May 30, 2017

5 Tips for Surviving #ShackTrackandField {plus class at Rev Cycle Studio beforehand}

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary ride at REV Cycle Studio for hosting a giveaway and sharing about the event. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Last week I was lucky enough to get the chance to take part in the last event in REV Cycle Studio's #REVOutdoors series which happened to be a partnership with Shack Track and Field, Shake Shack's monthly run club. The event involved a 30 minute spin class at REV followed by a short run to Shake Shack where the first beverage was on the house. Now I regularly participate in the Shack Track and Field runs (the second Tuesday of every month starting from Charm City Run) and REV is my favorite place to spin in Baltimore, so this event sounded PERFECT. 

I've run to Shake Shack before but adding in a spin class before a run adds a whole new twist to the mix. Classes were held at both the McHenry Row and Brewer's Hill locations. 

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I had an awesome, sweaty, and fun spin class with Sean at McHenry Row where we spun fast and climbed hills for 30 minutes, leaving just enough in the tank for just over 2 miles of running in the beginning of a rainy storm as group. Then that was followed by enjoying a free huge red velvet milkshake at Shake Shack. And buying myself a chicken sandwich for dinner there because #starving. 


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Here are some tips for when you decide to run to Shake Shack or spin AND run to Shake Shack because #shacktrackandfield: 
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1. If you are making it a duathlon (spinning and running), leave just a little bit left in the tank during the spin class. If you are completely exhausted, it will feel like a very very long 2-3 miles to Shake Shack. 
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2. Keep it a moderate pace. There is plenty of Shake Shack beverages for everyone, however if you want to beat a long line of sweaty runners and get your delicious FREE beverage faster, keep it moving on the run. 
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3. Have an idea of what you want ahead of time. I like visualizing my delicious milkshake or cold beer as motivation during the run. It also is helpful knowing what I want before I hop in line before I'm thinking about how sweaty and tired I am post-run. 
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4. Don't feel guilty or think about how that milkshake is probably 1000 calories or maybe you'll save a hundred calories by not getting whipped cream on top. Treat yo'self. You deserve it, and it's delicious. You literally ran (and possibly spun) here for this. 
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5. Find a friend to carpool with or call an Uber/Lyft/cab. I've made the mistake of trying to run the mile back to my house after having a milkshake and fries. I do not recommend it. 
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I definitely encourage you to check out Shack Track and Field the second Tuesday of every month (Baltimore group leaves from Charm City Run at 7 PM). 

Also if you are interested in another awesome REV Cycle Studio spinning + food event check out an event happening tomorrow with Atwater's! First you can get your sweat on for 45 minutes of REVBlast with Rachel at 5:30 PM or REV45 with Eddie at 6:30. Then head down to Atwater's to refuel with a 3 course prix fixe dinner including your choice of beer or wine, salad, entree, and dessert for only $35. Such a sweet deal! Details and register here

You can also save 30% off class packs at REV Cycle Studio's new Brewer's Hill studio with discount code "gearupBH" at checkout -just in time for summer!

Have you ever participated in Shack Track in Field? What is your favorite drink to have after a run? 

May 11, 2017

What to Pack in Your Marathon Gear Check Bag

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from ShowerPill. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 


When you cross the finish line of a half or full marathon, the first thing you are thinking is YAY, glad that's over. If you are me next you are thinking where can I get a beer, water, banana, and sit down, PLEASE. If it's a big event or one where you plan on hanging out around for the post-race festivities that so many races have now, it might be a good idea to pack a gear check bag. I find this especially true if you're running a big race where it's going to take you a while to get back to your hotel/lodgings/house or you'll be hanging out in your post-race clothes for a while. 

