This week over on YouTube and IGTV, I’m chatting with runner and fellow geek Alex Quevedo (@alexquevedo6) about how he fell in love with running and how he combines his love for logging miles with his passion for Star Wars, Marvel, gaming and more. I hope you enjoy!
After a great chat about running and physical therapy with Tiffanie (@Star_wars_runnah), our conversation soon turned to our number one shared interest beyond running: Star Wars.
This is a little bonus video of what happens when you put two Star Wars fans together after nearly 8 months of quarantine with no one to show off their toys and talk Star Wars with.
It’s time for Running and… Physical Therapy!
In Episode 2, I’m chatting with Tiffanie (aka @star_wars_runnah) about how her job as a physical therapist for children 3 years old and under has helped her stay grounded and healthy throughout a 20+ year running career that includes a handful of Boston Marathons and even more Star Wars costumes.
What – or who – else do you want to see on Running and? Let me know in the comments!
It’s no secret that I love Star Wars. And since you’re already on my running-themed blog, you get that I also love running. So the fact that Disney – known for its incredible race experiences, parent company of Lucasfilm – holds Star Wars themed races means that I’m pretty much guaranteed to run them.
Well, I didn’t discover these races until last year, when I completed the Kessel Run Challenge by running both the Light Side and Dark Side Challenge weekends (10K and half marathon in one weekend). It was an unbelievably fun experience. Aside from the NYC Marathon, the four runDisney races I’ve done were the highlight of my year, if not my entire running career.
But, those great experiences came with a heavy price tag – literally – and I decided not to run the 2018 races. I made my peace with that early on, and instead looked forward to saving some money while watching my friends run them thanks to the magic of social media. Then, back in October, runDisney made the decision to suspend all races at Disneyland in Anaheim until further notice, and I felt better about my decision. You can’t suffer from FOMO when something is cancelled!
Fast forward to this morning, when it was announced that runDisney would offer a new Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon instead of the Light-Side-Themed Disneyland races.
You probably know how this story ends.
My racing plans went from “focus on a PR attempt in April” to “hey, let’s shoehorn another half marathon in there too” with one mouse click.
And while I know some folks think this is just a cash grab by Disney, let me say this: I am aware of that fact, and I don’t disagree with you.
But I TRULY DON’T CARE.
Sure, for what you actually get (a medal and a few downloadable PDFs along with the chance to share your experience online with the event hashtag), it is pricey.
But it’ll keep me active, keep me accountable, the medal is freakin’ sweet:
And most important of all? It makes me happy. I am going to have SO much fun figuring out what outfit to run in and sharing my run online. It’s a fun way for me to get my runDisney Star Wars fix in 2018 without having to shell out $2k+ for hotel, airfare and park tickets for two on top of race registration.
So now that I’m officially running the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon, it’s on like Alderaan!
Er… it’s on. Let’s just leave it at that. Cause Alderaan didn’t deserve that.
How about you: What do you think about virtual races? Have you ever done one? If you’ve done a Disney race, which one is your favorite?
So unless you live under a rock (or maybe you’re just a more well-balanced human who pays attention to the real world and not a galaxy far, far away), you probably know that the Star Wars fandom is currently ON FIRE thanks to the release of the full Last Jedi trailer last night:
Now. It’s been nearly 24 hours since the trailer went live, so I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten the majority of my feels out of my system.
Ahem. Excuse me. Sorry, just had to get that out.
So yeah – this is 2+ minutes of incredible footage that reveals a LOT about this new film, while revealing very little. A lot of folks are claiming this is a case of classic misdirection and slick editing – while we’re being shown this footage, what are we NOT being shown? Sure these characters are speaking but they may not be speaking to each other. Who is Luke talking about when he says he’s seen this terrifying power before? Who is Rey asking for belonging from? WHO IS KYLO REACHING OUT TO?
Now, I know the answers I want. And I know the answers my husband wants, which are entirely opposite of mine. But he’s just a jealous nelly who is envious of Kylo Ren’s magnificent hair and puppy dog eyes and HE DESERVES A REDEMPTION ARC, DO NOT EVEN TRY TELLING ME OTHERWISE, I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL I SWEAR TO GOD.
OK. Back to the point of the post.
