2014 Training Stats

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

Countdowns!

Monday, March 30, 2009

2008 Minnie Marathon Weekend - Day 6

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Do you know how alarm clocks can get you out of bed? Well, in my case this morning the alarm was forgotten and I went back to sleep. I decided to get up at about 8:45am. I showered, got ready and headed out at 9:30am. It's so nice to not be on a set schedule.

The bus took about 20 minutes to arrive today ad it was hot waiting in the sun. I was in the park at about 10:30am. First up - Spaceship Earth.

This was my first ride since the rehab. I think they really cheesed up my favorite ride. I miss the way it was - there were certainly a lot of changes and not all of them were good in my opinion. That take your picture and pick your future part is just plain cheesy! I'm sure that they are just trying to fill time as you come back down, but I miss the future city scene and a lot of other things too. I'm trying to keep an open mind, even if it doesn't seem that way :)!

It's time for lunch, so I head over to Electric Umbrella for a cheese burger, fries, a cookie and water. It was a good lunch and I'm full.

I head over just in time to catch Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. A cute show, but could use an update.

I walked on Journey Into Imagination - do you ever have to wait in line for this any more? So sad that they don't just put it back to the original. Haven't the people spoken enough to make them put it back?

I headed to Soarin' with a 20 minute wait. I rode with a first timer that was very scared about the height. I talked to her through the ride and she did fine. She was a very nice lady.

Next up was The Seas with Nemo and Friends. I have always loved the Living Seas and I don't mind that they've added Nemo - at least we get to ride through again. I caught Turtle Talk with Crush. This is a fun show as well.

The Orange Team needed crew members so I walked on Mission Space and had a great ride.

Test Track single rider line was another walk on - yeah! Another great vehicle test drive.

Time for a strawberry milkshake and Fountain View. I miss the bakery portion of this counter service location. They had wonderful pastries.

I had to do Spaceship Earth again. It was a walk on again.

Shopping at Mouse Gear. Had to check out the store to see if there was anything fun to buy.

Back over to Finding Nemo and I walked on again. Last time the sign for Soarin' said 45 minutes and it took 20 minutes, this time it said 65 minutes and it took 50 minutes. While waiting in line there was a guy, no an annoying guy, the I must talk on my cell phone and look important guy in line, the I must open the Emergency Exit because my reception is bad guy - amazing. There was also the I know nothing about Epcot trio that just didn't get anything. This is hard for me - I want so badly to correct them, but that's rude so I let it go this time. Regardless of the line, the ride is fabulous as usual.

I headed back to Journey Into Imagination - another walk on.

It was really strange that the park was so crowded with people that it was hard to walk around, but the line were minimal at best.

I bought a bunch of Fig-Mints for my co-workers and then I headed on to World Showcase. As I walked around I ended up in Mitsukoshi and I bought some Japanese junk food - that's one thing I miss in AZ that I could always get in WA.

I continued the walk around World Showcase, headed on Spaceship Earth one more time and at 7:40pm I headed out of the park to the bus.

By 8pm I was on the bus back to the Pop Century. I headed straight in to Everything Pop to grab some dinner - another burger and fries, tie dye cheesecake and water.

I headed back to my room and ate and ate and ate :)! Just really need to stop eating everything in site. I'm not sure what it is about WDW that makes me eat so much. I need to work on that so that I can stop doing it. I'm sure it would save my budget and my waistline.

Tomorrow is Magic Kingdom and Concourse Steakhouse. I hope it's another good day. I think I'll start the day late so that I can check in for my flight home...

Time to turn in for the day.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

2008 Minnie Marathon Weekend - Day 5

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with Pop Century. It was quiet and peaceful last night and I slept well. The wake up call came at 6am this morning and I rolled out of bed at 6:10am. Time for a shower, email check and getting ready for the day. It was really tempting to sleep in and not got to breakfast at Concourse Steakhouse, but I really wanted one last breakfast there before it closes.

With motivation going for me I was out the door at 7am. Straight out to get a cab and I was quickly on my way to the Contemporary. $20 later I arrive and head inside. I have to wait about 15 minutes.

I am seated and my waitress is Andrea. I ordered a Tropical Passion Smoothie and the Steakhouse Platter. As I wait for my food I had a nice chat with Andrea about The Wave. She told me that all Concourse Steakhouse staff would be moving to The Wave, they would be serving organic beer, organic Vodka, smoothies with vitamin add ins, there wouldn't be a frier on premises and they would have a red wine room and a separate white wine room. The far would be healthier, but with a sophistication. Concourse Steakhouse has been adding one of The Wave's menu items each week to test them and let the staff get used to them - after a week the item is removed and a new one is added. The fourth floor is scheduled to become more kid ad family friendly. It all sounds interesting and exciting, but I'll miss Concourse Steakhouse too!

After a wonderful breakfast I headed down to the bus stop, took a couple of shots of the new DVC Tower (oh, the unannounced DVC tower) and sat down to wait. The bus arrived pretty quickly and we were off to the Poly and then the Animal Kingdom. I'm in the gate by 9am!

Seems like there are a lot of people again - oh well. First up - Expedition Everest - it's a walk on and I turned around and rode a second time. I love this roller coaster. The queue is amazing and detailed and I wouldn't might slowing down a little bit to see more of it.

Next I headed over to Finding Nemo the musical and it was as good as ever. The music, the story and the puppets with their actors are amazing.

I decided to do Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends. I always find this show a little heavy handed with the save the forest message, but it killed a little time before Festival of the Lion King. After Pocahontas I headed straight over to Festival of the Lion King. I sat in the Warthog section and I've never sat in this section before.

The show was great as usual! I head over to It's Tough to Be a Bug and went right in. This is another show that I don't' think the 3D is spectacular, but it certainly has it's moments. I do like the show, but I still can't believe how many parents can't figure out that it is scary to kids!

I went over to Dinosaur and it was a ten minute wait. I was in the front left row. This is a good ride - I like the dinosaurs. Next I was in Dinoland so I figured I'd do Primeval Whirl. This is not one of my favorite rides. I can't help but think of the cast member that passed away here recently and I can see the sensor mats that were installed as a result.

