Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cocoa Beach

Thanks again to everyone who participated in my 5k. I loved reading about your experiences and hope to host another one soon! I've had a ton of work to do with school and I just got some wonderful news a couple of days ago (if everything works out I'll be sharing soon!) so I'll keep this post pretty short. 

As I mentioned before, we went to cocoa beach for spring break and it was a blast. I tried to stay active on the trip. I got a few runs in and tons of walking, so I felt pretty good about that goal. What was really cool, was seeing my family get excited to go exercise. 

My family is very close, and all though we sometimes drive each other insane, we try really hard to do a lot of fun things together while were on vacation. One of the best parts about the trip, for me, was seeing my family interact with my boyfriend. Mr. Perfect's been with me for a long time, so he's practically part of the family. (We've been dating since my sister was 12!). He's been on a few family vacations now, but he never ceases to entertain my family. I'm kind of shy, and he's one hundred percent my opposite, and keeps everyone smiling. 
At dinner

See what I mean?
One of our family traditions, when we stay in a house rather than a hotel, is that each couple makes dinner one night of the trip. Mr. Perfect and I love to cook, so our only problems were deciding what to make. We ended up having some amazing grilled fish (that my sister caught!), crab fritters with homemade sauce (like a cross between conch fritters and crab cakes), some pasta on the side, and for dessert my famous chocolate covered strawberries. 
Don't touch the strawberries
Making Crab Fritters

We also spent a day at Disney, while Mr.Perfect and my dad stayed home to nurse their injuries (dad hurt his knee, Mr.P pulled a muscle). It was a blast, as usual, but we missed the boys. After that the week started winding down and my brother decided we needed to have a sandcastle competition. We all started out really excited, but ended up ditching most of our efforts to go play in the water. However, I'd have to say my sand sculpture was pretty awesome, don't you think?
My inhaler sand sculpture
Finally, it was time to come home, but the airlines had other ideas. Our plane was delayed FOUR days, so we stayed in a little airport hotel and enjoyed more time by the pool together. Despite the fact that we needed to get home, we had fun hanging out in the sun a little more and made the best of it. Mr. Perfect even played the piano some for us.

What a keeper
This vacation really reinforced how much my life has changed in just a few short months. Last semester my asthma was terrible and I was in a major slump emotionally from it. If we had gone on vacation the, it would've been very different and much less fun. Now, I feel good physically and emotionally. Everything is more fun when you can breathe :) 

How do you stay active on vacation? 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wheezy Virtual 5k Race Recap

First let me say I am so proud of everyone who ran this race! Thank you all for helping to keep me active. Here are my finishers:

  1. Tiina from One Crazy Penguin ran it in 29:38
  2. Drew at Off the Page ran it in 30:00 (her first race ever!)
  3. Amanda at The Turtle Won ran it in 30:29 and check out her rockin pic below!
  4. Karen at Just Me and My Running Shoes ran it in 32:00
  5. Kayla at Running through Life ran it in 32:00
  6. I ran the race in 37:00
  7. Shannon at Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone ran it in 38:14
  8. Sherry from Life, from my perpective ran it in 38:14
  9. Sarah from I only run when I'm being chased by zombies ran it in 39 minutes
Here's a couple pics from the race:

Sherry and Shannon

Thank you all for participating! If you want your medal I still need you address! Email me at and I'll send it to you to hang on your wall :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lucy, I'm Home

I finally made it back home after a few days of delays and of course I've got about 30 hours of work to make up for my classes all ready. No beuno! I've got so much fun stuff to share with you guys from my trip. It was an absolute blast and I wish you all could have come with me! So here's what's on the schedule now that I'm back:

  1. Today I'll recap my Virtual 5k experience
  2. Next I'll recap everyone's experience with the race, post results, and link to all your posts
  3. Finally I'll recap my trip
Before I forget, If you want me to send you a medal for finishing the race email your address to Not sure when they'll get there, but I promise they will! Okay onto my recap!

