, write him or her a note to back up your verbal message. Or text somebody with the same info, and tell them if they don't get another text from you by a certain time to please call you.
  • Get a running buddy. Seriously, safety comes in pairs.
  • Opt for boredom and safety over exotic routes. If you have to do tedious one-mile laps in your neighborhood with street lights instead of an unlit park because it's pitch black at 5:30, so be it.
  • Be aware. Yes, blaring Beyoncé's “Run the World (Girls)” gets you pumped up, but her voice takes away one of your vital senses: hearing. If you're a gotta-have-tunes runner, try to run with just one earbud in. Keep the volume low enough that you can hear yourself talk at a normal voice. Keep your head and eyes up; when you get all slumped and downward gazing, you look more like prey than predator.
  • Carry your phone and some form of ID, and anything else that makes you feel safe, like pepper spray or mace.
  • Use your internal compass. Your gut is smarter than you think. Listen to it. If a car passes you a few too many times, change your route. If a person on the same sidewalk feels creepy, head to the other side of the street—or turn a corner. There is no social etiquette when it comes to personal safety.
  • Don't be shy. If you feel threatened, seek a safe place however you can.  Ask a fellow runner if you can run with them until you're in the clear. Knock on the door of a house you don't know. Yell for help or make noise.
  • Take a self-defense class and up your confidence.
  • If a car seems suspect—they're driving slowly by you or passing by you multiple times—make eye contact with the driver and let them see you're alert and paying attention. Memorize their license plate, and then get to a safe place.
  • Say hi to everybody you pass; you want them to remember your face and your hair color if the need arises.



If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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runDisney Mom

To All Who Volunteer For This Happy Race, Thank You!

I stepped out of my comfort zone during the 2014 Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend to offer my services as a runDisney Volunteer during the Family Fun Run 5K. And by comfort zone, I mean a 1:30 a.m. wake-up call to report for duty at 2:30 a.m. Albeit early, I was excited to be hanging up my running shoes for the day to serve as support.

As a runDisney Volunteer at Disneyland® Resort, your day begins by checking in, receiving your official race crew T-shirt, snack pack and station assignment. These assignments can range from pre-race water to post-race refreshments and everything in between, depending upon the race you’re volunteering for. In addition to offering us a Fitful nutrition box, there were a variety of warm beverages to enjoy while we waited.


I was immediately taken aback by the amount of young people and local community groups that had volunteered their time in an effort to either earn volunteer hours or support ACF, Anaheim Community Foundation, the designated non-profit charity for this year’s event. There were also a number of fellow runners who, like me, were participating in the Dumbo Double Dare and simply wanted to support their fellow runners. I was also impressed to see Mike Bone, Race Director of the Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, on-hand to provide operational support and chat with staff and volunteers – a sure sign of a great Race Director!

I was happy to have received post-race refreshments as my assignment, as I knew I would get to congratulate runners as they came through the chute to exit into the family reunion area. I was also happy to have gotten to meet some fantastic people! I think the team I was assigned to work with was my favorite part. We immediately got to work moving boxes from pallets to tables, unpacking their contents and arranging them in an organized manner while maintaining a safe working environment.


It was inspiring to see the smiling faces of race participants as they came through the chute after having completed a 3.1 mile journey through the Happiest Place on Earth. Over 6,000 runners comprising of every group dynamic you could think of came out to show their #DisneySide during this event. And the costumes were amazing! I think Kronk had to be my favorite. I hope he found a new groove running Disney.


Once all runners had cleared the course, we began the process of repackaging unused nutrition packs, breaking down cardboard boxes to be recycled and then signing out for our shift. I have to say, I left this experience with an entirely new appreciation for our runDisney race volunteers! So don’t forget to thank them during your next runDisney event.


Are you interested in becoming a Sports Enthusiast Volunteer at Walt Disney World® Resort or a runDisney Volunteer at Disneyland® Resort? Select the highlighted link for more information and to get started!

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Save Time for More Wine & Dine

As you get ready for the upcoming Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend, you're probably thinking about your run. Your plan of attack. Possibly the Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste.

But don't forget about your opportunity to secure a pair shoes from the 2014 Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection.

So you can experience more of the fun and excitement during the weekend, the process for purchasing shoes will actually begin online. Participants who are registered for a running event with a bib number can visit the New Balance Virtual Que website at for all the details on how to register. 

The first opportunity for online registration begins on Friday, November 7 at 6:00 a.m. EST.

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Wine & Dine Costumes

5 Final Training and Travel Tips for Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is almost here and it’s time to double check your final training and travel plans as you head to Walt Disney World® Resort for the race’s fifth anniversary festivities.

At this point I’m sure you’re prepared – you’ve rocked your long training runs, you’ve put together the perfect race day outfit, and you may have even practiced for the Finish Line Party at the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival.  If you’re traveling to the race from out of town here are five final training and travel tips so you can stay on track for this epic race.

1. Plan Your Final Training Runs. If you’re taking advantage of this magical race location and arriving several days early for some extra fun in the Disney Parks, there are plenty of places within the Walt Disney World® Resort to get your last training runs done before the big day. There are several safe jogging routes already mapped out for your convenience. You can look online or check with the concierge at your resort for a printed map. If you’d rather run on the treadmill there are 11 fitness centers at Walt Disney World® Resort. Again, your concierge can advise you on the appropriate facility. Remember not to overdo it, miles pile up easily when you’re playing in the Parks.

2. Squash Night Run Nerves. If you’ve never done a night race, the thought of it can be a little intimidating. If you didn’t incorporate a night run into your training there’s no need to worry, night races at Disney are big fun. The starting fireworks and the light displays in the Parks are a real treat. The course is well marked and lit so safety isn’t an issue. Also, just like a morning race your adrenaline kicks in so the late time of day shouldn’t affect your performance.

3. Test Your Tutu. Many people dress up for runDisney races. You’re likely to see everyone from the princesses to Mickey himself. Whether you choose to pick a character or simply rock regular running gear make sure you take a test run wearing your outfit so that you’re comfortable during the race. You can check out the costume rules on the race website.

4. Stop, Stand and Stretch. Whether you’re driving or flying to Walt Disney World® Resort for the race, make sure to stop, stand and stretch your legs. The last thing you want to do is get really tight or uncomfortable on the way to the race. Allot extra time on your road trip to stop and get out of the car. If you’re flying make sure to take a stroll down the aisle. Many runners like to wear compression socks when they travel before and after a race. I wore mine on my cross country trip from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon earlier this year and my legs were so glad I did. Also, don’t forget to bring your foam roller or stick with you to help relieve sore muscles.

5. Eat and Drink.  You’re headed to the Wine and Dine, right? Seriously, you’ve got to stay hydrated and fueled up while you’re traveling to the race. Be smart about what you’re eating and drinking so that you’ll have the right energy to take on the 13.1 miles through the Parks – and all the fabulous food and wine afterwards. Pack water and healthy snacks with you on your road trip, and make sure to drink plenty of water on the plane. You can check out runDisney’s official nutritionist’s Tara Gidus’ Top 10 Healthy Travel Snack for Runners.

Lorraine Robertson is the founder of and contributes regularly to as Marathon TMOM where she writes about destination running.

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Tara Gidus

Fueling for a Night Race

With the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon around the corner, many people are wondering how they should fuel for this nighttime race. Here is a guide of what you should do on the day of your nighttime race to keep you energized and feeling good by the time you reach that finish line!

  1. Hydrate pre-race. Drink lots of fluids all day and check your urine color to ensure that it is clear or barely yellow, which means that you are hydrated. To stay hydrated you should have 2-3 cups of fluids two hours before the race. It takes 45-90 minutes for fluids to pass through your body so drinking a lot two hours before the race will give you enough time to get rid of the excess before the race starts. Also, about 15 minutes before the race you should have 8 ounces of fluids to replenish before the starting gun.

  2. Race day is not the day to try new foods! Eat familiar foods with easy to digest carbs, low fiber, low fat and moderate protein to make sure that your stomach doesn’t get upset and that you are ready to go come race time. Avoid greasy and creamy or other high fat foods.  Three to four hours before the race is when you should eat your last meal, and one hour before the race have a snack consisting of fast digesting carbs like a banana or bread/bagel/dry cereal/pretzels.

  3. Hydration and fuel during the race. Drink ½-1 cup fluids every 15-20 minutes, which is the same as 4-8 big gulps. Have some fast digesting carbs during your run like a gel or sports drink, just be sure to stick with what worked for you during training.

  4. Recover after the race. Remember the 3 R’s for recovery: refuel with carbs, rebuild with protein and rehydrate with fluids. If you are going to have alcohol post-race, make sure you also eat some food to replenish and drink water to hydrate.  And lastly be sure to get a good night’s sleep after you finish celebrating your wonderful race achievement!

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara!

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Jeff Galloway

Top 10 Tips For Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Success

1.  Practice and fine-tune your race day routine. Write down your schedule, with time in the Disney Parks, meals and downtime before you board the buses to the start area.


2.  Get your race gear ready in the morning before leaving for your activities.  Affix your race number, and lay out everything you will need.  Stash some extra cash to sample various snacks after the race.


3.  Drink an eight-ounce glass of water about every 1.5 to 2 hours until about 6 p.m.  Have another glass or two before 8:30 p.m.  To avoid potty stops during the race, cut fluid intake at that time—ingesting only at the race water tables.

4.  Most find that it’s OK to spend most of the morning in the Parks, but I recommend you take a 10-minute “sit down” break every hour.


5.  During the afternoon, it’s best to get off your feet from about 4 p.m. until you head to the bus.  Relax around your room, take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, etc.


6.  Morning Nutrition:  Could be similar to most mornings but avoid large meals and foods that could cause problems including fried or fatty foods, too much protein and high fiber foods. 


7.  Afternoon Eating: Eat regularly but not too much in quantity at one time. Stick to light snacks of 150-250 calories, about every two hours.

8.  Most find it best to stop eating 2-3 hours before the run. Adjust to your needs. If your blood sugar starts to drop, have a light snack, such as an energy bar.


9.  If your energy level tends to drop after 9 p.m., and you drink coffee, bring a cup of coffee with you to the staging area and drink it during the hour before the start.


10.  Start slowly, enjoy every character and…wine and dine!



As the official runDisney training consultant, Olympian Jeff Galloway is here to help motivate you to cross the finish line with his proven training programs. Learn more at and follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffGalloway.

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Another Mother Runner

The Core Of The Matter

Although mileage is most important to become a capable runner, core strength is a close second. A strong core—an area that basically runs from your belly button to the bottom of your glutes—helps in myriad ways. It keeps you supported and stable, which is especially important on longer runs. It helps preserve proper running form and tall posture when you fatigue. Although all movements don't originate from the core, it also connects the whole body and encourages all your parts to work together as a team. If your core is weak, something else—your hips, your knees, your upper back—will take the hit, and can leave you sidelined.

Here are three of the most effective ways to strengthen your core and your muscular team. Do them two to three times a week after an easier or shorter run:

1. Forward Plank: Get on all fours: either palms or forearms for your upper body and either knees or toes—no shame in knee planks. Form one straight line from the back of your head to the back of your knees or heels. (Read: Butt down!) Hold for up to one minute.

As you get stronger: Start on your toes; when your form wavers, drop to your knees to finish the minute. Once you can do that, lift one leg or arm off the floor, pause, then lift the other.

2. Hunting Dog: Resting on your knees and palms, engage your core and glutes and make sure your back stays long and stable. (If need be, place a light pole along your spine: It shouldn't move.) Extend your left leg and right arm so that they're both parallel to the floor. Lower then repeat on opposite side. Do 10 on each side.

As you get stronger: You can hold arm/leg for incrementally longer periods of time, provided your glutes are working, and your back isn't arched or in pain. If it is, keep it at a regular rhythm.

3. Bridge: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet resting on the floor. Squeezing your glutes, lift your hips off the floor to form a line from your knees to your chest, hold for five seconds, then lower. Work up to 10 reps. Note: Your glutes should be firing; if they're not, you're just straining your lower back and quads.

As you get stronger: Gradually increase the length of the holds until you can hold for 60 consecutive seconds. Then, march your feet in place while maintaining hip stability.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Jeff Galloway

Change A Life - Help Someone Start Exercising

You know how good you feel when you finish a long run, and how you glow as you walk after the finish with your runDisney medal around your neck?  Research shows that running, even in short segments, turns on brain circuits for a better attitude, more vitality, and personal empowerment—better than any other activity studied.  When you help a friend or family member get "hooked” on exercise, you help him or her to improve their physical health.  The mental benefits are also life-changing for you and the person you mentor.

  • Your motivation to exercise increases when you serve as a role model. You'll also inspire yourself to learn more about fitness. Adults who serve as an exercise mentor find that they study and learn the principles of training better as they explain them to others.
  • Get them a good textbook. My books on getting started offer training schedules with support information. You can read more about these at
  • Start with a little exercise, and gradually increase. Children will often do a lot more than they should at first then get sore and discouraged. Hold them back and they can be successful in every workout!
  • Make each session enjoyable - especially during the first month. If your “coachee” is huffing and puffing, slow the pace, walk more slowly, and make other adjustments from the beginning of every exercise session. If there is any sign of struggle, stop for that day. Never push through pain.

Low Blood Sugar

Before a workout, if you suspect that your friend or child is experiencing low blood sugar, eat pieces of an energy bar with water, diet drink, or coffee about 30-45 minutes before the start. Provide a reward after each session - especially a snack to reload the energy stores. The best nutritional formula for a booster snack is 80% carbohydrate and 20% protein. On some special occasions, however, it's OK to have a reward snack that may be a little more decadent than usual.

Find interesting areas where you can exercise - scenic areas, interesting exercise club, etc.

Convenient walking routes near office or home, or a nearby gym can lead to more exercise sessions a year. But once a week or so, an excursion to an interesting area or fun health club venue can be very rewarding. It's great to have variety, and you should give your coachee some choice. 

On each exercise session, have a joke, a juicy story or a controversial issue.

This will break the ice, inject some humor, and result in a positive bonding experience. With beginners (adults or kids) who are struggling with motivation, the humorous moments provide a series of positive reinforcements. 

Structure each session so that there is success.

Don't let the new exerciser do too much—especially during the first few sessions. If walking or running, take liberal rest breaks before you hear the huffing and puffing. If in a gym, move to another exercise before there is fatigue, or heavy breathing.

Don't push too hard, but encourage and reinforce a good attitude.

One of the most difficult decisions in coaching is whether to push or back off—whether to use a pat on the back or a kick in the butt. In general, it is important that the person exercises regularly. When motivation is down, reduce the intensity to reduce discomfort and produce success. The ultimate victory is realized when the new exerciser wants to do it. 

Rewards work!

After a certain number of weeks, or after reaching a certain level of fitness, surprise the coachee with a reward. It doesn't have to be something expensive or exotic. The reward allows the new exerciser to focus on his or her progress, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from steady exercise.

Tell him or her about your mistakes.

Most people learn more from a personal story that has a lesson, than a lecture on the same topic. 

Don't over-sell exercise.

The benefits are so powerful that almost everyone who stays with it for six months will continue. Walking or running with the new athlete on the tough days and congratulating him or her for the dedication are powerful reinforcers. But if your coachee is falling asleep during your one hour speech on the benefits, you know that you've stepped over the line.

Your greatest reward will be an independent fit person.

Take it as a real compliment that your coachee will need less and less of your guidance. This means that you were an excellent coach, and that he or she can find another person to coach. Another life can be enriched.

Join me this year at the @runDisney #WDWMarathon!

Jeff Galloway 

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Another Mother Runner

Tackle The Hills

Although the runDisney courses don’t have crazy hard hills—and, we admit, we’re thrilled they don’t—taking on some climbs while training will make you a stronger, faster runner simply by getting to the top. (We often call hills the best BOGO going: strength + speed in one inclined package.) When you approach a hill on a run, here are some ways to make it (relatively) easier:

Pace yourself. On a short hill—less than 30 seconds—you can put the gas pedal and your head down and just summit the puppy. But on anything longer than that, it's helpful to think about the climb as a well-paced race: start slow and get stronger. It's a huge buzzkill when you’re halfway up a hill and feel like you want to quit, hurl, or both. If you think conservatively at the bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. (Hah.)


Arm yourself. Runners live in their legs, but we have four limbs for a reason. (And that reason isn't just to fold laundry, wash dishes, pick up piglets and wipe bottoms.) Your feet follow the rhythm your arms set, so get your groove on with your arms. Keep your elbows bent to 90 degrees, and then swing them tightly so your wrists to your elbows graze your sides. When you start a climb, consciously think about transferring the power from your legs to your arms and visualize your arms are doing at least 60 percent of the work of the climb.


Keep your feet quick. Big, lurching steps don't serve you well while running in general, but when it comes to hills, they handicap you big time. Keep your steps short and quick—it can feel a little unnatural, FYI—so you can climb as effectively as possible. Lean into the hill slightly, which makes it feel like you’re not fighting gravity so intensely. Finally, if your calves are whining, make sure you use a full foot strike, and not just stay on your forefoot.


Break it up. If the hill feels intimidating, do not focus on the top. Instead, give yourself mini-goals that will get you to the top: make it to that puddle, that crack in the pavement, that tree. Each taste of success gets you that much closer—and more motivated to get to—the top.


Aim High. Try to not peter when you hit the top of the hill. Get up and over it and then crest it to leave your mark on it. How? Run hard for 10 more steps once you feel the hill level out. Although it's easy in theory because you’re either on flat ground or heading down, it can be challenging in reality. I made it to the top of this fierce hill, and now you want me to continue to run hard? Who are you: my mother?


If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Whole Grains For Runners

With the month of September in the books, the road races are back up to speed and it is officially “National Whole Grains Month.” But what exactly is a whole grain? For a product to be considered as whole grain, 100% of the original kernel – with the bran, endosperm and germ – must be intact.


We see ‘whole wheat’ and ‘whole grain’ labeling in the bread aisle and athletes often ask me what is the best choice. The truth is, they are both great runner fuel. ‘Whole grain’ refers to the entire grain family such as wheat, oat, rye, corn, millet, quinoa, etc. The product might be labeled whole grain if it has a blend of different grains. ‘Whole wheat’ refers to the specific grain, wheat, and that the wheat grains are intact. To ensure the most whole grains, choose 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat products since these confirm that all of the grains in the product are whole and it’s free of refined grains.


It is recommended that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains – that's at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day or at least 48 grams of whole grains daily. Whole grains have been shown to lower diabetes risk, reduce inflammation, and have a greater fiber content than refined grains. Here’s a sneak peek of how to incorporate whole grains into your daily routine.


  • Oats. Start heating up your oatmeal in the morning to increase your protein and complex carbohydrates all while lowering your LDL “bad” cholesterol. Choose plain steel-cut oats, old-fashioned oats or rolled oats as they have the entire oat kernel with no added sugar that’s sure to satisfy. You can sprinkle oats on yogurt, smoothies and even mixed with breakfast muffins!


