Monday, February 28, 2011

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011


Amanda and Mushu
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
Sunday February 27, 2011 I completed my second Disney Princess Half Marathon in Disney World Florida. Like all Disney races this was a magical event that made you smile the entire time. I was not looking for a PR (Personal Record) for time, especially after my injury last month at the Walt Disney World Marathon. This year at the Disney Princess Half Marathon my main goal was to have fun and take lots more pictures than last year. I achieved both those goals. Here is a breakdown of the event mile by mile.

fitness appsStart and Mile 1: I really liked being right up front in the corral at the Walt Disney World Marathon so I made an extra effort to get to my corral early and placed myself right up front. I was in corral C again this year which meant that we would start at 6:01 am. I jumped the gun a little bit on starting my Garmin so my start time on my Garmin info is 5:59am but we did indeed start 2 minutes later after the Fairy Godmother did the countdown.

Fairy God Mother at the start
Above: The Fairy Godmother does the countdown for the start of the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011

Again just like at the Walt Disney World Marathon it was like being alone (for just a second) in Walt Disney World. Mile 1 was my fastest mile. The excitement of starting and all the people rushing out of the corral helped to get me jazzed up and keeping a pace that was too fast for me to maintain over the course of 13 miles if I wanted to keep my knee in good shape. I finished the first dark and foggy mile in 13:38 and realized that I should adjust my pace for the rest of my miles.

Mile 2: Between the first mile and the second mile there is not much to see. For one it is dark during most Disney Races between those two miles and for another you are running through the Epcot parking lot and on a road that will eventually lead you to World Drive. On this morning it was humid, cool and foggy, sort of felt like being in Sleepy Hollow. I arrived at the Mile 2 sign at 6:25am and mile 2 was complete in 14:17 which was a much better pace to maintain throughout the race.

Mile 2
Above: Crowd gathered around the mile two marker during the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011

Miles 3-5: Were spent running up World Drive towards Magic Kingdom. Along this road we passed the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Contemporary. We ran right through the gates where you pay for parking at the Magic Kingdom down the road that leads to the Contemporary and we then ran past Space Mountain where we would enter Magic Kingdom through a side entrance into Main Street. For this leg of the race my times were: Mile 3= 14:45, Mile 4= 16:01 (stopped for a picture with Stitch) and Mile 5= 14:11. Along these miles the sun started to come up and the characters started to show up. My favorite character stop was at Mile 4 where Lilo and Stitch along with a ton of dancers were waiting. I stopped here and waited in a line of about 10 people for a shot with them…

Amanda with Lilo and Elvis Stitch
Above: Me with Lilo and Stitch during the 2011 Disney Princess Half Marathon

I was so excited about Elvis Stitch that I sort of forgot that Lilo was there in the picture too. Poor thing I almost took her head off!

Miles 6-8: Are probably the most exciting miles of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. These miles wind you through the Magic Kingdom and out onto Floridian Way, past the Golf Course and once again past the Richard Petty Driving Experience. We came into the Magic Kingdom and headed down Mainstreet turn into Tomorrowland, then through Fantasyland and right through Cinderella’s Castle where there were lots of photographers and the Princesses with their Princes to take photos with (there was such a long line this year that I had to skip it). After we made our way through the Castle we turned again and went past the Hall of Presidents, through Frontierland and then out of the Magic Kingdom. My times for miles 6-8 were… Mile 6= 14:30, Mile 7: 16:24 (stopped for a bathroom break) and Mile 8: 14:22. Here are two of my favorite photos from these miles…

Cinderella's Castle (5)
Above: Cinderella's Castle while running by during the 2011 Disney Princess Half Marathon

Amanda and Goofy
Above: Me and Goofy next to Mickey's Golf Cart in front of the Disney Golf Courses

Miles 9-11: These are usually the hardest miles for me. Around mile 8 I start to get hungry and the excitement of Magic Kingdom starts to wear off because once again we are on the roads without big landmarks to grab our attention. But this year I never hit the wall. It was great! Clif Shots came sooner than I expected (not really but it was not like at the Marathon where I thought I would pass out from hunger) and there were lots of characters with small or no lines along the way. Plus I met some great girls that I ended up slowing down and walking with as we tried to cheer on one who was having a really hard time making it through this part of the race. She got her second wind and was off again by mile 11. My times for this section of the race were… Mile 9= 15:19, Mile 10= 15:12 Mile 11= 14:45.

