Tag Archives: 10K

WDW Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna – 10K

29 Dec

Well, next week at this time I will be…well, it’s 9 at night so I will be trying to get to sleep for tomorrow’s Half Marathon. But I’m sure I’ll also be re-living the fun of the 10K earlier in the day!!

More fun times with my friends and a lot of “not exactly strangers not exactly friends”! — and one of the amazing people out the next Friday is our next Cigna guest – Bindu Panapalli.  Like, Mark who is running the 5K, Bindu is also a runner with Achilles International!

Bindu Panapalli
Bindu is 47 years old and a resident of Glen Allen, Va. near Richmond who always felt a
desire to help people with cancer through research. In February 2016, she found herself at the start of
18 months of firsthand experience battling the disease through three surgeries and eight rounds of chemo  –
she just  didn’t know it at the time.
Her journey began with a scheduled surgery to treat fibroids and a hysterectomy, leaving her bedridden.
Six weeks later, persistent pain led the doctor to find a bowel obstruction and scheduled another surgery. This time, the doctor discovered ovarian cancer and it spread. Six rounds of chemotherapy, which also caused numbness in her leg hindering her ability to walk, stretched from summer into the fall. By November, the third surgery removed the  rest of the cancer, but the battle still required two more rounds of chemotherapy in February 2017 before she could finally say she would feel like she’s truly recovering.
“I never thought I would get cancer”, Bindu recalled. “Even before all this, I wanted to help people with cancer as a researcher. After the diagnosis and treatment, I volunteered at the cancer treatment center every Thursday encouraging people during chemotherapy treatment. I was even on the bone marrow donor list.”
By August, she felt ready to start thinking about a return to work. She researched what her employer’s Cigna disability insurance benefits offered including the vocational coaching program, so she requested referral. That’s when she met Robin Randol, her Cigna vocational coach, who offered assistance.
“Every customer’s needs are different,” said Robin. “What she wanted was to build up her physical strength, so we talked about self-care and various strategies and tips to address fatigue and stamina. She also wanted to find a new job that matched her passion. We talked about career goals , updated her resume, and I provided help researching job leads.”
Well-educated, Bindu’s background includes nearly enough for a doctorate from India. She hopes to take her work history, education, and personal experience to help people.
“I want to help people,” said Bindu. “I want to interact with patients. Not sit in a lab anymore, but a make a real
difference in people’s lives. Now, that I’ve had this experience fighting cancer, I can be even more helpful.” Robin helped prepare her for job interviews and gave her the encouragement she’s needed to help take back her health and move closer to a job for which she can feel truly passionate.  One of the training programs Robin offered was the Cigna customer referral program with Achilles International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities participate in athletic events
Cigna partners with organizations like Achilles International to help customers achieve their health and return to work goals by providing: access to additional rehabilitation resources including ergonomic office equipment,   software, education and accommodations to help customers stay safe and be productive at work, encouragement and support, resume review and job placement assistance.
As a result of her hard work and dedication, Cigna offered Bindu the opportunity to participate in the Walt Disney
World® 10K presented by Cigna on Friday, January 5th as a member of Team Cigna. She will be guided on the race course by Jonathan Prokup, Cigna’s executive sponsor of Achilles International and General Counsel for Cigna.
“I’m celebrating my 21st wedding anniversary in January at the race,” said Bindu. “When I cross that finish line, I want to raise a glass and celebrate life.”
The Cigna Customer Referral Program with Achilles International demonstrates Cigna’s promise to partner with customers “Together, All the Way” along their unique health journey. When injury or illness occurs, Cigna helps them get back on track to achieve their goals.
“For Cigna customers, participating in a race represents a healthy milestone on the road to recovery, but also independence,” said Robin. “As people gain physical strength, they also build confidence, which can positively
affect all areas of your life.”
“Cancer is a part of me,” said Bindu. “It changed my life completely. Now, because of Robin, I’m back at work part time work with a new employer building towards full time. I want to thank Robin because now I can look forward.”

Roller Coaster Race Recap!!

9 Sep

RollerCoasterRace logo

Disclaimer: After deciding to register for the event, I exchanged emails with the Race Director and was offered a discounted entry fee. ALL opinions are my own. 

So, I’ve mentioned this race, The Roller Coaster Race, a couple of times…You know…here. And then here. When I was at the Hartford Marathon Red Dress Run for Women back in July there were flyers for this race out on one of the tables and I was ready to sign up right on the spot! Which, if you know me, you know didn’t happen cause, well, procrastination!


Cause, well, I do love a good Roller Coaster. And any opportunity to get a new Proof of Time on a 10K is nice. AND…the event benefits the local YMCA (up in Agawam, Mass). All good things.

