2014 Training Stats

Miles Completed = 478.48
(Run/Walked = 248.48, Biked = 223.80, Elliptical = 6.28)

Countdowns!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Disneyland 2008 1/2 Marathon Trip - Day 4

Monday, September 1, 2008

The wake up call and alarm went off at 7:00am - oops, I'm just not ready to get up yet! I decide to go back to sleep until 7:40am. Test a step or two - my left knee is still hurting pretty good, the hip feels okay. I can deal with this. I took my shower and got ready to go. Out the door by 8:20am.

Oh, the walk was a bit painful this morning, but better than I expected and I was in the park by 8:30am. I headed straight to the Blue Ribbon Bakery for a big ol' cookie and a hazelnut mocha - I know still not good food for me, but oh so YUMMY. As I waited for 9:00am I ducked in to a couple of shops to look around. Yikes, I think it'll be packed today because people are crowded all the way past the bakery on Main Street. That's okay though, I'm on a mission! The rope drops and I head straight to Haunted Mansion and it's a walk on.

I notice they made a lot of the same changes with Madame Leota and the attic as they did in Walt Disney World - that's cool. I like the changes, they enhanced the ride rather than detracting from it's original look and feel.

Next, I walked on Pirates. I love the drops here and the length of the ride is perfect, but I still like Walt Disney World just as well. There were short waits for Big Thunder Mountain, Mr Toad's Wild Ride and then I took the plunge and waited 45 minutes for Finding Nemo's Submarine Voyage.

The submarine's are a classic and I appreciate that they have brought them back to life. It's cute and I enjoyed it. The nostalgia factor makes this one just a little better than the clam mobiles at Epcot, but I do like not being stuffed together like sardines better at Epcot :)!

I decided to head over to Innoventions to check out the House of the Future. There are certainly some cool features and I notice they are mostly built around Windows Media Center from what I saw of the controls - not too shabby. The pirate bedroom was amazing, but I just wonder if it will ever be feasible and what happens when your child wants to change themes? The dining room table with different themed pictures were one of my favorites, but the thing I would take home today would be the picture tables - I love that you can re-size, arrange, flip through the pictures all with your fingertips!

It was about lunch time so I headed over to Pizza Port. I had pasta, bread and water. It was a good lunch and I enjoyed it, but at $17.10 it should be good.

Since I'm in the vicinity I decided to head to Space Mountain. I always forget that there aren't any drops on this one. I actually find that kind of sad. I still really like it though and I do really like getting in and out of this one a lot better than WDW.

One of my favorites is Buzz Lightyear so I headed straight over and got on. I forgot that you have to keep shooting with this one instead of just holding the trigger. For some reason I really didn't enjoy this one very much today. I think I must just be a bit tired.

Time to head over to Indiana Jones to get in line. I'm in line for five minutes and the ride is shut down and the line is emptied. It never fails, I swear it does this every time I get in line.

Back over to Pirates with a very short wait. Ah, it feels good to sit down and enjoy. Haunted Mansion with a short wait is next. I love Haunted Mansion - it really is one of the best rides.

Guess what - Indiana Jones is back up and running and has a 30 minute wait. I get in line - I don't mind waiting in line for this one as I like the queue area. Such a good ride too. The effects are really well done in this one.

I have to go on Jungle cruise and with a five minute wait - now is the time. The captain is just okay on this one. It's amazing how much their spiel can improve or bring down the whole ride.

Somewhere in this ride fest I did do Matterhorn as well. I remember really loving this one as a kid, but now I find it a little hard on my body. It's just so jerky, even though it can be painful I still have to do it every time.

Then it was time to just wander around a little bit and decided to wait in line and I do mean wait in line for (what else) a Dole Whip Float. YUMMY! I hit a bench and sit to enjoy.

Next up was Honey I Shrunk the Audience. I like this show, but I think its relevance is gone and it's time for a re-do.

It's a little after 6:15pm and I head through the shops to do a quick scan of the merchandise. Then it's time to head out for the day. I am a bit tired now.

I wanted to head to Downtown Disney in the hopes of finding dinner and maybe some last minute half marathon merchandise. World of Disney didn't have any half marathon stuff and I'm walking around and can't find anything that I really want to eat. I go against my better judgement and head over to the Disneyland Hotel to see if they have any half marathon merchandise left. Yes - I found a key chain (I collect key chains), a t-shirt and a couple of pins (determination, courage and perseverance). Later I realize that I didn't get one of my pins - bummer.