  • Bread. Consuming whole grain bread is one of my favorite ways to get my recommended daily allowance of 48 grams because the slices are packed with them. If you’re looking for a lighter option, try out sandwich thins as a great alternative with only 100 calories.


  • Popcorn. Corn is a whole grain. Thus, popcorn = healthy, without greasy butter, that is. Air-pop 1-2 cups of your own corn kernels and dash with some Parmesan cheese for a little flavor as a go-to afternoon snack. When looking for corn kernels, steer away from labels with “degerminated” because the entire germ of the kernel has been removed!

  • Brown or Colored Rice.  White rice is refined, where the germ and bran are removed so opt for brown rice or any other colored rice like red, black or wild rice. Pair rice as a side dish or mix it into a veggie stir-fry one night. Cooked brown rice can even be stored in the freezer for several months so it’s easy to warm it up for a quick dinner with the family.


Do you get enough whole grains in your diet? Tweet me@DietDivaTara to share your special recipes or snacks that are packed with whole-grain goodness.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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runDisney Mom

Top 5 Tips For Planning Your Rundisney Nighttime Race-Cation

Another runDisney race season has officially kicked off with the 2014 Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, but now it’s time to take the fun back to Walt Disney World® Resort for the next two race events; The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. One of these races will have you reaching a thrilling finish in the shadow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ attraction and the other is the perfect runners’ night out. Both races have you running under the stars and straight for an after party.

Here are some helpful tips to bring out your inner night owl when planning a runDisney-cation around a nighttime race.

  1. Reset your body clock AND have some fun by selecting activities on Friday night that mimic race hours.

  2. Make Advanced Dining Reservations on race day for breakfast only.
    • Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are my favorite a la carte options for a late morning breakfast.

    • Snack throughout the day. My advice on maintaining a 4:1 carb/protein ratio; a warm soft-baked pretzel from Germany's Pavilion at Epcot® and a turkey leg from the American Pavilion. We are race-cationing, right?!

  3. Link a credit card to your MagicBand through your My Disney Experienceaccount for a flawless time during the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash or Wine & Dine Finish Line Party.
    • Rock the newest on-course race accessory, a MagicBand, and then use it for purchases as you party into the wee hours of the morning. That’s my kind of Extra Magic(Band) Hours!

    • Please note: FastPass+ will not be available during the post-race parties.

  4. What to bring in your gEAR Bag:
    • Dry clothes
    • Travel-sized pack of baby wipes
    • Towel
    • One two-gallon sized plastic bag for your running clothes
    • Bottle of water
    • Post-race snack

  5. Spend Sunday enjoying the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival presented by Chase®.
    • This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the day tasting your way around the world without the possibility of new and exotic foods derailing your run.

I hope you’re ready to runDisney at night during The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon! These unique nighttime race events offer a whole new way to experience Walt Disney World® Resort during the most festive time of the year!

Do you have questions regarding your fall runDisney race-cation? Send them my way by visiting me over at the Disney Parks Moms Panel!

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Weekend Weather Advisory

There is potential for inclement weather on race evening. The race will be held rain or shine. However, if there is lightning in the area, the race will either have a delayed start or, depending on the intensity of the weather, be cancelled. Delaying or canceling the event is at the discretion of the runDisney Event Management team and is based on ensuring everyone's safety.

Please know that due to rainy conditions in Central Florida all week, parts of the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler course could be unusually soggy and muddy. Be sure to plan accordingly and exercise caution while running through these areas. As a reminder, the registration fee and safety policy are available on All of us at runDisney hope you have a safe, magical run. See you at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!

For the most up to date information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Castaway Cay

Set Sail For The New Castaway Cay Challenge Finisher Medal

We hear it all the time, “It’s all about the bling!”  Well today Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend runners who registered for the Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay Challenge will not be disappointed as we reveal the treasure waiting for them at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. 

The inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge takes place in January 2015.  Hundreds of runners are combining the excitement of participating in a marathon weekend event with a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream.  After running their event at Walt Disney World® Resort, challenge participants set sail on a four-night cruise and run the Castaway Cay 5K to earn the inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal.  They will also enjoy exclusive runDisney activities throughout the cruise, including featured menu items, guest speaker session and special merchandise. 

Now some of you might be wondering how can I get one of these amazing medals? 

If you are registered for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon you still have the opportunity to claim your treasure.  Registered runners can book the four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream departing Feb. 23 from Port Canaveral, and participate in the Castaway Cay Challenge.

It’s the perfect way to extend your family trip or your ultimate girls weekend and keep the celebration going for four more nights.  In addition to the Castaway Cay 5K and the Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal, runners can purchase a trip to Senses Spa for a post-race massage, a steam bath or sauna in the Rainforest room.  Continue to relax by the fresh water pools, jetted hot tubs or take an exciting ride on The AquaDuck, a thrilling transparent tube water coaster that actually goes off the side of the ship.  End your days with the girls enjoying a Broadway-style show, or dancing and celebrating the night away in one of several nightclubs.

For more information and to register for the Disney Princess Weekend Castaway Cay Challenge, visit

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Leslie Kay

DisneyBound & runDisney Team Up to Bring You Costume Inspiration For Your Next Race

As a former “kid-who-sat-out-in-gym-class,” I used to care much more about the color of a baseball jersey than I did about hitting a home run (or even just...hitting the ball). Its safe to say running wasnt always my go-to activity, either. However, over the years, Ive grown to love the daily challenge running presents and the rewards a calculated diet gives you.

There are a few beliefs when it comes to running that I havent outgrown. For instance, your running outfit should be one that inspires you to stay active. The more confident you feel in your activewear, the more you will push yourself to achieve your goals. I also still like to believe in the childlike ideal that a brand new pair of sneakers (especially the ones that blink and light-up) will make you run faster. This may not actually be true, but we all remember thinking it to be so as kids – a brand new item added to your running ensemble might just be enough motivation to get you out of a rut.

DisneyBound is a fashion blog that I began a few years ago and was amazed to watch it quickly grow to become an online viral success around the globe even becoming a verb within the Disney community. DisneyBounding uses a Disney character as inspiration to create outfits using trend-worthy pieces in a look that mimics the wardrobe and style worn by the character. Next time you walk through the Disney Parks, keep an eye out for DisneyBounders – if you see a yellow dress, blue cardigan and red hair bow, you may just have a Snow White in front of you. The boy in the black shirt, red shorts and yellow shoes may just be channeling his inner Mickey Mouse.

I am very excited and honored to be teaming up with runDisney to help you channel your Disney Side while still remaining comfortable trying to achieve your fitness goals. Keep an eye out for fashion tips and outfit inspiration perfect for upcoming race weekends!

Leslie Kay of DisneyBound is here to help inspire your runDisney outfits! Tweet her at @LADisneyBound

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Another Mother Runner

Beating the Post-Race Blues

If you just ran the Disneyland® Half Marathon, the weeks after the race can be tough: You feel accomplished, yet let down. Exhausted, but restless. Months ago, you were in the throws of training; just weeks ago, you couldn’t get your mind off the race. Now it’s all in your rearview mirror...sigh. 

What now? Here are some cures for the post-race blues—otherwise known as PRB—that we’ve used and have come from some helpful mother runners on our Facebook page.

Expect them.
When polled, four out of five mother runners said they experienced PRB. Okay, we didn’t get that scientific, but feeling down after a race is as common as a teenager who responds only in monosyllables. “I just finished my first half marathon yesterday,” says Kirsten, a mother runner. “Felt amazing. Better than maybe ever. Today? Bad day. Really bad day.” When you cross a finish line, you feel full of life, pride, accomplishment, and then with every step after it, a little air is released from your “yay me!” bubble. That doesn’t always happen, but realize if it does, it’s totally normal.  

Recap your race.
If you're like us, you’re certain you'll remember that pre-race dinner of your sister-in-law’s favorite pasta dish made you feel like you were hauling rocks in your belly while you ran. Then five months pass, it’s the night before your next race, you think, “Oh yeah, I love that pasta dish,” and you're right back to sinking like a stone. Instead, write down what worked for you and what didn't. Did you start out too fast or cross the finish line with energy left in your engine? Wish you’d run up the hills (they’re over more quickly that way!) instead of walking them?  Take five minutes and write it down. Your log will quickly become a source of insight and inspiration.
But don’t dwell.
Yes, we just told you to pick apart your race, and now we're telling you to let it go. Unless the day was 55 degrees and overcast, your training was flawless, your body just hummed, and your head was focused, chances are there was something to be improved on. Acknowledge it, write it down, then move on. Whether your race made you flush with pride—or regret—celebrate your race for what it was: a day when you put yourself on the line. Not many people willingly put themselves out there. Be proud you did.

Put your legs up.
Although having another goal down the road definitely helps—more on that in a minute—be sure to let your body recover. A helpful, oft-used recovery equation is this: For every mile you raced, enjoy that number of easy days. So for 3.1 miles of a 5K, you'd spend the next three days chilling or doing easy workouts. For a 10K, you've bought yourself nearly a week, and after a marathon, nearly a month. Even though your legs may protest, a short walk or quick spin on your bike the day after a race is always a good call. (Oxygen-rich healing blood to the rescue!) For the rest of your recovery time, realize that "easy" doesn't mean "non-existent." You can—and should—run, but keep your mileage and speed in the low- to moderate-zone so your legs can recover, injuries are kept at bay and you can nail your next race.
Have another finish line in your future.
If you’re training for your first half or full marathon, enter a 5K or 10K six to eight weeks after your longer race. The distance will feel blissfully “short,” and the goal will help keep your juices flowing. (Sign up while you're still training for the double-digit run; sometimes lethargy likes to hang with PRB.) After a marathon, maybe a 10K or a blazing 5K is the right distance.

Take care of yourself…
When you’re feeling yuck, nothing good can come from overdosing on sugar or fried, cheesy things or staying up until 11:30 p.m. to watch “16 Candles” for the 13th time. Instead, eat like you know you should and get to bed early. Caroline, a mother runner, likes to head to a yoga class, read a book and admire her race photos (“admire” was our word…). Similarly, treat your toes to a pedicure or your muscles to a massage.
…and others.
Finally, heed this suggestion from Tammy, a mother runner, who admits she can get a little teary after a race is over. “One thing that always helps me [get over the blues] is to do something for a neighbor or a friend just because. By making someone else happy, it carries over to my own well-being.”

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Goofy Give Back

runDisney Announces The "Goofy Giveback"

Last week millions of viewers across the country witnessed an amazing transformation. They tuned into ABC's hit summer series Extreme Weight Loss and watched as show hosts Chris and Heidi Powell guided a father-daughter team through a reward challenge at the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna® and completed the Half Marathon in January.

Jeff and Juliana Macht of Colorado spent one year working with the Powell's to change their nutritional habits, adopt a healthy active lifestyle, and and build a closer father-daughter relationship. In total Jeff lost more than 200 pounds and Juliana more than 90 pounds.

The social media response to Jeff and Juliana's story was incredible. Hundreds of viewers shared how they were inspired and motivated by the father-daughter story. Many pledged to make changes and adopt a healthy active lifestyle. Several people expressed that they would like to take participate in the 2015 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend but it was sold out.

Well we have good news for you!

Coming off the success of the season finale show and responding to viewer feedback, we are excited to announce the "Goofy Giveback." Starting today we are taking a limited number of Goofy registrations, breaking up the challenge and opening up additional individual registrations for the 2015 Walt Disney World® Half Marathon and Marathon. You can register for these events by visiting This unique registration period will remain open for 39 days representing the total miles covered in the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. You have until October 24th or until both races reach capacity to take advantage of this special opportunity.

It is important to note we will keep enough spots open for those still looking to take on the 10th anniversary Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and run 39.3 miles over 2-days.

runDisney is committed to helping everyone adopt a healthy lifestyle. We are always listening to our fans and working to create new opportunities and experiences that allow you to set goals, accomplish them and then celebrate at Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® Resorts.

Congratulations Jeff and Juliana on your amazing transformation!

We invite everyone to visit to register for the Walt Disney World® Marathon, Half Marathon and Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. We will see you at the finish line in January.

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Another Mother Runner

Five Vocab Words Every Runner Must Know

Most running vocabulary words are sport-specific—tempo, splits, GPS, chafe—but these five universal terms can be much more effective than any workout or piece of gear. Heed them, and your running will be more solid and strong.

Respect yourself enough to turn down commitments that would leave you with no time or energy for yourself—or your running. Then bring along that self-respect when you head out; respect every ligament, tendon, bone and muscle propelling you forward. If one is crying, pull up. Finally, self-respect means honoring your own effort on every run and especially every race. There will always be somebody faster/stronger/leaner/(fill in adjective that you think you’re not) than you. Good for them—but more importantly, good for you. (And if the check-fuel light is on in your self-respect tank, go for a run. It'll automatically refill it.)

Missing a training run, or two, during a cat-is-barfing-and-everybody-else-has-strep-throat week won’t hurt your running. Taking weeks or months off because you’re too stressed/wiped/bloated, however, will. And the last thing you’ll want to do is start running again, because let’s face it: Starting over sucks. Being consistent wears a groove in your brain that makes it crave regular runs, which takes a little pressure off the whole motivation thing. It’s just not so hard to get out the door. So next time you press snooze four times, making you miss a third of your 60-minute run, don’t flake on the rest of your run: Get up and go.

We’re not talking about the kind of patience that stops you from sighing loudly in the long supermarket checkout line—although that’s not a bad thing—but this style of patience you need runs deeper than that: It’s the stoicism to accept the fact a stress fracture doesn’t mend overnight or plantar fasciitis won’t disappear without taking at least a few weeks off. It’s the self-restraint you need to sign up for a 10K and a half marathon (or two) before you register for that marathon it seems all your friends (and neighbors) are running. It’s the patience to be kind to yourself when you want to resume running 10-minute miles, but your running watch won’t budge from 11:00s (and your 4-month-old refuses to sleep through the night). Remember: Good things come to those who wait—or, better yet, keep trying.

We usually associate “stubborn” with a two-year-old who wants to do everything, “self, mama, self,” but STUBBORNNESS has a positive connotation here. You have to be stubborn enough not to allow yourself to flake on training. (See Consistency.) You have to be stubborn enough not to listen to people who wonder why you run because they think, “you don’t look like a runner.” (And quick-witted enough to come up with a really great comeback: Let us know if you have one.) Stubborn enough to not stop at 7 miles when the plan calls for 9. Stubborn enough to keep pressing on the gas pedal at mile 12 in a half marathon when you really, really want to walk. Be stubborn so that you can be part of this special running math: you + stubborn + running = crazy pride.

5. JOY
Okay, we know you’re not finishing every run with an ear-to-ear grin and a Pollyanna attitude. (Heck, we’d settle for that feeling once every month.) But there needs to be some aspect of joy in your running, or else you’ll quit—and we don’t want that, right? Maybe it’s the time with your gossipy friends that brings you joy. Maybe it’s the knowledge that you are 100 percent, totally in control—no partner, child, four-legged, in-law, boss to answer to—that brings you joy. Maybe it’s being able to figuratively flip your (beer-bellied) high school crush the bird at your 20-year high school reunion. Maybe it’s that first sip of wine at 5 p.m., knowing you did 5 miles at 5 a.m., that brings you joy. Whatever it is, seize that feeling when you’re not feeling respectful, consistent, patient or stubborn. And then go chase that joy.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Flor Irlandez

Three Generations Crossing The Disneyland® Half Marathon Finish Line Together

Last year we introduced the runDisney community to 81-year-old Flor Irlandez from Portland, OR.  In 2013 she was the oldest runner to complete the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort.  She ran the Disneyland® 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday, a total of 19.3 miles.  This year, she returned to run the Dumbo Double Dare, this time at the age of 82.  Running with two of her daughters, a son in-law and grandson, she once again completed the two-day event and collected three runDisney finisher medals and family memories to last for years.

There are a couple lessons we can take away from Flor’s accomplishment. 

First, we should not let age be a barrier to accomplish our goals.  Flor’s message is simple,“Just get going, not just running, but walking, getting out, sweating… I just feel good after a run, everybody should do it.

Second, participating in a runDisney event can be fun for the entire family.  Flor has inspired three generations to lead a healthy active lifestyle. 

It just makes it fun and it’s no longer about running and racing, but about being together and being healthy as a family,” said Marissa Walker, Flor’s daughter from Berkeley, CA. 

For more information and to register for a runDisney event, visit

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Another Mother Runner

When To Kick Your Kicks

You don’t need much equipment for running, but topping the must-have list is a pair of supportive, well-designed shoes. At about $100 a pop, it’s tempting to try to milk out every last drop of wear from one pair before plunking down plastic to buy another pair. Not a wise move. Here’s how to know when to pony up for a new pair of running shoes:

Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles. Where you fall on the 300- to 500-mile spectrum depends upon your build, how efficiently you run and the surface you run on.  A small runner doing mostly treadmill jaunts can get more miles out of his or her shoes than a heavier runner hoofing it primarily on pavement. Keep track of the miles on your shoes by making note of the purchase wherever you log your miles. You can also use a marker to write the date you bought them on the tongue of a shoe for a rough idea.

Watch for signs of aging shoes. As your mileage in a pair approaches 300, start to pay attention to any signs that you need a new pair. On regular runs, if the arches of your feet start to ache, your knees feel sore or your shins feel a little twingy, it’s time to go shoe shopping. You’ll feel your shoe’s age before you can see it, and random pains often mean the shock absorbency and support of your shoes is headed south.

Do the twist test. This DIY test allows you to check on the deterioration of your midsole. Grab one of your shoes, and twist the toe and heel in opposite directions. A worn-out midsole is easier to twist than a newer one. (More minimal shoes twist easily, so this test doesn’t work as well for them.) If the sole of your shoe twists more easily than a “Toy Story” ragdoll, it’s not able to support and cushion your steps properly.

Do a side-by-side comparison. Go to your local running store and try on a new pair of your typical shoes. If you feel a huge difference from the ones you’re training in, add to your footwear family. Consider always alternating a couple pairs of shoes as some studies suggest switching pairs helps decrease the risk of injury. Only hitch in this plan? Then you have to keep track of the miles accumulated for each pair.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Dave McGillivray

Why I Rundisney: Dave Mcgillivray

Dave McGillivray is the race director of one of the most prestigious running events in the world, the Boston Marathon.  Every April he and his team put on an elite event, attracting the top marathoners in the world.  It is the one race every runner hopes to qualify for and compete in.   McGillivray is also an accomplished runner who has competed in races around the globe.  At one point in his early years, he literally ran across the country, Medford, OR, to Medford, MA, for charity.  He lives, works, eats and breathes running. 

Running is extremely personal to McGillivray, the roots of which start at an emotional time in his life.  As a child McGillivray wanted nothing more than to be an athlete, but each time he tried to make a team he was faced with a challenge, his size, and turned away.  In elementary school he gave it one last shot and tried out for the basketball team.  Not lacking in ability but lacking in height the coach once again cut him. 

At the age of 12 this was a defining moment in his life.  It was then he decided he would never again let anyone tell him he wasn’t good enough and he took up running because no one can cut you from that.

