Category Archives: Disney Trips

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2017

Standard

Well.  It’s almost been a month since the WDW Marathon Weekend…about time I do a little recap I think!  I could do a really, really long one and go on into great detail….but I am going to try and spare you all from that.  I’m going to try…TRY…and keep it condensed!

I arrived in WDW on Tuesday, January 3rd.  This allowed me to enjoy the days leading up to the events, which would be on the Saturday and Sunday.  My mom had arrived earlier that morning and I met her at the hotel.  My best friend Ali was arriving the following day, and she got there without a hitch….well, her Magical Express bus from the airport almost needed to be hitched by a trailer and towed away because it broke down a few miles away from the hotel.  But she got there safe and sound!

Even though these are from different days, here are some “enjoying WDW” pictures that aren’t race related!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

My mom and I went to the expo on Wednesday, January 4th.  I would go back to the expo the next day with Ali so she could get her race bib, but I knew I wanted to make sure I got some certain race merchandise items.  So arriving at expo open was key.  I did not like that the expo didn’t open until noon.  It was an upcharge by Disney if you wanted to get into the expo and hour or two (can’t remember which one) earlier than general opening.  Money grab if you ask me.  But since we arrived at Wide World of Sports at 11:30, we queued up and were let into the expo floor by around 11:45.  Straight the the merchandise, we had no problem getting the items I wanted.  I also bought Ali what she was requesting.  We did a little tour of the expo floor where I bought quite a few other items.  In retrospect, I should have gone to the other building where packet pickup was…that line was never a stand-still, but when I eventually made my way up there I had to go back and forth and back and forth until I got into the building.  Thankfully, my race shirts were in that same building to pickup…otherwise I would have to go BACK into the expo hall…and that line was ridiculous.  I don’t know if it was just that every person in an event that weekend (5km, 10km, half, full, goofy, dopey, kids races) showed up, but the crowd was crazy compared to what I remember in 2014.

 

 

 


Day before the half marathon, the weather didn’t look great.  RunDisney started issuing updates early afternoon, telling us runners to stay tuned for up to date info.  At around 7 pm on Friday night, they cancelled the half marathon.  This was due to a huge storm coming through in the evening, that called for thunder and lightning.  At first, it was a huge let down that the race wouldn’t be run.  But, RunDisney did the right thing.  I did, however, mention to my mom and Ali that “It better fucking STORM!” because otherwise you know people on social media were going to lose their minds even more…and for the record, and it storm.  All night, and then at 7:45 AM we heard a huge CRACK.  It would have been chaos if 20,000 + runners were out there on property running and this happened.

 

 

(For the record, RunDisney offered four different “reimbursement” options since they cancelled the event.  This information came out later Friday evening.  And, they didn’t have to do this.  That’s what it says in the fine print whenever you sign a race waiver.  It was great of them to do this.  I opted for the reimbursement of the cost of the half registration in form of Disney Gift Card…which I gave to my mom.  She paid for my registration to begin with.  Now, she has $185 to spend on her Disney Cruise this June!)

So, Saturday came.  Race was cancelled.  I had already heard of people talking about getting the miles in somehow that day, be it treadmill or waiting until weather cleared.  RunDisney was still giving everyone their half marathon medal, so it wouldn’t really feel right to take the medal (and then my Goofy Challenge medal the next day) and not really “earn it.”  My mom, Ali and I were taking the boat to the Studios for 9 am park open, and the weather was already starting to clear.  We saw runners on the Boardwalk, on the promenade in front of Yacht & Beach, on the walkway to the Studios….tons of runners were out there, wearing their race bibs…some in their costumes too….getting in the miles.  I immediately knew I had to get my 13.1 in.  I messaged Alyssa & Drew, who had mentioned they were planning on getting the 13.1 miles in that day.  They ended up meeting my at the Studios at 11:45 am and we did our “Unofficial WDW Half Marathon.” We got the 13.1 miles in, and honestly had a blast doing it!  At around mile 11, when we had looped back by the Studios, we even went in and were able to get a photo with Donald….which was appropriate since he is the ‘mascot’ for the half marathon.  It may not have been the way I imagined Saturday would be, but I am always going to remember that “race.”

