Archives for February 2013

runDisney Princess Half Meet Up 2013

There’s no doubt about it, the runDisney meet ups are a sought after and hard to get into event. A lucky few get to join in the fun and experience an up close and personal look at the runDisney brand. These meet up’s take place at the beginning of the race weekend, early in the morning. No one knows the location or exact details when they are signing up, but what they do know is it’s going to be an awesome one of a kind event.

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This year’s Princess meet up took place in EPCOT. We had to be at the gates around 6:30 am for a prompt 7:00 start. There was plenty of excitement in the air as everyone donned their runDisney shirts and prepared for a three mile run to kick off the morning.

I caught up with some friends before the run began including my twin for the morning, Diet Diva Tara.

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I also caught up with Faron Kelley, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Disney sports.

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I took a few photos and soon it was time for the run to start. Jen and I were ready to run in our skirts.

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Some of the runDisney team and celebrities that were participating were introduced, such as Rachel Booth, Princess half winner (and fellow Mandeville, LA girl) and Sean Astin of Rudy, The Goonies, and Lord of the Rings fame. We took a group photo then split into two groups for our run. The straight run group led by Rachel, and the run walk group led by the legendary Jeff Galloway.

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Can you spot me in the photo below?

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We ran around the World Showcase in the peaceful stillness of the morning before the hustle and bustle of another Disney day began.

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I was running SO fast you can’t even see me clearly. Smile

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When we made it around World Showcase, we were surprised with a quick visit from the Fairy Godmother. We told her we couldn’t wait to see her the morning of the Princess half marathon, and after a quick photo we were on our way, heading out to the Boardwalk.

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We made a loop around the Boardwalk and back into EPCOT where we finished up in Germany. Breakfast was waiting for us (as well as coffee!) I had a muffin, banana, and bagel with cream cheese. It hit the spot after a fun morning run.

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The lovely Shannyn sat next to me, she is super sweet!

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The speakers soon began, and I knew we were in for a treat. First up we heard from Faron Kelley who praised us ladies for making runDisney events so successful. We outnumbered the guys during marathon weekend! Girl Power!

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We also got to hear from Jeff Galloway (the official training consultant for runDisney) and Tara Gidus (official runDisney nutritionist). Jeff reminded us it was going to be a warm weekend, and to adjust our expectations accordingly, and Tara gave some quick nutrition tips as well.

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Rachel Booth talked to us about training, and how even in her lower mileage weeks, you can still have great runs and do well. I had to chuckle when she said a 50 mile week was low mileage! She’s a total sweetheart and answered questions from the crowd.

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Next up was Ali Vincent of Biggest Loser fame. I am a huge Biggest Loser fan and cheered on Ali during her victory, so I was excited to hear what she had to say. She spoke about her weight loss and even gave our towels to those in the room who have lost the most weight. It was so inspirational to see all the hands go up around the room of the people who have had significant weight losses.

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I even recorded Ali speaking for a minute, you can just hear the passion in her voice, I love it.

We also heard from Josh Rowe about the ever popular runDisney/New Balance collaboration. (Check out my post about the shoes in case you missed it.) They even gave some shoes away!

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My favorite part of the meet up was hearing from three time Paralympian April Holmes. If you aren’t familiar with April, be sure to read up on this amazing lady. She was involved in a train accident in 2001, and lost her left leg below the knee. While in the hospital wondering what to do next, one of April’s doctors gave her a magazine and told her about the Paralympics. At first she was hesitant, but then she went on to shatter record after record, and brought home the Bronze in London in the 100 meters (which is what I ran in high school!)

The thing I loved most about April is that she openly spoke about her faith, and how she knew even despite the horrible accident she was in, that her life was spared because God had a plan for her. What an amazing plan it was indeed! She claimed she has so many medals she can’t even find them all! She was so inspiring and motivational, and it was just what I needed before trying to beat my own personal best in the Princess half marathon.