The only thing I waited for all day was Kilimanjaro Safari and the wait was only about 30 minutes. There were white rhino, black rhino, giraffe, elephants and all sorts of animals out today. It was kind of fun not snapping pictures and just looking for all of them! I have time before dinner so i went and did the single rider line at Expedition Everest and pretty much walked on. Then I took a quick tour of Maharajah Jungle Trek and did a little shopping.

Time for dinner at Yak and Yeti. I was seated immediately and my server Chris came over just as quickly. I ordered a fruit punch and pot stickers to start. The pot stickers were quite tasty. I had honey chicken for my entree. My entree came out before I was even half done with my pot stickers - geez, rushed much ;)! The honey chicken was good, there were a couple of broccoli florets and some rice. It was just okay - nothing super special. I ended with Mango Pie - it was good, but not as good as it sounded. I kind of wish I would have tried the fried won tons with pineapple instead - oh well, maybe next time.

It's almost 5pm and I walk the long way around the park and out to the bus stop. There was a Pop Century bus waiting and I'm the first person on board. We were still off pretty quickly and after a quick stop at Blizzard Beach it was a short ride back to Pop.

I did a quick stop at my room to drop stuff off and do a quick email check. I write my journal entry and then head out to Everything Pop for some drinks and snacks for later.

Tomorrow is Epcot!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today I Felt Like A Runner!

If you run for health, fun, sport, or any other reason - when do you feel like a runner?

Today, I felt like a runner. I headed out for a Tempo run this morning. 1 mile warm up no pace goal, 3 mile tempo 11:08 per mile pace goal, 1 mile cool down.

My warm up felt good. I felt good. The steps just seemed somewhat effortless today and the dogs were running well. It just felt like the warm up was a foreshadowing of what was to come.

I hit the mile mark and then my tempo run started. I wanted to stay under my goal pace. Well, that really wasn't a problem today. At one point I looked down and I was at a 9:30 pace. Slowed down, but still pushed. At the end of the three miles I was at a 10:26. I haven't hit that pace in a long time and man did it feel good.

I finished up with a nice 12 minute mile. It was fabulous. I felt so good to keep a nice pace.

So, today I felt like a runner again. Something I haven't felt in a while. I'm paying for the pace a little bit tonight in my shin and knee, but not as bad as I expected it to be. Let's hope I feel that way in the morning when I go to do Elliptical!

Annual Passholders Beware of Blackout Dates!

Are you planning on visiting Disneyland or Walt Disney World for your free birthday gift this year? Are you an Annual Pass Holder? Are you planning on getting a gift card instead of the one day free entry to the park?

I'm sure a lot of you have heard this, but if you have a regular Annual Pass and your birthday falls on a blackout date don't plan on getting a gift card - at least not unless you plan on upgrading your pass first. The story is that if your birthday falls on a blackout date you would have to take the free entry to the park - I assume that's because you couldn't get in to the park otherwise so you technically don't have a ticket for that day.

I was looking for the story in print, but I cannot locate it. If you happen to know where it is, please post a link in comments, I'd love to check it out.

I can understand why Disney is being super strict about the rules, but this rule seems a bit hard core to me. Hasn't the guest that purchased an Annual Pass already spent more than the one day visitor? Yes, if they use the pass a lot the Pass Holder gets the better deal, but what are the odds that an Annual Pass Holder doesn't grab something to eat or purchase a trinket or spend money on something else while they are there? I just think they should cough up the gift card and call it good. Not ask the Annual Pass Holder to spend more money just to get the gift card.



Just my two cents. If this report is wrong, please someone correct me. I was taken aback when I heard it...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Are Your Walt Disney World Do's and Don'ts?


As I was surfing the msnbc.com site earlier today I found an interesting article. It's called Disney World dos and don'ts and you can find it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29761000/ and you can find the slide show here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/strategies-orlando-dos-and-donts.

I'm going to give you a quick run down of the twelve things in the slide show and my opinion of the ideas given.

1. Do: Splurge on a guide. Reasoning - no one skips lines at Disney, but a guide can get you through things faster for $175 per hour with a six hour minimum.

***Are you kidding me? Isn't a WDW vacation expensive enough without adding that expense. Imagine doing that one day for each park - no, don't you may pass out from the shock!

2. Do: Get a game plan. Reasoning - age five is the right age for the first mega-park experience, but you need a plan of attack.

***Hey, I'm a planner so I'm all about getting a plan. No offense to Tour Guide Mike or his customers, but there is a lot of free information available to anyone if you take the time to look for it. I'm surprised that was the only advice they gave is to check Tour Guide Mike's $21.95 plans.

3. Do: Get a Fastpass. Reasoning - it's a free reservation option to get on the rides.

***I've never thought of a Fastpass as a reservation, but I suppose you could liken it to one. I'm all for Fastpasses if you don't want to wait in lines, but sometimes taking the regular queue is so much more enjoyable. Take Expedition Everest for example - there is so much to see and do in the queue line. If you're not there for the whole experience, by all means use those Fastpasses!

4. Do: Go easy on the extras. Reasoning - tickets are expensive, there are four parks, many people have enough after a long weekend and reservations agents shouldn't be allowed to talk you in to adding things on to your package.

***I wonder if the author thinks that park hopping is an extra you don't need...what other extras are being referred to? Dining?

5. Don't: Chase after discounted tickets. Reasoning - you'll only save a few bucks.

***I would probably agree with this only because I would end up getting discounted tickets that would be rejected at the park gates, but hey, that's just my luck!

6. Do: Spring for a "deluxe" resort. Reasoning - Convenience and comfort, theming, early park entry each day, free parking and sometimes free airport shuttles.

***Wow! Now, I agree with the deluxe resort option, but that's because I'm a sucker for location and amenities. Let's address the problems with their reasons - free parking is available to all WDW resort guests, and Magical Express is too. Let's also think about the reader's budget. Like I said, I love the deluxe resorts, but if I'm on a tight budget I'll gladly stay at a value if means I get to go to WDW!

7. Don't: Pay more for a view. Reasoning - view at deluxe resorts will cost more and you won't be there enough to enjoy it.

***Funny, I wonder if the author realizes that there are preferred rooms at resorts other than the deluxes. This is another personal choice. In the previous they say do a deluxe, but in this one, don't do a view. This depends on your touring style. I like a view if I can swing it. It's great to wake up to and it's great if you take a break during the day.