Amanda and Panic and Pain
Above: Me with Panic and Pain from Disney's Hercules

Miles 12-13: Another exciting set of miles and not just because this is the end of the race. Here we entered Epcot and traveled around Future World then back out of Epcot to the Finish Line. Spaceship Earth is right there in almost every shot. Also along the way there are some characters to take shots with, like Duffy below. I have no idea who is he or where he was from but he was so cute dancing along the sidelines that I stopped for a picture. My times for this part of the race were… Mile 12= 14:39 and Mile 13= 16:26. I had an overall finishing time of 3:20:50 and ended up with 61 photos and 9 character shots. No time PRs for this race but I did have a PR for character photos with 9! It was a lot of fun and I look forward to it again next year.

Amanda and Duffy
Above: Me with Duffy inside Epcot

My next Disney Race is the Champion 5K in Hollywood Studios March 5. I will have a race review up on Sunday March 6 with lots of photos.

Want to see more of my photos from the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011? Check out my photo album Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 on flickr.

More Disney Princess Half Marathon posts: 
What to Expect from the Disney Princess Half Marathon
Disney Princess Half Marathon Medal 2010
Disney Princess Half Marathon Goody Bag 2010 and 2011

In the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2012 I will be sponsored by Net 10 Discounts which offers a 2000 minutes a Platinum Tel Samsung Touchscreen M800 cell phone and a year of service for $100.00. For more information check out Net 10 Discounts.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Disney Princess Half Marathon Goody Bag 2011

Yesterday I went to the Fit for a Princess Expo and picked up my goody bag. I was delighted to see that the color this year was a lovely green. The shirt is a much nicer shirt than last year. The graphic is beautiful but it is also a nicer tech material and slightly thicker than last year's shirt. This time all the shirts are white and there was no misprint on the sizes like last year so the size you get is the size that is printed on the shirt. Although they tell you to size up I found that, although just a little long the sizes were more true than last year. I typically wear a medium top and the medium top fit fine. As for the other items in the goody bag, well there are a lot less goodies than last year. Also instead of using the mesh bag they give you for bag check they include a large plastic bag (about 3 times the size of the mesh bag) for bag check. If you want to see the details of what is in the goody bag click on the photo then scroll over it.

Happy Running Princesses!

Have questions about the Disney Princess Half Marathon? Check out my list for new Princesses called "What to Expect From the Disney Princess Half Marathon." Want to see the Goody bag from 2010? Check out my Disney Princess Half Marathon Goody Bag 2010.


Help Support this site by visiting our sponsors:

Newport Vessels provides quality, affordable inflatable boats. With their signature 18 inch tubes you can fly on the water in comfort and safety. As a sponsor of Weekly Zen, Newport Vessels is offering our readers an exclusive discount of 5% when you enter the discount coupon code “ZEN” at checkout. So what are you waiting for? Head on over and check out the best inflatable boats and dinghies in the US at www.newportvessels.com

Get a free phone and 2000 minutes of talk time for $100 bucks click the link below and type PROMO CODE: RUMOR100FR at checkout. FREE TEXT-PHONE - NO CONTRACT!!! Platinum Tel is the lowest priced Pay-As-You-Go Cell phone providers out there. Their prices for Text, Phone and Internet beat Net 10, Trac Phone and Virgin Mobile. Plus they give you an awesome free phone. Check out the FREE LG Rumor phone that you get free with a $100 top off card. And best of all NO Contracts!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Texture for Photoshop: Pink Dreams II


Pink Dreams II
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
I am a big fan of Photoshop Textures and from time to time I will make my own texture and share with people over at flickr. Here is one of the textures I created today. It is a simple blur and bokeh shot in pink and gold. To use this photo or check out the other textures I have for FREE USE check out my Free Textures for Photoshop set.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Maverick the Flower

Maverick the Flower
Above: Amanda holding a pink tutu on Maverick's head.
Maverick is always such a good sport. I made myself a tutu to wear for the 2011 Disney Princess Half Marathon and I was trying it on to see how poofy it was and I could not help putting it on his head like he was a pretty little flower. He looked at me like I was the strangest thing in the world but he let me put it on his head and he looked at my husband as he snapped the pictures. Three cheers for Maverick the good sport. :)

Sites Closed at Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood Florida

We noticed the last time we were at Three Flags (about a month ago) that there were some sites that were roped off with yellow tape. We could not see anything wrong with them but we did notice that they had what looked to be new concrete patios poured. We visited again this last week only to see the same spots still closed off and people parking their cars and trucks in some of them. Not sure why these spots are closed but it looks like they might be trying to create “premium” sites perhaps for annual rentals. They are scattered throughout the park a few in the front and a few in the back of the park.

Other news about Three Flags for February 2011 is that they now have a new sign at the front of the park. While it is more permanent and bigger than the old sign it is not really easier to see from the road, I always notice the blue Encore sign on the fence way before I see the Three Flags sign. It is much nicer though than the previous sign.

