There was the high of running in Hawai’i and the low of getting sick for my fall marathon. And there was the redemption of a 5K PR after marathon season was over.
If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you can’t win them all. But you can still have fun trying.
This photo of me with my finisher’s medal at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is proof of that. I was sick, failed to run a marathon personal best like I wanted, but still managed to enjoy the race. My smile says it all.
And you know what? When you give a goal your best and fail, it makes the successes even sweeter. I ran 6 of the 13 races either as fun runs or training runs and I ran 7 of the 13 races as races, pushing with everything I had. I managed to PR at three of them, and scored a few PRs in workouts without even trying, too. I’ll save those for my Goals of 2014 post.
Kids and kids at heart at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. (Photo: runDisney)
112 years ago today, a man was born who would have a profound influence on my own life, my family, and millions of other people worldwide. On December 5, 1901 Walt Disney was born in a small house on the northwest side of Chicago. I grew up not too far from there, 30 minutes due west of the city and Walt’s first home.
Walt and Mickey watch over Magic Kingdom in the “Partners” statue. (Photo: Gene Duncan/Walt Disney World News)
So today, Walt’s Birthday, feels like the right time to reflect on why I run Disney.
Why I Run Disney
When I was about 8-years-old—just 30 minutes and 85 years from where the man behind the mouse was born—I promised myself I’d never forget what it felt like to be a kid. I was surrounded by grown-ups who had clearly forgotten.
I don’t remember the inciting incident, but I remember the day clearly.
I was sitting on the grass by the pond next to my house picking dandelions. A grown-up I didn’t know well yelled at me, essentially, for having fun—the kind of fun a kid has on warm spring days, doing cartwheels, singing, playing and like. Maybe I accidentally cartwheeled into her, or maybe I was giggling too loudly. Whatever I’d done, I thought it was innocent child’s play. The grown-up did not.
Her grumpy admonition stung. As I sat sulking, staring at the grass stains on my pants, I promised myself I would never, ever forget how it feels to be a kid.
Joey Fatone at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Photo: Preston Mack/runDisney)
Want to run any of the races at the sold-out Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend from January 8-12, 2014, the sold-out Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland from January 16-19, 2014 or the sold-out Disney Princess Half Marathon on February 23, 2014?
You still can. Here’s the scoop.
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Dream Come True Vacations, one of the official runDisney tour providers, has several openings available for the following races January 8-12, 2014:
Walt Disney World 10k
Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Walt Disney World Marathon
Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
Dopey Challenge Read the rest of this entry →
Minnie, Daisy, Chip and Dale greet runners at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)
Registration is now open for the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, including the new Tinker Bell 10K, from January 16-19, at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Runners can register for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Tinker Bell 10K and Never Land Family Fun Run 5K at runDisney.com.
Kim Smith passes the Cyclone roller coaster on her way to victory at the Brooklyn Half. She ran the race as a half marathon training run. (Photo: NYRR)
Sometimes races aren’t about racing. Toeing the line in competition is exhilarating, but sometimes it’s good to use the occasional race as a training run or fun run, especially during half marathon training.
Kim Smith won the 2013 Brooklyn Half on May 18 in a new course record of 1:11:24. But the three-time Olympian from New Zealand who lives and trains in Providence, RI wasn’t even racing. She ran the half-marathon as a tempo-pace training run, as she told me in pre- and post-race interviews for “NYRR On The Run at the Brooklyn Half.”
“I’m going to treat it as a workout,” Smith told me at the race pre-party the day before.
Indeed, Smith’s half-marathon personal best is 1:07:11, a full four-minutes faster than her finish time in Brooklyn.
“It was a pretty relaxed effort,” Smith said after the race. “I didn’t go all out.”
She said she’s training for the track season and will be back in New York City on Saturday, June 8 to race the Oakley New York Mini 10K, a New York Road Runners event that usually attracts a stellar competitive field. The women-only race boasts a $10,000 prize for first place, and past champions include the legendary Grete Waitz, Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor and World Champions Lornah Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Linet Masai.
Kim Smith breaks the tape at the 2013 Brooklyn Half in course record time, though 4 minutes slower than her personal best. (Photo: NYRR)
I found Smith’s decision to run, but not race, really encouraging. Never mind the fact that not racing for her still might mean winning and scoring a course record. What’s important is that she set-out to do the race as a half marathon training run and did just that.
