Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon runDisney Meet-Up

Last week I shared that I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in the Disneyland Half Marathon runDisney Meet-Up.  Ever since I found out that I was going to the meet-up my excitement grew and grew about the morning!  I learned that several social media friends and bloggers were also selected to join in on the fun so I was excited to get to meet up with them on Friday morning to kick off the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend together.

I landed at LAX around 8:30pm PST on Thursday night.  As I stood at the curb waiting for my shuttle to pick me up, I got an alert that runDisney had tweeted.  This just wasn't any tweet, this was one of the most exciting tweets that I have received!

via @runDisney on Twitter

Yep! We will be having some special guests - Sean Astin, Ali Vincent, and............JOEY FATONE!  Not to get all "fan-girl" but I was 14 when N'Sync hit so I can't help it.  Plus Joey is my favorite so I was beyond excited to see this.

After just 4 hours of sleep, I had a 4:30am wake up call to get ready to head over to the runDisney meet-up which started at the Disneyland Hotel.  It was fun to walk through the park area before anyone was up because I had it all to myself.

Upon arrival at the meet-up I was greeted by the wonderful runDisney team!  They are the best!  We were greeted with warm smiles and given our official runDisney bags with our fun swag (more about that later).  Previously, meet-ups received a black runDisney shirt to wear - in true Disney style they decided to surprise us this morning!

Royal blue runDisney shirts!  Very nice runDisney!  I think we all LOVED them!

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
As we all started to arrive, we introduced ourselves to each other.  It is funny how you recognize people by their blog or twitter name and not necessarily their real name.  It was great to see so many familar faces this morning!
Myself with Erin (@LoveDisneyRun ) of For The Love of Disney Running
I finally got to meet Linzie (@SeeSharpRun)! of See Sharp Run

Me with Marc (@markymarc70) - you will see a lot of him in my DDD posts

It  is a Joey Fatone sighting!  That is right!  I took a selfie with Joey!

runDisney Meet-Ups traditionally start with a 2.5ish mile group run.  Well, once again runDisney had a little surprise for us.  Their friends at New Balance joined us for a Good Running Form mini-clinic.

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Of course I am on my phone tweeting.... Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

They briefed us on the components of good running form which are: Posture, Midfoot, Cadence, and Lean.  They told us to remember the phonemic device "Parties Make Cinderella Late" - that was an awesome way to get runDisney fanatics to remember this!  I have never been to a good running form clinic, but after hearing some of the amazing tips they gave us I definitely want to check one out soon!  You can find good running form clinics at a lot of running stores so be sure to check one out sometime.

After our mini-clinic with New Balance it was time to test out what we learned.  What better place to do than than through the empty them parks of Disneyland and California Adventure!?!?! Bob Hitchcock explained to us that there will be two groups: a straight run group and a group running the Galloway run-walk-run method.

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

The White Rabbit came running into the group informing us that we were late for a very important date!  At this time, the straight run took off for there run as the Galloway group waited a few minutes.

This was a prime moment for some photo ops! 

Yes, Sean Astin duck-faced!

We decided to do a re-take so I can duck-face as well :)

Yes, the 14-year old Brandi is dying at this moment!
It was our turn!  We started our 2.5 mile run in Downtown Disney and heading towards Disneyland!  It was beyond magical to be running into the parks with virtually no one else except for you and a few of your runDisney family members!

I will race you to the castle!
Running through the castle was a magical moment I will never forget!  In a lot of runDisney races you get to run through the castle, however you have a lot of other runners around you.  There was only a small group of us running through together and I got to run through next to Joey!

Blurry running pic, but it captured my moment!
Thanks Joey trying to photo bomb my castle picture!
I have to take a moment right here to thank the wonderful team at runDisney for making this magical moment for me!

As we exited Sleeping Beauty Castle we took a right towards Fantasyland to find the one and only....

Alice was awaiting our arrival and gave us time to get our pictures with her.  Since the Kids Races, 5K, and 10K races are Alice in Wonderland themed, this is a big weekend for her.

While we waited for everyone else to have their turn, Ali Vincent (the first female Biggest Loser) and I decided to goof off a little in the tea cup!  I just love Ali to pieces - her personality is amazing and she is so inspiring! 