So let’s have a look:

Pre-race:  There wasn’t much race specific communication sent out – other than a discount code to pass on (which you know I did, the more the merrier!) and requests for volunteers (CRUCIAL!). A week or so before the race we got final instructions – for me, that’s really enough. I already spend enough time skimming through emails and not reading that I don’t need to get a lot of reminders to delete or ‘mark as read’.

Packet Pickup: Pickup was to start at 10 on Saturday morning. Since I was doing both the Coaster 5K and the Feet 10K I wanted to get there as soon as I could on Saturday so I could get to Six Flags of New England at rope drop…er…opening 🙂 which was 10:30. So you know I got to packet pickup around…um…10:25 🙂 For me, this went pretty smooth. I met Wendy (who handles the Twitter account for the Race as well as loads of other duties, not the least of which was DJing the finish line!)  and got my roller coaster wristband, my shirts and instructions as well as my park ticket. Then moved on to RD Adam Slate to get my bib and introduce myself. And then it was on to the RACES!!

Roller Coaster 5K: Well, let’s just call it like it is here. A chance to ride roller coasters all day if you choose!! Normally in a thrill ride situation such as that offered at Six Flags, I am with other people – and maybe that’s what makes me so nervous!! This time I was on my own and had a BLAST!! Though, much ginger was consumed throughout the morning and early afternoon for sure! Part of the packet we picked up was a listing of the roller coasters in the park with their distance in feet. 5K or 3.1 miles is approximately 16,405 feet. When I first registered this was a daunting number to me…but once I started riding it didn’t take long to hit that mark!!

First there was Thunderbolt! An old wooden coaster that was really a great old-fashioned ride!

Then I hopped on Bizarro!!  I was disappointed that I couldn’t carry my things on the ride cause I would have LOVED a picture from the top — you go up right along the Connecticut River and the view is AMAZING!! (as you can see below!)


I went on this one twice. In a row! 10, 800 feet baby!!!

The next ride I went on was Catwoman’s Whip – which apparently isn’t a thrill ride but it was fun. And a coaster. So…


Again, fun! You can kind of see in the picture that the track is never too far above the ground.

Next, in keeping with the Batman theme…I went on BATMAN: The Dark Knight — lots of upside down and sideways here!! And it was one of those coasters where your legs dangle!! Wheeee!!!!


I also went on a non-coaster ride or two — the New England SkyScreamer. Billed as the tallest swing ride on the planet! It was a little unnerving but another one I wished I’d had a camera on!!

But I did get a picture from the bottom!!


I also went on the Skyway — an old lady ride if there ever was one! But I like that I could take pictures of some of the coaster I did NOT ride on —


Also, this one, Mind Eraser, wasn’t open when I went by there so it’s on my list to do next time!!

I ended my day early-ish since I knew I had to get up pretty early for a 7:30 race start — but couldn’t leave without a character picture right?!


Race Day: Got out, shockingly, a little later than planned because I tried to take a picture in my mirror


but still got up to Agawam again and got parked with no problem. Or, at least no problem that could have been avoided had I read the instruction sheet I was given the day before! I figured it would be a small crowd and it was. Which makes me nervous cause…slow and (foreshadowing) a distinct possibility of being last with this small of a field!


But I was READY to go!!


The course was a loop through the park, then hitting some residential streets before doing a big lap of the parking lot and then another loop through the park.  And at one point I was almost in Connecticut again.


The parking lot part was kind of boring. And hot. But there was water available there and I was playing tag with the other person who didn’t want to be the last one so that was fun!!

We ran past the finish line before the second loop of the park and let me tell you how tempted I was to pretend I was done!! Hahah…but I didn’t. I finished the last loop. Though at this point, I figured the other woman who had been last had done just that because I didn’t see her again. I accepted my DLF fate and pushed on.

And let me tell you how worth it it was!! Now, I’m not a huge fan of a lot of public ‘fuss’ but when I came up to the finish people were yelling and cheering and it really felt good! And, it gave me what I needed for a final push over the line!! So – thanks to all the other runners and volunteers and staff peoples!!!

As I walked out of the chute, the cheering started again which meant A. I wasn’t last and 2 -the other woman hadn’t dropped out!!! Yay lady I played tag with all morning!!!

And, for the real kicker on the day – as if that great cheering wasn’t the best thing to happen all day…


Yeah. Apparently I was the oldest woman running on Sunday! I’m pretty sure that has never happened before 🙂 I mean, I *KNOW* it’s never happened before cause I’ve never gotten one of these before!! Though as my friend Willie says “Keep in mind Anne, that you weren’t the only female in your age group, you were just the only one with the strength, heart, and desire to answer the gun at that particular race” which made my afternoon!

