2017 Training Stats

Miles Completed = 29.01
(Run/Walked = 29.01, Biked = 0.0, Elliptical = 0.0)


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Miles Completed in 2011

I thought I would post some numbers for 2011.  It was a very successful year in terms of miles for me and I did meet my goal to run/walk/bike/elliptical from my house to Walt Disney World.

The Goal - 2,139 miles

The Result - 2,140.79 miles
     Run/Walk:  1,425.41 miles
     Bike:  703.40 miles
     Elliptical:  11.98 miles

While I didn't make it past Walt Disney World, at least I made it there and in the nick of time too :)!

Goals for 2012

As with 2011, I am going to use 2012 to work on myself. I am super proud of the things that I accomplished in 2011, but I think I can do even more in 2012! So, with that, here are the top things that I want to work on in 2012.

1. Complete the Dopey Challenge
Yes, this is a goal again for 2012.  While I think I can complete the Dopey Challenge, I do want to better my times from 2011.  If I can do that I'll consider this a huge success!

2. Participate in as many runDisney events as I can manage
This should be a pretty good goal for the year.  If I can manage to make it to all the events, here's what I'll be looking at for 2012.

     -Disney's Family Fun Run 5K featuring the Three Caballeros (registered)
     -Walt Disney World Half Marathon (registered)
     -Walt Disney World Full Marathon (registered)
     -Neverland Fun Run 5K (registered)
     -Tinker Bell Half Marathon (registered)
     -Royal Family 5K (registered)
     -Princess Half Marathon (registered)
     -Expedition Everest Challenge 5K (registered)
     -Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K
     -Disneyland Half Marathon
     -Tower of Terror Family Fun Run 5K
     -Tower of Terror 10 Miler
     -Wine & Dine Family Fun Run 5K
     -Wine & Dine Half Marathon

3. Work on run-walk-run intervals and improving speed
I had some injuries and setbacks on speed in 2011 and in 2012 I want to focus on increasing my ability to do run/walk intervals.  In addition, I want to work on my speed and improving my finish times.

4. Continue working on eating better and losing weight
This will probably always be on my list of goals.  It's an area that I continually struggle with.  I hope that at some point I can find the magic key that will work for me long term, but I'm still searching for that internal key.

5. Add at least one day a week of Pilates to my workout schedule
I will try to be successful in this goal again this year.  I know that Pilates really helps my flexibility and helps strengthen my hips and core - both areas that need to work on.

6. Add at least one day a week of strength training to my workout schedule
I would like to use some form of strength training to work on my core, my hips and arms.  I really like P90X, but find that the length of time is just too long most days.  I think I will look in to using the new 10 Minute Trainer to start and see how that works for me.

7. Participate in at least one 10K
Even though I've done a lot of different events I've yet to participate in a 10K. I'd like to try at least one 10K in 2012.

8. Work towards a new PR in the Half Marathon
Of course I'd like to get under 2:30 in the half marathon, but instead of being specific I thought I'd just try to better my best time. Right now my half marathon PR is 2:40 and I'd like to get under that time.

9. Maintain consistent mileage each month throughout the year
I would like to run/walk 100 to 125 miles per month in 2012. I think this is doable as long as I continue with my long runs every other week at a minimum.

10. Run and/or walk at least one 20+ mile workout each month throughout the year
I have a pretty good mileage base built up right now and I'd like to maintain that marathon distance base.  In order to do that, I believe completing at least one 20+ mile run/walk a month will help me to do that.

Review of 2011 Goals

There were some great things about 2011 and some things that I did not do so well on.  Let's take a look at the goals I set at the beginning of 2011 and see where I ended up!

1. Complete the Dopey Challenge
This is one goal that I succeeded at.  It was a tough journey, but it was also very rewarding and prompted me to sign up to do it again in 2012!

2. Participate in at least one running/walking event each month of the year
This is another goal that I succeeded at!  Here are the events that I completed in 2011:
     -New Year's Day 5K
     -Buzz & Woody's Family Fun Run 5K
     -WDW Half Marathon
     -WDW Full Marathon
     -Lost Dutchman 8K
     -Run for Ryan House Half Marathon
     -Pat's Run 4.2 Mile Run
     -Peace Officer's 5K
     -Arizona Road Racer's Summer Series Race #2 5K
     -Arizona Road Racer's Summer Series Race #4 5K
     -Arizona Road Racer's Summer Series Race #5 5K
     -Disneyland Star Tours Family Fun Run 5K
     -Disneyland Half Marathon
     -Walk for Hope 5K
     -Women's Half Marathon
     -Runner's Den/Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon

3. Release the fear and return to running or run-walk-run intervals
I am not as fearful of running now.  I do still struggle with the running because I am worried about re-injuring the knee that I had so much trouble with after the Disneyland Half Marathon.  That being said, I am perfectly okay with the fact that sometimes I have to walk.

4. Continue working on eating better and losing weight
I ended the year down 9.4 pounds.  While this is good that the number was down, it's not what I had hoped to accomplish and I know that for most of the year I have struggled with eating better.  This is one goal that I could have done a lot better with.

5. Add at least one day a week of Pilates to my workout schedule
This goal was a total failure.  I did a few Pilates workouts this year, but lets face it, nowhere near as many as I should have done and not even close to once a week.

6. Add at least one day a week of strength training to my workout schedule
Fail, fail, fail...Man, I so failed on this one.  I know how much this would help my overall goals and I still couldn't muster the willpower to do any strength training.

