Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Expo 2016

Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans is one of my favorite races, and not just because I grew up in the area. The weather is usually nice, the course is flat, and the after party is so much fun. I have run this race about five times, and have some great memories from it. The New Orleans expo is always a lot of fun!

This year was a little different because I was heading over by myself, but I still hung out with friends and had a great time! I drove down from my house with Emma Kate on Friday and stayed the night with my parents (they live about 40 minutes from downtown) and then left the baby with them Saturday and headed into New Orleans. I first went to the hotel, ALOFT New Orleans, to check in. The room was ready, so I unloaded my stuff and waited on my roommates to arrive.

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The rooms at ALOFT are huge, and the beds are really comfortable. They have a pool and fitness center, and they are located right in between Canal street and Poydras Street, we just walked everywhere we needed to go!

Once Joe and Brooklyn arrived, we walked to the Convention Center. I was pleasantly surprised when we were not in Hall J per usual (a LONG walk) but in hall B or C if I remember correctly.

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My sister flew in from Houston for the race, and happened to be at the expo at the same time as me, so we were able to meet up for a few minutes.

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The expo was pretty crowded, so I just wandered around and went to a few booths where I knew the workers to say hello. Then I texted Jen and found her amongst the chaos. We had planned to meet up for dinner later, so I said goodbye and headed to the VIP booth to pick up my packet, and do a little more looking around.

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I love how Rock ‘N’ Roll has all of their heavy medals out!

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We were having a Rock ‘N’ Blogger meet up at the expo entrance at 3:30, so I made my way over to the front and met up with some old and new friends.

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We chatted for a bit, and then saw that there was a film crew out front. I’m not sure who approached who, but before I knew it I was signing a release form to be on camera.

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I still have no idea what the footage will be/was used for, but it was a lot of fun! They asked me questions about running in New Orleans, why I love this race, etc. I really can’t remember what I said, ha!

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A couple of other people were on camera, and then we all realized how hungry we were and decided to walk a couple of blocks over and get pizza, and apparently a Larisa photo bomb.

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We sat outside and ate, but sadly were at three different tables. We got really frustrated when we were told if there were more than 5 people eating together we had to put the food all on one bill. Huh? it really made no sense. How about just 3 separate checks even? No one wanted to put 9 people’s food on their credit card. New Orleans thrives on tourism, and this kind of thing is a major turn off, and if I wasn’t so hungry I would have just walked away. We decided to just sit near each other at 3 different tables and get some food in our bellies.

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Love that girl. She was running the full the next day!

The pizza was decent but the beer I had (NOLA Blonde) was really good. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, and we had a lot of fun.

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Since we are all boring old people, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel and go to bed.

As we were walking back to our hotel, we heard some music and saw a wedding party coming down the street doing the second line dance! We may have stopped to do a little jig and do some yelling and cheering.

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When we got back to our hotel, we noticed the Oscar Mayer Weenie mobile was sitting outside of out hotel. Umm…ok? Still have no idea why, but of COURSE we had to document the occasion.

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It was off to bed, it was going to be an early morning. I had a great day in New Orleans seeing friends, hanging out, and getting ready for the race.

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QOTD: What do you eat the night before a race?

Crescent City Classic Race Expo 2015

On Saturday, Bobby and I ran in the New Orleans Crescent City Classic 10k. This is a HUGE race with around 20,000 runners, that winds through the French Quarter and ends at city park with a big post race party! This was my fourth classic, but oddly my first time at the expo! In years past I have always had people picking up my bib for me.

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Friday Bobby and I arrived in New Orleans and parked at the Hyatt where the expo was being held. In true New Orleans fashion, they had free beer and red beans and rice. I also heard earlier in the day there was a second line that came through the expo.

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We got our bibs and wandered around a bit.

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We took a look at the course map to see what side of the street we needed to be on (last year was a bit of a mess trying to get into the corrals so I had high hopes for this year).

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Of course the husband smelled food and was at the table before I could even say anything to him.

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Free beer! When in New Orleans, right?

