Monthly Archives: January 2014

General Update Info….and another big thing…

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Hi everyone!

Tomorrow goes back to semi-reality for me, as our second semester begins at school. I will most likely get back into posting on just Sundays, as that day seems to work best for a promised post. With this new semester comes not only changes at work (new classes, coaching will begin again) but with my running! I have changed some of the headers on this page to reflect that.

It is obviously now 2014, so I have made a link dedicated to my results from last year, along with a page that will be updated accordingly with results from this year. I have also updated my racing calendar, and this can be found under a new tab also!

I mentioned in my last post about “What’s Next?”. The Calgary Marathon with hopes of Boston Qualifying, the Quebec City visit, the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend with Dumbo Double Dare…..all fantastic destinations to be planning and training for! I neglected to mention a major thing, though, and this is maybe why I am clinging onto this online journal of sorts….

April 25, 2014, will mark the 10th anniversary of my father’s passing. Dan and I will be in Quebec City that very day. We didn’t necessarily plan it that way exactly, it was just when Spring Break fell this year…the fact we will be in the place of his birth on the anniversary of his death…I don’t even know what to say. Or to think. Or how to prep myself.

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There will be a lot of self-reflection in the next couple months. My intense training will keep my mind off of it, but you can definitely guess what will be going through my mind during those long, lonely training runs.

Thanks for all your support!

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So…What’s Next?

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When I first conjured the idea up of this webpage, it was around summer 2012. My first post on my bare bones website was published on August 21st, 2012. At that point, I had in my mind I was going to run the Goofy Challenge in WDW in 2014, and attempt to fundraise along the way. The Goofy turned into the Dopey, my fundraising went from not one organization, but two, and the amounts of races I registered for and competed in went through the roof. I also just assumed I would be done with this page when Dopey was then complete.

But now I can’t give it up.

I am enjoying managing this page and writing about my running, training, events, travels, and family history. So, first off….this site will continue to exist this year! Who knows…maybe longer! But what will I be talking about? What is next???….

My new training goal for this spring…..I am currently registered for the 50th Anniversary Calgary Full Marathon on June 1st, 2014. While I ran the half marathon there last year, I haven’t ran the full there since 2009….and it was a 5 hour and 4 minute disaster. Now that I have ran another race there (and it wasn’t a mess!) and I have completed another full since then (my WDW full!) I feel confident in my ability this year in Calgary. I am setting my goal high, but still in reach—-to qualify for Boston. In my age/gender category, I need a time below 3 hours and 35 minutes….roughly an 8:10 minute/mile. I plan to aim for a 3:33:33….because that’s fun! With my 3:50:52 in Disney even after four days of four early mornings, three previous runs, resort food and beverage, and some stops and hiccups on the course, I know this Boston Qualifying time is in reach. I need to keep my momentum going, as I am coming off a very successful year of training, filled with personal bests. I will keep pushing myself with my training, and I already mapped out my calendar plan. It includes more set interval training days, and on Sundays when I do my “long run” I will push my speed up a notch as I run with the Runners Soul Marathon Club.

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Second….this site isn’t just about running. Those of your have been following for some time, or even new readers, have read entries about my dad and family history. I haven’t written a fully dedicated history post in sometime, but some of my previous ones from earlier last year are below:

Childhood in Quebec

A Cultured Childhood

This Spring I will be focusing on my roots and taking a closer look at Quebec City….and what’s a better way to do it than actually go to Quebec City!? Dan and I are going to Montreal and Quebec City this Spring break for a week, and I am so excited! I actually am expecting the emotions to be flowing as much as they were in Disney, if not more, because for years (and I am not exaggerating in saying that this was even well before my dad passed away) I had interest in going to Quebec City to try to find out more about my dad’s beginnings. The flights are booked, but that is about it….which is odd for me since I am such a planner. Over the next three months I will be putting all the final touches on what is sure to be an emotional Spring Break!

