2021 runDisney Snack Box Contents

After each runDisney race, participants can pick up a bottle of water and/or sport drink, a banana, and a runDisney snack box.

What's inside the box? There was only one in-person race weekend in 2021, so the answer for this year is below.

Usually, though, the contents vary from weekend to weekend. I think if they ever got rid of the chips and cheese, there would be mass outrage. I shared what I got during a couple of 2017 race weekends here:

Typical runDisney Snack Box Contents

A few things seem to come back time after time. The rest depends on things like the race series, time of year, and participating sponsors.

runDisney's return to in-person racing took place during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November 2021. It also marked the return of the runDisney snack box! Here's what I got in my post 5K-box.

  • Alejandro On The Go Cheese Snack
  • Shearer's Bite Size Tortilla Chips
  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Snacks
  • Azar Sunflower Kernels
  • small moist towelette

Just four food items is surely more than adequate for a post 5K snack box, but more items would be nice for the longer races. In the past we'd get six items. I definitely missed having GoGoSqueez as a sponsor this year!

Marathon Weekend Costume Ideas: Officially Licensed Disney Character Leggings & Tank Tops

In their Zazzle shop, Disney offers a huge selection of officially licensed apparel and other gear. I previously shared how to use Zazzle's tools to customize race t-shirts.

Design Your Own Officially Licensed Disney Race Shirt

Zazzle also offers athletic-style leggings and all-over-print tank tops in costume style, making for easy and officially licensed costume choices for races. 

The leggings are made of a comfortable and slightly compressing polyester-spandex blend. Note that these do not have pockets of any kind, so you'll have to carry any necessary nutrition and/or gear in a waist pack, armband, or other method.

The tank tops are also made of a poly-spandex blend.

I'm highlighting these for the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2022, but these would be great for other races where running in costume is part of the fun.

Note that both of these garment styles are made using a cut-and-sew process, which means that the design elements on the different pieces of fabric might not line up exactly, which especially depends on the size of garment you're purchasing. This is normal and shouldn't be too noticeable while wearing.

Buzz Lightyear Costume Leggings and Tank Top

Dress up like old-school astronaut toy Buzz Lightyear with this easy kit. With the origin-story Lightyear movie coming out next summer, this Toy Story character is as popular as ever. Consider adding a blaster as an accessory to go with this printed kit.

Toy Story | Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Suit Tank Top – Check out this cute graphic of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger suit! View on Zazzle
Toy Story | Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Leggings – Check out these Buzz Lightyear inspired Space Ranger leggings! View on Zazzle
Toy Story Disney 4 Buzz Lightyear Blaster Toy Space Ranger Set, Includes Star Command Badge - Light & Sound! Perfect for Kids, Boys Halloween Costume Prop – Defend the galaxy against space monsters and Interstellar invaders; Buzz Light-year space Ranger set includes: Buzz Light-year blaster with lights and sound effects and Star command... View on Amazon

Toy Story's Jessie Costume Leggings and Tank Top

Dress up like Woody's gal pal sidekick Jessie with this legging and tank top set. I dressed as Jessie for the 2017 Disneyland Half Marathon with a different kit (self-painted shirt, denim-look skirt, cow print socks). Consider adding a red hat to complete this fun costume look.

Toy Story | Jessie's Cowgirl Outfit Tank Top – Check out this cute graphic of Jessie The Yodeling Cowgirl's outfit! View on Zazzle
Toy Story | Jessie Cowgirl Leggings – Check out these Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl inspired cowgirl leggings! View on Zazzle
elope Toy Story Jessie Hat Standard – Size: Standard; Officially licensed; Soft red velvet exterior w/ white lacing around brim; 22" circumference w/ elastic band around crown. View on Amazon

Toy Story's Sheriff Woody Costume Leggings and Tank Top

Like Jessie above, consider adding a costume hat to complete your Woody costume.

Toy Story | Woody's Sheriff Outfit Tank Top – Check out this cute graphic of Woody's Sheriff outfit! View on Zazzle
Toy Story | Woody's Cowboy Outfit Leggings – Check out these leggings in the style of Woody's blue jeans and cowboy boots! View on Zazzle
Kids Woody Cowboy Hat Standard – Size: Standard; Suede brown, cowboy hat; Rope accents and brown band along the brim; Offically licensed; ''Woody'' printed across the front. View on Amazon

Mrs. Incredible / Elastigirl Costume Leggings and Cotton T-Shirt

Note that this costume top is an everyday cotton shirt, not a polyester or sport blend. For that reason, this outfit might be best for a 5K distance. Add a pair of long black sweatbands to your wrists to copy the superhero look -- they're cooler than gloves.

