Disney has jumped the shark…

Well, they’ve finally done it.  They’ve gone too far.  I knew something like this was bound to happen but I didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

runDisney has made the announcement on the Disney Parks Blog of a new race and a new challenge for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.   The Goofy’s Race and a half Challenge (running both the half and full) has been around since 2006.  At some point along the way runners added the 5K to the mix for an “unofficial” challenge referred to as the Dopey Challenge, since if running a half and full marathon back to back is Goofy than surely running a 5K, half and then full back to back to back had to be “Dopey”.

Well, Disney has now made the Dopey challenge official… with a twist.  They’ve added a 10K to the mix (who’s “host” and medal will be Minnie Mouse) and instead of the Dopey being a 3 race challenge they went ahead and jumped to a four race challenge and made it the 5K, 10K, Half and then Full back to back to back to back.  The haul for this is 6 medals – 5K, 10K, Half, Full, Goofy and Dopey.  You get credit for the Goofy challenge for doing the Dopey, which I imagine is only fair.

I don’t like this for a myriad of reasons.  First, this pushes the 5K to Thursday, which complicated travel plans (and days off for those of us who, ya know, work for a living) and lodging.  If you want to come in on Saturday just to run the Full marathon only on Sunday? HA… good luck. Second, the 5K starts at 6:30AM, and the 10K start at 5:30AM just like the half and the full, so you are looking at four mornings in a row of getting up at 2AM or so to get to the start, even if you are staying on park property.  I don’t see how this is fun.  It was bad enough doing it for one race like I did. Last, it’s a money grab… pure and simple.  I love Disney, I really do, but this goes too far.  How much does it cost for the “honor” of four days of torture.  A cool five Benjamins ($495 until June 18).

This past year I paid $150 to run the half marathon by registering for it as soon as it opened.  This year the opening registration is $160.  Ok, so it’s only $10, what’s the big deal.  The big deal is it goes up every year.  Until they reach the point of diminishing returns (i.e. the price gets so high the race does not sell out) it will continue to go up.  That means in 10 years the Disney half marathon will cost $250.  Think about that. I saw someone who posted on the Half Fanatics facebook page that the Dopey was only $20 more than the combined prices of all four races.  Wait… $20 MORE? You don’t even get a discount for registering for multiple races? Damn the extra medals and the extra shirt, most other places with race combos (like the Flying Pirate or the St Leo’s this year) the price for the double is LESS than the individual prices.

Thinking back to this past year’s race experience I shudder to think what next year will be like.  Almost 60,000 runners between the three races.  The expo was MOBBED even when I went on it’s second day.  The race course was MOBBED or as one of my fellow racers so eloquently put it “We were ass-to-elbow the entire time”.  Adding an extra race and an extra day is only going to make this worse.  Now that the shorter races are part of the challenge, they are going to sell out faster and they are going to fill up with people who are doing the challenge rather than who just want to do only the 5K, or only the 10K.  Will they cap it like the Goofy so that the 5K and 10K are not 100% full of Dopey participants, yes, I’m sure they will, but it will still take a huge chunk out of both of those races. 25%? 50%? Where will they cap it?

I have other Disney races I want to run.  I’d like to run the Disneyland half in California (or even the Tink).  Lisa wants to run the Wine and Dine Half, and I love EPCOT so how can I say no to that, and her and a whole host of her friends want to do the Expedition Everest Challenge.   But, do I want to go back to the circus that the Marathon Weekend has become? Hell no.  Not even close.  You won’t see me there unless Lisa is just dying to run the Half (or the new Minnie Mouse 10K).

I know this will be an unpopular opinion, most people seem to be all “HECK YEAH!” and “BRING IT ON!” but I don’t like it.  That’s just me.  If you wanna go be Dopey for a week and spend $5000 in Central Florida in the off season, go right ahead.


The Disney Experience

The main reason to run one of the runDisney races is of course, it’s at Disney! Whether it’s races, stage shows, rides, movies or evening fireworks Disney puts on a show like no other.  I touched on a few things in my race recap but I wanted to go into more detail about all the stuff involved in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

The Expo

First, you have the expo, stop number one for all Disney racers (required for packet pick up) there’s gear vendors, start speakers, Disney merchandise and of course people…
… lots, and lots of people.