When The Force Awakens opened, I discovered the wonderful world of Trailer Reaction Videos and fell in love. If you haven’t seen these, it goes like this: people apparently record themselves watching something for the very first time and share their reactions with the community, much to the delight of all involved. I found the emotions these people shared to be so raw and so real, and I loved it. Seriously, just try NOT to cry when a whole slew of people SCREAM WITH JOY when Han Solo shows up in this one (it happens around 1:23 and I cry every time):
So back in April, I recorded myself watching the Teaser Trailer for kicks and never really did much with it. Although I did learn something about myself: when I’m truly surprised, I make the exact same faces as this guy.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself (pressed for time? scrub to 1:40 for my facial gymnastics):
So anyway, in keeping with my tradition of recording reaction videos, I hit record when the trailer started last night, and this is what we get:
Note: I did edit the end of the video a bit tight; apparently my emotions were running SO high that I turned and spewed a whole litany of “I told you so”-type expletives at my husband that are definitely NSFW, so there you go.
So what do you think about the trailer? Did you even know it came out? It’s okay if you didn’t, we can still be friends.
I used to have a thing called Friday Favorites here on the blog, but it didn’t take off because I’m lazy and a spotty blogger at best. But I’m not ready to let it die!
Because we’re all much more than just runners. We’ve got full lives and other interests besides mile splits and training runs. And even the most seasoned runner knows that rest days are the most important part of training: a chance to hit our physical – and mental – reset buttons before diving back into the hard work. So, with that in mind, I bring you the Rest Day Round-Up!
In these posts, I take a break from talking about running to share what I’m digging in the non-running world. This week for the inaugural post, let’s take a look at all the things that tickle my intergalactic fancy with a special Star Wars Edition!
This action figure that I got from eBay for $7
Sorry, Beyonce. You can take your floral arch and your beautiful little babies and your flowing veil and chill out in the Sea of Tranquility behind you. Pregnant Padme wielding a blaster is the Feminist Icon we need in 2017.
But seriously, when I first saw her, I thought she was a joke. But this is, in fact, a very real action figure they released when Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005. And she currently protects me (and Luke and Leia in her belly) from her perch on my desk. I don’t think I’ve ever loved an action figure more in my life.
My recent exchange with the official Star Wars Twitter account
It all started last week when I discovered the Star Wars app (yes, I’m a late adopter), which has an Augmented Reality feature that pops a character into your world when you scan certain photos. When I used it to play with K2-SO, I thought it might be fun to play with the folks in charge of the Star Wars Twitter feed. And it kind of blew up in an unexpected and awesome way:
Yes, Star Wars replied to me in the sassiest, most adorable way. AND YES, that says 503 likes. FIVE HUNDRED AND THREE, YOU GUYS. Apparently, when Star Wars replies to you, it gets you some mild attention. I had a blast checking my notifications all day and still giggle at how something as simple as a tweet can connect us to brands and communities we love and create so much pure joy. Bless those folks.
The latest BTS Footage of The Last Jedi
Speaking of BLESSED, allow me a moment to be grateful for the gifts that were bestowed upon us on Saturday in the form of new behind the scenes footage and a series of incredible teaser posters unveiled at Disney D23.
Folks who aren’t in the fandom might not understand, but this footage is a seriously Big Deal. It raises so many questions! Why were there so many Kylo masks? Is Benicio del Toro a good guy or bad guy? And WHERE CAN I GET A PORG OF MY OWN??
Fun fandom-centric, female-friendly gear
I’m very lucky that I get to work in an office that allows us to wear basically whatever we want within reason. This gives me the opportunity to wear SW gear basically every day if I wanted to. But I’m no one-trick pony, and have tons of regular clothes that deserve some play, too.
So while I’ve discovered that my new signature look is basically a bold lip and a SW shirt (see the floral stormtrooper and blue comic book shirts below), I also like to throw subtle nods to my fandom with gear I’ve picked up from Her Universe and Love & Madness:
While L&M recently stopped selling Star Wars gear on their site (boohoooo!!) I managed to clean house there and picked up pretty much one of everything they offered. And Her Universe is always offering fun new stuff, like the Rebellion Romper in the first pic up there. I rocked that for a 4th of July BBQ and got so many compliments – especially when people realized it had tiny little droids and X-wings hidden in the floral print!
That about wraps it up for the first installment of the Rest Day Round-Up, so tell me: what are YOU crushing on lately? A binge-worthy tv show? Fun new podcast or flea market find? Share the love in the comments!
After going into detail about the snazzy costumes I ran the Star Wars Light Side Challenge in, I got a lot of positive feedback from folks who had considered Disney races or running in costumes. So now that the Dark Side Challenge is complete, let’s take a look at the costumes I ran in this time (and how I had to modify my plans to account for the heat)!
Originally I wanted to run as Phasma for the half and possibly do Greedo or Han Solo for the 10K. I even went as far as spending an entire evening looking at hip holsters on Amazon (an activity I don’t recommend unless you want your Amazon suggestions to be VERY WEIRD for the next few weeks).