The Swag: Well, part of the packet was a park ticket and my wristband for the Coaster “race. A cotton t-shirt for Saturday’s event (black) and a tech shirt for the 10K (grey)


2 medals —


What I would change: Not a lot. I tend to have pretty basic needs when it comes to races. Not to say I wouldn’t change *anything*! Cause there’s always room for improvement – even with the biggies! I had friends running who had a couple of other issues but my experience was different – your mileage my vary!! They’ve also sent out a post-event survey that I will definitely be filling out!

  • Course – maybe work with the park/city to get more street distance in, less parking lot! Also since most theme parks have mascots (in the case of Six Flags they have Loony Tunes –  Sylvester, Tweety, Bugs!!) get them out on the course, especially in the parks!!
  • Medals – I love that the ribbons for the medals are different but it might be nice if the medals also differentiated between “ride” and “race”.
  • Timing – not like race timing but event timing! Maybe make it possible to do the ride and the race on the same day instead of having to get a separate park ticket if you wanted to go back to the park after the race. And, I was talking with Adam and he mentioned that in St. Louis this is actually how it works out – the ride and the race events are on the same day and he’s hoping to be able to work this same way in other locations
  • Other Extras – Initially there was a dinner on Saturday evening planned but not enough folks signed up for it. Maybe setting it up as a post-race breakfast or lunch. I don’t know on this one! I did enjoy the post-race chocolate chip cookies and bananas! Also, more potties. We had access to the park potties while in the park and before/after the race – not sure if we could have used the ones in employee rest areas. And this would really just be a bonus because if you have a normal size bladder you can probably make the 2 or so miles before you need a potty again!!

So, overall, for a first year event up here, I think things went well with a few kind of expected glitches. I would love to see a series like this expand – cause as I may have mentioned, I love roller coasters 🙂 There are already events in St. Louis, MO and Branson, MO and they look to be adding one up in Lake George area, NY. I would hope though, that they don’t expand too quickly since I think that’s where a lot of ‘specialty’ events get into trouble.




runDisney’s Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare – Part 1, The 10K

13 Sep

We’re now at the Main Event!! Well, yeah…the Main Event!

The runDisney Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare

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Bright and early Saturday morning, it was time to head out to the start of this fantastic event! There was no costume involved, just a Sparkle Athletic skirt and a white tank. Oh, and Mickey Mouse ears of course!


The hike into the corrals was kind of a mess due to the fact that the Family 5K had the same starting line and had only started 15 minutes earlier and those folks were still clearing the corrals! So…”be in the corral by 5:45” turned into “just get in your corral NOW”!!! Good thing that I stopped for a bite to eat on my way to the start!


I will confess here that even though my bib said…F…I jumped into a corral with a bunch of …Es. I have never jumped corrals before. Trust me, it didn’t make me faster 🙂

Eventually the Start ‘gun’ went off and the corrals started slowing heading to the starting line.


The course started out on the streets of Anaheim before heading into Disney’s California Adventure – entering through CarsLand (my favorite!!) then headed through Paradise Pier and into Grizzly Peaks (home of one of my favorite rides – Grizzly River Rapids) out through Condor Flats, Buena Vista Street through Hollywoodland and going back out into the real world for a bit.


We were now a bit more than halfway through. And it was HOT. Hot and humid. There had been a water stop around mile one, but nothing since – we had been told “the water fountains in the parks are available”…um…anyway! There was a water stop coming up though!!

Cutting back into the concourse between the parks we headed into the Magic Kingdom. Walt’s first park! As always it was very exciting to run up Main Street USA – huge crowds were waiting there too! A loop took us through Tomorrowland and back towards Mickey’s Toon Town. A detour backstage took us through Disneyland’s Custodial services area where there are always lots of people out to cheer us on – they hang signs welcoming us to their area!!

Back in through Toon Town towards Fantasyland and…THE CASTLE!! Now, I’ve run through the two Disney Castles a LOT this year..and not once have I managed to get a picture of it!! One Day…

Anyway, with less than a mile to go we head through Frontierland and then back out towards the Disneyland Hotel and the finish line! And, I don’t always keep exact track, but I think this might have been my best 10K time in a very long time!!

In spite of the heat I had a great run! I topped it off by heading DIRECTLY to Grizzly River Rapids for a few turns through to cool off!! Learned you don’t get as wet when there are fewer people in the boats! Met a little boy in line at Soarin’ too, who was getting ready to run the Kids’ races and he was very excited that he was going to get a medal “like [mine]”!!

Really, coming up next is the Disneyland Half Marathon Recap you’ve been waiting for!!

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