Monday, March 14, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Body pt. 1

During my last blog post, I introduced you to the idea of looking at Disney in the holistic terms of body, mind and spirit.  Well now it’s time to begin breaking that down into it’s individual parts!  So today’s blog post will start Part I:  The Body.

Traditional vacations are not typically thought of as being “good” for the body.  I mean, we may get a chance to get away, possibly sleep in and have some well deserved rest and relaxation, but normally, we don’t use vacation time to get exercise, stay on our diets, or really even rest that much!  So how can a Disney vacation possibly be good for the body?

It is estimated that the average person walks anywhere from 5 to 10 miles per day over the course of a Disney vacation.  That’s a lot!  But most of us don’t consider that to be exercise, because we are moving from attraction to attraction and are hopefully caught up in the magic.  But for today’s post on how Disney is good for the body, I don’t want to focus necessarily on walking, but on running.

In 2012, the Walt Disney World Marathon will be celebrating its 15th anniversary.  For me, and many others, Disney running is still a relatively new concept and for many of us, it’s the only reason we are now attempting to live a running lifestyle!  Walt Disney World is now the host to many different running events, from Family 5K walk/runs, to more adventurous undertakings like the Expedition Everest Challenge of a 5K plus obstacle course and scavenger hunt, to half marathons, full marathons, and for those goofy enough to take it on, the Goofy Challenge of a marathon and a half!  Information on all Disney running events can be found on the runDisney website at or by visiting the ESPN Wide World of Sports website at .  The official runDisney trainer, former Olympian Jeff Galloway, has several training videos on the website that are very helpful to runners at any stage.  He also has training calendars specific to the various Disney running events! 

So why get involved in Disney running?  I mean, you’re there for a vacation, right?  Well, I asked several of my Disney friends to weigh in on this subject and here are some of their thoughts:

“Disney was the reason I started running in the first place!” – Beth aka Mom2crgk

“Disney running is the only reason I’m interested in running at all as well.”  - Michelle

“I started running 4 years ago. I started with a 5k near my home and have been a running-a-holic since then.  I have run 2 marathons, 5 half marathons, and countless 5 and 10ks. Anywho..DH and I ran the disney marathon weekend 5k (that year it was princess and pirate 5k).   At the Marketplace bus stop, while waiting for the bus, we were chatting with a mom and daughter who were sporting their Donald medals. They had trained and walked the half.  I said "I could never run a half marathon". They inspired me to try. I went home, got the book they recommended, signed up for a half marathon (had to make sure I could complete one before taking to the streets of WDW!)  After my test half marathon, I decided to do another in the fall, right before marathon weekend. So we went down and ran the Disney Half. How much fun we had! And I thought, 'I could never run a full marathon'. While in Disney that following July, I mailed in my training group registration for a marathon in my state. And I trained and I ran it. SO! DH got inspired and suggested we run Disney marathon. And we did.

Disney marathon weekend has served as a springboard of inspiration to push my running to the next level. Each time we go down for Marathon weekend, I come home wanting to try another distance. And in true form, NOW I plan on 'Going Goofy' for my next Disney marathon weekend.  Disney in general is therapy for me. It is a culmination of the hardwork and dream of one person. The history and brilliance of Walt Disney materialized. I have always been a Disney enthusiast, even got married there. To put WDW, with running, with my husband, with my new son waiting at the finish line, OMG this past Marathon Weekend was so emotional for me. As I crossed the finish line, I took off my sunglasses and put my hand over my face holding back tears..tears for the accomplishment of something I always thought was so hard and 'not for me', for being a good role model to my son, to be doing it in WDW.  It was too much!” 
- Mrs. Mickey_Man (Be Our Guest Podcast forums)

As for me, a friend of mine convinced me that I could run, and so I tried.  I was half-heartedly attempting it when I found out that there was going to be a 5K through the Magic Kingdom during our upcoming trip.  Now I had heard about the Princess Marathon before, but I had never given running much thought.  A 5K I could do, even if I had to walk!  And so the training began in earnest, including buying $100 running shoes and special running socks!  I remember bursting into tears the first time I ran a mile, then again when I ran two miles.  And all of this was just during training!  When the day came to run the 5K, I was thrilled and nervous.  I had no idea what it would be like.  The energy was amazing and it was so much fun.  I now wish I had slowed down a little and stopped to take pictures with characters, really enjoying the moment.  I had a goal in mind to run the whole time, so I passed so many things by on my quest to keep going.  I did end up walking up the final hill, but I have to say, I was so proud that I finished and had that special Disney medallion!  Now I’ve run another 5K since then, and while it was good, it wasn’t as exciting as a Disney race.  I’ve decided that I’m going to start pushing toward the goal of a half-marathon, and I want it to be the Princess Half in Walt Disney World.  Am I going to run the whole time, absolutely NOT!  But I will run, and I will stop and take pictures, and most of all I will have fun.  And I’ll probably cry when it’s over, knowing that I accomplished something I never thought possible for me.

Do you have a Disney running story?  Have you set a goal to run a Disney race?  If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!  Next time we will continue to explore how Disney is good for the body by looking into one of my favorite subjects…FOOD!!  Stay tuned…


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