But because this was a Dark Side themed weekend, I decided on Phasma and Vader pretty early on. And here’s how I made them happen!
My search for a Phasma outfit started off rocky: I couldn’t find the right shiny silver top and skirt in matching tones AND performance fabric in my budget. But, as fate would have it, at the same time, my friend Tiffanie (aka Star_Wars_Runnah), announced that she’d be running the NYC Marathon in support of the March of Dimes and would thank donors by making them skirts or full outfits depending on their level of support. The chance to support a good friend, a great cause, AND check my costume off the list while getting something one of a kind?? Thank you, universe!
To top it all off I added some personal finishing touches, including a DIY cape I made the weekend before and the outfit was complete!
This one was easy and functional, especially in the Florida heat:
- tank and skirt custom by Tiffanie (TM, lol)
- running shorts (for under the skirt) by Avia at Walmart
- sparkly silver headband by Mavi Bandz
- silver gloves I cut the hands off of for touch screen and keeping cool purposes
- costume cape I cut down and added red ribbon to
- Dark Side race weekend Pro Compression socks
- Altra Paradigms
And as a bonus: I can wear almost all of this costume again, even when I’m not running! Except for the silver gloves. Those things were so soaked through with sweat you could see through them and went right in the trash after the race, lol.
For Vader, my costume was even more simple, and thank goodness: that heat was BRUTAL, and even though I was only in one layer, the sweat had pooled at the bottom of this dress and needed to be wrung out from miles 8-13 (bleh)!
- Vader Dress by Her Universe (on sale for $25 when I got it!)
- Vader headband by KatieDidProductions
- running shorts (for under the skirt) by Avia at Walmart
- Black Elite Marathon Pro Compression socks
- Tiny Trooper stuffed animal on my race belt (lol)
- Altra Paradigms
The end product was something super-easy to run in that still got the Star Wars love out there. Plus – as an added bonus – it looked super cute, if I do say so myself!
Have you ever run a race in costume? What’s the craziest costume you’ve ever seen at a race? Share in the comments!
After completing the Dark Side Challenge in Disney World by finishing the half marathon and 10K in two days, I wrapped up my weekend with my mama with some time in Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid… we had a blast:
We even stumbled upon the Star Wars show happening right in front of the Chinese Theater almost as soon as we got there:
I don’t think I need to tell you that’s me going “OOOOOOOHHHHH” and “YEEEAH!” in the background of both videos.
If you thought I was having a crisis of joy during the races just from all the Intergalactic Love, you should have seen me when this happened:
As if my day couldn’t get any better, we headed over to Star Wars Launch Bay to meet some characters, and they did not disappoint. Once again, I was a total idiot around Kylo Ren (I swear I should make flipbooks of these photos just so you can watch me get dumber around him):
But me and Chewy had a MOMENT with a capital M when I showed him my Millennium Falcon medal:
And I went 2 for 2 on getting lost in Wookiee hugs:
After noodling around for a bit and having a drink at the Prime Time Cafe while we waited for our dinner reservations, we had the time of our lives at the buffet – where we shared our meal with Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang! Commence happy tears breakdown #272 of the weekend.
Seriously, when Mickey hugged my mom, I burst into tears. I’m an emotional person, OK?!
After dinner we headed over to the theater where the Star Wars fireworks show was scheduled for 9PM, and man oh man. I wish I could describe what it’s like, but videos and photos and words don’t do it justice. It was incredible.
After the show, we called it a day in the parks and got ready to head back home the next day, exhausted and happy and already planning our next trip back.
All in all, running both Disney Star Wars races was a dream come true, when I didn’t even know I had this dream in the first place. When I “joined” the Star Wars fandom and discovered these races, they were a “wouldn’t it be nice” thing to add to my bucket list. But after talking it through with my husband and working out the financials – and a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get there! – my brand new dream was a reality. And it only took about 8,000 miles flown to run 19.3 twice in 2 different states and earn 8 beautiful medals that each represent their own accomplishment.
There were plenty of pros and cons on each coast, and while I go into them in detail in their own recaps, I can say this:
- Disneyland was smaller but had a lot more on-course support from local cosplayers so the run felt much easier, plus the milder weather made it a breeze.
- The races in Walt Disney World were less in the park and more on the street (and HOT AS HELL) but they offered characters before and after the races to help you make the most of your experience.
- Both race weekends were excellently executed in terms of logistics. RunDisney races are NOT cheap by any means, but Disney quality and organization is second to none. There’s a reason they’re one of the most well-known brands in the world.