 

 


So then the weather went from one extreme to the other by Sunday.  It was cold.  Wehn Ali and I left the room at 3 am to go to the busses, it was around 40 degrees fahrenheit.  I was grateful my body was conditioned and used to cold weather, as the poor Floridians were freezing……hahaha!  Neither Ali or I packed much for layers…I had packed a throwaway long sleeved shirt, but didn’t think about sweats or hats.  I fashioned us some gorgeous garbage bag ponchos (which for some reason I thought to pack) and then got creative with Disney towels.  I figured using Disney hotel towels and dumping them before a race on Disney property would be OK….I mean, they’d get them back if they wanted them?

 


After the long wait that is the start of a RunDisney race, Ali and I were off at around 6 am.  The official race start was 5:30 am, so with us starting in Corral I, that’s not to bad.  I did only remind Ali once or twice that I could have already been to the Magic Kingdom (I was able to start in B).  I don’t know if she cared for my sarcasm.

Race began and we kept moving with the pack the best we could.  I kept reminding her we needed to just try to stay with the pack and not get stuck with all the other people behind us, as it would make Magic Kingdom even more crowded.  I made it my mission to take a photo of each mile marker (which I did) but I won’t post those all because, well…it’s boring.  I kept texting my mom, who was at Magic Kingdom on Main Street.  When we got into Magic Kingdom, we stopped quickly to talk to her, get a photo, and on we went.  That was at mile 5.

 

 

The next stretch to the half marathon mark was a bit of a challenge.  Lots of people, narrow part of the course.  Kept having to remind Ali we were almost to Animal Kingdom, and then we’d have more to see.  We even stopped quickly for a photo with Meeko, from Pocahontas, before we entered Animal Kingdom.  It was fun seeing people jumping in line for Expedition Everest, as it had just opened.  We weren’t in the park all that long, or at least not long enough for Ali….because before we knew it we were in the back lot and heading towards the parking lot.  I knew she was dreading the next stretch of open road, as we’d be logging in the miles 16-21 before getting back into the parks.

 

 



I’m happy to say we are still best friends after that stretch, because man….our friendship ending was a possibility.  Ok, not really….but I think Ali wanted to beat the shit out of me during Wide World of Sports.  I forgot how much turning and winding you do during that part!  I tried to distract her by talking her ear off, and I do think it helped when we got to mile 20!  Mile 20 was right on the ball diamond, so I made Ali stop for a picture there.  I reminded her now we just had a 10km to go!  It also helped motivate her when we were heading down the road away from WWOS that we saw the “Balloon Ladies” (the sweepers) who runners must keep ahead.  We were definitely going to stay ahead of them, so it eased our minds going in the final stretch.

img_5012

20 miles!

img_5002
While the morning started off cold, the sun had came out and was hitting your body pretty good. I knew I would have an epic racerback tanline after this was all said and done.  As we made it up the hill with the Green Army Men yelling at us, down a final descent of non-descriptive WDW resort road way, we finally made it into the back entrance of the Studios.  There were people everywhere, as by now it was late morning and thegeneral public were all going about their days at the parks!  It was awesome to have people around us in the park, cheering us on, encouraging us.  We exited the Studios (after our fourth bathroom break of the day) and took the walkway to Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Club, and then the back entrance of EPCOT.  I think Ali thought we would have a lot of backstage running to do before entering the park, but before we knew it, we were entering World Showcase at the United Kingdom pavilion!  And then over the first bridge we hit the mile 25 sign!  Only one mile was between us and the finish line…well, and a Grand Marnier Orange Slush in the France pavilion for Ali!



The last mile was a lot of fun.  Ali got her drink (I think the alcohol hit her immediately), which an older lady with a solid Boston accent bought for her, and we saw other runners enjoying beverages from World Showcase.  I got a picture with Jasmine, we took a selfie by Spaceship Earth, saw the gospel choir at mile 26.  Then it was the final stretch!


Ali had some fire saved up in her, as she started sprinting down to the finish line.  We finished!  Ali had finished her first ever full marathon!  I finished my 10th official* RunDisney race! (11 if you count the unofficial half from the day before!)  This is going to be a memorable race weekend for years and years to come, and I will cherish those memories!