The First Ever Wheezy Virtual 5k! Race Report 
As most of you know, I was on vacation for my virtual 5k, and I was trying to get my entire family to run the race with me. Other than mom, no one else in my family is a runner, but I thought they could all walk it easily. Well I come from a family of 5 and we had 3 others staying with us, and when you have a group that big, an event like a 5k on vacation is no easy task. Dad seriously hurt his knee just before the trip and couldn't walk far. Then Mr.Perfect, the BF, got into a long-boarding accident a few days  before and pulled a muscle. The day of the race Munchkin was sick and others weren't feeling so hot either. Needless to say the family 5k turned into the Ros and Mom 5k. But we decided to have fun with it anyways since I had all ready made the medals and race bibs. Here's our family 5k photo shoot:
The group with their race bibs

We finally convinced Munch to join in 
My crazy family"running the race". PLEASE click on the pic to get a closer look at my crazy dad's face. PRICELESS
In honor of the race, I decided to take an inhaler shot for you before heading to the park to run.

Wheezy baby!
Next we drove to Lori Wilson Park. This park has a teeny trail, but I researched online and heard it was not to be missed. Turns out, I heard right. The trail was covered by trees and completely shaded so we didn't get burned. The whole trail was a boardwalk on top of the foliage and it had little dips and hills, a few low-hangining branches to duck around, and plenty of turns that kept the run feeling fun and fast. I seriously wish I could run there every day.
The trail I ran on

Mom during our warm up

Action Shot

Almost there!

The only problem with the trail was that it was really hard to measure exact distance because Mikey, my garmin, didn't like how covered the trail was and had trouble getting a signal. The website said it was a half mile trail, but if that's the case Mom and I ran like 4 minutes faster per mile than usual. So we stuck with the longest time between our two Garmin's because they tend to underestimate on curves. We would much rather run longer than not actually finish the race. Our time ended up being 37:00.

I loved this race, and I loved hosting a virtual 5k. I'm thinking I'll be hosting another one soon so keep an eye open! Don't forget to email me your address if you want that medal!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm still here sort of...

I'm really sorry for not posting anything for so long. I promise lots of pics are coming soon and a race report and details about my trip! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately???) I'm stuck in Orlando for another few days. I was supposed to be home Saturday night, but our flight was cancelled and the earliest they could get us home is late Tuesday night. All of my pics are stuck on my camera and I've got no wifi, so I can only use my phone to post. I promise I haven't quit my blog! Haha Thanks for sticking with me!

I'm so impressed with everyone who ran the 5k! A few who said they were running haven't posted yet, so I'll give them time, but so far it looks like the winner is a fellow wheezer who ran this race as her first 5k! I'm so proud of her!! Anyways I'll do a formal wrap up when I'm home and can post all my real pics and add links to your posts etc.

Keep Running :)

Location:T G Lee Blvd,Orlando,United States

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wheezy Virtual 5k Reports

Hey everyone I hope you run some great races today! I ran mine a little early because our flight leaves today but I'll be posting my report as soon as I can get the pictures to you. Comment on this post with your results after you run and tell me all about how it went! Here's the medal you worked hard for:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A new kind of vacation

My spring break starts this weekend and I am super excited! My family is headed to Cocoa Beach, Florida very early Saturday morning with Mr. Perfect, my brother's gf, and my sister's bf. Soon I'll be eating these:
My favorite Florida treat: petit fours!
And doing this:
And watching sunsets with this cutie:

I'm really excited for this vacation, because it will be a new kind of vacation for me. Since I started my running journey, I've had a few weekend trips, but no real tests of my dedication like a 9 day trip at beach without access to a treadmill.  At first I was really nervous, but I prepared and I think this week is going to be a huge success. Plus I've all ready got some experience with slow-motion (because when am I ever fast) beach running thanks to my summer job.
PS: If I every run a halloween race I spy my costume
I purposely planned my virtual 5k for the week when I'm out of town to make sure I'm keeping up with training. The more I think about it, the more excited I am. I all ready have 10 amazing runners signed up! I really wanted to make this race fun because I plan on dragging my whole family and our guests on the run too!(6 teens and frat boys running on vacation? can that really happen??) So far I made some cheap but kind of cute finishers medals, and also race bibs for my family. I won't tell you what the medals look like yet because I want it to be really exciting when you finish the race, but here's what our race bibs look like:
And another exciting thing that will happen while I'm gone: I'll hit 150 miles! That's right I'll have run over 150 miles since I started this journey in just a few days! So exciting!