The expo was housed in multiple buildings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on the outskirts of the Disney property.  This was pretty fitting for a race expo a bunch of sports themed buildings.  And they are functional as well, the baseball stadium is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, and one of the expo buildings (Jostens Center) is a basketball arena.

On course entertainment

It wouldn’t be like Disney to let runners hurtle through the parks in dead silence (aside from the cheering crowds) would it? Of course not! First they set off a huge fireworks display (from behind us) at the start of the first corral and then a smaller send-off for each of the following corrals.  Disney had entertainment stops at least one per mile if not more.  There were at least three high school marching bands on the course.  I’m not sure if it was memories of my own high school band days, or just appreciation of live people playing live music at O’dark thirty to “earn” their Disney band trip but running past the marching bands gave me goosebumps.  I clapped and cheered as I went by them trying to show my appreciation.  They had at least 3 DJs on the course, one of whom was set up on the walking path between the family reunion drop-off area and the starting line, who I later saw set up near the end of the course (wasn’t far for him to go).  They had a Reedy Creek firetruck and of course they had large amounts of Cast Members from the hotels and parks to cheer you on all along the race route.

The Characters

The reason we all run Disney races right? Well, most of us anyway.  The character interactions.  I’m going to try to remember all the characters that were along the race course, I apologize if I miss a few and I’ll try to remember them in the order we got to them.

Mickey, Goofy, Donald at the Start (Not a photo op)
Capt Jack and Barbossa (Stopped for picture)
Chip (or Dale) with cars for the Walt Disney Speedway (Petty Experience)
Jack Skelton outside Magic Kingdom
Royal Mickey (or was it Donald? Didn’t really see) behind the Castle
Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) at the exit of the Magic Kingdom (in the backlot)
Mary Poppins in front of the Grand Floridian
Lilo and Stitch outside the Polynesian
Genie from Alladin (didn’t stop, but should have)
Green Army Men (Toy Story) encouraging people up the EPCOT overpass
Stitch solo inside EPCOT (why is he so popular?)
Mickey and Minnie at the finish (but no one taking pictures?)
Donald and Chip and Dale at the Family Reunion area stage

The only thing that disappointed me is some of the more popular characters (and some of the ones I was looking for) were not on the Half Marathon course (the full course of course has more room for characters). I was looking for Tigger to get a picture with (my mom’s favorite) and while Minnie was at the finish (Lisa’s favorite) there was no one there taking pictures, so I was rather disappointed there as well.  Of course I paid less attention to the characters the second half of the course when I was hurting.

Tips for Disney runners

This was only my first Disney race, but a couple things stuck out at me that would be good ideas for future races.

Stay on park property: I’d recommend this anytime you are going to Disney, but for sure on race day.  The buses will take you to and from the expo and also to and from the race Start/Finish.  You don’t have to worry about driving or parking.  After the race finish you will likely have to wait a while to snag a bus back to the hotel, but the higher volume value resorts had more buses running than the deluxe resort we stayed in.

Come to the start alone: My mom and dad came with me to the starting line area, which I really appreciated it, but there was nothing for them to do, the place was a ZOO and no one really knew what was going on, not even the official “Ask me” people.  There was some spectator area a little after the start, but not much and it wasn’t very easy to get to, so (for the sake of their health and sanity) let them sleep in a couple hours and just meet you at the Magic Kingdom.

Pack for any weather: Assuming you are traveling to Disney from a ways off, make sure to pack for ANY weather.  Apparently January in Florida is very unpredictable.  It averages in the 40s and 50s, but 3 years ago it was 17 degrees and snow/rain/sleet mix at the start, and this year it was downright ROASTING in the 80s.

HAVE FUN!!!!: First and foremost, forget times and PRs and “racing” just have fun, take pictures, stop with the characters and enjoy Disney!