I still can't find anything that I really want to eat so I headed out. I ended up back at McDonald's (sensing a theme here) and stopped to get water at the store at the hotel. By the time I got back up to the room it was almost 8:00pm. I ate my dinner and relaxed.

A quick check of work email, updated my trip journal and it's time to watch a little TV. Time for bed.

Good news for the day - I've worked most of the pain out of my knee and at least I don't have to limp any more. It's still sore, but much better and I don't think I've done any real damage.

Tomorrow is California Adventure and I hope - Toy Story Mania!

NOTE: I'd post pictures, but I really kept this vacation light on the photo side of things. I don't think I took any pictures this day, but I promise I did take a few later on.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Disneyland 2008 1/2 Marathon Trip - Day 3

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My cell phone alarm went off at 4:01am this morning with the hotel wake up call shortly after that. It was time to get out of bed and head for the shower to help loosen me up and wake me up. Thankfully, 4:00am is my normal morning running time at home.

I managed to get my nerves under control enough to get dressed. I ate a Powerbar and headed out the door at 4:45am.

It was dark outside and cool and nice. The walk today was not a solitary walk - there were already a ton of people all headed to the same location. A lot of hello and good luck wishes were shared by people of all shapes as sizes as we made our way along the sidewalk.

I made it to the race area and it was loud, crowded and absolutely wonderful! Okay, so I decided to hit the porta-potty line immediately and I have to say my stomach was turning - I know it was just nerves kicking in, but I had to get myself under control.

It's just 5:00am and we're already being sent to the chutes. I'm in E corral and I slowly made my way. I'm sure I must have walked a mile just to get in place in the corral. It was truly amazing just how long the chute is and I felt like I just kept walking.

The atmosphere is electric. People are talking and laughing and giving each other pep talks. I tried to stretch a little bit, but that was really just a way to keep my nerves in check. The wait is long - I knew it would be, but it's almost torture. I just want to start running!

There are people in front of me and behind me as far as my eyes can see. I'm just a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. WOW! I'm so nervous, but I can do this - I know I can.

There's an announcer again and lights and music and a marriage proposal. It did help pass the time and keep your mind off your nerves.

My corral started at about 6:20am and it's a super slow start. Donald, Daisy and Goofy are in a monorail above the starting line waving at us.

I thought I might try to stay with the 2:45 Clif Pace Team or at least I thought I'd try...I was with them for about two miles and then I have no idea where they went - I didn't see them the rest of the race. I ran and felt really good the first six miles.

The first mile was crowded and the pace frenetic as every one's adrenaline is pumping fast and furious. This part of the course was all road running and right about mile two we headed in to California Adventure and ran all through the park.

Next up was Disneyland. There's still no better feeling than running through Disneyland. There were plenty of characters, cast members, volunteers and spectators cheering us on. I ran through the castle and it brought a huge smile to my face!

Then we were back to road running - mile four, mile five, mile six. I was utilizing every water stop as I decided to travel light and not carry my own water. I actually think this was a good thing for me as the water stops are positioned just about perfectly and I may have over drank if I had water with me.

There goes mile seven, mile eight, and mile nine. I was doing pretty good, but I was starting to get tired. I felt like I was falling apart physically, but I had a new mantra. I kept singing a little song to myself the whole race - "I can do it, I can do it, I can really, really do it!" Think the mice singing about helping Cinderella and you'll figure out the tune I used. I had to start doing quite a bit of walking around mile eight or so.

I am still keeping a pretty good pace even though I'm having to walk more and more. Past mile nine and we're headed towards Angels Stadium. I pick up momentum here as the energy is high and there is an announcer announcing people's city/states as they go through. Gilbert, AZ - hey, that's me! I'm at mile 10 and I'm running again for a while.

Getting close to mile 11 and I have to walk to mile 12. At this point I run for a little bit with an elderly gentleman - he's so inspirational! I can't tell you his exact age, but I'd guess over 60 and a little bit further ahead - his wife. Everyone is urging them on, congratulating them and just giving so much encouragement. That's what I love about running - people aren't looking for others to fail - it's all about helping people finish!