While I'm gone I'll try to post, but they won't be as fun and picture filled since I'm not brining my laptop. I hope everyone has a great spring break and a rockin' 5k on the 19th. I can't wait to hear all about it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Galloway Method and Asthma

I mentioned in my previous post Jeff Galloway's training plans and I really can't stress how much I enjoyed using his plan. Jeff Galloway is famous not only for being an olympian, but also for his run/walk method that has helped hundreds of people enjoy running.

Jeff Galloway
Here's why Jeff says that the run/walk method is so wonderful:
"Short walk breaks, when taken early and regularly, will restore resiliency to the main running muscles and extend their capacity at the end of the run, plus ease fatigue, speed up recovery and more!"

  • Restore resiliency to the main running muscles before they fatigue.
  • Extend the capacity of the running muscles at the end of the run because you are shifting the workload between the walking and the running muscles.
  • Virtually erase fatigue with each early walk break by keeping your pace and effort level conservative in the early stages.
  • Allow those with some types of previous injuries to train for marathons without further injury.
  • Allow runners to improve 10 to 40 minutes in their marathon compared with running continuously.
  • Speed up recovery from each long run.

I'd like to add that running intervals usually burns more calories which is always nice. It also makes running for asthmatics so much easier. I ran a half marathon (still can't believe it) in about the same time several other runners who ran continuously did, but I can't go farther than a full mile continuously. So how does the run/walk stuff work? 

Based on your pace goal for the run and how you are feeling choose a run/walk interval that works for you. Here's some ideas of where to start:
Run-walk-run ratio should correspond to the pace used (Runners).
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 35 seconds
9 min/mi— 4 min run-1 min walk
10 min/mi—-3:1
11 min/mi—2:30-1
12 min/mi—-2:1
13 min/mi—-1:1
14 min/mi—30 sec run/30 sec walk
15 min/mi—30 sec/45 sec
16 min/mi—30 sec/60 sec

After that just stick to the intervals for your run (from the very beginning before you even feel tired) and watch yourself improve. One important thing to remember is that these obviously aren't perfect times. If you walk really slow or run really fast your time will be way off. Sometimes my 3:2 run is slower than my 1:1. It depends on the day and your speeds. Another big tip I have is don't be married to an interval. For a while I was really stuck on 2:1. Now on shorter runs I try to speed up, and longer runs I allow myself to slow down so that I can finish strong. Also if you're an asthmatic like me, really play around with the intervals. Some days I found it was much easier to run 2:2 vs 30:30 and some days the other way around felt better. Don't get discouraged if you're struggling with it. My final tip is to make sure you don't walk too fast. This is where injuries happen. It's easier to increase your running speed than walking without injury so, really use your walk breaks to walk. Super speed-walking=bad. I personally walk around 3.8mph but everyone is different. 

Now onto his training plans. A lot of half marathon training plans have you running every day. His plans are nice and easy. You have two short "maintenance runs" a week on tuesdays and thursdays. These runs are for 30 minutes. Then on the weekends you have a long run or a 5k alternating each weekend. The long runs get longer each time as well.  I loved his plan for several reasons:
  • It was realistic with time available- I felt like I could do 3 times a week, especially if I only had to do short 30 minute runs during the week.
  • It made me feel prepared - Many plans stop at 12 miles before a half, and Jeff's goes to 14. This was so helpful because I went into the race knowing I could not only finish it, but I could keep going. 
  • The running was easily adaptable for an asthmatic- I feel like many plans I looked at are very focused on pace and speed. Jeff's plan focuses on accomplishing the distance, which is a much more realistic goal for asthmatics. With asthma you can work your butt off and run a 14 minute mile one day and barely try and run a 12 the next. But distance is a goal that is less impacted by your asthma and more by your willpower so it is more fulfilling. The plan also provided plenty or rest so you don't wear yourself out. 
I highly recommend this plan to anyone who wants to run smarter, but even more so for my wheezers out there. So here comes a long list of links:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Disney Wrap-Up