“Running gives me self confidence, it gives me self esteem, it makes me feel good about myself,” McGillivray said. 

His message to runners and those thinking about starting to run is “never underestimate and never not appreciate where you’re at, that you have this gift to be able to do this (run).” 

“Never take it for granted that you are healthy enough to do this,” he added.  And speaking of health, recently McGillivray was hit with a heart-related health issue and he reminds runners, “That just because you are fit doesn’t mean you are healthy.”

Some of McGillivray’s favorite race memories are those from runDisney events. This veteran of several runDisney marathons and the 2014 inaugural Dopey Challenge gives high marks to the entertainment and excitement for Disney races. 

“It is one of the most well managed, well orchestrated road races I have ever competed in,” McGillivray said.   Having young kids he’s also quick to point out how exciting these destination races are for the entire family.

We hope you will take a moment to be motivated by Dave McGillivray’s story and see the unique way he celebrated his 60th birthday.  There is no doubt Dave McGillivray has gone and continues to go through life running.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories.  To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit

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New Balance Shoes 101

The excitement is certainly mounting for your Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, but there is also another aspect that’s unique to runDisney fans; the Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Collection.

During the weekend, the process for purchasing shoes will actually begin online.  Participants who are registered for a running event with a bib number can visit the New Balance Virtual Queue website at for all the details on how to register.  The first opportunity for online registration begins on Thursday, August 28 at 6:00 a.m. PDT.

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Another Mother Runner

The Final Countdown To Disneyland® Half Marathon

At the risk of sounding like a cheesy soundtrack, this is it: the final countdown. You’ve done the work, and now you’re in taper mode, if you’re doing Disneyland® Half Marathon. You want to optimize your race experience by treating your well-trained body properly in the hours leading up to the start. Here are a few self-care rules of race prep:

2 Days, Pre-Race

  • Stay hydrated: keep a water bottle at your desk and in your car and sip it regularly.
  • Eat some salty snacks, like pretzels or saltines, to help your body hold onto more water.
  • Carbs are what your muscles use for fuel, so you want to fill them up. Now is not the time to fret about calories. Now is the time, though, to cut down on fiber. We love green vegetables and black beans and the like, but they can, um, backfire during a race.
  • Aim to get some solid shut-eye, especially two nights before the race. Studies have shown that is the night that can affect performance, not the night right before the race. So don’t fret if you toss and turn in the hours leading up to your (super-early!) race-day alarm.

Day Before the Starting Line

  • Do a short run—2-3 miles, max—to get your ya-ya’s out. Plus, it’ll keep your legs fresh and remind you of how fit and ready you are. Doing a set of 4-6 strides—spurts where you gradually pick up the pace for 20 seconds or so—will keep some pep in your step.
  • Continue drinking plenty of caffeine-free liquids—water, decaf tea, milk, sports drinks.
  • Try to kick back—lounge by the pool, read a magazine, watch a DVD. Resist the urge to tour the Disney Parks all day with your family or friends. If nothing else, put your feet up for a few hours in the afternoon.
  • Eat a carbohydrate-packed dinner on the early side…but don’t eat until you’re stuffed. Eating a massive plate of pasta is going to drag you down, not fuel your engines.

Early Morning on Race Day

  • Eat something before you race. You can get through a 5K, and possibly a 10K, on an empty stomach, but unless you have an incredibly sensitive stomach, you need to ingest some calories before going 13.1 miles. A half of a bagel, a sports drink, a handful of cereal…whatever you can stomach.
  • Keep sipping water or a sports drink as you get ready to head to your corral. Sure, it’s a drag to have to hit the port-a-potties before (or during) the race, but it’s better than grinding to a halt because you are dehydrated.
  • Once the race goes off, practice your nutrition and hydration plan as you’ve done during training. Don’t try anything new—wacky flavors or a product you picked up at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo—on race day, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Top 10 Healthy Travel Snacks For Runners

As we gear up for race season, many runners will be catching a flight or driving the distance to their destination city for the big race day. But before you jet set and get ready to go, make sure your carry-on contains one of the essentials: travel snacks.

Packing snacks is the best prevention because temptation is everywhere when you’re traveling. It’s easy to make a high calorie choice at the airport while you’re waiting on your flight or boredom may set in on the long car ride so you pull through the drive thru.

Snacking is meant to bridge the gap from one meal to the next and helps you control portions because they prevent ravenous hunger. Plan ahead by looking at your travel schedule to know how many snacks you need to pack. Can you bring a cooler or do you need to stock up on shelf stable snacks? To help you plan ahead, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 favorite travel snacks for runners.

  • Trail Mix. Toss together pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, raisins, dried tart cherries, whole grain cereal and dark chocolate chips. Pre-portion into individual snack bags for convenience and to prevent mindless munching.
  • Apples & Nut Butter. I always make sure to store single serving containers of peanut butter to-go or almond butter squeeze packets in my carry-on. Pair it with an apple for a super satisfying and nutritious snack!
  • Dry Roasted Edamame. Protein packed, tasty and filling! Pair it with some tart cherries for a sweet and salty bite.

  • Fruit & Nut Bars. Stock up on your favorite bar of choice. Check the ingredient labels to make sure your bar is mostly fruit and nuts and not too high in added sugars. 
  • Popcorn. Fiber-filled and fun for munching. Go light on the butter and you’ve got yourself a healthy, whole grain, low-calorie snack.
  • Oat Bran Muffin. Bake a batch of healthy muffins before you leave for your trip for a homemade snack on the go.

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. Convenient and easy for busy runners.
  • Whole Grain Crackers & Cheese. Nothing is better than the simplicity of cheese and crackers.
  • Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. Yes, I have a chocolate problem :)
  • Hummus & Pretzels To-Go. You can find these conveniently packed and they will help spice up your snack time.

Safe travels and visit the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend. Have any questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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AT&T Athlete Alerts

Have Your Friends & Family Follow You on Race Day!

So you're getting ready for the upcoming Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend. Made your final training run, check. Packed your Stitch themed running gear, check. Sneakers, check. But there's one more thing we want to make sure you don't forget, and that's telling all your friends and family how they can follow you on your way to the finish line!

Our friends with AT&T have helped to create some enhanced mobile-magic with AT&T Athlete Alerts. If you’ve used runner tracking in prior races, you know it’s fun to have your friends and family receive notifications about where you are on the course and when you finish.  This year runners in the Disneyland® Half Marathon and Disneyland® 10K can choose to have a variety of fun Disney-themed status updates posted directly to their Facebook and Twitter profiles. 

But wait, there’s more!  Not only can Half Marathon and 10K runners communicate to their friends and family, but with the AT&T Text To Screen, friends and family can send text messages for you to see on multiple screens throughout the courses. 

Here’s how you can get set up to experience a little mobile pixie dust:

1) Text your bib number to 345678 to sign up and register for AT&T Athlete Alerts.  You can even sign up the morning of the race!

2) Visit where you can opt in to share your progress with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. 

3) When you visit the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, look for the AT&T Brand Ambassadors at the AT&T kiosk.  Don’t forget to take a selfie with your bib number too!

4) Your friends and family can text messages of support to 567890 (or tweet using #DisneylandHalf) to congratulate you on the big screens along the Half Marathon and 10K courses (depending on the event course, screens will be located at the start line, Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the half marathon only, finish line and Family Reunion area

Have a great time during the weekend events!

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runDisney Mom

runDisneyland: The Happiest Health & Fitness Expo On Earth!

One of the many things you’ll experience as a Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend race participant is attending the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo—a three day event designed to bring the best of the running world directly to you in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” From the latest in high-tech gadgets to official runDisney merchandise, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of all things running, including the best kept secret of any runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, the runDisney Speaker Series.

For me, the Speaker Series has always been one of the best parts of the Expo! I’ve gotten last minute advice from Jeff Galloway on trusting my training and not veering from my plan, I’ve heard Tara Gidus remind runners not to be tempted to try any new food items pre-race, and I have witnessed some incredibly inspiring celebrity testimonies—they’ve had to overcome battles just like us! And this year’s Speaker Series will prove to be just as inspiring!

So get those last minute questions ready, because here’s what you can expect at this year’s Expo:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

4:00 p.m. – 30 mins
Runner’s World Strategy Session
Runner’s World and runDisney have teamed up to put together some helpful tips to make your race day Magical! Covering topics such as what to wear, how to refuel, and race strategy, this session will prepare you for your best race day yet!

5:00 p.m. – 1 hr
Information for Runners and Spectators
Whether you’re running or cheering, our panel of experts will tell you everything you need to know about the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Dumbo Double Dare. We’ve lined up the Race Director, Show Director, spectator experts and the runDisney Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel to share all the important details. They’ll also take some time to answer questions from the crowd in an interactive Q&A session.

6:00 p.m. – 30 mins
“I’ve been ready for this my whole life!” - Rudy
Sean Astin, Actor and running enthusiast
Sean Astin, best known for playing Rudy Ruettiger, will inspire you to believe in yourself, never take no for an answer, and that hard work pays off. Sean will also share his motivation for running and leading a healthy, active lifestyle while at the same time balancing family and work.

7:00 p.m. – 1 hr
Even Dumbo Needed a Coach!
Jeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant
Jeff Galloway’s training programs have helped thousands of runners – and his tips will ensure you can enjoy your Dumbo Double Dare Challenge injury-free and with energy to spare.

Friday, August 29, 2014

11:00 a.m. – 30 mins
Runner’s World Strategy Session
Runner’s World and runDisney have teamed up to put together some helpful tips to make your race day Magical! Covering topics such as what to wear, how to refuel, and race strategy, this session will prepare you for your best race day yet!

Noon – 30 mins
13.1 Tips for the Happiest Race on Earth! Presented by Clif
The Clif Pace Team will share their secrets to help athletes of all abilities run or walk their best half marathon and enjoy the “Happiest Race on Earth!”

1:00 p.m. – 1hr
Information For Runners and Spectators
Whether you’re running or cheering, our panel of experts will tell you everything you need to know about the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Dumbo Double Dare. We’ve lined up the Race Director, Show Director, spectator experts and the runDisney Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel to share all the important details. They’ll also take some time to answer questions from the crowd in an interactive Q&A session.

2:00 p.m. – 30 mins
Costume Inspiration for Your Run!
Leslie Kay, DisneyBound
Planning your outfit for the Disneyland® Half Marathon? Leslie Kay of DisneyBound will give you tips on how to put together the perfect character ensemble designed after the character icons of the weekend including Dumbo, Lilo, Stitch, and many more. This is a session you will not want to miss!

3:00 p.m. – 30 mins
“I’ve been ready for this my whole life!” - Rudy
Sean Astin, Actor and running enthusiast
Sean Astin, best known for playing Rudy Ruettiger, will inspire you to believe in yourself, never take no for an answer, and that hard work pays off. Sean will also share his motivation for running and leading a healthy, active lifestyle while at the same time balancing family and work.

4:00 p.m. – 30 mins
Even Dumbo Needed a Coach! Presented by Florida Hospital with Jeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant
Join Jeff Galloway and Florida Hospital to learn the famous run/walk training program, stretching and recovery methods, as well as an interactive Q&A session. Enjoy your race injury-free, so you can celebrate like an Elephant who can fly!

5:00 p.m. – 30 mins
The Cinderella Story: Proof a Pair of Shoes Can Change Your Life presented by New Balance
The shoe experts from New Balance will show you how finding the right fit can improve your running, just like it changed Cinderella’s life. Then, learn how to put those shoes to even better use with the New Balance Good Form Running Clinic, where you’ll learn the four crucial elements that can turn running into a more enjoyable (and less painful) experience. Leave those glass slippers at home - you’ll want your running shoes to participate in some “feet on” learning.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10:00 a.m. – 30 mins
The Cinderella Story: Proof a Pair of Shoes Can Change Your Life presented by New Balance
The shoe experts from New Balance will show you how finding the right fit can improve your running, just like it changed Cinderella’s life. Then, learn how to put those shoes to even better use with the New Balance Good Form Running Clinic, where you’ll learn the four crucial elements that can turn running into a more enjoyable (and less painful) experience. Leave those glass slippers at home - you’ll want your running shoes to participate in some “feet on” learning.

11:00 a.m. – 1 hr
Costume Inspiration for Your Run!
Leslie Kay, DisneyBound
Planning your outfit for the Disneyland® Half Marathon? Leslie Kay of DisneyBound will give you tips on how to put together the perfect character ensemble designed after the character icons of the weekend including Dumbo, Lilo, Stitch, and many more. This is a session you will not want to miss!

Noon – 30 mins
“I’ve been ready for this my whole life!” - Rudy
Sean Astin, Actor and running enthusiast
Sean Astin, best known for playing Rudy Ruettiger, will inspire you to believe in yourself, never take no for an answer, and that hard work pays off. Sean will also share his motivation for running and leading a healthy, active lifestyle while at the same time balancing family and work.

1:00 p.m. – 30 mins
13.1 Tips for the Happiest Race on Earth! Presented by Clif
The Clif Pace Team will share their secrets to help athletes of all abilities run or walk their best half marathon and enjoy the “Happiest Race on Earth!”

2:00 p.m. – 30 mins
Even Dumbo Needed a Coach! Presented by Florida Hospital with Jeff Galloway, Official runDisney Training Consultant
Join Jeff Galloway and Florida Hospital to learn the famous run/walk training program, stretching and recovery methods, as well as an interactive Q&A session. Enjoy your race injury-free, so you can celebrate like an Elephant who can fly!

3:00 p.m. – 1 hr
Information For Runners and Spectators
Whether you’re running or cheering, our panel of experts will tell you everything you need to know about the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Dumbo Double Dare. We’ve lined up the Race Director, Show Director, spectator experts and the runDisney Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel to share all the important details. They’ll also take some time to answer questions from the crowd in an interactive Q&A session.

Isn’t that a great lineup! And I’ll be there too, answering any of your last minute Disneyland® Half Marathon vacation planning questions. I hope to see you there!

Do you have a runDisney vacation-planning question? Visit me on the Disney Parks Moms Panel and send them my way! 

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Another Mother Runner

REST: Not a four-letter word

When you’re training for a race, it’s easy to let enthusiasm propel you out the door to run every single day. Maybe it’s nerves that rev you up. You’re worried you won’t be ready at the starting line if you give yourself a break from running before race day.

Regardless, you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and then repeat after us: Recovery is as important as running.

It may seem counterintuitive, but to reap the benefits of your workouts, you need to take a day or two a week off from working out. Not to get all science-y on you, but exercise makes little tears in your muscles. When you give those muscles time to repair themselves, it makes them stronger. If you don’t give them time, guess what? They don’t heal and eventually your performance—and even your health—can suffer. Rest and recovery is as much a part of race preparation as eating right, stretching and doing weekly longer runs.

Rest comes in two varieties: complete and active. A day of complete rest means no exercise, just going about your daily living: going to work, grocery shopping, hanging with friends or family or even watching a movie. Active rest, as its name implies, involves doing some activity, like swimming, walking, or yoga, instead of running. The former is good because it keeps you mentally fresh, so you’re looking forward to the next workout (and gives you a day off to take care of tasks you may not have had time to complete when training), while the latter is helpful because movement speeds oxygen-rich, healing blood to get to your injured muscles faster. Both are beneficial.

Rest and recovery, or R&R, sounds easy, but just in case it doesn’t feel easy to you, here are some pointers:

  • Experiment with what works for you. For some people, taking a complete rest day each week makes them stronger and more energetic; others prefer active rest to complete rest. 

  • If you opt for active rest, realize the optimal word is rest. It doesn’t mean intervals on the bike or an ultra-intense yoga class that gets your quads shaking. It means an easy 20 to 45 minute workout that gets your blood flowing and heart pumping. Walk with a friend, take your dog on a fun hike or take an easy yoga class—whatever suits your mood.

  • Listen to your body on a daily basis. If you don’t have a rest day on your schedule, but feel sluggish or achy, take the day off totally and pick up where you left off the next day. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy; it means you’re smart.

  • Recovery doesn’t only happen on rest days. Also key is ample amounts of sleep; seven to eight hours nightly is ideal. When you’re training, eat the way you know you should, being sure you refuel within 30 minutes after a workout with carbs and protein (a glass of chocolate milk does the trick). If you can swing it, get a massage regularly or invest in a foam roller to keep your muscles supple and ready to run.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Hydration 101: What To Drink?

Living in Florida we experience on a daily basis how hydration can directly impact running performance, especially when the humidity rises in the summer months! Yuck. Minimal decreases in body weight while running (1-2 percent sweat loss) can impact endurance and severe dehydration can be grounds for heat related illness. But why does this hydration thing have to be so complicated? The answer, it doesn’t.

Keeping fluid levels in check during a run is not as complicated or as scary as people make it out to be. So here is the low down: When you run, you sweat. When you sweat, you lose water and precious electrolytes that allow your muscles to fire with every stride. What is lost in sweat needs to be replenished to prevent any decrease in performance and prevent heat related illness. The other dilemma: what to hydrate with?

Here are some options you may choose to hydrate with before, during or after a run:

  • Water. Up to 70 percent of our body is water. Water is essential to human life so staying hydrated during a run is crucial. Water hydrates just fine for shorter runs and is what you should drink throughout the day. If exercising in hot conditions, or if you’re out for more than an hour, your best bet is to use sports drinks.

  • Coconut Water. Coconut water is a great low carbohydrate, naturally sweet, and a nutrient rich choice to replace lost fluids and replenish potassium. (Note: most people don’t meet 50 percent of their potassium needs). I love adding coconut water to my pre or post-workout smoothie made with fresh fruit and salt to get all the nutrients I need.  It does not, however, contain enough sodium to be the sole source of fluid during a long run. 

  • Chocolate Milk. This kiddie favorite is great to grab right after a run to promote recovery. Drinking chocolate milk post-run contains the amino acid leucine needed for muscle protein synthesis. Chocolate milk also restores the carbohydrates used to fuel muscles during a run and contains vitamin D and calcium needed for bone health.

  • Sports Drinks. Commercial sports drinks are good for supplying electrolytes and fueling muscles with carbohydrates to aid in hydration and prevent dehydration related muscle cramps. Consume sports drinks during workouts lasting longer than an hour by taking a few gulps every 15 minutes.

  • High Electrolyte Drinks. This new breed of sports drinks contains extra electrolytes for heavy sweaters and endurance athletes. I like to use these products during my long training runs and races.

  • 100% Fruit Juice. Choosing to hydrate with fruit juice right before or during a run is not optimal because the concentration of carbs in the liquid causes it to be absorbed slower and can cause stomach upset with activity. However, 100% fruit juices do have anti-inflammatory compounds that can promote recovery, so drink them post workout to recover faster and rehydrate.  

With this knowledge you can arm yourself with the hydration tools you need to power through those long training runs in the dead of summer. And, wherever your running adventures take you… HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE!

