FABHack: Saving Up Money For Your Next Disney Race | A Few Pennies A Day

At the first of the year, I am like many of you who want to save more money.  I started the 52 week money challenge and then I saw one that you use pennies for every day of the year.

  • January 1st – 1 penny
  • January 2nd – 2 pennies
  • All the way to 365 pennies on December 31, 2017

At the end of the year you save $680+.   While promoted as a kids savings plan, I think it is good for everyone!  I started a second savings with the pennies so I could go along with my teeangers.

While I was thinking what I could use for $689 – I had a lightbulb moment!

Backstory:  RunDisney changed their registrations dates by 2 months and gave us two week warning for the Disneyland Double Dare (formerly Dumbo) AND 2 weeks before Christmas. That means, some runners had to fork over $300+ or $600+ or even $900+ to register before the traditional February registration date.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of spare change around at a moments notice! 

The Penny Savings Challenge to the rescue!

By following the penny savings plan, I will have enough to register me and my husband for 2018 (I am still working on 2017 registrations).  Pictured below is my jar. I purchased a $2 jar from the local thrift store, sheets to cross off the days, a pencil and envelopes. Each week, I put the change in the envelope and it goes back into the jar.  Why do I do this?  So my sneaking teenagers don’t steal the saved up change.  🙂  (You can start your savings plan at anytime and calculate how much money you need to save each week to reach your runDisney race registration goals).  


A friend made a Classic D on her Cricut machine and poof!  In addition, I will throw spare change in the jar from time to time, I am excited to see how much over $680 I can make this grow for DDD 2018.  (you can see my 52 week savings jar and kids jar in the same picture)

What do you do to save up for the RunDisney races?


Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by RobKellerMD.com and KT Tape
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That Time You Open an Email From RunDisney | What a Surprise

On 10/07, when I was on my way to meet up with my friend, Kimberly for a trail run at Red Rock, I received an email from RunDisney.  I recognized the subject line, I had seen it before when I earned 3rd in my AG at Avengers.

When I opened the email, instead of being excited, I was very confused.  Here is the RunDisney email:

Original RD email

Why was I confused?  I earned 4th place in my AG (screenshot below), as of 10/07/2015:

10k results

The next day (10/08), I emailed and phoned RunDisney.  I knew there was a mistake and I did not want an award I didn’t earn.  RunDisney was very helpful and assured me they would be looking into the situation and let me know, why I received the email about earning 3rd place.

A few hours after the phone call, I receive this email (screenshot below), which explains what happened.

Another email


It was official.  I was 3rd in my AG!  I knew I could PR (well, I hoped I could) but I wanted that AG for my brother.  I ran in his honor, since he was home recovering from his hip surgery.  I wanted to “give” him that AG, now I can.


After I wiped away the tears, I went to MarathonFoto.com to see the photos for myself and sure enough there is the man, who is suppose to be a 51 year old woman.  (For those who do not know, RunDisney does not permit big swapping, trading, transferring or selling.  I can only hope he did not know the policy and this was an honest mistake on his part.)


I am grateful that RunDisney is the type of Race Management company who does not look the other way, as I have seen many RD’s do.  I would of never thought of an RD reviewing photos to confirm the racers identity.  Very smart!

Based on the timeline of Avengers, I should have my 10k award in November.  No matter how long it takes, I will cherish it and be grateful for the opportunity to run another Disney event. 


Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
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RACE REPORT: Disneyland 10k & Half Marathon | 3rd Annual Dumbo Double

Labor Day weekend has become my FAVORITE time of the year on my race schedule!

  1. The cooler temperatures, I finally get a break from the Vegas summer heat.
  2. Traveling to Disneyland!

This was my fourth year to participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend and 3rd year for the DDD.  I was just as excited as I was my first year (2011)!

In addition to the run training, many preparations are needed for this trip.  I have to prepare mine and my husband’s costumes, prepare our race gear and of course, what we will need to visit the park!

Our initial plan was to arrive on Thursday, do the expo and go to DL on Friday…boy, did our plans change (and for the better!)

We left our Vegas home around 5am, in the hopes to arrive at the expo around 10am.  We arrived at 10:30am and quickly picked up our bibs for the 10k & Half. This year, they required participants to have their pictures taken, not receive a plastic wristband for the DDD.  I am told that RunDisney found out that runners were removing their wristbands and giving them to other runners, so they could pick up a FREE DDD medal.  That’s stealing folks, you didn’t earn nor pay for the medal, shame on you!

After the bib pick up, we retrieved our shirts and I was so excited about the shirt designs.  I loved all 3 of the shirts.

After the shirt pick up we made our way to the merchandise at the expo. They led us upstairs to get a wristband and told us a 30-45 minute wait.  Ummmm, no.  2 hours later, we are still there and we had not made our way downstairs, that had another hour wait.  The reason they said they did it this way was the size of the merchandise area is so small.  We were in a HUGE ballroom, upstairs.  Why not move the merchandise to upstairs?  They could also sell more vendor space.  We left, without buying a thing.