I learned a ton in my first half marathon. A lot of things didn't go as planned, and a lot of things went a lot better than I could've hoped. So I thought I'd share my final thought on the race and everything else.
  • One of my biggest regrets from the race is that I didn't take nearly enough pictures. I was terrified I would be too slow to finish (Disney sweeps you if you go below a 16 min average pace), so I mostly counted on the race photographers to capture my Disney magic and skipped almost all of the character opportunities. Unless you are looking for a PR, races should be a lot of fun. Next time I'll take a leaf out of One Crazy Penguin' book and try to stop and smell the roses more. Or should I say take goofy pics? haha PS: Race photographers at big races=hit or miss. They don't always see you and you don't always see them. So if they capture a pic, chances are you aren't ready for them. 
  • Jeff Galloway is my homeboy. Jeff Galloway is the official runDisney coach and he created the training plan I used for the race. He is also a very strong believer (and possibly the creator?) of the run/walk method. Most runners who use this method can run farther and faster than if they just ran the whole thing. For asthmatics, it also makes running possible for some of us who really struggle. I highly suggest trying it out. It literally saved me. If you're interested in seeing his training plan that I used or have any questions about it, email me at 
  • Hydration and sleep are really as important as they say. I knew this ahead of time. Everyone knows this. But following through with this? Not so easy. Especially in Disney. Next time I WILL get some sleep and drink plenty of fluids all week. 
  • Money- was it really worth it?  Disney races are expensive compared to others, so many have asked if I think it was worth it. The answer is 100 thousand times yes. The race had so much support and magic the whole way it was incredibly memorable and special. There were fireworks, characters, unbeatable views, great training plans, race swag, a gorgeous medal, and so many opportunities to enjoy yourself and create memories. On top of that, the support was unbelievable. I haven't been to other half marathons, but I've heard slow people are often discouraged or feel out of place. At Disney this is totally not the case. I think the back of the pack got the most support. I never felt slow or like I wasn't an athlete or that  someone didn't think my accomplishment was any less than the other runners who finished. Disney does an amazing job of making you feel proud and accomplished no matter your time. They also have hundreds of cast members (staff) out on the race cheering you on. You couldn't go more than .25 miles without a "Good job" or "keep going". The cast members helped so much to keep me going. But the most important reason I think it was worth every penny is that it truly turned my life around. There was more than one day that if I hadn't known I had this amazing race to go or that we had put so much money into the race all ready, I wouldn't have kept training. 
  • Stay with your partner, it's not worth it. I have to make a confession: I'm a terrible daughter. Mom and I talked before the race and agreed we wanted to run the race together until about mile 13. Then if one of us felt like sprinting to the end, we would split up. We we're totally agreed. We even agreed that if one of us was slowing the other way down we'd split up earlier if we needed to. We talked about this because if I had an asthma attack, I still wanted her to finish. During the race I had to stop twice for the bathroom (yay mother nature!) and my mom stayed the entire time waiting for me. She lost at least 10 minutes, not to mention totally let her legs get stiff waiting just to run with me. She was a rockstar. By mile 13 I was not in good shape. I was exhausted, tired, dehydrated, and cramping. My brain was turned off. I just wanted to get the race over. So like a dummy, I said "I have to run to the finish. You coming?" and mom who was feeling the same things decided no. So, like a true jerk, I took off to finish without her. We finished 10 seconds apart. Once blood started pumping to my brain again I felt like the total jerk I was. Mom had stuck with me through the whole thing and I traded finishing by her side for 10 measly seconds. Was it worth it? Absolutely not. Clearly I wasn't in my right mind at that point, but I definitely learned never to be so dumb again. Sorry again mom! :(
Don't forget my Virtual 5k! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Princess Half Marathon 2011 Report - Part 3

Sunday Morning!!! This will be a long one, sorry in advance!