7. Participate in at least one 10K
Oh, boo - I didn't manage to get a 10K in.  While this should be an easy race distance to find, I am having trouble finding one on a weekend I can make it to.  I will get a 10K at some point.

8. Work towards a new PR in the Half Marathon
Another goal that I did not meet.  This is a hard one for me.  I find that I'm having trouble getting faster and I can accept that I didn't get a new PR because it will come when it comes if it is meant to happen.

9. Maintain consistent mileage each month throughout the year
I did manage to meet this goal.  I managed to get between 80 and 100 miles each and every month this year.  I'm very happy with the fact that I managed to get the miles in and ran/walked more miles this year than I ever have before.

10. Run and/or walk at least three days a week in 2011
I did not go through my training log and count the number of weeks that I did this, but I think there were probably only a couple of weeks this year where I didn't meet this goal.  I am perfectly happy with my success with this goal.  I do think it was doable to do three days a week most weeks.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my progress over this year.  These goals were really year long endeavors and I'm very happy to say that I stuck with most of them.  Sure, there were things I could have done better on, but since I'm human and have a life I can accept those areas where I struggled and know that I can continue to work on them in the coming year.

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #4

#4 - Disney 2012 Family Fiesta 5K Featuring the Three Caballeros
From the course map (view course map here):
The Family Fiesta 5K featuring the Three Caballeros will take place on Friday, January 6, at Epcot ®.  Adults, teens, and tweens will enjoy a fun-filled and exciting fun run with an unforgettable finish. Every finisher will receive an exclusive Three Caballeros 5K medallion. 

Why am I looking forward to the Family Fiesta 5K Featuring the Three Caballeros?
Starting with my very first runDisney race, I participated in the family fun run 5K.  It has been a tradition that I carry on with each event.  I find these events to be just what they are advertised as - fun runs.  You aren't timed, there are no results posted and everyone is truly there to have fun.

These races are not your local 5K that doesn't cost much to enter.  The price for this race was $50 per participant.  The reason I don't find this to be so horrible is that it includes a race t-shirt, finisher's medallion, on course support, characters on the course, and post race refreshments.  That's a pretty good list of things for a 5K. 

On race day, there is usually a character meet and greet set up for the early birds and/or those that like to wait in quite long lines to get a picture taken with their favorite character(s).  I don't usually do this, but I have to say that the Three Caballeros does tempt me - I don't see these characters out and about as much as others so it's a unique opportunity.

There are no true corrals, they will have signs posted for different race paces.  It's on the honor system to line up at your real pace.  Most people do this pretty well, but there are a lot of participants - up to 5000 races so it will be crowded no matter what.

The featured characters usually kick off the race.  Starting outside of Epcot in the parking lot the race begins.  The course takes you around the parking lot and in through backstage of Epcot.  You then enter World Showcase, go around the different countries, enter future world go through the Leave a Legacy Monuments and around Spaceship Earth and finally exit the park and end in the parking lot.  It's a pretty easy course, the only potential challenges are the crowds in the beginning and then the bridge/hill at the International Gateway area towards the UK in World Showcase.

There are two water stops on the course which are placed well and manned by awesome volunteers.  In addition, you will likely see some characters out around the course that are there for photo opportunities.  You can ask the cast member that is there with them to take a photo with your camera or phone and that doesn't cost you a thing!

At the finish line, all finishers will receive a finisher's medallion.  These are sort of plastic\rubber flexible material and they are always themed to the race.  I'm looking forward to see what this year's medallion looks like - should be fun.

I really enjoy these 5K races because it's a nice warm up for the upcoming longer races.  It gives you a chance to stretch the legs, get a feel for the terrain and weather.  I figure I'd end up doing a run on my own, so why not go ahead and do a race with a bunch of other fun folks!

This year also marks the first year that I am intending to dress up for a race.  I'm not doing anything fancy, but I have put together a very basic Jose Carioca costume - tie, hat, gloves, shirt, sweatpants, tail, and maybe shoe covers.  I have never done this for a race so it makes me a little nervous as I just hope I can run with this stuff on.  If the weather is too warm, I will end up scrapping the costume idea in exchange for comfort.

I urge everyone to try one of the family 5K races that runDisney puts on - it's truly fun and you will see a lot of characters both on and off the course!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #5

#5 - Giving the Characters a High Five at the End of the Race

One of my absolute favorite ways to celebrate the end of a runDisney race is to give the characters at the end a high five.  I will even slow down just so that I can get a clear path to high five the characters.  I don't know why, but it just really makes me happy to have those characters there cheering all the runners on.  I guess it's just that little something extra that runDisney races have that make me come back time and time again.

So, as you end your next runDisney race put a big smile on and high five the characters - I promise, it'll just make your experience a little more special!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dopey Challenge Interview Posted on Healthy Disney

Lisa from Healthy Disney (www.healthydisney.com) contacted me about doing an interview about the Dopey Challenge a couple of weeks ago as part of a series of interviews she's been posting on her site about the upcoming 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend.  My interview was posted today over on the Healthy Disney website.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  I also encourage all of you to follow this blog - Lisa has some great guest columnists and she provides some great tips and advice to going to Disney and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Check out my interview here.

Runner Tracking Sign Up Available for WDW Marathon Weekend Events

For those of you wanting to track any runners during the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events, the sign up website is now available.

Sign up to track your runners here.

Feel free to track my progress through the Half and Full if you want - my times are always good for a chuckle :)! 