Walt Disney World Half Marathon – January 12, 2013

The Disney half marathon is a race I had been looking forward to for a long time.  Even before I could run 3 miles I wanted to run Disney, even though at that time 13 miles was an impossible distance.  It was supposed to be the race of a lifetime, and it was that, but not without a few headaches.

First off I want to thank my parents for setting this up.  They booked the hotel room with their vacation club and paid for my race registration so I could run it this year instead of waiting for 2014 or 2015.  Then they invited my brother and sister and their significant others for a mini family vacation.  Thanks guys!

Race morning alarm clock went off at 2:30 AM on Saturday morning.  The race started at 5:30 (To be finished before the parks opened of course) and the buses from the resort to the start line area only ran from 3-4AM so we had to be out there about 3:30 to make sure we didn’t miss the bus.  We got on the bus and then got dropped off at the starting line area and that’s when the first of the headaches popped up.  The family reunion area where the buses dropped us off was a MADHOUSE and no one had any clue what was going on, not even the volunteers with the ASK ME vests on.  Throngs of people milling around without any idea where to go or what to do.  We sort of deduced on our own that I was supposed to go through the bag check area and somehow make my way to the start line.  So I left Mom and Dad at the family reunion area so they could make their way to the Magic Kingdom and I headed out.


Immediately past the bag checks was a huge line of PortaJons, which was nice, but the lines were so long it clogged up the whole area and blocked those of us who didn’t need to use the bathroom from getting to where we needed to go. The “20 minute walk to the start line” was more like 30 minutes because of all the congestion.  I finally  made my way to the starting area and found the corrals which were out in the middle of nowhere in a backlot area on Overpass road.  It was about 4:30 so I sat down on the ground, knowing I had an hour-plus to kill.  The first corral would go out at 5:30 but I was in the 5th corral.

The first corral starts and there’s huge fireworks (set off from the overpass behind us, whether that was meant as a surprise or was just a convenient place to shoot them from) and we were off! They continued to send the corrals off at 7 minute intervals and we set off from Corral E at 6:03AM.  We headed out in the dark road, and while there was a little bit of road side spectator space there wasn’t a whole lot and it wasn’t terribly easy to get to, so note for future races, send the runner to the start alone, there’s no need for spectators to come to the start area.

In true Disney fashion we encountered entertainment fairly early on the course, there was a local high school marching band playing before we hit mile 1 and since it was hotter than normal for that time of year, they also had the first water stop very early around 0.8 miles instead of the traditional 1.5-2 miles for the first stop, so well planned (or last minute change) by Disney.  It was also at this point between miles 1 and 2 that we started seeing the wheelchair racers coming back to the finish.  They started first, so they had a 35 minute head start on us, but that was still AMAZING they they were zooming past 10 miles on the other side of the road and heading for the finish!

A little after mile 2 we came across a giant pirate ship in the median with Capt Jack and Capt Barbossa! Pirates of the Caribbean is my absolute favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom so I HAD to stop.  And the guy they have doing Capt Jack looked so much like Johnny Depp it was uncanny.  Capt Jack was not originally in the ride, but I love the movies as well, so that was a must stop.


After the Pirate excursion we headed down World drive to the “Entrance” to the Magic Kingdom.  We ran through the gates and the Cast Members there told us “Welcome to Magic Kingdom” but that was a bit of a misnomer since we still had about 3 miles to go before we actually entered on to Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.  We ran along the parking lot roads and around the edge of the Walt Disney World Speedway as we weaved our way to the park.  As we ran in front of the Contemporary resort we got to one of the many choke points on the course.  The road had one lane for runners and one lane for car/bus traffic and it was really really cramped in this section, we also had a pretty major down hill as we went under a waterway “overpass” and then a pretty good climb on the other side.  This route was not exactly flat.  We had a turn around point right at mile 4 in front of Space Mountain (on the outside of the park) and then we looped down into an employee entrance to the park on our way to Main Street USA.

