summer running

Race Review-Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

On October 4th, I did it.  I entered the fifth dimension….I entered….The Twilight Zone.

Source: RunDisney.com

Source: RunDisney.com

I had been looking forward to this race for over a year, the first time I read about it on another blog.  It sounded like so much fun and the medal…well..more on that in just a bit.

My family arrived in Disney on Friday and we immediately went to our resort to check in.  This time we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort.  I will do a review of our Disney experience in a different post, but once I checked in, I also had to go to a different desk in the lobby to check in and get my free mini-golf passes(that’s right, I said FREE mini-golf passes.  With no expiration date…bonus!)  and my Tower of Terror weekend pamphlet.  After that, we headed over to the Wide World of Sports section of Walt Disney World for our packet pick up.

I was concerned as I’ve heard that packet pick up and the expo’s can be very crowded, but this one was so well organized, we could have been in and out in a matter of minutes (and I had to pick up 2 bibs, one for myself and one for my daughter who did the Kids Races).  Kudos to RunDisney for the expo.  As someone who hates crowds, this was a very pleasant surprise.  I took a look around the expo floor at all of the neat runner specific things that they had for purchase, but the highlight for me was to see all of the other RunDisney Medals!  That is right, all of the other medals from upcoming races were on display.  My favorite?  Let’s just say I need to make a trip out to Disneyland for the Avengers race. (my apologies for no pictures, this area was constantly crowded with people wanting a look.  Can’t really blame them!)

On Saturday I tried to nap, but I was too excited and before I knew it…it was time to board the bus!  Funny enough the usual butterflies that accompany me heading to a race were completely absent.  I had made a pact with myself that I was just going to enjoy the experience.  Everyone told me that with a RunDisney race, you can’t worry about your time, so I decided, I would not (note: I did still have a target finish goal in mind, under 2 hours).

Photo credit: My mom

Photo credit: My mom

The bus was a great experience as people were so friendly.  I met three lovely ladies and we chatted about running and what we hoped for from the run.  (To finish was the over-arching theme.)  We got to the waiting area outside of the corrals and what fun!  There was an absolutely fantastic DJ who had moves to every song, so it was like a dance party, warm up, and aerobics class in one.  I know I should have sat and rested my legs but darn it, if I hear a fun song I just half to boogie down.  Apparently, I am not alone.

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

I went to a race and a dance party broke out!

While waiting, I also signed in to the Hollywood Hotel guest registry.  I’ve heard good things about this hotel, especially the elevators.

sign in

The only fault I found with this part of the process?  At 8:30pm (race starts at 10pm), all of the port-o-potties were out of toilet paper and the portable sinks were out of soap and paper towels.  There was no one near to report this to.  Next year I hope they have extra supplies of such essentials, especially for us lady runners!

At 9:15 we loaded into our corrals and walked to the start.  It wasn’t long now…the excitement was overwhelming.  Then, promptly at 10pm we were off!!  I always force myself to slow down at the start of a race, and this one was pretty easy to do just that because it was crowded at the start.  Not “running into others” crowded, but certainly too crowded to sprint out although I saw people doing just that.

I was nervous because I was told not to bring headphones and when I got to the race start everyone was wearing headphones, but honestly, I didn’t need them.  Within a mile there were DJ’s, a character meet and greet (Jafar) and water and powerade.  In fact I could not believe how fast the miles ticked by, it seemed like I had just completed a mile when buzzzz, my Garmin vibrated another mile down.

By far, my most favorite part of the run was when we ran into the Wide World of Sports Complex.  It was a well lit trail that added such a different vibe, I thought it was really fun.  I also LOVED running through the baseball stadium.  People were cheering and screaming, oh it was a blast!  Additionally the volunteers on this part of the course were simply amazing.  They were clapping, had kazoos and clappers and were cheering us on.  They deserved a medal too, in my opinion.