What to Pack If You're Traveling to a Race

I first posted this list back in August of this year, but figured that it would be good to share it again as I start to think about packing for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  

The following is a list of some of the things that I think are important to make sure you bring if you are traveling to race.  This is not an exhaustive list and you may have things you can't run without that I haven't included, but hopefully this will get you thinking about what you'd like to bring with you.
  • Waivers/Race Registration Receipts
    • Print your race waiver(s) prior to leaving home so you don't have to rely on a printer at the expo
    • Bring a copy of your race registration receipt(s), that way if something happens and they can't find you there's proof of your registration
  • Final Race Instructions/Driving Directions
    • It's always a good idea to have a copy of the race program, final race instructions or any other materials that have been published for participants.  These documents normally have important information about expo times, things you can or cannot do before/during/after the race, etc...
    • There may be special driving directions, road closures, or parking information that you'll need if renting a car and driving to the event.  It's also a good idea to use a mapping program or GPS to get turn by turn directions so you don't get lost if you're not familiar with the area.
  • Flight and Hotel Information
    • You never know what is going to happen so make sure you have all your flight information and hotel information with you at all times
  • Race Clothes/Shoes/Accessories
    • Hopefully you'll have run tested your clothing and know what you'll wear during race day.
    • You'll have to make a decision on whether to check your race gear if checking luggage or pack it in your carry on.
      • If you decide to check your bag, be aware that you may end up without your clothes is your luggage gets lost.
      • This means you'll be scrambling at the expo to find clothes or heading to a local store to try to find something to wear - very stressful.
    • Don't forget your running shoes
      • If you want to be sure your shoes will make it with you, wear them on travel day.  Clothes are much easier to replace than shoes and you won't have enough time to break in a brand new pair of shoes before the race.
    • Under clothes, socks, hair accessories
      • If you're used to running with certain socks, under clothes or wearing your hair in a certain fashion, make sure you pack everything you need.
      • Hat, visor, sunglasses
    • Prepare for any weather
      • You don't know if it's going to rain, shine, sleet, snow, be windy, hot, cold or some other freaky weather.  Try to be prepared for any weather conditions.
  • Fuel
    • You may want to bring pre-race fuel (Powerbar or whatever else you're used to having prior to a race).
    • Race day isn't the day to be testing new fuel products.  Training is when you need to test new fuel products.  Gels, energy drinks, electrolyte replacements, bars, recovery drinks, Lifesavers :), etc...
    • This also includes containers to carry your fuel - gel flasks, handheld water bottles, fuel belts, etc..
  • First Aid/Preventive Products
    • Whatever your choice of products to prevent chafing (Body Glide, etc...).
    • Moleskin for blisters.
    • Band-aids (guys you can use these on nipples if you don't sweat too much).
    • Lip balm to soothe chapped lips before/during/after the race.
    • Sunscreen  to protect your skin while out on the course.
    • Biofreeze or other pain relief medication to help with sore muscles/joints.
    • Pain reliever of your choice to help ease those aches and pains.
  • Watch/GPS/Pedometer
    • If you run with a watch/GPS or other pace/distance device make sure you have it.
    • Pace bands - if you are looking for a specific time you may want to pack a pace band or pace tattoo.
    • Heart rate monitors can be included here too.
  • Technology
    • You may want to bring your cell phone to text before/during/after the race, find people, or receive text messages with your splits.
    • Do you listen to music while you run?  If so, don't forget your MP3 Player.
    • Are there photo ops on the course?  Have a camera or video camera handy so you don't miss any great moments and so you can share later.
Those are a few of my most important things to bring to a race when I have to travel out of my local area.  What else do you consider absolutely necessary to race your best away from home?

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #6

#6 - The Monorail

2007 View 8

What's not to love about the monorail?  Futuristic transport that glides on beams in the air.  There's not much better than that in my opinion.

If you're staying at a monorail resort - the Grand Floridian, Contemporary or Polynesian - you have the luxury of using the monorail to get to the other monorail resorts, the ticket and transportation center which you can transfer to another monorail to get to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. 

There are three loops to the monorail - the express loop, the resort loop and the Epcot loop.  The express loop runs between the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and the Magic Kingdom without any other stops.  The resort loop stops at the Magic Kingdom, Ticket and Transportation Center, Grand Floridian, Contemporary and Polynesian.  The Epcot loop runs between the Ticket and Transportation Center and Epcot without any other stops.

I have had a lot of experience traveling with disabled family members and using the monorail.  The cast members are always great about helping out.  They have ramps that they can place at the accessible cars that allows wheelchairs and electric scooters to easily enter and exit the cars.  There are ramps to get to all the monorail stations as well so they are pretty easy to access.  It can be a challenge at times to maneuver on and off the monorails, but cast members are always patient and helpful so the best thing to do is to not get flustered.

A must do for me on all my trips is to ride the monorail at least once.  It's a great vantage point to see the resorts and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Yes, there is a monorail smell - not always the most pleasant, especially in the summer when guests are all sweating.  Marathon weekend can be a bit pungent as well.  The smell, I really remember most is that musty, humidity smell that permeates so many things in WDW.

Next time you go to Walt Disney World, do yourself a favor and ride the monorail loop - pick one, any one, it's worth it.  Remember - Por Favor Mantengase Alejado de las Puertas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My 11 Hours in Disneyland (December 26, 2011) - LONG

Disneyland - what, aren't you going to Walt Disney World here really soon?  I'm so confused, what possessed you to go to Disneyland? 