8. Do: Consider renting. Reasoning - curb lodging costs, just miles from WDW, low nightly/weekly rates.

***I've never done this, but that's because I'm now a solo traveler. If I had a large group I might consider it. I also don't think I'd recommend this for first timers. You have to have a plan, know what you're missing (Extra Magic Hours, free parking, etc...).

9. Don't: Opt for Disney's budget digs. Reasoning - they are crowded and far from the action, try US 192 and I Drive locations instead.

***I totally disagree with this one. There is nothing wrong with the budget resorts. Pop Century is one of my absolute favorites. These resorts are still themed for Disney and you get all the Disney perks - why wouldn't you try them? Yes, they are busier, but I haven't found that to be too much of a problem.

10. Do: Book a character breakfast. Reasoning - good value, all you can eat, character interactions, so full you won't need food until late afternoon.

***Character breakfasts are great if you want character interactions. No doubt about it.

11. Don't: Eat during peak lunch hours. Reasoning - 12-2pm is peak time, waits for food up to 30 minutes, snack as you go instead.

***Instead of telling people to snack which could be a bit expensive, how about suggesting that people eat at non-peak times. Yes, even WDW has non-peak eating times :)!

12. Do: Rent a car. Reasoning - it's cheap enough, cheaper than a taxi, easy access to other attractions which are just as good as Disney.

***Wow. While I do like having a car, it can be expensive and a hassle. If you're not going off site, I wouldn't recommend it. For the few times you may need to use something other than WDW transportation a cab isn't that expensive.

The article is listed as being updated today. I kind of doubt it. The information seemed very out of date and a little contradicting. I wonder if this is why there are first time visitors that won't go back because they follow this type of advice and then don't have a good time because they don't know so many things.

It makes me sad to read these types of articles. I hope that those of you that are Disney fans are out there spreading the knowledge and helping other people with their trip plans. I try whenever possible. I have a co-worker in the UK that emails me every time he gets ready to plan another trip so I can answer questions for him. I love that! I always tell people to just ask - the answers are out there!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Guess I Am 23

Every one's talking about D23 on pod casts, blogs and forums. The opinions seem to vary from I hate this to I love this and everything in between.

I waffled back and forth for a few days. Do I join? Do I not join? Is it worth it? Why do want to do this? Of course, I could list a hundred other questions I asked myself as I listened and read all about it.

My emotions on the concept ran from hot to cold. I'd listen to one podcast and think - no way, I don't need to join that. Then I'd listen to the next podcast and think - oh, that's a great point, I do want to be a part of this club. I'd read blogs and go through the same back and forth. I really couldn't decide what I wanted to do.

Then, I was sitting at my computer last night and I just went to the site and signed up. Why? You know, I'm still not entirely sure, but I hope to find out through this next year.

When the Disney Visa came out I signed up immediately - unfortunately, I no longer have this card and it saddens me still. I had the actual Disney Credit Card - which I'm still bummed that they ended this too. I was a Disney Club Member and I am a Disney Movie Club Member. So, I guess I've always wanted to feel a part of the Disney company. I subscribed to the Disney Magazine for years. Maybe that's what led me to join.

I don't plan on traveling to the Expo this year, even though it sounds amazing. So, that wasn't the draw.

I am excited about the membership kit and the gift. I am also excited about the magazine - and yes, I know I could go get it from the bookstore - call me lazy on that one. Yes, the charter member certificate was a draw for me - I know what a sucker.

I don't know what the future of this "club" holds, but I am hoping it's something good. I would love to see them include some form of thank you for traveling to the parks and at this point, who knows, maybe it will.

For now, I'll sit back and wait for my membership kit and hope that it wasn't money completely wasted. If it turns out to be a joke, at least I have the option of not renewing next year.

So, whatever your opinion I'll try to let you know what my experiences with D23 are and you can make up your own mind.

What Would You Like To Know?

I have been enjoying posting my recent trip reports and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. It's so fun to let people know of all the fun things you can do at the Disney Parks.

As I get ready to continue blogging I am left to wonder what you'd like me to blog about. I can continue the comprehensive trip reports if you're interested, or I can go to mini reports on the different things I've done.

I have trip reports from 1991 all the way through 2007 that I haven't shared yet and I've done quite a few interesting things during those trips. I will be more than happy to share the full experience, but I thought you might be tired of my endless rambling.

Some of the things I was thinking about doing mini reports on include:
  • Resorts (I've stayed at few and could report on my experiences, thoughts)
  • Dining (I've done quite a bit of dining and would be happy to share my experiences at the different restaurants)
  • Tours (I've been lucky enough to do quite a few tours and would be happy to share what I thought)
  • Attractions (Okay, I'd just be sharing my opinions here)
  • Other Parks/Experiences (I try to do Sea World and Discovery Cove when I can and I've visited Universal Studios)

So, leave me a comment and let me know what you'd like to see - full trip reports or mini reports on the specifics I listed above.

Thank you for taking the time to read this :)!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

$10,000 - A Great Motivator

Okay, so I'm watching The Biggest Loser right now. I don't want this post to sound wrong or petty, but sometimes this show really bothers me.

Tonight's challenge was of all things - run a half marathon. Run a half marathon the fastest and win $10,000. Of course there's a twist and other contestants can eat cookies to add time to another contestant's total time.

Regardless - they have to run a half marathon. I can applaud that - I've done that. They've been on this journey for 10 weeks. They haven't trained for a half marathon and yet here they are all running/walking a half marathon.

Some were running inside on a track, some outside, some a combination of the two. Now, as those of us that have run half marathons know outside is a lot different than a track. Hills versus flat, smooth versus rough, etc...

So, why am I blogging about this? Let me list the ways...