New Sign at Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood Florida

The clubhouse also appears to still be closed. Call the front office for more details as to when that will be open.

Want to find out more about Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood Florida? Check out the Three Flags Campground profile.


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Saturday, February 12, 2011

What to Except from the Disney Princess Half Marathon

With the Disney Princess Half Marathon just 14 days away most of the Princesses out there are ready to hit the course and get that Princess Medal. But there are probably some first timers out who are not sure what to expect from themselves or the race. Last year was my first Princess Half Marathon and I went in not knowing at all what to expect. So I thought this year as I was winding down my training for the Princess Half Marathon which is just 2 weeks away now I would make a list for all the newbie Princesses out there based on some of things that I was most worried about last year.

1. Getting to the race. I was staying off site and I was a little concerned how it would be to get there and how much time I would need since the booklet says EXPECT SIGNIFICANT DELAYS. If you have done the WDW Marathon or Half Marathon let me just start off by saying… there will be A LOT LESS traffic at the Princess Half Marathon than there was at either of those races. But you should allow yourself plenty of time to get there and make sure to take World Drive into Epcot as they suggest. Buses begin running at 4am for a 5:45 start and there will be lines starting to form about 3:40. If you drive there you should have plenty of time if you leave anywhere from 3:30-4am (I would not leave much later than that since you have to be in your corral by 5am. If you are not staying at Disney World and could have someone drop you off have them drop you off at around the same time (3:30-4am).

2. What to wear? Yes it will be cold in the morning while you are standing around in your corral waiting for the race to start so make sure to have something to keep you warm. Most people (me included) will bring something that they can throw away once they get hot (which is right about when the sun comes up). Old clothes, trash bags, blankets… I have seen it all. Just make sure that when you throw it away you do not throw it at anyone while they are running and that you throw it to the sidelines so it is out of the way of other runners.

3. Should I bring my own food or water? Ultimately this is up to you but it has been my experience at Disney races that there is plenty of water stops so I do not bring my own water (just more weight to lug with me across the finish line). But food stops can be questionable. If you read my post on the WDW Marathon you will know that what is in the program is not always the case. I recommend bringing something like a couple of Clif Shots or a Clif Bar with you just in case you do not run into a food stop and also you should bring something to eat before the race (unlike at the WDW marathon last year there were no concessions before the race, just water).

4. How do I put my D-tag on? For some reason I was terrified of putting my D-tag on wrong last year. It was my first race ever and I thought for sure I would mess it up. Don’t worry it is really easy and the instructions are pretty good that they give you. If you still do not feel confident ask one of the volunteers. Last year I asked the bag check girl and she was very helpful.

5. Should I check a bag? The lines for the Princess bag check are a lot shorter than the ones for the WDW Half and Full Marathon but it is still something extra you will have to do and remember to get once you are done. I did it last year and while it was not a big hassle I did not do it for the WDW Marathon and I will not be doing it for the Princess Half Marathon this year.

6. Should I bring my own music? Yes! While the majority of the course is populated with characters (bring those cameras!) and DJs and of course Disney scenery (Magic Kingdom and Epcot will be awesome to run through) there are long stretches of the course that there is nothing and if you are anything like me you may find yourself bored. Having something to listen to or sing with will definitely help at these places. Also do not be afraid to strike up a conversation with a fellow racer (assuming they are going your pace). Everyone is excited and most people are more than happy to have someone to talk to.

7. Will I be okay doing it alone? I went with friends last year but they were in the corral behind me and I did not want to go back a corral so I had to go it alone. I was not alone for long. I met tons of people while in my corral waiting to start and along the way. If you are going solo, no worries it will not be long before you meet someone.

8. Can I change corrals? Yes. But only if you are going backwards. Say you are in Corral C and you want to go to Corral D, no problem just ask the volunteers when you line up. If you are in Corral C and you want in Corral B chances are you will have to stay in Corral C. There are instructions in the final instructions about this situation.

9. Are there bathrooms along the course? Yes, but they are gross…seriously gross. There are porta-poddies every couple of miles (they will be listed on the course map). I have seen guys and girls run out into the trees off the course when there were none around. Although I have not done it someone told me it might be wise as a woman to bring some tissue in case an emergency restroom break in the trees is needed. EDITED Feb 21 to add... Julie another Disney Princess veteran mentioned that there are also bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland... REAL BATHROOMS WITH WATER!

