The one good thing about having a two year old who apparently only needs 4 hours of sleep per night is that oversleeping isn’t a high risk issue. I set two alarms just to be sure, but Eli wakes up at 5am like clockwork (and 10pm, and midnight, and 3am and 4 am) so I figured I’d be safe without a wake up call scheduled. Waking up went smoothly, with Eli’s normal 5am wakeup. I was too nervous to eat, so I just went ahead and got dressed and left a little early just in case I got lost on the way to Epcot somehow.
I knew from my voracious internet research about the meetup that they usually give the participants an awesome black tech RunDisney shirt. So I wore my purple swirl sparkletech skirt from sparkleskirts since I thought it would go well with a black shirt. I paired it with a black tank top that I thought would be slimming under the much-anticipated RunDisney shirt. I decided to forego my lime green calf sleeves since I don’t usually wear them on runs less than 6 miles anyways, plus they didn’t go with my outfit. I put on makeup (which I almost never do in ‘real life’) since I knew there would be photo shoots during this event.
The drive to Epcot was uneventful, but the cast members directing traffic sent me to cast member parking instead of meetup parking. I have no idea if it was closer or further away, but they said it would be fine to leave my car there so I did. I checked in and met a super nice castmember who I had been e-mailing with ahead of time. She told me I’d been selected to get a mini-massage demonstration on stage during the meetup but that I could decline it if I was uncomfortable with it. I’m not a huge fan of being “on stage”, but this was about getting out of my comfort zone, so I said, sure I’ll do it.
I got my plastic bag with my super awesome, even better than hoped for RunDisney tech shirt. Oh yeah, it is awesome. And the large fit perfectly, which was a big relief. Since I’ve lost over 30 pounds (50+ from my all time high a few years ago) in the last year, I have a hard time guessing what size to get in clothes. I pulled on the shirt and put a few personal items in the check bag and turned it in and then stood there. Oh yes, the standing in a crowd of strangers for 30 minutes or so where it seems like they all know each other. UNCOMFORTABLE. At first. I tried to smile at a few people in a way that said, hi I’m really nice but way too shy to approach you. Then Jeff Galloway (The Jeff Galloway) came up and started talking to me and the ladies around me. That kind of broke the ice and helped me chat with a few strangers. Jeff was just so nice and friendly. He seemed to genuinely be interested in what everyone had to say to him. I think he is just a great guy who is truly kind and real. I wish I could develop the skill to be (or to pretend to be) confident enough to approach perfect strangers because there is no reason they wouldn’t want to get to know me. Well, just going to the meetup was a big personal growth moment for me.
We were just outside the turnstiles in Epcot and people were milling about and taking lots of photos and I saw Ali Vincent from the Biggest Loser and Sean Astin from LoTR and Goonies. They were pretty swarmed with people and seemed to be having a great time, but I definitely didn’t have the chutzpa to go up to them and introduce myself. Here I am in front of the ball just after the sun came up. You can kind of see my bright red hair!
We split up into two groups, one doing a straight run and one doing a run/walk interval run with Jeff Galloway. For 3 miles, I’d have liked to do the straight run, but I read online about earlier meetups that the pace tends to be fast for that, like sub 9 minute miles. No need to push myself right before the half. Who am I kidding, I can’t run even one mile that fast. So, I joined up with the run/walk interval group which was a lot of fun. I did forget to start my Garmin until after we started, and it was “Finding Location” for the first mile.
We ran/walked an easy pace (as you can see above) and although it was early in the morning in February, it was pretty humid and warm. I’m a Florida native and I was sweating by the end. This did not bode well for the race on Sunday…
It was awesome to run through Epcot before it opened, it was so beautiful and peaceful. Here’s a shot of Ali Vincent:
Here’s Jeff Galloway:
We ran from the ball through the countries and saw the Fairy Godmother, Snow White and Rapunzel. We went through the International Gateway and ran through the boardwalk area which I haven’t been to before for some strange reason.
Then back into Epcot:
We ended up at the Akershus Restaurant in Germany where most of us hit the restrooms to dab off the not very princess like sweat from the humid run. They had a nice light breakfast to choose from. Now I had my next socially awkward moment, where to sit? I found a table with someone I chatted with at the beginning. It was a pretty fun table, we were pretty exclusive, blocked off for reasons unknown by the chairs:
While we ate, we had awesome speakers, Ali:
Diet Diva Tara gave some nutrition tips:
But my favorite speaker of all was Rachel Booth, who (spoiler alert) won her fourth Princess Half this weekend with a course record breaking time of 1:17:38. She’s a 32 year old mother of two which makes this accomplishment even more amazing. What I liked the best about her is that she seemed genuine and real. She seemed like someone you’d meet at the playground or work, not “Hollywood” or fake. I guess it’s hard for me to explain it properly, but a lot of the time, famous and semi-famous people seem to have a mask on when they are in public but with Rachel Booth and Jeff Galloway, they just seemed completely real and normal.
They did the massage demonstrations:
And did drawings to give away Disney NB shoes, fancy spa robes and massages at the Grand Floridian Spa:
We got an awesome gift bag on the way out with a one day park hopper and full size H2O spa products (moisturizer and facial wipes). I love the moisturizer and am sparingly using it every day. It takes me back to the race weekend whenever I smell that awesome stuff.
After we left, there were photo ops with Princess Minnie, Rapunzel and Snow White. My husband and two sons were already in the park waiting for me, so I snapped two quick photos and skedaddled out of there faster than I wanted to.
I hate having my photo taken, but I asked for some posing tips online and got the one that you should do whatever the character does. It worked, I love this shot!
The meetup was awesome. I am so thrilled that I was lucky enough to get in and RunDisney did an awesome job. It was a perfect morning. If you want to do a meetup, follow @RunDisney and read the Disney Blog and cross your fingers.