1. Are they sending the right message to the general public? Yes, I want everyone to experience the thrill of finishing their first half marathon. No, I don't want people to think that they can go out and run a half marathon without proper training. Running at 200+ pounds is hard on the body and the mind. Just waking up one day and saying I'm running a half marathon today is not the best approach.
2. Is it fair that some ran track miles while others ran road? No, I don't think that's a fair comparison. There are a lot of differences between treadmills, roads and tracks. To be fair they all should have had the exact same terrain. That could drastically influence a person's time.
3. Did all of these people actually finish in the times given? If so I feel like a total failure...Here I am training for months, working hard and I can't beat these people that have only been exercising for 10 weeks. Man what a depressing thought.
4. Did they stress hydration? No! While they showed the contestants drinking a little bit here and there no one stressed the importance of hydration and fueling during a run this long. Again, I don't think this is responsible.
5. Do they lose sight of what's important? Yes, they need to focus on the healthy living aspect more and less on strategy and game play and money won. Of course the contestants want to win money - who wouldn't, but it can't be all about the money. How about showing more about how the contestants get through sweet cravings or being starving after working out so much, etc...

I have been a long time Biggest Loser watcher and there have always been little things like this that bother me, but this one got me. I guess it could be the fact that I'm still recovering from the Princess Half Marathon, but I just wish some of this stuff was portrayed a little better.

On the flip side, if I had the opportunity to run for $10,000 - I'd kill myself to win it :)! Hmm..maybe I should use that as motivation for my next half marathon. Where oh where will I find someone to donation $10,000 to me?

Just some food for thought!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Week Following the Princess Half Marathon

So, I flew home from Orlando on Monday. I was pretty sore Monday and Tuesday, but I was starting to feel better on Wednesday. What did I do? Continued to be lazy and not work out and even worse I ate everything in sight.

Do I want to weigh myself tomorrow? No, because I'm sure the scale will be up several pounds, okay, more than several...It won't be a number I'll be happy posting that's for sure.

A few months ago I signed up for a local 8K for this weekend. Why? Because I knew I was going to need something to keep me motivated and get back out the door and back on track. It was a good thing I did too!

The race was this morning. It would have been so easy to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, but I drug myself out of bed and headed off to the race. Now, I haven't run since the half marathon last Sunday so I wasn't sure if my body was ready for this or not.

Turns out, I wasn't mentally or physically ready to run 8K. Did I do it anyway? Yes, I did. I finished just under 57 minutes. 5 minutes slower than last year. I really pushed today too. It's frustrating that I just don't have the speed I did a year ago.

So, mentally I was having a tough time making myself run. I just wanted to walk, but I pushed myself any way. I had to keep reminding myself that it was less than 5 miles so there was no reason I couldn't do this.

Physically, I was hurting the whole way. My legs were aching after the first step. My right shin with the stress fracture was not good at all. It just ached the whole way. Happily, my left knee only twinged a few times. That was a good sign or so I thought.

I had to walk a lot more than I wanted to, but I am still glad I did it. It just proves how out of shape I still am and how much room for improvement I have.

The race was done and I grabbed a propel and a banana. I did a quick stretch out and sat down to hydrate. It was nice out and I enjoyed just people watching for a while. Then I got up and started to head out. There was the cutest puppy that I had to stop and pet. Then I started walking and guess what...My left knee was out again. It was all I could do to walk to the car. I actually had to lift my leg to put it in the car. So frustrating. I just don't know what is happening with this knee.

Looks like it's time to go back to the doctor and have both legs checked out. I may give myself a week or two off running and see how I'm doing before I do that though. It could just be that my legs are fatigued from the races.

Now, as for my diet...It is so out of control. I did go shopping today and there is nothing bad in the house and I'm out of cash so I shouldn't be able to stop as easily and pickup fast food or anything else bad. It's time to get serious and get some of this weight off. No more excuses - I can do this.

I'll keep you all posted on how this week goes!

My Second Half Marathon Take Aways

Finishing my second Half Marathon was a great experience. I learned more about myself and my running again and I continue to learn how to be a better runner.

Some things I learned:
Training matters - I trained a lot harder for this race than my first and it made a huge difference

Rest is important - I think I over did it on the Saturday before the race. Doing the 5K was no big deal, but then walking around two parks after was probably more than I should have done. My feet were sore during the half and my feet don't usually hurt when I run.

Eating right is important - I know that I didn't eat as well as I should have. I think when I do my long runs at home I do better because I'm not eating such bad food. This is something I know I have to work on!

Drink, drink, drink - I know that you can drink too much, but I couldn't get enough during this race. That is unusual for me as I don't usually drink a lot while I run. It just goes to show that when you travel for a race you don't know how your body will react to the change in climate.

Watch your stride - This will vary from person to person too. I have found that my hips don't hurt at all when I don't lengthen my stride too far. I have also learned that when I have to walk I just have to increase my cadence while keeping my stride the same and that also saves my hips. I was able to complete this race without having the searing pain in my hips that I had during and after my first half marathon.

Don't underestimate yourself - As long as you think you can do it, you can! It's easy to stop believing in yourself and as long as you squash those feelings you can accomplish anything!

Stick to what you know - If you know how you run best at home then run that way at the race. Race day is not the time to try new things. If you're used to one type of gel and it doesn't bother you - don't try something you've never tried before or the results could be disaster.

I'm sure I'll think of other things later, but these are the ones that are really stuck in my head.

2009 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Summary

My Journey
The weather was...warm and nice...when I left and...beautiful and just right...when I arrived.
The best thing about my journey was...landing in Orlando.
The worth thing about my journey was...leaving Houston late.
The funniest thing about my journey was...the gate agents fanatic and obsessive carry on luggage announcements and checks.
During my journey I tried watching Wall-E and the result was a fabulous and entertaining movie.
The most magical moment during my journey was...knowing I was on the way to Walt Disney World for another race!

My Room
The first impression of my room was...large and cozy.
The best thing was...being at a monorail resort and close to the TTC.
The worst thing was...being on the first floor right next to the entry door for the building.
The amenities were...fabulous.
I tried...Captain Cook's self serve kiosks..and the result was...an easy way to order.
The most magical moment was...getting to stay here again!

My First Day
The weather today was...beautiful, warm and breezy.
The best thing today was...going to the Magic Kingdom.
The worst thing today was...getting up at 2:50am.
The funniest thing today was...wipe your nose on your shirt, not on your hand.
Today I tried...flying in and going to the Magic Kingdom...and the result was...a long, but fabulous day.
The most magical moment today was...walking down Main Street and soaking it all in!