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She even handed our autograph cards to all in attendance, such a nice touch!

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We also heard from the folks at the Senses spa at the Grand Floridian. This spa was recently renovated and reopened (you will be hearing more about that from me later!) They drew names and used attendees to demonstrate ways you can self treat before or after a race at home, and some lucky folks walked away with prizes like spa robes and massages!

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Before the meet up ended, a special guest was brought out to greet us, and we were told we had some Princesses waiting outside to meet us as well.

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As we headed out the door to see who was waiting for us, we were all were given amazing goody bags by runDisney including a one day park hopper pass and products from some of the race sponsors.

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Once we made it out into the sunshine, we were introduced to some beautiful princesses! I had to go say hello to Rapunzel first. After all, I was dressing up as her for the race on Sunday. Do you see me explaining that I was going to run with Pascal on my shoulder? It as quite the conversation.

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She was a great Rapunzel, very in character and fun.

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Next I had to say hi to my girl Minnie. My outfit was inspired by her, and she was quick to notice.

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I think she was pleased with my skirt choice.

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Lastly, Snow White was waiting to say hello and wish us well in the race. I don’t have a clue what was so funny here. Or maybe I was just star struck.

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I then spotted April Holmes, and couldn’t miss out on a picture with her. She even let me hold one of her medals! I told her how inspiring I thought she was and I loved how open she was about her story and her faith. She was so humble and sweet!

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I was sad to say goodbye, but I knew it had to come to an end. We all wished each other well for a great race and were on our way. A big thanks to runDisney for hosting this special event for us runners, I had a blast!

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QOTD: Who would you most like to meet/see at a runDisney meet up?

Interested in attending a meet up? Be sure to watch the Disney Parks Blog closely the week before the race. They will post a blog about how to enter the meet up, but you have to be quick, these events reach capacity in a matter of minutes!

Disney Post-Princess

I will be blogging about all of my race experiences later this week, but right now I am pretty darn tired. I am writing this on Tuesday night for Wednesday’s post, and we just got back from Disney this afternoon. I have been unpacking and cleaning then realized I needed to blog. Oops! I thought it would be fun to recap the day of the race (after the race) and Monday, what we did with my family etc.

After we got cleaned up on Sunday morning post half marathon, we headed to Epcot. My mom wanted pizza, and we were able to walk up and get seated immediately at Via Napoli, yes! I was starving, and pizza never tasted so delicious. A sweet Princess runner came up to our table and said she read my blog (hi again!) we chatted for a minute, it was great to meet her and see a fellow runner wearing a medal!

After lunch we walked around Epcot a bit, not even riding anything, and realized we were exhausted from our 2:45 wake up call. We decided to head back and rest, and I took a whopping one photo of the day.

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We went back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, and headed to the hospitality suite for a snack before taking a nap. Well, the nap never happened. Sean Astin was in the suite, and we ended up hanging out with him for two hours. I interviewed him about the race so stay tuned for that later! My parents picked us up for dinner and we ate at Trails End buffet. So good, but I was basically a zombie by this point and had been up for almost 19 hours. We made it back to the resort and fell into the bed for a good snooze before our last day in Disney.

We “slept in” until 7:30 (sad I was finishing the race at that time the day before!) We got breakfast in the hospitality suite and chatted with race announcer Rudy before heading to Hollywood Studios.

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It was super crowded so Bobby rode Aerosmith and we did Star Tours before deciding we were hungry. Mom wanted to ride the boat from port Orleans to Downtown Disney, so we did just that and ate lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Express.

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We stayed at Port Orleans the last night with my parents

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On the boat to Downtown Disney

After lunch, we wandered around a bit then decided we needed some ice cream.

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Oh yes, I ate all of it by myself

We rode the boat back to the hotel, it’s such a nice little ride.

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It was such a nice relaxing day and awesome not to have any major plans except for dinner. We walked around the resort just enjoying the grounds and sat in the food court and chatted.