After the Chicago Marathon the past 3 years the weather has been nice, and I've been feeling good so I hang out with friends, have a couple beers, and listen to the music in Grant Park. 
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Post-Chicago Marathon 2016 with a beer in one hand and my gear check bag beside me
Now, I'm the type of person that is usually cutting it close to getting to a race start or at least isn't giving myself much time beforehand. Even with marathons which are big deal to me, I still feel like maybe I should give myself some more time to get around. This is particularly true if you're running a huge race or one with security checkpoints. 

I usually hope that I have a friend or my boyfriend to carry some stuff for me until I finish. If not then sometimes I'll quickly navigate the pre-race area and drop off a gear check bag, if available. For some of the bigger half marathons and marathons I've run bag check is usually offered, and the process is pretty organized. Races give you a clear plastic bag at packet/bib pick-up (security reasons nowadays!). Then you can drop it off before the race with your bib number attached, and pick it up after finishing the race. It's not recommended to store valuables in there, because it's not like locked-in-a-safe secure. 

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Here are 5 items that I always pack in my gear check bag

1.Clothes
The type of clothes is dependent on you and the season, but I think having something not damp with sweat or smelly is a post-race must have. Even if it's summer I like to have at least a dry shirt to change into. If the weather is cold, I love having a comfy sweatshirt, dry shirt, and possibly extra pair of tights to change into. After hanging out in my sweaty clothes I usually feel extra chilly once my body starts to cool down and some fatigue sets in. 

2. Socks
This kind of goes along with clothes, but having a nice pair of clean, dry socks to change into after logging some race miles is great. It gives my feet some relief. Often I pack a pair of compression socks to wear to get a head start on recovery and to aid with circulation. 

3. Wet wipes
Having a travel-size pack of wet wipes is great to just wipe off my face and arms of sweat or dirt after a long run, particularly if I'm hanging out post-race for a bit. 

Since I discovered them a year or so ago, I've been loving ShowerPill wipes which are a thick washcloth-sized body wipe which kill 99.9 of germs and also contain hydrating vitamin E, witch hazel, and aloe vera. They come in single packets and are perfect for travel or gear check bags. 

You can save 20% off any ShowerPill order through 6/15/2017 with code LAUREN

4. Sandals
Oh yes, I've been known to rock some socks with sandals post-race. Actually my beloved Adidas sandals from my high school soccer days are falling apart and need to be replaced (not shocking). Again like the socks, it's nice to get my feet some relief and a chance to air out. Besides for comfort, I also like having sandals or even a spare set of shoes if the race has been muddy or wet. 

5. Favorite snack & drink
I always usually eat something offered post-race after I have my go-to recovery snack of a banana. If it's a long distance race or I'm not sure what post-race fuel will be available, I like to pack a small snack or drink that's a favorite of mine. That way I'm positive I have something that my body can easily handle and that I'll be able to quickly refuel with. 

For me this means a tube of Nuun Hydration that can easily be mixed with water and a Honey Stinger waffle. The gluten-free salted caramel  waffles are my favorite! 

6. Hair ties 
These are always just a good thing to have (for us longer haired gals and guys anyways). Possibly for pre-race if I (or another runner!) realize I've forgotten them or had one snap when fixing my hair (it's happened). Sometimes it's nice to pack some extra hair ties or a headband if I take out my sweaty pigtails post-race and want to look a little less like I just ran 13 or 26 miles 

Do you often gear check a bag? What's your must-have item to pack for post-race?

May 4, 2017

Eat More Greens: What I Ate in a Day {with BrightFarms}

Disclosure: I received promotional consideration from BrightFarms. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sometimes I get in ruts where I've been so busy that I notice I haven't really been eating any greens. Oops

I find myself grabbing some protein bars, oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and whatever for dinner (including pizza sometimes because it's my favorite and SO easy). So I drink some green juice, eat some salads, and re-balance my diet. A couple weeks ago was one of those times that I decided that I really needed to start adding more greens and vegetables into my diet again. I wanted to start this diet shift off by including vegetables in every meal of the day. It encouraged me to get creative in the kitchen and actually make a meal plan. Planning actually makes things a lot easier when you take the time to do the planning, in case you forgot (like I had). 