My Second Day
The weather today was...gorgeous, sunny and breezy.
The best thing today was...meeting so many nice people at the Expo and then at Epcot.
The worst thing today was...my knee still hurting.
The funniest thing today was...the dad and son on Test Track and after Mission Space.
Today I tried...Storm Struck...and the result was...a neat experience in 3D.
The most magical moment today was...getting my race packets.

My Third Day
The weather today was...cold morning, hot afternoon, sunny.
The best thing today was...running the 5K, meeting Rae, Eric, Fiona and her Mom and Kate.
The worst thing today was...my knee hurting again.
Today I tried...American Idol Experience...and the result was...a fun show, but not something I need to do every time.
The most magical moment today was...meeting the folks from Team Voice!

My Fourth Day
The weather today was...cool in the morning, hot towards the end of the race and after, nice at night.
The best thing today was...finishing my second half marathon.
The worst thing today was...being super tired.
The funniest thing today was...all the people at the half marathon and the comments being made throughout the course.
Today I tried...the inaugural Princess Half Marathon...and the result was...a fabulous race that was exciting, long, tiring and fabulous.
The most magical moment today was...getting my finisher's medal, high fiving Minnie and Mickey and beating my first half marathon time!

My Fifth Day
The weather today was...nice and cool.
The best thing today was...getting home to see my kids (birds and dogs).
The worst thing today was...being sore and having to sit still for so long on planes
The funniest thing today was...having a window seat that didn't have a window.
Today I tried...flying the day after the half marathon...and the result was...a long day.
The most magical moment today was...getting home!

My Magic Memories
My most memorable day was...Sunday, March 8, 2009...because...I completed my second half marathon and it was fabulous.
My most memorable place was...Animal Kingdom...because...it was full of fun and the place I met new friends.
My most memorable attraction was...American Idol Experience...because...it was new.
My most memorable activity was...running the half marathon...because...I did better than my first half marathon and I didn't hurt quite as badly as after the first half marathon.
My most memorable meal was...50's Prime Time Cafe...because...it was new to me and the company was great!
My most magic moment of all was...getting my finisher's medal...because...I did it!
Special memories of my vacation: It was great meeting Team Voice members!

Tip for Others
Even short trips are fun. Just pick what you must do and then anything else is just a treat. Don't try to kill yourself and do it all - you can't - and if you try to relax and go with it, you'll have more fun!

Hollywood Studios Night Pictures

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Looking towards the exit
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Snow White Topiary
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The Great Movie Ride Sign
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The Big Hat Looks Better at Night Right?
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The Hollywood Tower of Terror - spooky
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Rock N Roller Coaster
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Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Friends

Saturday, March 14, 2009

2009 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Day 4

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The time jumped ahead an hour during the night so now I'm up even earlier. The alarms hadn't gone off yet, but I was awake just before 3:30am. I got up and took a shower and got myself all ready to go. Man, I am so tired!

I headed to the bus stop at 4:20am and I got right on the bus. The bus is way fuller today than it was yesterday! We left the Polynesian shortly after I got on the bus.

We pulled in to Epcot at 4:45am and man it's early. I got off the bus and did a physical check. My left knee is still a little bit sore and for some reason by lower back is a bit sore. I stretch out a little bit and start walking around to loosen up.

As I'm walking around there is this couple walking around. A gentleman and a lady. The lady is tiny and she let out this huge belch - it was just priceless and I couldn't help but chuckle. She just wasn't the type you'd expect that from at all. Time for a quick porta-potty break - time one :)!

Now it's starting to get busy. There are a lot of people, loud music, talking and the energy level is starting to rise. I got a text from Rae asking where I was.

I headed over and met up with Rae, Eric (not running today), Fiona, Fiona's Mom (not running today), and Kate right after I used the porta-potty for the second time. I was bound and determined not to have to go to the bathroom during the race :)! We all stood around and chatted while we waited to head to the corrals.

Now, when they say it's a twenty minute walk to the corrals they are not kidding! We all joined the crowds headed to the corrals. Half a mile from the corrals there is one more set of porta-potties. Rae and I were going to stop, but the lines were horrendous so we skipped it. We hit corral C and that's where Rae and I stop. Kate and Fiona headed on to their corrals - apparently they are both a lot faster than me - that's awesome!

As we wait to the ladies around us are all having a great time. One of them asked me what size shirt I had to go up to get it to fit. I told her a 2x and one of the other ladies said that's crazy I'm a 2x you're not a 2x. Yes, the shirts are very small. We all agreed that they should do a better job getting a wider range of sizes and styles to fit everyone.

It's almost time to go. We finally hear the national anthem being sung. Then the countdown for the wheelchairs and they are off. Now, it's our turn. We see the fireworks and we start walking slowly towards the start line. Here come the timing mats - it's time to go!

I start running, slowly just to get a feel. My feet and legs are already tired - I'm thinking to myself that this is not a good start! I do end up finding my rhythm pretty easily. I start out a little slow and work my pace up to around 12 minutes per mile. I am finding that my body wants to go faster, but I pull back as much as I can.

The mile markers are so cool. They are electronic - big screens each themed to a princess and there are loud speakers playing music tied to the theme as well. They told us that there was a hidden mickey on each one, but I can't say that I even bothered to try and look. I wish I was a good enough runner that I could slow down and enjoy, but if I get off pace I know I'll be in big trouble. Another cool thing along the course were all the princess trivia questions and answers. It was a great distraction.

I continued running at a comfortable pace. I am carrying water, but I grabbed water as I need along the course as well. I am impressed with the amount of Powerade and water they have all ready at each of the stops. They also have great medical stations that have Biofreeze, Vaseline, Tylenol, Powerade and more water. The stops are great and placed very well through the course.

The first four miles or so is pretty uneventful for me. I feel pretty good - my legs are tired, but not unbearable yet and so far my knee is doing okay and my stress fracture isn't even noticeable.

I know that the hill on the way to the Magic Kingdom was going to be tough - and boy was it! That's pretty good hill, but I was able to keep running all the way up it. I have to say that the DJs, volunteers, spectators and cast members have all been just awesome. It really helps give me energy.