Have any questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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I runDisney For Those I Couldn't Help – I Am Running For Charity

I runDisney For Those I Couldn't Help –
I Am Running For Charity

At 34-years-of-age, Tisa Daniels of Round Hill, VA, is a wife, a mother of two boys and a runner.  Four years ago Daniels returned to the sport to accomplish two things; fight off weight gain as she quit smoking cold turkey and start living a healthy active lifestyle to be a role model for her oldest son.  A couple years later after taking a 15-month break to have her second child, Daniels would again look to running to help battle through postpartum depression.   

Today Daniels is running strong as a veteran of several 5K and 10K events.  Her current goal is to run the Glass Slipper Challenge at the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals at Walt Disney World Resort, Feb. 19-22.  Running a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday will push her body to new limits, but the distance and physical challenge is not all that's new.   This time she is running for a cause, she is running for charity.

Daniels is thankful that her kids have not needed the services of a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, but working as a social worker at a Level 1 Trauma Center she has witnessed firsthand the blessing these facilities bring to kids and parents.  It is for those kids, and kids of future generations needing a local hospital that she has dedicated these races to raise money for CMN Hospitals.

“I am running Disney as a charity run to help all the families I have seen though the years but couldn’t help,” Daniels said.

Running for charity is a great way to add more meaning to your experience and offers you a chance to give back to people and organizations in need.  Starting with the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney is excited to offer our charity partners the opportunity to use CrowdRise.  This registration platform makes it easier for runners to find a charity, register for an event, then track and share their fundraising progress with friends and family.

As Daniels says, "It is the ultimate gift to be able to raise money to help families who you don't know, who you'll never meet, who need it."

To get information on running for a participating runDisney charity, visit CrowdRise.  And click here if you want to join Daniels and run the 2015 Princess Half Marathon presented by Children Miracle Network Hospitals.

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Villains runDisney:
Chapter 6 – CAPTAIN HOOK

Runners have channeled their inner evil by displaying a variety of villainess styles. On our rundisney courses we’ve seen the bad-girl finesse of Cruella De Vil, the purple envy of the Evil Queen, the puffy sleeves of torment worn by the Evil Stepsisters, the horn headpiece of Maleficent, and the playing cards of the Queen of Hearts. However, the reign of villains is never ending in Disney’s history. To close our “Villains runDisney” series let’s not forget the “the world’s most famous crook,” Captain Hook.

The antagonist of Peter Pan, Captain Hook sailed the seas seeking his revenge but was relentlessly hunted by the crocodile that acquired a taste for the Captain.
Though known for his failures, Hook has been seen successfully crossing the finish line of our races possibly fleeing for his life, chasing after Peter Pan, or trusting his dim-witted mate Mr. Smee.

Once you hear the ticking clock, DON’T STOP! Keep running!

Some Captain Hook runners have been spotted wearing a crimson coat with gold lining and a gold buckle, a large black hat with a lavender feather, black pants, long white socks, black boots, and the most important necessity to obtain the Captain's look... the hook! 

Check out a few menacing Captain Hook looks from races below:

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New Challenge, New Medal For Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort

New Challenge, New Medal For Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort

Well runDisney fans, Tinker Bell is at it again!

With a little faith, trust and pixie dust, runDisney introduces the Pixie Dust Challenge for Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland® Resort, May 7-10, 2015.  Runners who complete the Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday will receive the inaugural Pixie Dust Challenge medal, in addition to your 10K and half marathon medals!

Whether you participate in the runDisney Kids Races, the Never Land 5K, the Tinker Bell 10K or the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, runners can expect Disney entertainment and excitement throughout each race.  Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and Fairies will cheer you on all weekend long as you make your runs through Neverland and the amazing Disneyland® Resort and along the historic and charming streets of Anaheim.

Registration for the Pixie Dust Challenge and all Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend events opens on Tuesday, August 12, Noon EDT / 9 am PDT, at

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runDisney Mom

Run Disneyland - Preparing For The Happiest Race Of Earth

Another runDisney race season is fast approaching! And if you’re a fan of running at Disneyland® Resort, this year will prove to be especially magical with the addition of the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend in November, and the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend in January. But we can’t forget it all starts with the Happiest Race on Earth, Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, August 28-31.

I have such fond memories of a childhood surrounded in the magic of Disneyland®. It’s where I first believed dreams could come true and where my love for all things Disney Parks began. It’s these special memories that make the Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend my favorite event in the runDisney race series.

There are some other great reasons I love running at Disneyland® Resort, aside from the pixie-dusted memories, that may serve as great tips for you too!

  • The first four miles of this course are comprised mostly of running through the theme parks, making it a great way to encourage negative splits as you take your time through the Parks to get those coveted photos.
  • Once you’ve exited the theme parks, you hit the streets of Anaheim and are ready to open up and just run!
  • You get the opportunity to experience a slight relief in road running as you navigate the Santa Ana River Trail and varied running terrain, like soft dirt.
  • You’ll approach the Angel Stadium of Anaheim at the 15K split, in addition to the Clif Shot Station. Whether you take the Clif Shot or not, this is a great time to refuel and take in the sights of the stadium as you run the warning track of the hometown team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  
  • Exit the stadium and open it back up as you head for the finish line.                                   

The Disneyland® Half Marathon course is fast and flat with only two measurable inclines, but I have some tips to make your time on the course as enjoyable as possible.

  1. We may begin in darkness of early morning, but by the time you exit Disneyland® Park and turn east onto Ball Road, you will experience the sun in all its glory directly in your eyes. Bring sunglasses and head gear!
  2. Hydrate early! Hydrate often! Weather for this race has ranged from excessively humid, by California standards, to cool and dry, when it’s not as easy to recognize you’re in need of fluids. Stick to a sound hydration plan.
  3. Expect a high number of turns through the streets of Anaheim. I advise looking at the course map prior to race time to mentally familiarize yourself with when these turns may occur.  
  4. Be ready to embrace considerable spectator support throughout the entire course - the best I’ve seen at any runDisney event! No matter what happens out there, take in the support of these strangers ready to ChEAR you on to the finish.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you plan and prepare to runDisneyland. See you on the course!

Do you have a runDisney vacation-planning question? Visit me on the Disney Parks Moms Panel and send them my way! 

Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Another Mother Runner

Finding The Perfect Easy Run Pace

It seems almost—dare we type it?—goofy, but no matter what pace you want to achieve in a race, it’s important to do the majority of your training at an easy pace. This allows you to build a solid base of endurance so you can go the distance, whether that’s a 5K at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend or 26.2 miles at the Walt Disney World® Marathon.

Yet what qualifies as “easy”? It’s important to keep in mind that pace recommendations, or even a GPS watch, don’t get the final say on your pace any given day. You do. Easy should feel like just that: pretty simple. Obviously, you’re sweating and working hard because that’s just what happens when you run, but when you’re running easy, you should be able to carry on a conversation and not feel terribly taxed in your lungs, legs or any other part of your body. An easy run, on a scale of 1 (lying on the couch) to 10 (sprinting for your life) is around a 4.

After a good night's sleep and relatively little recent life stress, a 10:30 pace may feel just perfect. You're not breathing too hard, your limbs are feeling light and fluid. On the other hand, if your previous night’s duties included at least one wake-up from a kid (two-legged or four-legged) or your quads are sore to the touch (thanks, squats!) or it’s extra-humid, a 10:30 pace may feel downright impossible. On days like that, slow down until you find a pace that approximates that easy-to-breathe, light, fluid feeling. It may be a 10:45, it may be an 11:45.

Doesn't matter what the digits say. Going after that easy-run feeling is more important than any specific pace or number—which is easy enough to remember, right?

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Another Mother Runner

Intervals 101

Intervals: They are one element in what coaches sometimes refer to as “speed play,” yet these accelerated bursts in a run aren’t always exactly fun and games. They do, however, make you a faster runner, which isn’t exactly a ride on California Screamin’, but is still kind of fun, right?

Here is an interval primer if you’re thinking of giving them a whirl:

Consider doing intervals for the first few times on a treadmill. With the readout and buttons in front of your face, it’s easier to see—and control—your pace. It takes away the guesswork and intimidation.

The shorter the interval, the faster/harder you may run. This means 30-second intervals should be more intense than 5-minute ones. That said, never flail or overdo it. While doing intervals, you should always feel in control of your stride so never go all-out.

The work should gradually get harder, both in the wide and narrow view. If you’re doing six intervals, numbers one and two are “easy.” Three and four feel harder. However, five and six? You may be cursing our good names (which we are totally fine with, by the way). Likewise, if you’re doing a one-minute interval, the first 20 seconds are a cruise. The second 20 is a faster cruise and the third 20 is a leg-burning cruise. An interval shouldn’t feel hard from the start; in fact, it’s in the last third of an interval, no matter what the length, that you want to hit about 80 percent of your max.

Recover properly. Time between intervals usually takes two forms: either a specific time (two minutes) or a feeling (“fully recovered”). With either method, try not to stop moving; you recover much more quickly in motion. Resting your hands on your knees and begging for mercy is not a good recovery option. It’s A-OK to walk for a bit, then run easily, then walk again right before starting the next interval. If there’s a certain time between intervals, realize you might not feel 100 percent before you start another pace pick-up. If you’re supposed to recover fully, do that, but don’t milk it: too much time between intervals slows your momentum and actually makes them feel tougher.  

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Villains runDisney: Chapter 5- Queen Of Hearts

Villains runDisney:
Chapter 5 - Queen Of Hearts

If I lose my temper, you lose your head! Understand?"

We’ve seen many different villainesses run through our courses but none quite like the comical Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland.”  Our “Villains runDisney” series began with some truly wicked Disney villains, including Cruella De Vil, the Evil Queen, the Evil Stepsisters and Maleficent. In this chapter, we will learn that no one crosses the Queen of Hearts or it will be off with our heads!

The Queen of Hearts is the mad ruler of Wonderland who encounters a lost Alice in her rose garden where someone has been painting her roses red. If anyone at a runDisney race were to challenge the Queen of Hearts she would proclaim the popular phrase, “Off with their heads!”

At our races, the Queen of Hearts runs wearing a black and red skirt and top with a gold crown and hearts galore. Some Queen of Hearts runners even deck out in playing cards.

Remember, don't be late like the White Rabbit in putting together your Queen of Hearts costume!

Take a look below at some of our elaborate Queen of Hearts runners from our races:

Next up: Chapter 6 - Captain Hook

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runDisney Mom

The Magic of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Like most runDisney participants, my first experience with the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex came as a runner while attending Disney’s Fit for a Princess Health & Fitness Expo. I remember I was immediately taken aback by the caliber and quality of the facilities and was very excited to finally be seeing them for myself. My thoughts: It’s a magical “World” of sports! A total touchdown, home run, and goal in my book of athletics and I didn’t know half of what exciting things really happen in this unique, first-class 220-acre complex. Then, as part of the inaugural 2012 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler I had the opportunity to actually tour the Complex....Ok, run through the Complex as the course for this race had us weave through various walkways in and around several of the Hess Sports Fields. As a soccer mom, I was very impressed with the condition of the soccer fields. Oh, how I wanted take off my shoes and run barefoot through the immaculate grass!

A few months later I was back again for another Disney Health & Fitness Expo; this time as a Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge participant during the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. As I stood in the central courtyard area, near the Welcome Center, a highlight reel featuring Disney Soccer played on the jumbotron between two race segments and we stopped in our tracks to watch. At that moment I longed to be able to give my son the opportunity to play a sport he loved, in a location that serves as a source of magical vacation memories for my family.

As an adult, my son will most likely forget many of the places he’s played during his fleeting childhood, but he’ll never forget the times he played in the heart of Walt Disney World® Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It’s the only place in the world where you can be on the fields with Mickey in the morning, and on Splash Mountain by evening.

That experience is what sent me on a journey of learning not just about Disney Soccer, but about the Complex itself.

Do you have a runDisney vacation planning question? Visit me on the Disney Parks Moms Panel and send them my way! 

Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Tara Gidus

Staying Cool in the Summer

It’s blistering hot here in Orlando and I’m sure it feels equally as hot where you are. I’m all about getting my sweat on, but after I get my run in staying cool is a priority. I try to stay ahead of the heat by running before the sun comes up, but it’s been tough to beat the heat lately. No matter how early I get out, the humidity and heat are on! 

As much as I wish it were fall already, I know these hot runs have a purpose in my training and they will make me a better runner when it begins to cool off.  And of course I turn to food to help me recover – I know, so sports nutritionist of me.

I cannot get enough frozen fruit, especially grapes from California this summer. They are delectable on their own and mixed with other fruits and greens in a smoothie, they are oh-so-refreshing.  Grapes of any color (red, green, or black) contain beneficial antioxidants that occur naturally in all grapes called polyphenols.  You’ve likely heard of the heart-healthy compound resveratrol, and possibly used it as an excuse to remove any guilt for drinking red wine, right?  Well, hate to burst your bubble, but resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes of all colors.  A serving of grapes (3/4 cup) has 90 calories, no fat, and no cholesterol. 

Many of you have requested nutrition information, so I’ve added it below. This recipe is bursting with potassium, an electrolyte lost through sweat, and it’s a great source of carbohydrates to restore glycogen in the muscle.

This smoothie would be amazing (and recovery-like) paired with a turkey sandwich or eggs and Canadian bacon to up the protein. Or guzzle it down pre-workout, since it is low fat it’s easier to digest right before a workout.

Beat the heat and get a dose of greens this summer with a green grape smoothie!

What do you eat to cool down after a hot run?

Grapes & Greens Smoothie
Serves 2

1 cup frozen grapes (red, green, or black)
1 frozen banana
¼ cup frozen pineapple
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale, stems removed
½ cup kefir
½ cup coconut water
½ to 1 cup ice

Place all ingredients, except ice into blender. Blend until greens are pureed; add ice to desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

Note:  If you’re not a fan of kefir, sub in milk or Greek yogurt.  If you sub with yogurt, you may need some extra coconut water if it’s too thick to blend properly.

NUTRITION (serving size: ½ recipe): 202 calories, 2g total fat, 31mg sodium, 837mg potassium, 52g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 35g sugar, 4g protein, 134% vitamin A, 97% vitamin C, 9% calcium, 8% iron

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Another Mother Runner

Recovering After a Long Run

Even though you might have a summertime 5K on your mind, training season for fall half and full marathons will soon be here—and, if you’re aiming for 13.1 or 26.2 in the next few months, you’ll be logging double-digit miles in between trips to the pool. Although you may wish otherwise, long runs don’t end when you hit your appointed mileage; self-care after extended efforts is key so you can both avoid injury and be fresh for your next workout.

Here are three must-do’s after a long run:

1. Refuel quickly. Even if your stomach is feeling a little sloshy after a long run, getting in a mix of protein and carbs within 30 minutes of the end of your run is vital to help your muscles speed on their way to recovery. You don’t have to invest in high-end protein smoothies: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread works well, as does a glass of low-fat chocolate milk, which contains many of the same elements as sports drinks like sodium, magnesium and potassium.

2. Foam roll that day. You can decide if you’d rather hit the floor to iron out tight muscles right after your run or if you’d rather shower, go about your day, maybe nap, and then give them some TLC before bed. Although foam rolling isn’t exactly pleasant, releasing your quads, calves, hips, hamstrings and glutes will also greatly aid your recovery. Think of it a DIY massage session.

3. Wear compression wear. Maybe on that day but definitely that night. If you own a pair of compression calf sleeves or socks, now’s the time to pull them out. Post-run, the extra squeeze helps oxygen-rich, healing blood circulate more efficiently through your lower legs. Read: you’ll feel less swelling and more pep in your step—both useful as you look forward to your next long run.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Villains runDisney: Chapter 4 – Maleficent

Villains runDisney:
Chapter 4 – Maleficent

You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. Me, the mistress of all evil!”

Next up in our “Villains runDisney” series is one of the most malicious Disney villains in history. Our series began with Cruella De Vil, the Evil Queen, the Evil Stepsisters and now the “mistress of all evil” Maleficent gives runners the motivation to defeat all those that stand in his or her way.

As one of the most powerful Disney villains, Maleficent is cruel and sinister; willing to do whatever it takes to get her way.

On our runDisney courses, we’ve seen many different interpretations of Maleficent. Some runners have been spotted wearing Maleficent’s full-out wardrobe, including a thick black and purple cloak, a horn headpiece and her magical staff with her pet raven on top of it. We’ve also seen runners wearing Maleficent’s version of Mickey ears along with a black top with a purple skirt.

Do you think you’re ready to take on the running style of the “mistress of evil”? Check out some of our most vicious Malificent’s below:

Next up: Chapter 5 - Queen of Hearts

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Villains runDisney: Chapter 3 – Evil Stepsisters Anastasia & Drizella

Villains runDisney:
Chapter 3 – Evil Stepsisters Anastasia & Drizella

Who says Cinderella should get all the runDisney fame? Her evil stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, are also pushing their way across the finish line. We’ve already seen the villainous running styles of Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen so now we welcome our favorite evil sister duo.

Envious of Cinderella’s beauty and good nature, Anastasia and Drizella’s mission is to make Cinderella’s life as unhappy as possible. On our race courses, Anastasia and Drizella run as a pair and are sometimes accompanying, or rather tormenting, Cinderella.

We’ve seen Anastasia runners wearing a purple tank top and a pink skirt with pink, puffy sleeves and a gold bow or crown. Drizella runners have been seen wearing a blue tank top and lime green skirt with green, puffy sleeves and a big blue hair bow. If you think you’re ready to runDisney as the evil stepsisters from “Cinderella” don’t forget their signature scowl!

Below are some of the Anastasia’s and Drizella’s we’ve seen on our race courses:

Next up: Chapter 4 - Maleficent

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Tara Gidus


Chia seeds are making a popular comeback from the Aztecs in 3500 BC, to the Tarahumara endurance Indians, then the 1980s unforgettable novelty Chia Pets, to now as a healthy superfood.

It was the Tarahumara Indians, however, who can provide one of the best examples as to why runners should consume these little seeds. Their strategy for hunting was running their prey to exhaustion, and it was chia that fueled these many-mile chases.

Similar to flax and sesame seeds, chia can benefit runners because of the following: the healthy omega-3 fats help to stabilize your heart rhythm and reduce inflammation, fiber to keep you satisfied, protein to build and maintain muscle, and antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress on the body. When wet, they turn gelatinous which allows them told hold up to 12 times their weight in water, aiding in hydration.

So in your next race, run like the wind… or a Tarahumara Indian!

Fun Fact: Chia is the Mayan word for “strength.”

Lemon Chia Muffins
Makes 18

  • 1 ¾ cup gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, egg, brown sugar, coconut oil, lemon zest, and almond milk until creamy. Then add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until batter is fully blended (Do not over stir).
  4. Spoon batter into 18 greased muffin cups (or use paper liners), until two-thirds full.
  5. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove the baked muffins from pans and set on wire cooling rack.
  6. Beat together the lemon juice and honey into a syrup. Using a toothpick, poke holes into the baked muffins and drizzle with lemon/honey mixture.

NUTRITION (serving size 1 muffin): 
146 calories, 18g carbs, 8g fat, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 174mg sodium

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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runDisney Mom

Selecting the Perfect "Castle" at Walt Disney World® Resort Part II

In my last post I discussed some of my favorite resort hotels for making you feel like royalty during Walt Disney World® runDisney race events, but regardless of whether your favorite made my list, there are always opportunities to save on that perfect “castle”.

