2018 Medal Monday

I have officially crossed my final finish line of 2018!  I wanted to take time to reflect back on all of the races I’ve participated in to really appreciate how far I’ve come!  *ba dum dum* My friends over at Joyful Miles decided to put some questions together, to sum up, my #yearofthebling!

  • What is your favorite 2018 medal based solely on design rather than an emotional connection?

Signing up for the Wine and Dine Challenge was a complete whim during the middle of the summer.  I honestly don’t know what made me want to sign up all of the sudden, but I am so glad I did especially when the medals were released.  I am obsessed with this medal.  The rose gold plating of the medal, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies, so this one definitely took the cake for my favorite medal design.

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  • What is your favorite non-runDisney medal?

Once you participate in a runDisney event, your expectations for your next racing event are slightly skewed especially when it comes to medals.  For example, my first 5k after runDisney was a local Lafayette 5k.  This is going to sound bad, but I was so upset when I crossed the finish line and they handed me a bottle of water.  I was so confused.  My thoughts were “I just ran 3.1 miles, where’s my dang medal?!”  I learned what realistic expectations to expect when participating in local races, but I was completely blown away after the Tiger 10k in Baton Rouge!  It was equivalent in quality, size, and design as runDisney medals are.  Even though I’m not an LSU fan this medal will go down as my favorite local medal I have received to date!

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  • What is your favorite runDisney medal?

My favorite runDisney medal goes to Princess 5k for several reasons.  First, it was my first runDisney event, and it was my first race event.  Second, I did it with my mom, who as you all know is my best friend so being able to run together and create those memories meant the world to me.  And finally, it led me here.  Had I never participated in that first 5k I would have never pursued running as a hobby and I would have never accomplished of all the goals I have this year.  Also, let’s just take a look at cute little Pascal hanging on for dear life!

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  • Which medal was your most hard-earned?

So I couldn’t pick just one medal.  To be honest, all of my medals are hard earned.  Tons of mile and hours of dedication went towards finishing these races.  It was a rollercoaster of ups and downs sometimes, but it was all worth it when it came to crossing the finish line.  The one major hurdle I had to overcome this year was my double foot surgery at the beginning of August.  I didn’t really talk about it much, but I underwent surgery on both of my feet to have Morton’s neuromas removed from each foot.  Morton’s are tumors that grow on the nerves of the ball of your feet.  They weren’t life-threatening, but they were continuing to grow larger and cause more pain.  It was only supposed to take me two weeks to recover, but it ended up being closer to a month.  This all happened when I was supposed to be training for Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  This was also going to be my first half marathon.  Que the insane amount of nerves.  I went into that weekend with my longest training run being 8 miles.  I went in with a lot of doubt that I would finish, but thankfully I was able to push through and get through my first half marathon with a decent time.  I honestly did not think I would finish this race.  I had every odd against me to not, but race day came, and the energy of my fellow runners encouraged me as well as my mom texting me every mile telling me how proud she was of me.  So my most hard-earned medals are the Two Course Challenge medals I earned from Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

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  • What’s your favorite overall medal?

I’m sure it won’t be shocking to anyone that my favorite overall medal is a runDisney medal, and *drum roll please* it goes to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon medal!  It’s my favorite for many reasons.  First things first, it was my very first half marathon, and I honestly never thought I would accomplish running 13.1 miles.  Second, it’s such a classic design with Mickey running across the front especially because Disney means so much to me and is such a large part of my life.  Finally, I love all of the colors throughout the medal.  The ribbon is a gorgeous wine based color and the gold is simple but classic.  I love the overall design because it is so simple, but it is still so detailed.

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2018 Race Line-Up:

February – Princess Half Marathon 5k

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March – Hope Fest 5k and Best Damn Race: New Orleans 5k

April – Star Wars Dark Side 10k

November – Wine and Dine 10k and Half Marathon and Cajun Cup 10k

December – Tiger 10k, Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon 5k, and Reindeer Run 5k

 

Totaling up at 53.4 miles for the 2018 race year.  Considering, when I began this journey in February I didn’t run a single mile, I’m pretty proud to see how far I’ve come. This year will always be a memorable one for me.  It has been a year of firsts.  My first 5k, my first 10k, my first half marathon, and my first runDisney challenge.  I faced some bumps along the way such as double foot surgery in the middle of my summer training, but I fully believe that everything happens for a reason, and it was all apart of the process.  I’ve got some great races lined up for 2019, and I can’t wait to set my goals for the new year!

Thumbs up for a great 2018 and an even better 2019!

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2018 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Now that I have finally recovered from running 19.3 miles and the time change, I have finally had time to sit down and recap my experience at runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  I had been anxiously awaiting this weekend because it was going to be my first half marathon and my first challenge.  For anyone who doesn’t know running or runDisney, the Two Course Challenge was where you participated in the 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday and then ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday, totaling up to 19.3 miles in two days!  Yes, I paid for this, and yes, I sometimes think I’m a little crazy, but you do it for the bling!  The medals were gorgeous, but we’ll get to that later!