Next, we met up with my sweet friend, Andrea Kooiman for lunch. She was also the RunDisney Expo announcer, so I was hanging with a celebrity!  Our good friend, Joe Spatafore joined us, with his friend.  (Joe is also one of my coaching clients, he and his wife are HUGE Disney fans).



Within the next hour we were gifted with a bunch of surprises from a dear friend.  We were given 2 treats:

  1.  A park ticket
  2.  A parking pass

Which meant, we could go into the park that night and see the Paint the Night parade and have some Disney fun!  I was so giddy, I almost started crying.

We checked into our hotel and since I have been a regular there, they gave me free parking. 3 kind gifts in one night…I almost could not contain my excitement.

As we entered the park gates and I saw the Castle, like every time before, I am in awe.  I never grow tired of the castle view.  It welcomes me Home.

Of course, we headed straight for Small World.  I couldn’t smile big enough to contain my excitement.  I noticed right away, they painted the facade and I am glad.  It needed it and next year is the 50th anniversary of the park ride (which I will be there!).

Once I sit in the Small World boat and I hear the music, my calms arrives.  I am in my happy place.  We rode Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and a few more.  We chose not to wear our pin lanyards, so we could just mill about.  We met up with Thor, hubby was pretty excited about that.


A few hours later, we decided to line up for the parade.  Experience tells me to get as close as possible to the Exit/Entrance. This way, we can leave pretty quickly.  We had a big day, the next day – back to the park!

I was always a fan of the Magical Electrical Parade and I have never seen a Disney parade that matched that magic.  I had heard from many Instagram and FB friends that Pain the Night was out of this world.  They are right.  I stood there in total awe of the lights and music and then came the tears. (Do you get the impression I cry a lot at DL?  It’s true)  If it had not been for the generosity of a good friend, we would of not seen the parade.


Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, we headed out to DL and we were ready for pin trading!  We LOVE chatting with other Disney fans and cast members.  Our day was magical and we left around dinner to get back to the hotel to ensure a restful night before the 10k.


I had not raced a 10k since 2011.  I had one 10k in 2014, after my leg injury, but that was nothing more than a test run.  I was in this 10k to push, I had a long marathon training session throughout the summer.  However, I knew after a day and half in the park, my legs would be…meh.  I was still going to run, the best I could.  No costumes, it was singlet time.  My heart was a little empty as we had to leave my brother at home, while he is still recovering from hip surgery.  Having him at my races is a tradition and so, I promised him a strong run.  I didn’t think I could PR, but I thought I could at least give it a good push.

Gun time was at 5:30am. I started in Corral A and my husband started in Corral D.  Typically, we run a bit on Katella Avenue, but this time, we were in the park, pretty quick.  I liked staying in the park, as much as possible.  I wore my watch, but I didn’t turn it on.  I had a basic goal time, but I was going to run strong, as I promised my brother.

I felt myself start to waiver at Mile 4, so I briefly walked at the aid station to swish some water around my mouth.  After that, I was able to push and get the job done.

Joe Spatafore was waiting for me at the Finish Line and I could tell by his facial expression, he had PR’d!  He PR’d at the Tinkerbell Half and now, at the Disneyland 10k!  He has worked so hard and I am honored to be a part of his racing journey.  I love coaching him!  See picture below:


Joe was text tracking me, so I could know my time, right away.  I had a 1:30 PR and 4th in my AG – Go figure!  I promised my brother a strong race, and I gave him a shiny new PR.  (He loves green dragons, that’s why I have a green dragon charm on my shoe).  **UPDATE** I was informed by RunDisney, I earned 3rd in my AG (not 4th) as the original 3rd place was a man (verified by race photos). 


We waited for my husband.  He struggled to finish and I thought he needed more carbs, since we had been on our feet for the last day and half.  We had a great breakfast at a quiet place in Downtown Disney.  I want away from the crowds very quickly during Disney events (I am hot, sweaty and hungry) so this was perfect.

Afterwards, we headed to Hollywood.  My husband has never been to Hollywood Blvd. We didn’t stay there too long.  If you have been to Hollywood Blvd recently, you know how awful it is.

Back to the hotel for rest and get ready for the Half Marathon day.



Today, hubby and I would run the half marathon together. We have run 5k’s and 10k’s, but this is our first Half, together.  I made us Mouseketeer costumes and I wore a running skirt!

We started about 30 minutes after gun time (his corral, not mine) and by Mile 2, he was struggling.  By Mile 4, I knew he would not reach his PR goals, so I shut off my watch and told him, that we are strolling the rest of the way.  He ran when he could, but we spent the most of this race walking and enjoying the sights.  My favorite is the muscle car alley.  Over 400 cars.  Here I am with one of my favorite cars.


Here we are at Anaheim Stadium home plate.



Here I am in front of Small World.  (My hip is in such a weird position, my stomach looks like I am 5 months pregnant.  haha)


Our picture at Mile 11-12.


We got through to the finish and completed our 3rd Dumbo Double! This is my husband’s only running event, every year – so he was pretty excited to be Perfectly Dumbo.