The Incredibles Logo T-Shirt – Disney/Pixar Incredibles movie logo. View on Zazzle
Mrs. Incredible Leggings – The incredibles View on Zazzle
WILLBOND 6 Inch Wrist Sweatband Sport Wristbands Elastic Athletic Wrist Bands for Sports (Black) – Quality material: the wrist sweatbands are made of 85% , 12% spandex and 3% nylon, soft and comfortable to wear, lightweight and durable for use; Absorb... View on Amazon

If you decide to use one of these kits or costume pieces for your race, check if Zazzle has any coupons or promotions to apply. If you're not in a hurry, wait until a great sale before making your purchase.

Design Your Own Officially Licensed Disney Race Shirt

Smiling Runner Finishing Disney World Marathon

Disney races are back! The successful Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend took place during the first weekend of November; a full schedule of three more race weekends is slated for the rest of the season. If you're looking to run a future Disney race, you could consider creating a custom, officially licensed t-shirt for the run.

For my first full marathon, the final race during the 2018 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World, I decided to wear a shirt with my name boldly printed on the front. I got an obnoxious neon greenish yellow tech top with the balloons from the Pixar movie UP printed on the front and back. On the back I added the slogan 26.2 Miles of Adventure are Out There.

I purchased my shirt from Zazzle, a Print-on-Demand company that partners with artists and content creators to offer unique designs on apparel and other merchandise. The partners range from individual artists to brands like Disney.

Using Zazzle's tools with officially licensed Disney art, it's possible for anyone to make a custom shirt like the one I wore during my first marathon. In my case, I found this shirt on Zazzle and made changes to it for my race day outfit.

Here's a quick tutorial to show how to do it. Note that these instructions refer to using a desktop computer; the mobile platform instructions are similar but not recommended for making fine edits.

1. Visit Disney's Zazzle Store


2. Find Your Favorite Disney Character or Design

In this example, let's pretend we're looking for something to wear for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend next February. For the half marathon, we can find a design featuring Mulan, the princess who appears on that race's medal. From the Disney Princess shop, we can search for Mulan and pick out our favorite design. 

I like this image of Mulan and Mushu kicking.

Mulan and Mushu T-Shirt

3. Customize the Shirt with Text & More

But I'll need that on an athletic shirt, in an adult size. And I want to add my name, and maybe some other fun text. I can use the blue "Edit Design" button to start making changes.

On the editing page, I can move Mulan and Mushu around, make them bigger or smaller, and add text. Note that sometimes elements cannot be moved or adjusted. In this case, the Disney copyright text cannot be moved.

I used the tools to copy/paste the image onto the back. I added my name in large text on the front, and a motivational phrase over the image on the back. I picked out a font style that I thought goes well with Mulan. I could have changed the font color, but I left it black. Here's what my design looks like so far.

Design tip: When you're designing your own shirt for a race, remember that you'll have to wear a bib! Be aware of your design placement to avoid covering up elements you want visible on race day.

Custom Mulan and Mushu T-Shirt

4. Pick Your Apparel Style

After customizing the design, the final step would be to pick out the right apparel type for your needs. Click on See more under Style to see all of Zazzle's apparel options. Right now, Zazzle is offering a unisex Sport Tek moisture-wicking shirt, several styles of cotton shirt, and a few tank tops, in addition to other styles like sweatshirts and hoodies. You can click on as many styles as you like to see what they would look like.

Examples of Custom T-Shirts
Smiling Runner at Epcot

That's it!

You can pick out your shirt style before you make your customization choices -- it's okay to do step 4 above before step 3.

Once you have your custom design ready on the product of your choice, check if Zazzle has any coupons or promotions to apply, then make your purchase!

It's fun to dress up specifically for themed races, whether you're putting on a full costume, wearing a hybrid "bounding" style look, or wearing a special t-shirt made just for race day.

Like the marathon shirt I showed you at the top of this post, I used Zazzle's tools to customize another shirt for a different race day. I added the phrase RUN NOW CHEESE LATER, a play on "Run Now, Wine Later", to a Ratatouille t-shirt for the inaugural Wine & Dine 10K back in 2016, which featured Remy as the medal character.

Race Report: 2021 Wine & Dine 5K

Runner Holding Medal Post-Race

The 2021 Wine and Dine 5K, part of Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, marked the return to in-person racing events at the resort. The last run at Disney World before the pandemic started was the 2020 Princess Half Marathon, held back in February 2020.

This race weekend typically consists of a 5K on Friday, a 10K on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday. Races for kids and diaper dashes for toddlers are also usually part of this and other runDisney race weekends, but those are not back on the agenda yet. I'm still nursing knee pain so I elected to participate in the 5K only.

I attended the expo on Thursday, November 4th; the 5K race took place on Friday, November 5th.

Before I get to my race, here are some of the differences I noticed during this return to racing event at Disney World.

Runner Posing With Race Bib and Race Backdrops

Photo ops at the runDisney Expo

Pandemic Differences: Expo

There were some different protocols during this race weekend when compared to pre-pandemic runDisney events. 

