Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Have The Bestest Friends!

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 36th birthday in Walt Disney World. And while I thought the best present I would receive that day would be my Donald Duck medal I learned that it wasn't. The best present I received was love and friendship. My friends made it the second best birthday I ever had. Number one going to the year I got engaged on my birthday.

My friends surprised me in so many ways. From getting me a birthday cake at dinner at the Whispering Canyon to a cool Tigger watch. Here are a few things I received while I was there:
a plush birthday Tigger with gift card, bath salts from Basin, my cool Tigger watch, a vibrating Alien doll from Toy Story Mania (there's a story behind this gift which is between the giver and myself- lol) and a candy bar cake that was filled with awesome goodies and came with a plush Tigger and balloon.

So thank you to Ryan, Aileen, Pat, Lou, Virginia, Glenn and Tracy for my awesome presents but more importantly thank you for your love and friendship. It means the WORLD to me!! I love you guys!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I Learned From Marathon Weekend

My husband tells me I'll never learn but he is wrong. There are plenty of things I learned about doing a marathon at Walt Disney World. So here are things that I learned along with a few tips for next years marathoners.

1. TRAIN! TRAIN! TRAIN! and train some more. I started out training really well but then slacked off once I knew I wasn't going to run the race. That was a mistake. Even if you know ahead of time that you are going to walk the race, train with all your heart. It'll be much easier on reace day if you do.

2. BodyGlide is your friend. I bought some but only applied it to my inner thighs. I wish I would've put it on my feet. Maybe then I wouldn't have gotten the blisters that I did.

3. Research about the race and training for a race. The more you know the easier it will be. At one point I think I had read too much about running. I was overwhelmed with information.

4. It can be chilly on race day so keep that sweatshirt on until you need to take it off.

5. The Race Retreat is awesome! The private bathrooms alone make it worth the money.

6. If you never tried Clif Shots before don't do it on race day. Bring along whatever it is you like and eat that. For me it was JellyBelly energy beans.

7. The port-a-potties can run out of TP fast. Bring an extra roll with you on race day and pass it down the line if you have to. (I didn't run into this in the Race Retreat area) Also, if you have room fold up a few sheets and take them along.

8. Thank the volunteers. Whether they are handing you water, cheering or cleaning up the garabage. They need to know they are appreciated.

9. Cheer on the other racers and make friends with those around you.

10. Wear that medal with pride!! You earned it!

So now that I'm done with the Walt Disney World 1/2 marathon people have been asking me what's next. Before the 1/2 marathon even happened I knew that I would be participating in the Tower of Terror 13k race on October 24th. But over the last few days I've been thinking and I'm formally announcing that.....................................

Yep, I'm going to do the 1/2 marathon there and get my Coast 2 Coast medal. I plan on training better for this race. I've never been to Disneyland before so any advice anyone has for me I'd appreciate!! I have no clue how to start planning a trip for there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WDW 1/2 Marathon Report Part Two

Ok, here we goooooo....

After going past the Contemporary Resort we headed into the Magic Kingdom via backstage. It was so cool being backstage before coming out onto Main Street. You come out beside Tony's Town Square and what a site it is to see City Hall there and everyone cheering you on. Music is blasting on Main Street, people are cheering and you couldn't help but get excited to be there. As Tracy and I are heading up Main Street we see our friends (Pat, Lou, Val and Virginia) standing there holding signs, whooping/hollering and taking pictures. What a great feeling it was to have friends there cheering us on.

After you go up Main Street you cross into Tomorrowland. By now I was needing to find a restroom. Not so much to go to the bathroom but rather than to take off my sweatpants. I knew there was a restroom by Mickey's Star Traders BUT it was closed!! We continue on the way to the next restroom. It was great getting my sweats off. I was starting to get hot. After going through Tomorrowland you run through Fantasyland. We saw Piglet as we went by and Cinderella's stepsisters. One of the highlights of going through the Magic Kingdom is running through Cinderella Castle. It's not the same as walking through it when the park is open. After going through the castle you head towards Liberty Square and Frontierland. Some of the Country Bears were out to greet the runners. But the best; the coolest part was yet to come. After coming out of Frontierland you head backstage again and as Tracy and I rounded a corner we saw HIM---JACK!!!! We both yelled JACK at the same time and bolted down the hill to him. He was on a pirate ship float with some other scallywags. We got in line to get our picture taken with him. I asked him where the rum was and he told me at the finish line. I found out later there was no rum there.

Now here comes, what I think, is the hardest part of the 1/2 marathon. From the time you leave Magic Kingdom until you see Spaceship Earth is the longest part. You come out of all the excitement of the Magic Kingdom into nothing! You're going along Floridian Way with not much to look at but the resorts and some trees. Granted we saw Mary Poppins and Bert outside the Grand Floridian and a few local bands along the way but it just wasn't exciting. Although one funny thing did happen along this route. I think around mile 8 or so they give you Clif Shots to get a burst of energy. I've had these before and absolutely hate them. But Tracy had never had one before. All I can say is I wish I would've had the camera ready. She put some in her mouth and before I knew it she was spitting it out. The worst part was that there was no water there to drink or rinse your mouth out with. So we had to go another mile to get something to drink.