 I woke up bright and early on Sunday and headed towards the bus stop to catch a ride to the race. The bus lets you off a tiny walk away from the bag check tents and family gathering tents. There's a DJ playing music to get you pumped and plenty of time to walk around and mingle with other runners. Mom and I went to the "H" family tent to meet up with some ROTErs. ROTE is an online running club called Running of the Ears. They obviously run all the Disney races, but also meet up at other running events too. I met a lot of really nice people including Megan, a fellow ROTEr and Daily Mile friend! After that I finally met up with Tiina, ie One Crazy Penguin. This time we were much smarter and came up with an exact spot to meet up and shared what we'd be wearing. I am pretty sure I was the only one with my tutu so she said it was easy to find me. Yay!! It was awesome meeting her! She's just as cute and wonderful in person. I was really really nervous for the race at that point. I was definitely not my usual bubbly self and I'm sure I looked like a deer in headlights, so Tiina talked me down a little and wished me luck. Unfortunately we couldn't hang out too long because she had to meet up with other friends but I'm really glad to have finally met one of my favorite bloggers in person!

Then comes the sneaky trick that Disney pulls. There's a walk to the start corrals, but it's about a full mile long! I do have to say though, that the princesses running provided plenty of entertainment along the walk. There's tons of porta-potties at the bag check and more along the race, but they all had huge lines (18,000 girls= too many people) so girls were literally dropping their tutus left and right and sneaking to the bushes along the walk to the corrals. It was a funny sight to see and kept us laughing. Another runner said "isn't it like blasphemy to pee on disney property?!". :P

We lined up in our corrals. I was in F, the last one, so we had plenty of time to hang out at the corral again. I met a really sweet runner who told us about the race last year and gave us some tips for along the way (like passing etiquette). Then before we knew it the race started with an exciting fireworks display as the fairy godmother granted us a wish for a fun race. I thought it was neat that Disney set off the fireworks for each corrals start so that we all got the same experience. Here's my awful iphone video but you get the idea:

Then we were off. The race was very flat and in the beginning the hardest part was pacing ourselves because we wanted to see what was next! During the first few miles we saw most of the princes, a huge hot air balloon, a parade float, lots of characters, bands, DJs, cast members, and crowds cheering. It was so cool. One of my favorite moments was when we passed the first monorail track, a monorail train went by and honked at us. 

The "entrance" to Magic Kingdom (really still a mile away)

Hula dancers!!

A drumline!
Next stop, the Magic Kingdom! We knew we were getting close when we finally saw Space Mountain (not the castle! we thought that was weird). Anyways, at mile 5 we ran onto main street from a back entrance and it was so incredible I instantly teared up. There were hundreds of people there cheering us on, including characters, but what's more was the view of the castle. It's really indescribable the feeling you get when you see it. I worked so hard to get to that point and my life has really changed since I took up the goal to run through the castle. Finally seeing it felt like my dreams were coming true, as horribly sappy as that is. After that we ran through tomorrowland. It was really cool to see the sunrise of my favorite rides. Next we wound through fantasyland where we passed more characters and the teacups and the carousel. Finally it was time for the big moment and we ran through the castle. Everyone screamed and cheered as we ran through and it echoed and Mom and I both said "We're really here!".
Tomorrowland Sunrise

My castle pic!
After the castle we ran through frontierland and headed out of the parks. Up until this point I really didn't feel like I was running at all. Everything really flew by, but at mile 7 I started having some issues. In my training I had the same problems: asthma, foot charlie horses (a side effect from asthma/medications), and shin splints. I fully expected to see those crop up during the race but felt prepared to deal with them. However, I didn't really see those and had completely new ones! The first problem I had was unexpected girl issues :( Sorry boys! But I needed to stop for a bathroom break a couple times and that was totally unexpected. The other was cramping in my hamstrings. I got some serious charlie horses from my asthma in my hamstrings, which has never happened before. It was hard because I have learned how to stretch out my feet while moving to get rid of the cramp, but hamstrings are kind of impossible to stretch without stopping. On top of that our energy was completely drained around mile 10 or 11. Physically we were sore but mostly we just wanted a nap. The sun and lack of sleep and hydration was really starting to pay it's toll. But enough with the whining!