Digital waivers were used instead of printed waivers. Masks were required at the expo indoor venues (3 separate buildings as usual) and on buses. There were fewer vendors at the expo, and many vendor stands had fewer offerings. There weren't any character photo ops at the expo, though props and backdrops were available. Bib and shirt pickup were quick and easy, and there was mild chaos at the official runDisney merch area, which was pretty normal.

Runner Posing with 5K Race Bib

Jumbo medal posters were available photo ops outside the expo

Pandemic Differences: 5K

The pre-race staging area was very similar to past events, with normal security at the entrance, coffee and snacks available for purchase, a DJ entertaining the crowd, and photo ops with long lines. For the 5K there were two photo ops without characters available: the Evil Queen's throne and a jumbo Magic Mirror. 

Instead of using "corrals" to divide runners at the start of the race, we were designated "start groups". These were divided into mini waves. We ended up getting on the course faster than in the past, but I'm not sure if this particular change was pandemic related. 

On the course, there were some character photo ops, but there were no up-close character meet-and-greets. 

Runners Lining Up to Race

The mini-waves were divided by a ribbon held across the corral

Personal Race Report

The course was a very typical runDisney 5K starting in the Epcot parking lot, running through parts of the park, and finishing back in the parking lot.

Disney 5K Course Map

Due to the forecast calling for rain, I decided to wear simple running clothes instead of a costume. My kit was a black Sparkle Skirt, black tech top from my running club, and black Sparkle Athletics visor. I thought wearing all black was at least mildly appropriate for a villains-themed race. 

Training & Goals

I had seen orthopedic doctor back in July to help with acute knee pain. Physical therapy is not helping as quickly as I had hoped, so I went into this race expecting to walk, hoping to be able to enjoy the course and atmosphere.

Race Day: November 5, 2021

I left home at 2:15AM and had the car parked at Epcot by about 3:10AM. There was very light drizzle on the drive down, but once I parked, the rain had stopped. Before I headed to the start area, I stuffed an emergency poncho in my pocket, hoping it would not be needed.

I got my photo on the Evil Queen's throne after a short wait. Then I got into a long line for the Magic Mirror. Halfway through this wait, it started to rain. From what I could tell, it wouldn't really let up for the rest of the morning. 

By the time I got my picture with the Magic Mirror, it was time to head to the start groups area. I had a quick porta-potty visit and then headed to s3. 

Runner Posing with Disney Backdrops

Photo ops available before the 5K

The first runners started the race at 5AM (new start time). I ended up being in the final mini wave. When I crossed the start line at 5:55AM it was about 66°F with light rain. I ditched my poncho just seconds before crossing the start.

Mile 1: 15:08
I fully intended to walk the course, but being among the last to start gave me a little panic about finishing. So I did a sporadic :30 / :90 run/walk when I could. There were a lot of bottlenecks on the course where everyone had to walk.

Mile 2: 16:07
I miss running so much. I stopped to snap photos of the characters I saw, or the empty sets that I passed. I took selfies by the mile markers and a few other selfies on the way, but I never stopped for more than a few seconds. 

Mile 3+: 16:13, 3:39

Runner Posing By Mile Markers in Race

Mile marker selfies

Four Images of a Runner on a Fun Race Course

There were lots of PhotoPass photographers on the course

Characters on Course

Since it was raining for much of the race, some of the characters weren't out for all of the runners. The character photo ops for the 5K were:

Old Hag (Evil Queen): I only saw the cauldron set, no character when I went by

Lotso: I only saw the Toy Story set, no character when I went by

Shan Yu: Out and socially distanced under cover in China

Frollo: He was going on a break when I went by; his spot in France was covered

Captain Hook and/or Smee: I missed seeing this spot completely; I heard different reports that the final course character was one of these two


I thought runDisney's return to in-person racing was almost perfect. The changes are small and understandable. I'm hopeful I can participate in more runDisney events in the future. 

Final Stats

Garmin GPS time: 51:07 (my all-time fastest runDisney 5K!)
Race Amenities: Long sleeve tech shirt, medal 
Cost: $101.27

Race Finisher Certificate

DIY Advent Calendar Ideas for Runners

Advent calendars are used to count down the days between December 1st and Christmas Eve. Often shaped like a thick book or plank, advent calendars are typically filled with chocolates or other small gifts that can be revealed as the days are counted. 

Traditional advent calendars were first used in Germany in the 19th century; today novelty advent calendars are most often filled with small chocolates. Increasingly, special niche advent calendars can be purchased. There are wine and beer advent calendars, calendars filled with dinosaur toys, makeup and jewelry, tea, LEGO sets, and much more. 

But there doesn't seem to be a commercially available advent calendar for runners

That's ok -- there are plenty of empty DIY advent calendars that can be filled with anything you can imagine. If you're looking to give an advent calendar to a runner friend, here are some ideas to fill those 24 boxes.

Empty Advent Calendar or other means of gathering and wrapping the gifts

First, you'll need a vessel for your collection of advent calendar gifts. There are ready made calendars in the shape of a box, or more unique ways of wrapping the daily gifts -- you can go totally DIY with paper bags, reusable containers, or other options. Below are some empty calendars you can purchase to get started.