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Lastly….why wouldn’t I go Coast to Coast this year? I mean…I already invested a whole year of time (and money) into Dopey, and unfortunately it can’t be a yearly thing….so this year is the year to take part in the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge. It’s simple…run a distance of a half marathon or more at one race in Walt Disney World Florida and also run one at Disneyland Resort in California in the same calendar year and you have done the Coast to Coast challenge! You get a highly coveted special piece of bling, of course, and the pride of doing a race at both resorts! But, since I am the way I am, I did not register for just the half marathon. I have already registered for the Dumbo Double Dare, which is a smaller version of the Dopey Challenge. I will be running in the Disneyland 10km on Saturday, August 30th, and then the Disneyland Half Marathon on Sunday, August 31st. I have plans to attempt a sub 1:40 half on Sunday, but the more important thing is that I will be running the 10km with my best friend in the whole world, Ali. She is basically my sister, as we are both only children, and have been friends since 1991. She is not a runner, but a former competitive swimmer, who now coaches a high school and club team in the Los Angeles area. She is a Crossfit girl who is now taking on the task of, in her words, “learning how to run”, so she can help me complete this Disney journey. You can definitely expect some posts on mine and Ali’s friendship, our vacations we have gone on with one another’s families, and some of our shenanigans in this coming year. Maybe I can even convince Ali to write an entry on how her running is going!

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So that’s it. Those three things are what is next in this coming year. And of course, there will be more local races I sign up for, more crazy epiphanies I will have, and who knows what else. Thanks everyone for your support and following my site, and I hope you are looking forward to what 2014 has in store as much as I do!

Photo Recaps on Dopey Challenge Events…Pros, Cons & Highlights…& a Teaser for the Next Chapter…

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Hi everyone! I know I posted a bit during the event, and I did my post about the full marathon, but now that I have access to the professional photos shot by the people at Marathon Foto, I thought I would do a mini-photo montage/review of each event that was part of the Dopey Challenge. For each event, I will list some pros (the volunteers were AMAZING every race!), cons, and my personal highlights I experienced. I will also include some of my favorite snapshots from the events!

Family 5km Fun Run-Thursday, January 9, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 6:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, through a backstage area, into World Showcase, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Fun short distance anyone could enjoy, no “sweepers” or “balloon ladies” to worry about on the course if you couldn’t keep the minimum pace, walker friendly

Cons Very crowded corrals, starting in last corral with my mom meant we had to wait about 40 minutes until we started, very crowded at times especially at narrow points, not as much entertainment or characters as I expected for a “family” fun run, found out I really didn’t need to keep the minimum 16 min/mi pace even though it was timed for us in the Dopey Challenge (would have stayed with my mom and husband)

Personal Highlights My mom ran her first 5km!

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Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10km-Friday, January 10, 2014
This event began with the first of 5 corrals being let off at 5:30 am. The course went from the EPCOT parking lots, out through the front gates out onto the roadway, then through a backstage area, into World Showcase, out onto the Boardwalk and past Yacht & Beach Club Resort, looped through Future World, and ended back out in the parking lot

Pros Longer route allowed for spreading out on the course, route past Boardwalk Resort area was awesome, more characters, started in Corral A with Dan so had no issues with crowding ourselves

Cons First two miles were uneventfully boring with little entertainment on the roads, corrals still crowded

Personal Highlights Running a 10km in Disney with my unsure-about-Disney husband, seeing him sweat his shirt off because he didn’t understand the power of Florida humidity (made me laugh!), running around the Boardwalk while it was still dark and all the hanging outdoor lights were on! AND got Dan to take a photo with a Disney character! Something he swore he would not do!

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon-Saturday, January 11, 2014
This event began with the first of 16 corrals being let off at 5:35 am. The course went from Epcot out onto the highway through the Magic Kingdom gates, past the Ticket & Transportation Center, into the Magic Kingdom and down Main Street USA. Headed through Cinderella’s castle, through Frontierland, back on service roads past Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, and back on the roads to EPCOT.

