Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare Challenge Recap Part 1

It’s been a few weeks since I completed the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge + 5k.  I had been looking forward to this race/experience since I finished Dopey in January and I’m so sad it’s already all over.

Here are the first five highlights (other five will be shared later this week) of the trip to go Coast to Coast!

1—The Expo

Since I like to be able to get everything I like, I get to Disney expos first thing!  If you don’t, then you cannot complain if they are out of something you want.  So, I got to Disneyland on Wednesday evening… since the expo opened up on Thursday at 10 am.

I met up with Brandi and her mom Karen at the hotel and we headed to the expo around 8:15.

At Disneyland, they have you line up because they do not want to put too many people into the official merchandise area at a time… which is super smart!


I was able to score some great official merchandise!  I got the dumbo women’s jacket, “I Did It” shirt, and the magnet for my fridge.  I also got a Disneyland Half Marathon weekend glass (that seems to be my thing to get at expos now) and a Disneyland Half Marathon pullover (this was not on the list, but it was so cute that I could not resist).

After the official merchandise, I headed over to the KT station to get my foot taped up.  It was a good idea to go early because this booth is always busy at the expo.  Luckily the tape lasted until mile 10 of the half on Sunday.

I also picked up a RawThreads shirt (I may be a brand new fan!) and a few sparkle soul headbands (you can never have enough—especially when the pricetag is $10 a piece).

disney headbands disney10k5kshirt disneyjacket disneyjacketandshirt disneyothershirts

After I got all my purchases taken care of, I got my bibs (one for the 5k and one for the dumbo challenge (10k+half marathon), official shirts (5k, 10k, half and dumbo—all short sleeved—great since I got 4 long sleeve in WDW) and my ticket for the 10thanniversary party along with this cool bag!


Overall, I loved the expo at Disneyland.  It was crazy but since they had crowd control, I thought it was really well managed.  I cannot wait to get back there someday!

2—The Distance from the Airport to the Hotel to Disneyland

This is definitely a highlight of the trip!  I flew from Chicago into John Wayne airport—it is much closer to Disneyland than LAX and for a couple more dollars, it was worth it in my opinion.  Once I got to the hotel (which only took about 10-15 minutes), the distance from the hotel to the entrance of the park was a 10 minute walk tops.  This makes getting around so easy!  I absolutely loved it… nothing like crazy Disney World where I feel like all you do is wait on buses all day to get from place to place.

 3—The Weather

The weather was absolutely great the entire weekend!  The weather was around 70-80 the entire time.  The races were all relatively cool… nothing like crazy cold Disney World in January…but it was perfect running weather!  I was only a little warm on the half marathon.  The weather in Chicago was horrible—90s the entire time I was gone, and when I left California, it got to be crazy hot too in the 100s.  I was so happy that the weather cooperated because it is one reason I do not do many summer races.

4—Disneyland Parks!

I absolutely loved the two parks at Disneyland—Disneyland and California Adventure.  I bought a two day park hopper ticket and it was the perfect amount of time for me.  Disneyland had a lot of great rides—Splash Mountain, Mr. Toads Wild Ride, Pirates, It’s a Small World, Nemo, and so many many more!  I rode all the little kiddie rides (I love those rides) and stayed away from anything I thought might make me sick (Big Thunder Mountain (I love that one, but I was nervous) and Space Mountain).  At California Adventure, I loved walking around Paradise Pier, Cars Land (Rt 66 was extra special for me since we have that in Illinois), riding the big Wheel of Color, playing games (I won a Dumbo stuffed animal!), and riding the little kiddie rides too.  I really enjoyed the evening entertainment with World of Color at California Adventure (I did that on Friday evening) and Paint the Night parade in Disneyland (I did that on Thursday evening).


5—10th Anniversary Party

When I was signing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, I decided that it would be worth it to get the 10th Anniversary Party ticket and I’m really glad that I did!

I went with Brandi and Karen and we were able to get into Disneyland at 4 pm.  We were able to ride lots of rides until the park closed around 9 pm and then we were able to ride others which normally have a long line (Splash and Pirates) very easily as we just walked right up to them and got right on.  It was awesome!  There were characters out to take pictures with but since we had the 5k the next morning, we skipped character stops and called it a night around 10:30.

I’ll be back later this week with the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Bling, and the overall thoughts for the entire experience.


I’ll be back later this week with the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Bling, and the overall thoughts for the entire experience.



Summer Wrap Up

I’m going to have my summer wrap up series in a series of 2 posts—training for the Chicago Marathon and my big summer half marathon which was this past weekend, Disneyland Half Marathon weekend where I did a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon to get 5 beautiful medals from the happiest place on earth!