 

 

Advertisements

2015-Year in Review

Standard

What an amazing year in running for myself!  I started January 2015 off strong, as I had just came off a very productive 2014.  Injuries weren’t messing with me as of yet, my husband and I had just moved into our new house, work was going well, and I was motivated to train for my spring goal race of the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

January brought a quick trip to Temecula, California, during exam week, where I participated in the Spartan Super & Sprint with my BFF Ali.  February came and I decided it was a good idea to run The Hypothermic Half marathon in Calgary during a huge cold snap.  Good thing I did, as I ended up running what is now my personal best-1:35:41.  That race was crucial as a morale boost and proved to me that training and hard work does pay off.  Never did I think I could run in the 1:35s!  I also signed up for and participated in a virtual race; The Coaster Run.  Why did I choose this as my first virtual race?  Well, the actual race was held at Knotts Berry Farm in California and had a Peanuts theme!  I needed that Snoopy medal!

pic1

In March, I had the local Moonlight Run 10km.  I pushed myself to my limits there, running my best Moonlight time ever of a 43:47, earning me 1st in my age group.  I was very pleased with my training progress!  A local 5 km in Coaldale came in mid-April and I crushed my previous 5km time, running a 20:42, earning me first place female.  The following week, on the anniversary of my dad’s death, I ran in the Rattler Run 10km in Medicine Hat.  This was the pinnacle race at the peak of my training cycle for Vancouver.  I busted out a 41:30, good enough for 1st female overall!  So, I had bested my 5km, 10km and half marathon times all before my goal race even came.  Had I burned myself out?

pic2

I have written about it lots on this site, so I can just briefly mention the importance that the Vancouver Full Marathon was.  This was my third dedicated try at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, having failed in 2014 while running the Calgary and Edmonton Full Marathons.  This May, it all paid off.  The training, pushing, races, tears, and pain were worth it because I not only beat my qualifying standard of 3:35.00, but crushed it with a 3:24.56!  I would be going to Boston!

Dan & I headed to Montana for the Montana Spartan Beast, which completed what would be my first trifecta of the year.  I had plans on going for a double Trifecta later in September, so this was part of the process.  I also did the Calgary 50km Ultra during Marathon weekend at the end of May, which was my first ever 50km.  My 4:40.34 earn me 2nd in my category.  The first 5 months of 2015 were such a huge success, I felt unstoppable!

But then, my body was starting to feel it.  I took a bit of time off before doing the Alberta Summer Games in July, where I ran the 10km.  A sloppy 45:55 on a hot afternoon had me frustrated—I am way better than this.  It motivated me to push hard the rest of the summer as I trained to try and get a personal best at the Disneyland 10km in September.  Before that race, I had the Lethbridge Police Half Marathon at the end of August.  Here, I also had plans to shoot for my best time.  This was a huge slap in the face, as I went out too fast, started having stomach issues, and almost broke down.  I ended 3rd female overall, which is fantastic, but my body was breaking.  The 1:40.14 at the end of summer, in the midst of a forest fire smoke warning was respectable—but I was frustrated.

pic3

September was all about Disney & Spartan Races.  And being stressed with work.  But, I had to make it happen somehow.  I went to Disneyland over Labour Day weekend where I did complete my goal of placing in my category at the Disneyland 10km.  I wasn’t anywhere close to my goal time, but I ran a respectful 43:28.  Then the following day, I ran the half marathon with my BFF and helped her crush her personal best!  All while dressed as Mary Poppins!  It was my second Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and it was a great one.  I had registered until the DDD, however, Ali hadn’t been able to and had to do the 10km and half as two separate race registrations.  Having a Dumbo medal from last year was enough for me-I passed my 2015 medal on to her.  She earned it by completing both races!

pic4

pic 6leaping to the finish

Spartan Races….the highs and the very lows.  I did the Hurricane Heat, Super and Sprint three days in a row in Red Deer.   I felt great during all three and was pumped for my Ultra Beast in Sun Peaks two weeks after.  I have a post about that here, and let me tell you….it was humbling.  I had my first ever DNF for a race, and I think I was over my head.  I could have crawled my way to the finish perhaps, but I was exhausted and fearing injury.  This was the time that the “bump” on my foot had been really bothering me.  As I ran by myself during the second loop for about an hour I was imaging hurting myself and not being able to do Boston.  I pulled myself out of the race, and a lot of tears followed.  While I can’t go back and change it, or say register just for the Beast, I don’t regret my decision. 

