Tuesday, January 22, 2013

runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon Meetup

On Friday morning, I was so given the opportunity to attend the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon meetup.  I was beyond excited when I found out I was attending, but the experience was so much better than I had even imagined!

It was still dark when those of us chosen to attend gathered at the Sorcerer's hat just outside the Disneyland Hotel.  Each attendant was asked to check in with the runDisney rep and sign our waiver.  We then got our exclusive, only for attendants black runDisney tech top.  I meet up with some of the runners at the event, many of whom I know from reading their blogs but never in person.

We all gathered around the Sorcerer's hat to listen to Bob Hitchcock, the big guy at runDisney.  He welcomed everyone and introduced the special guested--Ali Vincent from the Biggest Loser, actor Sean Astin, Tara Gidus, and the New Balance rep. Jeff Galloway spoke for a bit and explained that we would be doing his run/walk/run method for the meetup. Our intervals were :30/:30.  We started our run from the Disneyland Hotel toward Disneyland while running through Downtown Disney--an outdoor mall type area full of fun shops and restaurants.

As typical for me, my first glimpse of the castle always takes my breath away.  It was so beautiful running through the castle just as the sun was coming up.  After about a mile into our run, we stopped for our first surprise -a meet and greet with Tinkerbell herself.  At this time, I stopped to chat with Ali Vincent.  I did not know who she was before that morning.  It was amazing how much our stories paralleled.  I was inspired by her positive attitude. We chatted for a while, and when the run started again we ran together for a while.

After meeting with Tink, we ran to California Adventure.    The park is so beautiful and unlike any of the Walt Disney World parks.  It celebrates everything that California is known for--Hollywood, the beach, its history, and cars!  After our run was over, some other very special guests paid us a visit--Minnie, Mickey and Goofy--all in their 1920's attire.  The runDisney folks gave us plenty of time to get all the pictures we wanted.  Then they announced our next big surprise -that we all were riding Radiator Springs Racers!

This ride is the hottest ride right now is all of the Disney parks.  It features the characters of the "Cars" movies, as they race through Radiator Springs. My little group ran over to be the first in line.  I got to be in the very first car of the day!  After the ride, while we waited for everyone else to ride, we got to meet some of the Cars characters.  Once everyone had a chance to ride, runDisney Bob announced another surprise -we were having breakfast at Napa Rose!

Napa Rose is a five star restaurant in the Grand California Hotel.  They offer an amazing gourmet food and wine menu.  I have always wanted to eat there, but the price and the dress code have kept me away--until the meet up!  It felt so strange to be there is sweating running clothes.  We got into the dining room and found our seats.  I sat with some of the girls I had meet that morning.  The Napa Rose had prepared a wonderful breakfast spread for us--bagels, danish, fruit, yogurt, assorted juices and of course coffee.  It was perfect after a run.

Once we all had eaten our breakfast, it was time for the speakers.  runDisney's Bob Hitchcock started it off by thanking us all for attending and being so devoted to runDisney events.  Up next was the New Balance rep.  The latest runDisney phenomenon is the runDisney themed New Balance shoes.  The rep told us they are simply overwhelmed by the demand for these shoes.  Then he did a drawing for four pairs of the shoes!  I did not win, but I will have them one day!  Hopefully I will get them at the Princess expo.

Next up to speak was Sean Astin, an actor turn runner.  He told us about his #run3rd campaign.  First, we run for ourselves, second we ran for our families, but then we all should run third.  Run third can be for anything--any cause we believe.  Cancer research ( my #run3rd) , diabetes, children's charities, military,  domestic violence, ect--the list can go on and on.  The important thing is that we all #run3rd.  That we all have something important out there to keep us running, that we help others while we do something good for ourselves--to give back!  I was so moved by hearing Astin speak.  It was nothing I expected to here from him, but something I was blessed to hear.

The next speaker was Ali Vincent, the first women to win The Biggest Loser.  I heard so much of her story along the run, but she is so fun to listen to.  She is so animated and positive!  After Ali, we heard from Tara Gidus, the runDisney nutritionist.  Along with Tara giving us some nutritional tips, we also got a cooking demo from the Napa Rose chefs on how to cook a great post run black bean cake and poached egg breakfast.
As the festivities winded down, Bob announced the biggest giveaway yet--a free entry into the Dumbo Double Dare!  Again, I did not win, but that is ok.  I got to attend the event--that was enough for me.  Bob thanked everyone for coming and announced our last surprise -that we all were getting a free one day park hopper pass!  I was so excited!  What a great way to end an amazing event! As we were leaving I thanked Jeff Galloway for changing my life.  I quickly told him my story.  Just as the other times I have met him, he seemed genuinely interested.  I stopped over and quickly told Bob Hitchcock my story too and thanked him for running runDisney.  I would not be where I am today without the runDisney experience and I wanted to make sure they know how important what they do is to so many of us out here.

There is not other way to describe this experience other than amazing.  It was surreal, for a complete Disney geek like me, it was unbelievable!  Thank you so much runDisney for giving me this opportunity!

A dream is a wish...

--Amy

10 comments:

  1. How fun! I'm hoping to get into the Disneyland half meet up :) Your recap makes me excited!!

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    1. Good luck Jen! It was an amazing experience.

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  2. Great Recap and so exciting that you got breakfast in Napa Rose!! Also, loved what Sean Astin said about #run3rd - that is so cool and so true! As a 2x TNT myself, it is amazing how much good can come from the simple act of running! Wish I was at Tink, but I just got to attend the WDW Marathon Meet up and it was amazing!

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    1. Go TEAM! I heard the WDW meet up was great too!

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  3. What a great experience! It sounds like you had an amazing time.

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  4. I always love your posts! Congrats on the Tink! Can't wait to become a "Princess" for the first time next month. Your post has me so excited!!

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    1. Thanks NatashaMc! You will LOVE princess!

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  5. That sounds like so much fun! I thought about trying to get in, but realized I wasn't arriving in Califonia in time. Oh well...maybe some other race! Do you know if they always do those little "surprises" during the meet up runs?

    Ok, I'm not a stalker...but I saw you saturday AM...I think you had just finished the 5k. I was in line to get the runDisney shoe voucher outside of the expo hall...I saw you walk by and I was like "where do I know her from???" Took me a few minutes to figure it out, but it was kinda cool to recognize someone :) Did you get in line to get the shoes? We got there at 6:10am and were #24 and 25 in line. I got a pair and I love them! We're going to try to get my BF a pair at the Princess expo because the size he chose for his voucher that morning didn't fit right and they won't let you buy anything other than the size you got the voucher for. So, fingers crossed for next month! If I see you at Princess, I'll say hello this time :)

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    1. I wish you would have stopped me! The whole reason I write this blog is to meet other runners--to connect with new friends. I did not get in the shoe line. After the 5k, I was freezing! I stayed at the DL hotel, so I went up to shower and get warmer cloths. By then, all the size 9's were spoken for. Good luck getting some for your BF at the Princess expo. I hope to get some there too!

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  6. I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I happened to find your blog via Google and using your tips, I was selected for the Disneyland Half Marathon meet-up. You will never know how much I appreciate your information. THANK YOU!

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