Thursday, August 21, 2014

Disneyland Half Countdown: 7 days! time flies. I swear it feels like it was just two months out from the race just yesterday. Where does the time go? I feel like the weeks have been a blur of worry, anticipation, excitement, concern, focus and lots of hard work. It may not be reflected in the mileage that I've accumulated over the past couple of months, but the proof is in my ability to simply get up and down from a seated position. Not all progress can be easily measured.

I was worried about my training and the ability to get my body healthy by race weekend. Now we are one week out and I still have some concern about my body being able to handle the rigors of this race weekend, but nowhere near the concerns I had even a month ago. I can't even begin to express how happy I am that I decided to go into physical therapy for my hip issues. I am so incredibly thankful for my therapist and the work that we have been doing over the past month. Her attention to my problem areas and exercises I have been doing have literally changed my life. It really is amazing.

The strength and stability I am gaining is giving me confidence to attack the coming race weekend with peace of mind. As I have said before, I am not going into these races expecting to run the whole time or get even get a decent time, let alone a PR! I am going to simply enjoy the experience and run in one of my favorite places on Earth. Oh...and to take home these beauties!! (except for the kids race one, though I love the lanyard!!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

End of Week 16 Dumbo Double Dare Training

Oh geez...week 16 of training done! That means we are in week 17 now and week 18 is the race! GAH!!! That's NEXT WEEK!!! It's almost here! It's almost here!!! Disneyland NEXT WEEK!!! ::jumping up and down, clapping excitedly::

I'm not scared about running the races anymore now. I'm mostly excited. I have been working on my running and my training has been moving along. I can't be mad or down on myself for not being at the point of health I wanted to be for this race because SO MUCH has been going on with my physical therapy. So much change and improvement has been happening that I couldn't POSSIBLY be completely ready for this race weekend. That being said, I will be able to run, have fun and work on recovering better after each race.

So let's get to the training recap!

Tuesday: 30 minute run
Saturday: 9 mile run

Thursday, August 14, 2014

End of Week 15 Dumbo Double Dare Training

Holy cow...did I just type week 15? That means I'm currently in week 16 and week 18 ends with the race weekend!!! AH!!! That means I will be in Disneyland in TWO WEEKS!!!! GAH!!!!

Oh man...I need to start packing. Yes, I am one of those people that starts packing way before they leave on the trip. least I get my list ready and do laundry and get it all organized, so not really packed into the suitcase, but more like have it prepared to throw into the suitcase the night before I leave. Because that's how I roll. I've been fine tuning and tweaking my pack list for the past 4 months (yes, 4 months, I get excited about trips and start to plan!) and I'm still to this day making small adjustments. Take this item off, add a different item on, increase the number of this item, decrease the number of another item. See what I mean, it's hard work being organized. 

Though this post isn't about my packing skillz, this is about training, so why don't we get to it! The scheduled training runs for Week 15 are as follows:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Best Hotel Accommodations - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

When planning a Disney racecation, there are certain things that are important to lock down fairly early on. First of all is your registration to the race (they sell out so quick now!), flights/transportation and of course, your accommodations! When thinking of a hotel for a racecation it is all about location, location, location. Oh and price! Whether you are going with your family or sharing a room with your best running friends, it is important to get the most for your dollar. And since you are travelling somewhere to race (and possibly sight see) you really would like to have a hotel that is close to the action without breaking your budget.
Luckily, with the Disneyland races there are many hotel options for you to choose from that fit all price levels. Now with all the options (44 in all between on property and Good Neighbor hotels) it would be tough (and a bit long!) to write a comprehensive list of all the available hotels. So I am going to pick a few options to review and hope that they give you a broad sense of what is available to book on your next racecation to the Disneyland Resort!

It just so happens that the three Good Neighbor hotels I will be talking about happen to be in the Moderate category, however they offer very different experiences and are at different locations around the Disneyland Resort!

Run Disney also provides comprehensive information on shuttles to the resort for race and expo days. They have outlined the hotels and routes that ART (Anaheim Resort Transit) goes in order to get you to the expo as well as the race start and then back to the resorts after you have finished. Please make sure you leave enough time for the transfer in the mornings and prepare for long lines after you finish to be back to your resort.

The first best hotel (and my personal favorite) is Best Western Park Inn and Suites which is located just across Harbor Blvd from the Main Entrance to Disneyland. You literally cross the street and you are walking onto the resort property, it is very close and convenient! The rooms are spacious and nicely appointed. You have your choice between king or two queen beds and each room also comes with a pullout sofa bed! So if you are looking to save some money, you can get a double queen room and be able to sleep 5-6 people! Though there is only one bathroom, so pick your battles!