10. What are the things that I should definitely make sure I have with me during the race?
  • Camera with brand new batteries (there are so many neat things going on that a cell phone camera is really not enough).
  • Music (either cell phone or iPod)
  • Food (at least one Clif Bar or Clif Shot there is supposed to be food at mile 8 and there will be food after the race)
  • Shoes you have trained in (Do not wear new shoes, wear the ones you trained in so you know your feet are good in them.) Also I recommend covering your blister areas in liquid stitch or NuSkin before the race to prevent blisters. There will be a couple of stops (usually at the med tents) which will have BioFreeze, aspirin, band-aids and NuSkin.
  • A smile! Seriously Disney races are fun so remember to keep smiling even if you hit the wall at about mile 8 (that is where I hit it last year). If you are smiling and having a good time you will be able to overcome your sudden need to curse or cry or both and keep on trucking to the finish line. 
  • And of course your Bib and D-tag! 
11. (Added February 26, 2011) How do I know what Corral I am in? This question was asked a lot this week so I thought I would add it to the list for future Princesses. You will be given your bib number when you are sent the email telling you that your wavier is ready for download but you will not know your Corral placement until you pick up the bib at the Expo. You must go to the Expo to receive your bib and goody bag, they will not mail it. There is an absentee pickup (someone will have a note and a copy of your ID and they can pick it up for you).

12. (Added February 26, 2011) Can I print out my waiver at the Expo? Yep! There are stations just before you go over to pick up your bib that you can sit down enter your name and print out your waiver. No worries if you forget it.
    Oh two last things... If you want to get a general idea of what is in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Goody bag check out my post from last year and if you would like to see what the Disney Princess Half Marathon Medal looks like check out my post from last year. Check out the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 Goody Bag.

    Edited 2/21/11 to add... The Disney Princess Half Marathon Program for 2011 is now available! Final instructions for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (includes directions if you are staying off site and how to put on the D-tag) are now available online.

    See you there Princesses! 


    Help Support this site by visiting our sponsors:

    Newport Vessels provides quality, affordable inflatable boats. With their signature 18 inch tubes you can fly on the water in comfort and safety. As a sponsor of Weekly Zen, Newport Vessels is offering our readers an exclusive discount of 5% when you enter the discount coupon code “ZEN” at checkout. So what are you waiting for? Head on over and check out the best inflatable boats and dinghies in the US at www.newportvessels.com

    Get a free phone and 2000 minutes of talk time for $100 bucks click the link below and type PROMO CODE: RUMOR100FR at checkout. FREE TEXT-PHONE - NO CONTRACT!!! Platinum Tel is the lowest priced Pay-As-You-Go Cell phone providers out there. Their prices for Text, Phone and Internet beat Net 10, Trac Phone and Virgin Mobile. Plus they give you an awesome free phone. Check out the FREE LG Rumor phone that you get free with a $100 top off card. And best of all NO Contracts!

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Walt Disney World Marathon 2011


    WDW Marathon (20)
    Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
    On January 9, 2011 I participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon. Up at 3am to make it to Epcot’s parking lot by 4am I was really excited to try and finish my first marathon. It was not until almost 6am (5:55) that I finally reached the starting line. I was right up front so I was one of the first in the corral so I was one of the first to start out, but soon the mob that was behind me caught up and passed me by, but for just a few seconds I felt like I was the only one running on the roads of Disney World.

    Before I knew it I was at the first mile. I hooted and hollered with all the others and snapped a blurry shot (you are going to see a lot of blurry shots in this Disney World photo album, because well they were taken in a hurry while passing by). The next thing I knew I was at mile 5 and I had been out there for 01:08:09 which meant I was cruising the Disney World streets at a 13:37 pace. Which was itself a PR for me. I had never done (up to that point) 5 miles so fast. I was predicted to finish the entire 26.2 miles in 5:57:21 if I kept that pace.