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They had several booths for other races at the expo, as well as some apparel and gear booths. I thought it was pretty good for a 10k, and am glad we went this year! You also could get a picture with the Easter bunny! I passed, but did get a picture with my bib.

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After the expo we headed to a pasta dinner put on by the race at the hotel the expo was in. It was a buffet and had a pretty good selection! Great job with the expo CCC, we will be back!

QOTD: Do you like when expo’s have free food and samples?

Disclosure: I was provided with free race entry and pasta dinner tickets, however I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

runDisney Princess Half Expo 2015

I love race expos! So much gear! So many familiar faces! It gets me so pumped for the race itself. runDisney expos in particular are a lot of fun because I get to see blends from online in the happiest place around. It was quite the unusually chilly day when we went on Thursday afternoon, but it didn’t dampen my excitement! It had been a year since I had been to a runDisney expo and I couldn’t wait to get inside.

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We first headed to pick up my race packet/bib.

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There was no line to get my bib, so it was easy and quick.

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I knew there was a free photo somewhere if you follow runDisney on Instagram, and I found it after I got my bib. Fun!

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After I took my picture we headed out to the red carpet to go over to get my shirt and see the vendors.

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I got my shirt and went over to the official merchandise. I ended up with a cute wine glass and my usual “I did it shirt” that I get at every runDisney race.

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About that time I ran into two of my friends, Kristen and Karen!

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after some chatting I went to find my buddy Michelle at the Running Skirts booth. I love Michelle! She trained me when I used to work for Running Skirts, and we had some super fun times together. I had to pick up a last minute addition to my race costume, and then headed off to find more friends.

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As we walked away I ran into my favorite male race announcer, Rudy! We chatted about the baby (everyone was so sweet to ask about Emma Kate!) and I found out he would be announcing the LA marathon I am running soon!

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I also bumped into Dani

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and went looking for Bobbi at the Raw Threads booth.

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After making the rounds at some of the other booths, I went to check out the new runDisney New Balance shoes in person.

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If I’m being totally honest, I’m not a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, the pairing of the two brands is genius, but I am more of a fan of my beautiful Minnie Mouse shoes and Cinderella shoes than the more bland black and white version. I was hoping for a fun princess shoe to be released for this race, or even another fab 5 character. Maybe later in the year!

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We were pretty tired from our travel day and had an early dinner at California Grill, so we decided to head out.

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As I was standing at the top of the stairs taking the above picture, I saw a familiar face go by. It was Danni from the Biggest Loser! I knew she would be there but when I said “hi Danni!” as she walked by, I don’t think she expected it. She stopped and said hello and I told her I cheered for her to win her season from the beginning and asked if she would take a selfie with me. She was super sweet and I wished her luck with the race!

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It was a great way to close out the expo seeing her. We had a great time and it got me excited for the half marathon.

QOTD: have you ever met a celeb at a race or expo?

Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Expo 2015

After we attended the tweet up and Feed the Children charity event, we were dropped off at the convention center to pick up our bibs and explore the expo.

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Packet pickup was very organized. We went at kind of an odd time of day towards the end of the expo so it wasn’t very crowded.

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After we got out bibs, we were funneled out into the official merchandise area.

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They had plenty of things to choose from, and some fun photo ops that we didn’t feel like standing in line for ha! About that time, Karen texted me asking where I was, and I told her we had just arrived. We were able to meet up for a quick hello. I hadn’t seen her since my baby shower in July!

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I also got to meet a couple of blog readers and chat with them for a bit which was fun! We took a look at all of the heavy medals for Rock ‘n Roll, and WOW they are so cool! Way bigger in person than I imagined they would be!

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I had some friends working at some of the booths so we stopped and said a few hellos, and also picked up our VIP packets at the VIP booth.

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About that time I was feeling a little shaky, and I realized Ii t was 2:30 and we hadn’t had lunch yet! We decided to go ahead and leave and get some food.

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We walked the length of the convention center (which is a LONG way!) out to the front where the Riverwalk is. We went inside and grabbed a late lunch before our early dinner, bibs in hand and ready to go!