Here are my top tips on finding a great deal!

Travel packages available through runDisney:

Many race events offer specially-priced hotel rates at select host hotels in addition to discounted theme park tickets. To see if a race event is included in a special offer through runDisney, visit the Travel Tab on the runDisney website and select your desired event. This is where you’ll find rates, resort locations and information on discounted theme park tickets.

What is a host hotel anyway, Faith?
Host hotels are designated resorts equipped to provide you transportation to all race event activities, from packet pickup at Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo to the Start Zone of any race. 

Special offers available through Walt Disney World®:

To access this wishing well of potential savings, visit the Special Offers Tab on the official Walt Disney World® Resort website to view current offers. However, this approach may not be for the faint of heart as you must be willing to wait until any special offers are announced that include your race dates. If you’re patient, you could save a considerable amount of money and even upgrade your accommodations.

Running as a Royal Court:

If your runDisney race plans have you in need of 10 or more rooms, check into available group rates for a magical race-cation experience you won’t soon forget. There are often discounts available during most race weekends; you’ve just got to sort through your options and wait for true-love’s discount.

Do you have a runDisney vacation planning question? Visit me on the Disney Parks Moms Panel and send them my way! 

Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Villains runDisney: Chapter 2 – Evil Queen

Villains runDisney:
Chapter 2 – Evil Queen

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fastest of them all?’

In the first chapter of our “Villains runDisney” series we witnessed the DeVilish fashion of Cruella De Vil. Our second installment features a different kind of evil; one rooted in jealousy of the beautiful Princess Snow White.

The Evil Queen gets her claim to wicked fame from tricking Snow White into eating a “magical” apple that puts her into a deep slumber. Our runDisney races have showcased not only Snow White runners but also Evil Queens lurking in the start corrals.

We have seen many ways to dress like the Evil Queen at our races. Some Evil Queen runners have been spotted wearing a purple skirt with a black top, large white collar, black head piece and a gold crown. With this evil look you will be sure to be the fastest of them all!

Take a look at some of our runDisney Evil Queens below:

Next up: Chapter 3 - Evil Stepsisters Anastasia & Drizella

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Tara Gidus

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Track workouts, tempo runs, weight training, and steady state distance running are essentials in the runner’s training program. It doesn’t matter whether you are training for your first 5K or 20th marathon; every runner fights the same problem: inflammation.

While the inflammatory response is needed for the body to adapt to training so you can become a better runner, too much inflammation can slow down recovery time and lead to injury. Knowing what to eat to fight inflammation will keep your body strong. Incorporate these foods into your meal plan to protect your body from the inside out!

Kefir: (pronounced Key-fur) Kefir is fermented milk that is full of probiotics or “healthy gut bacteria” that are needed for a strong immune system. Get more probiotics in your diet by eating other fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha tea, sauerkraut, and pickled beets.

Salmon: This fish is packed full of omega-3 fats which are warriors at reducing inflammation. Athletes that consume fatty fish or supplement their diet with omega-3s, have lower levels of inflammation, muscle soreness, and injury. Toss salmon in a salad or serve it as the main entrée. Amp up on an array of omega-3 powerhouses, like halibut, tuna, mackerel, seaweed (dulse), walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.

Tart Cherry Juice: Cherries are packed with antioxidants that help control the inflammatory response by decreasing the number of pro-inflammatory cells. Tart cherry juice has become an increasingly popular recovery food for athletes because it can help reduce muscle damage. Get even more antioxidant benefit with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and kiwi.

Kale:  This dark leafy green is rich in phytonutrients or “plant nutrition,” which aids in reducing inflammation. The deeper the green, the more phytonutrients it has! Don’t want kale? Try these worthy opponents: bok choy, collard greens, spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard.

Turmeric: Don’t forget your herbs and spices! Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that can act like a mild aspirin. Other herbs that have anti-inflammatory components are mint, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary and oregano.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Villains runDisney: Chapter 1 – Cruella De Vil

Villains runDisney:
Chapter 1 – Cruella De Vil

“Cruella De Vil, Cruella De Vil… if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.”

Rumor has it some Disney villains have been luring our runners to the dark side. With that being said, we would like to introduce you to our new “Villains runDisney” blog series where it is OK to channel your inner evil.

First up in our series is the cruel and devilish villainess Cruella De Vil. She gets her bad-girl reputation from her fetish for stealing puppies for their fur. Cruella’s signature colors include red, white and black… but mostly black polka dots.

For your runDisney Cruella outfit wear a black or white top with shorts or a tutu. Accessorize with long red gloves, and a black and white boa. To truly capture the evil Cruella look wear a black and white wig. And don’t forget to bring a couple Dalmatians along for your run!

Check out some of our most trendy Cruella’s from our races below:

Next up: Chapter 2- Evil Queen

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runDisney Mom

Selecting the Perfect "Castle"

Don’t turn into a pumpkin when the race ends – stay in the middle of the magic! When you choose a Walt Disney World® resort hotel, you have an entire kingdom at your fingertips. But where should you stay? With 28 resort hotel options available, it can be overwhelming. Here are my top picks in each available resort hotel category when runDisney-cationing

Value Resorts:
Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • As a newer value resort, Pop Century gets my vote on being clean, well-appointed and a lot of fun too!
  • Location: No matter which runDisney race event you are participating in, Disney’s Pop Century Resort is centrally located to all race activities.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

  • Serving larger families on a budget! With 1,120 family suites available that sleep up to six, you’ll have all the space you need and the ability to prepare for your race without disturbing your little prince or princesses.
  • Location: As the neighbor to Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort also has a great central location to all Walt Disney World® Resort runDisney races.

Disney's Art of Animation

Moderate Resorts:
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

  • Location: Traffic on East Buena Vista Blvd. can really back up on race  morning and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is perfectly located for  avoiding most of the backup. 
  • Business Class accommodations: For a relatively small addition in price you’ll have access to Coconino Cove Lounge, a private lounge for Business Class level guests that will help slightly defer food costs. I highly recommend trying the house made Sangria, post-race of course.

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Deluxe Resorts:
Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • A casual, relaxed atmosphere that truly evokes a warm and welcoming feeling.
  • Excellent option for those planning on spending more time at the resort and less time at the theme parks while visiting.
  • The Epcot® Resort Area plays host to some amazing dining experiences.
  • Location: Disney’s Beach Club Resort is in the heart of Walt Disney World® and conveniently located for all race events.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Race Transportation Tip: Disney’s Beach Club Resort is the last pickup en route to the Start Zone Area, and often buses are full before arriving. Plan on catching the earliest bus possible to ease any travel anxieties.

There you have it, my top resort picks for making your race experience as enchanting as possible. Stay tuned for my next post as I discuss host hotels and how to get a great deal on that perfect castle.

Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Wookiee Welcome Party

Kick off Star Wars Half Weekend at the Wookiee Welcome Party!

Did you know you can have a private party with Chewbacca and other Star Wars characters before your race? The Star Wars Wookiee Welcome Party takes place Thursday evening, Jan. 15 in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland as a kick-off celebration of the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

The party with feature entertainment for guests and a dessert reception. Party-goers can also meet and greet various Star Wars characters as well as classic Disney characters decked out in their own Star Wars garb.

Guests will be able to enjoy select attractions including Space Mountain® Attraction, Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue, Astro Orbitor and the Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlaster® Attraction.  (These attractions are subject to change. )

Don’t miss your opportunity to partake in the first-ever Wookiee Welcome Party! You can purchase tickets at here.

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Another Mother Runner

Motivation 101: Don't Think; Just Go

The hardest part of running is getting out the door. It’s a cliché, sure, but a significant chunk of truth lies in the fact that the most challenging part of racking up miles can be removing yourself from your bed/desk/couch, putting on your gear, and heading straight for the door—no stopping at the fridge, Facebook or for any other distraction.

Here are a few ways to motivate when you’d really rather not:

Be prepared.
Sounds simple, but when you’re feeling blah, pulling together all your stuff—from socks to GPS to water to sports bra—can seem like a speed bump you just can’t get over. If you’re going to run in the morning, lay out your stuff the night before. Running over your lunch break? Ditto: Pack your bag (and your lunch) the night before. If after work is your plan, gather everything before you leave for work and pile it in the bathroom. You get home, you empty your bladder, you change, you go. The couch—or the bag of chips—doesn’t even have a chance to speak up.

Don’t think - just go.
Four words that can instantly change your perspective. Put your brain on cruise control and don’t think about how warm your bed is, how whiny your kids are, how massive your pile of work is; they’re not excuses for you not to run. In fact, they’ll all be there when you get back—and, because of a few endorphin-laced miles, you’ll be better prepared to deal with them.

Visualize yourself with just one mile left.
Whether you’re planning on running 3 or 13 miles, close your eyes and mentally see yourself with one mile to go. Your shirt is soaked, your legs are strong, your spirit is soaring, and you’re feeling like a rock star. Now get up and go chase that feeling.

Plant a reward.
Nothing wrong with holding a little carrot out in front of you. You can pay yourself for every mile you run ($.50 a mile adds up fast, by the way); or promise yourself a House of Cards binge, post-run; or tell yourself you’ll stop for a (non-fat) vanilla latte on the way home from the trail. Just put out a small, relatively healthy reward you’ve been craving—and don’t claim it until your miles are done.

Write it down.
Right after you run, write down three or so words that describe how you’re feeling at that exact moment. Still sweaty, maybe still breathing hard, just grab a pen and go: happy, strong, confident, accomplished, powerful, content…whatever comes to mind.  Then tape those words somewhere—bathroom mirror, computer screen, fridge door—so they’ll be a weapon when you’re in your next I-don’t-want-to-go mood. That mood hits, and all you have to do is read ‘em and lace up.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Princesses runDisney Blog Series Recap

Princesses runDisney: Blog Series Recap

Thank you for following our Princesses runDisney blog series! We’ve seen some very creative princess costumes of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora & Ariel, Belle & Jasmine, Pocahontas & Mulan and Tiana, Rapunzel & Merida. While we have given you some ideas, we challenge you to be your own princess!

But if you are not really into being a princess, do not worry. We hear some truly evil creatures have been invading our courses. Stay tuned…

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Tara Gidus

5 Common Race Day Nutrition Mistakes

So you signed up for a half or full marathon. You’ve mapped out your mileage and you begin logging your training runs. Whether you are running with a group, your best friend or training solo, don’t forget to consider your race day nutrition before you actually get to race day. You’re training your body in all aspects for the race--don’t forget about what you will eat and drink prior to and during the race so you know how your body will respond. 

Everyone has unique nutritional needs! I’ve compiled the top 5 race day nutrition mistakes to help you prepare for your upcoming race.

  1. Skipping pre-race meal or not fueling enough. Pre-race jitters or fear of having to make a pit stop during the race may shy runners away from eating before they run. Don’t make this common mistake, as your body needs fuel before your long run. Try to eat something even if you have to nibble on dry cereal, granola bar, or banana, and just make sure you get enough. Give yourself enough time to digest your meal, typically 1-3 hours depending on your routine. Always eat what works for you! Common runner foods are cereal or oatmeal with milk and a banana, eggs with toast and Powerade, or a bagel with peanut butter.

  2. Fat overload the night before. Continue to eat a high-carb diet during training make sure you aren’t overloading the fat, especially the night before the race. It’s not the time to chow on greasy pizza or load up on creamy Alfredo pasta. You want to keep fat to a minimum, as a high fat meal can lead to sluggish muscles and tummy troubles. Go for the tomato sauce instead of cheesy or oily sauces, and skip the butter, sour cream, and fried food the day before. You still need protein too, just don’t fry it and go for lean meats like fish, eggs, turkey or chicken.

  3. Eating something new. This is a nutrition no-no. Make sure you stick to your tried-and-true training diet and avoid new foods and foods that upset your stomach. If you have a sensitive stomach to spicy, dairy, or gassy foods like beans, broccoli, or carbonated beverages avoid them! Don’t try anything new pre-race or during race, stick to the same gels, sport chews, and fluids you used during training. If you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t be tempted with a cup of Joe race morning.  If you normally drink it prior to your long runs, by all means enjoy!

  4. Only drinking water. During the marathon the goal is to prevent dehydration and to keep your blood sugar stable. When you run, not only are you burning carbohydrates, you also lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium through sweat. Sports drinks are formulated to give your body the right amount of carbs and electrolytes to help prevent dehydration and low blood sugar. Aim to drink 4-8oz or “gulps” (1oz= 1 big gulp or 2 sips) sports drink every 15-20 minutes during the race.

  5. Not eating after the race. Whether you are super smiley or feel like you want to collapse at the finish line, make sure to get fluids, carbs and sodium into your body as soon as possible, but definitely within 30 minutes after the race. Grab some snacks at the tent afterwards or ask your fans if they would carry your favorites so that you have them immediately after the race. Aim to have protein within two hours of your finish to supply your muscles with the protein it needs to heal, and don’t forget to power up with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables too to speed up your recovery time.


If you have any questions or comments, tweet me @DietDivaTara.

Known as the "Diet Diva", Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Another Mother Runner

Rest Up: When Sickness Sidelines Your Training

Even though winter—and the corresponding flu season—is in our rearview mirrors, that doesn’t mean that a summer cold or other maleficent virus can’t sideline you—and your training. Here are some tips on whether to know if you should keep plowing forward or take a break.
When you’re feeling less than healthy, the general rule of thumb for exercise is this: If the illness is in or above your neck, like a head cold or a mild sore throat, it’s usually okay to continue on as planned. That said, take in extra fluids and get extra rest. But if your head cold—or the medication you're taking for it—leaves you a little woozy, opt to cross-train in the gym or at home, so you're not stranded 2.5 miles away from home. 

If the illness has migrated to your lungs (a rattling, painful cough), intestines (you’re spending an inordinate time in the bathroom), or anywhere else below your neck, then it’s time to simply rest. Chill for a minimum of two days, and possibly longer, depending on your symptoms. (Obviously, if it’s a significant illness, head to your doctor and heed his/her advice.)

Once you’re feeling better—it may be 2 days, it may be a week—head out for an easy run. Even if your training plan calls for hill repeats, simply go a few miles at a very comfortable pace (which just be a fast walk, depending on how long you’ve been out). If that feels doable and you feel fine at the end—not like you’ve just used every drop of energy you have—you can ease back into your regular running routine over the next week.

Bottom line? Err on the side of caution when you’re getting over an illness; your body needs to slow down, and you need to listen to it. Missing a week of running, in the scheme of things, is not a big deal. If you force it and start running before your body is ready, chances are, you’re going to end up prolonging or intensifying the situation and really set yourself back.

If you've got a topic you'd like us to cover or question you'd like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Running Gluten-Free

Do you follow a gluten-free diet? Have you wondered if you could benefit from eating gluten-free? Every runner's body is different and not everyone runs well on wheat bagels and pasta. Since the media has popularized the gluten-free diet, many people are gluten confused and asking questions.

Runners suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley products. This presents a challenge for a runner as many common "runner" staples contain gluten. But no worries, runners can still feel energized, fueled, and optimize their performance running gluten-free. Here's how.

  • Carbo-loading: gluten-free style. No need to say sayonara to the runner’s preferred energy source, carbohydrates. You can obtain this muscle fuel from gluten-free grains, milk, yogurt, fruit, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, beans and corn. Simply swap wheat bread and pasta with gluten-free products made from rice, quinoa, tapioca, or your favorite gluten free flour.

  • Maximizing nutrients. The truth is wheat, rye, and barley (gluten grains) are great sources of energy vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, selenium, chromium, and folate, and many of these nutrients have been added to cereals and flours to fortify the products. But gluten-free grains can contain the same essential nutrients; so don’t totally eliminate these complex carbohydrates. Balance your diet with gluten-free grain choices like gluten-free oats, rice, corn, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa.

  • Eating clean. Gluten is found in many processed foods, so eating less packaged foods is a simple and healthy way to reduce gluten in the diet. But good news! Whole foods like fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, beans, and (plain) dairy products are naturally gluten-free.

  • Learn the label lingo. The ingredient label can be tricky to decipher and gluten can easily be lurking under another name! To be safe look for products with a certified gluten free seal. Other names that could mean gluten --- gelatinized starch, graham flour, semolina, durum, couscous, starch, wheat germ, enriched flour, bran, vital gluten, brewer’s yeast, malt, high protein flour.  (Note: this is not an exhaustive list.)


Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Is Pasta Really The Only Option?

It’s a common thought among endurance athletes to get “seconds” on pasta the night before the big race. But you really don’t need overstuff yourself the night before. Pasta is a good source of complex carbs, but there are many other great options out there to augment your body’s muscle glycogen, or “energy” stores. When muscles are fully saturated with carbohydrates, you will feel ready for competition and able to sustain your desired race pace for longer.

Carb loading doesn’t always have to be a pasta party. Make it more like a fiesta by adding some variety and different colors for your pre-race party. Here’s a list of my favorite high carbohydrate foods that are perfect pre-race choices.

Quinoa. Quinoa is a seed grain that also offers a moderate amount of protein. In order to make it pop, add Cajun grilled chicken and sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top. Keep in mind, skinless chicken breast contains less fat and is more easily digested than steak.

Couscous. This pasta-like grain goes great inside stuffed peppers. Add feta cheese, onions, and different peppers for extra flavor.

Rice. Rice bowls can be a fun way to personalize your dinner. Mix in a little egg for a healthier option of fried rice or top with veggies, chicken, or your favorite lean protein.

Tortillas/Fajitas.  Look for whole grain tortillas or choose corn tortillas.  Choose fajitas over greasier quesadillas, especially the night before a big race.  Burritos, tacos, and even enchiladas are all good choices. 

Potatoes. Potatoes offer a high carb option and also contain potassium, an electrolyte that is lost through sweat when you race. Sweet potatoes also offer a high amount of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and antioxidants. Slice and bake them for some tasty sweet potato fries.

Fresh fruit. Fruit provides quick energy along with beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Pair with nuts or seeds to finish a meal!

Share pictures of your pre race meal concoctions!

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida

Princesses runDisney: Chapter 6 - Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida

For Chapter 6 of our Princesses runDisney blog series, we take a look at the running styles of three of our newer runDisney princesses. We’ve gone through Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora & Ariel, Belle & Jasmine, Pocahontas & Mulan, and now we welcome three fresh faces to the group. Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida may be new in the castle, but they still hold a special place in our runDisney family.

Tiana epitomizes determination and hard work, but still somehow finds time for love. Princess Tiana; frequently accompanied by her frog prince, Naveen, is usually seen running through the Disney parks in bright green tops, shorts, and dresses.

Rapunzel; the independent and spunky princess with magical golden hair is often seen at runDisney races dressed in purple. Those who choose to runDisney dressed as this princess have to be sure not to get tangled on those long golden locks.