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Our royal room:

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It was soon time for dinner, so we headed to the Magic Kingdom for a long awaited feast at Be Our Guest restaurant.

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We ate in the West Wing, and honestly I loved it. I was bummed at first, but the main room seemed so noisy and this one was much quieter and more intimate. I also loved that you can get your photo with the Beast after! I met another sweet reader in line for photos, and she just got engaged!

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We tried to recreate the picture behind us. Totally dorky.

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Right as we were walking out of the restaurant, we realized Wishes was about halfway over. We stood on the bridge and watched. It was SO COOL. Fireworks were coming from both sides. it was an amazing wyt to end the night.

My mom took the below photo without me even knowing, and it’s not one of my favorites ever!

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Love it! We headed to Gaston’s and got some er….drinks? Before leaving.

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It was an amazing last day, a perfect way to end the trip! Stay tuned for meet up, 5k, and half marathon recaps!

QOTD: Have you eaten at Be Our Guest? Do you like Fireworks?

Goodbye Disney

I had a great time running the Princess half marathon, but now it’s back to the real world and a bunch of unopened emails. I can’t wait to tell you all about the race and some other things I am working on. Stay with me as I get back on track this week, and sorry for the short post!

We have a long drive home today and I can’t wait to see my pups this afternoon. Here is a sneak peek of the trip:

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This Princess Rapunzel ran a great race yesterday. Despite the humidity and running the 5k the day before, I still managed to pull out a PR and had a great time running with Jen. I can’t wait to share the whole story with you, it is a race I won’t ever forget.

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For now, I am going to enjoy my last day in Disney with my family before returning to the real world. Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement!

Also, be sure to go to the Blogher.com Health page, one of my posts is being featured over there today!

QOTD: Favorite Disney Princess?

A Letter to Kettlebells

Hey guys! Marissa from Barefoot Colorado here! It’s no secret that I have been incorporating kettlebells in a ton of my workouts lately! I’ve become obsessed. I’m here to share with you a (slightly embarrassing) but awesome ode to the wonders that are kettlebells. Exercise equipment that incorporates cardio, strength training AND is fun? COUNT ME IN!

Dear Kettlebells,

Although we have only been seeing each other for a few months, I must confess I am starting to love you more than the dumbbells. No hard feelings, guys.

Kettlebells, you are so funny looking, with your weighted ball and big handle. You are a toy for the big kids.

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Speaking of big kids, everyone from fitness newbies to Olympians to my mom (who has no idea what you are–don’t worry we’ll work on her!) can use your various sizes. You don’t discriminate, Kettlebells.

I’m glad now cardio and strength training can stop fighting over my attention. Thanks for making both my heart and my muscles happy so I don’t have to choose between them. They’re quite whiney.

You have such a knack for time, dear kettlebells. I can get a great workout in 20 minutes or less (like the one below!) with your intense moves. That means I can have more time to watch The Walking Dead do homework and clean the house. Ha yeah right. We all know I’m going to watch The Walking Dead and eat yogurt bowls in my bed.

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No body part ever feels left out when I train with you. Some of my muscles feel like they are picked last for the team when I use traditional dumb bells (I told you my body is whiney!), but you are an equal opportunity exercise. You cheeseballs, you.

Functional training is where it’s at, and you provide just that little kettlebells. You provide me with the tools to benefit and strengthen the movements I perform in day-to-day life.

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I don’t have to hop on one foot either. Your workouts provide enough core stability and balance work. Thanks for sparing me the embarrassment of the flamingo hop.

Honestly, thanks for being you, kettlebells. You had some fun to my fitness routine when the dreadmill is boring me to tears.

I hope we can continue to see each other a couple times a week… as long as you don’t tell my running shoes. 🙂

Love Always,

Marissa

QOTD: Have you tried kettlebells?