This all happened at the perfect time because BrightFarms was lucky enough to send me some of their produce to try out, which made my one-day challenge more fun. I was going to use 1 shell of the BrightFarms local spring mix, 1 of their local baby greens, and 1 of their kale in a different meal of the day. 

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BrightFarms is a produce company that uses sustainable greenhouse farming to supply grocery stores with fresh greens, tomatoes, and herbs year-round. In the DMV area they solely deliver their produce to Giant grocery stores, farm to shelf within 24 hours. I was excited because unfresh produce and buying lettuce from the grocery store and finding a couple smelly, slimy pieces that have gone bad within a day is super annoying. If you need to grab some greens and can't make it out to a farmer's market or local farm, BrightFarms from your grocery store is the next best thing! 

Meal 1- Breakfast: Queen Green Smoothie

I decided to keep it nice and simple for breakfast with a green smoothie. This was also portable to take in the car with me on the way to class which is a bonus. I created this smoothie on the fly, using whatever I had available in my refrigerator and pantry. I like trying out new smoothie recipes, but usually end up making ones with my favorite ingredients like frozen pineapple anyways. This is the Queen Green because it's one of my go-to smoothie variations and is queen to me!

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Into my Ninja blender for my Queen Green Smoothie I added: 
  • a  handful of BrightFarms kale
  • a handful of frozen pineapple and peaches mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • Optional: 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder or supplement-I used a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen in this smoothie. 
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Blended everything up, and it was ready to go. Despite the color, you can barely taste the greens in this smoothie. Everything went into the blender and within minutes I had breakfast on-the-go, packed with lots of yummy goodness. 

Meal 2-Lunch: a Mediterranean-style Salad

Today was one of those days where I was able to stop home in between class and heading to work. I actually dislike packing salads (probably why I was eating more sandwiches lately) so I love when I can grab lunch at home. I can't take all of the credit for this one because my lovely boyfriend actually whipped this salad up for me. 

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This Mediterranean inspired salad includes adding all of the following to a bowl, mixing, and enjoying: 
  • BrightFarms baby kale
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped cucumbers
  • feta cheese
  • kalamata olives
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

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This salad was so delicious. I have been loving olives in everything lately so the mixture of the salty olives with the sweet carrots and creamy feta cheese just hit the spot. I also loved the texture of the baby kale which made for a great salad base. 

Meal 3-Dinner: Cheesy Taco Skillet 

Making some sort of Mexican-inspired meal is always a go-to for me whether it's tacos, enchiladas, taco salad, or a taco skillet, like what I made this day for dinner. 

I used this recipe from Sweet C's as a guide for my cheesy taco skillet  and used BrightFarms local spring mix as the greens in it. The best part is I cooked everything in this one big pan so clean-up was easy. 

My cheesy taco skillet (adapted from Sweet C's) included: 
  • 1 lb of ground beef ( I used grass fed ground beef) 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1, 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (I just did two big handfuls) of local spring mix (or any greens you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese


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First brown the ground beef in the pan, and then drain the excess fat. Next add onions and peppers, cook until browned. Then add the canned tomatoes, taco seasoning and zucchini into the pan. Then add the spring mix or greens and let fully wilt, mixing everything together. Finally add the shredded cheese on top and cover to let the cheese melt. This took just a few minutes. You can eat it right out of a bowl like I did or could even eat over rice or in a burrito. 

Of course, I made sure to include plenty of cheesy goodness on top! Sadly it was so good, there was only a tiny bit of leftovers. The greens in this wilt so you are getting lots of nutrients that you can't even really taste-perfect for those picky eater kids or significant others. 