Merida, the newest of this bunch, was introduced to us in 2012. She is extremely skilled, compassionate, adventurous, and of course… BRAVE! She has also become a mainstay on our runDisney courses and is seen running in dark teal with wild, curly, fiery red hair.

After careful consideration, here are some of our favorite running Tianas, Rapunzels, and Meridas

For the full gallery, check out our Facebook page.

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Star Wars Half Marathon

A Galactic Experience with Adventures by Disney

With the excitement around the announcement of the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation last Tuesday, you’re probably thinking about the best way to get to California for next January’s Inaugural event.  Well, we’re excited to let you know Adventures by Disney is here to help you feel the power of the Force as you run through the Disneyland® Resort!

And the best part?  You can reserve your spot BEFORE registration opens on June 10!
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Tour Package

What does an Adventures by Disney, 7-day, 6-night Star Wars package look like?  Check it out:

While at the Disneyland® Resort, you’ll stay at the posh Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and enjoy special perks like a 2-day VIP experience at Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park with special Disney's FASTPASS® service and reserved parade seating, VIP viewing of World of Color and Fantasmic!, and a four-day Park Hopper ticket.

This is truly an experience of Galactic proportions, which means there are only 40 VIP packages available.  You can get more information and lock yours in now, before registration opens, by calling Adventures by Disney at 800-543-0865.

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Another Mother Runner

Five Running Mantras We Love

Words, whether spoken out loud or said only in your head, can have a powerful physical effect. That’s why a mantra—a word or phrase—is a smart tool to have in your running arsenal. Pulling out a mantra during a training run when your energy is flagging or during a race when your legs feel heavy can turn the situation around.

Here are five mantras we hope speak volumes to you: 

This single word says so much: It reminds you to believe in yourself and your ability; believe in your training; believe your legs can keep moving; and believe the finish line will (eventually!) come. It carried Sarah through about 11 miles of a particularly tough marathon.

Strong, solid.
The alliteration—and powerful words—create a nice rhythm and intention. [Footfall]: strong. [Footfall]: solid. It’s a muscular thing and a mental thing, and it works for all speeds. Stay strong, stay solid, stay in this run or race.

I am here now.
So often, we runners worry about a hill at mile 7 when we’re in the middle of the second mile of a race. Or what we’ll feel like at mile 12 of a half-marathon, when we’re not even halfway through the course yet. Those hills, that mile 12 will still be there when you get there, and spending energy worrying about it before you arrive is just wasted (valuable) effort. Remind yourself that You are here now, and soak up this mile instead of fretting about the ones to come.

Push, push, push!
This is the mantra for you if finishing in a certain time or doing your best possible effort is your goal. This simple phrase, repeated countless times, helps Sarah keep her foot on the proverbial gas, especially in the second half of a race.

Let it go.
Whether or not you’re dressed as Queen Elsa from “Frozen,” this grrrl-power anthem is mighty cool. These three words can remind you to release tension from your clenched shoulders, to stop holding on to negative thoughts, and to run your own race. And, in a pinch, you can sing this mantra, instead of just repeating it in your head!

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question—nothing is too basic or TMI—you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Tara Gidus

Eats to Beat the Summer Heat

It’s heating up here in the sunshine state, and finding a way to cool off after a sweaty run is a must! Runners do their best to beat the heat by running before dawn and sporting lightweight moisture wicking clothing. Just as your wardrobe changes with the seasons, so should your diet. Here are my top eats to help protect your body from the heat.

Grapes:  Grapes are portable, low in calories, and can be eaten anytime, anywhere.  They have potassium, an important electrolyte lost in sweat.  Grapes of all colors -- red, green or black-- are also packed in antioxidants and polyphenols, natural plan nutrients that act as antioxidants.  One 3/4 cup serving has 90 calories and no fat.  My favorite way to eat them in the summer?  Frozen of course!

Watermelon: This fruit is a super hydrator because it’s 92% water! Added bonus: watermelon is rich in amino acid L-citrulline, which helps with improving circulation and reducing post workout muscle soreness. Watermelon salad makes a refreshing treat, enjoy by combining diced watermelon, feta cheese, and fresh mint.

Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are some of the best food sources of fiber, a key ingredient for keeping your body in running shape. Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and keeps things moving all while providing mealtime satisfaction needed maintain a healthy running weight. Toss these beauties into a blender with Greek yogurt or milk and a banana and blend for a refreshing summer smoothie sensation.

Peaches: These fuzzy mouthwatering fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a runner’s favorite inflammation fighter. Make peach salsa by stirring freshly diced peaches in with your favorite fresh salsa recipe, and serve over grilled chicken or fish or corn tortilla chips!

Tomatoes: High in carotenoid, lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and has a connection to bone health. Tomatoes are also a great source of biotin, a B complex vitamin important in the metabolism and balancing blood sugar. Top fresh diced tomatoes on a taco salad or cut thick slices onto a cool deli sandwich.

Green Beans: Beans are plentiful when the weather gets warm, and a good source of fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin K. This vitamin is an important factor in healthy blood clotting and has an impact on the skeletal system. Low levels of vitamin K can be a risk factor for osteoporosis and stress fractures. In the summer, I like to eat beans lightly steamed and tossed with onions and pine nuts to create a light bean salad. This side is delicious served chilled.

How to do you cool off during the hot training months? Tweet me your ideas @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Star Wars Half Marathon

Let the Wookiee Win

What started this morning with a greeting from Darth Vader...

And continued with revelations about distance, dates and locations on Twitter and Instagram...


Culminates now, with the call to complete your training and discover your true power at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation!

Our newest race weekend comes to Disneyland® Resort, January 15-18, 2015! In addition to the Half Marathon, the event will include a 10K, 5K, Kids Races, Wookiee Welcome Party and an Expo. Wield your lightsabers in the Rebel Challenge and you'll be rewarded for completing both the Half Marathon and the 10K.

Sign up for the runDisney email to be notified when registration opens at Noon ET on Tuesday, June 10. May the Course be with you!

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Another Mother Runner

Gimme a Beat: Building A Good Race Playlist

A powerful playlist can put a pep in your step when your energy or motivation flags. Here are some pointers for playing your own personal DJ on race day.

Don’t wait until the last minute. Making a playlist is a productive use of the “extra” time you have during your pre-race taper. Aim to compile your music the Monday or Tuesday before the race, giving yourself a few days to make tweaks when you remember a “must-hear” song.

Don’t press play yet. It’s extra-fun to have a fresh, never-played playlist to jam to during the race. Sure, you will have heard the songs before, but never compiled in this order on this day. Save it.

Let your music guide your pace. The adrenaline revving through your body on race day can make you start out way faster than you’ve trained or convince you it’s a good idea to skip your first few walk breaks if you’re a Galloway devotee. To temper your excitement, start out your list with slower-paced songs with inspirational titles or lyrics, like Sarah McLachlan’s “In Your Shoes,” and Aloe Blacc’s “The Man,” before busting out Iggy Azalea, Shakira, or Eric Church.

Contemplate the order—or disorder. If P!nk starts encouraging you to raise your glass at Mile 2, you might come up empty at Mile 11. But maybe you prefer the element of surprise. Either way, make sure you have the “shuffle” feature on your iPhone or iPod set to whichever setting you prefer.

Add some new favorites. Garner suggestions from friends, Facebook pals, Spotify, iTunes store, you name it. Decide what genre gets you moving—perhaps pop, country, or dance music—and start with that as your foundation. Then toss in a few surprises, like some Coldplay in your hot Latin mix or some Katy Perry to go with that Steve Perry.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question—nothing is too basic or TMI—you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Princesses runDisney: Chapter 5 - Pocahontas & Mulan

We’ve seen some amazing princesses runDisney from Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora & Ariel, and Belle & Jasmine. In Chapter 5 of the Princesses runDisney blog series, we take a look at Pocahontas and Mulan. Two of our most independent and free-willed princesses. 

Pocahontas is the gentle, spiritual, and compassionate daughter of Chief Powhatan. She has a deep understanding of nature and a love for adventure. She runs our magical courses dressed in the traditional buckskin clothing of the Powhatan Native American tribe of Virginia. She also often accessorizes with colorful feathers, tribal face paint, and her mother’s wedding necklace

Fa Mulan; the strong, determined and fiercely independent East Asian princess is the heroine of her own story.  She disguises herself as a young man named “Ping” to fight in place of her elderly father in the Chinese army helping to defeat the enemy. She is seen commanding the runDisney courses in a traditional Chinese hanfu, a look that originally inspired the Japanese kimono. 

After careful consideration, here are some of our favorite running Pocahontas and Mulans

Next Up: Chapter 6 - Tiana, Rapunzel, & Merida    

For the full gallery, check out our Facebook page.

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runDisney Mom

Why runDisney? - Part II

In my last post I discussed how the Transportation and Runner Tracking are part of the details that help make the magic during race weekend.

Sports Enthusiast Volunteers: Service with a smile! runDisney offers Sports Enthusiast Volunteers -- where the race magic really begins. Whether it’s placing a medal around the neck of a newly minted marathoner, or handing out water to some 25,000 runners, Sports Enthusiast Volunteer opportunities are a great way to experience the magic of runDisney when participating in a race event may not be an option.  

Runner Support Services: Making every mile magic! At you can find a wealth of information to help support all aspects of participating in a runDisney endurance event. You’ll find information on race-specific running programs for all levels of runners by the runDisney Training Consultant and former Olympian, Jeff Galloway, as well as nutritional advice and recipes from the official runDisney Nutritionist, Tara Gidus. All these efforts come together to ensure your success “to the finish-line, and beyond!”

runDisney-cation: Getting the answers you need! As the runDisney Specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, I have run a mile or two in your runDisney New Balance shoes. From running Disney as a family of five to traveling with my fellow princesses, I’ve got the answers you need to make your runDisney experience as magical as possible. Stop by and visit the Moms and me!

You can do magic, believe it or not! Bibibity-Bobbity - RUN!


Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Princess Half Icon

The Best Moment Ever

Do you have a best moment ever? Every Disney Princess had their best moment ever. Merida changed her fate. Tiana opened her dream restaurant. Rapunzel finally saw the lights. Well, if you're looking for a new best moment ever, have we got an opportunity for you!

Our friends with Disney Interactive want to give you the chance to win a runDisney experience for you and your family! Share a picture that captures your best moment ever and you'll be entered for a chance to run with your royal court in the Disney Royal Family 5K during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in February 2015!

To enter, visit the Best Moment Ever website and follow the process to submit your photo. Good luck and we hope to see you in the midst of your best moment ever in the middle of the magic!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to persons of all ages, who are, as of entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 United States, D.C. or Canada (excluding Quebec). Entries must be received between 12:00:00 PM (PST) on 4/15/14 and 11:59:59 PM (PST) on 5/14/14. Click here for Official Rules. Many Will Enter. Few Will Win. Minors must get parent's permission to enter. Grand Prize travel must take place 2/19/15 – 2/22/15. Sponsor: Disney Online.

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Belle & Jasmine

Princesses runDisney: Chapter 4 - Belle & Jasmine

We have now gone through three chapters in the Princesses runDisney series; Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora and Ariel, and we are excited to bring to you this fourth installment: Belle & Jasmine!

Belle is the beautiful, inquisitive, worldly daughter of an inventor, who sacrifices her own freedom for that of her father. Eventually falling in love with her captor and helping to transform him into her perfect prince; Belle epitomizes strength, compassion, and courage. She is often seen running through Cinderella Castle and the streets of Anaheim in her lovely golden ball gown complete with an enchanted rose.  Or, you can go pre-Princess Belle in a blue apron, white top and with a book in hand.

Princess Jasmine, the strong-willed Princess of Agrabah, simply wishes for more freedom and the choice to marry whomever she pleases. With a little help from Aladdin and Genie, Jasmine is able to see a whole new world. Princess Jasmine is often seen exploring our runDisney courses in a sea foam or light blue ensemble complete with a jeweled headband.

After careful consideration, here are some of our favorite running costumes featuring Belle and Jasmine!

Next Up: Chapter 5- Pocahontas and Mulan.  For the full gallery, check out our Facebook page.

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Another Mother Runner

Train For Longer Races

Ready to go longer?  The beauty of running is that there’s always another mile to run—or another longer race distance to conquer. And runDisney races, with the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and the Glass Slipper Challenge and other awesome multi-day challenges, make going longer very attractive. Hello bling: 4, 5, 6 medals in one weekend!

Thing is, although we’ve heard of plenty of people doing it, it’s probably not the wisest idea to jump into a half marathon or a full marathon without running shorter races and getting your body adjusted to running regularly. When you go from minimal miles to training for a marathon, you’re inviting injury and burnout.

You may finish that 26.2, but chances are, you may not want to step foot near another starting line for years—or ever. Which isn’t, you know, how we like things to end. We want as many runners in the world as we can get.

So how do you know when you’re ready to take on 13.1 or 26.2 miles? Here are some key points:

You’re motivated.
No duh, right? Right. But the thought of the race should fill you with excitement and anticipation. You should be ready to stay in on Friday nights because of Saturday long runs. You should be ready to eat in a nutritious way to fuel your runs. You should think about race day and get a little tingly inside. If your friends in your training group are running a half marathon and, because of a demanding job or an injury, you’re feeling wishy-washy about it before you sign up, chances are, the long training runs will drag you down. Challenges will arise, so you have to want it.

You’ve climbed up the race ladder.
You’ll be most successful if, before you sign up for a marathon, you’ve run a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon. (And preferably not in the same weekend you’re running the marathon, thank you very much Goofy fans.) Not only do the shorter races build mental toughness, teach you how to pace yourself, and get you familiar with race day procedures and crowds, the training for them also gets your body used to running, which happens to be a high-impact sport. The more your joints and muscles are used to regular mileage, the less injury-prone you’ll be.

You’re healthy and relatively injury-free.
If your IT Band has been angry for six months, you should calm that situation down before jumping into a training plan. If you’ve got a hacking cough that has been lingering for weeks, you may want to figure it out before committing to 13.1 miles. As you push up your mileage, all the aches and muscle imbalances lurking in your muscles will become all too apparent, so start off at ground zero.

You’ve got your family on board.
If you’ve got a partner or family, your demanding training won’t just affect you; your loved ones will feel your mileage too. If your spouse just took a new job with an extra-long commute or your new kindergartner is having adjustment issues, you may want to rethink committing to a big race and just hang at distances you know until things become more stable.

You know what it takes.
Nothing gives you the full spectrum of the race experience like being there. Volunteer at the finish line of the distance you are considering to get a feel for what it’s like from a finisher’s perspective. Ask friends who have completed the distance to share their two cents about what they liked and didn’t like about the training and the race—beyond the medals, of course.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Sail Away to a New Challenge

Are you ready to set sail on a Disney Cruise? Today, we are excited to invite you to join us at the Inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge during the 2015 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna!

This inagurual event will combine any eligible race during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend plus the Disney Castaway Cay 5K during the January 12 sailing from Port Canaveral, FL on the Disney Dream, hosted on Disney Cruise Line's private island, Castaway Cay! Complete both races within the pacing requirements and you'll earn the Inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge Medal in addition to your Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Castaway Cay 5K finisher medals.

Which races are eligible, you ask? Any race that includes a distance of 5K or longer. So, complete the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, or either of the Goofy and Dopey Challenges, and you're eligible to enter the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge!

The race fee will include a race bib, t-shirt, 5k Medal, Challenge Medal and a post race refreshment. There will also be exclusive activities designed for runDisney guests, plus featured menu items and special merchandise, just for the cruise! The entry fee does not, however, include your cruise booking, which will have to be made separately through Disney Cruise Line.

Challenge registration opens Friday, May 23 at Noon ET. Complete details, including registration and booking procedures, are available now on the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event page. We hope to see you sailing away this January during Inaugural Disney Castway Cay Challenge!

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Tara Gidus

8 Benefits of Dried Fruit for Runners

Does dried fruit contain too much sugar? Is it too dense and high calorie for a runner trying to lean up? You may be thinking that dried fruit isn’t nutritious enough to be a part a runner’s diet.  I want to share with you my top 8 reasons for runners to eat dried fruit!

The Why:

  • Quick Energy. Runners need quick digesting carbohydrates before a run to keep energy levels up. Eat a handful dried fruit 30 minutes to an hour before your run. This will top off your tank, giving you the right type of energy to avoid “hitting the wall.”
  • Versatile. You can mix and match them, and eat them so many different ways! Dried fruit can be a “game changer” to any recipe!
  • Portability. Mix dried fruit into a trail mix or make a chicken salad sandwich and take it to work for an easy, portable lunch! Or, simply toss a snack baggies of dried fruit in your purse or gym bag.
  • Convenient and Inexpensive. Dried fruit can be purchased in bulk for a great price. In fact, the USDA ranks raisins as the most economical dried fruit!
  • Nutrition Super Star. Often runners aren’t hungry after a workout. Eating a handful of raisins, dried tart cherries, apricots, or your favorite dried fruit can provide essential nutrients that your body needs after a run.
  • Fat and Cholesterol Free. Too much fat can cause an upset stomach while running. Dried fruit has zero fat, so they won’t give you cramps or make you feel lethargic.
  • Long Lasting. Dried fruit can be kept for much longer than fresh fruit, and they have zero preservatives!  
  • A natural sweet treat! Feel good about indulging in a sweet treat with raisins! Just 1/4 cup provides a whole serving of fruit, making its easy to add flavor and sweetness to any meal or snack.

Dried fruits make a great source of energy for runners!

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Adventures by Disney, Avengers

Vote Now for the Avengers Half Marathon Participant Shirt Design

Runners, Assemble! We need your help to choose a Half Marathon participant shirt worthy of the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. Choose the option that you would like to wear that represents your heroic feats.  There are two mighty options to choose between.

The first shirt design embraces the emotional determination and the pursuit of victory our Heroes face with every challenge. No matter the size of task at hand, our Heroes always manage to find a way to overcome adversary and stand tall in the face of danger.

The second shirt design is a symbol of our Super Heroes advancement in technology. With the help of high-tech mechanics and applied science, future development can be achieved and justice preserved as they strive for the ultimate well-being of mankind.

Vote now on the runDisney Facebook page, and stay tuned to for the reveal of the winning design.

For those runner’s that still want to unleash their inner Super Hero and join in the fun during the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, limited registration is available through Charity Groups and Travel Providers.

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Expedition Everest Challenge

Showing Your runDisney Adventure Side at the Expedition Everest Challenge

Congratulations to all our runners who participated in the Expedition Everest Challenge on Saturday night. Despite the rain, more than 5,000 of you braved the elements and conquered your fears in search of the Yeti. Although several runners dressed up and did their best Yeti impressions, there were no confirmed sightings of the "real" Yeti, and all runners have been accounted for.

Here's a look back at the event. If you didn't get the chance to participate this year, we hope you will join us next year and show your runDisney adventure side.

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Weekend Weather Advisory

The runDisney team would like to welcome you to the Expedition Everest Challenge Weekend. As we make final preparations, we want to remind you of important weather related information.

