Monday, February 18, 2013

When You Wish Upon a Star...

Long Title:
My first real attempt at getting into the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Meetup and Warm Up Run with Jeff Galloway

Well. That was fun. "What was that?" you ask?

Since last Wednesday (minus the 2 day weekend) I, and many others like me, have been poised at our computers/laptops/tables/phones in hopes of being one of the lucky few to get invited to attend the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Meetup & Warm Up Run with Jeff Galloway and other celebs. This year in addition to Jeff, runDisney's official dietician Tara Gidus, actor Sean Astin, The Biggest Loser's Ali Vincent, defending Princess HM and back to back Disneyland Half winner Rachel Booth and two time Paralympic track and field medalist April Holmes will be appearing at the meetup.

Now, I have never gotten into one of these events. They're pretty hard to get into and usually fill very quickly. Everything I've read or been told by past attendees makes them out to be an awesome experience. I mean really, how many times do you actually get to go for a run with a former Olympian? I've only tried to get my name into the 2013 Tinkerbell Half Marathon meetup and it was only a half hearted attempt. I did most of the things that you need to do to enter, but I just wasn't quick enough on the draw. This time I was ready! Now, while I really want to get in, it's not a do or die thing for me. It's more about the chase of friendly competition with others to get your name in before the window of opportunity closes. That doesn't mean that I'm going to not offer info on how the process works, but I'll invite others that are interested and share what knowledge I do have of the process.

The process for this year's Princess Half (PHM) meetup was different. Yes, we did the required wait...referred to the #refreshwaitrepeat on Twitter...but glitches occurred on Friday when the announcement was supposed to be made sending the process into an unprecedented fourth day (on Monday)! Yes, I was one of those people stuck to the screen for 4 days...well, actually from about 6am MST to anywhere between 1:10pm and 4:00pm on Wed thru Friday...then rudely getting awakened on Monday by a tweet notifying me of the announcing blog post at 5:35am MST at which time once I managed to gather my wits about me I went flying into the back room to my more reliable desktop to send in my email requesting inclusion in the event. I hurdled 3 dogs and when I slid into the rolling office chair I actually rolled away from the computer. My nerves were shot, I was shaking from the adrenaline surge and could barely type some updates onto a Facebook group that I belong to or into my own Facebook/Twitter feeds. It was only after I did manage to send my email and get my status updated that I found out that the actual blog post had been put up around 1:30am EST!! Whoaa!! That pretty much killed my chances then and there...if only I had refreshed the blog before I finally went to sleep at around 2am MST!! LOL!! :D

Such an early announcement has never been made and I don't expect many west coast hopefuls to be very happy as I know I wouldn't be. But it's a game and sometimes you win but most times you lose. There are plenty of people who never even get a chance to get their names in the hat even though they may have been working the process as was the case for me during the TinkerBell meetup process.

So, the waiting game begins. Emails should be sent out to those invited by 4pm EST today with a link to a final list posted by 5pm on the Disney Parks blog. So I'm watching the ticker on my email account and will be checking every new email that comes in in hopes of being one of the lucky few...but if not I have at least 5 more runDisney to try to get into the meetup so no real loss on my part aside from my time and a little sanity.

Because of the "villians" (as runDisney put it) messing with the system, I wouldn't be surprised if changes happened to the process...but for now here are some tips that I've learned in the two times that I've attempted. These tips are subject to be incorrect at anytime...especially with the difficulties encountered with the PHM process so I really expect some major changes in the future!

  • Download an auto refresh extension for whatever browser you use.
  • Open a window for the Disney Parks Blog.
  • Set your auto refresh to whatever timing you want...recommend 5-10 seconds. The blog is the first place they'll announce that the process is open.
  • Open and monitor the @runDisney Twitter account...usually about a 5 second delay from the blog post.
  • Set up your phone or other devices to receive SMS texts from @runDisney by texting "FOLLOW @runDisney" to 40404.
  • Prepare an email that includes your full name to be sent to one of the following addresses (always double check in the blog post in case they change) depending on which park the race is at:
  • Have the email open and ready to just click "Send" at a moments notice.
    • NOTE: You can only send a single email from a single address...if they see more than one email addy for the same person it automatically disqualifies you.
  • Once you see the announcement, you usually have literally seconds to send in the email because they fill up so fast (this was NOT the case with PHM).
Then the wait begins!! They will email you if you get in within a few hours (it's only been an hour or so since the PHM meetup process closed and emails are already going out).

NOTICE: Just to make it perfectly clear...this list is totally of my own work/original, not copied from any source. It includes information gleaned from online discussion in Facebook or Twitter, the Disney Parks Blog and from observing previous meetup processes as they occurred. I, in no way, copied or designed in any plagaristic manner from any files from any groups or websites.
Just FYI:
  • Earliest day of announcement: Tuesday
  • Earliest time of blog post: ~1:30am EST (I was for this PHM)
  • Latest day of announcement: Monday (for this PHM...but typically on Fridays)
  • Latest time of blog post: ~3:30pm ET
  • Usual window for announcement: ~10am-1pm ET
The one thing I want folks to remember out of participating in this kind of endeavor is that it is just a game! Don't take it too seriously!! Sometimes you win, most times you lose...there's almost always a next time.

Good luck to all the Princesses that got their names into the mix!

UPDATE @ 8:43am MST: The final list of 50 attendees is already posted on the Disney Parks Blog less than 2 hours after closing the process! Congrats to all that made it in...unfortunately I wasn't one of them. There's plenty more runDisney races to try again!! :D

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