Tag Archives: world showcase

Star Wars Half Marathon Recap

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In my final post regarding the Star Wars Race Weekend, I will finally talk about the Half Marathon.  In case you aren’t familiar with the RunDisney race weekends, they have all sort of evolved to having a “Challenge” option.  With exception to Marathon Weekend in January, every other race weekend has an option to sign up for both the 10km on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. (Marathon Weekend goes one step further and has the Dopey Challenge where you do the 5km, 10km, half and full….I did this in 2014 and that was my driving force for fundraising in memory of my late father)

Dan and I were both signed up for the Dark Order Challenge, so in addition to the 10km we completed on Saturday we would be running in a half marathon on Sunday.  We went to bed at a reasonable time Saturday night and then participated in a Groundhog Day style moment Sunday moment where I got up at 2:30 am to pump and we got ready and headed to the transportation to race start.

I did want to make sure we got closer to the front of our corral than we were for the 10km, so that meant we weren’t going to waste time wandering slowly in the open areas.  We walked all the way to the back portion of the staging area to use the farthest porta potties and then went to the holding pen for Corral A.  They eventually moved Corral A into the starting gate and we were only a few rows back from the very front.  Nice!

Waiting around is kind of boring at any race, so at least at a Disney race they have announcers, video footage, and characters to help pass the time.  Again, I am not a Star Wars fan.  I am not against it, or hate it, I just don’t know anything about it.  What I learned while standing there watching different trailers for new movies and highlights from old movies is that 1.) Good guys have blue and green light sabres and 2.) bad guys have red light sabres.   Am I right?

Onto the race….

I knew this would be interesting because this would be the first Disney race challenge that I would try and ‘race’ back-to-back events.  I usually will race one of them, and take the other easy.  For instance, in 2015 I raced the Disneyland 10km and then for the half marathon I ran with Ali pacing her to a personal best.  Really, that’s the smart thing to do.  But I wanted to push.  Dan agreed to run along with me this race so at least I’d have him by my side.  Race started and off we went!

I knew the first miles of the course were technically just like the portion of the full marathon from after the monorail hotels.  But this would be different because at 5:30 am it would still be dark.  I was nervous it would be as boring as the previous days’ 10km, but both Dan and I were pleased the the first couple miles that were heavily tree-lined also had lots of lights, music, sound effects and photo stops on the side.  We weren’t stopping for any photos but it is still nice to see these up ahead and to look at them as you run by.

By the time we got to Animal Kingdom, we were getting warm.  The humidity was bothering me more today than Saturday, and I am not sure if it was more humid even or if it was just the fact that I knew I had more miles ahead of me than I did the day prior.  I tried not to think about it when we ran through Animal Kingdom, and I actually forgot about it briefly when Dan and I had some man draft behind us for about a mile who had the most annoying breathing pattern.  I kept trying to speed up to lose him but he kept creeping behind us and right between us.  GO AWAY!!!!  I eventually slowed a tad just to let this guy through because I was ready to lose my shit.  This was at about the time we were running through Pandora so I didn’t really get to take in all the scenery as I was just annoyed with this man. If anyone knows the man in the photo below between Dan and I, please let him know he should not sidle up to others. Thanks.

We made our way out of Animal Kingdom by way of Dinoland and hit an aid station.  Dan and I were so thirsty that we decided to powerwalk through the aid station to drink Powerade and dump water on ourselves.  Did I mention it was humid?  Shortly after this aid station we made a joint decision:  we would walk through every aid station and pound Powerade and dump water.  It would be needed for survival.  Ultimately, I am glad we did this even though I know our time was slower because of the walking.  But if we hadn’t, the final time may have been even worse because we would have been piles of crap.

Also as we left Animal Kingdom I did an unheard of thing for myself: I took my tanktop off and ran in my sports bra.  I may wear revealing bikinis on the beach, but when I work out or run or do yard work I do not like just being in a sports bra and shorts.  Just not my thing.  But again….the humidity was terrible.  Dan encouraged me to do this, as he had already taken his top off and felt better immediately after doing so.  I will admit it did feel great to get the top off.  I didn’t ditch the top, as it is one of my favorite LuluLemon tops, so I wrapped it around my water belt.

After making the decision to take it easy through the aid stations and shed my shirt, Dan and I both relaxed and had a lot of fun!  We still tried to keep up a good pace, but my legs were getting pretty tired, most likely due to the 10km from the previous day.  We were also getting hungry!  I think our early 5pm dinner the night before, the smaller breakfast that morning, and my pumping before the race all played into my hunger pains.  The Powerade provided some liquid calories and sugars to keep us ‘up’ and then when we got to the food station we both took two packs of the Sport Beans to eat.  We needed fuel bad!  Once we got to Hollywood Studios, however, I knew we could both muster the necessary energy needed in order to finish strong.

While we didn’t stop for any photo stops, we did get lots of great Photopass picutres taken of us.  During the food station I actually took some time to get my race bib off of my sweaty, wet tank top and put onto my water belt.  This was important because your race number IDs you for the photos!  Since my mom is an annual passmember she gets Photopass included and she could register our race bibs on her account.  So ‘free photos’ if you want to use that term loosely!