Disney Day #3 and Splitsville

Good morning! I wanted to fill you in a bit of what I have been doing the past couple of days. Yesterday was the meet up, so there will be a post on that later. However, on Thursday, I had a blast as well. I had some work to do in the morning until after lunch, and then Jen arrived via Magical Express in the early afternoon.

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We grabbed some lunch at The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and did a lot of catching up. Then we wandered around the hotel before getting ready for a blogger meet up at Splitsville wherenwe had a blast. Splitsville is awesome. (I will be writing a post later specifically on this cool place.) I am so glad they hosted the party there, and we got a chance to check out this new vanue in Downtown Disney. There is a great upstairs patio where we hung out, ate, drank, and got to know each other.

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The balcony has sweeping views of Downtown Disney, and the weather was prefect for a night of fun.

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The drinks at this place are pretty epic. We started out with a snickertini. So chocolaty and good!

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Then we tried the Birthday Cake martini. Holy yum. It was amazing. If you like sweet drinks this is a must do. You won’t be disappointed, the rim even had sprinkles on it!

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Splitsville was a great host and they were super attentive. Not only were the drinks good, but the food is out of this world. They have an extensive menu including sushi! We had some killer nachos and pizza with our drinks and I think I ate half the plate. I can’t wait to write another post for you guys about Splitsville, I have some amazing photos to share as well as info for visiting with your friends and family. Be sure to follow them on Twitter to see what Splitsville is all about!

QOTD: Favorite martini flavor? Thoughts on Splistville?

Yoga + Running

Hi Everyone! I’m excited to be over here hanging out at Running with Sass today while Heather is in Florida for the Princess Half Marathon (although I am totally jealous and wish I was there!).

Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about my love for yoga and how it’s really benefited my running.

I ran my first marathon a little over a year ago after just 8 months of running. I didn’t know much about running, training or incorporating cross training into my program at all, I basically downloaded the recommended training plan, put on some sneakers and ran with nothing more than the goal of finishing 26.2 miles.

My training went great…up to 16 miles. That’s when everything would start to fall apart. As soon as I got over 16 miles it felt like someone was stabbing me in the butt (which I later learned was a muscle called the piriformis) and every step felt like I was landing on broken glass. I even called my husband towards the end of my 20 mile run crying telling him I didn’t think I could do this and I didn’t even want to go to the race, I was in too much pain and I’d rather not go than not finish.

Well, I DID go, and I DID finish. My feet hurt and I was sore for days, but I knew the second I crossed the finish line that despite the pain, it wasn’t my last marathon.

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Fall of 2012 brought a lot of changes for me, I left my job to go back to school, I was starting yoga teacher training and it was time to start training for not only my 2nd marathon, but this time I was taking on the Walt Disney World Goofy Race and a Half Challenge (that’s the half marathon Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, and just for fun I threw in the 5k on Friday!).

I worried about the long runs after what I had experienced last year, and this time I had to do back-to-back long runs to be ready to run a half and full marathon on back-to-back days. AND on top of that, I was really concerned about the effect that 3-4 vinyasa yoga classes a week would have on my running…would my legs be too tired? Would they be sore after a hard class? Would I have the time to fit in the yoga AND my runs??

Well, by the time I crossed my last finish line of Marathon Weekend I was without a doubt convinced that my yoga teacher training and Goofy Challenge training overlapping was the best thing that could have happened!

I’ll plead my case with a few specific things that really demonstrate the amazing effect that yoga had on my running:

1) My Massage Therapist – I LOVE getting massages (it’s totally my guilty pleasure!). Last year during marathon training my massage therapist was fantastic at really working out my legs and targeting that piriformis muscle that was always tight. This year I went for a massage a few days after one of my 18 mile runs and he actually asked me if I was still running! He said that my leg muscles were so loose he assumed I had stopped!