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Expo:

Mama Judy and I flew into Orlando Thursday afternoon, and then we booked it to the expo to pick up my race bib and shop for all the adorable merch!  Also, I needed to get to the expo as soon as possible because I forgot my running shoes at home.  Yep, I somehow made it all the way to Orlando to run a race without my running shoes.  For someone who had their packing list written out a week before, this was a major fail.  As if my anxiety wasn’t already racing, this only made matters worse.  Once we got to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we went to the Hoka booth immediately.  My priority was to get new shoes, and if we didn’t have enough time to pick up my bib, we would come back on Friday.  Thankfully, they had the style and size of the shoes I needed, and I had shoes to run in for the weekend!  The expo wasn’t too crowded, and the flow of traffic to pick up your bib worked really well.  A recommendation is to come to the expo with your waiver filled out and ready to go.  You are able to print and fill it out before entering the expo, but I like to have it done ahead of time.  Next stop was the merch (INSERT HEART EYES)  I honestly loved the theming for this year.  All of the merchandise was super cute!  The colors were gorgeous, and I was able to shop without a huge crowd.  We were in and out of the merchandise within like 20 minutes!  It was great.

10k:

 I managed to get to bed around 8ish the night before the 10k, but goodness that 2 A.M. alarm came on too early.  Thankfully, the excitement and adrenaline gave me an extra boost to get going.  Mom and I made it to Epcot around 3:15 A.M., but we didn’t realize that they didn’t open up bag check or start running the buses until 3:30 A.M.  Mama Judy and I chilled in our warm car until we finally saw movement at bag check.  Once we made it through, we headed to the Ticket and Transportation Center, the meet and greet with characters had already begun.  You had the option between Sebastian, Lumiere, Chef Mickey, and Chef Minnie, and Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  We hopped in line for Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  The lines were moving fairly quickly, I was able to meet them in about 15 minutes.  My mom and I hopped in line to meet Sebastian, but the line was queued at over an hour, and the characters would be leaving at 5:00 A.M.  I decided to move into my corral since we wouldn’t make the meet and greet anyways.  The run itself went great because the weather was perfect.  It was cool but not too cool.  I will say I was disappointed with the course – the first 4 miles were all on main roads and overpasses.  We only ran through Epcot for the last half of the course.  There were several characters out on the route, but I chose not to stop for any meet and greets because I wanted to keep up my steady pace for a Princess Half Marathon Weekend proof of time.  After finishing, mom and I met up and hopped in line for some characters.  We were able to meet Sebastian and Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey before heading out for the day!

Half Marathon:

Mom and I were dragging this morning with the time change and back to back early wake-up calls.  We made it to the TTC and decided not to wait for any characters since it was almost time to head to my corral.  As the race volunteers were moving my corral towards the starting line, it started to sprinkle, what a great start to the morning!  I really enjoyed the course map for the half.  It was a nice mixture of back roads and overpasses and parks.  The first part we ended up at was Animal Kingdom, and I came in right at sunrise.  It was beautiful to see the sun rising over Pandora.  From AK, we headed to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park) which was a relief because I knew Epcot was right around the corner.  During my walk interval outside of Studios, an elderly couple asked me what I was doing, I said running a half marathon, they then proceeded to ask me if paid for this, I responded yes, and they both looked at me which this confused expression and said you’re crazy.  That was probably a highlight of my first half marathon!  My favorite part of the race was running through the Boardwalk for several reasons.  It’s flat and wide open so runners can space out. Also, the atmosphere on the Boardwalk is the best – you have the family and friends of runners out there cheering, and the resort guests on their balcony’s watching and cheering too.  Epcot was a struggle, but I pushed through it to get to that last finish line.  Once I fit the 13-mile marker, I started to tear up this was such a long and hard working journey.  Then as I rounded the corner for the finish line, I saw Mama Judy taking pictures and yelling how proud she was of me.  That moment and pure exhaustion did it, I started crying, but I knew I had to pull it together to get that instaworthy finish line picture! #judgeme There were several character stops throughout the course.  I stopped for Louis from Princess and the Frog being a NOLA girl, and Mushu at the China Pavillion in Epcot.  Characters I remember seeing were Marie, Green Army Men, Flik, Oswald, Elvis Stitch, Russell for UP, Daisy Duck, Pluto, the Penguins from Mary Poppins, Dino Chip and Dale and Edna Mode.  The characters available after the race were Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey, Lumiere, Chef Donald, and Chef Goofy!  We only waited for Lumiere because I didn’t think I could stand up any longer, and I was dying for a warm bath!

After Party:

After sleeping all day and taking a nice relaxing and warm bath, mom and I headed to Epcot in the sprinkling rain.  I had hoped the weather would clear up because I wanted to take some nice pictures with my medals.  Alas, that was not the case.  Mother Nature was not working in my favor.  Because of the time change, it got dark at like 5:00 P.M. – i.e. no natural lighting available for pictures, and it began pouring down rain.  We conquered Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ and Character Spot and a stop at the Canada food both for some cheddar soup.  From there, we decided to cut our losses.  The rain was coming down hard and it didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  As much as we wanted to enjoy the party, it was just not worth pushing through the rain for.  Hopefully, I’ll be back for Wine and Dine Weekend again to enjoy the party!

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