Mile 12 to 13 I end up doing walk, jog, walk, jog alternating paces. Once I hit Mile 13 and I know I hit Downtown Disney, the end is so close now. A tenth of a mile - I can so do this. I push it as fast as I can, I'm almost done. I see Mickey and I kick up my pace a little more.

As I cross the finish line I get to high five Mickey. Oh my gosh, I'm done. I did it, my first half marathon and I'm alive and I didn't get swept.

Is it pain free? No - not by a long shot. My left knee is hurting, my right hip is sore and my stomach has been upset for the last three miles. Did it matter? Not at that moment.

My goal for this race was going to be 2 hours 30 minutes. I knew going in to the race that was not going to happen this time, but I'd sure try as hard as I could.

My Clock Time: 3:03:20
My Chip Time: 2:46:45
My Garmin Time: 2:46:13

I moved forward with the other people that finished and had my chip removed and was handed my coveted medal! I grabbed two waters, a Powerade and a banana. Then I get in line for a photo - this is where it all starts getting painful.

I get my picture taken and start moving away. I am starting to get stiff as I stood in line. I am thrilled to be done, but my stomach was in knots. I know it was just let down and probably some exhaustion.

Everything is roped off because the course goes right through the area, but I finally made it to Downtown Disney. Thank goodness there's a bathroom. I'm really starting to get stiff and sore now. It was so bad I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep walking. My left knee starts hurting to the point that it takes all of my effort to keep walking. I stopped at La Brea Bakery to grab a muffin and a smoothie and it was not very quick so by the time I left I wasn't sure how I was going to walk back to the hotel.

It was the longest mile walk I've ever taken...It took me a long time to get back to the hotel. I knew I was done for so I stopped at the hotel store to stock up on water and snacks. I hobbled back to my room, took a shower, went to get ice for my knee and sat down to eat my muffin.

I thought that I would take a break and try to sleep, but it just wasn't going to happen. I pretty much stayed on the bed with ice on my knee and hip as much as I could stand. At 5:00pm I took a hot bath. At 7:00pm I ended up headed back to the hotel store to grab something to eat for dinner. Healthy fare - no, not at all, but it's as far as I could walk.

By 8:30pm I was just about ready for bed. No matter how sore I am in the morning, I'm going to Disneyland. I have to do Haunted Mansion before it closes for its holiday make over and I want to do the submarine voyage. Other than that I'll just take it easy.

My take aways from the race:
-I should probably pickup some Body Glide as I have raw spots under my left arm and my legs. I must be out of practice as that never happens at home.
-I need to train more for the next half marathon.
-I need to do whatever I can to run rather than speed walk - I know the speed walking is what is causing my hips to get sore and I know that even a slow run is more efficient than speed walking for me.
-It would probably be a good idea to stock my room with food the night before in case of high levels of pain preventing me from walking to go get food after the race.
-Use the water stops - even if you just spill it on yourself it feels good.
-Hearing people that you don't know shout your name and tell you to keep going is amazing.
-The cheerleader squads and marching bands throughout the course provide so much energy and entertainment it really keeps the course lively and less boring.
-If there are overpasses or on/off ramps - walk them if you need to. You can make up the time on the downhill.
-If you feel sick, take a deep breath and relax
-Find a motto that you can keep telling yourself - make it memorable, recognizable to you and fun to chant.
-Have FUN!

Even with all the things that went wrong, it was such a great experience. The other runners were great, the volunteers were incredible, the cast members and characters were motivating and most of all the challenge is unbelievable!

Tomorrow is Disneyland - YEAH!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Disneyland 2008 1/2 Marathon Trip - Day 2

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The wake up call came at 5:00am and then the cell phone at 5:15am. I had to drag myself out of bed and straight to the shower. My legs are still a little swollen, but much better today than yesterday. I got all setup and ready to go and headed out the door at 5:50am. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00am.

It was still dark when I left the hotel and started the walk to the 5K Family Fun Run. I decided to turn my Garmin on and surprisingly it picked up the satellites very quickly. The weather was a bit cool, but not bad at all. As I headed over I just sort of wandered around a little bit - there were quite a few people starting to gather and I decided to walk towards the start line where the action was a little bit more energetic.
I clocked the distance from the hotel to the parking lot and it was about .68 miles.