pic5

October brought the end of Cross Country season coaching and no races for myself.  Our team made us proud, and we sent five talented young women to Provincials in Grand Prairie, Alberta.  That is WAY north!  I took it easy, and took about 2-3 weeks off from running after the season ended mid October.  I started physio for my foot, and found out more about my x-rays.  Degenerative Arthritis and a bone spur in my right foot.  Surgery is in the works, for a time after Boston.  If something isn’t done to this soon, I run the risk of not being able to run down the road.  And I don’t want that!

pic7

November had me give it my all in the local Claus Cause 5km, only to then laugh at myself and realize how out of shape I was starting to feel.  A 22:04 would have been something I dreamed of two years ago, but now I knew I needed to keep recovering, but then get back to work.  The month of December brought the Runners Soul 4th Annual Run Streak, which I just completed today.  31 straight days of running at least 1 mile!  And this past Sunday I began my 16 week training for the 120th Boston Marathon.  My plan for Boston is to go in prepared, do my best, finish, and have fun in the process.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime race, something I have been striving towards for so long.  So, it is perfect that my 2015 ended with me doing day 5 of my Boston Training plan, as one year ago I had yet to start my Vancouver Marathon training….and Boston was just a distance dream away.

Cheers to everyone as they bring in the New Year!  Best wishes, happy thoughts, and enjoy every moment.  Je me souviens.

-Andrea

 

 

 

Disneyland Half Marathon Race Recap

Standard

So, almost two months late, but this recap is right in time for Halloween!  Why does that matter?  Because I put more effort into my Disneyland Half Marathon costume than I ever have into any Halloween costume!  This would be my second year running in the event, and my second year doing the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.  I did my recap on the Disneyland 10 km here.  The Disneyland Half is held on the Sunday after the 10km, part of Labour Day weekend.  The fact it is Labour Day weekend makes this event especially desirable to myself, because as a teacher, I have the Monday off.  It makes the travel to California possible without having to book many days off!

I would be running this race with my best friend Ali.  I have mentioned her lots in this blog, and she even has her own blog here.  She is a relatively ‘new’ runner, as she started running in April 2014.  She started running because I signed her up for the Disneyland 10km 2014.  She has now done many other events, and this would be her 3rd half marathon.  We were going to be aiming to get her a personal best time, specifically below a 2:30.00.  Her previous personal best was a 2:44 and that was at the San Francisco

We arrived bright and early like with all Disney races.  This time, we spent a lot of the extra time taking photos together.  As my one friend said, I ‘upped’ my Mary Poppins game!  I went as Mary Poppins for my 1st RunDisney event (Wine and Dine Half) but was dressed in her nanny outfit.  For this race, I went for the Jolly Holiday costume.  My mom made the arm bands, skirt and red waist corset.  I made the hat, neck piece, and the carousel horse.  That horse was interesting to pack!  Since Ali would be next to me the entire race, I wanted her to be part of the costume too, however, I knew she didn’t want anything restrictive on.  So she was one of the penguins from the Jolly Holiday scene!  I think we looked pretty cute!

before

Ali had ran a fast enough 10km time at the Tinkerbell 10km to get into Corral C.  So, we were the third group off and running.  I kept Ali going at a pretty good pace through the parks.  The first part of the Disneyland Half course is solely through the parks, and its a lot of fun!  With it still being dark out, it is really cool to see CarsLand lit up and run through the castle!  After exiting the park, we were well under pace.  But I think Ali was starting to hate me!  We were cruising!

cali advent

carsland

We would power walk up any big hills (aka overpasses) and I kept encouraging Ali the best I could.  I knew I would be pushing her limits.  After leaving the parks, you are on the streets of Anaheim until the last mile.  While the streets don’t offer a lot of picturesque views, there are a lot of spectators and groups out there keeping everyone motivated.  I think Disney does an awesome job with this portion of the race, given the fact this could be a very, very boring stretch!  Tons of high school bands, cheerleaders, dancers, ethnic dance performances, antique cars, people in costume and more!  During this stretch, the sun was starting to come up and was shining right in our face.  The heat was starting to bother me, but I wasn’t going to complain, because I knew the pace was starting to bother Ali and she really wanted to slow down.  But I wanted to keep her going, as I knew she could do it!