When I got into Chicago in late May/early June, my plan of getting a new PR in the 5k and 10k distance went out the window.  I was still able to finally break 30 minutes for the 5k in June.  It was a flat course, pretty good weather (a little humidity), and I really put it all out there.  After the race was over, I felt way more exhausted/tired than I do when I run a half marathon!  I vowed that would be my last racing 5k for the summer.  I had done one other on Memorial Day so two is good for me for the summer!

I didn’t end up racing any 10k distances at all this summer.  I really hate running when it’s over 70 degrees (yes, I know I’m a baby), but there wasn’t anything that was really shouting at me to run it.  I’ve done the Big 10 10k and I did the Chicago 10k last summer and we know I’m not a fan of repeating races, so I ended up not running any 10k races this summer.  I was also really busy getting in my training runs for Chicago, so the thought of adding to my schedule was not a good idea.  I’m actually going to do my first racing 10k in a few weeks in my home town while Lauren tackles the half marathon.  I really wanted to break an hour for a 10k at some point, but with my current PR of 1:03:20… I’ll be happy with any new PR based off of that number.

I’m happy to report that I have completed all of my training runs so far for Chicago.  This includes two 20 milers so far—both of which were pretty difficult.  The first one was 10 miles outside and then 10 miles on the treadmill because it was pretty hot.  The second one was just a few weeks ago and it wasn’t going too bad until mile 19.  It was at mile 19 that I realized my left foot was feeling really weird.  When I got the mileage completely done and back to my car… I took off my shoe and I couldn’t flex my toes up without extreme pain!  I ended up icing it and then got some brand new shoes (I was wearing Nikes that I did not usually wear… I just need to stick with my trusty Asics!).  Luckily with some RICE, new shoes and a few prayers, I’m happy to report that I feel much better now, was able to complete all my Disney races (this happened just 3 days before I left!), and now I know I’ll be able to finish my training for Chicago.

This weekend brings a short 6 mile run and the following weekend is my FINAL 20 miler!  And then it’s taper time baby!  I’m so excited to be almost done… as I do not have any more marathons planned for after Chicago.  I have lots of halves planned but no fulls and I’m pretty excited about that!  I’ve done 3 marathons this year, so maybe I’m just burned out… but I feel like I become a crazy person while training for marathons and it takes too much out of me 😦

I’ll be back next week with a recap of my Disneyland adventure!



Sorry for the lack of blog posts by us lately!  To say life hasn’t been hectic is an understatement.  In the summer, I am very busy at work running an outdoor pool… from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I’m usually at work or communicating with work every single day.  When you add training for a marathon, trying to plan out the rest of your 2015 races, being obsessed with your sister’s 2016 wedding… it leaves little time for anything else!

Chicago Marathon training is going well!  I had my first 20 miler on August 9 and it went pretty well.  It was going to be nasty hot here, so I ended up running 10 outside and then did 10 on the treadmill immediately afterwards… it really was a good decision!  I like my training schedule because when I do not have “huge” long runs, it’s just conditioning.  Therefore this past Saturday, I just had to do 6 miles.  Granted it was pretty hard because it was 70+ degrees and 90% humidity—I hate the heat.  I’m really hoping the marathon gods are good to me and have 40-50 degree temps on race day and I can achieve my sub 5 goal.

This weekend, I have to go back to downtown Chicago again to meet up with the marathon training group that I won the entry from.  I only have six on my schedule, so I will just do the six and then pick up my goodies before heading home.  They are giving all of us shorts, tech shirt, singlet, jacket and fitted Nike shoes!  Really I lucked out getting this opportunity and I’m glad I’ve been able to stick with the training for the big day.

I have my 17th state coming up in a few weeks and I’m excited to head out to California for a few days of fun and racing.


Chicago Marathon Training Weekly Recap

Another week is done of this marathon training session!

This week was pretty easy with just two thirty minute runs and a 6 mile long run on the weekend.  I also had two personal training workout sessions which went really well too.

This upcoming week is the start of the hard training.  I have my normal two thirty minute runs during the week and then on Saturday, I have my first twenty miler of this training season.  The high for Saturday is 77… so that should mean that when I start my run it will be a little cooler.  I’m going to keep tabs on the weather, get a good night sleep on Friday and then head out early early on Saturday morning.  My parents are coming up this weekend, so I won’t have to worry about my doggie at all during my long run!

In other news, it is now less than 30 days until I go to Disneyland!  Unfortunately, my flight got all screwed up on the way back, but it is what it is (my motto a lot now-a-days when things do not go your way).  I’m really looking forward to state #17!


Chicago Marathon Training

Another week of marathon training is done!  This was a very low key week with just 2 thirty minute runs and then a 5 mile long run on Saturday.  Even though the mileage was reduced, it was still a hectic fitness week for me!

