2014 Training Stats

Miles Completed = 197.38
(Run/Walked = 133.38, Biked = 61.50, Elliptical = 2.50)

Countdowns!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 Expedition Everest

I attempted to attend the Expedition Everest Expo on the Friday before the race, but it was pouring down rain and my umbrella was at home. I had left from work so I wasn't in my knock around clothes and I decided that rather than ruining my work shoes and getting completely drenched, I headed home.

Saturday morning I headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports right around the time the expo was supposed to open. I knew that the Expedition Everest Family Edition was taking place and the Kids' races, but didn't think it would be too busy. When I arrived it was still pouring down rain and the line of cars was all the way down the drive. The line of cars was so long we were all headed to overflow parking rather than the normal parking lot entrance. It took me quite a while to park and then I had the wet trek up to Champion Stadium, but I wasn't in a huge hurry.

I got the umbrella out and just took my time walking up the entrance ramp. The Kids' Races must have just been ending as I was seeing a lot of soaking wet little ones wearing their medals. I bet they all had fun splashing through the puddles. On the way up I noticed that there were other events going on as well - lots of little cheerleaders all dressed up with hair and makeup done.

It seemed like the signage could have been a bit better. Instead of going through the gates, they opened up the side entrance to Champion Stadium and were letting people in there. It was a bit crowded and confused, but after a few minutes I made it in and the crowds thinned out.

I walked around the stadium, stopped and picked up my bib and a card to get my commemorative pin. Then I walked a bit further down and collected my bag and shirt. This whole process only took about five minutes. I headed out toward the vendor area, but it was raining very hard and I decided that there really wasn't anything I needed so I ended up not walking through the vendors. You must also understand that the expo for this race is very small - just a few vendors. While I was looking out at the vendors the announcers came on to call all the Expedition Everest Family Challengers to the fields to start their race.

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The Expedition Everest Vendors at ESPN Wide World of Sports - notice the gray rainy day

Then I headed over to the little store to check out the merchandise and to get my pin. I have to say, the Expedition Everest I Did It shirts are some of my favorites, but I decided not to get one this year. I have too many already. I almost didn't stop to look at the vinylmation medals thinking they would just be the 2014 mickey head that I already have - I am so glad I stopped because this year it was an Expedition Everest version and that is the only thing that bought at the expo. Cheapest expo ever for me!

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2014 Expedition Everest Bib
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2014 Expedition Everest After Party Wristband
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2014 Expedition Everest Tech Shirt
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2014 Expedition Everest Final Race Instructions
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2014 Expedition Everest Commemorative Pin
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2014 Expedition Everest Vinylmation Medal

I headed back to my car and headed home to get some things done around the house, get my gear ready for the race and get some rest.

After getting some rest, I got ready and headed out to Animal Kingdom at 7:55pm. I got there and parked by 8:22pm and it was still raining pretty good and it was actually just a little bit chilly. I sat in the car for a little while and debated how wet I wanted to get - I brought a garbage bag to wear if the rain got really bad. In the end, I decided the rain wasn't bad enough to worry about and around 8:40pm I headed toward the corral area. I went through the now familiar security bag check, stopped for a bio break and walked around for a little bit.

Once I'd walked around and taken in all the sites I decided to head to my corral. Okay, this is odd, I couldn't find the entrance to my corral - it looks like the entrances are all combined. I headed in and walked over to the F balloon. I was in corral F of corrals A-J. The area is odd, it is all combined and it takes me a few minutes to realize that I was just in a holding area. So, I guess it was the "runner's only area" for this race, but it was rather cramped and small as more and more people started filing in.

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Staging area

They opened up the actual corrals at around 9:15pm and we all filed in. I was at the very front of my corral on the right hand side. I wasn't really trying to be there, but here I am so I'll go with it. This is one race where they told corrals A-D they needed to be in their corrals, but told the rest of the corrals that they could just hang out and enjoy the DJ for a while before they headed over. That was a first - I wonder if it was because the corrals were actually a little small for the number of participants. I stood and watched the corral in front of mine fill up with all kinds of interesting folks. Lots of costumes, lots of people participating in the dances the DJ was playing and then even a Frozen sing along. It continued to rain this entire time.