2) Pigeon Pose – I have a love/ hate relationship with pigeon pose. I used to dread when we got to it in yoga, it was awkward and uncomfortable and I was convinced human legs and hips shouldn’t be contorted into that position (and that’s coming from a very flexible person!). I always used a block to prop my hip up because there was no way I was getting any deeper into the pose…but little by little as my training went on I noticed it wasn’t so uncomfortable any more…and then one day I swapped out the block for a blanket…and then a few weeks later I went from the blanket to my hip coming all the way down to the floor! Guess what muscle that pose targets?!?! Piriformis! It was amazing to actually be able to see the progression of it loosening up! Now no yoga practice feels complete without pigeon!

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3) When it came time for my 20 mile run this year I mentally prepared myself for the pain, I knew what was coming and I was ready for it. I got past 16 miles and waited for the pain to come…but it didn’t! I got to 18, 19, 20…got to my house and kept going! This time I called my husband and happily told him I’d be a little later than he was expecting, I was going to do a few extra miles!

As I ran those extra miles I began to think about my training this time around and realized that I really hadn’t been experiencing the same aches, pains and soreness I had last year. My foam roller wasn’t getting used quite as much (although it still did get a lot of love!), I didn’t carry around a golf ball to roll the arches of my feet on, and my body didn’t need as many rest days after my long runs. The difference? All the yoga I had been doing!

I finished the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge feeling great and not experiencing any soreness at all!

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I even stopped and did some pushups with the green army guys at mile 21!

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Because of my experience, I am a true believer of the benefits of yoga for runners and love to be able to share them with others now that I am a certified yoga instructor!

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Thanks Danielle! Danielle blogs at Live Run Grow, be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!

QOTD: If you run do you find yoga helps you? Even if you aren’t a runner do you like yoga?

Another Disney Day

Yesterday was a long and full but awesome day in Disney. I just love this place in case you didn’t already know. It was one of those mornings where I woke up and forgot where I was, then remembered I was at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and jumped up to see if there were any animals outside. Unfortunately there were just a few birds, but I would get to see more animals later in the day so no worries.

I got ready for the day and ate breakfast at the Mara before heading out to my first appointment.

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This said appointment took me to the Grand Floridian spa and health club. Massage, here I come! The robes were awesome and plush, you will get to hear about more of the spa from me later so stay tuned.

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It was heavenly, and I wanted to go take a nap after, however I had a lunch meeting to go to, which lasted until the early afternoon. I got back to the hotel and decided to head to the pool for a bit.

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Love my Minnie mouse-looking swimsuit!

I was texting Kelly, and we both realized we were at the pool! I of course found her and we hung out for a couple hours.

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chilaxin

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I left later to go for a three mile run around the Boardwalk before grabbing a quick dinner at the Mara. Oh, look who else I finally got to meet? It’s Bex! Her and her husband are super sweet.

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When I went back to my room I peeked out the window and saw FOUR giraffes eating just outside my window. It was awesome. I of course pulled out my stalker lens on my Nikon (photos to come later from there) and snapped some pictures. I also took a couple with my phone.

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Totally photo bombed by the ostrich.

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As I said before, a great day, and excited for another action packed one today, because I get to hang out with this girl for the next few days as well as my family (coming in Friday). Have a great day everyone!

QOTD: Have you been to a spa? Favorite treatment?

*Winner of the arm sleeves giveaway is Victoria S! I already send you an e mail let me know if you didn’t get it.

Back in my Favorite Place

 

Good morning from sunny Florida! I am back in my favorite place, Disney World! I will be running the runDisney Princess half marathon this coming weekend, and doing some work the next couple of days. So, this is how my first day transpired.

My dad took me to the airport and I flew on a smooth stress free Southwest flight from New Orleans to Orlando.

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I left a chilly, overcast city behind and was welcomed into a beautiful day in Florida. I checked into the beautiful Animal Kingdom Lodge, grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to Downtown Disney after scoping out my room, which was thankfully already ready. I was also happy to be upgraded from a pool view to a savannah view. It pays to be nice to the people checking you in!