It was also a wide world of sports that I got some super fun pictures.  I had to get a picture when the infamous grave diggers, and surprisingly their line wasn’t that long at all, maybe 5 people in front of me?  I also got a picture with the “zombie tailgaters” who had literally zero line. Then at mile seven I stopped to get a picture with the “corpses”.   Every picture I took I was amazed, the people playing the characters NEVER broke character.  They were all fantastic!

corpse brides zombie tailgaters

 

Once I left Wide World of Sports I knew the end was close.  We ran into Hollywood Studios and they had a DJ who was not only playing music but hilarious.  At this point, I sent a text to my husband letting him know I was on property and had about 2 miles to go.  We ran into the lights motor action speedway and through the back lot.  Then we ran down New York City (so cool!) and around the Mickey hat.  It was here that family and friends were cheering and another amazing DJ was playing music and saying “you got this, you can do it!!”.  It was mile 9 and I can’t lie, I almost starting crying (I get a little emotional when I run).  More twists and turns and then through the seamstress section, which was super neat to see all of the clothes.  They also had a disco ball and music, I felt like breaking out into a dance.  Then a straight away with more amazing volunteers cheering and clapping.

My Garmin buzzed 10 miles…yet I was STILL running!  What the what?  I saw a huge screen ahead that had various race photos, the Twilight Zone music and once I hit that, I turned a corner and there it was…the finish line!!  I high fived Goofy and cross that line in my goal finish time!  Bonus was that unlike my Gasparilla experience my husband actually saw me cross!  As soon as I crossed I got a chill towel (ohhh so nice!) and a snack box.  I also snagged my most awesome medal.  Folks, the elevator moves and the windows glow in the dark.  Yep, coolest medal around!

TOT finish!

Photo Credit: My husband..who waited up until almost midnight to see me cross the finish line.

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

Once my daughter sees this, I will never get it back!

 

Two things about this race that were a bit of an inconvenience:

1. The walk to the bag check to pick up your bag is looooonggg.  For the love of God, I just ran 10 miles, can you make this pick up a little closer?  Also, if you had to pick up your bag, there was no way to tell your loved ones waiting for you where to go.  I wish they would have made that a bit easier.  Lesson learned: I will always tell my family to go to the bag check section or changing tent area to find me.

2. The snack box had all carbs in it.  Almost no protein.  I don’t know if it is just me, but after I run I have got to get some protein into me or else I get a wicked headache (which I had the entire next day).  Lesson learned, next time I will bring a protein shake in my bag check.

I am very bummed to see that RunDisney has elected not to do this race in 2015 (no explanation why), but I hope that this a temporary stoppage.

The Pros:

“Smaller” RunDisney race

Night time course so no hot sun beating down on you

Different terrain breaks up the miles

Wonderful volunteers

Absolutely phenomenal medal and tech shirt (the shirt glows too!)

10 mile distance is a great entry point for someone who wants more of a challenge than a 10k but is not ready for the full half marathon distance

Very cool theme

 

The Cons

That walk to the bag check!  Sweet Jesus.

No ability to meet family right after the finish.  No way to tell them to meet you at bag check vs. party

The fact that family must buy a villains bash ticket to see you finish.  We are annual passholders.  For almost every other race (except for Wine and Dine) my husband could have used his pass to get into the park to see me finish.  But because it was a night race, he had to buy a special ticket.  I am still kind of miffed about that.

There is no Tower of Terror Race scheduled for 2015 😦

 

I loved this race and I want to do it again.  I hope RunDisney does bring it back, and better than ever.  A run through the Magic Kingdom..by the Haunted Mansion ride perhaps?  How amazing would that be?

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Have you run the Tower of Terror 10 miler?  What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.Fun!

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!!

**Yes, I am aware I “borrowed” my headline from the amazing ladies at Another Mother Runner.  Click on the link to see what you are missing…it is a website chock full of great stories, tips and links to their hilarious and amazing books. 

Well, I did it.  My first ever 13.1 mile training run.  It took longer than I wanted and I certainly ached more than I expected during it, but I can no longer ask myself “if” I can complete a half marathon.  Now I know I can.  

4:30am wake up call on Saturday?  Must be a runner!

4:30am wake up call on Saturday? Must be a runner!

VERY early (5:15am) last Saturday morning,  I met up with my running partner and we headed off on long run.  Neither of us had a good running week the prior week.  We were both battling sickness, me a nasty head cold/chest congestion/sore throat thing and she a stomach virus.  So neither of us completed our weekday training runs like we should have.  But, like the troupers all us runners are, we set off on Saturday morning determined to at least get some miles in.

The first couple of miles weren’t hard, but it was darn hot out so we stopped for water breaks almost every mile.  My running partner had more stomach issues during the run so we kept walking for longer than either of us wanted.  With the walk breaks, our legs and feet started aching.  However, that eternal struggle that all distance runners know made us keep going.  We had to get back to where we parked our cars.  So, the last 3 miles we put our headphones in and trudged through.  I kept going until my Garmin read 13.10.  Man oh man was I excited to see that!  Even though my running partner has completed quite a few half marathons and is currently training for a marathon, this was her first 13.1 training run as well.  