    fitness appsAt about mile 8 I started to get hungry and since I thought there would be a food stop at almost mile 9 I told myself to hang in there, food was coming soon. But there was no food stop between mile 8 and 9 as was stated in the WDW marathon program so I kept drinking more Poweraide to help with my hunger issues. It was not until about mile 10 that there was a group of tables with tons and tons of bananas I took 3 immediately, one to gobble right then, and two to wear like guns in a holster on my ID belt. Hunger pains gone I checked in at mile 10 at 02:22:25 which meant I was now keeping a pace of 14:14 and would, if I kept that pace finish in 6:13:23. All was well at that point, stopped for a bathroom break, BioFreeze and a picture with Stitch but other than that I kept going and before I knew it I was halfway done with WDW marathon at 03:11:28 with my pace decreasing to 14:36, but still a really good pace for me and I was predicted to finish in 6:22:56. I was just outside Animal Kingdom somewhere along mile 16 when it happened, my knee, which I had problems with since August 2010, popped and then I felt a sharp pain and I started to see a swelling. I had to make a decision then to keep going or to seek out the Blue Cross that was riding around on bikes. I sought out the Blue Cross and was taken from the course to the medical tent. At that point I saw people crying, limping, cursing, leaning on others to drag them along and I decided that I did not want to be one of those people. I did not know if I had seriously injured myself or not at that point so I made the decision I thought was best. As it turns out nothing serious came of the injury. I still have knee issues today but I have worked on decreasing my speed and have tried wrapping my knee and will try a knee strap. Not to mention, lots and lots of squats and lunges to help strengthen my knees. Although I was unable to finish my first marathon, I had an absolutely wonderful time and I look forward to trying it again next year. But right now my sights are set on the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon on February 27, 2011. In just 18 days I will be going for my second Princess medal (completing it last year for my first ever race). More to come on that great Disney race…

    To see more of my photos from the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon check out my flickr album.

    If you want to read my reflections as to why I think I ended up hurt and not finishing the marathon check out my post on Daily Mile.

    Want to read more about Disney World Running? Check out the Weekly Zen Disney World Running page for event dates and jogging trails around Disney World.

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

    Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age StoryFat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex

    3 star This book had an unexpected turn in it. At the beginning it had some funny moments but gradually it lost the lighthearted tale and became a sad tale of lost humanity. I have a feeling that had I read this book instead of listened to it, it probably would have had a lower rating. But the reader of this book was entertaining and carried the book through some of the moments in the book that seemed to function as a distraction while the next act was being prepared. This book is worth at least one read though. While it continues in the long line of vampire stories with the same stories we read over and over, it offers a fresh look at the old tales by addressing the old stereotypes with humor.

    View all my reviews

    Friday, February 04, 2011

    Blogger Mobile

    If you have a phone or another mobile device and you have a blog you might want to consider Blogger Mobile. It is simple to use, lets put it this way, if you can text you can do use Blogger Mobile. I just set it up with my Google Voice number (a free number and voice mail that can be forwarded to any of your phones) so I can blog from my Kindle while I am reading at the beach, traveling in our RV or just too plain lazy to turn on my computer. This post came from my Kindle in fact (except that I edited it later on my computer to add the links). Watch out Weekly Zen I see a whole lot more posts on the way.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

    3 starJulie Powell is about to turn thirty and is dissatisfied with her life as a mere government secretary drone with a syndrome that may keep her from ever conceiving. It is not until she makes up her mind to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and blog about it that she discovers what she is made of and starts to feel that her life is not as drab as she once thought.

    Julie and Julia was an interesting read. It was not particularly witty nor did it have any philosophical revelations that made the reader appreciate life any more or less. Nor was it so poetically written that it would make the reader have a deeper appreciation for the written word. All the same, it was an interesting read. Julie Powell herself is not worth reading the book alone. She is somewhat annoying and at times her hysterics are not really funny just plain, well annoying. The inserts and comments on Julia Child however are interesting and this reader really wishes there was more Julia and less Julie. Don’t get me wrong though I am not completely saying that Julie Powell is as ridiculous as Bridget Jones (as I have often heard her compared to). She had her moments that made me laugh but by the end I was really done with her and hoping that Julia would make more of an appearance.

    As for the main subject of the book, the food, well that was off putting. Although I am not a meat eater I do not mind a good description of a meaty dish, but the food described in Julie and Julia was absolutely disgusting and made me appreciate my veganism. From brains to bone marrow all of it sounded completely, for lack of a better word, gross. What was good about these sections though was the way I could really envision Julie making the things she described (unfortunately in some cases like the lobster section for instance). Another gripe I had about the book was the ending. I was so ready for it to end after the completion of the last recipe and it did not, it kept going and going and then the end… well it was not all that great of ending. Personally I would have put the last word on Julia Child’s death as an Afterword, but that is just personal preference. With a rewriting and a little organization all the material that was in the end could have been delivered so much more elegantly so we the reader, could truly have felt the impact of the real ending, leaving that stick of butter at the Smithsonian, that was a classic ending.

    This book, like the movie, is worth at least one look though. And while I will never seek out a Julia Child cookbook I have grabbed a book about her life with Paul in France, so thank you Julie Powell for that.

    Novel Moments:
    “Performance anxiety and a dry-cleaning bill; those were the only things keeping me from stark raving lunacy.” (Kindle Location 110-11)

    “And so, late that evening, a tiny line dropped into the endless sea of cyberspace, the slenderest of lures in the blackest of waters” (Kindle Location 305-6)