We were still right ahead of the 2:30 pace group when we got to the Santa Ana trail before Angels stadium.  This was the only unfortunate portion of the course, as it narrowed quite a bit and part of the trial seemed to be under construction.  Being in the mid-pack of runners was a different thing for me, as I was used to starting in Corral A at Disney races, so now I see how it can get very bottle necked.  We took a lot of walk breaks in here, and I knew we’d be able to make up the time once we reached the stadium.  The energy in Angel Stadium is amazing!  Rows and rows of Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts fill the seats, cheering us on.  The announcer is there saying as many names as he can, and video footage of the runners coming in appears on the big screen.  Ali and I were smiling through this portion and it felt awesome!

stadium

After the stadium, I knew we had to slow down.  Ali was having a little trouble keeping the pace because she was starting to feel a bit dizzy, but I knew we had built a good cushion so she could still easily get a personal best.  We kept moving and I kept encouraging her that the park was coming quick and we would be done before she knew it.  As we approached the back entrance of California Adventure, we wound around back stage for the final stretch.  This is unlike in the 10km, where you go through Downtown Disney.  I like that the final stretches are varied for each race, but the 10km finish is a bit ‘more magical.’   As we went down the final stretch, this was one spot that I didn’t mind it was narrow.  The crowds of people on each side really encouraged all the runners and pushed everyone until the very last moment.

leaping to the finish

While we weren’t able to break 2:30, we did manage to crush Ali’s personal best by over 10 minutes!  The final time was 2:33.41!  I was so proud of Ali!  She has done so much in the past year to improve her running performances and is so motivated to keep on crushing her goals!  I would not have wanted to run this race with anyone else, and I will always remember this Disneyland Half weekend!

finish

Dumbo Double Dare Photo Recap-Official MarathonFoto Pictures!

Standard

Finally got around to ordering my Disney Dumbo Double Dare race photos from MarathonFoto. I knew I had to purchase the download package as the pictures of me and my best friend in the 10km were incredible, and the half marathon shots weren’t too shabby either.

Below are some of my favorite shots from the Disneyland 10km, held on August 30th, 2014!

IMG_5976.JPG

IMG_5980.JPG

IMG_5981.JPG

IMG_5988.JPG

IMG_5986.JPG

IMG_5974.JPG

IMG_5990.JPG

IMG_5989.JPG

And now, here are my personal favorites from the Disneyland Half Marathon, held on Sunday, August 31st, 2014.

IMG_6002.JPG

IMG_6005.JPG

IMG_6001.JPG

IMG_6007.JPG

IMG_6003.JPG

IMG_6014.JPG

IMG_6022.JPG

IMG_6011.JPG

What a great weekend! Loved that this event capped off my Coast to Coast adventure!

IMG_6025.JPG

IMG_6026.JPG

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

Standard

So this is a few weeks late. Not too bad considering I came home after Dumbo Double Dare and started work five hours later, and then went to Vancouver for a wedding three days later. I need to get this recap posted because I just did another half marathon back in Lethbridge yesterday, and I don’t want to be behind on my recaps! This one won’t be long anyway….I think….

I went to bed early on Saturday night (around 9:00) because I had had trouble sleeping the night before since it was warm outside. My 2:30 alarm went off and I got ready in a zombie-like state. The best part was going to 7/11 dressed as Snow White to get coffee and some drunks heading home after a night out saying “What the fuck?!?

IMG_5910.JPG

IMG_5913.JPG
Ali and Kevin parked and got me to the staging area by 4:00 am. There were a lot more people milling around this morning compared to the 10km. The DJ was there getting people pumped up. I was set to go! I headed to the corrals around 4:45 and placed myself in the outside of Corral A, near the front. I wasn’t necessarily trying to go for some epic time that morning (I was actually nervous how my knees were going to hold up since I had just done Edmonton Full Marathon the week prior) but I wanted to be out front to start, since the course is rather narrow.

IMG_5879.JPG

IMG_5895.JPG

I knew when I started I wanted to push hard early on, so to avoid the warm Anaheim sun. I was not going to stop for any pictures during the race, as I would rely on Marathon Foto to capture any of me as I went by. (I have purchased the photo downloads of both races from them and will post a pictorial of my favorites in a separate post!)