We're on our way in to the Magic Kingdom - cool! The whole length of Main Street is filled with crowds of people. I saw Eric at the end of Main Street - that's amazing! We head in to Tomorrowland and then it's just a little further and we're going through the Castle. I'm kind of bummed because I don't think I'll get any good pictures of me going through the castle this time.

As soon as I got out of the castle I grabbed one of my gels. I downed it and drank some water, but I keep going. I've made it past six miles and still going. We're headed out of the Magic Kingdom now.

The course is about to get a bit boring now, but at least it's pretty easy. I keep going through mile 7, mile 8 and mile 9.

By mile 9.4 I'm really starting to wish that they'd just come and sweep me - I think I'm actually begging by this point. I had to stop running start walking. I knew this wasn't going to be a good thing having to walk, but I just had to. My feet were really killing me - my feet never hurt when I run.

As I neared mile 10 I knew I wanted to start running again. It was so hard to get going again. My knee was screaming and my feet felt like they were on fire.

I ran for as long as I could again and that brought me to a on ramp. I walked the hilly part of the ramp and started running again. I kept running until the next ramp, walked the hill and then got back to running again. Epcot is starting to get closer.

Now I'm at mile 12. I keep running. 12.5 - I have to walk just a little more and then back to running. I'm almost to 13 - keep going, keep going. Around a corner, then the next corner, really it's around the next corner - I promise says one of the cast members. This time it's actually true though - I know this part of the course and I am almost done.

I know I've run hard and I'm not even going to try sprinting to the end. I tried to get clear so I could hopefully get some pictures. Minnie and Mickey are waiting at the end and I high five Minnie, then I high five Mickey and he grabs my hand with both of his! I am done!!!!

It's such an incredible feeling to know that I am done.

My Garmin Time: 2:39:49 and 13.34 miles
Chip Time: 2:40:02

I am happy because I've shaved off 6 minutes from my first half time, but I still didn't hit my 2:30 goal. Guess I still have something to work towards :)!

I move forward and have my chip removed. As I stood there I started to lose my balance and darn near fell on my booty. I continue moving forward to get my medal and a towel to wipe off with. Woo hoo - I have my Tiara medal! It's so pretty and super shiny. I grab water and Powerade and head over to get in line to get my finish photo taken.

Well, my picture isn't going to be very good since I think my medal is turned backwards - oh well! I continue on and grab a banana and muffins. And now I'm done and headed out of the finishers area.

I walked around for a few minutes and then headed over to the finish line. I didn't know who was done or still going, but I figured I'd hang around for a little bit. I see Rae coming to the end. I hollered to her to keep going, but she is in the zone and doesn't hear me.

I headed over to the porta-potty and then I thought I'd go see if I could find Rae. I saw her and Eric on the other side of the finish stretch so I decided to head to the bus.

I was really starting to hurt. My legs were spent. I got on the bus and we were off pretty quickly. As we left there was a lady in the back of the bus on a cell phone that said we were all headed to the hospital. We all laughed at that and asked the driver to take a detour! It was about 11am when we left Epcot.

I headed to my room to get out of my sweaty clothes. I had some pretzels and water and then I took a nap. I know, you're not supposed to do that, but I was so tired! Man did I feel better when I got up a couple of hours later. I took a nice shower, had some snack mix and got ready to head out.

I was just taking my time. I headed out to the bus stop at 4:25pm and the bus was there in about five minutes. We made a quick stop at the Grand Floridian and right before 5pm I was at the Hollywood Studios.

The turnstile all the way to the right was set up for the Happily Ever After Party. There was a red carpet and two footmen waiting for us. Once inside there were cast members waiting to put on our wristbands and give us schedules.

I headed over to The Great Movie Ride where there was no wait. I had the same driver, but she wasn't near as peppy today - which was fine by me. I had a nice ride through the movies. I really miss some of the clips from the old ending movie. I used to love the drive by fruiting scene from Mrs. Doubtfire.

Next I headed over to Muppet Vision 3D and I got to see most of the pre-show. Bonus - I didn't fall asleep during the movie today. Unusual for me - I love this movie, but for some reason it makes me tired. I sat close enough to the front today to really watch the penguins - I love the penguins. I still think this is probably the weakest 3D, but the muppets are great so it's okay.

Today during the race it was like walking around in a sea of pink, but tonight it's like walking around in a sea of blue I did it shirts :)! Including me!

At about 6:10pm I did a quick walk through of One Man's Dream. I didn't do the movie tonight as I've done it several times before and I really just wanted to walk through the exhibits. If you haven't done this I highly recommend it. There is some really cool stuff in there.

Hmmm...I think I'm going to do the American Idol Experience Finale Show again. I think it needs one more try. I headed over to get in the crowd to go in. This time I saw a different warm up host and he was really good too. These guys seem to be really good at their jobs. It was the same show host and I think he's just too stiff and not personable enough. Then came the judges - the Paula host was the same as yesterday, but the Simon and Randy judges were different. The chemistry between the judges was so much better tonight. They interacted more with each other and just seemed more comfortable with each other - and no stupid bananas phrase.

The talent tonight was amazing. There was a 14 year old girl that did Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry and she was amazing. I was blown away by her. A 48 year old guy did Tim McGraw's I Like It I Love It and he was just so much fun to watch. A 28 year old girl that has auditioned twice for the real show and not made it did Alicia Key's No One and she was absolutely amazing! The last girl did a Mariah Carey song and I can't even remember which one - she ended up winning and I don't know why. I'm guessing she brought a lot of people with her to vote because she really wasn't that great. I don't think she'll make it very far in the real show.

I was sitting next to a Mom, Dad, little boy and tiny baby girl. They were all very nice. The show does encourage people to talk to each other.

After the show it was time for the Happily Ever After Party to officially start. I didn't bother doing the chocolate or bead stations - they just don't hold a lot of interest for me. There were quite a few stations set up though.

I headed over to Toy Story Midway Mania. They had the fast pass line open and it was basically a walk on. I would have liked to spend more time in the queue as the theming is amazing - way better than the queue at California Adventure. The ride is just as fun though! I ended up with 145,500 - not too bad considering even my arms were tired from the race.

I walked around taking pictures for a little while. I like trying to take pictures from strange angles - just to get some different shots. It was fun just strolling around for a while.

