RunDisney Races: What To Expect

If you would have told me a year ago that I would become a runner, let alone running my first 10k in Disney World, I would have laughed with disbelief. But alas, this past weekend proved to be hands down one of the best weekends of my life and a turning point in my 20-something life towards new beginnings. 

What is it like to run a race at Disney? Unique, overwhelmingly fun, and crowded. The weekend began with an Expo pickup at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside of the parks. Here runners picked up their bib, technical shirt, and gear check bag along with many opportunities to view and purchase items from vendors and official race merchandise. Word of advice for future runners? Get to the expo early to purchase official event merchandise before they sell out! Luckily my friend and I were able to get the official 2016 race jacket, magnet, and baseball cap to sport around the parks after the race. This year's princess theme was Under the Sea in honor of The Little Mermaid!

I was relived the morning of the race to have packed all the necessities; safety pins, Gatorade energy chews, a mobile phone charger, the perfect running playlist, and a jacket to wear while waiting for the race to begin that I could dispose of later (Disney donates left behind clothing). I would have to say that these are some of the most vital items when doing a Disney race. After the rush of the first corral, we waited 35 minutes before our corral was up (thank goodness for that disposable jacket in 5am weather!). The fireworks rang and off we went on the nearby highway, through the back of Epcot, and around the World Showcase Lagoon. It was amazing to see Epcot, a park I had never been to, this way and to have all of the cheering Disney characters alongside the course. 

The course was very crowded on the more narrow sections, such as going through the back of the park. While the timing of when we crossed the finish line and how long it actual took us to run the course was a little off (due to starting in a later corral and waiting in line for photo ops), the experience was worth it. Disney's cutoff times are extended more than most races due to the character magic, making it the perfect first race for those that may need extra time to finish. It was a whirlwind of pure happiness crossing that finish line. We were given a snack pack, Powerade, and of course the anticipated finisher medal. Walking through the parks afterwards with our medals made the experience even more memorable. Passersby and other race participants congratulated us on our 10k accomplishment and I could not be more happy about how far I had come in my running.

Disney is the perfect first, second, fifth, and twentieth race. The moment it ended was the moment I started saving for another RunDisney event to participate in. Interested? Make sure to subscribe to their email list and prepare in advance for registration!

#FITionista: Disney Princess Enchanted 10k

Tank (90 Degrees by Reflex
Running Shoes (Nike Zoom Pegasus 32
Sports Bra (Incredible by Victoria's Secret Sport)
Disney Inspired Running Skirt (Running Couture)

Training for a 10k

This weekend is the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend at Epcot in Walt Disney World and I am beyond excited to run the Enchanted 10k with my friend!

Let's be honest. Would you rather have your first 10k be on an empty trail or at the most magical place on Earth? The answer, just like singing along to your favorite Disney tune, is easy.
While daydreaming of sparkly running costumes and taking pictures with my favorite Disney characters is nice, going from a competition dancer who cut across the grass while running the mile in gym class to running 6.2 miles in one event is no joke. I knew that I was going to have to train hard and set some serious #sweatsesh goals in order to be ready for the big day.

Here are some tips that I found to be helpful.

After completing a 3 mile run on the treadmill, it was very apparent that my Nike 5.0 shoes were not going to cut it for such a lengthy activity as a 10k. I knew it was time for some legit running shoes and had no idea where to begin my search. Luckily for me my friend recently finished the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco (she crushed it, I may add) and was able to point me in the right direction towards a local Fleet Feet store. Not only did the employees fit my feet and watch me walk in running shoes, but they went as far as to determine what type of shoe would be best for the arch of my foot and how the ball of my foot lands when hitting the pavement. 

After a 30 minute consultation I was confident that Nike would continue to be my go-to brand and decided on a pair of Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 (exact pair can be found here). I was now ready to blaze the trail - or at least the indoor treadmill - and begin training properly.

While some may be blessed with gorgeous weather year-round, those of us in the Windy City are subject to icy pavement and snowy winds, not to mention the risk of getting sick if not bundled up properly. I have been attending Chicago Athletic Club's Lincoln Park location for 2 months now and absolutely love it. Joining the gym is a great way to have the flexibility of not only using the treadmill to train, but to also take advantage of the classes offered.

This leads us to tip #3...

While running is a necessary part of preparing for a race, cross training has been proven to keep the body strong and build stamina. Keeping your body on it's toes with a yoga class here, spin class there, is the best way to take advantage of your membership and tone your body.

Finally, the most important part of training when you are looking to see results is fueling your body with the proper nutrition.