Speaking of the bathroom, the shower/tub and toilet are separate from the sink area, there is a large closet with mirrors on the sliding doors, a large desk and comfortable chair, large entertainment center with a flat screen TV. There is also a mini fridge and microwave in each room as well as many plugs to charge all your electronic devices. They also offer an impressive complimentary continental breakfast each morning with eggs, bacon, waffles, along with all your standard breakfast items. Please note that it opens at 6am so it will not be open in time for runners to grab something on their way to the start line. (Side note: I would grab an extra banana and bagel and put it in my room for the next mornings breakfast while I walked to the corrals, worked out great!)

They commonly have discounts and we used our AAA membership to get a room for around $90/night during Disneyland Half weekend last year. It was a fantastic rate for a great room in a great location! 

The next hotel is the Anabella Hotel located on Katella Avenue just south of the resort by the California Adventure park. While the hotel is close to the parks, it is quite a walk to get to the entrance of the resort. You would have to take Katella to Harbor and follow that up to the main entrance there, or take Katella to S West Street and enter the resort via Downtown Disney. Either way will be about a 30 minute walk so just be aware! The ART is also available to transfer you to and from the resort.

The rooms are beautifully appointed and provide many rooming options from your standard to concierge level. Options include two queen beds or one king, with full granite bathrooms and free wifi (a must nowadays!) There is a fridge and coffee machine along with a complete entertainment system including a flat screen TV. They have a great restaurant on site, but do not offer a complimentary continental breakfast unless you are a Business First or Concierge level guest. 

The grounds are beautiful and the hotel is quite lovely with so many options (even bunk beds for the kids!). Their prices are a bit more than the Best Western coming in at $121/night for a standard room up to $150-190 a night for concierge or kids suite rooms. This is a great option for those that want to be a bit more removed from the parks and be able to enjoy some peace and quiet. 

The third Good Neighbor hotel is the Howard Johnson located on S Harbor Blvd just west of the Disneyland Resort. This hotel is also serviced by the ART and will be providing transfers for Run Disney for the races and expo. You can walk from the hotel to the Disneyland resort, just realize that it will take some time because you are walking along a busy area and can take approximately 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

Howard Johnson is a world of its own! Not only do they have warm, spacious rooms, but they also have a pool and water park area (yes, I said water park!) that can rival some stand alone parks that you have to pay to get in to. And this area is complimentary to all guests! So if you have kiddos and want to have a place to come have some fun at outside of the park, this place is perfect!

Their rooms are nicely appointed, spacious and include a fridge, coffee maker (it's a Keurig!), free wi-fi (bonus!), desk area and TV. There are a few bed configurations with two queen beds, or one king, or one queen with bunk beds, a fold out couch, there are so many options. Basically you can fit a family of 4-6 easily in one of these rooms, just again, be aware of the bathroom situation, there is just one! :)
Unfortunately they do not offer a continental breakfast, but do have a restaurant on-site, along with other options on the street. The rates run any where between $175/night and upwards of $220/night. They do have rate sales and offers through out the year that can cut those rates in half sometimes, making it a very economical place to stay!

Lastly but not least, are a couple of on-property options for your magical Run Disney experience. The Disneyland Hotel has done some major room remodels and have provided guests with a room experience not to be missed! Including the headboards pictured below, with a flip of a switch a fiber optic light show appears with some music to add to the magic! The rooms come with two queens or one king and a fold out sofa, floor to ceiling windows with fantastic views of the grounds (and parks!), beautifully appointed bathrooms with hidden Disney touches, a coffee maker, and premium bath amenities.

The Grand Californian is a beautiful homage to the rustic Arts and Crafts period with dark woods and luxurious features strewn throughout the resort, it is tough not to get swept up in the whimsy of this Craftsman style treasure. The rooms are wonderfully appointed with two queens or one king bed with a pull out sofa, flat screen TV's, comfortable seating, a coffee maker and premium bathroom amenities. The views are also hard to beat from anywhere in the hotel!
In addition to these beautiful hotel accommodations both of their pool areas are fantastic places for an afternoon respite from the parks, offering water slides, hot tubs and cabanas, there is a little something for everyone. Neither resort offers a complimentary continental breakfast unless you are on the Concierge level, then there is a special room where there are complimentary snacks, drinks and offerings throughout the day for those guests.

What is wonderfully unique about these resorts is their proximity to the start and finish lines of the races, they are quite literally right outside. The runner area and finish line is staged in the parking lot and street right outside the front of the Disneyland Hotel and only a few minutes walk from the Grand Californian. You can reach the runner area in less than 10 minutes, talk about prime location! That location can come with a hefty price tag though, the Disneyland Hotel rates start around $300/night whereas the Grand Californian rates start at $400/night with Concierge level rates starting at around $650/night. Both hotels provide wonderful memories and amenities (including an exclusive entry way into California Adventure from the Grand Californian) and are a must see even if you don't have the ability to stay there.

There you have it! Some really great choices of places to stay that have many different offerings for any budget and age range. There are so many other places that have rave reviews from other runners, so don't just take my word, ask around and get opinions! With so many choices you will never run out of options for your next Disneyland racecation! 

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