I headed over to Rock N Roller Coaster and it was a walk on. When we got through the pre-show we were told to pick a row any row. I love this ride, but I didn't love it tonight. I guess after a Half Marathon it was just too much. I felt like I was being battered and bruised.

I stopped to purchase another Half Marathon pin and then headed over to Tower of Terror. Another walk on. We were once again told to pick any seat we wanted. I took the top left. I love Tower of Terror and it did not disappoint tonight.

I did a little shopping - didn't buy anything and at about 9pm I decided to head out of the park. I picked up my gift which ended up being the four park pictures that I already have. I think I got them at World of Disney last year as a gift for spending so much at the store. They are really nice pictures though.

The Polynesian bus was missing in action, but the TTC bus was there quickly and I decided to go ahead and take it. Once we hit the TTC I took a quick walk over to Captain Cooks for food.

I got my food and then did a little shopping at the hotel. Back to the room to eat and pack.

I ended up going to bed at 11:45pm. I had a 5am wake up call and alarm set so I could catch Magical Express at 5:30am.

It was a fabulous race and a very long day, but I am so glad I was able to race and enjoy the party! Tomorrow I'm headed home.

Hollywood Studios Pictures

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Mighty big hat!
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American Idol Experience (outside, stage, warm up host)

Animal Kingdom Pictures

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Do you see a hidden Mickey?
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Fruit Bats just hanging around
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The Tree of Life
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Hippobottomus
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I'm hungry!
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Giraffes - they do exist
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Elephants
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White Rhinos
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Big, big birds
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Pretty Kitty - here Kitty, Kitty!
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DeVine - you just have to see her to believe her

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Day 3

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I set two alarms for this morning - one at 4:10am and one at 4:15am. Normally, I wake up before my alarms go off. Not today - I slept through two alarms and probably some reminder rings. Thankfully, I woke up at 4:30am.

I got up and got dressed for the race. I was out the door by 4:50am. I headed towards the buses and I was the first person on the bus. After a few minutes a few more people boarded and we were on our way!

We arrived at Epcot and I was off the bus by 5:15am. It was pretty empty this early. I walked around and saw a concession tent. I went over to check it out and they had breakfast sandwiches, bagels, fruit, energy drinks, coffee, etc...A first time racer asked if she should eat before the race. I asked her if she normally ate before she runs. She told me that she runs after work. Okay - do you normally eat before you run after work? Yeah, I guess I do. My reply, then I'd go ahead and eat now. You'll want to do whatever your body is used to doing before you run. She thanked me and headed off to buy some fruit and juice.

I continued walking around and saw the Disney's Wide World of Sports Merchandise Tent. I headed over to check it out because it was cold and I thought maybe they'd have a sweatshirt or something warm I could buy. It was about 54 degrees. I know that's not cold to a lot of people, but it was cold to me - it was really my hands that were frozen! There wasn't much in the DWWS tent that I wanted to buy so I headed over to the porta-potties to take care of business.

Walking was the preferred way to warm up and waste time. My left knee is a little sore, but I used Biofreeze before I left the room and walking is helping to loosen it up a bit.

At 6:30am I headed to the corrals. I lined up in the 11 - 13 minute per mile corral. I figured I should be able to maintain that pace. There were security people stationed at each entrance to the corrals and they were checking every one's bags as they entered. This was new, I hadn't seen them do that before. It's cool though!

The wheelchair start was at 6:58am and then right at 7am we all took off. It was a slow start as we headed in to the parking lot. It was crowded, but I was still able to move around as I wanted to. As we came around to head through the backstage area it became very congested and then it thinned out nicely and it was easier to run.

We headed through the backstage area and man did the garbage stink this morning. Yuck! We finally made it to World Showcase.

Mulan was waiting for us in China. Aurora was in France. Donald was somewhere in there - maybe around the UK, I can't quite remember. Minnie and Mickey were out on the course too!

Then we came to that darn hill by the International Gateway. I kept running. Spaceship Earth and around it we go. Now we're by Leave a Legacy. Then we're headed out of the park.

Cinderella and Prince Charming are waiting right before the final stretch and Chip and Dale were on the course too! I was still running.

Final stretch and I decided not to push too hard. It was enough that I ran the whole thing today. Yes, the end! I did it! 33:51 was my Garmin time. It was slower than I had hoped to run but I felt good.

I got my medal or should I say rubber necklace :)! They had purple ribbons for the women and blue ribbons for the men. They are the rubbery plastic just like the Toy Story medal from the Family Fun Run in Disneyland last year.

Powerade, water and a banana - yeah, that'll work. I headed over to get in line to get my finisher photo taken.

All done with my photo I walked around while I ate my banana and drank my Powerade. I needed to stretch - so I did a quick stretching routine. Nothing too fancy after a 5K!

I headed for the bus and hopped on and sat down. As I sat down and bent my left knee I felt a familiar pain shoot down my leg to my ankle. This is not a good thing!

The bus left for the Polynesian at 8am and we were at the resort y 8:15am. As I stood up to get off the bus, there was big trouble - I can hardly walk. What is wrong with this knee? I hobbled along as best as I could.

As I'm walking along a cast member congratulated me on my race - I thought that was very cool! It's funny, people are very curious and stare at my bib and medal. I find it entertaining and honestly I've done enough races that I don't tend to even remember I have a bib and medal on.

I slowly made it to my room. I took some Tylenol and had some trail mix for breakfast. I decided it was time for a shower - I was hoping the hot water would help my knee. I'm going to head to Animal Kingdom after I'm dressed and ready to go. Right now it's about 9:20am.

Shocking isn't it? No, really - the hair dryer has wired exposed and I got shocked. That's not good.

At 10:50am I was headed out the door to get a bus to Animal Kingdom. The bus arrived within a few minutes. While on the bus an older gentleman said he thought that the must paint everything every two years or so because the colors are all so bright. I'm thinking that the painters probably wish it was every couple of years instead of how often they actually paint everything!

I was in the Animal Kingdom by 11:25am. I headed straight to Dinosaur where the wait time was listed as 20 minutes, but it turned out to be a walk on. I still like Indiana Jones better, but Dinosaur is still fun!