I stretched out a little bit - I don't tend to stretch much before running as I'm used to heading out the door by 4am during the workdays and just starting with a gentle walk is enough to get me going.

I kept creeping up a little closer to the start every few minutes. I don't want to start right at the front because I'm certainly not the fastest runner out there, but I found a nice spot about half way up where I met a very nice couple. They were both older than me and I'm always so happy to see all ages out and participating. Turns out this couple plan on attending the Princess Half Marathon weekend. They thought they might do the 5K and see about volunteering for the half - I encouraged them as I know how much we need nice folks to volunteer on the race courses!
Was it any surprise that they were going to WDW in March? I mean really, I wonder how many people here aren't going - yes, I said aren't going :)! It is a Disney race after all.

The 5K was starting in the Timon parking lot and there were 4000 people signed up for this race. That's more people than the 15K at WDW in May. That was the biggest 5K I'd been to yet.

Just a quick note - by this point I have completed over 15 5K's, 2 8K's, and the 15K. Still I was amazed by the number of people here.
We were all standing around and there were people leading the chicken dance, doing the wave and just asking questions about how many first time racers, how many were doing the half tomorrow, etc..Everyone was really enjoying themselves and the mood was light and fun.
They started the countdown at 10 and they let red, blue and yellow paper streamers off at the starting line. Then - WE WERE OFF!

As usual, it was a little slow in the beginning, but thankfully it didn't last too long. The pack thinned out nicely and before you know you're in Disneyland. On Main Street we got to see Gepetto and Pinocchio with their float - I think there were other characters there too. We continued running and I remember seeing future world where Nemo, Dory and Marlin were cheering us on with their people in wetsuit costumes.

Somewhere along the course I remember seeing the Little Mermaid. Then we came across the Mark Twain and there were characters lining all the decks - Pluto, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Donald and I know there were more. We ran through the castle - at least that's what the course map said - I'm really bad at taking in details while running. I guess I should start carrying a camera to at least highlight the high points.

After the castle we were headed out of Disneyland and across the way to California Adventure. Atta and Flik were out in A Bug's Land. As we continued to through the park we came across Mr and Mrs Incredible and Jack Jack on a huge float. Sully and Boo and other monsters were out by the Monster's Inc ride as well.

Next came Paradise Pier - be prepared for the hills in this park. It's not that they are huge, but you'll notice them. I do know I managed to run the whole hill - yeah. In fact, I kept running the whole time. I wasn't sure that was going to happen, but it's amazing what race adrenaline will do for you.

Soon we were headed back out of California Adventure and coming to the end of our 5K journey. I saw that I was almost to the end so I decided to kick it up a bit and run it out to the very end as best as I could.
I was happy with my time. 33:33 - that's a about 10:24 per mile. It's much faster than I've been training, but I can usually handle that pace for short runs. Still with the way I was feeling it was a good start to the race weekend.


We received a plastic finisher's medal (sorry about the quality on this picture). After I grabbed my medal I stopped to get my picture taken. You can see that the 5K had me red in the face - yep, I was that out of shape.
I did grab a Powerade, Water and a banana for later. They had a few booths setup and I grabbed a Luna bar, fruit twists and a Powerade Zero.
So that was the end of my first 5K at Disneyland and I decided to head out and go back to the hotel.
Okay, so how serious can a runner be if they stop at McDonald's to grab breakfast on the way back to their room. Well, that's what I did because it was quick and convenient. I was back in my room by 8:30am and after breakfast it was about 9:30am and I decided to take a nap. That was my plan all along - to rest the whole day after the 5K.
Well, by 1:30pm I was up again. I know, I can be very lazy and when I hit a hotel and have some down time I use it. When I got up I noticed that my legs were almost back to normal size - YEAH! I took a nice bath and read and relaxed some more.
No nasty comments, at 4:30pm I headed back out to McDonald's to grab a burger for dinner. It seemed like I stood in line forever to order and then get my food. Then back to the hotel to eat. It was okay and it filled me up - I mean come on, it's just a burger nothing gourmet. Hey, it's all about some carbs and protein tonight anyway. Fuel for the race tomorrow.
Now I'm getting ready for bed so I can get some sleep for tomorrow. I can do this! I tried some of the techniques from the sessions at the Expo during the 5K and I have to say I was more in tune with how I felt than I normally am. If I can keep my pace quiet and keep checking in with myself tomorrow I'm sure I'll do just fine. Think positive - get ready for tomorrow - visualize finishing (no getting swept) - go to bed.
Oh my gosh, I'm participating in my first half marathon tomorrow!

