Monday, October 20, 2014

runDisney: When You Run By YourSelfie #HappyHaunted5K

Welcome to my Happy Haunted 5K Race Recap!
   A couple of weeks ago, I was in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World Resort running runDisney's Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run. This race was a little bit different for me.  Don't get me wrong, this is my THIRD time to run this race but this time I was running it alone. I love running runDisney events because I'm usually surrounded by friends that I either bring with me or that I meet there and I love the parks so it's a no brainer. This year--NO friends at the Happy Haunted 5k. What in the world??? How did this happen??? Be prepared for ALOT of Selfies in this post. :)

     I was running Tower of Terror 10-Miler later that same night for a total of 13.1 miles for the day with a mix of types of friends on this trip. I had my bestie, Carrie and I knew that we would be step for step. I had three friends from back home, Dorothy, Eric and Wendi. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler was going to be their first runDisney event as well as their first official race longer than a local 5 and then I had my pal Jason...he's a Disney pro so he knew what's up. But overall, strange mix.....but the most fantastic mix. When I say that we had a BLAST. I mean we had a BLAST!!! More to come about my pals and their race results soon in my Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Race Recap.

     We all went to the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo together, so nothing out of the ordinary there. Saturday morning arrived and I decided to drive my car over to the Wide World of Sports Complex even though I was staying at a host resort. I had lots of things that I wanted to do after the race so it's just easier for me to zip around in my car. Luckily for me, I know my way around Walt Disney World Resort. ;)

     I left Pop Century by 5:30am. Race time was 7:30am. I like to be early to runDisney events and I was expecting traffic but there just wasn't any! I made it to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex by 5:34am and I was in my parking spot by 5:37am. Seriously, driving my car was the best decision that I ever made. As soon as I parked, I was getting out to find my running shoes out of my trunk and the rain started coming down. Whaaaaaa???  So yeah, I sat in my car for about 45 min. Hey, I'm not complaining though. I was dry when the race started so it's all good.
Waiting out the rain in the car Selfie. 

Umbrellas out everywhere before the race started.

      Regardless, I got out of my car when the rain let up. I had about 45 minutes until the start of the race. I walked to my corral. Again...totally weird going it alone.

      This was not my first runDisney race to run alone (I ran Goofy Challenge and Neverland 5K by myself and had so much fun by myself) but.....I was walking in and hanging around pre/post race with friends. So yeah. runDisney weirdness was happening. For sure.
Corral A Selfie.
      I was in Corral A so I had a plan in my mind. I was going to run this race pretty fast (or at least fast for me) and then go spectate at the end before I had to leave to head over to Flying Fish for breakfast.
Sounds good to me.
Bob Hitchcock Selfie. :)
     I ran into Bob Hitchcock from runDisney as I was just about to enter in my corral...we immediately start chatting it up about other races that we are running. Chicago, Marine Corps, Vegas....Good Luck at MCM, Bob! That's on my race bucketlist for sure. Bob is the one who put the bug in my ear that I need to add LA Marathon to my schedule. He said it's a MUST. Since then, I've asked another guy that I totally respect his running opinion of and he said the same thing. LA Marathon is a MUST. So there you have it. I MUST. ;)
Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run Start Line

Headless Horseman
     So off to Corral A I go. I did manage to run into my sweet New Yorker friend @pastri_chefDani at the start. We chatted for a few and then we started to move up so it was time to get the show on the road.  The race announcers did their usual best "country" impersonation skits (which I think is hilarious because they are so not from the south and sound absolutely ridiculous!), Scarecrow Mickey came out to welcome the runners, the Headless Horsemen ran across the field to warn us about running through the trails, the National Anthem was sung and we were off!!!
Running on the rocky road..headed to the woods.

     I ran like a bat out of heck...trying to make it to the first character stop without slowing down. First up were Honest John and Gideon from Pinnochio, The Hag from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I hit Mile one at 9:41. Not bad for two character stops with pics.