It was busy because I finally started working out with a personal trainer!!  I made it a goal for this year to cross train because I had not been doing a very good job at doing anything but running three days a week.  I loved going to yoga, but when I got my new job, it was unrealistic for me to drive 30 minutes to go to yoga L.  I know that in order to get to my under 5 hour marathon goal, I’m going to need a strong core.  Luckily for me, the cost of personal training is very reasonable since I work full time for a park district (all I have to pay is for the cost of the trainer… the park district is not making any money off me J)—so I’m going twice a week for 30 minutes a time.  My trainer is absolutely great!  She pushes me—we’ve done weights, lunges, squats, planks, bar exercises, and more.  After my first time last Monday, I was super sore on Tuesday… I could barely move (but I still managed to get the run in on Tuesday evening).  I’m planning on going for awhile, so I can do the exercises effectively so I do not injure myself.

On Saturday, I did my long run with the Tag Heur group that I won the marathon entry with in downtown Chicago.  Since I live in the suburbs, getting to the city is never an easy feet and I usually do not like to drive but I made an exception and headed downtown.  It was great to meet with the group and get to do a long run in Chicago where I normally do not run.  My only complaint was that it was SO HOT!!  I’m such a fair weather runner in the heat (I basically refuse to run in anything over 75 and it was at 80 degrees), so my pace definitely suffered.  I was so happy that I only had 5 on my schedule unlike the 12 that a bunch of others had.  I just kept saying… well, I ran 17 last week on a treadmill J.  I’ll have to go to Chicago again next month and in September too for continued meetups with the group.  Afterwards, I stopped at Sprinkles and Shack Shake for some greasy food before I headed back to the calmer lifestyle in the burbs 🙂


Weekly Recap


Sorry for only 1 blog post this past week!!  Unfortunately, it seems like a theme for us Benson sisters this summer L.  Seriously, between running an outdoor pool, doing my other work responsibilities, and training for the Chicago Marathon… I barely have time for anything else.

This past week, we started up our final set of evening swim lessons (I had three twelve hour workdays) and then I had to work at a triathlon at work (3:15 am wake up call on Sunday!). I commend anyone who does triathlons… swimming and biking just aren’t for me.

It was also a hectic week in training.  I had my normal runs during the week, but then on Saturday, I had a 17 mile run.  Of course, the forecast for this past weekend was miserable.  Heat advisories and the temperatures in the 90s.  Even if I got out early, it was 78 at 6 am—just awful.  So, I had to suck it up and do the mileage on the treadmill.  It’s never easy doing that many miles on the treadmill… especially when work keeps texting you and your phone only tracks so long (so I had to keep recharging my battery).  But I finished and I’m really hoping that we get some sort of relief in a few weeks when I start having my twenty milers start up!

I’m really looking forward to Saturday as it will be the first time that I get to meet up with the Chicago Marathon group that I won the entry to the marathon with.  This is really exciting to finally meet up with the 9 other people who also won the contest!  Depending on the time, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make my first stop to Shake Shack in the city.  I’ve been to Shake Shack in NYC and DC, but I haven’t been able to make it to the Chicago location yet.  Hopefully that works out!

Have a great running week!


Weekly Recap

weeklykathleenI love cutback weeks!  I finished Week 6 of my Chicago Marathon training with two thirty minute runs and a 3 mile weekend run.  This was my last week where the “long” run is only 3 miles.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!  Next weekend is 17 miles.. and the temps do not look friendly.

This past week, they released the medals for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend!  I wish I could say I’m super stoked about them… but I cannot.

Here is the link to the photos:


I was a huge fan of the big “D” half marathon medal, but I knew since it was an anniversary year, they were probably going to change it and they did.  They made the medal a diamond shape for it’s 60th anniversary of Disneyland and a spinner (that is cool).  But the medal looks pretty small to me… I hope it’s bigger in person!

The 10k medal is just ok… not a huge fan of villains, but I guess it’s ok.

I love the 5k medal!!  I’m super glad I paid the extra money to run this race.  The medal is super cute and even though it’s plastic, I love it!

I also love the Dumbo medal!!  Some people were complaining about the red ribbon, but that’s not a huge concern in my book at all.

Also, I’ll be getting the Coast to Coast medal!  I love this medal!!

I’ll be leaving for Disneyland in 50 days… but who is counting?  I still have to get my hotel transportation and park tickets—which I’m planning on doing this week.  If you’ve been to Disneyland, do you think 2 day park hopper is enough for park tickets?  I’ll be getting in late on Wednesday,  thinking expo and park day on Thursday, 5k and park day Friday, 10k-Downtown Disney-relaxing on Saturday and then half marathon and home on Sunday!

I wish I could be joining Lauren in Vancouver in August, but the states are not going to finish themselves.