We had to get to our cars to take us home...to the food!!

We had to get to our cars to take us home…to the food!!

Source: Runners World

Once we got back to our cars, the aches and pains subsided into joyous elation that we had done it!  We downed a bottle of water each (we had both gone through the 4 8oz water bottles on our hydration belts during our run, summer running in Florida is fun!) and headed home, she munching on a banana, me on my protein shake.  What a way to start the day.

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Product Review-Fitletic Hydration Belt

Good Morning Fellow New Runners!

My hydration belt kept me happy during a super sweaty Florida run!

My hydration belt kept me happy during a super sweaty Florida run!

As some of you may have noticed on my last post, I was wearing a hydration belt.  As a new runner my opinion of these belts ranged from “those things are so silly, why do you need so many little bottles of water?”  to “whoa only those real runners have those belts”.  Once I started running longer distances I realized “holy cow I need one of those things!”

My criteria:

  • Ideally 4 bottles, would love it if I could remove them when I don’t need them
  • Must have Gu loops (I love my Gu.  Don’t know what Gu is?  Check out my post about it here)
  • Must be able to fit my phone (I almost always run with my phone for safety reasons as well as for my music)
  • Most importantly: MUST NOT BOUNCE.  Honestly, I run with my hair in a bun because I can’t even take a piece of hair bouncing on my neck so a hydration belt that bounced even a little bit was simply not going to cut it.

I went to a local running store to check out what they had.  I found lots of belts that had 4 bottles, but none that would fit my phone (Samsung Galaxy).  Then I turned a corner and saw the Fitletic Belts.  The one I saw had two bottles, but I could purchase two more holders and bottles.  It has 2 Gu loops and it fit my phone!  Oh happy day!  But did it bounce?

The first run I only had two bottles on the belt, but I had my phone in the pocket and took off for a six mile run.  Guess what?  It didn’t bounce.  NOT AT ALL.  The belt doesn’t feel heavy and I honestly forget it is there half of the time.

8oz bottles are easy to use!

8oz bottles are easy to use!

I love how easy it is to take the bottles out of the holders, and that they are all so easy to reach.  The bottles also have free flow spouts so water simply squirts out as soon as I press on the bottle.  No messing with spouts or trying to suck water out of the bottle while trying to run (I simply do not have the coordination for that).  I also am very appreciative of the 8oz bottles.  Nothing against the 4oz or 6oz bottles, but for someone who needs to drink lots of water to avoid serious dehydration, the more water, the better.

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Don’t let the picture fool you, the Gu comes out easily!

The Gu loops are also super easy to reach, I can easily pull my Gu out as I am running.  I do wish there were two extra Gu loops for half marathon and marathon training.  The pocket is big enough to fit my phone, my keys to my car and even some extra Gu!  How awesome is that?  There are also handy race bib toggles, so there is no more fiddling with pins!

This pocket actually holds a lot more than you'd think!

This pocket actually holds a lot more than you’d think!

I did purchase the extra two holders and bottles as I knew I would need them eventually.  Now that it is summer, I find myself running with all four bottles, even if I won’t be running that far.  I know that some time during the day, I’ll drink that water.  The cool thing is the bottles and holders are removable so I can put on one my Spibelt if I choose.  The only issue with that being, the extra holders are difficult to add and remove because you have to pull the belt through a small opening in the holder.  In the long run, it is good as this is why the holder and bottle don’t bounce, but seriously, its like a workout in itself to remove or add them.

Bonus: I kinda feel like Batman!

Bonus: I kinda feel like Batman!

In short, I am super happy with my Fitletic Belt!  It holds everything without weighing you down and, as I said in the beginning, doesn’t bounce at all.  This Florida girl loves the larger 8oz bottles that keep me hydrated during my run and the fact that I have four of them so two are full of water and the other two full of Rehydrate.  So don’t think hydration belts are only for “serious runners” they are for us newbies too!  Go check one out, especially if you are a big sweater like me (TMI, I’m sorry), and get the one that works for you.  Then…drink up!

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

**Note: I purchased this belt on my own and like it so much I wanted to write a review.  I was not compensated for my time and the opinions are all mine**