Is that what you were thinking when you read this title? 

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I should go to Disneyland just for the day over my Christmas vacation from work.  I have that fabulous Premiere Pass that I paid a lot of money for and wouldn't it be great to use it for something I hadn't planned a year in advance?  I thought it would be fun.  I've never just flown somewhere for a day and flown home the same day - sounded like an adventure I just couldn't refuse.

I had some Southwest airline credits to use so I did a quick search and found airfare for a somewhat reasonable (not really) price and I booked it before I could change my mind.  The date was set - I was going to Disneyland December 26, 2011!

I had only two must do things for the day - Haunted Mansion Holiday and It's a Small World Holiday.  That's it - if I managed to do these two things the day would be successful.  I knew to expect some pretty intense crowds and I was prepared to stand in lines as long as it took to do these two attractions.

The alarm rang at 3:30am and surprisingly I got up and got ready to go.  I was super excited because I was going to Disneyland!  I fed the dogs, made sure I had my wallet and a jacket and headed outside to wait for Super Shuttle.

The shuttle van arrived right on time and I was headed out to the airport at 4:28am.  We made one other stop to pick up a family and then it was an uneventful ride to the airport.  Of course, taking the shuttle and not having any luggage certainly brings up questions - that I would have to answer several more times during the course of this day :)!

Okay, so I've never flown out and back on the same day.  When I went in to print my boarding pass, I didn't realize that it was going to print both passes at the same time - thankfully, the next person in line caught that I had only taken one of my passes...such an inexperienced jet setter...It was a quick and easy trip through security and I was at the gate waiting by 5:10am.

Boarding started at 6:10am and we took off on time at 6:30am - the great thing about going to California right now is that they are an hour behind so we landed at 6:40am.  I flew in to LAX since it was cheaper than Orange County - it also meant a little longer commute to get to Disneyland, but since the park didn't open until 8am I figured I'd have time.

Once I got off the plane I headed out to the Super Shuttle pickup area - it was rather odd because there were no coordinators to check in with.  I waited a few minutes and finally a van stopped and checked me in.  Within 10 minutes my shuttle van was there and I was on my way.  Super Shuttle was very busy and we ended up with a full van load.  There was no traffic on the way so the drive was pretty quick and easy this morning.

I had arranged to be dropped off and picked up at the Grand Californian.  I was the second drop off and it was very odd when we stopped at the Grand Californian to say that I was not there to check in, but it was no problem.

I did a pretty quick walk through the hotel to Downtown Disney and straight on to Disneyland.  I was in the park by 8:01am - not a bad way to start the day at all!

I was going to stop and take some pictures of the Christmas tree on Main Street, but I was too jazzed to go to the Haunted Mansion Holiday.  So, I walked through the park passed Pirates - oh, it was hard to walk by when I could have walked on, but I was on a mission.

When I arrived at the Haunted Mansion it hadn't been opened up yet, so I shot a couple of quick pictures. 
2011 HM 72011 HM 6
2011 HM 52011 HM 4
I walked up and right in to the lobby and straight in to the stretching room.  I had never experienced the Haunted Mansion Holidays before, so I was super excited to see what it was all about.  The first time, I just wanted to experience the ride so I didn't take any photos or video. 

I was pretty impressed.  The ride is completely transformed - it's not your normal Haunted Mansion at all.  The stretching room photos are different, the spiel is different and the vibe is different.  The changing portraits in the hall on the way to the doom buggies were all different - very cool, but different.  There were subtle Christmas decorations all around.

As you get ready to board your ride vehicle you're presented with a neon, glow in the dark scene with so many Nightmare Before Christmas characters.  So much to look at it's hard to take it all in.

Then you go through the ride.  The floating candelabra is now a floating Zero.  Zero is second to Pluto for me - I love Zero with his orange lit up nose!   There's a monster wreath, singing plants, and lots of creepiness.

The seance room is completely different - with Zodiac cards and Madame Leota in a Christmas bauble glass orb.  You head to the ball room where there is an awesome Christmas tree with skulls, pumpkins, spiders and such.  A killer gingerbread bread house and yes, they pipe in gingerbread scent as well.

On to the attic and there's more of that neon, glow in the dark spooky creepy stuff everywhere.  Again, there's a ton of things to see in here.  The monkey bride is there, snakes with children's names as their tongues, packages, toys, a miniature Mr. Oogie Boogie.

You head outside of the mansion and it's snowy and wonderful.  There's jack-o-lanterns everywhere. As you pass where the caretaker and his dog are normally positioned - there's a larger than life Jack Skellington and floating Zero.  Jack is talking away - very cool.  Then you progress through the cemetery and the singing busts are now singing Jack-O-Lanterns - a nice touch.

There are some really cool things to see - one of my favorite things is the skeleton reindeer.  They are cool and creepy at the same time.  The hitchhiking ghosts have been replaced by a large Mr. Oogie Boogie and his spinning wheel of trick or treats.

The hitchhiking ghosts are replaced by a few special little characters that pop up.  No Little Leota telling you to hurry back, instead you have Sally beckoning you to return and bring your Sandy Claws Sack.

