“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” - Walt Disney

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recap: runDisney Meet Up & Eat Up

Hi all!  It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but I'm back!  Some of you already know this, but for those that don't - the Friday morning before the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at DisneyWorld two weeks ago, I was one of 25 runners chosen to be part of the runDisney Meet Up & Eat Up!!! (click on the link to read the whole description of the event).  So exciting!!!

I experienced some pretty serious travel delays on the way to Orlando (my flight was supposed to land at 9pm Thursday night, but actually didn't land until 4:45am on Friday morning) and I ended up only getting about 20 minutes worth of sleep (I don't sleep on planes).  I even had to change into my running clothes in the airplane bathroom (wow, was that an experience!) Fueled by pure excitement and adrenaline, plus a little airport Starbucks coffee and a mini Clif bar, I was ready to go when the group - including some awesome ROTErs - met up at WWoS at 7am!

First up on the agenda was a running clinic with Olympic Track Coach Brooks Johnson.  This guy was awesome!  He had a great mix of knowledge and humor, and after a short lesson on basic running mechanics, he led us in a few quick speed workouts.  So neat!
Brooks Johnson leading the group in some speed workouts at dawn.

After the speed workouts, it was time to meet last year's race winners.  They had a short Q&A session where they answered people's questions about the race course, race prep, and race strategies.  It was neat to get to hear all that info from an "elite" runner's perspective!

Then, finally, it was time to talk to, and run with, Jeff Galloway (my personal running guru).  He gave a mini bio of himself and his running background, including how he developed his run/walk method.   He, also, had a quick Q&A session and then we started off on our 2 mile run that the runDisney people had planned a trail run (which I wish I'd known about earlier so I could pack a pair of my older shoes, but oh well) through the WWoS complex.  We split into two groups - the "straight running" group with no walk breaks, and Jeff's group which would incorporate walk breaks.  My BFF and I joined Jeff's group, and he set the pace at a 30:30 run:walk interval, which is a very comfortable ratio for us.  All through the run, our group was picking Jeff's brain - asking all the questions we could think of - it was really awesome to have that kind of one-on-one interaction with him!  We finished the run back at the WWoS track, with right at a 13mm pace for the 2 miles.

Me with Jeff Galloway after the run!
Group run/walking with Jeff Galloway.

After the run it was time...to eat!  We moved inside for an interactive cooking demonstration with Disney Chef Gary Jones and Chef Mickey!  My BFF was even picked to help make the breakfast and got some up-close-and-personal time with The Mouse himself!
My BFF and me with Chef Mickey!

After we enjoyed our breakfast, we got to hear from the director of runDisney.  He talked about a possible 4th race at DisneyWorld, another possible race at DisneyLand ("depending on how Tinkerbell goes") and the VERY exciting possibility of expanding the runDisney series to include an international race at one of their non-U.S. resorts!!!  Super exciting!!!  Finally, it was time for a group picture (notice I was able to get right in there next to Mickey...  ;o)   ).

Whole group with Jeff, Chef Gary, and Chef Mickey!

All too soon the Meet Up & Eat Up was officially over.  We were each given a runDisney goody bag with a Tshirt, and a WWoS backpack.  Then they took us over to the Expo so we could pick up our packets early and get a little shopping in before the crowds hit.  After a spin around the Expo, we headed back to our room to shower and get cleaned up (fortunately my BFF had requested a late checkout, so we had some time) before the rest of our friends & family arrived.  This was such an amazing experience - I am so glad I got to participate!!!

Meet Up & Eat Up Stats:
  • 2.00 mi run; 0:26:11; 13:05mm avg. pace