The Casual Runner

Come Together: You Don’t Have to Go At It Alone

Cigna Runs Together

Even if you are fortunate enough to have a partner and training buddy who is also a runner, the truth is that being a runner is most often a solitary endeavor. You will log many many miles on your own, and have to find motivation within yourself to keep on going. Recently, Cigna afforded us the opportunity to come together with fellow runners to share our common experiences as runners, share some tips to help each other, and generally just to have a great time with our fellow runners.

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At the 2016 runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Cigna, the title sponsor for the event weekend, invited a group of social media influencers to gather in the Grand California Hotel to carb up for the Disneyland 10k and to find out just why it is that Cigna promotes its own motto: Cigna runs TOGETHER. Candace and I were happy to be invited to attend this unique event and meet with fellow Casual Runners and Disney fans from all over the country.

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The Event

We met up in a Disney-fied ballroom at the Grand California Hotel and were quickly divided into teams with Disney mascots – Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy…you get the idea! We were happy to see Kim and Gail from Run All the Races were there, and to have the opportunity to meet in-person so many other running and Disney bloggers that we’ve only known virtually.  With this group, conversation came easily as everyone was excited for the opportunity to come together.

The Cigna hosts invited us to eat from the scrumptious buffet, but I quickly learned that you do NOT start eating when you are with social media folks until EVERYONE has the chance to photograph the buffet from every angle. OK, photos taken, time to dig in!

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I may have over-indulged on the deliciousness, but we were having such a good time with our new friends AND we were running both the Disneyland 10k and the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend over the next two days, so I would have 19.3 miles to run off the extra calories (hey, don’t judge!).

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Running Together

For me, the first highlight was the lunch conversation. We discussed so many awesome topics that I will have to write a future article about it (stay tuned!). But it was now time for our teams to match wits in an epic battle of trivia and edutainment. Our Cigna hostess launched into a great mix of trivia and physical challenges (we may have taken some time to reminisce about Double Dare – you know, the Nickelodeon game show from back in the day? Yeah, I know you are all daydreaming about being slimed and shouting out “PHYSICAL CHALLENGE!” right now).

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We took on the physical challenges with gusto, though maybe our performances were not quite representative of our level of excitement! We burned a few calories with a round of flip cup and shaking ping pong balls out of tissue boxes to get the blood flowing. The trivia was designed to highlight alternate methods of cross-training (cycling, skiing, even house chores and yard work) as well as healthy food choices. The irony of this was not lost on me as, in the middle of the healthy food round, Kim called me out for making hidden Mickey’s out of my decadent deserts…

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Admittedly, I did far better on the trivia portions than the physical challenges, though Candace and I did lock horns (we were on different teams) in the balloon bounce challenge where I redeemed myself for my lackluster performance at the previous challenges and she gave me a run for my money.  I think you are starting to get the idea that we enjoyed ourselves at this event.

Cigna Runs Together

Why did Cigna put on this event? As one Cigna rep told me, the whole point is to remind people that, although we train separately, it is good to be reminded that we can and should come together to run together. Not only can we motivate one another, but we can learn a lot from our fellow runners. Coming together to run with fellow Casual Runners is a reward for all of the sacrifice, sweat, and hard work during all of those solo training sessions.

It is a further reminder that we can and should all motivate one another and share tips and information to help each other excel and achieve greater goals in their journey.  Even though you may train alone, you never have to go at it alone. And that is a great message that I think every Casual Runner should hear again and again.

SURPRISE!

Speaking of not having to go at it alone…everyone in attendance was invited to pose for a group picture, which was crashed by none other than the Big Cheese and his main squeeze! That’s right, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse joined us for an unannounced meet and greet.

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Unfortunately, not everyone got the memo that this event was all about COMING TOGETHER. Candace may have been so excited to pose with classic Mickey and Minnie (which is, surprisingly, an increasingly difficult photo to get in the Disney parks as they are usually in different costumes and separated from each other), that yours truly was banished from the photo op so she could get her own shot…

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Well, sadly, the event came to an end and we had to say goodbye to our new (and old) friends. But we were glad to have had this opportunity to meet up and break bread with our fellow runners, and learn and share some new tips that will help us along in our own Casual Runner adventures!

Still want more? Check out our coverage of runDisney Disneyland Race Weekends:

2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Review
2016 Disneyland Dynamic Duos 10k

2016 Cigna Runs Together Meetup
2016 Disneyland Half Marathon/Dumbo Double Dare Weekend Preview
2014 Dumbo Double Dare & Coast to Coast Review Event Expo & Coast to Coast Overview & “Signs” Video
2014 Disneyland 10k (Stitch) Race ReviewCourse Video
2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Review & Course Video
2015 Disneyland 10k (Villains) Race Review
2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Review

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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