Hi everyone, we are back from our weekend race getaway in Disney World and we will be bringing you a three-part recap of the weekend's events. We will each present you with our weekend highlights while focusing on a specific event. I will start by taking you through the runDisney Expo that we attended on Friday afternoon, then in tomorrow's post Rhoda will share her thoughts on Mickey's Not-So-Scary Hallowe'en Party from Friday night and finally Michelle will take you through the race itself on Wednesday in her review of the Tower of Terror 10-Miler.
We flew into Orlando on Friday morning and hopped on the Magic Express to our Disney resort, Port Orleans - French Quarter.
The resort was really nice and we had a room right by the pool and hot tub…perfect location! As you can probably guess by the name, the theming of the resort was New Orleans/Mardi Gras. This being Disney, New Orleans was obviously interpreted as a place where alligators play jazz instruments. Check in went nice and smooth and we quickly unpacked all of our stuff and set off for the expo.
Since we were staying at a host resort there was a shuttle going out to the expo…it was already out front when we went to catch it, so right on the bus and over to ESPN's Wide World of Sports. Michelle and I are somewhat Disney vets, but we had never been out to WWoS so this was exciting for us to see a new area of Disney World.
I've never run a big race before, so the expos I'm used to attending are pretty rinky-dink. I'm talking 4 or 5 booths of which maybe half have anything remotely to do with running. This was not a rinky-dink expo.
The entire floor was filled with over 30 exhibitors occupying nearly 45,000 square feet. This thing was huge!
We had a few hours to check things out before we had to be back for our dinner reservation, so we went to pick up our bibs and shirts so we could spend the rest of our time browsing.
The girls were on the hunt for some Minnie Mouse-type skirts they could wear as part of their costumes for some other runs and they found what they were after at the Team Sparkle booth.
Some of the other booths that were neat to check out (well for the girls anyways) were Running Skirts, SparkleSkirts and Sweaty Bands.
There wasn't really a whole lot of booths that were aimed at the male demographic (shocking I know), but there were a few out there that I enjoyed checking out. The runDisney booth had all of the medals on display for their upcoming races, including the WDW Marathon Weekend in January that we will be doing, so I got to see the Goofy Challenge medal.
New Balance were well represented and they had special 860v3 runDisney shoes…they were pretty neat, in both men's and women's Mickey and Minnie patterns. I saw quite a few of these shoes throughout the weekend, so they must have sold pretty well.
I did happen to find a t-shirt for Michelle at the One More Mile booth, I'll have to get my order placed in time for Christmas.
Finally, we saw the big countdown backdrop and had to stop for a quick photo op.
There were plenty of things at the expo for runners to do, including seminars with Jeff Galloway and other runDisney representatives, but we had dinner reservations at Kona Cafe that we had to get to. So it was back on the bus to get back to the resort. All in all the expo was worth seeing and quite a bit of fun…but I have to say that I am looking forward to the Chicago expo more as I'm hoping there is more of an actual running focus than a sparkly-running-apparel focus.
Just a quick word on my race experience as Michelle will have a full recap on Wednesday…I set out to just have fun and get one last decent run in before Chicago. Mission accomplished. I had a pace that I wanted to make sure I held too…it was the first time I've ever done I race where I had to tell myself that I would NOT go faster than a certain time…and I was able to finish up right at the pace I planned on. Despite the race being held at 10pm, there was still a heat advisory advisory and the humidity was brutal, especially in costume. I stopped for pictures a couple of times, once with Captain Hook and the other time with these two…
The race was a lot of fun, I ran it nice and easy and I even managed to come in 81st place out of 10,000 people. It wasn't the fastest 10 miles I've ever run by any means, but that was never my goal…despite stopping for a couple photo ops I still managed to finish in 1:13:59. The two biggest items I took from the race were the experience of running in a big race, which will come in handy for Chicago this weekend, as well as how much fun you can have at race when you take the time to just enjoy yourself…I think this is the key to what Disney tries to do with their races, and they do it well. No matter how much some people may have been struggling, it sure seemed like everyone had a great time.
Which Disney character would you stop for a picture with during a race?
Do you enjoy checking out race expos?