Juegoal Advent Calendar with 25 Drawers Countdown to Christmas, Refillable Wooden Advent Xmas Gift for Kids, 12 Inches Tall – Countdown 25 days to 2020 Christmas with this festival wood tree advent calendar. Both kids and adults are love this traditional Christmas calendar.; Includes 25 operable... View on Amazon
LIHAO Christmas Advent Calendar Box 2021, 24 Days Countdown to Christmas Printed Cardboard Gift Treasure Box - Make & Fill Your Own Advent Calendar for Party Present Decoration – COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS: This advent calendar completes with 24 numbered cardboard boxes.; PERSONALIZED SURPRISES: Each gift box measures 2.7x2.7x2.7 inches. You can put small coins, treats,... View on Amazon
D-FantiX Christmas Advent Calendar 2022, 24 Days Burlap Hanging Advent Calendars Garland Candy Gift Bags Sacks DIY Xmas Countdown Christmas Decorations for Wall Home Office – Count Down to Christmas - Christmas Advent Calendar is designed like a garland with Christmas tree, star, and heart shape and numbers from 1-24 counting down... View on Amazon
Zcaukya Christmas Advent Calendar, Pre-lit LED Wooden Reindeer Christmas Advent Calendar with 24 Drawers, 24 Days Christmas Countdown Calendar – Zcaukya pre-lit LED wooden reindeer Christmas advent calendar is sized in 10.6" x 13.7" x 2", and requires 2 AA batteries (not included) for power supply.;... View on Amazon

Gift Ideas for a Runner Themed Advent Calendar

Since advent calendar boxes or containers are limited in size, look for small gifts. Keep in mind that you don't have to keep up the runner theme for 100% of the daily gifts. Think about your recipient and include things they might like that are not necessarily running related. Here are some ideas for filling those 24 little spaces.

1 Running Fuel: Gels, Gummies, Stroopwaffels

Found on Amazon

Do you know what type of running fuel your runner likes to use on long runs? Consider offering different flavors, fuel types, or other snacks designed for athletes. If your runner likes trying new things to eat, you could fill several days in the advent calendar with race nutrition. You could buy a big assorted pack of GU like the one shown here to get started. Better yet would be to visit a local running store to make your purchase. You can get a bigger variety of race fuels without making a bulk buy. And you can probably find a lot more goodies for your runner's advent calendar.

2 Dollar Store Finds

Have a look around your local dollar store for ideas to fill some of the advent calendar days. Keep the price low on some days to have money left over for some splurges. Have a look at salty and gummy snacks, water bottles, hair bands and ties, exercise aids or physical games, sample sizes of health and beauty products that a runner would love, sanitizing wipes, and even runner accessories (I've seen running armbands at our local shop).

3 Runner Christmas Ornament

Found on Amazon

Keep it festive with a runner-themed Christmas tree ornament like this glass running shoe. Have your runner open this one up earlier in the month for maximum enjoyment throughout the month.

4 Gift a Race Entry

If your runner likes racing, gifting a bib is a great way to fill a box or two on your runner advent calendar. Have a look at race websites like RunSignUp.com to find a local race. Or pick a virtual race that supports a cause important to your runner, or one that includes fun or unique swag. Each race entry you include in your box is like including a t-shirt, bib, and race medal in that tiny box. Not to mention the fun and memories made on race day!

5 Motivational Runner Jewelry

Found on Amazon

A trinket like this "Just Keep Running" bangle bracelet will fit in a small space and makes a fun gift if your runner wears jewelry. You could also look for other running themed jewelry like a marathon distance necklace, runner icon earrings, or runner charm bracelet.


ROAD iD makes safety identification wearables for runners and other athletes. The tags can be worn on bracelets, on your runner GPS watch band, on your shoe, and elsewhere. In case of emergency, wearing a ROAD iD can save your life by providing identification and medical information to emergency workers, as well as emergency contact information. Giving the gift of ROAD iD is a great way to show your runner you care about them. ROAD iD offers gift cards in case you're not sure which style of ID your runner would prefer.

More! More! More Runner Advent Calendar Ideas

Here are some more ideas for filling your runner advent calendar. It's okay to include items like socks or race nutrition on multiple days.