A hop, skip and a jump and I was over at Expedition Everest. I got in the single rider line. The cast member told me it would be 10 - 15 minutes. Turned out to be less than 10 minutes. I rode with a girl that works for Disney and she commented on my Princess Half Marathon shirt. She was jealous because she wanted to sign up, but it was full by the time she tried. She was really nice.

While waiting for the ride I saw an interesting t-shirt that caught my eye. It said, "if you choke a smurf what color does it turn?" I know, terribly tacky, but it does make you think :).

I took a nice leisurely walk through Maharajah Jungle Trek. As I was taking pictures of the fruit bats (which I think are very cool) I heard a lady ask her party - if they relax do they fall down? I found this humorous, it made me chuckle.

The tigers were all out and easy to see today. I really like the tigers, I think they are just beautiful and so regal.

Next up was Kilimanjaro Safari. The wait was listed as 30 minutes and it was about a 20 minute wait. It was about 12:30pm. The lines sure didn't seem too bad considering all the people walking around.

As I was waiting in line there were two women behind me and I found them thoroughly annoying. Just making stupid comments about their place in line, the names of their future children, the fast pass line, etc...They were just very stereotypical and I just had to shake my head. One of them had a brilliant observation about Impalas and how that was where the car's emblem came from. The comment was something about it being a real animal. Boy! Later our driver would point out that the sable is a real animal too - you know the Mercury Sable...

I had the best safari driver ever on this ride. His name was Jonathan and he was truly amazing! Not only did he do his normal spiel, but he kept turning off his mic to talk to us in the front row as well. He also answered questions and he was really good at spotting the animals. One comment that I thought was super was about the hippos or rhinos or something fast. It was about how they could run 35 mph and one of the ladies that was behind me in line said I hope they aren't going to charge us. Jonathan turned off his mic and said, "I hope not because we can only do 8mph!" Classic - I loved that!

There were a ton of animals out - giraffes, elephants, ostrich, rhino, warthogs, okali cattle, oryx, and so many others. I really had a great ride!

Through the morning I had been texting with Rae from Team Voice and after the safari I was able to meet up with Rae and Eric. It was so cool to get to meet them. We headed off in search of corn dog nuggets and water.

We headed over to Expedition Everest and got in the stand by line. The posted wait was 30 minutes and it was about 20 minutes. I rode with a little girl that had never been on before. She was so cute. She didn't make a sound the entire ride and then at the end she was all smiles - so cute!

After that we headed towards Dinoland USA and we thought about going on Primeval Whirl, but the wait was 45 minutes so we took a bio break. Then we were set to meet Fiona (from Team Voice) and her Mom. We were looking for a green shirt and orange bag. We were going to meet over by Expedition Everest and we headed that way to wait.

We didn't find her until we found out they detoured to Dinosaur - so we headed over there to meet up with them. We finally met up at about 2:45pm and we had a nice chat. Then they headed on their way and so did we.

At about 3:15pm we headed toward the exit. Rae and Eric invited me to ride over to Hollywood Studios with them since we were going to do dinner at 4:20pm with Kate (from Team Voice). That was so nice of them - I would have been transferring buses forever :)!

We were in Hollywood Studios by 3:40pm and we made a quick stop to check for pins - nothing new. The Great Movie Ride was a walk on so that's what we did. Our driver was Nina - that's N long i na and boy was she peppy! It was a good ride though.

By the time we got off the ride it was time to head over to 50's Prime Time Cafe for dinner. We met Kate and were seated shortly. This is the first time I've eaten here. I have to say the atmosphere can certainly transport you back. I had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans (which I didn't eat). The food was good and the company was great. It was a lovely dinner.

At 6:20pm Kate suggested we do the American Idol Experience Finale Show so we headed over and joined the crowd. Kate had seen several shows today and Rae, Eric and I had never seen it. So the finale show is where the seven winners from the day's shows had a final performance to see who would get the golden ticket. The warm up host came out to get the crowd pumped up, take some videos and get everyone ready for the show. Our warm up host reminded me of Scott Hamilton - I really enjoyed him and I thought he did a great job.

We were let in to the theater. Wow - the stage is very cool and very high tech. I was impressed with how much detail was put in to this theater. Very impressive. I have to say I really wanted to like the show, but I really didn't have high hopes. I do watch American Idol and I enjoy the show, but I wasn't sure how it would translate to a theme park.

The warm up host came back out and continued to get everyone going for a few more minutes. Then the host came out and took over. The host introduced the three judges. The Randy like judge really annoyed me and honestly, who thought bananas was a good catch word? Yuck! The Paula like judge babbled just like Paula and I found her a bit annoying as well. The Simon like judge was from Australia and he was just okay.

Now, let's talk about the talent. There was actually some talent among the contestants. There were a couple of guys that were really good and a couple of girls that were really good. One thing was clear - a couple of the performers had obviously performed before and were more than likely seasoned performers. The guy that won is obviously a performer - he was way too comfortable on the stage and he knew what he was doing. I didn't vote for him because he wasn't raw talent - he was practiced talent. As I said earlier, the judges bothered me and unlike TV I couldn't fast forward through them and ignore them.

The show hits the mark for interactivity between guests for sure. The contestants were obviously bonded as they spent time together, but the audience was put together too. You could now debate with people during and after the show - you agreed or disagreed on the comments from the judges and who won. Everyone can have an opinion. I'll still be curious to see how long it lasts.

After the show we headed out and chatted for a few more minutes and figured out where we were going to meet for the race in the morning.

It was definitely time to head back to the Polynesian to rest for the big race tomorrow. At 8:15pm I was on the bus back to the hotel. I did a quick snack and water stop for before and after the race tomorrow.

I headed back to my room and got all my gear out and ready to go for the morning. I ended up not going to bed until 11:30pm and I knew it was going to suck getting up at 3:45am - especially with the time change.

It's odd - I'm not nervous for the race and I have to say that makes me nervous. We'll just have to see what happens.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Epcot Pictures

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Friendship Boat and Spaceship Earth
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Celebrate Today Banner
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Illuminations Globe
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World Showcase from afar
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Nemo and Friends
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The Seas with Nemo and Friends
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Figment!
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Upside Down Waterfall?
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Test Track
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Mission Space
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Fantasia Ostrich Topiaries
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Spaceship Earth at Night

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