I entered Main Street USA and immediately in front of me I saw my brother Brian and his fiance Melanie who shouted and waved and then point to my left to where my Mom, Dad and sister were standing a few yards away. I jumped off the course (nearly tripping on the sidewalk curb) to say hello and have a few quick words.  The girl standing next to them was reaching her arm out and straining across the rope, so I made sure to give her a high five as I ran off and then further down the course to high five Brian and Melanie as I made my way back down the course.  We then looped around through Tomorrowland to make our way around to the back of the Castle and then in through the back and out the front.  Some people in front of us apparently decided to stop and pose at the entrance of the tunnel (despite the photographer sitting there yelling “KEEP MOVING”) as we came to a screeching halt inside the tunnel for just a second before we lurched forward again.  At the bottom of the looping ramp there was a photo op there with Castle in the background with very short lines since they smartly had 5 photographers stationed there.  I was still feeling good at this point so I stopped for a photo.


I was still feeling pretty good at this point but things were about to start going South in a hurry.  We ducked down through Frontierland past the Country Bear Jamboree and Splash Mountain before we ducked back into the backlot behind Magic Kingdom and back out onto one of the resort roads.  We cruised along again elbow to elbow as we were funneled into one lane to allow for some car traffic as it was getting close to time for the parks to start opening.  I had felt a few twinges in my knee as it would start to get sore, but the picture stops, bathroom stop, traffic jams that forced walking etc would give it a chance to rest and then I would feel OK again.  Between mile 7 and 8 it started hurting pretty bad and I tried my best to soldier on (like the fireman near me in full turnout gear) but then between mile 8 and 9 I had to stop and walk to give it a rest.  When I tried to start running again I would make it about 3 steps before a sharp stabbing pain in my knee stopped me in my tracks.  I was done running this race, I would have to walk to the end if I was going to make it.

At this point I just wanted to be done.  The characters and ambiance didn’t mean anything anymore.  I knew full well I had a 4 mile walk to the finish line.  We continued down World Drive (back past the Pirate ship), until we got to the overpass to take us back to Epcot, and I had heard about this cloverleaf loop as being the “major hill” on the course, and I would have walked it if I needed too if I was still in running shape, but of course at this point I had no choice.  We bypassed the main Epcot gate and headed back out towards where the starting corrals had been before we did a quick U-turn and headed back towards the Globe.  The announcers were calling out where people were from as they turned the corner and as I got there, no one else was around and they hadn’t called a state in a few seconds so I threw out North Carolina, to which the announcer added “a Tarheel” which of course I did not tell him to say, but funny enough a few minutes later someone behind me must have heard that because then he called out “NC STATE”.  I hate that he had to jack me up that way, but I’m glad NC State ended up getting a shout-out.

For a while it was OK for me to walk and only painful for me to run, but at this point about mile 12 it was painful even for me to walk and I’m sure I was limping as I made my way into the park under the Spaceship Earth globe and into Future World.


I can’t tell if I’m just breathing heavy or if I’m actually groaning in this picture (which I was doing quite often) but whatever it is, it’s not exactly pretty.  I don’t believe I’ll be buying a copy of this picture.


This picture on the other hand, I did actually see the photographer and smile and pose so this one is not so bad.  Other than being obviously walking at this point it’s OK.

We turned around at the lake and headed back to the other side of the globe and then out to the parking lot and what do I spy? THE FINISH LINE. Oh my goodness… I made it.  I’m a little shocked and stunned at this point but I actually made it.  I made a beeline for the medical tent after I got my medal and  got some ice for my knee but the girl wrapped it so tight it hurt worse with it on there, so I had to take it off and just hold it in my hand. I managed a weak smile for the finishers photo.


Don’t ask me how, but somehow I had done it.  I had finished.  I survived the Walt Disney World half marathon.