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Final thoughts: I’m not sure what it was, but the expo seemed a lot smaller and not as exciting as in years past. There was no stage or speakers which bummed me out, and it just had a bit of a different feel than in previous years that I can’t quite explain (anyone else that was there feel the same way?) It also felt kind of dark in there, was it just me? Don’t get me wrong, it was very well organized and had it some great vendors, but I didn’t leave feeling as excited about the race as I have from other expos I have worked or visited in the past. I do hope next year the expo is larger and that they have a stage/speakers!

***Use code LOOKINGGLASS15 at checkout to save $15 on ANY US or Canada Rock ‘n Roll 2015 race! Share with your friends!***

QOTD: What is your favorite thing about race expos?

Tinkerbell Expo 2014

I was really excited about going to California for the runDisney Tinkerbell half marathon weekend, it was my first one! Not only that, but my mom had never been to Disneyland, ever, so I couldn’t wait to show her around. The first thing we did after check in and grabbing some lunch was head to the expo. We were staying at the Grand Californian, and mom was impressed at how convenient the expo was for those staying on property.

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Unfortunately, there was quite a long line just to get into the official merchandise area, we waited about 20 minutes or so. However, I was glad it was at least organized unlike at Dumbo back in August.

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There was a lot of official merchandise to choose from, but sadly the sizing of the shirts was way off. The “I Did It” tech shirt was very boxy and SO short compared to the Dopey I did it shirt I got not even a week before. Sizing inconsistency bums me out. I was able to get what I wanted (coffee mug, sweaty band, etc.) and my mom bought me this adorable shirt:

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I loved that lots of items said “flutter to the finish” and thought that was a very cute slogan.

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We paid for our merchandise and did a little walking around so I could visit with some friends working various booths before heading downstairs to get bibs. We headed back outside and down the ramp to packet pick up.

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Mom got her 5k bib, there were hardly any lines down here.

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We had to go back into the expo to get the t-shirt for the race, and then bib the expo farewell. We would end up coming back on Saturday to walk around some more and say hi to some friends, but it was time to go rest before our 5k the next morning!

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This being my first Tink, I have no previous expo to compare it with except the one for the Disneyland half marathon which was a nightmare. This one had a lot more volunteers, and they even had tape on the floor making little lines so you knew where to stand while you waited to go into the official merchandise area. They only let in so many at a time, which definitely helped with the flow of things. Also, there was plenty of merchandise out, we weren’t waiting for more to constantly come out like at the Disneyland half expo. They were not out of any merchandise that I am aware of (we were there about an hour after opening) and we had an overall positive experience!

QOTD: Do you buy official race merchandise at races?

Want to learn more about runDisney races? visit rundisney.com for details, dates, and runner information.

Expo Time Again!

It’s runDisney expo day! I love it. So much excitement surrounding the race weekend, and everyone is PUMPED UP! Check out my expo recap from last year here.  I am pretty tired from the meet up (recap to come!) But still excited about the race tomorrow night.

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Today we will be going to magic Kingdom for a bit before heading to the Wine and Dine expo after lunch. Then tomorrow it’s rest, lunch at Earl of Sandwich, and nap, then RACE! (Check out my race tips if you missed them).

Sunday we plan to sleep in after the race and post-race party, then head to EPCOT to bid farewell to the food and wine festival. Then we are meeting up with some friends before heading to ESPN to watch the Saints play Sunday night football. Monday is our last full day and we will head to Hollywood Studios and hopefully see the Osborne lights at some point (other than running through them at the race).

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I can’t wait to reveal my race costume tomorrow, it’s going to be fun! If you see me at the expo today or at the race or party, be sure to say HI, I would love to chat! I get sad when people say they saw me but didn’t want to bother me etc. PLEASE say hello! Have a great day everyone!

QOTD: What is your favorite thing about a race expo?

Baltimore Running Festival Expo

This time last weekend I was running a half marathon! It was such a whirlwind trip, but also SO much fun.