Motivational Runner Keychain

One Weak Keychain – Another awesome gift idea from WeRunForFun! This is a simple phrase that means so much when you pay attention to the spelling. Everyone knows 7 days... View on Zazzle
My Mouth Runs Better Than I Do Keychain – Another awesome gift idea from WeRunForFun! This funny slogan is for runners who also enjoy a good conversation. View on Zazzle
Runner At Work Keychain – Another awesome gift idea from WeRunForFun! This fun design looks like an informational warning sign indicating an impending hazard. The hazard here is just to watch... View on Zazzle
Keep Calm and Run Slow Keychain – Another great gift idea from We Run For Fun! This is a Keep Calm and Carry On propaganda slogan spoof for runners who believe the... View on Zazzle

Recovery Bath Bombs for Runners

Muscle Rehab Handmade Bath Bombs for Athletes & Muscle Recovery- Pure Essential Oils, Packed with Muscle Recovery Minerals 4 Pack – Muscle recovery to revive tired muscles and achy joints; Targets lactic acid buildup and on set muscle soreness; Arnica, natures powerhouse a proven natural powerhouse; Handmade... View on Amazon
AcuPlus Pain Relief Bath Bomb - Advanced Therapeutic Pain Relief & Recovery from Muscle Aches and Body Pain (4.5 Ounce Bath Bomb 6 Pack) – SOOTHING AND NOURISHING: Relieve pain and stress with the AcuPlus Pain Relief BATH Bomb and get the same relief from Pain and Stiffness that you get... View on Amazon
Coach Soak: Muscle Recovery Bath Soak - Natural Magnesium Muscle Relief & Joint Soother-21 Minerals, Essential Oils & Dead Sea Bath Salts-Absorbs Faster Than Epsom Salt for Soaking (Energizing Citrus) – ✔️ SOOTHE SORE MUSCLES & JOINTS - Our muscle recovery bath salts are formulated with fast-absorbing magnesium flakes, mineral-rich dead sea salts, Vitamin C crystals, and... View on Amazon
Epsoak Sport Lavender Epsom Salt for Athletes - 5 lbs. Soothing Therapeutic Soak with Lavender Essential Oil… – EPSOAK SPORT - Made with Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate); TRAIN HARD, RECOVER EASY - Epsoak Epsom Salts help to soothe muscle pain, relieve aching feet, reduce... View on Amazon

Lock Laces & Other Shoe Laces

LOCK LACES (Elastic No Tie Shoe Laces) (Pack of 3) (Black-Green-Blue) – No-tie Lacing System: Turn any pair of lace-up tennis shoes into slip on sneakers. Lock Laces are the original, no tie shoelaces with over 7 million... View on Amazon
Fundraising For A Cause | Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Shoelaces (56 Inches) - Breast Cancer Awareness Shoelaces for Runners, Hikers, and Other Athletes (1 Card with 2 Pairs)… – PINK RIBBON SHOELACES: These pink ribbon shoelaces are perfect to wear during charity runs/walks and other Breast Cancer awareness active events. Gift these pink ribbon shoelaces... View on Amazon
HOMAR No Tie Shoelaces for Kids and Adults Stretch Silicone Elastic No Tie Shoe Laces – Turn Your Shoes into A Slip-on – No tie shoe laces made from premium and stretchable silicone, quite time-saving, conform to your foot to a flexible... View on Amazon

Night Runner Safety Lights

500 Lumens USB Rechargeable Headlamp, Lightweight Super Bright LED Running Headlamp for Runner, Rainstorm Waterproof, Hoxida LED Headlight Flashlight with Sensor, Headband Light for Running, Camping – [Super bright and 5 Mode] --- C-REE LED (100,000 hours lifespan) with a super bright 500 lumen light your way up to 500ft on the brightest... View on Amazon
Knuckle Lights Colors - Running Light for Runners, Joggers, Dog Walking, Camping & Hiking. Unique LED Flashlight as an Alternative to Headlamps. A Great Addition to Your Night Reflective Running Gear – JUST GRAB AND GO - No need to fumble with clunky headlamps, bulky vests, waist or shoe lights. Grab your Knuckle Lights and quickly head out... View on Amazon
AVANTO PRO Chest Running Light for Runners and Joggers, Original, Adjustable Beam and Reflector, All in one Reflective Running Vest Gear, Safety Light, Headlamp Flashlights, USB LED Bicycle Light – 👍 HANDSFREE FLASHLIGHT - All in 1 - you won't need other reflective gear or headlamps. Front and backlight, and reflectors on straps; 👍 TESTED AND... View on Amazon
Nathan NS5110-0472-00 Terra Fire Hand Torch 300 R - Tangerine Tango/Vapor Blue – Long lasting, up to 40 hours; Designed to fit comfortably in your hand; Can run without having to grip the light; 120 DB Alarm is built... View on Amazon

Anti-Chafing & Blister Prevention Products

Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm – Apply Before You Get Dressed, On Thighs, Neck, Arms, And Anywhere Skin Is Rubbed. Stop Trouble Before It Starts; Made With Allergen Free, Plant-Derived Ingredients. Vegan... View on Amazon
RunGoo Blister Prevention Cream Specifically Formulated for Feet (3 oz) – Longest lasting blister prevention; For all running sports; Non-staining & no residue; Limits callus formation; Easy applicator cap. View on Amazon
Chafezone Anti Chafing Stick, 1.5 Ounce – Lasts As Long As You Do: Our water resistant skin protectant doesn't break down easily in sweat, chlorine, or salt water; Helps prevent chafing in the... View on Amazon

