Run – Week One Disney Princess Half Marathon Training

This week marked the beginning (officially) of my training for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon! While I’d love to be able to say that I pulled it all off flawlessly, I can’t.


The last couple of weeks have been CRAZY around here. My busy season for work is in full swing. I’m still trying to finish a Halloween costume. I had a field trip to attend, and I’d volunteered to donate treats for an event at the school. That would have been more than enough to do, but then, we had several things break down in the house and on my car. It feels like I’ve spent all my time either driving back and forth to the service center or waiting on repair men at home, trying to squeeze the other things I need to do in between. Oh, and the day after I picked up my car for the second time? I totally backed into another mom after school.


I was supposed to have done a 45-minute maintenance run on Monday and Wednesday, and a 3-mile long run on Friday. What I actually did? I managed one 45-minute maintenance run on Tuesday and a 5-mile run on Friday. I guess I technically just skipped one maintenance run, and I ran too far for the long run. I’m not too terribly heartbroken. Next week will be better. It has to be.


A new race on the calendar!

As many of you know, registration for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World opened up to the general public last week. I’ve wanted to repeat this race since I first participated in 2013, but I haven’t had the opportunity. All the stars have aligned, and I will be going back in 2017!


What’s really fun is, once I put it out there on the Internet that I’m registered, I learned that a lot of people I know are running. AND I recruited a friend to come and make it her very first half marathon! AND she is inviting everyone she knows to come along, too. If I’m honest, so am I. “Come! Run with me!” “Come! Be my cheerleader!” I’m pretty excited. I just can’t seem to help myself.

Once the kids are back to school (in less than a month?!), I’ll have to get serious about running again. We haven’t broken up completely, but I haven’t trained for any kind of long distance since January. Of last year. I’ve lifted weights and done a lot of other things, but I haven’t run farther than three or four miles in quite some time. It will definitely be a challenge with the hills and altitude that I have to contend with now.


I snapped this photo one morning while walking Hank. It’s a little tricky to tell, but our neighborhood is nestled right up next to the mountains. There’s a running/biking path…at the bottom of the hill. No matter what I do, the last mile back to my house? Straight up. I may need to leave the neighborhood to find a path that won’t try to kill me.

Regardless, this is happening. I’ll have another one of these beauties to add to my collection come February! Now, to figure out my costume….



New runDisney Costume Guidelines

Of course, as soon as I post about Disney race costumes, they go and change the rules on us.


Straight from the runDisney blog, here are the new guidelines:

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 9.09.51 AM

Some of these rules, I completely understand. Some of them, however, rule out some of the best race costumes I’ve ever seen. Some of them, well…you have two Star Wars races now. Nobody can dress as a Jedi? Because of the robe? Come on. And so what if I think someone else’s costume is amazing and want to take a picture? Where is the harm in that? Does anyone else have strong opinions about this?

My Favorite runDisney Costumes…for now

This week, Disney runners are packing up their tutus and donning their mouse ears, gearing up for 2016’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I am more than a little jealous. One day, I will be closer. One day, I will run all the races. Today…well, today is not that day.

Until then, let’s take a look at some of my (latest) favorite costumes from past runDisney events! As a warning, you won’t find any princesses here. There’s an entire race in February just for them.


Let’s begin with Cinderella’s stepsisters – Anastasia and Drizella. This has long been a favorite of mine, but I’ve never had a runDisney buddy to try it with.


Of course, I have to include Cruella de Vil. You’ve seen her here before, and you’ll probably see her again. I tried to recreate this one myself, but I didn’t look near as awesome as Kelly does.


Russell & Kevin from Up! Again, I’d need a buddy. I’d also need that buddy to let me be Kevin.




This BB-8 costume is outstanding. This gal was at a different Disney event, but I saw something very similar at the Star Wars 10K last January while waiting to begin. HER ARMS ARE INSIDE. I prayed that poor girl wouldn’t trip.


Are there any Inside Out fans among us? This is a great idea for a large group.

This last one is my very favorite…


The Disneyland Churro! Click over and read the post. That costume is SCENTED! I’ll bet there were a lot of runners craving churros that day.

No matter what race you’re running this weekend, good luck to you, costumed wonders!


The time I took my kids to Disneyland.

We’ve been home from California for over two weeks, and I haven’t blogged about it yet. It’s shocking, I know. Or maybe it isn’t, considering what a lazy blogger I’ve been lately. There are reasons, which I may getting around to sharing eventually, but they don’t belong in this post.