Pros Short corral wait for me since I was in B, short to no lines for any characters too. The characters that were out were very rare too! Goofy in golfing gear, Darkwing Dark and Launchpad McQuack to name a few!

Cons HUMIDITY! (I know this was beyond anyone’s control), no Mary Poppins photo op at Grand Floridian like past years!

Personal HighlightsRunning down Main Street USA for the first time in a Disney race! (there were tears!), and also seeing my mom and husband twice in the Magic Kingdom for photos. Really took my time running in the humidity with a friend from our Facebook group (#wangnation) and we stopped at tons of photo stops!

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Walt Disney World Full Marathon-Sunday January 12, 2014
This course followed the same route as the half marathon for about the first 7 or 8 miles, then went down onto the Disney Speedway, on back roads to and through Animal Kingdom, down the highway to ESPN Wide World of Sports, back on the roads to Hollywood Studios, through the park, on the route to the Boardwalk Resort area, behind World Showcase, through Future World, and ending in the parking lot outside of the main gates.

Pros. Get to run through all four parks! Plentiful water and medical stops! Lots of characters in the parks. Fast and flat course. COOL FLORIDA BREEZE! (thank you weather God!).

Cons. Not much to see on the long stretches of roads between parks

Personal Highlights. Castle lights were lit up today and it was gorgeous in the dark morning! Getting a photo with Buzz Lightyear dressed as Buzz Lightyear! (Had to do this for Dad!), Running through Hollywood Studios right when the park was about to open to public was energizing, as were the crowds of people cheering near the Boardwalk resorts and in EPCOT. Ran a marathon personal best of 3:50:52, even after eating like junk, getting no sleep, and running three races the three days prior!

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The Dopey Challenge was an experience of a lifetime! I am so grateful I was able to take part! This years’ journey was about finding myself and running for Dad. But it is not going to stop now. Never! Stay tuned in the next couple days when I talk about what is next for me!

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A Post From The Husband

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backstory…this morning, before I left for my District Math Committee Meeting, I asked my husband Dan if he would write a guest post for my website. At first, he thought I meant “write it right now!” but he then realized anytime today would be ok. After dinner, he wrote the piece below. All I had asked was for him to write something from his point of view…whether it be about my races this last year, his trip to Disney, him running in some of my races with me…this is what he wrote….

The shutdown of Pearson Airport in Toronto made me fully realize the gravity and importance of this Disney Marathon Trip. After spending a night in Calgary because our flight to Toronto was delayed, we showed up early to the airport to find that the flight was straight-up cancelled. As we received more information on the current situation and continuing cold weather that was to come at Pearson Airport, it dawned on us that the tickets in our hands were not going to get us to Orlando.

Andrea broke down; I mean she really lost it.

But with good reason, right? At first glance, there’s plenty for her to be upset about. An entire year’s worth of training to prepare herself for the longest race challenge of her life. $3500 plus worth of fundraising over that same year of training. Blog posts, twitter and facebook groups and friends (Wang Nation!). She wanted me to experience Disney with her and Linda. She was doing this trip to commemorate her Dad…

But the tears that came out suggested that there was more to it than that.

I wanted to help, but other than a shoulder to cry on, I couldn’t offer her much. Andrea’s the intrepid traveler, I’m pretty much useless at an airport without her telling me where to go. Not that it mattered, though. Andrea’s too determined to stay broken down. In Canada, there’s essentially two Airlines. The big airline, Air Canada (which we had our original tickets that transferred in Toronto) had nothing else to offer us with Toronto in bad weather. So Andrea looked up the smaller airline Westjet. It turned out there was a direct flight to Orlando leaving in three hours with a few seats left. She bought the tickets on her iphone, we walked to the Westjet check-in and were waiting by our gate within an hour of the breakdown.