My advice to fellow 20-somethings? Put down the shot glass, step away from the unneeded calories, and make water your new best friend. As an experiment I gave up beer during the month of February and only allowed myself the occasional drink of light alcohol during special occasions (Hello, SuperBowl 50 - I had to toast Queen Bey properly). What I found was a huge improvement. I felt lighter, leaner, and more energized to get up and get running.

Cut out fast food and learn how to cook. I was once told that the best way to enjoy cooking is to look forward to the meal you are making. Expecting to only eat leafy greens and no carbs every day is unrealistic, so I looked for tasty meals that are good for your body and contain the perfect amount of nutrition. This made cooking fun and easy to incorporate in my daily routine.

New to cooking? I recommend trying the Breakfast Morning Quinoa from SELF's meal plan!

Why You Should Be Crushing On Charity Miles

Love is in the air!
..and I'm not just talking about Valentine's Day.

This February, Charity Miles (my go-to fitness app alongside Nike+) and Tone It Up have teamed up for the most awesome partnership our iPhones have ever seen. 

Introducing #TIUCharityMiles, a 3 week challenge set up to inspire those participating to run, walk, dance, and skip for an organization of their choosing. Your movement + their app = money donated to a worthy cause. The best part? There's multiple organizations including Special Olympics, Stand Up to Cancer, World Wildlife Fund, Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and more to pick from every time you open the app. 

Every Mile Matters.

While currently only on Week 2, I have already had a really great experience with this challenge. I chose to use the app towards the Alzheimer's Association in honor of my mother's godfather and for those who have experienced the disease in their family. Even though I couldn't tag them in my Week 1 posts, I was happy to be able to dedicate my miles to them and thought it was amazing that something I am working towards in my own life can benefit others. Preparing to run a 10k (only 9 days until the Disney Princess Enchanted 10k!!) has been a battle in itself, but the added incentive of having my runs support a cause has made every moment even more worth while. 

In just a week and a half I have gone from running a comfortable 3 miles to over 4. Talk about running my heart out for Week 2! 

This challenge has been good for the soul. After recently going through a difficult time, Charity Miles helped me quickly bounce back to my old self, put things in perspective, and remember what's important. I even incorporated the 3 week challenge into my 5 week CHAARGSBFP challenge!

It's all about timing! The fitness gods and Cupid have aligned to make #TIUCharityMiles the ultimate Valentine, and I am crushing hard.

There's still time to participate! 
Download the Charity Miles app today to see why #EveryMileMatters.


Bikini season is just around the corner, which means CHAARG's Spring Break Fitness Plan is officially here! Never heard of it? Get ready to take some major #sweatsesh notes.

A quick breakdown. CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls) strives to motivate and inspire college-aged girls towards everyday health and fitness goals. There are 29 University CHAARG organizations + a Virtual CHAARG membership for non participating schools and those post-grad (hollaaa). Overall that leaves an inspiring community of 5,000+ girls across the United States partaking in workouts, events, and challenges together. Talk about a support system! 

The #CHAARGSBFP is a coveted 5-week program limited to 1,000 girls that includes weekly schedules and daily workouts from Share It Fitness, a Fit Journal to track your progress, and daily challenges to go the extra mile. Those signed up will also receive a free Victoria's Secret Sport sport bra, a discount off of the CHAARG Tribal Tee (already pre-ordered mine!) and a positivity pack filled with motivating quotes and stickers. What I am most excited for during the 5 week challenge, however, is earning Bolts. For those who like seeing their progress in numbers like I do, Bolts are a fun way to visually track your workouts. A bonus for this year's Spring Break plan is earning 50 bolts within 5 weeks. The breakdown is as followed: one bolt equals 1 mile walk or run, 3 miles bike, 10 minute jump rope, 48 floors stair stepper, or 400m (.25 mile) swim. Pretty cool, right?

Today is the first day of #CHAARGSBFP and this year I am dedicating myself to not one, but three FitGoals. These include completing 50 bolts within 5 weeks, working out at least 4 times a week, and embracing positivity during the process. Setting FitGoals is a great way to hold yourself accountable for getting to the gym and logging those hours + bolts!  Make sure to check out my #CHAARGSBFP FitGoals below.

While the 2016 #CHAARGSBFP is unfortunately sold out, you can still get involved with some awesome workouts by becoming a CHAARG University or Virtual member. Stay tuned for weekly #CHAARGSBFP updates ++ make sure to follow my #inCHAARG Insta account to view the journey!