Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who ran Disney? I did!

Well folks, I’m freshly back from a fantastic 10 days at Disney World and happy to report that I continued to train during that time!  I had four runs planned – three short and one long – and pulled off three of the four, including the long run.  Sadly, my feet were just too worn out from theme parking to do the last run – a route to which I was very much looking forward.  :(  Oh well, there’s always next time, right?

Our trip began with two nights at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (CBR), so that’s where I did my first short run.  I set out a few minute before sunrise, about 6:25am, and caught this gorgeous view as I began my run…

The CBR route is pretty straightforward: loop around the lake as many times as necessary to meet your time or distance goal.  A full loop is about 1.2 miles.

Mine was a time goal of 30 minutes, which resulted in about three loops with a detour through the center island because it’s pretty in there.  The CBR path is paved and well-maintained and mostly shaded – a major plus on a hot, mid-summer Florida run.  There were a few minor hills along the way, which spiced things up a bit, and lots of maintenance workers out sprucing up the beaches, hosing down pool decks, and keeping the beautiful resort looking tidy.  It was nice to see their smiling faces and hear their “Good morning!” greetings as I ran by. 

I give the CBR a solid A for a short run; the landscape is stunning and I ended my run feeling fresh and ready to take on the day!

Next up was my long run.  I was scheduled to do 7.5 miles, but after four Disney days, I was beat.  We took it easy the day before, spending lots of time off of my feet, but I was not feeling the running love by the time my alarm went off at 5:00am.  I decided to go for 5 miles… if I felt good at that point, I’d keep going; if not, 5 would be plenty with all of the walking I was doing in the parks.

We’d moved to the Beach Club Villas by then, so I used a few of the Epcot Resorts running routes to put in my miles.

I started with half a loop around Crescent Lake at sunrise – so pretty!

Just past the Boardwalk, I switched over to the Boardwalk Canal path and took it all the way down to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I ran all the way up to the entrance plaza, which was neat – lots of activity up there as security and the bus drivers did their respective checks to get the park ready for opening.

From Hollywood studios, I backtracked along the canal and picked up the Crescent Lake loop again, completing the circle back to the Beach Club.  From there, I exited the resort and ran the 2.4-mile Epcot Resorts Blvd. and Buena Vista Dr. route, which brought me up to 5 miles by the time I reached the Beach Club again.  That’s a very pretty, somewhat shaded route with sidewalk for all but about 20 feet of it; beware, though, of the many short but steep little hills that run along the Swan and Dolphin properties!  Still, by the time I hit 5 miles, I was loosened up and feeling fine, so I did another loop around the lake, took a few paths through the Yacht and Beach Club properties and, yes, finished the full 7.5 miles!

My finish line – couldn’t be prettier:

After a cool-down walk to my room, I took an ice bath, ate a second breakfast and took a long shower.  I could have easily called it a day and lounged around the hotel the rest of the day, but I’d promised Leo a night at Hollywood Studios and, really, I knew it would be better for my legs to walk a bit.  Right?

Right!  I ate every calorie I’d burned earlier at the Hollywood Brown Derby and ended the night with a nod to the upcoming Tower of Terror 10-Miler.

Amazingly enough, I felt pretty okay the next day… but not okay enough to tackle a theme park first thing.  It’s not that anything hurt so much as I was just exhausted; just getting to the quiet pool right outside our room took monumental effort.  By evening, though, I was ready for a walk around Epcot to stretch the legs.

My third and, as it turned out, final Disney vacation run was a short one, so I circled Crescent Lake a couple times and did the Boardwalk Canal loop for a total of 2.5 miles.  We moved to the Villas at Wilderness Lodge for our last two nights and my final run was planned for the trail that runs between the Wilderness lodge and Fort Wilderness.

I was really excited for that one and planned it for our final morning at WDW, before checking out.  But we chose to stay out late at the Magic Kingdom the nightbefore and the combination of a late night and 10 days of being on my feet was just too much; I knew I didn’t have a mile left in me, let alone 2 or 3. 

All in all, I had a really good time running Disney and highly recommend it to anyone looking to stay on track on their Disney vacation!  I also feel like I learned some valuable things for my future long runDisney races:

1.       All of that walking adds up and means stress on your feet, if not your entire lower body.  I’ll be sure to resist any temptation to wander around parks the day before a big race.
2.       Fettuccine Alfredo the night before a long run is not a great idea.
3.       Pay no attention to the teen marathoners with ¼% body fat between the three of them lapping you 5 times in an hour.
4.       Have fun, have fun, have fun – you’re running at Disney World!

All of this will really come in handy now, too… because I am officially registered for the 2013 Princess Half-marathon!  No rest for the weary now; Princess training will commence within weeks after finishing the Tower of Terror 10-Miler.  Bring it.  :)


  1. I love the Epcot Resort loops and going down to Hollywoods Studios and mixing up different parts, in different orders :) I've managed to loop it enough times and in different orders to even make a 15 mile run out of it once!

  2. Love this pictures! I always have good intentions for running while on vacation, but it never seems to happen, so good job! :)

  3. What a great post! Someday when I'm not at Disney for a race, I'm interested to run some properties, which is something I've never done since running is a relatively new hobby. Thanks for the detailed recap :) -Christine