The first mile was my fastest. I blew out of that gate. I ran a 7:17. And before I knew it, I was already in Disney’s California Adventure! The course for the half brought you into the parks much quicker than the 10km, and it also brought you through it somewhat in reverse. I got to run past World of Colour without having to run on the wooden boardwalk, run down Cars Land towards the Radiator Springs facade. As I cut between DCA and Disneyland I was able to see Ali and Kevin for a brief second. Running down Main Street was fantastic, as people who had purchased ChEAR Squad packages were allowed on there, unlike the 10km where no one was able to spectate. The thing I realized early on, that would keep me pumped throughout, that since I was near the front of the group, I was one of the first “costumed” runners people would see. A lot of the hard cores don’t normally dress up, especially the guys, and many women may just have a sparkly skirt on. It was fun to have kids and adults yell “Go Snow White!”

By the time I was out of Disneyland property, I had run miles 2-4, in 7:29, 7:31, and 7:51. I was concerned how running on the streets of Anaheim would go, as I was unsure how “entertaining” it would be. I had read tons of reviews of this race, and people almost always said how great the support and entertainment was on the city streets. Now, I was actually able to see what everyone meant!

This was not a bunch of empty roads full of commercial businesses. The roads had many clusters of spectators cheering loudly. Spectators had awesome signs and music blaring. There were various ethnic dance groups performing as we ran by. I remember a Mexican & Hawaiian troupe specifically. There was also a mile long stretch going through highway underpasses that could have been dreadful. This was remedied by our own personal classic car show. Car afficiandos would have LOVED this, and while I don’t normally care for looking at cars, the tailgate-style atmosphere and pride of the car owners was incredible. Miles 5-8 were 7:44, 7:32, 7:41 and 7:55.

There were close to 20-25 cheerleading/Pom Pon teams and high school bands entertaining throughout. Families of these kids were there watching the event also. Jumping ahead of myself, near the end when my knees really had taken a beating and I was sweaty from the humidity and heat beyond belief, the thing that kept me going was running by the band kids and cheerleaders, giving them high fives. I felt a connection to them, as I was in high school band and a Pom Pon girl for all my years of high school. And also, when you get to Angels Stadium, the entrance into it, the exit out of it, and while running the bases, was lined with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout until 9th grade and after I graduated high school, worked for one summer at Camp Alice Chester, the Girl Scout Camp I grew up going to. Without being too sappy, seeing the scouts, the marching bands and the cheerleaders gave me flashbacks of my life 10-15 years ago. I got emotional about it, because I’m a piece of crap like that. But it pushed me through.

IMG_5954.JPG
Those last miles were tough. My body hurt, my legs felt like trash. But I wanted to finish strong. The crowds that lined the finish area of Downtown Disney were electric. I even found some energy in my reserves to help push me in just under 1:40.00. My final miles were 8:02, 8:00, 8:00 and 7:44, bringing me in with an official time of 1:39:57. I had completed the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and also earned my coveted Coast-to-Coast medal. The combination of doing the Dopey Challenge in January and now Dumbo in August is unreal and unmatched, in my opinion.

IMG_5817.JPG

IMG_5750.JPG
Will I do this race again? YES. I love Disney. I love visiting my best friend. I love running. This course is fantastic. The race swag is second-to-none. The time of the race is right before the school year starts, so traveling here is doable. While it costs a pretty penny to fly down to California from Alberta, it is still more affordable than going to Orlando. And Ali and I are in the talks of doing Dumbo together next year. This race will always be special to me, and I can’t wait to do it again and again.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend-The Expo

Standard

This post will be about the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo only. I will discuss the 10km & Half Marathon in a later post.

IMG_5779.JPG

I arrived to California on Wednesday night, around 10:30 pm. My best friend lives about 15 minutes from LAX, in Redondo Beach. We would drive from her place to Anaheim each day of the expo and the races. The drive would roughly take 30-40 minutes, depending on if it was later in the day, or the ass-crack of dawn on race morning.

I couldn’t sleep the first night, so when I woke up at 5:54 am, I naturally decided to sign up for the “virtual queue” for the RunDisney New Balance shoes. The online sign up opened at 6 am, so before I knew it I had a return time of 12:50 pm, which was 50 minutes after the expo opened. RunDisney shoes would be mine!