If I’ve got one major beef with the WDW half it’s the finish line area.  It was a DISASTER. They had water and Powerade as you were getting shuttled down the finishers chute (which I couldn’t grab as I was trying to hold the bag of ice on my knee) and when you got out into the family reunion area they had NOTHING.  They had soda, beer and champagne you could BUY but no water. In 85 degree heat. NO WATER.  I took advantage of every stop on the course to get water and had walked the last four miles, so I was fine but I can imagine this caused some problems to some people.  The food was also non-existent.  They handed out a prepacked box with some trail mix, whole grain crackers, cheese spread (really?) a tiny block of chocolate and a half size Clif bar.  I ate the trail mix and the chocolate but the rest looked inedible.  I also had a squishy banana that had been sitting out in the sun and was hot and mushy but I ate it anyway.  Really Disney? I’m sure you can do better than this.  Then the lines for the buses back to the hotels stretched all the way back to the Globe (nearly) and the line attendants holding signs knew which resorts their bus went to (printed on the sign) but had NO clue what line was for the other buses.  I stumbled around until I found the line for the Wilderness Lodge bus and then had to wait for a long time as every bus number EXCEPT ours came and went multiple times as we waited for ours to show up.

Finally the bus came and I held the ice on my knee the whole way home until basically my knee was numb, which of course meant when I got off the bus at the hotel all of a sudden I couldn’t walk.  I stumbled to the room, at which point my knee started to loosen up a little, took a hot shower (after which I felt just fine) put on my knee brace and was ready to hit the park.  Since it was my favorite park, I requested EPCOT and we had lunch reservations at the German Biergarten which was delicious (and no guilt after burning 1900 calories).

After that I stayed at EPCOT with my sister until they set off the fireworks and they kicked us out.  A fantastic finish to a not so great race day.


2012 Year in Review

I’m publishing my Year in Review a couple days early this year since I’m going to be busy this weekend through New Years and may not get a chance to publish before then.  2012 was an amazing year as I grabbed the bull by the horns with both my running and my weight loss and made some dramatic changes in my life.  It will be a year I won’t soon forget.


2012 was certainly the year of the race.  This year I completed 15 races including 6 5Ks (3.1 miles), 1 trail 5K, 2 8Ks (5 miles), 3 10Ks (6.2 miles) and my first 3 half marathons (13.1 miles).  If you want to check out the recaps of these races with pictures you can click the Races tab at the top of the page which will take you to the race recap page.  Here’s the list in Chronological order of what I accomplished this year on the race circuit.

Jan 1 (Midnight) – Running the Lights 5K -Clemmons, NC
Feb 4 – Winter Flight 8K – Salisbury, NC (First race longer than 5K)
Feb 18 – Fitness, Friendship and Fun 5K – Kannapolis, NC
March 4 – Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon – NO, LA (First Half Marathon)
March 17 – St. Leo’s 10K – Winston Salem, NC
April 28 – Law Enforcement Memorial 5K – Winston Salem, NC
May 12 – Shelton Vineyards Running the Vines 10K – Dobson, NC
May 26 – Spring Folly 5K – Kernersville, NC
June 16 – Rhythm and Run 5K – Kannapolis, NC
July 21 – Beat the Heat 5K – Winston Salem, NC
Aug 4 – Vineyard Stomp Trail 5K – Stoney Knoll Vineyards – Dobson, NC
Sept 15 – Run 4 the Greenway 8K – Greensboro, NC
Oct 20 – RHABA Fast and Flat 10K – Rural Hall, NC
Nov 4 – Rex Healthcare (City of Oaks) Half Marathon – Raleigh, NC
Dec 1 – Mistletoe Half Marathon – Winston Salem, NC

All this came on the heels of only running one race (a 5K) in 2011.  The race bug bit me and bit me hard.

Along with all these races was a whole lot of training mileage.  I logged about 100 miles of training for each of my three half marathons, as well as maintenance mileage to just keep me going.  Keeping a new race on the horizon, even a short one like a 5K, made sure that I could not stop what I was doing and to push me onward.  I set a goal for myself this year of 732 miles (2 miles per day X 366 days).  I’m not going to reach that, my injury riddled December knocking my mileage down to almost zero, but I’m going to get pretty damn close.  Depending on what kind of mileage I get this weekend, I should hit somewhere between 690-700 miles.  This is an astonishing increase after only logging 115 miles in 2011 (Granted, it was only from Aug-Dec).  I don’t know what my goal for 2013 will be, probably not a number/mile goal. Maybe a race goal.  3 more Half Marathons.  More than 3? We’ll have to see.