Tonight's National Anthem was played on the trumpet as a sing along. As you probably know, this is one of my favorite ways to do the National Anthem. I don't know if it was the rain or the slight chill, but there wasn't as much singing as usual tonight.

The first corral was sent off at 10:00pm and we could watch them head around the parking lot. If I remember correctly (and I probably don't) there were six minutes between corrals. As each corral left they turned off the corresponding corral's balloon so it was pretty easy to figure out what corral was next up. Finally the corral in front of me started moving forward.

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Move those corrals forward!

Finally it was our turn to move up. We walked slowly and somehow I ended up behind a few people and I was quite alright with that for this race. I know I'm slow and I always feel just a little guilty being all the way up front, but then I remember that I'm not in the lead corrals so I shouldn't feel bad. I put in a realistic time and this is where I was placed. I enjoyed being up front because I could watch the snow and see the flag and it was really kind of beautiful with the rain and everything else going on.

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Start line banner and me pretty much right under it!
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No that's not dandruff or ash - it's snow (soap snow)! Isn't the flag just awesome in the background with the snow?

The rain had finally stopped. There was a chill in the air and quite honestly - it was the perfect running weather for me! I waited patiently until it was our turn to start. And finally we were off - around the boring parking lot! Yep, that's right, the first part of this course is just not exciting at all. I had not done any miles since Glass Slipper and I wasn't sure what my body was going to let me do so I decided on five minute walk, one minute run intervals. I also decided to not do a lot of weaving around people as this tends to make my knees more sore. So, I settled in to these intervals and felt pretty good.

The first obstacle is just over a half mile in to the race. The hay bales. People do these in a lot of different ways - some walk around them, some them step on them, and some, like me, step over each one. I'm in no shape to try to jump over these and for me it is not worth the risk of injury so I just take me time and do my thing. I did feel like there were a few more hay bales to go over this year than last year - it felt like double the number of lines of hay bales. They were spaced pretty closely together as well so for me it felt a little awkward. Still, I made it through in one piece.

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Such concentration - my mental mantra was don't fall, don't fall, don't fall!

On we go, continuing through the parking lot and heading toward the entrance to Animal Kingdom. This area gets a bit bottle necked as the walkway narrows quite a bit. Still I was able to maintain my intervals pretty well and only had to pass a few people along the way. Now we're headed in to the park. Finally we have some fun things to look at on the course.

Shortly after entering the park Donald Duck was there for a photo opportunity. We continue on and pass Pizzafari. I think I saw King Louie around here somewhere. On to Africa where I saw Timon and Rafiki. Next we travel to Asia, and yes, we pass Expedition Everest. Now we're headed back stage and obstacle number two is full of tires. Ugh - I have never liked tires. I am always afraid of twisting a knee or ankle or just flat out face planting. They have fewer tires this year, but the course is wider and doesn't cause as much of a bottle neck this time. I am able to go in a straight line through without any real issues.

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My knees are a bit sore and I know I was using the same mental mantra of don't fall, don't fall.  Oh, and the shirt is wet from the rain, not just sweat this time.  The weather was perfect for me tonight - just a little chilly and the rain had stopped.

I continue on and I know at one point I saw Minnie Mouse in her safari gear. I continue on and then the course splits for runners on one side and clue hunters on the other. It got a little bit crowded here, but not so bad that I had to stop or slow down too much. Once I was past there it was time for obstacle three - the net crawl. I debated whether or not I would do the crawl under the net and I decided that it was more important to be able to continue walking then to crawl and mess up my knee any worse than it already was. I went by the net and felt a little twinge of guilt, but I knew that it would cause me too much trouble and in the end it was the right thing for me to do.