We finished the race with an official time of 1:50.35.  Dan’s time did not show up on RunDisney and I am thinking it is because he ruined the timing chip on his bib the night before.  After running the 10km, he took his shirt and wrung it out because it was soaked, completely crumpling his bib.  I pointed out he needed to use it the next day and the look on his face was so crushed.  Our splits were as follows (and for the record my watch recorded the distance to be 13.3 miles.  I glanced at my watch when it hit the 13.1 and the time was around 1:49.14)

I don’t know when the next RunDisney race weekend that we attend will be, but I know this won’t be the last!  We really did enjoy ourselves, from the well-planned out expo, to me running beyond my goal time in the 10km, to us running together as husband & wife in the half!  You don’t necessarily need to be a ‘fan’ of the race theme to have a great time at the race weekend!

Note: I have extra medals compared to Dan because I had registered for the Kessel Run Challenge in addition to the Dark Order Challenge.  This meant I did the Start Wars Virtual Half Marathon at home, earned that medal, PLUS the Kessel Run medal at the completion of this race.  RunDisney sure knows how to take my money….bling bling.

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Wine & Dine in Walt Disney World…Yes Please!

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I am registered for a second RunDisney event! On November 9, 2013, I will be running in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Walt Disney World! My friend Teresa and I are going to be running it together! Her and I worked at Badgerette, went to the same university, and coached a JV Pom Pon Squad together. This will be her first ever half marathon. The timing worked well since we have a Friday-Monday off of work that weekend for Remembrance Day. All it took was a couple late-night discussions, a check of AirMiles flights available for myself, and we registered and never looked back!

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In the spirit of this race, my entry today is talking about my family’s history of Disney ‘wining and dining.’ Now, I have never been to the official Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT yet, so this will be a Disney first for myself. But since our first trip in 1991, we have wined and dined our way through WDW, and I think it is safe to say that our level of dining has possibly increased over the years….

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Take this first photo. Here I am at age 7 during our first trip indulging on some tasty nachos at MGM Studios. Not exactly first class, but it was a start.

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Now, this is more like it! October 1993. Here my dad and I are at Rose and Crown Pub in the United Kingdom pavillion at EPCOT. Me running in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is perfect since EPCOT has always been our favorite of the parks. While my dad is clutching his beer, I am clutching my EPCOT passport, which I still have! I already loved this park, but it was a way to encourage a kid to go into each country (for their parents’ sake). At each country, one of the workers would sign and stamp the corresponding page in the passport, usually writing something in the country’s language. They now have tons of other activities like this at EPCOT but this was one of the first ways Disney attempted to get children more interest in World Showcase. Love it!

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Also in 1993, we trekked over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground for the Hoop De Do Musical Revue! Sangria and beer was the beverage provided to adults, and washboards were used for audience participation. And the second photo was at Diamond Horseshoe at Magic Kingdom. Back in the 90s, you had to book a reservation for this show at guest services in the morning. Lunch was also served during the show. The show does not operate anymore and the building space is occasionally used during high-traffic seasons for a quick service dining location. We were fortunate enough to experience this attraction while still in full operation!

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1995 brought us to Sci-Fi Dine In!. We had been to this dining location the trip previous, and while it is slightly corny, we still enjoy it. My friend Maureen and I have been here once together, and my mom and I went here again during our most recent trip (see below)

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Needless to say, you can see in the later years we really enjoy the “wining” part a bit more than the “dining!”

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It was in the year 2000 that we started to kick it up a notch.
. Here are my parents at California Grill on the top floor of the Contemporary. We were celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary. This was our first Disney meal of this caliber. And we got hooked. It was a great dining experience, and being able to view the fireworks from the rooftop deck was the best way to watch. We plan on going back to California Grill this January after the marathon weekend. They are closed right now for refurbishments so I can’t wait to see what it is like!

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During our last family trip to WDW in 2003, we revisited a tried and true favorite-Teppan Edo.. In the Japan Pavillion in World Showcase, this dining experience features the teppan chefs preparing your meal on the grill in front of you. It is always a fun time and the meal is also awesome. We went to a lot of great restaurants this final family trip, including Brown Derby. But one of the most memorable experiences food and wine related from this last family trip was the complimentary upgrade to concierge level at Yacht Club. It was a fantastic surprise and I know my dad definitely enjoyed the complimentary food and beverages all day the most!

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In 2006, my mom and I drank around the world-World Showcase of course! Here is one of the final stops, back at a familiar place, in front of Rose & Crown Pub.

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On our most recent trip together, my mom and I indulged in the best of World Showcase, by partaking in the little advertised Wine Walk.. We sampled two wines in three countries, starting with Germany. We had a great time in Germany talking with the cast member Isabel. France and Italy were the other two stops on the Wine Walk. It was a small fee and totally worth doing if you go to World Showcase at a time that is not Food & Wine Festival time.

The most amazing dining experience of my life has been at Victoria & Alberts.. It is a five star restaurant at Grand Floridian, and I am lucky (and spoiled enough) to have been here twice—once with Maureen and once with my mom. The seven course meal was paired with wine and is an absolute must for any “foodie.” It is safe to say that my mom and I have come a long way with our Disney “Wining & Dining!” Cheers!

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