2009 Princess Half Marathon Medal

Now that's a medal any Princess would be proud to wear. I can't wait until March when everyone can have fun running the next Disney Half Marathon.

Don't forget the Happily Ever After Party at Disney's Hollywood Studios the night of the race. The part will be from 8p - 12am and there's sure to be fun photo opps and rides!

How's your training going? Just remember if you just ran the 2009 WDW Half Marathon or Full Marathon that you don't want to overdo it. Make sure you're training safe and not pushing too hard.

Which resort will be your castle for the festivities? Choose from the Polynesian, Caribbean Beach Resort or All Start Music. Remember your coach will be waiting for you at any of these resorts!

The time is set to change the day of the big race. Make sure you set your alarms for the right time. Note that the half marathon is now starting at 7am.

Wear your biggest smiles as this race is going through the Magic Kingdom! Once reserved for Marathon Weekend, it's now been added for this special race.

Don't forget to visit the Expo - you'll need to get your bib, timing chip and good bag! Plus there's sure to be fun new merchandise to purchase for this inaugural event.

Answers to Comments As of Jan 29, 2009

Thank you all for the comments. I am really having fun posting this information as I like to share my experiences and hopefully answer questions.

I'm sure if you've been reading this blog you can tell that I'm new at this. I have received a couple of questions and I wanted to post some answers and I wasn't sure if this is the correct protocol or not. If I should answer these in a different way, please let me know what I should do. It feels unnatural to comment this way as I am used to corresponding individually.

The first question: So why were you swollen?
I really wish I knew the answer to this. It comes and goes and I haven't found any correlations to any other aspect of my health. I have some knee problems and I think it probably has something to do with poor circulation from all the knee braces, but none of my doctors have ever been able to come up with an answer. Usually my legs swell while I'm sitting at work, but I go home and work out and it eases up and by the morning everything is back to normal. This time however, the swelling was bad enough that it actually hurt - not a fun feeling. Thankfully it hasn't come back :).

The second question: So there is a shuttle from the airport in Calif to Disney Land?
There are a few options for shuttles from Los Angeles Airport, Santa Ana/Orange County Airport or Long Beach Airport. I flew in to LAX as it was cheapest for me at the time. I am a frequent Super Shuttle passenger. I use them here at home in Arizona and I've used them in California and New York. They have a few different options, but I usually do the shared van service. This is the least expensive option. The thing you have to be aware of - it can take a while to get to your resort as there may be other drop offs before yours.

If you want to check out the services and prices you can go to www.supershuttle.com. You can make reservations in advance (requires pre-payment, but the refund policy is pretty decent) or you can go curbside at the airport and look for the Blue Vans that say Super Shuttle - there's always attendants there to assist you.

If anyone else has any comments, suggestions or questions, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment and I'll respond!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Disneyland 2008 1/2 Marathon Trip - Day 1 Part 2

Friday, August 29, 2008 Continued...

Once I took a few minutes to freshen up from my travels I headed straight out to walk to the Expo. The walk wasn't too bad from the Howard Johnson to the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. I was pretty happy with the hotel location overall. It wasn't super close, but a manageable walk that only took a few minutes. Now, I am from Arizona, and California is much more humid than home and the walk did cause me to work up a bit of a sheen let's say.

The signage was easy to follow and I found the location to pick up my bib and chip for the half marathon quickly. There was no line so the process was smooth and easy. I then headed over to the 5K section to get my bib - no chip for this one. All the way on the other side of the Expo they had a whole area set up for getting your goody bags, t-shirts, tech shirts, etc...Again, the process was well staffed and there were only a few people picking things up so getting everything only took a couple of minutes. A note here - they were not strict about giving you the same size shirt that you requested when you registered. I was able to change mine with no questions asked.