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I flew straight from vacation in Orlando up to Baltimore for the Baltimore running festival, and a car picked me up at the airport at 3:00. They brought me to the Hilton, where I would be staying for the night. My room was ready, and I had a great view of the marathon start line, the baseball stadium, and if I looked in the very left corner I could see the football stadium.

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I headed over to the expo, as I was told it was next door. I didn’t even have to go outside which was nice because it was cold! I left Orlando and it was in the upper 80’s, so my body was VERY confused.

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The expo was very organized, they had a section for people who had already registered to pick up their bib, and then they sent us downstairs to get our bag and shirt. I LOVE the Under Armour shirts. They are SO silky and soft, and a very fun color.

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They had a big course map at the expo, which really did me no good since I knew where nothing in Baltimore was. I didn’t even know where the start line was! I assumed I would just follow people on race morning. ha.

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There was a big section for official merchandise, and they had some really cute stuff. I went on through out to see the other vendors. It was a smaller expo compared to the ones I am used to with Disney or Rock n roll, but it was organized, and had some familiar booths.

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At the end there was a huge Under Armour section with a great selection of merchandise.

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I was wearing my UA speedform shoes, and had several people ask me about them, and I was happy to share how much I love them! Overall the expo was well run and I was able to get in and out without any problems or long lines.

I headed out after that, I was meeting Jami from under Armour for dinner, and we went to the cutest little place called Live 2 Eat. It was adorable, and had the most AMAZING food. If you live in the area, you don’t want to miss this gem.

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We shared delicious risotto balls for appetizers. I also had some great baked chicken for my meal that I devoured before taking a picture.

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We shared fudge like chocolate cake with delicious ice cream. We were stuffed. It was getting late, and we had to race in the morning! I think I may have fallen asleep before my head even hit the pillow, but I slept wonderfully in the comfy beds.

Be on the lookout for my race recap on Monday!

QOTD: Do you eat dessert the night before a race?

Disclosure: My friends at Under Armour sent me up to Baltimore to run this race, and covered my airfare, hotel, and race registration. However, all opinions are my own.

New Balance runDisney Shoes Review

You may remember the post I wrote about runDisney and New Balance being a match made in heaven when the two brands announced their new partnership. Well, I still am of the same beliefs, and even more so now that I have my own pair!!!

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I was lucky enough to snag a pair of these limited edition 860v3’s that you can only get at runDisney expos. Bobby and Jen were both able to get a coveted pair as well. I love how they have men’s and women’s versions!

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The two brands wanted to be able to reach as much of the running population as they could, so a popular stability shoe was chosen that is also lightweight while still being supportive. Not to mention, they are just gosh darn cute. We wore them around the parks and I got several compliments and loved the smooth ride.

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I realize that not everyone can wear a stability shoe, but that shouldn’t stop you from making the purchase! They are great to cross train in as well as wear around town, to work, and of course, in Disney World. I didn’t think I would be able to run in them, but I tired it out and really enjoyed the experience! Maybe Minnie mouse added in some extra pixie dust to this special kicks just for runDisney runners?

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Doesn’t it look glorious on it’s stand from the expo? I may have had to wipe some drool off the glass.

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Kicking back on the boat in Disney World. Love the side by side of the men’s vs. women’s shoe.

While the expo lines were long, to me this product is totally worth it. For a runDisney fanatic like me, it was a no brainer. I mean, I have to buy shoes anyway right? So why not have THE cutest shoes around, that not only sport my love for runDisney but also for New Balance? I can’t wait to see what they release next. Maybe it will be different models of shoe but in the same pattern? Or maybe new characters? I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is this new product has made a lot of running fans very happy, and will continue to do so for a long time.

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QOTD: What are your thoughts on these shoes? What other colors/characters would you like to see?