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My savanna view. I had three giraffes right outside last night when I came in from EPCOT!

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I was on a mission in Downtown Disney…I wanted to get one of the marathon Dooney bags. I have been kicking myself for a month for not getting one, they are so stinkin cute. I had a hard time parting with the money to get one, and when I realized if I bought it after the fact with my annual pass I could get a discount (and hubby said it could be my Valentine’s Day gift), I knew I was going to head straight to the World of Disney to get one. As of Friday, they had some of the bags, so I was hopeful there would still be some left. However, when I showed up, I was told they were gone. However, a very kind cast member looked up the sku number and told me Tren-D (another store at Downtown Disney) may have a couple left says the computer. So I hauled it over to the store, and the ladies behind the counter told me they hadn’t had any for two weeks. I explained that I was told they had a couple, and a nice manager (after some prompting and pushing by me) agreed to look in the back, saying maybe one or two were damaged but they hadn’t been taken out of the computer yet.

She comes out of the back with the LAST BAG. We looked it over trying to find the “damage” and couldn’t see anything wrong with the bag. I as SO happy and thanked her over and over for going and checking even though the ladies said there weren’t any left. So i was able t get my bag and my discount. Score!

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For some reason, my eyeliner decided to walk off and didn’t make it into my bag, so my next mission was to find make up somewhere in Disney. I didn’t think this would be a problem, Disney is huge with TONS of stores so eye line should be a piece of cake. Um….negative! No store in Downtown Disney had it (I even went to guest relations!) so I sent out an SOS on Twitter, and SO many awesome people offered suggestions. Two people assured me a store at the France Pavilion of Epcot had makeup, so I immediately hopped on a bus to the Yacht Club and walked over to EPCOT. They in fact did have eyeliner (albeit expensive eyeliner, but still, eyeliner none the less.)

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I walked to the front of EPCOT and hopped on a bus back to the resort and went to the Mara for a quick service dinner. It was so nice to sit by myself and eat and relax. Then it was back to the room for some work and watching the Bachelor of course! I would say it was a fabulous first day and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! Make sure you follow me on Twitter and instagram (runningwithsass) and my Facebook fan page for updates and photos.

QOTD: Do you like to go go go on vacation or relax?

Fitbit Review

 

As a Verizon Wireless Ambassador, I was sent a fun new gadget in the mail the other day, and I am so excited to share it with you…it’s a Fitbit! Not going to lie, I had never heard of this until it showed up in my mailbox (have I been living under a rock?!?) However, as a runner and health nut, I was really excited to try it out.

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The Fitbit tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned. The coolest part is, you can sync it to you computer or some smartphones so you can check your progress during the day without having to check your Fitbit.

You can easily attach it to your pants, bra, etc. (I even attached mine to the inside of my boot when I went to dinner!) It’s very sturdy and doesn’t fall off easily. When you want to switch between screens you just tap or thump the front and it changes from distance, to calories, etc.

I obviously love competing with myself, so having my own Fitbit account so that I can track my progress, earn badges, and even have a little fun competing with friends. I like to try and outdo the day before, and earn more badges. Right up my alley!

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The device is also sweat rain and splash proof. I have worn it for three days and am really loving it. I forget I’m wearing it, so it definitely doesn’t distract me or bother me during the day. I also like checking in and seeing how I am doing during the day. If I need to walk more, or burn more calories.

*Note, running on the treadmill will not track the distance properly. I ran 6 miles on the treadmill yesterday and it said I went four and a half miles. However it is still nice to have an approximation.

Guess what? Verizon Wireless has offered to give $5 off to RWS readers who purchase a Fitbit through this link: Fitbit 

Thanks Verizon!

QOTD: What are your thoughts on the Fitbit? Have you heard of it and would you ever use one?

*Disclosure: I was provided with a device and phone service from Verizon Wireless