I was really impressed by the changes and I decided to get right back on the ride a second time since there was no wait.  This time I took some video and I grabbed a few stills from the video to share with you.
2011 HMH 11
Jack is up in the ceiling looking down in the stretching room
2011 HMH 10
At the boarding area
2011 HMH 9
Evil gingerbread house
2011 HMH 8
Snake with children's names list for a tongue
2011 HMH 7
Snowy hill full of jack-o-lanterns
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Jack and Zero
2011 HMH 5
Singing bust jack-o-lanterns
2011 HMH 4
2011 HMH 3
Mr. Oogie Boogie
2011 HMH 2
2011 HMH 1
Zero pulled the sleigh

I headed over to French Quarter and shot a quick picture of Christmas decorations on one of the balconies.
2011 FQ
Next up was Pirates of the Caribbean which was a walk on.  Of course, it was as good as always.
2011 PoC 1
We wants the redhead!

I headed in to Adventureland and since I was walking past Indiana Jones, I decided I might as well get in line since the wait was only about 25 minutes and I knew it would be much longer later.  The wait was really only about 10 minutes so it was a great choice.  This is a pretty great ride - it can certainly be rough though so be warned you're going to get jerked around quite a bit.

I had already done all of this and it was only 9:30am.  As I made my way over to Fantasyland, I decide to stop by and do the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk through.  I haven't done this since the original incarnation when I was just a kid and I have to say I really enjoyed each of the vignettes and seeing the story come to life.

Goal number two was to see It's a Small World Holidays, so that's where I was off to next.  Now, I haven't been on It's a Small World at Disneyland for a very long time - it's usually closed to get ready for the holidays when I'm here - so I still hadn't seen the addition of the Disney characters that was done a few years ago.  I was really looking forward to seeing the characters and the special holiday decor and music.
2011 IASW 2
I did the same thing with this ride - the first time through I just wanted to enjoy and soak it all in.  So, that's what I did.  The ride is the same layout as normal, with the same scenes from around the world, but the scenes are all decked out for the holidays and so festive.  They also play the It's a Small World music, but there are also Christmas songs mixed in - I loved this.  It was truly a well done change and I was super glad I got the chance to see it.  I was also really impressed with the addition of the Disney characters - they are stylized and really cute and well done.
2011 IASW 1
I enjoyed it so much that I got off the ride and right back in line to ride again.  The second time through I took some video and grabbed some stills from it to share here.  I'll share a good number of the Disney characters that are throughout the ride.
2011 IASWH 13
Mulan and Mushu
2011 IASWH 11
Love the giraffes
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Three Caballeros
2011 IASWH 9
Ariel and Flounder
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Dory and Marlin
2011 IASWH 7
Lilo and Stitch
2011 IASWH 6
Woody and Bullseye
2011 IASWH 5
The final white scene decorations
2011 IASWH 4
Can Can Dancers
2011 IASWH 3
More decorations
2011 IASWH 2
2011 IASWH 1
Postcards at the end of the ride - very cute!

It was almost 11am and I was getting hungry since I hadn't had anything to eat yet.  I headed over to the Village Haus and got a burger, fries, a cookie and some water - a 15% discount with my pass and it still cost $13.52.  What can I say, food in Disneyland is rather pricey!

After a satisfying lunch I headed out towards Frontierland and on the way, I had to stop and see the reindeer.  They are really cool!
2011 Reindeer2011 Reindeer 2
Big Thunder Mountain was next on my list of things to do.  I hopped in line and the wait was only about 10 minutes or so.  I do love Big Thunder - such a great coaster!

It was just after noon and the crowds were now super thick - I mean walking was becoming more and more difficult.  These were the crowds I was expecting and to be honest, I was just super glad that I managed to get so much done in the first part of the day.

I headed back over to Haunted Mansion Holiday and the wait was now listed as an hour with no fast passes.  I decided to brave the line and do it one last time.  I am glad I did.  There was a cast member there that was so good as scaring people - he would just walk up by someone and say something in a very loud voice and every time the person he addressed would jump so high.  Seriously fun to watch.  The wait was about 45 minutes or so and was worth it as it gave me a chance to slow down a bit as I hadn't really stopped since I got up in the morning.

Next I was walking around deciding what to do next and again, the crowds were crazy.  To make matters worse - Indiana Jones was down and it was a madhouse trying to maneuver through Adventureland.  I made my way towards Tomorrowland, along the way, I took a couple of castle pictures.
2011 Castle 2
Isn't the castle pretty with the snow?

As I entered Tomorrowland, I decided to hop in line for Star Tours - yes, the wait was listed as 65 minutes and yes, it was about 50 minutes.  I didn't mind, it was a perfect day, I was prepared for waits and I felt like a little outer space adventure. 
2011 Star Tours
It was a little disturbing when a Wookie got thrown on to our Starspeeder - yikes!

I walked around a bit more, soaking up the atmosphere and deciding what to do next.  I ended up back in New Orleans Square and got in line for Pirates again.  It was listed as a 50 minute wait, but as I was waiting a Cast Member came to inform everyone there were technical difficulties and it would be 10 minutes or so before it would be going again.  Wow - technical difficulties at Pirates - can't remember the last time that happened.  Even with that, it was still only about 40 minutes of wait time.

It was about 3:50pm and I was starting to wear out a bit.  I headed over to the Jungle Cruise which had a 20 minute wait listed, but it was only about 10 minutes - although the queue had everyone going up stairs and downstairs and all over the place.  Just gotta love the Jungle Cruise!

Now it was time to do a little shopping.  I headed up Main Street towards the Emporium.  Spent a little bit of money on an ornament, Vinylmation key chain and Mickey Poncho Antenna Topper.  Then I was on a mission to find a couple of pins - but I didn't find any that I really wanted - so sad.