Then it was the finish line for the 5K. I felt like I was very slow and I didn't even bother looking at my time to see where I was. I figured it was what it was and I wanted to head in and do clues now. After the finish line I got a bottle of water, my first clue and a blue pen and flashlight. I read through the clue and thought I had a good idea so I headed to the volunteers at my station. As I got there, I heard that my first thought was wrong. I had to stop for a second and re-think, but then I got it. The answer was green.

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Pen and flashlight to use with the clues
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Clue One - the trick to this one was to look at the right side of the bib and find the flag on the right hand side which was the green flag

Okay, so it was tough to look at my bib while I was wearing it, but I got it relatively quickly and was handed clue two. This one took me the walk toward the stations to figure out a couple of possible answers. I was close - I was looking for a prime, odd number and landed on something to do with three or thirteen. Both answers were wrong, but I was close and the volunteer prompted me to take the number apart and add it together. Okay - 13 is 1+3=4 - the answer was 4.

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This one caught me a little off guard as well, but a little puzzling and a helpful volunteer got me to the right answer.

On to my station, gave the answer and got clue three. This one was so quick and easy for me. I love to play hangman, wheel of fortune, fill in the blank games so I was able to figure this one out without much thought or effort on my part - thank goodness!
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The answer - Things that keep you warm

On to the fourth station. I gave my answer and got clue five. As long as you got the answer to four correct this one was pretty easy. You just had to punch out things that keep you warm from a selection of objects.

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Nothing to wait around for. It was time to head for the final clue which meant I was almost done

Once I stopped to get the fifth clue, I had to place clue four over clue five and read what was in the open spaces from the objects I had punched out.

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Now that both clues were together it said that I had to hold up the number of fingers from the answer to clue two - well, four it is then!

Now it's the trek back to the finish line again. I had just enough energy to get one more good run interval in. I didn't hurry much through the scavenger hunt portion. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and I really did. It was quite a bit of fun. And there it is - the final finish line!

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I promise I felt better than I looked!

Oh no - what on earth happened to my Garmin - the screen is all garbled and I cannot read it. I just turn it off, but I'm pretty sure it's a goner. I stepped up and got my medal, then a Powerade, and a water. Then I stopped for an official finisher photo.

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After the photos there were bananas and I grabbed one. There were also Clif Bars there, but I'm not a big fan so I skipped those. I took a couple of bites of banana, but it just didn't taste good so I tossed the rest. As I was walking out, I stopped for one more finisher photo.

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Yep, I was glad that I was done and felt okay.

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2014 Expedition Everest Lanyard
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Front of medal
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Medal open
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Back of medal

I went to this race with no expectations other than to just have a good time. I can say mission accomplished. I really enjoyed the 5K and the scavenger hunt this year and am really glad that I did the race again.  I also forgot to mention that there were quite a few characters out and about during the scavenger hunt too - Chip and Dale, Timon, Baloo and I think there were others that I cannot remember.

I would tell you about the after party, but as soon as I got my medal and photos I decided to head home. It wasn't that I was really tired, I just decided that I didn't want to walk around wet and cold. Those darn after parties and I just don't really seem to be made for each other. Of course these parties are more fun when you have people there with you and I was flying solo this time so I didn't feel bad leaving.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2014 Princess Half Marathon (Glass Slipper Challenge - Inaugural)

Oh boy, another early morning. I got up at 2:50am this morning and got ready to head out. I headed out at 3:33am and the drive to Epcot is quick and parking was easy. I'm was there by 3:55am.

I head to the staging area and through security bag check and as usual there are no problems getting through. I head over for a bio break and then I wait in the runners only area and wait until we are released to head to the corrals.

I get in to my corral at 4:48am after another quick bio break and I head to the front area of the corral to wait.

This is a new experience for me. I am in corral J and we are on the right side of the road. That means there will be no crossing over to this side when it is our turn to move to the start line. I'm kind of liking this!