Weight Loss:

Of course the purpose of all this running was to lose weight.  Although, I got to the point where I enjoyed it and it was no longer a chore.  I also had to adjust my eating habits, which I began in the later part of 2011 when I joined MyFitnessPal in October.

On Jan 6, 2012, my first weigh-in of the new year, I weighed 282.2 pounds.  This matched the weight I had achieved before joining MFP and before gaining back 20 pounds to 302.  This, at that time, was my lowest adult weight.  I had been over 300 pounds dating all the way back to High School.

This past Sunday (Dec 23rd) I weighed in at 237.4 pounds.  That’s a loss (for the year) of 44.8 pounds.  That’s an average of 0.86 pounds a week.  This is much less than the “2 pounds a week” MFP proclaims you can lose using their calorie counting system, but it’s also nothing to sneeze at.

From my highest weight of 355 pounds in the fall/winter of 2009, I have lost a mind boggling 118 pounds. This continues to astonish me.

Fitness Endeavors:

Along with running I’ve picked up a few other fitness related items based on the availability at the YMCA of which I am a member.

I started practicing Yoga in December of last year at the insistence of several of my running friends (notably, all female) who swore by it for the stretching which is vital for preventing injuries.  I’ve now been practicing for a year, and I’ve noticed huge differences in my flexability, but Yoga has also been an amazing stress release and taught me to control my thoughts, control my breath and calm myself when things get crazy.  The deep breathing exercises (similar to the ones we used to do in marching band) has also greatly increased my lung capacity and endurance.  I barely breath heavy at all when I run anymore, much less the frantic huffing and puffing I used to do when I first started.

If Yoga exposed a weakness, so to speak, it was a lack of upper body strength.  I struggled with what are supposed to be some of the easier poses like Downward Facing Dog, and Plank.  I don’t remember exactly when I started, but I began a once a week, light weight lifting routine using the weight machines at the Y.  I’ve noticed a marked change in my arms, shoulders, neck and chest.  I’ve also noticed recently, that while it did take a while to see a result, I now can hold poses like Down Dog longer than I used to be able to, so definite progress there!

One of my friends from Yoga class nagged me for a while (in a good way) and convinced me to finally come to a spin class with her.  I had done spinning once at my old Y and absolutely hated it, and was hesitant to try it again.  I finally gave in and started it around April, after my first half marathon training was complete and I had time for some cross-training.  The spin class at my new Y is the Les Miles RPM class which uses an enthusiastic instructor and loud music to rev you up and give you a “beat” to follow.  I fell in love right away, and even though the class completely whipped me, I loved every minute of it and have continued to come back for more “punishment” weekly.


After getting over the nervousness of group exercise classes and embracing the social aspect of gym life, as well as the social aspect of fitness websites DailyMile and MyFitnessPal, I’ve been able to break out of my shell and become much more social than I’ve ever been in my life, including joining the local running club, the Twin City Track Club.  A large part of this shift is also the increased confidence in myself from losing weight and becoming more physically (and mentally) fit.

Big shout out to my old friends Tim and Amanda (who got me into running and got me on MFP), and to my new friends Jen (my first running buddy), Cathy (who dragged me from Yoga to spin), Heather (who cheered me on in New Orleans), The running family of Landis’s Kathi, Brian, Briana and Caramia (who are always open for dinner and a run anytime I’m in Kannapolis), Lisa (who shares my love of running and all things Disney) Rob, Robert, Jill, Emily, Steve, Carmen, Lesha, Hernan and everyone else in the Twin City Track Club.

And thank you to all you out there who read my blog, whether I know you or not, have met you or not, you keep me going with your encouragement!


I was hesitant to mention this on the blog, but it is relevant.  Some of you who have read my blog for a while know I was married, with several references to my wife, her family and particularly the painful death of my father-in-law that marred my 2010 year in review.  My wife and I are no longer together having separated in September of 2011 and after the required one year waiting period our divorce was finalized in November of this year.