I had to take a few more pictures of the Haunted Mansion at night - very cool with all the lights at night!
2011 HM 3  2011 HM 2
2011 HM 1
At about 5:40pm, I found a spot just off Main Street to lean against a fence and rest for a bit.  The 5:30pm parade was going and I watched that from a distance.  What I was really hoping for was to see the Castle Lights come one.  Just about 6:10pm, I was running out of time and started to head out of the park and took a few pictures of Main Street.
2011 Castle 1
The castle with just garland lights on
2011 Main St 2
A blurry picture of Main Street
2011 Main St 1
Looking down Main Street

At 6:20pm as I was almost to the end of Main Street getting ready to head out, an announcement came on that the castle lights were going to be lit.  I was so excited.  I thought I was just going to miss these tonight and I have to say it was a really magical moment to be able to head back up Main Street to watch the lights come on and the snow come down on Main Street.  It truly was the best way to end this perfect day that I could think of!

The lights on the castle are truly magnificent and the snow was pretty magical too!
2011 XMas Castle 3
The castle from a distance - isn't it cute how small it is :)?
2011 XMas Castle 2
So much snow and pretty lights!
2011 XMas Castle 1
The perfect way to end my 11 hours at Disneyland - seeing the beautiful lights on the castle!

I headed out of the park at 6:45pm and walked to the Grand Californian through Downtown Disney.  I did a quick walk through the store in the hotel and then I headed outside to wait for the Super Shuttle.  I had a bit of a wait - about 30 minutes and I have to say that it got a bit chilly as I waited.

The ride back to the airport was quick and uneventful, made it through security quick and easy and had about 50 minutes to wait for the flight to take off.  The flight left on time and I was back in Phoenix at 11:30pm.  Headed out to catch the Super Shuttle home and finally made it back home at 12:45am.

It was a super long day, but it was so worth it.  I have never done anything like this before, but I have to say it was a great experience and one that I hope I can do again!

Some thoughts on this day:
I planned my timing well.  Making to the park right at opening and then hitting my goals and favorites first was a wise choice.

Even though it was super crowded later in the day, there were never any lines listed longer than 70 minutes and most were shorter than listed.

I really did enjoy the Haunted Mansion Holiday, but I'm glad that it's not always that way.  The original is still the best in my opinion.

It's a Small World Holiday was a super overlay - I really enjoyed all the decorations and the addition of Christmas music.  I also really loved the addition of the Disney characters - they are stylized well to fit in to the ride and it just works for me.

Know that you're going to have to deal with major crowds during a holiday time.  Take a deep breath and just go with the flow, no matter how slow it is.

If you get a chance - make sure you see the castle lights and snow.  It was gorgeous and I'm so glad I didn't end up missing this!

I was blessed with beautiful weather.  I wore a light jacket most of the day, but just tied it around my waist when it was too warm.  I wore jeans and a t-shirt and it was just right for the temperatures.

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #7

#7 - Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion

From the Walt Disney World website:
The Haunted Mansion is a spooky tour of an ominous haunted house in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom theme park, where a supernatural Ghost Host introduces you to his closest 999 dearly-departed friends.

Don't worry—too much. While Haunted Mansion contains some mildly frightening subject matter, there is no gore, the ghostly residents are friendly and the experience is appropriate for all ages. 

Enter the mysteriously well-maintained exterior of an 18th-century mansion and find yourself in an ornate estate where anything can happen—and often does. Walking past the entrance foyer and into the ghostly portrait chamber, the air cools and the sense of dread begins to grow. Suddenly, you realize that you are in a room with no windows and no doors! 

Moving along, you board a "Doom Buggy" and begin your supernatural journey. Your Ghost Host takes you through several dusty rooms, where you can see eerie signs of ethereal awakening. Soon, you encounter the mansion's resident medium, Madame Leota, who invokes the mansion's ghost and ghouls to show themselves. 

What follows has to be seen to not be believed, but suffice to say that you've never before seen the dead so lively. The conclusion is definitely more merry than scary, but the sight of wraiths and skeletons—even of the kindest constitution—is something you're sure to remember as long as you live. 

And maybe a bit longer. 

At the end of your tour, to help you remember your visit to the mansion, a team of 3 cheery hitchhiking ghosts volunteer to follow you home. It's no use trying to dissuade them; they're deadly serious about their duty. 

The Haunted Mansion is the imposing colonial manor darkening the eastern banks of the Rivers of America in the northwest corner of Liberty Square.

Why am I looking forward to the Haunted Mansion?
The Haunted Mansion is one of my most favorite rides in Walt Disney World (like that grammar?)!  There's nothing that I don't like about this ride - it's just fantastic.

I have not had the opportunity to see the new interactive queue enhancements yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing what fun elements have been added to the queue.  There are rumored to be things like sounds, sights, gags, water and more that will add to the queue experience.  I'm not typically a big fan of these enhancements as so many guests just seem intent on destroying things that have been put there for their enjoyment - I know not all guests are that way, but one of them is too many for me.  Nevertheless, I am still curious what I'll see in this queue now.

The cast members at the Haunted Mansion are some of my favorite.  If I was going to be an attraction cast member, this is one of the attractions that I would love to work at.  An attitude, lack of smile, scaring people and being just a little unpleasant are not only expected, but applauded here.  I so fit that role!  Really, watch some of these cast members work, they are good - really good.