Disneyland! The happiest place on earth is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year – the Diamond Celebration. This had no real bearing on my deciding to take the trip, but it sure was a wonderful added bonus. When I visited Disneyland back in January, every third thought in my head was how I wished my kids could see this, or that, or that really cool thing over there! As the end of the school year began to get closer, I decided to go for it. I found a pretty good price on airfare, a great travel agent rate for the room, and we used the discounted passes we’re able to purchase. This was a solo-parent adventure. I probably would not have attempted Disney World in Florida without a second adult. Even as many times as I’ve been, I think that would be overwhelming. But in California, everything is so close together. I knew if anyone began to melt down, we could be back in our hotel room within 20 minutes.

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. Within minutes of entering the lobby, we found Goofy wandering around. Our room was lovely, and I was super excited that our “pool view room” also had a view of Downtown Disney and the parks (way off in the distance). The kids got very excited about all the Disney touches in the room – Mickey’s hands holding the lights in the bathroom, the stars and hidden Mickeys in the carpet, and of course, the light-up castle above the beds.

We spent our first day at Disneyland Park. We got off to a rocky start, choosing to ride Pinocchio’s Daring Journey first after discovering that Peter Pan was still closed for refurbishment. I hadn’t ridden it recently enough to remember that it’s kind of dark and scary. Neely decided she was terrified of this and most everything that *might* go through the dark…which is everything. She also refuses to ride anything goes fast, so this rules out a lot. We still had plenty to do, but it was frustrating not being able to take my boy on things he wanted to ride. Neely decided that she wanted to collect autographs on this trip, so that was a fun change. Another inexpensive souvenir we decided to collect are souvenir pennies. We brought along a roll of quarters and a roll of pennies, and the kids’ job was to be on the lookout for penny machines each day. They loved this! I loved it, since many of the gift shops have the penny machines inside. The kids were so focused on getting their penny, they didn’t beg for everything else they saw.

We also watched the new Paint the Night parade on this day. People start camping out and staking their spot FOUR HOURS EARLY. I could hardly believe it. We found our spot closer to half an hour early. It wasn’t the best. It was standing-room only, but it could have been a lot worse, too. Most of the folks around us were pretty understanding and let the little ones squeeze up closer to the front, so they could see.

Day Two – California Adventure. We managed to coerce Neely onto the Radiator Springs Racers and Soarin’ Over California. I may have lied once (we’ll have them put us in the “slow car”), and I had to promise extra rides on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree to convince her to cooperate. And no, she’s not the type to get off a ride and decide she was wrong about it. She definitely stuck to her guns. If she was going to hate it, she hated it. We had a fun day, anyway. Both kids ate their very first churro. They even asked if they could have one for breakfast the next day. Ha!

Also, the World of Color show…incredible. We had a World of Color dinner package at Wine Country Trattoria. The dinner was delicious, although I wish I’d asked for a patio seat. We were there at 5:00pm, just when the Pixar Play Parade was passing by. If we’d been seated outside, we could have had an awesome view from the restaurant. With dinner, we received tickets to a reserved viewing area for that night’s World of Color show. It was completely worth it to me not to have to stake out a spot super early. We walked right in to the perfect spot to watch. The lights, the water, the color…I loved it all.

The last day was spent mostly back at Disneyland, but we did hop over to California Adventure for a bit, too. I love that you can walk out of one park and into the other within minutes. I also rented a cabana by the pool for our last afternoon…

It’s quite possibly one of the best decisions I ever made. If you’re at a Disneyland resort in June, don’t expect to find a chair anywhere close to the pool, or in the shade, by mid-afternoon. I’m so glad we had this waiting for us. The cabana has a sofa and loveseat inside, along with a TV, mini-fridge, ceiling fan, and safe. There are two lounge chairs at the front with an umbrella as well. At the Disneyland Hotel, the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant services the pool. We had our own attendant and were able to order drinks and food without leaving the comfort of our cabana. For a Mama who has been hauling little ones around on her own for three days, this was heavenly.

All in all, we had a great time. We never really saw the special fireworks show for the Diamond Celebration. They were canceled a couple of our nights because of high winds. There were fireworks on the night we watched World of Color. We saw some of them as we walked back to the hotel afterward. The kids were satisfied seeing them that way, so I don’t feel like missing them was a huge deal. I’ve got my Disney fix for a little while, but I definitely think we need Dad along to help next time. 🙂

Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Recap

It’s kind of fun to be involved in the “inaugural” anything, but the very first Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend was super cool. There were a lot of firsts for me this weekend. It was the first time I’ve been to Disneyland since I was a kid, so there were a lot of Disneyland-related firsts. (I’ll share my general Disneyland experience later.) This was also the first time I’ve participated in one of runDisney’s challenges. I’ve been watching Internet friends run a gazillion miles back-to-back for a few years. I guess I got a wild hair and thought I’d see if I could survive that kind of torture, too.