All in all, if you’re a Star Wars fan and have the chance to do even one of these races, I can’t recommend them highly enough. They take a lot of work and time (and yes, money), but it all comes down to creating experiences that matter, and Disney races allow you to do exactly that.
With the 10K complete (and another day of Florida fun under our belts), mama and I got back to the hotel on Saturday night and found this fun voicemail on our room phone:
Gotta love that Disney touch 🙂
The next morning we woke up nice and early – 2:30am again! – and after putting on Flat Vader, I headed out for the Dark Side Half Marathon and the completion of the Kessel Run Challenge and Disney’s Coast to Coast Challenge!
The same bus ride as the day before took us to the same Start location, but instead of doing any character photos, I hung out near the stage area and watched the pre-race show (and almost got picked for the trivia contest but chickened out)! The best part was getting to see The Last Jedi trailer on the big screen with everyone, and admiring the insane costumes some people were running in.
That’s a Millennium Falcon in Mickey ears, a SUPER REALISTIC Krennic (hubba hubba), a Dark Helmet, and yes… a George Lucas (I stole the pic from Disney’s website, it’s too perfect).
My friend Lizzie was running the half with her uncle, so we met up and headed over to the Corrals, where we chatted and waited for a final bathroom break, then went our separate ways. While waiting to start in Corral E, I managed to get some video of the fun psych up speech the Stormtroopers gave every morning about these races being a test for Captain Phasma to find the best soldiers and it gave me a little giggle.
Another fun thing I caught was the HUGE fireworks display they set off at the very start – Disney really pulls out all the stops for these things!
After corrals A-D and E1 went off, one of the coolest things happened: the corral was cut in half RIGHT in front of me and I was one of the folks that got to hold the start ribbon!!
Me and the folks around me were losing our minds – how cool was it to START our corral? It was an awesome experience to be the very first people to start, and gave me a taste of what the elites must feel (although they probably don’t selfie NEARLY as much when it happens to them):
When the gun went off and the fireworks shot off over our heads, I ran through some ash from the firework and laughed the whole first 100 yards – we felt like we were in the Olympics all by ourselves up there! I had to calm myself though: no sense in going out at an 8 minute mile when I still had 12.1 more to go.
The first 3-4 miles in the dark were on the highway and in back roads between parks, and almost immediately I noticed a difference from the 10K. They had more music on the course, screens playing the movies, and one section where they laid out a crazy laser light show along a stretch of about 100 yards between forest on either side, complete with big speakers playing music and background noises and Ewok battle cries to simulate the battle on Endor! I loved it, even if I did get blinded by a few rogue lasers.
By about Mile 5, the sun started coming up, but thankfully, it stayed behind the clouds. It was a true blessing: with the sun hidden, it stayed relatively cool, even though the humidity was still around 90%, even at 7am.
In addition to a few character stops that I didn’t bother making, I got to see another fun piece of Disney magic around mile 6: a real live elephant! I didn’t get a picture, but apparently the Animal Kingdom park has an elephant care and rehab facility where they treat the animals, and one was hanging out watching us run! I know there’s some controversy around the fact that these guys are even there at all, but I had to laugh at how random it was to find an elephant on my half marathon course. Only in Disney.
After the Animal Kingdom we headed back out on the highway for mile 7 on, and my stomach was starting to get a little wonky. So I stopped at a medical tent for some Immodium (just keeping it real, folks), and headed back out for the final 5-6 miles feeling much better.
One of the last character stops I made was partially for the character and partially just so I could get a break from running in the humidity! Darth Maul was never really a *must have* for me, but I turned out to really enjoy this guy. The cast members managing his line led him off for a break right before I got to meet him, so I was “first” in line again. The one cast member thought the line deserved a photo, so she snapped one. And when she showed me, I HAD to have it. But as I was giving her my cell # to text it to me, Darth Maul came back and had to wait for me to finish chatting. He was not pleased. Either that or that’s just his face. Either way, it made for some funny photos:
After Darth Maul, we ran through Hollywood Studios and I managed to get a fun picture with my squad, along with some nice runfies and shots of the scenery:
While I had gone easy for most of the first 10 miles, I ran the last 1-2 miles feeling strong.
It was the same route we ran the day before so we got to pass the Dolphin and Swan resorts before entering Epcot for the final stretch (and I got to see Hux again! What’s up, General Bitchface Weasley?!)
Bonus: as we went through the Boardwalk, I found Denny of the Diz Runs podcast spectating at mile 11 (he’s at the far right in a red shirt below)!! Seeing a friendly face and giving him a big ol’ sweaty hug was just the boost I needed to get me to the finish.
As if Mother Nature knew we were almost done, the sun came out FULL force as we rounded the corner into Epcot.