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I'm a totally snack queen so in between I had multiple snacks during the day  including a yogurt, trail mix, and good old protein bar. Adding in greens to all of my big meals of the day was a lot easier than I thought. I was happy to be balancing my diet as well as preparing some delicious meals in the kitchen instead of grabbing sandwiches, pre-packaged meals and snacks. I was thinking of making it a fun Monday challenge for myself to help me start planning my meals and beginning the week on a high note after enjoying some weekend treats. 

Shout-out to BrightFarms for supplying some yummy greens for my challenge-Marylanders can find their products in local Giant grocery stores. 

 What's your favorite way to sneak greens into your everyday meals?

May 1, 2017

Adult-ish Things #1: Dry Cleaning {ZIPS Dry Cleaners giveaway}

Disclosure: I have received promotional consideration from ZIPS. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 



This week I'm turning 29 which has me thinking a lot about adulthood. It's weird to be turning the age that I will say I am for the next 10 years (haha).  I mean I don't know how I got to be almost 29, when I feel like I just turned 25 (what did happen in years 25-28 besides running a few marathons?!). Alas, in the past few couple of years I've figured out the big secret to life is that no one ever feels like they know what they are doing. No one ever "feels like an adult". I just find myself doing (or trying to figure out) adult things. 


Ya know, like setting up a retirement fund. Doing your taxes.  Attending weddings and bridal/baby showers. Going to get your car's oil changed. Calling the dentist to make an appointment voluntarily. Getting excited about finding sheets on sale at Target. Also getting excited about a Sunday involving going to Home Depot, a crockpot dinner, and laundry. 

One other adult-ish thing is having clothes that actually need to be dry-cleaned. My wardrobe does involve a lot of spandex. Years dressing casual as a researcher in a lab didn't require much professional clothing. Now I have multiple wool sweaters, shirts, and dresses that are supposed to be dry-clean only. And honestly it's been years since I've dropped something off at a dry cleaners.  

Literally this is what my laundry bin consists of: 
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#runnerproblems #fitgirlproblems

So I was really excited when ZIPS Dry Cleaners reached out to me about checking them out. I had recently seen their new TV spot that launched in March. ZIPS helped me dry clean some dresses I've worn to a couple weddings, a couple winter sweaters, and my bed comforter (which REALLY needed to be cleaned because yikes, I don't think I ever washed it). 

ZIPS started with 8 dry-cleaners in the Baltimore-Washington area in 1996 and now is the largest chain of retai dry cleaners in the Mid-Atlantic. I had no idea it had such local ties.  They provide affordable services for their communities and operate on premise with a "in by 9, out by 5" promise. ZIPS Dry Cleaners even uses 100% biodegradable plastic bags and donates thousands of unclaimed garments annually to charitable organizations. 

I dropped my items off at the new ZIPS Dry Cleaners location in Harbor East right on the corner at 1325 Eastern Ave. There is metered parking right outside which was convenient, but honestly I was literally in and out. 

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I dropped my clothes and comforter off around 10 AM on a weekday, and no one else was in the store. I was quickly helped with friendly customer service at the kiosk. The store was clean and efficient. The two sweaters and dress only cost $2.29 each and the comforter costs $19.99 to dry-clean. The garments would be ready the next day and the comforter would be ready in about 5 days so I waited to pick everything up all together. 

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I received email notifications (which I opted in  for) to notify me that my garments were ready and again picked up my things in the afternoon. I was in and out of the ZIPs with no problems and no complaints about my clothes. 

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Some things an adult should do can be easy! You can find the ZIPS Dry Cleaners nearest you and check them out for affordable, quality dry cleaning. 

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ZIPS Dry Cleaners was nice enough to help out my readers and giveaway (4) $25 giftcards to ZIPS Dry Cleaners. Giveaway ends 5/8/2017 12 AM EST-enter using Rafflecopter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When is the last time you had something dry cleaned?