If any of you listened to the 100th episode of the WDWRadio Show you heard Lou make a comment about how he figured I'd be calling him at Mile 10 swearing at him for him getting me into all of this. I guess I should say that Lou inspired me to do the 1/2 marathon last year. I figured if he could do it then so could I. ( lol, you know I love ya Lou). Anyways, we get to Mile 10 and I call Lou. He's laughing at me because I'm calling him and asks where we are at. I told him it was his Mile 10 you suck, what did you get me into call. He's cracking up laughing at me. I ask where they are at and he said right outside of Epcot. Great- we'll see you there. Around Mile 11 is when Tracy's ankle really started to hurt and my blisters weren't making me happy, but we both refuse to stop at the medical tent. I figured if I took my shoe off, I wouldn't want to put it back on.

As we are crossing the overpass into Epcot my Ipod is playing "I Can Go The Distance". What a perfect song to hear at that moment, especially as I look over at Spaceship Earth. We see the Mile 12 marker and not far past that there are our friends again yelling and cheering. At this point it all hit me. I'm hugging them; I'm crying and I'm telling them I don't want to go on anymore. They were so supportive and were telling me that I was there all I had to do was go through Epcot and I'd be done. Ok! Off we go. Entering Epcot must've given me some energy because before I knew it we were on the way out of Epcot going through a backstage area. Once you are in this area you can hear singing. There is, what I would call, a gospel choir singing. It was beautiful.

We come from backstage by the back end of the kennel club. We're almost there. I'm looking for another friend of mine which I knew was along the way there. I see him and all our other friends cheering us on again and suddenly I look and there beside me is Andy, a great friend of mine. I was so excited to see him that I started screaming and hugging him. I bet it looks great on video. We head towards the finish line. We see the finish line. We run to the finish line- hand in hand- and cross together. Emotions pour out of me as Tracy and I are hugging. We're both crying. We head over to get our medals. What an amazing feeling as they placed it around my neck. And of course the next stop was the medical tent to have Tracy's ankle looked at. As she is sitting there getting some ice put on it I send out text messages that we finished.

We then headed back over to the Race Retreat for some food and refreshments. When we arrived they had a towel and flip flops for us. After some nourishment, we got massages and then headed back to the resort for some much needed showers. Boy, did I stink!

Up next, things I learned from the marathon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

WDW 1/2 Marathon Report

I'm going to do my marathon report in sections so it's not one big boring post.

Saturday, January 10th started out at 1:30am for me. I had the alarm set for 2am but after tossing and turning I decided to get up and get ready. I had laid out everything I needed the night before so I wasn't rushing around to find things, like my shorts and birthday ears. I had planned on leaving the resort by 3 but since it didn't take long to get ready Tracy and I headed out the door around 2:45 or so. And good thing we did because the way I knew how to get to Epcot from the resort was closed. I wasn't really sure which was to go so I started following a car that had a marathon flag on his window. Needless to say, I followed him to the backstage area and was told which was to go from there.

I think Tracy and I were the 5th car in the parking lot that morning and the funny thing was that we ended up parking beside a friend of ours. Since it was early and rather chilly out that morning we should've stayed in the warm car for awhile. But we didn't. We headed to the race area where I think we were the first 3 people there. Or so it seemed since I didn't see another runners around. All the volunteers were still getting things ready for everyone to arrive and the band was warming up. I had boughten Tracy and I the Race Retreat. The Race Retreat was a special tent that had nice comfy couches to sit on; was warmer than outside; had bagels, fruit and drinks; characters to get your picture with; a special baggage check area but most importantly, it had its own restroom area. That alone was worth the money.

Tracy and I relaxed on the couch for some and then started to see a few people we knew. After chatting with them we figured we better get ready to head to the starting line and get in our corral. This is when I made the biggest mistake of the race. I had a sweatshirt on and decided that I better take it off so I didn't have to deal with it and so they could see my bib number. How dumb was I. I pretty much froze for the next hour before the race started. At least I kept my sweatpants on and had a pair of gloves to wear. Now to get to the starting line area from the race retreat was about a 20 minute walk or more. And in the cold it seemed longer. People were huddling by the portable lights because the generators were blowing out hot air. I wasn't convinced that was a good idea since once you were warmed up you were just going to get cold again. We make it to our corral and wait and wait and wait. It seemed like it was taking forever for the race to start but looking back at it time did fly by.

The race starts in 3 different waves. Wave 1 is for the really fast people that make me sick, Wave 2 is where we were but in the last corral of it and then Wave 3 is usually for walkers. They decide what Wave you are in by the finish time you submit when you register. The wheelchair racers start several minutes before the first wave. They sang the National Anthem and set off some fireworks and the first wave went running. After the first wave of people are gone they move up the next wave. This is when it all started to hit me- the nervousness, the excitement, the holy crap I can't believe I'm doing this!! I kept making funny comments that a guy behind me told me he was loving my energy. ENERGY?? I think I'm going to puke!!