Ali has a Disneyland Annual Pass + Parking, so parking for all race weekend related activities was a breeze! We arrived to the parking structure around 11:30 am on Thursday, and by the time we made it to the downstairs of the expo, they already had things up and running. Ali literally had no wait for her 10km package pickup. For me, it took around 15-20 minutes to get my Dumbo Double Dare goods, Coast to Coast wristband, pre-purchased pins and my Dooney & Burke bag. We were up to the expo floor by the official noon starting time!!

IMG_5684.JPG

IMG_5682.JPG

We wandered to the back by the Offical RunDisney merchandise where a long queue line had already formed. I had read posts online in regards to last year, that the merchandise lines were a disaster. Disorderly, things sold out, etc. I am happy to say I think everything went VERY smooth. Disney employees were stationed amongst the line to assure there was no line-cutting, and that people knew where the line started. We weaved through the line for about 20 minutes before being let into the store area. It was not crowded, as they were paying close attention to the number of guests entering and exiting. Tons of sizes and choices, so we got in and out rather quickly.

The expo space itself it quite smaller than the Wide World of Sports setup in Disney World, however, I never felt claustrophobic or congested as we wandered the aisles. Ali and her boyfriend did some wandering together after the official merchandise, as I headed to my New Balance queue line. I met up with Rick Stiles, a fellow Dopey runner, who was in line for shoes himself. I had reserved a pair of the Cinderella shoes in a 7.5, so after about 8-10 minutes of waiting in line, an associate took me to a bench where she brought my shoes out to try on. It was so quick and easy. Actually everything had been so easy that morning: RunDisney is making it so damn easy for me to spend my money!

IMG_5675.JPG

IMG_5656.JPG

I bought a few other things at the expo, including a SportsHook extension for my medal hanger, some cute shoe charms with the Dopey and Dumbo Challenge distances on them, and a second Dr. Cool ice pack. We were starving by then and wandered over to ESPN zone where we were seated immediately in the bar area. Food was great! We headed into the Disneyland hotel where Ali and I got a sweet picture with Goofy, pretended to drive the old Autopia ride vehicle, and got to chat with “Perfectly Goofy” Gail Savidge and the unstoppable Kimberly Markey (who spent a great part of this last year undergoing chemo for breast cancer!)

IMG_5673.JPG

IMG_5662.JPG

IMG_5678.JPG

Overall, our day at the expo was fantastic! I strongly suggest getting to any RunDisney expo a half hour before official opening. You can get through pickup and purchasing much quicker, with a lot less people. It made for a much more enjoyable experience!

IMG_5672.JPG

My Facebook Status-Real Recap Next Week

Standard

All 11 RunDisney medals I have earned from November 2013-now. Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Dopey Challenge and now Dumbo Double Dare. This was what the last year and a half has been all about. Disney was and still is such an important place for my family. Running is such an important part of my life. Being able to mesh them both together in memory of my dad has been the best therapy ever. I love you dad.

IMG_5769.JPG

Going Back to the Original Purpose…

Standard

When I wrote my first blog post on January 6th, 2013, I stated some information about who I was, what I was about, and what I was planning on doing over the course of the next year.

My first “real” blog entry

In those initial purpose and goal statements, running a Boston Qualifying race time was never an initial goal.  I ran more races than I ever had before, I raised money for a cause important to my heart.  I even started breaking my own personal best times and realized I could become a contender in my own right.  I went and achieved all my original goals.  The thought of Boston came after I completed the Walt Disney Full Marathon in January in 3:50:52.  It was a late-in-the-game goal.  I figured I might as well try.

 

As you know from my post yesterday, I didn’t achieve that goal.  But, as you also know from that post, I am not going to let it get me down and ruin me.  I think back to everything I have been able to complete and achieve this past year and it makes me smile.  It makes me happy.  And being happy is the most important thing to me right now.

 

Tonight, I head out California where I will be participating in something else that wasn’t in the original plan.  I am participating in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, and partaking in the “Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.”  Not as daunting as the “Dopey Challenge“, but still challenge enough, I will run 19.3 miles over the course of two days:  A 10km on Saturday (with my best friend Ali-her first 10km ever!), and a half marathon on Sunday.  Upon completion, I will not only receive the gorgeous Dumbo Double Dare medal, but I will also be the proud owner of the Disney Coast 2 Coast medal.  I will have completed two RunDisney events of a half marathon or longer on both coasts in one calendar year. 