April 21, 2017

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day {Friday Favorites}

Disclosure: Boodywear sent me complimentary product in honor of Earth Day. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This Saturday, April 22, 2017 is Earth Day. I believe in taking care of our planet, sharing it with the other creatures that live on it, and trying to live a more eco-conscious existence. Yup, I'm a little flower child as my dad would say. My lifestyle isn't 100% eco-friendly(why do I ALWAYS forget to take my reusable bags back out to the car to use again after using them?!?!), but I try to add in some little things because sustainability is important. 

Cue the Captain Planet theme song. 

For my Friday Favorites this week, here are 5 easy ways you can celebrate Earth Day in Baltimore and beyond. 

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1. Recycle.

Simple concept that we hear all the time, but recycling is awesome. Don't let your trash sit in a landfill if it can be recycled! I recycle a ton and will literally carry around empty containers in my purse if I can't find a recycle bin because throwing things away that can be recycled (and have the little recycle symbol on them) hurts my heart. 

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E-waste or electronic waste is actually becoming a trash issue in the states so find out where you can recycle your e-waste on the EPA's website. When I moved recently, we donated some old computer parts and cell-phones so donating is also an option-just google for local shops or organizations that accept those products. I definitely have a bag of dead batteries I need to get around to recycling this weekend.  

2. Use a reusable water bottle. 

Disposable plastic water bottles are terrible, and I rarely use them after learning more about recycling in an environmental biology class my senior year of college. Most of the country's plastic water bottles are sitting in landfills instead of being recycled, and 2.5 million plastic water bottles are thrown away every hour by Americans-SAY WHAT?! (source). 

I'm pretty much always carrying a reusable water bottle with me. I have many reusable water bottles, but my go-to is the Nathan BigShot 32 oz water bottle which is BPA-free, has a nice spot, and only needs to be filled up a few times a day 


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3. Shop for eco-conscious & sustainable brands. 

I love seeing more Eco-friendly and conscious brands selling all sorts of products including beauty, cleaning, and clothing. You know how much I love Prana gear which has a commitment to sustainability and has cool products like this cute bathing suit top made with recycled materials. 
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I mentioned around the holidays how much I loved Boodywear too, an eco-friendly Australian clothing company who makes awesome basics and baby onesies. In honor of earth day they were nice enough to send me a few more of their pieces including this ADORABLE panda shirt I had to have. I also got sent one of their bodysuits so I can try wearing it with my jeans like the celebs do (I'm looking at you Khloe Kardashian). Also Emma Watson was spotted on the Beauty and the Beast press tour sporting their tee which is cool.

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Anyways they produce pretty much the softest clothing ever made from yarn spun from bamboo in zero-waste factories. Their products are all organic, moisture-wicking, antibacterial and anti-fungal, hypo-allergenic, and thermo-regulating. Their shirts and leggings are super soft, stretchy, and SO comfortable. I have been living in their t-shirt and a pair of leggings. Check Boodywear out on their website or Amazon.

3. Volunteer with an organization on an earth-friendly project or attend an Earth Day celebration. 

Volunteering is always a great way to give back-sometimes literally. I know here in Baltimore TreeBaltimore offers free trees that can be planted to help make the city a more green place to live. Blue Water Baltimore also offers regional stream cleanups, and their website also has a calendar which offers local trash cleanups in the area too.  

Another option is to attend an educational event or Earth Day celebration. Here in Baltimore the National Aquarium is having a celebration on Saturday starting at 9 AM with interactive activities to learn about preservation and sustainability.  Check out local websites and newspapers for more events near you. 

5. Get Outside

Getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature is always a great way to celebrate the Earth. Find a beautiful place to picnic, take a hike, or go for a trail run. 

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outdoors in Nevada during Ragnar Vegas 2015
Also this weekend is still part of National Parks Week so take advantage of FREE admission to any of the National Parks (apparently many are free but 117 normally charge an entrance free). Happy exploring!  

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies with NicoleAmanda .

Are you getting outside this weekend? What's your favorite eco-friendly product or brand?