*Don’t forget to like my NEW Heather’s Looking Glass Facebook Page. I will be getting rid of the RWS one!

runDisney 2013 Marathon Weekend Expo

 

Happy Monday! The week is finally here where I will get my race recaps up. Once again sorry for the delay, but I wasn’t to wait until the professional photos came out and I had some time to do the recaps correctly, so you will be seeing them this week! But I wanted to start off with a recap of the race expo. It was, as usual, put on very well by runDisney, and we had a great time seeing friends, shopping, and getting out bibs and official merchandise!

Bobby and I went t the expo with Jen, Jeff, and baby Wyatt on Thursday. It was ore crowded than I thought it would be for a three day expo, but we had no problem parking and making our way to the Wide World of Sports.

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We headed inside and stayed on the second floor and headed towards the area where the Goofy’s challenge bibs were being given out.

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We then went to runner relations and stood in line to get our corral changed. I had to print out a proof of time, and we got new stickers for Corral B.

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We headed out and into the next building to get our shirts, official merchandise, and do some other shopping.

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Overlooking the bottom floor where the half and full marathoners were getting their bids.

It was a bit of a madhouse at the expo. We got our shirts, and headed to the official merchandise. I went a little crazy, but I was so excited to be running goofy, I had to get some merchandise.

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It was chaos, but an organized chaos. There were plenty of workers and volunteers directing you where to go, and the aisles were big enough to walk up and down and get into the vendor booths. I had a few places I needed to stop and some friends to see!

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After seeing some folks at the runDisney booth, I headed to the rawthreads.com booth and said hello to Michelle. She is so sweet, and wished us luck in the races. They were pretty busy, so we took a quick pic and headed to some other booths.

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Next up was to see my pals Michelle and Brandi at the runningskirts.com booth. They were doing great, selling all kinds of great skirt gear! (Use code SKIRTSASS at checkout to save 15% online!)

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We walked around, got some samples, and enjoyed being around all the other runners. There is always so much excitement in the air at runDisney race expos, and this one was no different. After about an hour, we headed out, and saw this cute sign, which got me pumped to run!

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On our way back to the car, I knew we had to get photos with the goofy medal, that would soon be mine!

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QOTD: What is your favorite thing to see at a race expo?

***A HUGE congrats to everyone who ran the Tinkerbell 5k or half this weekend! Congrats to Angela Escay for winning the half, running a 1:24:10.

September Look Back: Wine and Dine Half

 

Did you know it’s less than three months until Christmas? Don’t panic! We still have to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving, but I just wanted to throw that in there. It’s my favorite. I started thinking about last Christmas, which got me thinking about the past in general and what I was doing last year. If you have been reading RWS for awhile you know every now and then I like to look back and see what I was doing a year ago. I think it’s so important to look back and reflect, it’s the best way to learn from experience, and be thankful for all the blessings we have!

So, end of September 2011, I had just gotten back from my Disney vacation, and was heading BACK to Disney to work the runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon expo for Running Skirts and run the 5k and the half marathon. I had a really bad head cold, and it is probably the most exhausted I have been in my entire life, but also so much fun!

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We set up the expo Thursday, worked all day Friday, then Saturday morning I was up at 4:45 for the 5k. After the 5k it was time for a quick shower and then back to the expo to work all day, then take down the booth, and pack all the skirts up. I had time to grab a quick bite for dinner, and then it was time to head to the busses for the race. I almost fell asleep on the bus on the way to the race and wondered what the HECK I was doing out here, by myself, trying to do all this. I ended up having a blast running and at the after party, and finally fell into bed after being awake for over 24 hours, running 2 races and working for 3 days while sick. It was crazy looking back on it.

I can’t wait to run Wine and Dine this year with Bobby and watch him get his coast to coast medal!

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I went on to run another half marathon the next weekend, and then another one after that (which led to a stress fracture). Such a whirlwind, exhausting, but awesome race weekend in Disney World! As I look back, I realize I grew up a lot during that time. It was my first time being in charge of the booth at an expo, my first time flying to Disney and staying there by myself, I even walked around the parks by myself. It was a lot more fun being solo in Disney than I thought it would be, and I also have some great memories to look back on.

QOTD: What is something fun you were doing this time last year?