2017 Training Stats

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


Saturday, May 19, 2012

2012 Expedition Everest Challenge Trip Report - LONG

Friday, May 4, 2012
Not much to say about this day.  I traveled to Walt Disney World.  I didn't arrive at Animal Kingdom Lodge until 1:40am - needless to say, it was a long day and I was glad when I finally got to my room.  I had a snack and headed to bed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012
As usual, I didn't sleep well.  The first alarm went off at 7:00am, but I lazed around until 8:45am.  Finally, I got up and got ready to head out.  I took my time as I was incredibly tired, but I finally headed out at 9:25am.

I headed to the bus stop and since I missed the first bus I had a little time to wait.  The Mears coordinator was very friendly and we had a nice chat.  At 9:53am I was on the bus and headed to ESPN's Wide World of Sports.  It was a short ride and I was headed towards packet pickup by 10:04am.  Instead of going all the way in to the complex, we were diverted to the left along the top of some bleachers for one of the baseball fields.

Packet pickup was super small - just a few tables under portable canopies.  I walked right up and got my bib, party wristband and commemorative pin.  I headed a few steps and there was a merchandise location setup - there was a woman's tech shirt, men's tech shirt and some runDisney in training gear.  I decided to get the men's tech shirt.  I was disappointed that there weren't any key chains or any other merchandise for this event.

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Party Wristband
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Commemorative Pin
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Front of Purchased Tech Shirt
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Back of Purchased Tech Shirt

I headed around the corner, tore off the top of my bib and turned it in for my shirt, a button and some fruit chews.  People were gathering around and I figured out it was for the first course talk.  I decided to hang around and hear what they would have to say.  I was glad I stayed around as we were told the three obstacles, not the order but a vague idea of what they are.  They also gave us a little more information about the scavenger hunt which I was glad to hear a little bit more about.

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Front of Shirt
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Back of Shirt
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At 10:47am I was back on the bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I stopped at the market to get some drinks and snacks for later.  I dropped my stuff off in my room and headed to The Mara to grab some food for lunch.  I took my food back to my room and enjoyed lunch while I watched some TV.

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Animals from Balcony of Room

I knew I wasn't going to last most of the night if I didn't get some sleep so I decided to try to nap at 1:00pm.  I dozed off and on for a few hours and finally at 5:00pm decided I should get up and get moving.  I ate a snack and hoped that would be enough to get me through the race without making me sick.  As I got ready, I realized that I'm not nervous for this event, but that I really don't have any expectations about this event. 

6:45pm I headed out to the bus stop.  The bus finally showed up at 6:55pm and the bus was on the way to Animal Kingdom.  Our bus was the very first bus to arrive so no one was really sure what to do or where to send us.  One of the coordinators walked us from the bus stop past the front gates and to the parking lot.  I made it to the Butterfly Parking Lot by 7:10pm.

It was hot, Animal Kingdom hot or more appropriately, Animal Kingdom parking lot hot.  There was no shade to be found, just a whole lot of pavement.  Since I was near the porta-potties I decided to take a bio break.  Then as I walked around, I found there was a table set up with cold water and cups.  I downed two nice cold cups of water - I really needed that.

I walked around for a bit and at 7:30pm I decided to sit down on the extremely HOT pavement.  Yes, it was hot, but it didn't start bothering me for a few minutes when it seeped through my pants - yikes!  I was already sweaty and dirty and I still had a lot of time to wait.

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Start Line
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Photo Op Site
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Extra Large Moon

At 8:20pm I took another bio break and had two more cold cups of water.  I had also brought water with me, but I wanted to save that for the race if I could.  I started walking around and it was people watching time.  I have to say that there's nothing better than watching people and their pre-race rituals.  I saw, stretching, yoga, push ups and all manner of oddness.  So incredibly entertaining!

Individuals were in the first couple of waves and I was in wave 1.  At 9:05pm they asked wave 1 participants to head toward the entrance to the chute.  Then at 9:15pm they let us in to the start chute.  Oh my, I'm right up front...It's kind of cool as I'm usually to far back to see anything fun.  Not this time - I'm right by the stage - I am watching the announcers and DJ and it's pretty great.  Then it was time for the singing of the National Anthem and I was thrilled because they had Van Dobbins singing - he sang at the Princess Half and is truly amazing.  It was so great to be able to watch him and see the flag for a change.

Another Moon Shot
Start Line After Dark
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Yep, I was that close!

Then, it was time to go. We counted down from 10, the fireworks went off and we were on our way.  The race starts in the parking lot and it's not the most exciting thing to run around.  I managed to do some running and walking and that was good - I wasn't feeling too bad which was a good thing.