My wife just doesn’t take shit from anyone. Not me, not her mother, not even the weather, apparently. Sure, she can get knocked down. But she won’t stay down. She always gets up. Always.

And I think this is why the tears flowed so heavily at the airport. The hardest thing Andrea’s had to deal with in her life is the death of her father. Grieving has not come easily for her. Andrea and Linda have had trouble communicating about their shared loss. Andrea says that they’re too much alike, and without her Dad there to provide a buffer between them, their emotions get the better of them, and they wind up yelling at each other.

Her Dad’s passing has kept Andrea down for a long, long time. I think she broke down in the airport because the weather was robbing her of her opportunity to commemorate her father and move on with life. Although the race itself is an achievement, and she wanted to see me experience Disney World, this trip was about Andrea getting back up after being knocked down from her father’s passing.

I’ll admit, the weather got to her. She was shaking with fear. But she always gets back up. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. I’m told she gets it from her father.

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The Big Bang…(in a few short words)

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Wow.

WDW Marathon Weekend 2014 has come and went. I prepared all year for this week….training, fundraising and reflecting…I haven’t even been home for more than 48 hours and I still can’t figure out how to take it all in. I know that as the days and weeks pass, as I start to sift through all the professional photos taken by MarathonFoto, after I look at our Disney Photopass pictures…..after I watch more race video recaps and read fellow bloggers’ recaps,…it may start to sink in how big this weekend was….

….until then, I wanted to share some highlights from the final day of Marathon Weekend—the full marathon. 26.2 miles, which took us through all four Disney theme parks! The first three race distances (5km, 10km and half marathon) went as planned…I went out for them slow and stuck with the game plan. I ran my half marathon 50 minutes slower than my October personal best, in order to conserve my energy and have some juice left for the full. I had it in my mind I could PR the full. So when my 2:45 AM alarm went off for the fourth day in a row, I rolled myself out of bed and started pepping myself up. I needed to be on the ball for this race today, as this was the big one!

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I timed arriving at the race start well, so all I had to do was head straight to the corrals. I got to corral B at about 40 minutes before the official start. The weather was ridiculously better than the previous day—a cool breeze and hardly any humidity. I knew I had to go for my personal best.

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After the official start, my corral was next to the start line. When we were set loose, I flew out of the gate and was going for broke. My first four miles were solid, but a little too fast. I was caught up in it all, but I didn’t let it stop me. I didn’t want to slow down.

My eyes swelled as I ran down Main Street USA…not to the same extent as the day prior, when tears streamed down my face…but I was still getting all worked up. I didn’t even pull my phone out to take photos, because I was on a mission to beat my 3 hours and 56 minute time. I took a short 5 second stop for a photo with Buzz Lightyear and in front of the castle (literally, 5 seconds tops each) and Marathon Foto captured these.
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This is where my mind started playing tricks on me.

It was still dark out and we had left Magic Kingdom. I knew the area from the day before, but I started to slow my pace and question if I really should be pushing it like I was. For a solid mile or two I kept going back and forth if I should slow down and just take photos and not go for the PR. Then, my stomach started acting up. I mean, imagine that….it’s the fourth day of four early races, and I’m eating and drinking vacation food, me also shoving sugar and electrolytes in my system….I took a two minute bathroom and banana stop—now I didn’t know if getting the PR would be possible.

I saw fellow Dopey Challenge “Team Wang” runners before this stop, Dan Tinney and Jason Perez. They were cruising! The brief time I s a w and chatted with them motivated me to keep pushing forward—-I had trained so hard all year for this, i just couldn’t slow down.

Animal Kingdom Park went fast and soon enough we were back on the highway heading to Wide World of Sports. The morning sun rising got me nervous that the heat would kick in, so I didn’t want to slow down and get caught in the heat. I pushed through to WWOS and just kept trying to smile the whole way. On the highway back from WWOS, I had reached mile 20. The first 20 take talent, the last 6 take heart. That’s the mantra I had going through my head.

