We arrived to the Epcot parking lot around 4 am and quickly looked for a way to stay warm. Thank God I had packed a pair of leggings and a jacket- I had planned on wearing shorts and a t-shirt! It was probably around 40-45 degrees and very windy. After meeting up with some of our friends, we finally figured out that if we stood in the bag check tent it felt about 10 degrees warmer.
|Our running ohana.|
|Huddled in the bag check tent for warmth!|
Around 5 am, we ventured out from the bag check tent and headed to our assigned corral. On the way, we ran into Sid Busch, a running legend and my personal hero. Sid has run close to 300 marathons; each one with a fallen soldier's picture pinned on his back and while carrying the American flag. He's impressive.
With the traditional Disney fanfare (fireworks and awesome music), we were off! We had decided to walk this race since Dad's girlfriend, Margie, is a speed walker. Well I don't think any of us were prepared for how fast she walked! We were running to keep up!
This course was the same as last year- 2 miles on the roads near Epcot, a quick lap around World Showcase, a little jaunt around the Boardwalk, then a quick stroll through Future World on the way to the finish line in the parking lot of Epcot.
Similar to last year, there were pretty long lines for each of characters so we didn't stop. We did make a quick pit stop in Italy to get a picture with the Neptune Fountain (a mini Trevi Fountain) and we caught up with Mandy, our awesome friend who was running the Dopey Challenge. Also, a first for me- I got recognized by a blog reader!! Sweet Paula saw Matthew and I standing on the side of the course and pulled over to say hi- totally made my day! It surprised Matthew to be recognized with me and I absolutely loved it. Thanks for stopping to say hi, Paula!
We finished the 10k and promptly decided to head back to the resort for a warm shower and a nap! We had originally planned to go straight to Epcot after the 10k but it was so chilly, we knew we had to get warm before we started the rest of our day. We had fast passes for Epcot later in the afternoon and decided that park time could wait for a nap.
After a nice long nap, Matthew and I headed to the Blogger Cook-Off and Dad and Margie kept napping. We had made plans to meet up with them at Epcot in time for our 3:45 Fast Pass for Soarin'.
We headed back to Wide World of Sports with no real clue as to how the afternoon would play out. All I knew was that I ended up on a short list of bloggers that were invited to a cook-off, Iron Chef- style. I was excited but also a little nervous- this was the first time the event was being offered so I had nothing to compare it to.
We arrived at WWOS and headed for a tent in the back. Yes, it was in an open-air tent (kinda outside) and yes, it was still chilly. Some cast members eventually brought us blankets to keep us warm! After checking in, Matthew and I wandered around a bit looking at all the food stations and different ingredients. There were around 40 people there- mostly bloggers and guests of bloggers. I knew some of the bloggers there and also got to meet some of my blogging idols- so freaking cool.
After a quick talk about nutrition from Cigna, we were split into teams and paired with a Disney chef to prepare a nutritious meal for our fellow bloggers. Our team's secret ingredient was beef and we decided to make a healthy stew. With insight from our Disney chef, we quickly got to work! It was really, really fun and I loved working with our team, especially Amelia from Half Crazy Mama. She was so sweet and so fun to be around.
|All the fresh veggies and fruit you could ask for.|
|There were about six cooking stations, complete with everything you'd need to cook a meal.|
|Spices, wine, oils, vinegar.|
|Carefully listening to our Disney chef JP's sage advice.|
|Chopping veggies and beef.|
|Amelia from Half Crazy Mama and me- sampling our awesome stew!|
After making all our meals, we got to sample everyone's food! It was so amazing- especially the chocolate chip bread pudding and the shrimp and grits. OMG. So, so good.
Matthew and I ate at a table with Artney from My Pretty Brown and her husband: self-proclaimed "support staff" Corey. She was running her first marathon and he was running his first half marathon. They were so sweet and we chatted all about food and running and life. I have a feeling we will be friends for a while :-)
|Matthew, Me, Corey, and Artney. Good food and good people. Photo courtesy of Cigna.|
Before we left the event, we got a private meet and greet with Chef Mickey and a gift bag filled with cool goodies from Cigna. Overall, it was a really fun experience and I am so humbled and grateful that I was invited. Meeting fellow bloggers, hanging with Mickey, and eating awesome food? What more could a running blogger ask for?!
|Matthew and me with the main mouse.|
The event finished up around three and we made it to Epcot just in time for our first fast pass of the afternoon. We had a fantastic afternoon wandering around World Showcase and Future World and then headed back to the resort around seven. You know the drill by now- we had another super early wake-up call the next morning for the first leg of Matthew's Goofy Challenge: the Walt Disney World Half Marathon!
|Just hanging with our pal, Pluto!|
Stay tuned for Part III of the 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend Recap!