Arm Warmers & Running Sleeves

Running Arm Warmer for Women - Compression Sleeves for Runners with Thumbholes - in it for The Long Run Pink – Runners sleeves for arm with thumb holes. Spandex extra strech. Soft and solid. Running arm warmer for running races. Will keep your arm worm while keeping... View on Amazon
9 Pairs Bememo Arm Sleeves for Men and Women Tattoo Cover Up Cooling Ice Silk Unisex Sports Sleeve for Basketball Golf Football Outdoor (Solid Colors) – Elastic arm sleeves: wrist circumference is approx. 16 to 28 cm/ 6 to 11 inches, upper circumference is approx. 22 to 34 cm/ 8.7 to 13.4... View on Amazon
Runners Compression Arm Sleeve Men Women Running Jogging Marathon Track Spartan by Bucwild Sports (1 Sleeve - USA Flag - Adult Small) – Order is for 1 compression arm sleeve; COMFORTABLE COMPRESSION FIT...Bucwild Sports poly-spandex moisture wicking material will keep your arm dry and your muscles warm; PEAK PERFORMANCE...Each... View on Amazon
Compression Arm Sleeve For Men & Women - UV Sun Protection Cooling Arm Sleeves for Women With Thumb Holes For Tattoo Cover Up, Cycling, Golfing, Gaming, Fishing, Gardening 1 Pair White – Comfortable With Perfect Stretch ( MADE IN TAIWAN ) - Mild compression sleeves for arms women are made of soft, durable, long lasting 88% Nylon with... View on Amazon

KT Sports Tape in Fun Patterns

KT Tape Pro Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape, 20 Precut 10 inch Strips, Latex Free, Water Resistance, Pro & Olympic Choice, Pink Polka Dots – WHAT IS KT TAPE? – Elastic sports tape used by pro and serious athletes to support muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It’s drug-free, latex-free, hypoallergenic, lightweight,... View on Amazon
KT Tape Pro Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape, 20 Precut 10 inch Strips, Latex Free, Water Resistance, Pro & Olympic Choice, Aquaduct – WHAT IS KT TAPE? – Elastic sports tape used by pro and serious athletes to support muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It’s drug-free, latex-free, hypoallergenic, lightweight,... View on Amazon
KT Tape Pro Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape, 20 Precut 10 inch Strips, Latex Free, Water Resistance, Pro & Olympic Choice, Pink Argyle – WHAT IS KT TAPE? – Elastic sports tape used by pro and serious athletes to support muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It’s drug-free, latex-free, hypoallergenic, lightweight,... View on Amazon
KT Tape Pro Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape, 20 Precut 10 inch Strips, Latex Free, Water Resistance, Pro & Olympic Choice, Blue Ice Crystals – WHAT IS KT TAPE? – Elastic sports tape used by pro and serious athletes to support muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It’s drug-free, latex-free, hypoallergenic, lightweight,... View on Amazon

Last But Not Least: Runner Socks!

Saucony womens Performance Heel Tab Athletic (8 & 16 Pairs) Running Socks, Black Assorted Pairs), Shoe Size 10-13 US – Heel tab design for added protection and comfort; Airmesh Venting Technology for advanced breathability; Targeted zone cushioning in high impact areas for added comfort and comfort... View on Amazon
Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks For Men and Women (1 Pair), Ethereal Blue/Light Aqua, Large – BLISTER RESISTANT socks; combining natural mohair with Drynamix for any active family member in the house who needs a solution for their sensitive, blister-prone skin; ANTI-BLISTER... View on Amazon
Eallco Womens Ankle Socks 6 Pairs Running Athletic Cushioned Sole Socks With Tab – Womens ankle socks with cushioned sole are designed for moisture-wicking and extra comfort in high-wear area.; Womens athletic socks with cushioned tabs on the heel prevent... View on Amazon
Injinji Men's Liner + Runner Mini-Crew (Small/Medium, Black) – Injinji's five-toe patented designed specifically for runners and hikers; Prevents blisters & hotspots while running; Ideal use for running, walking and athletic activities; Superior mositure management... View on Amazon


Of course, there are plenty of pre-made advent calendars that would suit many runners, like the aforementioned beer and wine calendars!

I mean, Runner's World came out with a list of advent calendars for runners a while back, and none of them are actually for runners specifically. So you can definitely have fun with your DIY runner advent calendar. Heck, throw a beer or chocolate in there, too!

The supermarket chain Aldi has decreed today, November 3rd, to be Advent Calendar Day. That's because today is the release date for many of their extremely popular calendars, some of which typically sell out on day one (today!). That also makes today the perfect date for posting a list of runner advent calendar gift ideas. :)


Free Virtual Race with Swag: Global Energy Race Goes Virtual Again in 2021

The Global Energy Race is an event sponsored by Bimbo Bakeries to promote health, wellness, and nutrition. The company donates bread to those in need on behalf of race participants. In the past, the Global Energy Race has taken place in multiple cities all around the world. The first races were held in 2016. I ran the Orlando version three times: Orlando Global Energy Race 2016 | Orlando Global Energy Race 2017 | Orlando Global Energy Race 2018.