After everyone was done with their pictures with Alice we got yet another surprise from the runDisney team - we are riding the Tea Cups!  Okay, so....if you know me you know I get motion sick.  I knew I probably shouldn't ride the Tea Cups, but I got caught up in the moment with my friends.

This is my nervous face for sure along with my Tea Cup partner Marc!
Thank you to my dear friends Marc and Jim for not spinning the tea cup and letting me just scream my little heart out.  Now, for your comic relief, here is link to an Instagram video by Marc (Instagram: markymarc_70)  of our Tea Cup ride.  ENJOY!

I survived the Tea Cups!  YAY!  Now to continue the run! We finished our run through Disneyland and exited through Main Street.

Me with my new runDisney friend Shavon!
Our next stop was California Adventure! Wahooooooooo!

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Here we come!

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Joey wanted us to jump....when Joey Fatone tells you to jump - YOU JUMP! (This is one of my favorite pictures from the morning!)

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

It has been several years since I have been out to Disneyland/California Adventure so I have not been to Cars Land!  I could not wait to get my first glimpse of Radiator Springs.

Cars Land is absolutely amazing! Running through it empty with just your runDisney friends by your side is absolutely priceless! 

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

We finished up our run at the place most appropriate to end it for the Alice and Wonderland themed run - Mad T Party!

We were once again greeted by Alice at the party and this time she had a friend with her - Mad Hatter!

runDisney had a nice breakfast set up for us with water, coffee, cereal, pastries, and fruit.  As we all ate our breakfast we mingled with each other and shared our excitement for the race(s) this weekend.  

Jim, Marc, and I ready for breakfast!
After mingling for bit, we started got to have a Q & A session with several special guests.  First up was Faron Kelley of runDisney.  We all were shocked when Faron dropped a huge surprise on us!  We were all the first to get to see the newest in runDisney bling!  

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Here you go everyone - the January 2014 collection!

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Just when we thought that runDisney couldn't surprise us anymore, Faron shocked us all by telling us that runDisney is working on not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 (YES 4) new race weekends.  He would not comment if any of those races are on Disney properties out of the US - sorry friends!  I guess we will just have to wait, save our money, and get our passports ready just in case. 

ABC was kind enough to send over a special sneak peak of the new series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  It looks so good!  It premieres on ABC on October 10th at 8:00EST, but if you can't wait to check it out go to the ABC website here to learn more and get a peak!

Our next guest speaker was Cindy Lynch who was the female winner of the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon.  Cindy shared some training tips with us as well as her experiences on the Disneyland Half Marathon course.  Since I have never ran the Disneyland Half Marathon course, I did not know what to expect, so I really appreciated hearing what her favorite parts of the course are.

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Up next was Tara Gidus (the official runDisney nutritionist and "Diet Diva").  Tara shared some good tips on the proper ways to fuel our bodies for race days and especially when traveling for race day.  She even shared her favorite spots at Disneyland to fuel up!  Be sure to check out Tara's tips on the runDisney page as well as on her Twitter page (@DietDivaTara).  You might not initially like the advice that she gives you (*cough*cough* "carb loading"), but she knows what she is talking about!

I could listen to our next speaker forever - Jeff Galloway!  Jeff is just absolutely amazing!  If it wasn't for his run-walk-run method I would not be where I am today with my running so I have him to thank "to infinity and beyond."  Beyond that he is just a nice guy and wonderful to listen to.  He spoke to us about how he started running (he actually hid in the woods during cross country practice!!!!), the run-walk-run method, and about his training during the 1972 Olympics.  Are you training for an upcoming runDisney race?  Make sure you check out Jeff's training page!

Up next is someone who I truly admire.  She overcame such obstacles and became the female Biggest Loser - Ali Vincent!  Since winning the Biggest Loser, Ali has a her own show on the Live Well Network - Living Big with Ali Vincent.  Ali is also working towards her goal of 13 half marathons (13.1's) in '13.  The Disneyland Half Marathon is going to be #8 for her.  Ali is such an amazing person with a one of a kind personality and I love how she is inspiring others to achieve their goals.

Sean Astin was up next and he spoke a little on #Run3rd - "1st I run for myself, 2nd I run for my family, and 3rd I run for you."  The premise of #Run3rd is to dedicate your run to someone or a cause.  It really is an amazing movement which you can check out on the #Run3rd blog or follow Sean on twitter!  Sean also talked to us about his daughters and running together.  Since running is an important tie in my family, it is nice to see other people share their family running stories as well.