April 14, 2017

Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Race Recap


My recap of this last April's inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon in Walt Disney World 2016 is here, just a week before this year's race. 

 As I mentioned in my post on my favorite Disney eats, my sister works at the parks so it was an excuse to visit her. My friend was also running this race as his first half marathon and had a place for me to crash which makes it more enticing because the price tag on this race was $185 which is A LOT for a half marathon, or a race in general. 

There is a 5K and 10K, and half marathon during the race weekend as well as the Dark Side Challenge (10K Saturday, half marathon Sunday).  

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Pre-Race

I stayed at the All-Star Disney Resort with my sister the night I got to Florida so getting to the expo was easy-I just caught a bus over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  First there was a huge room where you go and get just your bib. I love when your name is printed on your bibg for races like this one. All of the cast members/employees I encountered were very nice and helpful. 


Next you head over to another giant stadium room where the actual race expo is. They had lots of fun vendors, but it wasn't too crowded when I got there early on Saturday morning. They had some cute things, but I don't really buy anything at most race expos anymore. I did end up getting Sparkly Soul headbands (Star Wars themed)- one for me and one for my sister.


I loved this graphic of the course map hanging up.  Everything in the expo was pretty well-organized. 


I did think it was really cool that there were stormtroopers patrolling the race expo. 


Here's a photo of the race shirt. RunDisney uses Champion products which aren't my favorite racing shirt style, but I do like the design of this shirt with Darth Vader on it. 

People are known to go crazy for the RunDisney race merchandise for sale at the expo. I tried to make my way there quickly and apparently some things had sold out, but there was still a ton available for purchase. I bought another cool Darth Vader shirt and a pint glass, but honestly wasn't too impressed with anything.

Race Day

The half marathon STARTS at 5 AM so that meant like a 2:30, 3 AM wakeup for me. That is damn early for a race morning for me. My friend and I ended up taking an Uber to Epcot and managed to use the bathrooms at the entrance to the park (score!). There were some photo op backgrounds up which was fun.  I was in the first corral which made me feel super speedy because for such a huge race with over 18,000 runners I was close to the front. The race had a fun start with a video and then fireworks!  


I didn't have any racing goals for this race and knew that because I wanted to stop to get photos with characters that my time would be slower. My only goal was to fully experience a runDisney race and have lots of fun! The race temperature at the start was in the 60s with 75% humidity, something I was not yet used to running too in April in Baltimore (that humidity kicks in there in the summer though!). 

The race course starts in Epcot, goes through the Boardwalk and Beach resorts area, through Hollywood Studios, to and through Animal Kingdom and then finishes at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. One of the first character stops was R2D2 so I jumped right in line behind only a couple people and got a photo with R2D2-it was awesome! 

My race outfit was BB-8 inspired with a Sparkle Skirt, hand-painted visor and shirt. 


The first couple of miles took us around the World Showcase with all the different countries at Epcot which was one of my favorite parts. They had the parks lit up and many employees standing out and cheering. It was really fun to be running through one of my favorite parks with no one but runners there. 

Miles 2-4 have you going through the Boardwalk and Beach resort area which had a few more brave family members and friends cheering who were staying at those resorts and then we made our way to Hollywood Studios. I stayed at one of these resorts last time I was in Disney World with my family so it was fun running by these. I was having a great time so far!

Race photo on the boardwalk
I had been previously warned that due to the distance between parks, there were long highway stretches of races at Walt Disney World. The first 4 miles of this race were so fun and exciting that it was like a blur until I got to the long highway stretch to get to Animal Kingdom at Mile 9. Settling into miles 4-8 was a little mentally tough, but there were some characters as well as big video screens playing clips from various Star Wars films. 

Getting a photo with Chewbacca was super fun as well and one of my favorite photos. 