Potential Inclement Weather Expected Race Day
There is potential for inclement weather on Saturday, May 3. All of the races will be held rain or shine. If there is lightning in the area, the race will either have a delayed start or depending on the intensity of the weather, be cancelled. Delaying or canceling the event is at the discretion of the Event Management team and is for everyone's safety. As a reminder, please review the registration fee and safety policy.

For the most up to date information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

All of us at runDisney hope you have a safe, magical run. See you at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!

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Aurora and Ariel

Princesses runDisney: Aurora & Ariel

With hair of sunshine gold and lips that shame the red rose, princess Aurora a.k.a Sleeping Beauty is our third princess; followed by the princess of the Sea, Ariel, as the Little Mermaid. What was all started with Snow White, then Cinderella has come to the third chapter in our Princesses runDisney blog series.  

Princess Aurora is the beautiful, kind, and shy princess who slept for 100 years, but was then awoken by a kiss from her Prince. To build your Aurora running costume, everything starts with the pink ball gown. You can pair it with white shoulder sash and a crown for the finishing touch.

Ariel, the independent, sometimes rebellious princess mermaid just longs to belong to the human world. To perfect your Ariel running attire, you'll want to start with the purple seashell bikini top. Some sort of green shorts or running skirt can serve as the tail, and, for the ultimate Ariel, bright red hair is a must!

Here is a sampling of some of your costumes, featuring Aurora and Ariel!

Next up? Belle & Jasmine!

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runDisney Mom

The Magic's In The Details

Why runDisney? The Magic’s in the details! Transportation, runner tracking, amazing Sports Enthusiast volunteers, and overall runner support from training to the finish line are just some of the details that seem to magically come together to provide an experience unsurpassed by any other race series. Not to mention the guidance you can receive regarding nutrition, training, and even answers to your questions about the “cation” portion of your racecation- as the runDisney Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, that’s where I come in! 

Transportation: Your carriage awaits! With transportation available to/from all race activities from select Walt Disney World® Resort host hotels, you can be sure you will arrive in time for the ball.... I mean, race. And with accommodations levels to meet every runners’ budget, you should have no trouble finding the perfect castle, or runDisney Travel Package.  

Runner Tracking: Get ready to ChEAR! This is a free service available for each endurance race with a distance of 10k or more. By tracking your favorite runner, you have the ability to ChEAR them on virtually from home, or while spectating along the course--making it much easier to anticipate the moment your runner will come into view.

My next post will feature part II where I will discuss the Sports Enthusiast volunteers, Runner Support Services and runDisney-cation!

Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Another Mother Runner

Adjusting to Warmer Weather

Runners living in the South are already running in shorts and short sleeves—or tutus and tanks—but us Northern runners are just coming out of hibernation from a long, hard winter. Although the buds on the trees and higher temps couldn’t be more welcome, adjusting to running in warmer weather takes a little time and thought.

How to Ease the Transition

  • On that first day when the temperature skyrockets to 70, realize that you might not feel like a spring chicken. Your body is used to running in colder weather—or on the treadmill—and the heat will definitely influence your pace and perceived effort. (Read: You’ll likely go slower and it’ll feel harder.) It generally takes about 10 runs to acclimate to warmer weather, so put yourself in “transition” mentality.
  • If you’re—achoo!—an allergy sufferer, minimize your discomfort by running before the sun comes up or after it goes down; pollen count tends to peak midday. Also, be sure to take your meds before you run. (And if it’s just too much, head for the clean air and the treadmill.)
  • Carry a water bottle on most runs, even if you’re just going out for a few miles and you feel like you might not need it. Better to be hydrated than sorry.
  • Protect your skin, both with sunscreen and sports glide. You’re likely going to expose skin that hasn’t seen the light of day in months, which means it’s susceptible to both sunburn and chafing. Cover all your exposed skin in sunscreen, minus your forehead; a sweat/sunscreen combo dripping into your eyes is pretty unpleasant. (Wear a hat or visor to grab your perspiration from your brow.) Use lube anywhere skin has the potential to rub on skin: between your legs, in your armpits, in/and around a sports bra. Be generous in your application; you won’t regret it.

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Adventures by Disney, Avengers

Run the Avengers Half with Adventures by Disney

If you missed out on registering for the Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend or just want an incredible Southern California vacation, Adventures by Disney has a special, runDisney trip for you! The Southern California: Disney Backstage itinerary is being updated with race entries!

The seven-day, six-night trip includes some amazing, behind-the-scenes opportunities.  You will visit Walt Disney’s apartment above the Fire Station inside Disneyland® Park. You will also take a few guided tours, including Hollywood, the Jim Henson Company Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, The Walt Disney Studios, and the Walt Disney Archives.

And of course, we can't forget the races! Race entries for the Avengers 5K and Half Marathon are included, plus two guided group runs in Hollywood and Huntington Beach. A beachside group dinner in Huntington Beach and tickets to the event weekend’s Pasta in the Park Party help to make this a can’t miss opportunity.

If you choose to take the trip, you will stay at the posh Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and enjoy some special perks, including a 2-day VIP experience at Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park with special Disney's FASTPASS® service, reserved parade seating, VIP viewing of World of Color, and a four-day Park Hopper ticket.

Because of the VIP nature of the experience, only 37 packages will be available. You can view the Southern California Itinerary on, where the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend information will be added soon. If you'd like to talk with someone today about the opportunity, you can also call 1-800-543-0865 for dates, availability and to make reservations.

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Tara Gidus

Bacon, Tomato, and Kale Quesadillas

Love quesadillas but want to make them a tad healthier?  Whole grain tortillas are a delicious and easy source of complex carbohydrates—essential muscle fuel for runners. Kale supplies vitamins A, C, and K and avocado is filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fats that are important ingredients in a runner’s diet.  The protein in the cheese is also essential for rebuilding sore muscles.


  • 4- 10 inch whole grain flour tortillas
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup chopped kale


  1. Spread avocado evenly on each tortilla.
  2. Top each tortilla with with cheese, bacon, kale and tomatoes; fold in half.
  3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  4. Place two quesadillas on heated non-stick grill pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted.
  5. Repeat with remaining quesadillas and cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Princesses runDisney: Cinderella

“A dream is a wish your heart makes…” Our series started with Snow White, but now we move on to the second installment, Cinderella.

Cinderella is perceived by many to be the “leader of the princesses”.  Caring, humble, and a dreamer, Cinderella is most definitely a favorite amongst the runDisney faithful! Princesses who opt for a Cinderella inspired look on race day typically don baby blue in the form of dresses, shorts, skirts, and tutus. The look also often features a headband or tiara… and of course, Prince Charming.

After careful consideration, here are some of our favorite Cinderellas!

Next Up: Chapter 3 - Aurora & Ariel. For the full gallery, check out our Facebook page.

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Anniversary Medal

Goofy Challenge and Wine & Dine Anniversary Medals

Are you looking for a little extra motivation? How about two brand NEW medals! Today, we are excited to reveal the commemorative medals for the 5th Anniversary Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon medal and the 10th Anniversary Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge!

One side of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon medal represents the tradition of past medals and is inspired by Spaceship Earth. Spin it (that's right, it's a spinner!), the other side showcases Chef Mickey on the run! Click the image below to see a larger version.

For the second medal, we are hoping it is just enough to you thinking a little, well, Goofy! The medal features traditional Goofy colors, and also has a spinner in the middle.  One side celebrates the accomplishment of running 13.1 miles on Saturday, and when you spin it, Goofy turns upside down celebrating the last 26.2 miles run on Sunday!

How can you add these incredible medals to your collection? Well, if you aren't already signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, there are limited spaces still available with official Charity Groups and Travel Providers. As for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, registration opens next Tuesday, April 22nd at Noon EST. You can sign up for the email reminder and check out race weekend information now.

So, do you like the new anniversary medals? Tell us what you think on Twitter with the hashtags #GoofyChallenge and #WineDineHalf. And we'll look forward to seeing you at these anniversary races!

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Finish Line Thumbnail


You did it! You trained, you prepared, you ran (or walked) and you crossed the finish line! Whether you run, skip, jump, or soar… everyone crosses the finish line in their own special way. Here at runDisney, we have seen our share of magical celebrations happen at the finish line.

We've seen hugs and kisses. We've seen friends holding hands as they crossed the line together. We've seen the best runners break down as they let their emotions take over. We've seen jumps and leaps and flips and piggy back rides. We've even seen our fair share of princes down on one knee asking to spend the rest of their life with their princess.


After months, or maybe even years, of training, reaching the finish line at a runDisney race can bring out the most incredible reactions. We have enjoyed sharing in these amazing moments with all of our runners over the years! Thank you!

So remember, next time you cross the finish line… make it magical.

For a photo gallery of some special moments at the finish line, be sure to check out our Facebook page!

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Another Mother Runner

Run Like a Mother at runDisney

Our little slice of mother runner mana started with a bright yellow book called Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, released in 2010. Written in a witty, conversational tone—like how girlfriends talk to each other on a run—Run Like a Mother covers everything from race-day periods to pregnancy, hills to husbands.  (In other words, everything that most typical running books don’t.)

The honest words resonated so deeply among women running half-marathons, running after their kids, running to pick up more eggs at the store that an organic, vibrant social media community grew up around the book. The community was so incredible, we gave it a new name: Another Mother Runner. And we gave ourselves a mission: We won’t quit until everywhere you go, you see another mother runner.

These days, Another Mother Runner includes an engaged Facebook page, an active website with weekly giveaways, and a free weekly podcast available on iTunes. We followed up our first yellow book with a vivid orange one entitled Train Like a Mother filled with more motivational advice and make-you-laugh anecdotes, along with nine flexible training plans.

Whether you’re aiming toward your first 5K dressed as Cinderella or crossing your 100th finish line as Mary Poppins—or, um, running a race that might not be covered in pixie dust—we’re thrilled to be here to help your journey. (And to be clear: We’re thrilled to help everybody, whether you have an XX chromosome or not, offspring or not.) In our column on the runDisney blog, we’ll cover everything training tips and life balance, racing strategy and gear necessities.

In the meantime, here’s a little bit about us:

Sarah Bowen Shea

  • Calls home: Portland, Oregon
  • Mom to: 3 kids (including boy-girl twins) + 1 cat
  • Claim to running fame: Completed 10 marathons—with no finish line in sight
  • Get-moving mantra: I am strong.
  • Running must-have: a friend to chat with or a peppy playlist
  • 3 a.m. pre-runDisney race wake-up routine: Listening to Spotify while brushing teeth
  • Fave runDisney race: Tinker Bell Half-Marathon: nearly 5 miles in Disneyland!

Dimity McDowell

  • Calls home: Denver, Colorado
  • Mom to: 2 kids + 1 dog
  • Claim to running fame: Completed one—and only one, thank you—Ironman
  • Get-moving mantra: don’t think; just go.
  • Ideal run: six miles with a friend on a trail. And I don’t trip on anything.
  • 3 a.m. pre-runDisney race wake-up routine: with one eye still closed, eat banana, put on costume laid out the night before, get to the starting line, where the energy of the crowd wakes me up a second time.
  • Best part of a runDisney race: The finish line.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question—nothing is too basic or TMI—you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.

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Bananas- good or bad?

MYTHBUSTER: Bananas ... good or bad?

Are bananas really bad for you? This is a question that I get a lot, and it’s one of those nutrition myths that needs to be evaluated. Many people have heard (or read) that bananas are too high in sugar, which can be fattening. Well I’m here talk to you about why I think every runner should eat a banana every day!

  • Nutrient Dense: Bananas are chock full of vitamins, minerals and good for your plant nutrients that protect health—that’s a whole lot of nutrition for only 100 calories!
  • Replenish electrolytes: Potassium is a main electrolyte lost in sweat, and it’s needed for bone health and for maintaining a normal blood pressure. Bananas are loaded with potassium that can quickly provide help to replenish your electrolytes after a workout.
  • Filling fiber: Bananas are a great source of fiber.  Fiber keeps you fuller for longer so you don’t eat too much as you pick up the mileage.
  • Natural sugar: There is a difference between natural sugar and added sugar, and while bananas do contain sugar, it’s all natural! Replenish your muscles with the natural sugar found in bananas instead of processed and added sugars.
  • Convenient snack: No need to refrigerate. Bananas make a very simple and convenient snack that can be tossed into your purse or gym bag. They even come in their own packaging for easy transport, which makes it easy!
  • Immunity! Did you know bananas are an excellent source of vitamin C? One banana contains 20% of your daily dose of vitamin C which helps to keep your healthy, strong, and avoiding the common cold so you can train harder.

My Favorite Ways to Eat Bananas

  • Keep it plain and simple: One fresh banana, please!
  • Add some protein: Pair sliced bananas to your favorite plain yogurt, or a handful of raw nuts!
  • Freeze bananas and use as a sweetener or addition to your post-workout shake or smoothie!
  • Pair bananas with peanut butter or some dark mini chocolate chips to satisfy your salty & sweet craving!

So for all of you runners out there, grab those running shoes and go bananas!
Questions or comments? Tweet me @DietDivaTara

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.

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Snow White

Princesses runDisney: Snow White

‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall… who was the first of them all?’
We are excited to announce a new blog series entitled “Princesses runDisney” and the first chapter features our very first princess, Snow White!

Costumes are a huge part of runDisney, and why many people find so much fun and magic in our races. Where else can you get the chance to dress up like your favorite characters, princesses, and …Avengers? Some of our favorite costumes over the years have been princess costumes. They allow women and children alike to run in the magic, like they are a part of the fairy tale.

Whether alone or accompanied by her 7 best friends, Snow White is always a mainstay on runDisney courses!  For those princesses who decide to dress like Snow White on race day, its traditionally a yellow bottom, blue top, and red ribbons or full on Snow White costumes complete with the short hair “as black as ebony”!

After careful consideration, here are some of our favorite running Snow Whites!

Next Up: Chapter 2 - Cinderella
For the full gallery, check out our Facebook page.

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runDisney Mom

runDisney welcomes newest edition to the Disney Parks Moms Panel Family

Hello fellow runDisney Fans and Enthusiasts! 
I'm Faith, the new runDisney Specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

My love for Disney Parks was forged in childhood where Disneyland® was my happy-place and my inner magic was sparked. I will never forget seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle for the first time and instantly believing that fairytales and dreams could come true. It's these pixie-dusted memories that make returning for the Disneyland® Half-Marathon Weekend my favorite runDisney endurance event. In addition to Disneyland® experiences, we visit Walt Disney World® several times a year, are Disney Vacation Club Members, and have sailed the high seas with Disney Cruise Line.

Running fan, fitness instructor, on-the-go mom, and Disney frequent flyer! (Every mile is magic, remember?) I'll be your fairy Godmother on all things runDisney, from navigating the Expos to where you can find the best pre-and post-race eats, to how to decide on which runDisney event is right for you. Princess, Everest, Wine and Dine, the choices are endless-but I'll be your guide as you navigate this "race course." Send your questions my way and together, we'll create a magical run-derful runDisney experience!  

Faith is the runDisney specialist on Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!

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Packet Pick-Up

Packet Pick-Up Policy Update

We recently updated the Packet Pick-Up Policy for all runDisney events.  In listening to your feedback after was updated, we understand it has caused travel concerns for some of our upcoming events that were already on sale or sold out. 

To help you plan for these upcoming events and address your concerns around travel, we have delayed the implementation of the new policy for events that are already publicly on-sale.

The original Packet Pick-Up Policy is in effect for the following events, allowing you to pick-up packets for other runners using the appropriate Packet Pick-Up Authorization Form:

The new Packet Pick-Up policy, requiring all runners to pick up their own packets goes into effect starting with the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland® Resort in November.  This policy will also be in place for all runDisney events moving forward.

Thank you for your feedback, and we look forward to seeing you soon at a runDisney race!

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Princess Half Icon

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' Royal Start

We are really excited about our association with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as the new presenting sponsor of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Not only do we share the same goal of encouraging everyone to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, but we both are looking for ways to enhance our runner experience.

And speaking of experiences, the alliance kicked off in royal fashion at the start of the half marathon with CMN Hospitals inviting a real princess to the party, 2014 Miss America Nina Davuluri. The Miss America Organization has a long relationship with CMN Hospitals. Miss America serves as the National Goodwill Ambassadors for the network and spends her year in service advocating for 170 member hospitals, all of which provides life-saving care, equipment and research.

At the start of the half marathon Davuluri took the stage to talk about the great work CMN Hospitals does for kids across North America and to wish runners luck before sending them off to Cinderella Castle. She was also at the finish line to greet runners home. When asked who the real princesses were that morning, she said the ones out on the road running!

For more information on Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, visit
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#SmashTheHalf Avengers Half Marathon Announcement

Runners Assemble: Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

Something feels ... different. There's an electricity in the air; the kind of energy you feel at the starting line of a race. What started with a simple chalk drawing and rumor has grown in anticipation and excitement. The wait is over. A new race weekend is here. But what? Where? When? Watch the video below and ...

... decide if you will answer the call to Assemble! Join the Avengers team of Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Tony Stark for the Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland® Resort November 14-16, 2014. This new race weekend will feature a Half Marathon, 5K and Kids Races, and yes, it will be eligible for the Coast-to-Coast Challenge, bringing a long-awaited Fall event to the West Coast.

Tell us who you'd run as on Twitter, and join us on Facebook for race weekend updates. Most importantly, sign-up for the runDisney email to be notified when registration goes on sale March 25 at Noon ET.

We look forward to watching your team assemble for the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend!


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Weekend Heat Advisory

Jon Hughes, Race Director, and Dr. James Scelfo, Medical Director, would like to welcome you to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. As the runDisney team makes final preparations, we want to remind you of important weather related preparations and information.

Due to warmer weather than anticipated, we encourage all participants to closely monitor their pace and not overextend. This may not be the event to attempt your personal best. We encourage you to be well-hydrated prior to the races and maintain fluid status with alternating water and electrolyte based hydration options throughout your race and entire race weekend. Slow down and ask for assistance at any signs of heat illness. Heed these warnings seriously.

Please review the race program for more details, but as a reminder all medical stations will have the appropriate flag color displayed according to existing heat conditions:

  • GREEN FLAG – Good conditions. Enjoy the event but stay alert.
  • YELLOW FLAG – Less than ideal conditions. Participants with high risk of heat stroke should withdraw.
  • RED FLAG – Potentially dangerous conditions. Heat injury is possible. All participants urged to slow their pace and hydrate adequately.
  • BLACK FLAG – Extreme and dangerous conditions. All participants advised not to compete. Course may be shortened and no times recorded.

All of us at runDisney hope you have a safe, magical run. See you at Epcot®!

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Another Mother Runner

Introducing Another Mother Runner

We are dedicated to looking for new ways to provide amazing experiences for our runners. Not only on race weekends but throughout the year to help you train and prepare for your next event.

With that as a priority, we are pleased to announce our new, exciting relationship with Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell, also known as Another Mother Runner.

Through their books, website and social media platforms, these amazing authors have connected with runners around the world who share a passion for running and are committed to having active lifestyles. "Every mile counts and every runner counts" is a philosophy shared by runDisney and Another Mother Runner and serves as a strong foundation for our relationship.