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Empty corral when I first got there
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Just a few feet back from the front of the corral
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Looking back and starting to fill up
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People filling up the front of the corral

The weather is warm and humid. I am already feeling the effects of it and I know I'm in for a bit of a rough time today, but that's what it is and I'll have to deal with it. The one possible saving grace is the fog. The fog is thick, so thick it's hard to see up to the starting line.

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Starting line activity in the fog
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Fireworks in the fog
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More fireworks and getting closer
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The stage at the start line
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It's awesome being at the front of the corral and so close to everything.
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Start line banner

The fireworks go off and we are on our way. I'm going to stick to my run/walk intervals as long as I can today. I can tell immediately today that it's going to be a long 13.1!

Miles two and three are uneventful. The pirate ship is out and further ahead all the princes are out - that is one of the cool things about the Princess Half you get to see all the princes in one location. Next up the toll plaza in to the Magic Kingdom and on to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

I continue along and now we're headed to the Contemporary hill. It's still foggy out and it is actually a blessing because it is stopping the sun from beating down on me. This area is always crowded so it's more walk than intervals, but I go down the hill and up the hill and that means mile 5 and heading in to the Magic Kingdom.

As many times as I've done this, there's still nothing better than going down Main Street. It energizes me as I continue along and I know Matt is out there waiting for me and I'm looking for him, but I never did see him.

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Ah, Main Street!  Look at this picture and how many people are on phones or checking their technology.

Through Tommorowland and on to Fantasy Land. Today the trumpeters are out at the Castle and I am so happy, I love to see and hear them. It isn't too crowded as I head through the Castle. I always love going through the Castle and today is no exception.
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Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's through the Castle I go!

Now we're heading through Frontierland and there's mile six. Then we're headed backstage and out of the Magic Kingdom. The humidity has just really drained me and I know that I'm already slowing down.

I head past the DJ at the half way point where they station some volunteers and then I am at mile seven. I'm still doing my intervals, but I know they are slower. Coming up to the Polynesian and this is a bit of a bottleneck area, which I don't mind today since I can't really go that fast.

There's mile nine and I continue on. I'm not concerned about being swept as I had plenty of buffer, but the humidity has just done me in today. Finally mile 10 - anyone can do a 5K. It's something I always tell myself and it has helped me through a lot of races.

Mile 10 seemed to take a long time to reach, but there it is. Now it's time to for the overpass and those last annoying hills. I'm at the Epcot parking lot and mile 12. A DJ and more cheering spectators is exactly what I need right now. It energizes me and I know that I'm almost done with this race, but the going is still slow.

The Gospel Choir is backstage and they are awesome as usual. Now we head out of Epcot and finally there's mile 13.

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Epcot means I'm getting close to being done
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Belle (the lady by me) was saying something and I guess it must have been pretty funny
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The finish line is so close
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The finish line is now!

I head down the finish line chute and jester Goofy is out on the side. I went to give him a high five and a handler shooed me away acting as if I was going to stop. I was very disappointed by this. Why couldn't I get a high five from Goofy? This still makes no sense to me as there wasn't any one around him - no lines, no people. It was very strange and the first time I'd ever had that happen at the finish line. Oh well, at least I'm done!

I head through, get my medal, get my water and Powerade and then I get my Glass Slipper Challenge Medal and my special edition pink Coast to Coast medal.

Time for a finisher photo and then snack box and banana. I thought it was odd because my gear bag didn't include the usual mesh Princess Half bag, but I was pleasantly surprised at the finish line when I received my mesh Princess Half Bag and a Chill Cooling Towel after I got my medal.

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Chill Cooling Towel
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Mesh Princess Half Bag
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All the bling - can't help but smile
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Princess Half Lanyard
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Princess Half Medal
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Glass Slipper Challenge Lanyard
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Glass Slipper Challenge Medal
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Special Edition Pink Coast to Coast Lanyard
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Special Edition Pink Coast to Coast Medal

I don't hang around today. I head straight through on to my car and head home. I am tired, but I am happy that I'm done with another set of races and I have five new medals to show for it :)!

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