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo
Our final special guest needed no introduction!  After one of the most talked about performances at the 2013 VMA's last week (minus Miley Cyrus), N'Sync's Joey Fatone was here to talk to us!  In January Joey ran the Goofy (half marathon Saturday and full marathon Sunday) and now he is at Disneyland to run the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge and earn his Coast to Coast.  Joey talked to us about his "training" for Goofy and Dumbo. He is also a Galloway runner which is awesome! ...and sorry everyone the N'Sync performance was a one time thing! He is hoping to get some friends into running - fingers crossed for some other N'Syncers at future runDisney races :)

We concluded with some drawings for prizes including runDisney duffle bags, runDisney New Balance shoes and one lucky person won entry to a 2014 runDisney race!  I did not win, but a few of my friends did which is exciting!

As we wrapped up we had a few minutes for pictures.  During the run I asked Joey if he would sign my N'Sync CD for me (yes, I brought it with me) and he said "of course!"  

Love a good "duck face"

I might just feel 14 again!

As we got ready to part ways, we of course had to take a group picture with our wonderful guests and hosts!

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

Crazy faces!   Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo

A huge thank you to the sponsors that put together some sweet goodie bags for us!  The H2O+ products are amazing and smell fabulous!  These will come in handy after running 19.3 miles.

Finally, I want to thank the wonderful team at runDisney again for hosting the meet-up.  It is a wonderful way to meet friends from social media as well as learn about news from the runDisney team. Be sure to follow runDisney on Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date happenings - you never know when new surprises will come up!

I loved having the opportunity to not only take part in the morning of a lifetime but also share my experiences with all of you!  I hope you see you at a runDisney event soon!

Question of the Day:  Have you ever taken part in a runDisney meet-up? What runDisney races do you have coming up?

Time to Run,


  1. Awesome Recap! I have had the opportunity (so lucky and blessed) to have attended the Meet Up at Tink last year (2013). It was also the one and only runDisney weekend I have been able to attend (insert sad face). I am so looking forward to Tink 2014... I will be there running the 10K and the Half! Can't wait!

  2. You need to come over to the east coast sometime and earn the Coast to Coast medal. It is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

  3. Great recap! I missed so much since I was working the morning of the meet-up. I am super excited the medal for Wine & Dine has been upgraded before the 5th Anniversary! Also, I cannot wait for ALL of the beautiful WDW Marathon medals to be MINE after I finish The Dopey Challenge.

    While I have never been a boy band groupie, I love that you got to meet Joey. He seems like such a great guy...I had been pulling for him on Dancing with the Stars, if that counts. ;)

    1. Are you calling me a groupie?!?! :-) It is quite alright because it was the most wonderful morning!

      I love the new Wine and Dine medal. You are going to looooove the Dopey bling. It will be well worth the training!

  4. Awesome recap! I definitely remember seeing you at the meet-up! It was an incredible morning...such a blast! :-D

    1. Thank you Jennifer! It was one of the best mornings of my life! It was full of magic and I loved sharing new runDisney news with everyone that morning.

  5. I loved following you last weekend. In tears of joy for you reading about your amazing experience. So happy for you! Looks like a blast. Great post!

    1. Thank you Julie! Jen and I had a blast! I wish she was able to have gone to the meet-up - I missed my BRF! :(

  6. How do we get "in the know" for the run disney meet-ups? Do you have to be a part of a certain group?!?!

    1. Information and details on meet-ups are posted on the Disney Parks blog ( around 2 weeks prior to the event. You can also follow runDisney on Twitter (@runDisney) :)

  7. Great recap! I didn't realize that we are in so many pictures together!! So you brought the N'Sync CD, how cute!! I took a video with Joey and you could hear some girls in the background "yeahhhh" hahaha. I am following your blog now!

    1. Can I put a link to your post in my post? It was great meeting you! I hope to see you at a runDisney race soon :)

  8. I loved following everyone's tweets and pics that morning. Looks like it was so much fun. Determined to get into the meetup for Wine n Dine in November

    1. I am very excited about Wine & Dine! I keep referring to it as a "runner's prom" :)

      Are you doing the Jingle Jungle 5K too?