We met up with Joe Spatatore for brunch and then headed home.

Avengers is only 2 months away, and I cannot wait.  Brother should be walking crutchless by then and possibly even jogging.  It is my birthday month, so I will spend a day in the park – celebrating my birthday.

Looking forward to the Fall/Winter racing season!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite
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Disneyland/Dumbo Double Dare Race Medals Are Revealed | Diamond Celebration

Yesterday, the long awaited 10th Anniversary Half Marathon and Dumbo Double Dare medals were revealed.


The 10k theme is the Evil Queen (I think this medal is much nicer than last year’s Stitch medal).  It appears the Kids 5k Medal is the Fairy Godmother’s from Sleeping Beauty and the 5k is the Classic Disney characters.

Of course, the Double Dumbo follows the same design as previous years.

As far as the Half Marathon medal, I will admit when I saw it, I was “eh“.  I have seen the Diamond Celebration (60th anniversary) merchandise and it is over the top and I didn’t feel it was the same “oomph” as other 60th anniversary items.  I miss the (big) Classic D medal, that is classic Disneyland to me.

However, I am not saying I hate it, I was initially underwhelmed. 

Another picture revealed the back side and it is a spinner.  That’s a nice touch, of course!  It is Disneyland’s 60th anniversary, so I understand the Diamond shape.  I really do. 

Half Spinner

The medal is growing on me, but in the end – I could care less if I receive a medal.  (Do I hear a gasp from the community?).   When I first started racing, I would not go near a race, even a 5k if I did not receive a medal.  I understand the importance of a medal, I really do.   Years later, I race for the experience and to reach my goals.  When I raced my first race, the most emotional moment was when I received my medal.  To this day – it is my most prized medal in my collection. 

This will be my 4th year to race Disneyland and I am sure I will value my medals, as I do my others.

Here is a photo of my office and I am sure my DL medals will have a special place, as always.

Medal wall

See you at Disneyland in September!

Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored by
RobKellerMD.com, KT Tape and HoneyStinger
*Team Super Hero Master’s Elite 2013-15
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RACE RECAP: Inaugural Disneyland Avengers Half Marathon Weekend | Part 1

I love Disneyland, that’s not a secret, so when another race opened up for DL, I jumped at the chance.  In addition, it was pretty close to my birthday.  I decided I would go to the race and spend some time the park to celebrate my birthday.  That’s been on my Disneyland Bucket list for many years.

As the days drew closer, I needed to juggle my schedule and even considered not going to the weekend, at all.  No race, no park time.  Yet, my husband and brother figured out a way for me to go to the race weekend and get some park time.  Although, I went down kicking – I am glad they held to their guns and insisted I go.

Bro, Mama and I left on Friday as Mama had her 5k on Saturday morning.  After arriving in our hotel, we got ready for the next day. After her race, I planned to visit the park for about 6 hours.  While it was not what I planned nor a full day, I would take any moment I could be in my favorite place in the world.

We got up at 3am and was out the door by 4am.  It was about a mile walk and mama was excited.  She was not nervous like Dumbo Double 5k, she was at piece and we were confident she would do well.

We walked her to the Corrals and then, Bro and I set ourselves in the bleachers to watch the finishers.  Gun time was at 5:30am, she was in the last Corral.

By the time she started, the wheelchair winner was crossing the Finish Line.  We had a general idea when she started by not, exactly.  Based on our calculations and what the announcers said, she was 12 minutes behind the gun time.

At 56 minutes, the gun time clock stopped.  My heart sunk, my first thought was they have swept the course.

Within seconds, she was at the Finish (found out the clock broke).  Based on that clock time, and her crossing time, she finished in the 44-45 minutes range and that is a gigantic PR for her. Although it was not an official timed 5k, it was still a big deal to her (and to us)





After her race cool down, we head over to get some coffee and warm up.  I was started to get antsy to get into the park.  So, they headed off to their day and I headed over to get my park ticket.  I chatted with a few cast members and did some pin trading, too.  I love trading with cast members.

I was meeting my friend, Jacqueline in the park.  Before I met up with her, I decided to purchase a Chip n Dale hat.  I saw this new edition the last time I was in the park and wanted to buy it for a birthday present, to myself.


My sweet friend, Jacqueline and I

After the hat purchase, I made my way to Small World.  As you know, it is my sentimental favorite ride and I begin every Disney trip to Small World. One exception was in 2013 when we were there during Halloween. The ride is closed to prepare for Halloween.


(please excuse the squinty eyes)

It was so much fun to be in Small World again.  I feel like a kid and I can feel the joy, as I sing along with the ride.

After Small World, Jacqueline & I spent the rest of the day riding rides & pin trading

Button Carousel Goofy ChipnDale Grotto Oswald Pluto Tikki Room

I headed back to the hotel, early enough to get some rest, roll out and stretch. I had a Half Marathon in the morning & I hoped to do fairly well.  Most importantly, fuel up with my typical meals and ensure I am well hydrated.

Next up…Day 2 of Avengers Half Marathon and what it was like to run in tornado winds.