Next stop, the pin pickup area. This was a little bit more confusing the way it was set up, but there were lots of staff/volunteers around to point you to the right line. Thankfully I had my receipts with me as when I got there they only showed me having one pin when I had ordered two. It took a little digging but we finally found my second record and I had both pins in hand.

I walked around the Expo looking at all the different booths and merchandise available. I was doing this trip as inexpensively as possible so I didn't purchase anything, but there was a lot of great stuff to be had if you were so inclined. I was really just killing time as there were a couple of speakers that I really wanted to see.

The first session I attended was a visualization session. It was a great session, very relaxing, uplifting and encouraging. After attending this one I felt a little more at peace and more confident that I could do this. They did some simple breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, then the speaker took us through each mile of the race while we had our eyes closed and supposedly were hypnotized. No, I wasn't hypnotized, but I still got a lot out of the session. It was great to hear what to expect for each mile and where to take stock of your body and mind. If you see a session like this at an Expo keep an open mind and give it a try - you never know you may actually like it.

The second session I attended was Danny Dreyer's Chi Running. I was super excited to see this as I learned about the technique at the Minnie Marathon Weekend when I shared a van ride with an instructor that presented at that Expo. I was intrigued and thought it may be a good technique for me to learn. I think the principles are sound and when you have someone show you how aligning your body makes you feel more solid and harder to expose the weaknesses you have it could really be amazing. We did an exercise where you partnered up with one other person and you learned how to align your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Then you learn how to hold your head, curve your spine, tilt your pelvis and everything else the technique teaches. Then your partner would press on your shoulders when you just stood there without aligning and you felt like you would collapse, but when you were aligned the person could push all they wanted and you wouldn't budge. Very cool. I was lucky, my partner was the previous speaker and he was also a Chi Running instructor so he was able to give me a lot of pointers. Chi Running also teaches you to use gravity, use your lean and feel like you're falling. It's something I wanted to try more when this race was over.

There weren't any other sessions I wanted to stay around for so I walked the booths one more time just to soak it all in and then I headed out. I didn't know what I wanted to do for dinner so as I was walking back to the hotel I spotted a Quiznos and stopped in to grab a sandwich. Then it was a short walk back to the hotel and a stop at the store to grab some water. I was back in my room by 5:20pm.

Dinner was okay and I logged in and did some work. Then it was time to start getting my stuff ready for the 5K in the morning. I like to get my bib on my shirt and set out everything I'm going to need for the race so I don't have to think early in the morning.

By the time I was all done it was 9:00pm and it was time to get some sleep. The 5K in the morning will be a good test to see how Sunday would go. I'm still pretty swollen and I can only hope it doesn't hurt my running too much. The goal - don't get swept!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Disneyland 2008 1/2 Marathon Trip - Day 1 Part 1

Friday, August 29, 2008

Alarm rang at 5:30am this morning and I was ready to get going. Unfortunately, my legs are still super swollen this morning (note: my legs were so swollen the day before I had to repack because some of the pants I was planning on taking were tight on my calves), but they aren't as bad as last night.

I'm feeling very unprepared for this race. I've been slacking way too much since the 15K in May. I'm so nervous that I'm going to get swept, but I have to stay strong and tough. Keep my attitude positive.

The Super Shuttle van showed up a few minutes early and I realized after I headed out that I forgot to give the dogs their new toys and they are sitting on the counter - YIKES!

Background: I have three dogs (Ralph, Belle, Jasmine) and two birds (Sam, Howdy). I'll post pictures later.

I arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor, checked my bag and made it through security by 8:00am. Plenty of time to spare. Unlike the lady in the van with me that forgot her passport at home and was already running late because her alarm didn't go off. I still wonder if she actually made her flight.

Oh geez, I'm getting ready to go do my first half marathon. I am so nervous, still feeling unprepared, gained 20 pounds and my legs are supersized from swelling. I seriously consider just going back home and trying this again at another time. Then I realize that I can't quit just because I hit this rough patch - in fact, that's the exact reason that I have to do this! I must prove to myself that I can do it and then when I get home I really need to get ready for March and my second half marathon. I know I can do this!

On a side note my niece Sandy is scheduled for a c-section on Monday, September 8th - it's crazy to think she's old enough to have a child. My sister is headed to Iraq on September 12th - she's a civilian and is looking to make money to pay off bills.