I knew that once I got up the hill by the green army man, it would be all recognizable paths to the finish. I got into the Studios, and was grateful for the fruit snack stop. I then started talking to a girl who looked about my age, doing her first ever marathon. You could tell she was starting to struggle and may have wanted to slow. She didn’t have a Garmin or GPS watch and wasn’t sure if she could break 4 hours. I knew that even though she started in corral C, she was on pace to break it. We both were, and by the last 5 km I was still set to break my 3:56.

We wound down to the Boardwalk, past Yacht & Beach and into EPCOT. Dopey was standing near the World Showcase gate welcoming us in (I managed to get a photo with the bugger later as we walked back to our resort,) and I knew I had to keep on pushing.

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I spotted my mom and husband in the stands as I ran in, and the emotions were released. I finished with an official time of 3:50:52. And I felt awesome. I can’t even put it into words how I felt! Even with this being the fourth race in a row, I still had energy-the adrenaline was flowing! I went and picked up my marathon finisher medal, got my wristbands verified for the Goofy and Dopey medals, and then met up win my husband and mom at the family reunion area.
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“I am so proud of you.” This is in fact what both my husband and my mom said to me. And I know my dad said it to me too. He was with me this race, and he pushed me to achieve something I didn’t know would be possible at the end of four days of races. This was truly the most amazing race experience I have been part of thus far in my life. TO INFINITY & BEYOND!!

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Dopey Challenge-3 in & 1 to go….!

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Hi guys!

A short update on how things are going so far down in Disney! (If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook this isn’t new news…but thought if do this anyway!)

The travel down here was almost a disaster due to the weather issues out east and the extreme cold in Toronto. After a last minute expensive flight change, we got to Disney in the same day as originally planned. We may honestly still be in Calgary if we hadn’t done this!

5 km was Thursday and we “ran” with my mom. That was just fine! She finished somewhere in the 50s, but hubby and her told me to go ahead at mile 2. I did a slow and easy 44 minutes.

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On Friday, I did the 10km with Dan at a slow jog and finished at about 1 hour 9 minutes. Stopped at a few character stops, and it was great! Humidity was rough though!

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Today the humidity was even higher! I had planned on doing a slow half marathon at about a 10 minute mile pace and stop at every character stop. I did not want to get wrapped up in the excitement and run to fast I ran with a fellow Dopey Challenge member (and Wisconsinite!) and we kept eachother in line and did just that! I was a bucket of sweat by mile 2 but we had a blast taking photos! Did a 2 hour and 32 minute half, with about 10 photo stops plus stopping to say hi to my husband and mom in Magic Kingdom and his wife near the Polynesian.

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Tomorrow is the big show 26.2 miles to go. I am feeling really good actually and pretty pumped and ready to go. Humidity is suppose to break and should be cool at start. I am planning on racing this tomorrow and using all my resources left.

No matter how it goes tomorrow, I am already incredibly happy with the results. This has been an amazing journey this year and I have learned so much about myself as I have trained and competed in all my races. I know my dad is extremely proud of how I have done too. The race tomorrow is for him, as I will be Buzz Lightyear….it will help me soar!

if you are still interested in donating to either of my charities (American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation) please follow the link above to the CHARITIES page! Thanks so much–anything is appreciated.

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More Than a Year’s Worth of Effort…It Is Here!

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The event I set as the goal of my running career so far is almost here-Dan, my mom, and I leave for the Dopey Challenge in less 40 hours! Dan and I have to get through one day of work tomorrow (January 6th) before we head up to Calgary to catch our red-eye flight to Toronto, where we will then catch a flight to Orlando. My mom leaves on Tuesday AM, and if all our flights are on time :::fingers crossed::: we arrive within one hour of each other!