I mention this for two reasons… the first is that her leaving me (she literally walked out, came home from work one day and she was gone, despite the fact that I knew she was leaving, it was still sudden) was the spark that started this whole snowball rolling.  I realized after years of trying to help and “fix” other people I had neglected myself to the point of serious unhealthiness.  I decided to take care of ME before I started worrying about others.  I joined MFP, took up my running again which had fallen by the wayside, and started this journey to where I am now.  I’m not ashamed to say that a little bit of “How do you like me now?” is the flame that burns for my motivation to keep going.

The second reason is that for those of you who did know I was married, or thought perhaps I still was, I didn’t want there to be any confusion or scandal when in the next couple of days I introduce you all to my new girlfriend.  She’s coming to visit me and run a race with me on New Years (same midnight race as last year) so I’m sure she will be making her blog debut shortly.

Looking Ahead:

2013 looks to get started the same was 2012 did with the midnight New Years race, so hopefully that will be a sign of good things to come as I follow on the heels of this amazing 2012.  I still have some work to do, and a little bit of weight still to lose.  I’m also going to be running my 4th Half Marathon, in Disney in January which I’m very excited.  There’s also another fairly exciting adventure in the works for 2013 but you’ll just have to stay tuned for that.

Happy New Year!

It’s Official!!

Thanks to the generosity of my parents, who sent me the money to register both as a reward for my hard work and also as an incentive to keep going, I have registered for one of my premier “Destination Races”, #1 on the “Must Run List”, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January of 2013.

Ever since I took up running 3 years ago, I’ve wanted to run Disney.  Even when I was struggling to run/walk 7 tenths of a mile and was not thinking about anything longer than a 5K much less anything remotely close to half marathon distance, I wanted to “someday” run Disney.  Well.. Someday will be January 12, 2013 thanks to my parents.  And my brother and sister and their SO’s are coming down too for a family Disney weekend and it’s gonna be AWESOME!

Stay tuned for pre-race details as it gets closer, and of course what will surely be an epic, picture filled race recap!

You can check out the Disney Marathon/Half Marathon weekend here at runDisney.

Destination Races

I’m no where near ready to run a marathon or even a half marathon, but when I am ready I already have a few that are on my list.  Little did I know before I started running that there are races everywhere every weekend (just check Active.com).  North Carolina even has 3 big marathons, City of Oaks in Raleigh, Thunderroad in Charlotte and the North Carolina Marathon in High Point.  Some of the events I’ve found since I started looking for races just look so cool that half of the fun must be just the locations.  Here’s a few that I’m looking forward too.

Disney Marathon:

I grew up in a Disney family.  I’ve been to the parks 8 to 10 times growing up.  My wife and I honeymooned there.  We are already planning a trip for 5 years from now that will include all of her family (in laws, brother, aunt, kids etc).  I first saw this race as a video on someones blog and they recorded as they were running through Cinderella’s castle.  I can’t find that video, but here is a recap of the marathon from Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point that has some awesome pictures: Recap This is a must run race for me.  I can’t think of a more awesome race.  I plan on running in 2012.  Probably the Half, but maybe just maybe the full.

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon:

I just learned about this race from my friend Amanda and it immediately jumped to the top of the list.  I won’t be ready for it this year (November) but hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll be able to do this one.  I am a huge Civil War buff and Reenactor.  Visiting battlefields is always a joy (my wife and I got married in Gettysburg) but Chickamauga has been on my list for a “must-visit” for a while.  My great great grandfather and his brother (my great great great uncle) fought at Chickamauga as members of Battery C of the 3rd South Carolina Palmetto Battery.    Ironically, I joined my current reenacting unit (1st North Carolina Artillery) before I learned my ancestors were Confederate Artillerymen.  I guess it’s in my blood.

New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon:

Two summer’s ago I went to New Orleans for a food industry conference.  Even though I was there as a student for “work” (research presentation and job hunting) rather than “pleasure” I still managed to have a great time and I can’t wait to go back.  Food, music and intense pride.. New Orleans has it all.  Even as they still clean up and recover from Katrina, they know how to have a party.  Watch the video from the link above and tell me that doesn’t look fun? 2010 was the first year of this event but I’m sure it will be around for a good while.

Of course you always have the granddaddies of them all.  New York and Boston.

What’s your “must run” race?

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.