Me and the Hag.
Mile 1 Selfie. 9:45min.
     Next up were Brer Fox and Brer Bear from Song of the South. Mile two Selfie at 19:35....Still running through the trails.
Brer Bear and Brer Fox....just chillin' in the woods.
Another Blurry Woods pic.
Mile 2 Selfie. 19:35 min.
Still running on the trails......
     The Big Bad Wolf was around the corner, I'm still in the woods, bugs in the trees and I'm a HOT, SWEATY, MUGGY MESS.
Who's Afraid, YO.
Running Fast Selfie. Tried to capture the moss in the trees ....
didn't quite turn out the way that I thought it would.
     I'm headed out of the trails and running towards the track where I find the GraveDiggers waiting for me as I enter.  One lap around the track and then the finish line is just up ahead. One quick pic with some Zombie Athletes and I'm outta here. Mile 3 Selfie at 31:45.  Whoop Whoop. I'm DONE!
I'm out of the woods and headed to the track!
Grave Diggers....spooky dudes with bad attitudes.
Seen on my run: Grave Digger Scene
Headed toward the Finish Line!
Zombie Athletes at the fence.
Zombie Atlete Selfie. BAD pic of all of us. lol.
Mile 3 Selfie.
Running it in for a spook-tacular finish!
     That was a quick and fun 5k....Grabbed my medal, a box of runDisney snacks, a pic with Mickey and a GIANT pumpkin and then I went back to spectate and cheer on the rest of the runners just before the Finish Line!!
Oh hey there, BEST MEDALS EVER.
Totally in love with this bling!!
Finish Line Fuel...even the boxes are cute. 
As I'm standing in line to have my pic made with Mickey Mouse, I look down and see this.
How GROSS is this?!? Sweat just dripping off of my legs.....Welcome to Orlando!!
Seriously. How adorable is this mouse?!?
     I've been wanting to be a spectator at ESPN Wide World of Sports for a while now. I love hanging out here and wanted to have a different race experience this year. Since I didn't really have anyone in mind to chEAR for, I thought I would just go make new friends. Glad I did!
chEARing at the Finish Line.
Go #HappyHaunted5K Runners!!
     In true runDisney fashion, I quickly realized that when you are NEVER alone. I found Mike Rahlman chEARing also from Be Our Guest Podcast and Be Our Guest Lizards (which I'm a proud member of). I found my friend Kristen and of course I spotted three Hitchhiking ghosts that are also friends of mine. I met some new friends on the sidelines and couldn't ask for a better experience!
Me and @BeOurGuestMike chEARing on the runners, being silly,
representing the Lizards and sporting our SEC Love.
He's a Mizzou boy and I'm a Bama Girl...We'll get along for most of the season. Roll Tide. ;)
chEARing on Disbroads Kristen and Suzanne!
Ghostly Friends, Gail and Kimberly...Hatbox and All!
These ladies looked great!
Look who I found on my way out! It's my buddy Marc Acosta!
It's always a fun time running into him....just the nicest guy.
     As much as I wanted to hang around and see the runDisney Kids' races, I also wanted to go eat at the Flying Fish over at Disney's Boardwalk Inn. I'm not much of a breakfast eater, but this restaurant is only open for a limited time for breakfast so I wanted to make sure that I ate there. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop and eat at Disney....I just get so busy that I don't want to spend the time being still. I run crazy miles and crazy hours there so my system is all out of whack. Eating properly is the key to success. So I left to go eat.

     I'll do a post on Flying Fish Breakfast soon.
     Overall, I have to say that I love the Happy Haunted Trail 5K and am super sad that it's going away next year. The theming of the race is phenomenal and one of the best that runDisney has to offer! In my opinion the medal was "to die for" and I LOVE running at ESPN Wide World of Sports so this is one of my favorite races...see what I did there?? ;)
The event shirt from Disney's Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run.
The Bling! It Glows in the Dark Too!

Hope to see ya again, Happy Haunted 5K!
     However, I do have a few negative thoughts on this race.

1.  This race is cancelled. Terrible runDisney, just terrible. I totally get the fact that this race weekend is probably not as prosperous as the others or but it's also not as wound up as the others either. There's a totally laid back vibe about this weekend and we like it. Who knows why they cancelled this race?!?! I'm sure they have a good reason but I LOVE running at The ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex. It's Gorgeous! Please bring this race back in the future.
Entry to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex....home of Sports Awesomeness.
2. Although my bib was one of the most FABULOUS runDisney bibs that I own to date, the font on the #HappyHaunted5K bibs were just AWFUL. As a spectator, I could not read any of the names on the bibs and neither could anyone else around me. I kept asking to make sure that I'm not just old and blind. Nope. I'm not. The scripty/scrolly font is no bueno. Go back to BLOCK please for future races....if the spectators can't read the names when runners pass by, there's no reason to have the names on them. 
My Happy Haunted 5K Bib. 
3.  Even though this is not a "Challenge" race like the other weekends, it's still a ton of folks' first 5K or runDisney event....there was no hype leading up to this race. I totally felt that before I ever even left my house so it all made sense once I realized that this race weekend was cancelled. Runners want hype! Especially the forgotten races.....I even wrote a post about it. Read it here.

     So there you have it. I'm glad that I ran this race by my Selfie...I was able to take it all in. I paid attention to the race and not just my happy experiences with friends. Next up, Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-miler race review. Stay tuned.....

 *For more great runDisney events like this one, please visit and for more information on sporting events happening at ESPN Wide World of Sports, please visit

Check out all of the highlights from this year's may just see a familiar face. ;)

Happy Running and See you real soon!

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