In 2020 the race went virtual (here's my brief recap), and, according to the Global Energy Race timeline, participation more than doubled!

The race will be virtual again in 2021, and registration is free. Runners in some locations, including the United States, will be eligible for free swag. Start your registration process here:

You'll need to complete the miles between October 4 and October 10, and submit your results, in order to receive the goodies. Swag includes a tote bag, cooling towel, and finisher medal. Your participation will also result in a $1 donation to Feeding America by the race sponsor, Bimbo Bakeries.

I've signed up -- the free swag is hard to resist and it's fun to be part of something so big, even if only virtually. And of course it supports a great cause.

Since I've completely forgotten to run a couple of virtual races within their time allotment over the last month or so, I'll need to mark this one on my calendar to get it done within the event period!

Race Recaps: 2021 Virtual Star Wars Rival Runs

The 2020 Rival Run Weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19. It would have been the 5th year for Star Wars races at Walt Disney World, and my 5th time running the half marathon. This is my favorite race weekend at Disney World and something I really look forward to each year. It was extra disappointing for all legacy runners who were looking forward to participating in the events for the fifth straight year. 

Unfortunately, the 2021 race weekend, originally sold as an in-person event, was converted to virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. The Star Wars Rival Run Weekend 2021 was originally scheduled to take place on April 16, 17, and 18, 2021. I completed the series a couple of weeks early, during a pleasantly cool few days in early April.

In anticipation of many runners completing the races during the original race weekend, runDisney produced this video for participants in mid-April.

Virtual Race Goals
I had no time goals and planned to mostly walk all three distances. My main goal was to simply complete the series in three consecutive days as the live event would have been.

5K: April 1, 2021
Finish Time: 43:27
When I started at 8AM it was about 68°F. I completed this in my neighborhood.

10K: April 2, 2021
Finish Time: 1:35:42
I completed this on local trails. I started at around 8:28AM when it was a pleasant cool 54°F.

Half Marathon: April 3, 2021
Finish Time: 3:36:12
I walked a few loops through my neighborhood to complete this event. I put a cooler with water and snacks on a lawn chair in our driveway as a makeshift aid station that I walked by a few times. It was 54°F when I started at around 7:38AM. A local, in-person marathon and half marathon was taking place on nearby trails and I could see the runners each time I went by my house. Seeing the runners made me excited to do in-person events again.

Fun fact: this was my second virtual half marathon of all time, following the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon I ran back in March of 2018.

Another fun fact: my finish time of 3:36:12 was faster than three of my in-person half marathons! Disney races are meant for fun and I got my money's worth at the 2019 Rival Run (3:38:31), the 2018 Dark Side Half (3:45:20), and the WDW Half Marathon as part of Dopey 2018 (3:51:40).

As this was originally scheduled to be an in-person race weekend but later converted to virtual, registered runners had several options from which to choose when it came time to decide how to proceed, from full refund to various degrees of partial refund depending on chosen swag options. I decided to take the most swag with the least refund (More Galaxy Option for the 5K and Lightspeed Option for the Challenge). That got me shirts and medals for all events plus challenge.

For this race, the 5K was a separate registration from the Challenge (the 10K plus Half Marathon), but I received all of my shirts and medals in the same jumbo box.

Each race has a different set of featured characters, matching the overall Rival Run theme. The 5K features a two-sided medal with Ahsoka Tano on one side and Darth Maul on the other.

The 10K characters are Princess Leia in A New Hope versus a Stormtrooper.

The Half Marathon spinner medal has Darth Vader on one side and Yoda on the other.

The Challenge shirt and medal both feature a TIE Fighter and an X-Wing. The split spinner medal is a neat idea but the ships don't line up on my medal, unfortunately.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the swag. I like the medals. Yoda looks weird on the Half Marathon medal, but Vader looks good so I'll just display that side. Small bummer that the ships don't line up on the challenge medal.

runDisney started producing their own shirts last year after using nice tech tops from Champion for some time (at least since I started with rD in 2016). Those tops were thick and heavy. They have switched again to a different in-house style which is a good, lightweight tech material, though it has a bit of waffle-weave look and feel, which tends to snag very easily. In fact, my 5K shirt came pre-snagged with a small pick between the neckline and the design.

I'm glad I opted to do all of the Star Wars races virtually, (in my head I'm still 'legacy' on the Half), but I am so looking forward to the next in-person runDisney event. I can't wait for the next Star Wars race weekend! I'm crossing my fingers for 2022!

Race Recap: Melissa's Race 2021

I ran this local charity race for brain cancer in 2019 and participated virtually last year. And in 2021 it was my first in-person race in over a year! I hadn't participated in a race since The House Next Door 5K on March 7, 2020. Even though I'm not running pain-free quite yet, it was super fun to get out and experience the exciting race atmosphere with fellow athletes, cheer on other runners, and cross a finish line once again!