Despite all these issues, I still think the last few miles of the race were fun (although slower than we hoped) because of all the Disney magic. After the park I thought the course would be a major let down, but actually it was really fun. There was a lot of fun floats, characters, and cast members along the rest of the race to keep up the momentum. The lines for characters were huge at the beginning, but in the last half of the race there really weren't any lines. Mom and I were trying really hard to keep up our momentum so we didn't stop for much. Finally we made it to Epcot. I can't tell you how excited I was to see that golf ball knowing it meant I only had a mile left! 

Almost There!

Can't you feel the pain in this pic? :P

Inside epcot we did a very short run past the ball and innoventions and the huge fountain. Then we ran back out and to the finish line. And I cried like a baby! As soon as I crossed the finish line all hope of not crying was gone, because I was so overcome with everything. I finally made it from an asthmatic so sick I couldn't go a week without missing class, to a half marathon runner. It felt INCREDIBLE!! I really think everyone should do it at least once. 

I got my medal and we scarfed down some water and powerade then, like maniacs, we went straight to epcot to show off our medals and ride some rides. Inside the park we got so many congratulations from cast members and even just park go-ers that we felt like celebrities. We had a great time, somewhat delirious from exhaustion, goofing off at the park. It was definitely a trip I will never forget. 

My medal

Flower and Garden Festival starting early

Delirious. I told mom to make a goofy face too, but she was a little less enthusiastic...

The magical petit fours we worked so hard for. You HAVE to try some.
PS: Don't forget to check out part 1, part 2, and sign up  for my virtual 5k!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Virtual 5k!

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled race report programming for some breaking news.
I'm hosting a virtual 5k! Woo hoo! It will be on March 19th! I wanna do this to keep up my momentum as I train for my second half marathon. So here's the rules:
  1. Comment on this post that you are running and give me your name
  2. Run 5k on the 19th of March anywhere you want. Treadmill, neighborhood, park, whatever. Just run it.
  3. Comment on the follow-up post that you did and share your time. 
If you do all of that I will mail you a little award (right now I'm thinking a mini trophy or medal) for helping me stay active and participating! Also, if you blog about your virtual 5k experience, I'll post a link on my page! So who's with me? Let's do this! If you haven't run a 5k before this is a perfect first time race for you because no one will even know you're doing it and there's no time limit! 

Princess Half Marathon 2011 Report - Part 2

Next up on the report is Saturday, the day before the race. The first thing on the agenda was a meetup with a fellow blogger, Tiina from One Crazy Penguin. We were planning on meeting at the expo, but we weren't too smart in our planning and could never find each other. :( But, it's ok because we ended up finding each other Sunday! Anyways, Mom and I hung out at the expo for a little bit looking for Tiina, but when it became obvious we missed her, we went to lunch at the Magic Kingdom.
Mom getting sprinkled with pixie dust
I know what you're thinking. They went to the parks before the race?! Yea.....and after..... But it was all in the Disney spirit! Before we got to MK we had a serious planning session on the monorail over. We would only go to one "land" of the park (Tomorrowland, our favorite) and only ride a couple rides and head home quickly so we didn't tire ourselves out. When we got there we went straight for a quick lunch at Cosmic Ray's and we're surprised to see we weren't the only insane ones there. Lots of princess half shirts and bags we're all over the Magic Kingdom. After lunch is when it all went wrong. There's something about Disney that makes taking it easy so hard! We planned on one land but one land quickly led to two, which quickly led to them all. It really was nice seeing the park. After practically living there for 7 years, it still really feels like home.

I saw an old friend at Phillarmagic
See! I even have his name on my shirt!
Next up we went home for a rockin' pre race dinner at the hotel. By the way, Olivia's Restaurant is awesome! I was wearing my birthday pin (Disney hands them out when you get your tickets) and goofy "called" the restaurant to sing happy birthday to me. Again, we veered off plan. Both of us were so nervous for the race, we decided to have a drink with dinner, rather than do the smart thing and hydrate with water or Gatorade. Poor. Life. Choice.