After boarding the plane we had to wait 20 minutes on the tarmac before we could take off. The flight was uneventful and we actually arrived early even after a late start. I went to grab by bag and then went to check in at Super Shuttle.

It was a short wait and I was on my way. The van filled up and the ride was filled with conversation as there was a couple from New Zealand and a local lady and there was lots to talk about. The first stop was the Disneyland Hotel - ahh, how I wish I could have stayed there this time. Next stop the Clarion and finally my hotel - the Howard Johnson.

Check in at the hotel was quick and easy and I was in my room by 1:20pm. My room was in building 1 on the 6th floor. The room was okay - it wasn't anything super special, but it was nice enough. I did notice right away just how noisy it was. I was on the freeway side and that's really all you heard. The air conditioner and the TV helped to mute some of the noise, but we'll see how night time is.

I took a few minutes to freshen up and then it was time to head out to the Expo!

I'm going to stop here for now and when I post again I'll describe the Expo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Trip Reports Are About to Begin

I was going to do my trip reports from oldest to newest, but I've decided to switch it up a bit. Since the Princess Half Marathon is quickly approaching, I thought it would be much more fun to start with my last trip which was my first Half Marathon at Disneyland in 2008. Then I'll move to my Minnie Marathon Weekend experience which was in May 2008.

I hope I can share some information that will help others interested in running a Disney race as well as providing some park information at the same time.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Walt Disney World Website

I know that a lot of people have complained about the Walt Disney World website over the years and I can understand some of those complaints, but what do you think of the new changes?

I was just out looking at the calendar to see what the hours are going to be for my upcoming trip in March. Much to my surprise the calendar has changed. The changes aren't too bad, but it takes a little getting used to.

You can now see up to ten days from the date you enter and all the parks show up on one page. This is a good change as you don't have to flip from park to park. It's bad because it takes too long to load and if you're going for more than ten days you'll have to search twice.

Another great thing is that the Extra Magic hours show up so it's very easy to see when they are and at which park.

As I was looking around I have to say that some of the changes are quite nice. It seems that they are finally trying to make things easier to find. Tours now have pages for each tour and dining has been revamped as well. There are lots of nice pictures and better descriptions. I think people might also find it easier to navigate.

Overall, I like the changes they've made. How do you feel about it?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Princess Half Marathon Changes

If you're registered for the WDW Princess Half Marathon or are thinking about registering there's some great news!

The Princess Half Marathon course has changed - in the most incredible way. We will now be running through the castle in the Magic Kingdom. I am so excited by this - the original course did not go through the Magic Kingdom at all, but now it does!

Also, if you purchased tickets to Mickey's Pirate and Princess party this has been changed to the Happily Ever After party at Hollywood Studios. If you do not do anything your existing tickets will be changed to the new party. You can contact wdw.sports.marathon.endurance@disneysports.com to request a refund if you are not interested in the new party.

Stay tuned as I'm sure there will be more changes as we get nearer to the race.

48 days to go - keep up your training!

Monday, January 12, 2009

READY...SET...TRAIN

You guess it! I am now officially registered for the 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Circle of Life 5K.

I'm very excited because I was also able to reserve a package as well.

The Port Orleans French Quarter is where I'm going to be staying. This is very cool because I have never stayed there and it will be great to try a new resort.

GO RUNNERS and WALKERS!!!!

READY...SET...REGISTER

January 12, 2008 - registration for the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events will be opening.

I realize that some of you just finished the 2009 WDW Marathon Weekend events, but it's time to start thinking about next year.

Stay motivated and on task by registering for next year's events.

I hope to see you all next year!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Lion King - Broadway Style


I had my second opportunity to see the Broadway touring company production of The Lion King today. It's one my favorite plays and I have to say that the second time was just as good as the first!

If you haven't seen this play I urge you to try if it comes to a theater near you. It truly is an amazing thing to see and I don't think you could be disappointed.

This touring company had some extraordinary talent.

The first standout was Scar, played by Timothy Carter. He really had the right tone and inflection to his voice. The sarcasm and humor were well played and the emotions came across loud and clear. I think the first production I saw had a more movement oriented Scar, but this one had the voice!