You can expect weekly blog posts from Sarah and Dimity on the runDisney blog, and they will be featured speakers at future race weekends.

Sarah and Dimity, welcome to our runDisney family. We look forward to your straight forward, sometimes funny, sometimes irreverent approach, and in sharing your experiences and expertise with our runners.


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Tinker Bell Icon

Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K

The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K took runners 6.2 miles through Disneyland® Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and the streets of Anaheim this morning, all en route the the brand new Tinker Bell 10K medal! The characters were out in force, from Haunted Mansion to Buzz Lightyear, the course was packed with entertainment. Along with near perfect running weather, it was an incredible beginning for the new race.


View a complete photo gallery from today's race on Facebook, and watch the video below to live vicariously through the 10,000 runners who joined us this morning. And if you crossed the Finish Line today, congratulations! Be sure to tag your celebration photos with #ShareTheBling and #runDisney on Instagram and Twitter, and we'll share some of our favorites.

(Tinker Bell 10K Medal Photo Credit: Instagram @rundisneygirl)

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Tinker Bell Icon

Never Land Family Fun Run 5K

Runners of all ages made their way to Main Street USA this morning to start the running of the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend with the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K! The 3.1 mile course took first timers and veterans alike through Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park to the Finish Line on Paradise Pier.

Watch a recap of the race below and get ready for our next stop! The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K takes flight at 6 AM tomorrow morning!

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Dream Big and Go For It!

"Dream big and go for it!" That was the advice given by a finisher of the Dopey Challenge on Sunday at the Walt Disney World® Marathon presented by Cigna®, and we couldn't agree more!

Marathoners from across the globe traveled around the World today - Walt Disney World Resort that is! Beginning with fireworks at the start line, runners traveled to Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney Hollywood Studios® and Epcot®.


Fredison Costa beat out Adriano Bastos to claim his third title in four years (and the 10th straight title for Brazil) with an unofficial time of 2:21:39. Angela Brito from Ecuador took the Female title, finishing in 2:47:44. And it was Michael Wardian, pictured above, who was awarded the first ever Dopey Challenge medal. Take a look at the trip they took along with the field of 26,000 runners in the video below.

We hope you are out celebrating your inspirational accomplishments tonight with famliy, friends and fellow runners. The Cool Down Party began just a few minutes ago at Downtown Disney®, with special features just for you. And wherever you are celebrating, be it at Downtown Disney, in one of the Theme Parks, or in the comfort of your living room, share your bling and celebrations with us on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #rundisney and #wdwmarathon. We'll be celebrating with you all night and will share some of our favorites back.

Congratulations on dreaming big, going for it, and reaching the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon!

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The Walt Disney World® Half Marathon

It started with The Conductor himself, Donald Duck, counting down to fireworks, and it ended with our runners crossing the Finish Line of the Walt Disney World® Half Marathon presented by Cigna®.


The 13.1 mile course took our runners from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back, with character photo ops, high school bands, a gospel choir and more to keep them motivated along the way. 2013 Half Marathon winner Mike Morgan defended his title, finishing in 1:09:39. You can find Final Results here.

Familiar faces (Mickey Mouse at the Finish Line) could be found, as well as some old friends, like Launchpad McQuack! You can find photos of Launchpad and more from the race on the runDisney Facebook page.

And if you were one of today's more than 20,000 runners, congratulations! Let's see that bling! Post your photos to Twitter and Instagram with the #WDWHalf race hashtag to share your accomplishments with friends and family. You may even hear from our runDisney team to have your photo shared out on the official Instagram account of runDisney!

As our Goofy Challenge, Dopey Challenge and Marathoners drift off to sleep tonight, we'll leave you with a look back at all of the excitement from this morning at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The Kids Run Disney

Amid the Dopey and Goofy Challenges, the 5K, the 10K, the Half and the Full Marathon, a sea of young aspiring athletes stormed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this week. Not just once. Not twice. But THREE times!

The runDisney Kids Races truly make the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna® a family affair. From the Diaper Dash to the Mickey Mile, your kids got to match their Mom and Dad step-for-step with race bibs, medals, and high fives with Mickey Mouse.

Some find the experience exhausting - running 400M is hard work! Others run to infinity and beyond!

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Minnie Mouse Debuts at the
Walt Disney World® 10K

Minnie Mouse finally had her moment in the spotlight! The 6.2 miles of the Inaugural Walt Disney World® 10K weaved through the roads of Walt Disney World Resort this morning. If you weren't able to join in on the fun, take a look at Minnie's debut and the course in the video below!

Character photo ops included everything from a very strict Green Army Man to Genie, and of course Minnie Mouse herself. Take a look at all of those and more in the race photo gallery on the runDisney Facebook Page, unless you'll be toeing the start line in a few hours! In which case, we wish you a good night's rest for the 13.1 that awaits you in the morning!

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Disney Family Fun Run 5K Recap

We officially kicked off the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna® races today with the Disney Family Fun Run 5K! Whether you were an experienced runner, a first-timer or out in costume with your family, it was a great start to this weekend.

Disney Family Fun Run 5K Recap

In fact, we saw so many incredible costumes and excited runners this morning (including virtually the whole crew from Up along with Mary Poppins, Donald Duck and a Dalmatian or two), we had to share them with you. Take a look at the video below and be sure to see the photo gallery on the runDisney Facebook Page.

For those that are joining us for the Inaugural Dopey Challenge, this was the first of four races on your way to completing the entire challenge! One down and just three more to go! Next up is the Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K, with runners crossing the Start Line at 5:30 AM ET at Epcot®.

Want to see more coverage of Marathon Weekend? Join your fellow runners on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #WDWMarathon, #WDWHalf, #WDW10K, #GoofyChallenge, #DopeyChallenge and #DisneyFunRun5K.

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Carl Savard


The story of Carl Savard, SUBWAY® Commit to Fit™ Ambassador in Canada

It’s finally here! After months of training, Carl Savard is finally at the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon presented by Cigna®. Training for this day has been a long process but we are so excited that Carl, and all of this year’s runners, will be able to take part in what we hope is a magical and memorable event!

Looking back four years ago, Carl would have never thought that he would be here today.

"I have had to push myself harder than ever before to train and strive to be my healthiest self, but it was completely worth it! I'm so happy that I have made it to where I am."

Carl used to believe this would be impossible, but here he is running a full marathon at one of the most magical places in the world!

We are happy to have the chance to share Carl’s experience with you. Training for a marathon is not an easy feat and it helps to have friends to take part in the journey, even if it is from afar. The support and encouragement that Carl has received during this time has been overwhelming, and Carl wants everyone to know that he could not have made it here without them.

Carl does not think that “Thank You” even begins to express how he feels about everyone who has been involved in his journey, but he does thank all of you from the bottom of his heart, and hopes that you continue to follow along as he runs the Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna!

You can check out Carl’s Twitter page or for updated pictures and updates from the run! Catch him if you can!

We can’t wait to celebrate with everyone at the finish line! See you all there!

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Flight Delays:
Race Morning Packet Pick-Up

As of 8:00 p.m. the Disney Health & Fitness Expo has closed for the evening, and we understand that a number of you have had flight delays that prevented you from picking up your race packet for the Disney Family Fun Run 5K and the Walt Disney World® 10K prior the expo closing. To make sure you still have a great race experience, we will be providing race morning packet pick-up for 5K, 10K and Dopey Challenge participants.

Disney Family Fun Run 5K

If your flight into Orlando was delayed by weather and you were not able to attend the Disney Health & Fitness Expo to pick up your 5K or Dopey Challenge packet Wednesday, you will be able to pick up your race number Thursday morning from 4:00 – 5:30 a.m. at the Information Tent at Epcot. Only 5K and Dopey Challenge numbers will be available at this time. 

Walt Disney World 10K

If your flight is delayed into Orlando on Thursday and you are not able to pick up your race packet before the Expo closes at 7:00 p.m., then you will be able to pick up your 10K race number and timing device on Friday morning from 4:00 – 4:45 a.m. at the Information Tent at Epcot.  Only 10K and Dopey Challenge numbers will be available at this time.

You will need to present photo I.D. in order to receive your race number.  If you have pre-printed your waiver, please sign it and bring it with you to expedite this process.  If not, we will have blank waivers you can fill out at the Information Tent. 

Please direct all other inquiries to the Information Booth or Tent throughout race weekend, and be sure to review the Official Event Guide for this weekend's events.

Thank you for your attention to these important updates.  We'll see you at the race!

Jon Hughes Race Director

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Weekend Heat Advisory

Jon Hughes, Race Director, and Dr. James Scelfo, Medical Director, would like to welcome you to the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. As the runDisney team makes final preparations, we want to remind you of important weather related preparations and information.

Due to warmer weather than anticipated, we encourage all participants to closely monitor their pace and not overextend. This may not be the event to attempt your personal best. We encourage you to be well-hydrated prior to the races and maintain fluid status with alternating water and electrolyte based hydration options throughout your race and entire race weekend. Slow down and ask for assistance at any signs of heat illness. Heed these warnings seriously.

Please review the race program for more details, but as a reminder all medical stations will have the appropriate flag color displayed according to existing heat conditions:

  • GREEN FLAG – Good conditions. Enjoy the event but stay alert.
  • YELLOW FLAG – Less than ideal conditions. Participants with high risk of heat stroke should withdraw.
  • RED FLAG – Potentially dangerous conditions. Heat injury is possible. All participants urged to slow their pace and hydrate adequately.
  • BLACK FLAG – Extreme and dangerous conditions. All participants advised not to compete. Course may be shortened and no times recorded.

All of us at runDisney hope you have a safe, magical run. See you at Epcot®!

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Merchandise Preview: Dopey Challenge

With the Inaugural Dopey Challenge right around the corner, what better way to get in the groove than a sneak peak at the swag? That's right, here's a look at the very first Dopey Challenge Shirt. You can proudly wear this shirt after completing the 48.6 miles which include the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon.

Walt Disney World Dumbo Apparel

However, that's not all! Dopey Challenge participants will also receive Champion Women's or Men's cut long-sleeved tech shirts for the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge and the 5K cotton Unisex T-Shirt as well.


Walt Disney World Event Shirtsl

Walt Disney World Dumbo Apparel

For more exclusive coverage and to connect with other runners, be sure to Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Tinker Bell Icon

Tinker Bell Kids Races Time Change

There has been an important time change to the schedule of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend. The runDisney Kids Races, previously scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM PT on Saturday, January 18, have been moved up and will begin one half hour earlier, at 9:30 AM PT.

Please be sure to review the Official Race Program for important race and travel information to provide yourself enough time to travel to the Simba Parking Lot adjacent to Downtown Disney® District and Disney's Paradise Pier® Hotel. The Program has been updated to reflect all of these changes.

We're just 13 days away from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend! For more event coverage and to connect with other runners, be sure Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


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Over the past few months, you've seen sneak previews of designs of the limited edition 2014 New Balance runDisney shoes, featuring Sorcerer Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the New Balance 860 V4 and Goofy and Cinderella on the New Balance 890 V4. Today with the start of the new year and with the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna® just a week away, we are excited to reveal the full designs for the first time!

Want to make them yours? The new shoes will be available only at runDisney Expos, and will first go on sale at Disney's Health & Fitness Expo, January 8-11, during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Follow the steps below to help reduce your wait times and kick off 2014 with these incredible shoes!


To help manage wait times with the very busy Disney's Health & Fitness Expo, you will be able to reserve a time to visit the New Balance booth. To make your reservation, just follow the steps below.

New Balance Purchase Steps

  • Upon arrival at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, visit Champion® Stadium (footprints like the ones above will guide you!)
  • Follow New Balance signs in Champion Stadium to the New Balance Staff
  • Register a reservation time with the New Balance Staff
  • After reserving, you will receive a text message/email confirming your reservation time
  • When your reserved time is almost ready, you will receive a second text message/email directing you to a side entrance door of the Jostens Center
  • At your confirmed time, you will receive a final test message/email to head to the New Balance booth for your new shoes


Prices range from $72 to $125 depending on the model and design of the shoe, and all Guests attending the Expo may purchase up to four shoe liners, four adult shoes and two kid shoes. Unfortunately, when making your reservation time, you cannot reserve a specific model, design or size of shoe, and while shoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis, New Balance has taken steps to have enough shoes on hand to meet the demand.

We are excited to get 2014 and the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna off to an incredible start. For more news and inside views of the New Balance shoes and more, be sure to become a Fan and Follow Us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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Carl Savard


The story of Carl Savard, SUBWAY® Commit to Fit™ Ambassador in Canada

As we discussed in part 1, Carl Savard has now been training for the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon presented by Cigna® for a couple months. According to Carl, “Training for a marathon is something that definitely has its challenges but I’ve come to realize that it’s all about your mindset and perseverance. I keep trying to visualize the finish line on that big day.”  An integral part of what keeps Carl going with his training routine is the feeling of accomplishment he knows he will have when he completes this challenge.

As the weather is changing and the days are growing shorter, Carl has had to adjust his training schedule. Since the Walt Disney World Marathon’s start time is 5:30 a.m., he has adjusted his run times to much earlier than what he is typically used to. It’s important that you train your body at the same time as the race to ensure that it performs at its peak on the big day. With the last leg of Carl’s training happening in the cold Canadian fall and winter, he is most definitely looking forward to running the marathon in the Florida sun!

The story of Carl Savard, SUBWAY® Commit to  Fit™ Ambassador in Canada

Over the past few months, Carl has had the opportunity to partake in some great local runs across Canada. Nothing gets you pumped for a long run like sharing the experience with a great group of people-- which is why Carl can’t wait to run with all the runDisney runners in January!

On October 19th, Carl had a fantastic time when he made a trip out to Winnipeg to take part in a half marathon run. He wanted to get back in the mindset of running with a group. Next on his schedule was the SUBWAY® 10K at Legs for Literacy, in Moncton, New Brunswick on October 27th. Both of these runs were great milestones, paving the way to marathon weekend.

Although Carl faces new training challenges every day, he always keeps a positive attitude with his end goal in sight. We only have a few more months to go until Marathon weekend, and we can’t wait to see Carl and all of you at the finish line!

For more on Carl’s journey, visit!

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The Marathon Bra - Minnie style

The Marathon Bra - Minnie style

Are you a runner who loves adventure? Are you looking to add some magic to your running gear? Today, we are excited to introduce to you the latest innovation in sports bra design from Champion® Athleticwear, the Marathon Bra. This bra provides the support and comfort needed to go the extra miles!

After extensive research and feedback from runDisney participants over the past few years, Champion Athleticwear designed a sleek, stylish, ultra-lightweight version of the Marathon Bra specifically for runDisney! The Minnie Marathon Bra by Champion Athleticwear delivers all the support you need for your longest, most magical runs.

Marathon Bra - Minnie Style

The Minnie Marathon Bra by Champion Athleticwear will be exclusively sold at the Champion Athleticwear booth and with other runDisney merchandise during Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo, January 8-11, during the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®.

Be sure to keep checking for more announcements and race information as we lead up to event weekend!

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Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Minnie anchoring the 2014 New Balance runDisney 860v4 running shoe for adults and kids sizes with race specific shoe lines and shoelace charms have already been announced. What could be better?

How about adding a new shoe model, anchored by two of your favorite Disney characters! The New Balance 890v4 is aimed at those of you looking for a faster experience. Check out the video reveal below for a sneak peek of the shoe and the character designs.

As always, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exciting news and future opportunities, like the full 2014 shoe line-up reveal in early January.

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We know there is a story behind every runner that crosses our finish line. Some of you do it for the Bling. Others, to overcome. Some, for those who can't. We've seen wedding proposals, photobombs, and surprise reunions from runners ages 8 to 80. We watched Kimberly Sheerin, who was told she would never walk again, cross a finish line during the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

You are amazing. You motivate and inspire us each and every race weekend, and this year, we want to tell your story to the world.

So… why do you run Disney? Tell us in a 15-second Instagram video tagged with #WhyIRunDisney and the race you will be running in 2014 (see the list below). We will select one runner for each race, from 5K's to our race weekend Challenges, to be featured in a fully produced runDisney video. If chosen, we will send a crew to your hometown to see what motivates you and capture the magical moments during your race weekend.

Ready to get started? Crews are already filming for the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna®. Instagram your video today!


1. Download/Open the Instagram app.

2. Record a video of you telling your runDisney Story. Why do you runDisney?

3. Upload it to Instagram with two hashtags. Use #WhyIRunDisney and the hashtag of the race you will run in 2014 (see the list below).

4. If selected, a runDisney Cast Member will contact you to discuss next steps for the video shoot.


Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

  • #DopeyChallenge
  • #GoofyChallenge
  • #WDWMarathon
  • #WDWHalf
  • #WDW10K
  • #WDW5K

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend
  • #TinkHalf
  • #Tink10K
  • #Neverland5K

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
  • #PrincessHalf
  • #Enchanted10K
  • #RoyalFamily5K
  • #GlassSlipperChallenge

Expedition Everest Challenge
  • #EverestChallenge

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
  • #DumboDoubleDare
  • #DisneylandHalf
  • #Disneyland10K
  • #Disneyland5K

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend
  • #Tower10Miler
  • #HappyHaunted5K

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
  • #WineDineHalf
  • #JingleJungle5K

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Carl Savard

On the Road to runDisney Part 1- The Challenge

On the Road to runDisney Part 1- The Challenge
The story of Carl Savard, SUBWAY® Commit to Fit™ Ambassador in Canada

When SUBWAY® Restaurants in Canada issued a challenge to Carl Savard: to race in the Walt Disney World® Marathon presented by Cigna, it was a challenge that he couldn't wait to take on! As the SUBWAY® Commit to Fit™ Ambassador, Carl is devoted to showing everyone how rewarding it is to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

Four years and 300 lbs ago, Carl Savard wouldn't have been able to complete this type of challenge."It was then that I began to realize that my kids and my wife deserved a healthier and more energetic 'me'. I also realized that I deserved to be healthier for me. If I wanted to watch my children grow up and achieve their dreams, something had to change," remembers Carl. Carl began to get active and set a fitness goal – to run a marathon. Ten months later, he was down 100 pounds and has kept it off ever since! Sixteen months later, he reached his goal, running in the Ottawa marathon. Since then, he's made a commitment to himself: to be active and healthy and never go back.

The story of Carl Savard, SUBWAY® Commit to  Fit™ Ambassador in Canada

We are thrilled to announce that Carl will be running the 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon in just a few short months with over 26,000 soon-to-be-new friends. Living a healthy lifestyle has allowed Carl to enjoy and see places most people only dream of. Over the last three years, he has explored his beautiful country of Canada, and now he will be making a very special visit to the most magical place on earth.

SUBWAY® Restaurants is helping Carl on his Road to runDisney, by preparing him for the big day. He will be doing training runs across Canada and participating in a special chat on Twitter about his training regimen in November. His journey will also be featured in a four-part video series on that will look at all of the pieces that go into running a marathon. In the meantime, you can learn more about Carl Savard and his journey at
Carl's Road to runDisney has officially begun and we look forward