Finally, you enter the mansion.  Look up, look down, look all around.  Notice the little details in the architecture and decorating.  As you are entered in to the next room, you must step lively and in to the dead center of the room away from the walls.  This is the stretching room and where your journey truly begins (or will it be the end?).  Now, I know it's tempting to recite the dialog, but please try to refrain - it's just not fair to the other guests with you.  Some of them might be first timers and you don't want to spoil it for them.

You exit the stretching room and head to board your doom buggy.  This is your ride vehicle, your vantage point for the rest of the ride.  The vehicles are on a constantly moving sidewalk, so watch your step and have a seat.

You travel through the mansion, witnessing different aspects of some of the 999 happy haunts.  They read, they float, they try to escape, they hold seances, hang out in attics and gather in the grand ballroom.  The fun doesn't stop there - you'll travel out on to the grounds of the mansion and there's just a huge ghost gathering going on out there. 

As the ride comes to an end, you must be very careful as a ghost may follow you home.  At least you'll have a warning as to which ghost will be following you.    You'll get a chance to meet your ghost at the end of the ride. 

As you exit the ride you might want to stop and take a look at the pet cemetery.  There are some interesting pets to see there.  You might also want to admire the horseless carriage - and I'm not talking about a car :).

Most importantly - hurry back and don't forget to bring your death certificate!  Rumor has it there's always room for one more!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekly Review: Dec 19 - 25

Goals for workouts this year:
1. 80-100 miles run/walk per month
2. One day of Pilates per week
3. One day of Strength Training per week
4. One day of Bike or Elliptical per week
5. One Incline Workout on the Treadmill per week

Here's this week's recap
PM Workout: Treadmill walk 3.25mi @ 15:00 per mi
Notes: Dealing with an extremely sore pinched nerve or something pinched in my right leg.  Very sore to walk,sit, stand all day.  Decided to try to brave a walk to see if I could ease the soreness.  Not too bad to take it nice and slow.  Lots of massage and ice to help ease the area as well.

Notes: Not good today.  The pinched nerve is very sore and aggravated today and instead of pushing - lots of ice, massage and rest again today.

PM Workout:  Treadmill run/walk - 4.08mi, .3mi warm up walk, 3.14mi @ 12:11 per mi, .64mi cool down walk
Notes: What do you know, the leg is feeling so much better today.  I am pretty happy with the time on the 5K tonight as I didn't push too hard.  A bit sore still after the run, but hoping that it will be okay still tomorrow.

AM Workout:  Run/Walk - 13.98mi, .29mi warm up walk, 13.13mi @ 13:57 per mi, .57mi cool down walk
Notes: No pain in the leg today - well, at least not the pain from the last few days.  Headed outside today for a nice half marathon run/walk.  It was a beautiful, chilly, sunny day that was perfect for getting the miles in.  I was pretty sore and worn out by the end of the run/walk though. 

Notes: Was hoping to get another long, long run in today, but I was pretty sore from the run/walk yesterday.  I don't know why it wore me out so much, but it did. 

PM Workout:  Walk 3.07mi @ 18:13 per mi
Notes: Took the dogs out for a nice Christmas light looking walk tonight.  It was a beautiful, chilly evening and perfect for looking at all the pretty lights.  Felt good to not have a goal.

Notes: Lots of house and yard work to get done today didn't leave any time for a "real" workout.

Weekly Numbers:
Weight Watch: -3.60 pounds

Run/Walk Miles: 21.31
Bike Miles: 0.0
Elliptical Miles: 0.0

Pilates: MISSED 
Strength: MISSED
Incline: MISSED

Monthly Numbers
Run/Walk Miles: 68.79
Bike Miles: 32.0
Elliptical Miles: 0.0

Goofy's Weekly Training Challenge Results
So, it was another so-so week in terms of miles.  Since I didn't manage to do the Dopey Dress Rehearsal again this week it sort of sucks.  My confidence level right now for the upcoming races is very low.  I really want to better my times from 2011, but at this point I'm not sure what to expect.

There was nothing good about food this week.  I have been out of control and stress did not make that situation any better.  There are no excuses here, I know what I did wrong and I have not had the control to do better.

The year is almost over and I will be looking back to see where I have excelled and where I have stumbled.  I am also trying to stay positive about the upcoming races and really hope that I can do better in 2012 than I did in 2011!  What are you looking back on and looking forward to?

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #8

#8 - Epcot's Spaceship Earth
From the Walt Disney World website:
Spaceship Earth is a slow-moving 16-minute ride through time and space for Guests of all ages. Located inside Epcot theme park's spherical icon, the attraction's Audio-Animatronic scenes depict the stirring story of human connection from the dawn of recorded time to the 21st century's cyber age.

Bear witness to prehistoric man's first words, behold the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians, follow the advanced system of roads amidst Rome, and journey through the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Information. 

Over a dramatic 63-piece orchestral and 24-vocal musical score composed by Emmy-award winner composer Bruce Broughton, famed actress Dame Judi Dench relays the story of how each generation of mankind has paved the way for the next. 

Science fiction author—and Disney fan—Ray Bradbury helped design the geodesic sphere and pen the original story of the attraction. 

Spaceship Earth omnimover vehicles—dubbed time machines—are equipped with interactive touch screens that ask you how you would like to live, work and play in the world of tomorrow. Using image capture and face recognition technology, you can then enjoy a glimpse of your potential future self at the end of the attraction. 