The next standout was a pleasure to see and hear. Musafa was played by Dionne Randolph. You may have seen Dionne at Walt Disney World as he played Kiume at Animal Kingdom's Festival of the Lion King. He was also a featured vocalist on the Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade soundtrack, and was a principal singer for Norwegian Cruise Lines. His voice is truly regal and magnificent! His rendition of They Live In You to me was one of the best.

The other vocalist that struck a chord in me was Nala. Dan'Yelle Williamson played this part beautifully. She has a feminine yet powerful presence and I got goosebumps when she sang Shadowland. Outstanding performance.

The rest of the cast was wonderful as well, but those were the standouts to me. I wish I could say that Rafiki was a vocal standout this time, but her voice was just a little to tinny sounding to me. As an actress she was fabulous, but her Circle of Life was not even close to my favorite rendition.

Now, if you've never seen this show it's hard to describe the beauty of the costumes and the sets. When the show starts it brings tears to my eyes as I just know I'm going to experience a truly special show.

The magic starts with animals coming down the aisles to take their places on the stage. These animals include elephants, birds, hippos and more. The stage is filled with giraffes, antelope, cheetah and so many more. This introduction to the costumes sets the stage and shows such attention to detail it's hard to figure out what to look at and where.

The lions wear costumes that include masks on their heads. The lioness's and adult Simba have masks that sit on top of the head and are stationary - there is only one point in the play that these masks do something special and I won't spoil the beauty of the moment by telling you what that is.
Scar and Mufasa have masks that are above their heads and these masks move - they lower, raise and move to help convey the emotions of the moment - hunting, fighting, frightening, etc. These masks are unique and add quite a lot to the overall presence of the characters.

Zazu is a puppet - similar to the Finding Nemo the Musical puppets at Animal Kingdom. He has an actor that holds him and works the puppet while talking/singing. The only thing I'd like to see different with Zazu is to make his colors brighter to make him stand out a little more. His colors are pretty muted. He of course has a lot of one liners and humorous moments.

Timon is also a puppet - a standing puppet. The actor is dressed all in green and Timon's feet are on the actors feet, the body and arms are puppet and then Timon's tail is in the back of the actor. he is very expressive and the actor does some great things with the puppet that you're sure to enjoy.

Pumbaa is a huge puppet. The actor is in the middle and Pumbaa's head is huge with a giant tongue that can be wiggled. Then the back in looks like of like a skeleton structure with hanging legs and is smaller but still in proportion with the large head. the actor wears Pumbaa's ears on his shoulders. This is so strange to explain, but so effective when you see it in person.

The Hyenas are so clever. Ed - the stupid one - has this giant hanging floppy tongue and screwy looking face, Banzai and Shenzi are more normal looking in the face. The faces are large and are where the actor's stomach is - they use one hand/arm to control the face. The neck with mane comes from their shoulders over the actor's head to attach to the puppet faces. Then they have front legs/paws that they wear on their arms. They are incredible designs and the way they can make themselves look like animals is pretty amazing.

The rest of the animals are just as impressive. Giraffes on stilts, antelope on heads and arms and carts, birds on strings, and so many more. There are even acts where the ensemble portray grass and plants. Truly amazing to see.

The story follows the movie pretty closely. There are a few extra songs thrown in and they fit well and enhance the story rather than detracting from it. It's truly a story that can make you laugh, cry, feel anger and love. For me this is the mark of a good play - one that evokes emotion.

This is a Disney show through and through. The set design, costumes, music, lighting and everything you see is truly spectacular and you can see the passion that was put in to the choreography and script.

Again, please don't hesitate to go see this if you get a chance. If you like Broadway plays, Disney, the movie or good music you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009 Marathon Weekend

GOOD LUCK MARATHONERS!!!!

Marathon weekend is fast approaching and I want to personally wish all of you good luck. For the first timers - stay strong, stay positive and have fun! There's nothing better than the feeling of finishing a race and to do it in Walt Disney World is even better!

I have to wait until March to do my next half marathon, but my heart and cheers will be with you all while you work on completing you race.

I hope to give this half marathon a try next year, in fact, I'm hoping to go for a coast to coast medal next year!

For those that are interested the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon/Half Marathon/Goofy Challenge registration begins on Monday, January 12, 2009. I know I'll be hitting the site first thing in the morning - right after I finish my Monday morning run!

Again - GOOD LUCK and please come by and share your stories!

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