Having to run the final mile in full sun was brutal, but the view was nice and knowing we only had a mile left made me run stronger than ever.
After learning that the finish line was just on the other side of Spaceship Earth during the 10K, that big metal ball was a sight for sore eyes.
I gunned it and made it through the finish with a big ol’ smile – I had completed the challenge!
After getting a cold towel and my medal (and a bottle of water that I was instructed to have OPEN as I passed through the finisher’s chute, thanks to a bunch of attentive medical volunteers), I was directed to the challenge tents where I picked up the bling that made me want to do this whole thing: my Dark Side Challenge medal, Kessel Run Challenge medal and Coast to Coast Challenge medal.
I won’t lie: I cried when the volunteer put the last medal around my neck. She hugged me and said “Oh, bless you! Congratulations!” and I couldn’t pull it together. These medals were more than just pieces of metal; they were the culmination of a LOT of hard work, travel, and time, and they were finally mine. A fun side effect of all that bling: the music they made when we walked around the finish area:
After a quick stop at the medical tent to ice my sore calf (no big deal, just tenderness), I hung out and waited for one last picture with Kylo Ren (again with my awkwardness), and called it a day.
Stay tuned for the final recap where I head into the parks and round up both Disney experiences in one last post!
Oye I promise I haven’t fallen off a cliff – I’ve just been super busy with a new exciting role at work and other life-related fun. But now that I have some time, I’m going to start my recaps for the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge! Let’s kick it off with the expo and pre-race fun!
For this race-cation, my husband opted to stay home and let the girls off the leash for a weekend – that’s right, Mama and I took on Florida in a big way. The flight was excellent (any day that starts with a mimosa that’s 95% champers is a good day) and we landed, picked up our rental car, and arrived at the All Star Movies Resort ready to take on the world.
Our first order of business was to get to the Expo to pick up my bib and ALL THE MERCH. After dumping our luggage and grabbing a snack, we hopped on a bus to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex where everything was located, and found it to be super easy to navigate. We even made friends with a gentleman and his tween son on the bus – dad Paul was completing the Kessel Run Challenge like me and his son Avery was taking on his first Disney race. We had a good time talking Star Wars and racing while my mom shook her head, saying “you people are all insane but it’s great!”
Speaking of insane, the Expo was B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
After picking up my bib, getting my photo snapped for the Dark Side Challenge, and earning some bracelets that noted my Coast to Coast and Kessel Run medal status for the end of the half, we stopped at the merch tents at the bib pickup building and the expo building (they were about 100 feet apart). After snagging a few things at the expo, I stopped by the Altra booth to say hey to my people there, and hightailed it out of the building. I was going on 14+ hours of nonstop action and needed a break.
Seriously, I posed with EVERY SIGN THEY HAD. I couldn’t help it. I was on Star Wars overload!
When we got back to the hotel at about 7pm, we were wiped out, but we still had to explore the hotel – and lo and behold, we discovered that they were playing a movie in the outdoor Movie Room by the pool!
The crisis of joy continued as I got to watch The Force Awakens while tooling around on social media and planning my race strategy for the 10k/half marathon to come in just a little more than 24 hours!
After the movie, we wandered to the pool for a bit, grabbed some dinner, split a Celebration Cupcake (because: CUPCAKE), and called it a night.
The next day was blissfully free of any plans, so we literally did nothing.
No, for real, we really didn’t do anything but wake up when the hell we felt like it, ate breakfast, sat by the pool from about 7 hours, wandered around our hotel and made friends, and then went to bed again. It was GLORIOUS.
The best part of our day was after dinner: in the hotel lobby, we stumbled upon a couple of women who were laughing their asses off at these screens hanging in the hall. See, we’d seen my name on one before, and wondered if it was just a coincidence. But these sassy ladies cracked the code: there were apparently sensors that read our Magic Bands (bracelets coded with our info that let us buy things all over Disney and get into our rooms), which then displayed our names on the screens. Krin and Julia realized that if they walked slowly past certain areas, it triggered their names to appear on the screens, which they demonstrated for us about a half dozen times, much to our mutual delight.
Seriously, we were laughing so hard I had to use the bathroom. It must have been the Disney Magic they pump through the air vents 😉
After we got our cardio in by laughing with our new friends, we took a slow walk around the resort property and snapped some pictures – it really was a nice place, even if it was a more “budget-friendly” option it was still Disney, so the quality is everywhere!
After a glass of wine by the pool after dark, we headed back to the room for Flat Phasma and an early bedtime! That 2:35AM wake up wasn’t going to get any easier.
Stay tuned for Part II: the 10K!