After the attraction, be sure to spend time at Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future, an interactive play area for Guests of all ages filled with challenging games and informative displays that showcase the latest technologies in medicine, transportation and energy management. 

Visit Spaceship Earth online for interactive games, fun ways to think green and to learn how science plays into every Disney theme park attraction. 

Why am I looking forward to Spaceship Earth?
In high school, I had a World History teacher that was truly phenomenal.  I learned so much from her, I could never thank her enough for making history come to life for me.  That's where my love of this ride truly stems.
SpaceshipEarth 2005 2
This is my all time favorite ride at Walt Disney World.  It's truly amazing as it immerses you in the story of communication and the connection of people throughout history.  The journey starts with the prehistoric age and takes us through time to the present.  There are amazing sights, sounds and smells through the entire ride.  I really think you have to enjoy the ride multiple times to be able to see all the details.

A confession - I am not a huge fan of the latest version.  I don't love Dame Judy Dench as the narrator, my favorite was Jeremy Irons and a close second was Walter Cronkite.

In terms of the scenes, I really, really miss the end scenes of the old version.  I loved the kids talking across the world, the futuristic school scene and more.  It's not that the scenes are bad now, I just think they had more impact in the previous version.
SpaceshipEarth 2005 13
One of my favorite things is the fact that you get to go inside the geodesic sphere.  I love the look of it from the outside, it's just such an amazing structure and the way it catches the light is just awe inspiring.  You'll board your ride vehicle, a time machine, that will take you  up through the sphere and then you slowly travel back down backwards.

Regardless of my opinion of the latest version of the ride, please give it a try.  It's a great ride and there are lots of really cool things to see in the ride.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #9

#9 - The Volunteers

I've talked about the Cast Members that are spectacular and can really help you through a race, but I haven't yet expressed my appreciation for all the volunteers that will be at the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

There will be over 7000 volunteers assisting during this spectacular weekend.  You read that right - over 7000 folks will be volunteering.

Where will encounter these volunteers?  Everywhere!  You'll see them at the Expo handing out bibs, goody bags, directing runners where to go, bag check areas and more.  You'll see them at the family reunion area prior to the race start and again at the end.  Volunteers will be on the course handing out water, food, and sports drink.  You'll see them after the race directing runners to refreshments, medical tents, and photo lines.  Most importantly, you'll likely receive a medal from a volunteer.

Volunteers play such a large part in the events we participate in, without them it would be pretty difficult to put these events on.  Not only are they providing valuable services, they are also personal cheerleaders.  These folks are out there motivating runners, cheering, saying encouraging things, acting as janitors and more. 

We all know how early we have to start these races - it's early, it's dark, it can be cold, rainy or sunny.  Those volunteers are out there with us - some of them even earlier as they get things prepared for us to have a fabulous race.

So, no matter how much you hurt or how great you're feeling - do not forget to thank these wonderful folks.  We all owe them a huge debt of thanks and appreciation!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #10

#10 - Magic Kingdom's Aloha Isle

From the Walt Disney World website:
Refresh with soft-serve ice cream with a tropical twist.

Why am I looking forward to Aloha Isle?
First off, it's located in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.  Such a great place to stop and have a nice treat.  Now, this isn't just any treat, it's a special treat.  You can get this treat here and at the Polynesian, but I enjoy it more here in the park where I can sit, relax, soak in the atmosphere and people watch.

What is this treat you ask?  It's a Dole Whip.  What, you've never had a Dole Whip?  Well, if you like pineapple and soft serve ice cream, you really should give this a try.  Okay, you can get vanilla, orange or swirl as well, but for my money, I'll stick with the pineapple.

Served in a cup or in a float, it's a great pick me up.  If you're lactose intolerant, you can enjoy this  treat as there is no dairy.  The Dole Whip Float includes pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice.  You can get a rootbeer or Coke float, orange and vanilla swirl, or pineapple and vanilla swirl, or just any of the flavors on their own.

I have only been to the Magic Kingdom one time when it was too cold to actually eat a Dole Whip - that was Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2010.  I truly expect to enjoy a fabulous Dole Whip Float after the Half Marathon this year!

Merry Christmas


To all of you that celebrate Christmas - I hope that it brought you joy, love and happiness.!

If you don't celebrate Christmas - I hope whatever you do celebrate is or will be just as wonderful!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Countdown to 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend #11

#11 - Epcot's Electric Umbrella

From the Walt Disney World website:
Grab a tray and try some chicken dishes, veggie wraps and salads. Take a seat in the air-conditioned indoors.

Why am I looking forward to Electric Umbrella?
Okay, I'm a sucker for Walt Disney World Hamburgers.  I don't know why, but I really enjoy them, so I like to stop at Epcot and grab a burger and maybe some fries at the Electric Umbrella.  There's nothing particularly spectacular about these burgers, there's no fancy fixings bar, but it's a good basic burger, and of course you can add bacon - everything's better with bacon I hear :).

I actually really like the atmosphere of this quick service location.  It's a large dining area in Future World that has upstairs and downstairs seating areas.  Once you get your food you'll have some options as to where you sit.  I personally like to head upstairs next to a window that looks down on the corridor between Electric Umbrella and Mouse Gear.

As you enjoy your food, you can watch all the people walk and rush to and fro.  It's a great spot to people watch.  You never know what you might see happening down in that area.

If you're in Epcot and just want a burger (I know there are so many options at Epcot, why would you want a burger), stop in to the Electric Umbrella and take a few minutes to sit and relax and people watch!

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