They started the countdown for our wave, set off the fireworks again and bang off we go! It take awhile to get across the starting line with that amount of people so it probably took us 10 minutes or so just to cross it. But of course we didn't cross it without saying hi to Mickey, Donald and Goofy first. The first few miles are the craziest. People are trying to get around you and start their pace. I was finding it amusing that not even 1 mile into the race people were heading to the side of the road to "relieve" themselves. I'm sorry, but peeing in Disney's bushes just seems wrong. But I know, when you got to go, you got to go.

The race goes up World Drive at Mile 2 which the monorail track runs parallel to. The monorails would go by and beep their horns. Once in awhile you could tell someone was videotaping because you would see a little red light on in one of the cabs. After about a mile or so I starting singing "Follow the monorail, follow the monorail, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the monorail." I know sounds corny but someone was singing it with us. There's not much to look at along World Drive so we were entertaining ourselves by ready peoples shirts. I think my favorite one said "If you're reading this you were just passed by a fat guy." Of course I had to take a picture of it, which made the guy laugh.

Just before you hit Mile 5 is when you have to go up the hill before the Contemporary. We ran down the hill but walked up it. At the top was a DJ doing the hand jive and so was Tracy and I. Since I was wearing my birthday Mickey ears he yelled out "Happy Birthday". I got a few birthday wishes along the way that day.

This is where I'm going to end for now since the best part is next: going through the Magic Kingdom!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Quick Update

I just wanted everyone to know that I survived the 1/2 marathon. I plan on writing a trip report about the race and the rest of my trip. It may take a day or two for me to post it since I need to get caught up on some things first.

Thanks for all your support before, during and after the race! You guys ROCK!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Packet Pickup

Tracy and I picked up our race packets yesterday for the 1/2 marathon. The crowds didn't seem bad at all when we turned our waivers in. We even found Aileen and Ryan from Main St. Gazette when we got there. After we turned our waivers in we headed to another building to get our t-shirt and goody bag. There wasn't even a line for that. That's because everyone was shopping. The expo part of this had 50 vendors set up selling items, giving demos and one both was doing massages.
Disney had an offer that if you spent $125 on Disney marathon merchandise you received a $40 gift card. Well I had no problem at all spending that much. I picked up a 2009 1/2 marathon sweathsirt, glass, t-shirt, 2 magnets (had to get one for my mom) and a shirt for Cassidy that said "My Mom Ran the Disney 1/2 marathon". I got checked out fast but then you had to get in another line to pick up your gift cards. That line was moving pretty quickly until they started having computer problems. So I was probably there 10 minutes more than I should've been. Oh and for whatever reason it was really hot in that building so by the time I was done I needed something to drink and had to get out of there.
Tracy and I signed up for the Race Retreat and we were trying to figure out where we needed to pick up our wristbands for it and get our pins. After asking about 10 people that had no clue we went back to where we turned out waivers in (The Milk House) and found out that's where we pickup our pins and the Race Retreat packet. I'm not sure why they didn't tell us where to get our pins when we turned our waivers in, but oh well.
After this we left and went to get groceries. That was the first time I was down that road. I was all excited to see a Joe's Crab Shack and Tracy was excited for Dunkin' Donuts. After we hit Winn Dixie we grabbed some coffee and donuts and headed back to our room. We quickly put everything away and went to T-Rex for dinner with some friends. It was a nice, somewhat relaxing day.
Today we're hitting The Studios for Toy Story Mania and lunch at 50's Prime Time. Then back early to relax and be in bed early. I just hope I can sleep.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm home!!

Just wanted to post a quick note. I arrived in Walt Disney World yesterday for marathon weekend. I spent one night in Coronado Springs and I'm now at Saratoga Springs. The weather is beautiful today. I knew I needed some sunshine to make me feel better.

Tracy and I are picking up our race packets later today. I plan on posting some photos from the Wide World of Sports. I'm curious to see how this expo compares to the one in May. I did get to see a map and it looks twice the size. It should be a lot of fun and hopefully we'll run into a few friends while we're there.

T minus 2 days will the 1/2 marathon (and my birthday).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A little over a week and counting

This was me crossing the finish line during Minnie marathon weekend in May. It was a 15k race. Man, I wish I still looked that good. A week and so many days from now is the 1/2 marathon that I'm participating in. Notice how I said "participating" and not "running" in. I feel under trained for it but I know that I will still finish. I may be crawling across the finish line but nevertheless, I will be crossing it.

This is my final plea for donations to the Dream Team. I had a goal of $1000 and as I'm writing this I'm still about $300 short. I know times are tough but please considering making some type of donation to the Dream Team. The money we raise goes to Make-A-Wish to help children's dreams come true. I'm making one of my dreams come true and I would like to do the same for them.

Thank You!