At the start of this journey, I talked about how I was made for this race. I have had the picture below posted a couple times, and it’s currently both my cover photo on Facebook and background on Twitter:

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The year was 1988. I am almost four years old. I am sprinting up the driveway after running up the hill with my dad. I am sporting a Walt Disney World shirt, a gift from my Uncle Chuck & Auntie Debbie. I had not been to Walt Disney World yet. Little did I know, that after 1 trip in 1991, I would become an addict.

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Disney World became our family vacation destination. The three of us took six fantastic trips together as a family, the last being in Spring 2003.

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My dad suffered a fatal heart attack the following Spring, on April 25th, 2004. My life and my mom’s life were turned upside down. I turned my energy to running, and ran my first half marathon on May 1st, 2004. I haven’t stopped running road races since.

I needed to find a way, a suitable way, to honor my dad. It was time. I was finally able to handle the loss, and knew honoring him was my last step. Running and Disney….that had to be the combination. I set out on January 2013 ready to raise money for heart disease research…setting up fundraising accounts with American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation. I blogged about my running and races and Disney World and family memories. I signed up for more races in 2013 than I ever have done in my life—I ran 22 unique races over the course of this year! And most importantly, I signed up for the Dopey Challenge, which is to be held on January 9-12, 2014, during WDW Marathon Weekend.

I was meant for this race. My whole life. I never knew it until this past year. This week, when I step into the Walt Disney World Resort with my husband and my mom….I will be ready to run…more than ever….my dad will be with me too.

Je Me Souviens! To Infinity & Beyond!

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If you are interested in donating in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers, please click on the “Charities” tab at the top of the page, and follow the links to my personal fundraising pages with American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation. Every little bit helps and is appreciated more than you know!

Throwback Thursday….Disney Style

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In anticipation for my RunDisney experience of my life, the Dopey Challenge, I decided to ask my mom to dig through the old albums and find a handful of “ugly” Disney photos from my trips back In the day. Now, her response immediately was “I don’t want to do this tonight….” Followed by “You weren’t ugly!” Then I restated it as “awkward” and she decided to do the searching.

She sent me 7 photos, in no particular order. However, I will sort them by years in order for your viewing enjoyment. The first photo is from my first Disney trip in October 1991. I was 7.

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This is fun and funny because 1.) I have a coordinating lavender and white tank with corduroy shorts. 2.). I have on a giant fanny pack with I am sure just a mini pack of Kleenex and room for my autograph book. 3.). My Mickey Ears don’t fit over my Afro. But I still love the cuteness and innocence of it all

Next up is also from October 1991. Enjoy me posing like a loser on the bridge in the Japan Pavillion at EPCOT:

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After 1991, we went again in 1993. That trip provided these gems:

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From what I can gather by looking at these two photos….I enjoyed wearing MC Hammer Pants, windbreaker, hats that fit over my Afro, fanny packs were still cool, and I still enjoyed coordinating colors and plaid shorts. :::sigh::::

1995. Family trip #3. Short “Jerome” haircut that fits nicely under a hat, big bad glasses, and a cheesy grin. I think the Evil Queen says it all:

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1997 brought the times of shortalls and plaid tank tops. Did I think I was country? Or southern? Or cool? Sweet big pewter LOVE earrings too. This photo makes me smile, though, as it catches my dad and I sitting on the now defunk Mike Fink Keelboats. My Afro is grown out and I’m sporting a middle part. And dad is sporting an embroidered Disney Muscle shirt like it’s his job!

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After 1997, my looks and attire got less awkward. Who knows…probably in 5 years I’ll be laughing at crap I wore this year. But at least I grew out of my short Afro hairdo and bad glasses and fanny pack stage. Please note….my mom DID NOT send any photos including shots of her back in the day with us. I think I got my fanny pack skills from her 🙂

In closing…2000. Now in high school and too cool for posing for photos, so instead I’ll sink into the tube at Stormalong Bay at Yacht & Beach Club!

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