Finally we headed back to the room and laid out our clothes and tried to sleep. This did not work. We were way too excited and nervous! I'm guessing I only got about 2 hours of sleep. So to recap: we spent the whole day walking on our feet, didn't hydrate properly, drank alcohol, and then didn't sleep. It's a miracle we survived! But in the morning the alarm went off (actually goofy called to wake us up) and we quickly donned our tutus and race gear and headed towards the race.
My gear all laid out

Dressed and ready to run
Stay tuned for part three! And if you missed part one, be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Princess Half Marathon 2011 Report - Part 1

This weekend was absolutely incredible and jam-packed with events so I'll be breaking my report down into parts.  First up is the Fit for a Princess Expo and pre-race stuff. I apologize in advance for the lengthy report! :)

Mom and I arrived in Orlando, where we took a town car to our hotel. We stayed at Disney's Old Key West Resort and it was incredible. Let me start by saying I'm pretty much a Disney World expert after living there for 7 years and going to the parks almost every day. I have stayed at tons of Disney Resorts, but never Old Key West, which is normally reserved for the Disney Vacation Club. It was gorgeous and really looked like Key West. The Cast Members (employees) all greeted us with "Welcome Home!" and it felt very fitting.

After settling into our wonderful room, we headed back to the lobby area to wait for a bus to the expo. Disney did a great job with transportation. Buses came every 20 minutes to take us to the expo and back. At the bus stop, mom began trying to pick out the runners which became sort of a game for us all week. It seemed Disney was completely split between people who were all about the half marathon and people who were totally unaware that it was going on.

Once we got to the expo, It finally started to sink in that I was really there. This was it! At the entrance to the expo building there were two lines, one to take pictures with Cinderella's coachmen and one to enter without a picture. We opted for no picture because we were still exhausted from the plane ride ( our flight was at 6am so we didn't get much sleep). Once we entered the building it was absolutely amazing.
I can't compare this expo to others because it was my first, but It felt like it was huge. The expo served several purposes. This was the place where you picked up your race bib, free goodies, checked your d-tag, and also had the opportunity to shop for all kinds of running gear and listen to wonderful speakers. We got our bibs and checked our d-tags, then we also got our goody bags. For the newbies out there, every big race has what they call "swag" and usually it involves a shirt and maybe something extra. The princess swag included a mesh bag with the race logo, a shirt, a luna bar, and a bunch of fliers for other races and gear that included coupons. Also, you could purchase an optional commemorative pin when you registered, so I picked that up along with my bib.
The free shirt from the Swag Bag
After getting our swag, it was time to shop! I seriously went overboard here. In a later post, I plan on talking about somethings I think went well this weekend and some things I'd change. The amount I spent would definitely be on that last to change! haha There were so many amazing booths there, and I found a lot of great products I will be testing out very soon. The biggest and most popular booth by far was the official merchandise from Disney. They had the race logo on just about everything. I didn't buy almost anything here, which felt almost wrong. Everyone was piling stuff at the registers, but I was trying to buy practical items, and since I had the pin I didn't feel like I needed anything else commemorative. I ended up just buying a running headband that said "Run Disney".

Next we headed towards the other booths. Like I said, I spent way too much, but I wasn't disappointed with any of my purchases. At Sparkle Skirts, I got a technical running skirt. I haven't worn it to run yet, but I wore it all day at the parks and it didn't budge. I think that will be a new favorite! However my favorite booth was definitely Raw Threads.  All of their products are made of bamboo and organic cotton, and they feel wonderful. They are the softest running shirts I have ever seen and have the cutest sayings on them. One I bought said "Race you to the castle".
Sorry for the bad pic- but its a really cute tank

This one's a v-neck with 13.1 on the back

The expo was wonderful. It was very crowded at times, but I learned a lot and I was really happy with it. Stay tuned for part two!