First up – my first Disney 10K! I’m honestly surprised I finished as quickly as I did. I arrived mid-afternoon on Friday, picked up my race packet, hung out at the pool, and enjoyed dinner at Steakhouse 55 before an early bedtime. I hadn’t been in either of the parks yet. My head was on a swivel the entire time, trying to see as much as I could as I passed through. That pic in front of the ferris wheel? First time I’ve ever seen it! California Adventure didn’t exist the last time I was at Disneyland.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.32.19 PM


I am extremely happy with my results. I tried to be conscious of the fact that I’d be running the half marathon the next day, so I wouldn’t completely burn myself out. I think I managed that fairly well.

On the way back to the hotel, I happened upon a familiar face…

…and then this happened. #rundisney #rebelchallenge #gooniesneversaydie

A post shared by Audra (@audralynno) on

I saw others stopping for a pic with him, and I very nearly passed on by, not to be a nuisance. I changed my mind at the last minute, though. I knew nobody would believe me otherwise, least of all my husband. 😉 Thanks for stopping and helping me take this selfie, Sean Astin. You’re the best!

The next morning, we were out of bed early to run the half marathon. (But not nearly as early as I have been for races at WDW. Staying on property and walking 10 minutes to the start line was the best decision we could have made!) I wasn’t nervous per se, but I had very low expectations for my finish time. I usually give myself a couple of rest days before a long run. My legs felt good post-10K, but I wasn’t sure how things would go down. I should have practiced running back-to-back. I intended to. I never did it, because training over the holidays? It just didn’t happen.

The course was really different than any other Disney race I’ve run. Shortly after mile 4, we were completely finished running through the parks. The rest of the race took us through the streets of Anaheim. I don’t have a problem with this personally. There were people along the entire course cheering us on – local marching bands, cheerleading squads, people who wanted an excuse to dress up in Star Wars costumes, etc. People amp me up, so this totally works for me. For those who are used to running Disney World and want Disney in their face the entire time? Disappointment city.

At the 10K mark, I noticed I was running considerably slower than I had the day before. It took my legs a lot longer than usual to warm up. I put a lot of effort into those first 5 miles or so. I managed to pull out a PR by the end somehow. I beat my best time (that half in September that I didn’t train for) by a full minute!

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 3.33.18 PM


I only stopped once, for a photo with a couple of storm troopers. Most of the character lines were crazy long. I skipped over them. I wanted to get done, so I could go play at Disneyland! I did stop my Garmin while I waited and took this photo, though. My actual run time according to the watch was closer to 2:18. When I finished my first half marathon in 2:37 almost four years ago, I never could have imagined that would be anywhere in the realm of possibility.

All in all, this was another good runDisney weekend for me. It redeemed my Wine & Dine Half Marathon experience completely. The only thing that I wish was different are the Coast to Coast Challenge rules. To earn a Coast to Coast medal, you have to run a Disney race on each coast in the same calendar year. There were only two months between the two half marathons I participated in, but since they were in 2014 and 2015, no Coast to Coast medal for me. 😦 The only race left that I could run in Florida in 2015 is Wine & Dine, and the memories are a little too fresh for me to want to go back for that one again so soon.

I’m going to Disneyland!

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.24.41 PM

Y’all, I will be running this race in one week. ONE WEEK. I haven’t made it through all of my Christmas photos, or put away my decorations (if I’m honest, this is completely normal, though), and we just finished unpacking the last of the suitcases and gifts from Christmas break today. But in a few short days, I’m off to California!

I’m excited, but the timing makes me question my own judgment. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to go to Florida for the WDW Marathon Weekend. I’d have been a hot mess. As it is, I’m still trying to put together costumes and figure out what I need to pack. Have you ever tried packing for sunny and 75 when it “feels like” -20 degrees outside? Because it’s weird. I apologize in advance to Anaheim and the greater Los Angeles area for the blinding whiteness of my skin. It hasn’t seen sunshine in a while.

This will be my first trip to Disneyland since 1996. A lot has changed since then. Namely, there are two parks now instead of just the one. The Indiana Jones ride was brand spanking new when I went. Now, kids are like, “Indiana who?”

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.34.26 PM

I just can’t wait to see California Adventure, Cars Land, stay at a Disneyland hotel for the first time in my life, take a zillion pictures on my phone, etc. 🙂 You’ll hear more about it than you ever wanted to when I get home, I’m sure. Maybe I’ll try to squeeze in my Christmas pics before then.