Before I knew it I was coming up to the first obstacle.  Stretched across the course in a couple of areas were five or six rows of hay bales setup.  The bales were spaced out so that participants could hurdle the hay bales.  Now, I've never hurdled anything, I'm not a jumper and I wasn't sure how I would approach that.  Turns out that I was able to do a sort of hurdle over each of the bales and I managed to do this without tripping and falling...So, yeah - any one could do this obstacle.

There was a narrowing in the course as we headed to the front of the park and headed in as mile one approached.  Now we ran around the park.  There were some characters out on the course and some entertainment, but I honestly don't remember everything that was out on the course.  There were some really dark spots that I had to pay attention to my feet so I didn't trip over anything, but for the most part it wasn't too bad.

We headed past a water stop and the water was warm - this did not help quench my thirst that's for sure.  I continued on and again, before I knew it obstacle two was there.  This time it was tires, I guess there were twenty or so tires set up to go through.  There were volunteers warning people to take it slow and step out if you got in to trouble.  I entered the tires behind someone and they took it slow so I was able to walk through them without too much difficulty.  Yeah, no tripping or falling - bonus.

Two miles down and I have to tell you, I was dragging because it was hot.  I was just feeling a bit worn down, but I kept trudging along.  More warm water which I declined this time.  The last mile was a lot of running/walking through the park and nothing too exciting. 

We exited the park and there was obstacle three.  First you hit a sand area, then there was netting stretched across the course and under the nets they had some Astro Turf laid out.  I hit the deck...The netting was high enough that I didn't really have to army crawl, but I did have to stay pretty low.  The worst part wasn't the crawling, it was the getting back up.  Once I got back up there were the timing mats indicating the end of the 5K portion of the event.

Back in the parking lot and a very short distance to  reach the first set of volunteers that were handing out clues for the scavenger hunt.  There were four clue stations and each clue station had five different clues.  This was to make it so that not everyone was answering the same question at the same time.  The clues were printed on postcard sized card stock.  Up just a little bit further there were more volunteers giving out a key chain with a sharpie pen and a whistle.  I could have done without the whistle and I should have realized that there was a penlight on the whistle as well - yeah, never even occurred to me.

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Example of Clue Card
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Sharpie Pen with Whistle/Pen Light

On to the clues. 
Clue #1 - Oasis - Mirage
It's important to get your bearings on the mountain (and when solving clues).  I get up early at 4:00am, hit the trail by 5:00am, take until lunch at 12:00pm, get back on the trail until 6:00pm and am asleep by 8:00pm.

Under the written clue there is a compass with letters arranged like an analog clock:
12 - T
1 - B
2 - D
3 - Z
4 - E
5 - N
6 - E
7 - O
8 - R
9 - P
10 - U
11 - F

So, this clue was pretty easy.  Look at the times listed in the clue and find the corresponding letter to create a word.

4 - E
5 - N
12 - T
6 - E
8 - R

The answer to this clue was ENTER.  I wrote it down, headed to a volunteer under a sign that said Mirage, showed it to him and received my second clue.

It got a little confusing here because they had bag check people out and I ended up going through this line, but that was really for the people with party tickets that were not participating in the event.  They were quick at least and once I was through there I was able to go through the open gate rather than the turnstiles.  This was confusing because there were still quite a few people on the 5K course because the waves started so far apart.  Not sure that this was the best setup, but I continued on.

Clue #2 - Camp Minnie-Mickey - Chip
Make sure you cross the laces on your hiking boots.


I do a lot of word search and find the word puzzles so this clue didn't take me any time at all to figure out.  If you do a top to bottom alternating pattern you'll see the phrase.

The answer to this clue was THE SOLUTION IS MUSCULAR.

It took me a lot longer to get to Camp Minnie-Mickey and find the Chip station than it did to solve the clue.  I finally made it there and another volunteer checked my answer and handed me clue three.

Clue #3 - Africa - Zambia
If you want to climb quickly - and solve clues - take a rest period from time to time,  because it's what comes after the period that's important.  Climb with passion.  Awaken your senses.  Love every minute of it.  Mind your manners with other hikers.  Never be rude.  Enjoy yourself.  Stop to breathe and appreciate your surroundings.  Success will be yours.

Okay, I'm completely stumped on this one.  I was trying to figure out words that went with shops or restaurants in Africa...I just went completely blank on this one, but headed over to Africa mulling it over the whole time.

Once I reached Africa I still hadn't figured this one out so I asked a volunteer.  She said she couldn't figure it out either.  She gave me a couple of hints until I realized that I needed to look at the first letter after each period - oh sure, I would've figured that out in a year or so :).