Running the ginormous parking lot at Animal Kingdom to get to the park entrance was killer. It felt like I was never getting any closer! Once we got into the park it was really fun to run through it, especially with all of the music, employees cheering, and wildlife due to the nature of the park. 
Miles 9-12 lead us through Animal Kingdom and back along the highway again towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports, with the last 1.1 miles going through the complex. 

By the end of the race the sun was up, and the weather was warming up quickly. Overall the course was fairly flat with a couple inclines on the highway stretches. 

I appreciated all of the photo ops with employees willing to take photos with my phone (although many of those from the beginning came out really dark i.e. my Chewbacca photo above) as well as the PhotoPass professional photos. I've heard that the lines can get long which can be annoying unless you just expect that it's part of the experience. The start and stop of running can be a little weird feeling during a half marathon too. 

This was one of my favorite photos from the race,trying to look as boss as possible in the emperor's chair. 


There weren't as many characters out as I expected, although there were some fun photo ops that put you in scenes from the movie. During the highway stretches there was some music and video screens including a DJ playing remixes of Star War music, but I was expecting more entertainment. 

This movie scene photo op I wasn't thinking straight and posed wrong and should be going away from the monster, haha. The photo then gets flipped over so that I'm like Luke hanging in the cave in Empire Strikes Back, which I did not understand at the time it was being taken. There was another fun scene photo op in the trash compactor from A New Hope


By the end after the long highway stretches, I was ready to be at the finish and enjoyed myself that last mile. 


I finished the race in 1:49:12, 11th in division and 497 overall out of over 18,000 finishers,  which is pretty solid considering I stopped to take a bunch of photos and was running this for the whole runDisney experience. That also gives you a sense of how many people run this race. 

Once I finished I was handed a medal and picked up a Powerade, water, cold towel, and box of snacks. 


Now I will say that the medal is pretty freaking awesome. It's heavy and Darth Vader middle part spins. 


I finished fairly fast so the finish area in one of the big parking lots wasn't too crowded yet. There was a big screen so you could watch as people finished. Here they had more photo ops including the big man himself, Darth Vader.  They had all of these next to each other, and the queues quickly became pretty long. 


Dressed up as BB-8, this was the first photo line I jumped into. I love this photo, although I wish I could have like hugged BB-8 or something. 




As I said, the morning heated up fast. I ended up waiting for my friend to finish his first half marathon and then journeyed back to the hotel for some snacks and a nap. I headed out to the parks later that day. It was fun to see other's wearing their medals around the parks. 


Overall Race/RunDisney thoughts

Positives 

-Great photo opportunities: You can get lots of awesome photos during and after the race. I also thought getting photos with the characters was very fun! 
-Awesome medal: If you care about your race bling, a runDisney race is definitely the place to grab some awesome, unique race medals. 
-Unique experience: I think it was a unique experience with fireworks at the start, character stops, and a fun theme throughout (especially if you are a big Star Wars fan like I am). Running through the parks before they are open is also really fun. 

Negatives

-Price: I still think for the pricetag that Disney could offer runners 10% off park tickets. The price for tickets only keeps climbing, and I think it would be nice to offer SOME sort of discount on park tickets. 
-Highway stretches: There are long stretches of highway during the races, based on how far apart the parks are and the race course. Here you aren't getting really getting any fan support or as much excitement as I expected during this race off the park premises. 
-Early start: I was pretty tired after the race so it wasn't the day where I was going to have a long day at the parks. I can't imagine doing that wake-up multiple days in a row for the challenges. 

Something that could be positive or negative is the race size. The Disney World races have a capacity upwards of 20,000 runners. It was fun to be part of such a large race,and get to start the race with the energy of a crowd of people. It also makes the expo, race start and finish, and parks/resorts more crowded at that time. My friend who started in the back because he didn't have a time to put in when he registered said it was really frustrating trying to get past many people and the start was really crowded. 



You can find information about the race and this year's events on their race website here

Have you ever run a runDisney race? Do you like big or small races? 



 
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