Melissa's Race is put on by Melissa Vosburg, Inc, a charity devoted to supporting brain cancer research through awareness education and fundraising. Last year's event was originally scheduled for April but pushed back, and eventually went virtual with runners encouraged to participate on what would have been Melissa's birthday in September. This year the event was able to proceed in-person, with COVID-19 safety protocols for participants, volunteers, and vendors. 

COVID-19 Protocols
On race day, I was about 10 days out from my second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Small and mid-sized local races have been proceeding for many months now with safety protocols in place, but I felt more comfortable waiting until I was vaccinated before participating. Protocols were similar to what I had understood other events to implement, like runners and volunteers required to wear masks in the start/finish area but could be removed when running; social distancing required at all times; no race-day registration; staggered start times to avoid crowding; number of participants capped at 650 (looks like we had 400 actual finishers out of 471 registered for in-person); water offered in bottles and snacks presented self-serve. At this event, mask wearing was hit-or-miss among participants but in the outdoor setting I felt safe and thought that others were being respectful.

Training & Goals
Following physical therapy in January 2020, my Achilles injury was starting to feel better and I was looking forward to building up my running stamina. As the pandemic began, I was running on my own and seeing improvements. Yay! But in mid-May I started to feel the injury return. I was very wary of catching coronavirus so I postponed getting help for that, and for my aching knees. In my current shape (also having been yo-yo dieting during the entire pandemic and currently carrying more weight than I'd like) I had very low personal expectations for this event. I was going to go with 30/30 run/walk intervals, and hoped to come in under 45 minutes.

Race Day: April 24, 2021
I hadn't picked up my packet prior to race day, so I made sure to arrive in time for that. I managed to shuffle back in time for our group photo. The first runners started at 7:30AM. It was about 66°F with 88% humidity and bright sunny skies when my wave started at 7:40AM.

Mile 1: 12:59
Oh joy, to be in a race again!

Mile 2: 13:19

Mile 3+: 13:56, 1:39*
I went out too fast so I added a few extra walking breaks and had to slow down a bit for each mile. Mile 3 was especially tough. Bummer, but being overweight, under-trained, and out of shape will do that! In the end I was pleased I came in under 42 minutes but I wish it wasn't so hard.

This is a well-organized local race for a very good cause. I hope it will be back as a large event in the coming years. Recommended.

Chip time: 41:46 
Placement details: 19/41 in Age Group, 205th overall out of 400 finishers
Race Amenities: Swag included a nice cotton t-shirt, finisher medal, and drawstring backpack
Cost: $27.95

Report written April 25, 2021

Branded photos (c) Almost There Photography

First Quarter 2021 Virtual Race Round-Up

An unresolved, untreated nagging injury has kept me from making running goals. I finally got a referral from my primary doctor in mid-September (ugh, time flies!) but I've still got to make my appointment. I'm hopeful to have the motivation once I get my COVID-19 vaccine. Until then, I still have some virtual races lined up.

These virtual runs (walks) are mostly completed in my neighborhood or local trail so they unfortunately aren't particularly memorable; individual reports would be even more boring than the usual race report. I still want to note them, especially to shout out the charities involved, so here are some brief recaps from virtual events I completed in January, February, and March 2021.

1 Shark Bite 5K

This fun race series, when an in-person event, consists of a 5K on Saturday evening and the main half marathon/5K event the next day, Sunday. It was scheduled to take place in mid-January before being converted to a virtual event. Although I had signed up for the Feeding Frenzy 5K plus Shark Bite Half Marathon challenge event, I converted to the virtual 5K option. 

  • Completed: January 25, 2021 in my neighborhood
  • Charity: Girls on the Run Volusia
  • Cost: $45.40
  • Swag: Medal, Neck Buff
  • Time: 46:38

2 MeStrong 5K

This extremely popular local charity race had to go virtual for its 10th year. Arthur and I walked this together in 2019.

  • Completed: February 7, 2021 in my neighborhood
  • Charity: MeStrong
  • Cost: $72.75 for two packets plus extra souvenir visor
  • Swag: T-Shirt, Tyvek Bib, swag-packed race packet
  • Time: 49:22

3 Lady Track Shack 5K

This race took place as an in-person event on January 30, 2021. I requested to convert my race to virtual and Track Shack kindly obliged. Unfortunately, I didn't complete this race within the date period so I didn't get to submit my results. Track Shack has had several successful in-person events during the pandemic and I am sure they are taking great safety precautions. I think I'll be ready for an in-person event after I get my COVID-19 vaccine.

4 Hang In There 5K

  • Completed: March 14, 2021 on local trails
  • Cost: $45.38
  • Swag: Medal, T-Shirt*, Bib
  • Time: 40:57

Addendum 9/6/22: I gave this shirt away (Goodwill) in July 2022

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