The answer to this clue was CALMNESS. I was then handed my fourth clue.

Clue #4 - Asia - Nepal
When climbing a mountain and solving clues, remember - don't be afraid.

Under the written clue is a series of ropes or columns with letters under them.  Each rope was a specific length - long or short.

Long - I
Short - C
Long - M
Long - P
Short - U
Long - A
Long - S
Long - S
Short - W
Long - E

This was another clue that I found very easy and got immediately.  I guess all those word games paid off again :).

The answer to this clue was IMPASSE.  I headed over to Asia to get this clue checked and was given my final clue.

Final Clue
Just as you hook carabiners together to climb a mountain, hook letters together to find a hidden number in the text below.  Use that letter from each of your previous solutions to reveal the password you need.  Write it in the space below and show it at the chute to gain access to the party:

If I've come this far I'm sure I can reach the summit.

This one took a little bit to figure out.   The easy part was to find the number in the sentence.  The number I see is FIVE  (iF I'VE).  So, now what?  Well, if I have to string the clues together then I suppose I need to look at clues one through four and what if I take the fifth letter of each of those answers.

Clue 1 - ENTER
Clue 4 - IMPASSE

If I strictly follow the fifth letter rule - it messes things up, but if you take the last word of the second clue then things make more sense. 

The answer to the final clue was RUNS.  I wrote down the last solution and headed for the final clue station.  I showed my card and was allowed to pass in to the final stretch.  I did a slow run through the final stretch and finally passed over the timing mats!

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Finish Line Stretch
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And I'm Done!

The challenge was over and I went forward to get my medal, water and Powerade.  It was super congested right here as you ended right at Expedition Everest and everyone was congregating and milling around.  It was almost 11:00pm and I walked around and drank my water and Powerade and tried to cool down a bit.

Since the party was in full swing and I was at Expedition Everest I hopped in line and it was pretty much a walk on.  I really love this ride in the dark and I was glad I got a chance to hop on.  It was kind of sad though because the Yeti, of course, was in strobe light mode and the animated Yeti breaking apart the track wasn't running either.

I headed out toward Dinoland and happened to stumble across the Finisher Photo area.  I jumped in line and got my photo taken.  Sort of a strange place to have the photos, but I don't know how they could have done it near the finish line.

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Yep, I'm a Finisher

Next up was Dinosaur, but as I was walking over there I ran right in to the bag claim line.  I don't know if I've ever seen a longer bag claim line - it was ridiculously long.  I was very glad that I hadn't checked anything.  I walked right in to the pre-show for Dinosaur and headed right on the ride with a whole row all to myself.

It was about 11:30pm when I decided to head out of the park and headed for the bus.  Thankfully a bus was waiting and I got right on and we were on our way back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge after a few minutes.  When I arrived I was hoping I would be able to find something to drink from a vending machine or something, but I failed on my mission and headed back to my room.

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Animal Kingdom Entrance in the Dark with No People

I was back in my room by 11:55pm.  I took some time to clean up the room, take a shower, have some snacks and wrote out my thoughts on this race.  So what are my thoughts?

This was a really great event.  I loved the fact that is was super family friendly and that things weren't so difficult that it took away from the fun.  I would highly recommend parents with kids 7 and up consider doing this race if they are up to the distance.  I saw more happy kids out on this course than any other runDisney event that I've done.  From my perspective - I loved this race.  The obstacles broke up the 5K nicely and provided some easy and fun challenges.  The scavenger hunt was also fun, a little confusing at times, but not too bad and the volunteers were more than helpful if you needed assistance.  For an event I didn't have any expectations about, I came away with a great impression and super experience.

I should also mention that the medal is super cool.  I am totally impressed by the quality of the medal for a 5K Scavenger Hunt...I know it has come a long way since the first race when the medals were all ruined from the deluge!
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Front of Medal
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Medal with Front Cover Open
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Medal Looks Like a Compass
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Back of Medal

Sunday, May 6, 2012
It was a late night so I slept in and lazed around in the morning.  I left the room at 10:45am to check out and catch Magical Express back to the airport.  It was an uneventful flight and I made it home around 4:40pm.

This was the first time that I've ever flown to Walt Disney World for a weekend.  It's not something I think I want to do a lot, but it was fun and given the stress I've been under it was a good break.  I'm really glad I did it.


caballerofan said...

As always a great report. Fun Medal too.

Leanne T said...

Sounds like a fun time! I can attest to the hotness since I was at The Boardwalk that night.

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