 

I didn’t plan on this when I first started my blog.  But, plans change.  The Boston challenge was a stressful, demanding one.  I could have really let that get me down after not getting in at both Calgary Full Marathon in June and in Edmonton Marathon this past Sunday.  But I didn’t.  And now come the exciting change, that helps me bring this back to what it was all about.  It says so right at the top of my page:

 

Running, Disney World & Dad….How do they connect together? Follow my journey this year to find out.

 

It has now been well over a year since I first started that journey.  If you have been following me since then, I think you may better realize how they all connect.  I know I have a deeper understanding myself.  I am looking forward to doing this race weekend in Disneyland not only for myself, for my best friend, for my family members, but most importantly, for my dad.  If he could see me smiling running through Disneyland, that would be more important to him, even now as I near the age of 30, than me making Boston.

 

I love you Dad.  Je me souviens.

Recreating Memories

Standard

Some people like to recreate photos with their siblings or friends to model after photos of the past. I, on the other hand, enjoy taking photos resembling some iconic poses from my dad’s past.

These photos may not be important to anyone else but me and my mom. But being able to now go 11, 12 years later and take the “same shot” is priceless in my eyes. And there is no other place better to do this than Walt Disney World.!

My first attempt was last August 2013, when I went on my #16days extravaganza trip to Walt Disney World. My dad loved Buzz Lightyear; I have noted this before. I had to get my photo with Buzz! So, I waited in line solely for the purpose of this shot:

20140720-120139-43299320.jpg

That was really my one “goal“-to recreate a photo next to Buzz. But this July, I had a second opportunity presented to me! A Photopass Photographer was in front of the Star Wars Starspeeder. The photo of my dad here was not only taken the same year as Buzz, but within a 20 minute period of one another. My mom and him were waiting outside of Star Tours for me that year and wandering around and she took both those pictures then! (She also got pooped on by a bird during that time. Don’t have a photo of that though!). Anyways, with that being said, I had to take a picture!

20140720-121215-43935019.jpg

If another chance ever arises for me to “recreate” one of my dad’s “iconic” poses, I will certainly rise to the occasion!

Getting Pumped for Revisiting 1991….

Standard

How am I going to do that? Well, a Disney trip of course!!!

20140705-150401-54241124.jpg

Next week, my mom and I head down to WDW for 7 nights. We will be staying at none other than Disney’s Polynesian Resort. We have not stayed at this resort since our first family trip in 1991! Since our stay at Polynesian, we tried “Moderate Resorts”, like Port Orleans French Quarter, “Value Resorts”, like Pop Century, and other “Deluxe Resorts”, such as Yacht & Beach Club.

Our decision to try Polynesian again now some 23 years later was definitely rooted in nostalgia. This was the resort that started our family addiction to Walt Disney World! The location on the monorail is ideal for visiting Magic Kingdom at a come-and-go pace, and with all the new attractions in New Fantasyland, we will be focusing on the original gate a lot!

20140705-145954-53994580.jpg
The Polynesian Resort has gone over lots of refurbishments the past 2 decades, so the views of the quiet pool and the general resort footprint won’t be exactly the same. The photo above is an aerial shot of the Polynesian in 1991. I hope they sell new ones in the gift shop, as I would like to see the change! Another big change from our first trip is that the original main pool that my dad and I spent tons of time in has also been overhauled.

20140705-150149-54109376.jpg

20140705-150148-54108195.jpg

20140705-150148-54108870.jpg

20140705-150148-54108535.jpg
Our dining choices in 2014 will be somewhat different than the choices in 1991…In 1991, the big dinner we did was the Mickey Mouse Luau at the Polynesian Resort. We ate family style, watched dancers and learned the hula. Have to admit, my mom will not be partaking in this again, but we do have our own special dinner booked at Victoria & Alberts and Narcooses, both found at the adjacent Grand Floridan Resort & Spa.

20140705-150258-54178073.jpg

20140705-150257-54177485.jpg

20140705-150257-54177168.jpg
We both cannot wait to experience this resort for the second time. It really puts a gold seal on our “Disney Passport” as we have now gone full-circle, so to speak…back where it all began!