In my mind, there are three types of races for mid-packers like me: personal record attempts, training runs, and fun runs. Pros and elite runners have a fourth type that will likely elude me my entire running career: running for the win or the podium. Though I did once place in the top 10 women at a small local race, out of 65 ladies. While that will likely be my claim to fame for a long time, the other three types of runs will always have a place in my racing repertoire, especially during half marathon training. Read the rest of this entry →
The Walt Disney World Marathon (Photo: Marathon Foto)
Last week marked the sixth anniversary of my very first running race back in 2007. Last fall, I chronicled how I went from a person who loathed running to someone who loves it. How much do I love it? Over these last six years, I’ve run 53 running races with number 54, the UnitedHealthcare Providence Half Marathon, in one week and numbers 55, 56 and 57 already on the books.
Looking back at six years of racing, it occurred to me that certain races have a special place in my heart. Every runner has that race they look forward to every year, the race they’ve always dreamed of running, the race that moved them in unexpected ways. These are mine.
So without further ado, here are my “Races to Remember,” the running races that left the biggest impressions on me, culled from my six years out there on the road.
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is getting a new 10K and a Glass Slipper Challenge. (Photo: runDisney)
Big news from runDisney! Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend from February 20-23, 2014 at Walt Disney World in Florida is getting the royal treatment with a new Disney Princess Enchanted 10K and a new two-race challenge in the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge. Based on the name alone, I like it already.
Princess Half Glass Slipper Challenge
The Glass Slipper Challenge follows in the footsteps of the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland: runners complete both the new Disney Princess Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday for a total of 19.3 miles. Best of all for Disney bling lovers, runners earn the inaugural Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal in addition to the medals from each event, including a new yet-to-be-announced medal for the 10K. Read the rest of this entry →
There was plenty of faith, trust and Pixie dust on hand at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. The second annual running of the women-focused even saw a new course record, celebrity runners, and nearly 12,000 participants flying across the finish line of the women-focused event.
Angela Escay from Carmichael, Calif., won the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon in a course record time of 1:24:30, besting the 1:27:52 that reigning champ Kellie Nickerson posted in 2012. It was Escay’s first race in three years after undergoing ankle surgery Read the rest of this entry →
Since celebrities are merely people who happen to be famous, it makes sense that some of them would happen to be runners with marathoners among them. Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Reynolds, Will Farrell, Drew Carey, the list of famous folks who have tackled 26.2 or even 13.1 miles is plentiful and includes actors, singers, models, politicians, chefs, writers and other notable folk.
But it seems that regular runners can’t get enough of celebrity runners. Spotting a celebrity on the street or at a restaurant is enough to thrill many fans for a lifetime. But running with them? It takes celeb spotting to a whole new level. And races increasingly advertise the celebrities they have on their roster to entice and inspire runners.
Take the upcoming 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, which includes a half-marathon on Saturday, January 12 and marathon on Sunday, January 13 near Orlando, Florida. The race’s organizer, runDisney, brought comedian and The Price Is Right host Drew Carey and singer and Dancing With The Stars vet Joey Fatone out to greet fans this morning at the Walt Disney World Marathon Meet Up event for about 100 runDisney Twitter followers. Read the rest of this entry →
UPDATE 12/22/13: Last year, I got so giddy about running the Walt Disney World Marathon, that I crafted a “12 Days of Christmas” runDisney style. I even recruited my mom and husband to sing along with me. There was lots of giggling.
Minnie Mouse, Santa Goofy and Mickey Mouse are ready for Christmas. (Photo: Gene Duncan/Walt Disney World)
I tried to incorporate as many runDisney elements as I could. Some of the newer challenges like Dopey and Glass Slipper are missing because they hadn’t been announced yet.
So here is my homage to run Disney Christmas and the Walt Disney World Marathon. In just a few weeks, I’ll be heading to the race again in 2014 to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K and Disney Family Fun Run 5K.
The 12 Days of Run Disney Christmas
The 12 Days of Run Disney Christmas celebrates the spirit of joy that Christmas and Disney bring. For a full list of lyrics, check out my first post on the song: 13.1 Days of Disney Running Christmas. Merry Christmas!
All photos courtesy of runDisney.
I am running in the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend courtesy of runDisney. But as always, all opinions are purely my own. I really do believe in being honest about my experiences and Disney is no exception. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.
The “12 Days of Christmas” was one of my favorite carols growing up.
In honor of the child that lives not-so-deep within me, I’ve crafted the “13.1 Days of Disney Running Christmas.” I love that Disney celebrates the child in all of us, and that Disney running does it while putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!