Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That Time I PRd in Fun

AKA my Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap Part 4

Let's talk race, shall we?

I did manage to sneak in about an hour nap back at the room after lunch before getting ready for the race.  As I eluded to before - I was Donald from the Three Caballeros.


Our plan was to be on one of the first buses to ESPN when they began running at 7pm so that we could take advantage of some pre-race photo ops.  When we arrived at ESPN we were greeted by a big field that had been converted into the race's staging area.  We immediately got in line to take our picture with Chef Mickey and enjoyed some entertainment from the DJ while we waited.


And waited.

And waited.

Y'all, we waited about an hour to take a pic with Mickey.  But it was so worth it.  We even made it to the runDisney Facebook page!!

Photo courtesy of runDisney

We MIGHT have done some more dancing while we waited.  And again, there MIGHT be video of it out there in cyberspace but no....it's not posted here ;)

But if you DO happen to see it, you'll notice that I'm eating while we're dancing.  I've had several people ask me how I fueled for the night race and I'll be honest, it was the thing I was most worried about.  After eating my sushi lunch at Kona, I ended up snacking on some grapes around 5pm and then ate the bagel I bought earlier that day at Starring Rolls with some peanut butter while we were in line to see Mickey, while I drank my Cocogo.  I am pleased to report I had NO GI issues whatsoever.  I think not overfilling myself at lunch and then eating a few smaller snacks in the afternoon was key here and if I get the opportunity to do a night race again, I will follow that same routine.

Anywho.

Immediately after that pic was taken we dropped our bags at bag check.  I don't typically have a bag for after the race but since we had plans to stay at the after party in Epcot for a bit, I had packed some spare clothes and wipes to freshen up, along with my hair brush and a fresh headband.  I also packed a drawstring backpack because I wanted something more substantial to carry through Epcot than the clear runDisney gear check bag (I eventually ended up using the clear bag to hold my nasty race clothes in the drawstring bag, which was a genius idea, if I do say so myself).

At the expo Bonnie and I got upgraded to corral F with  Tania so after a quick stop waiting in a long line at the port-a-potty we headed over to our corral.  One of the big changes I noticed about Wine and Dine vs. Marathon Weekend in January was that we did not have the mile plus hike from the pre-race area to the corrals.  Reminded me of the Disneyland races - major plus for this event!  Tania, Bonnie, and I found a spot and sat down in corral F until I was time for the fireworks start!


I have to say that I LOVE LOVE runDisney's new corral set up - more corrals with less people and less time between corral starts.  Even though we were in corral F we started the race less than 15 minutes after the elites in corral A.


The first two miles are on the highway leading to Animal Kingdom.  I didn't mind this stretch so much because it was spacious and allowed the crowding to thin out so we weren't all running on top of each other.  We stuck to our 3:1 run/walk ratios pretty much throughout the entire race, stopping when we wanted to for pics or needed a potty break.  The race route includes an out and back to Animal Kingdom and then over to Hollywood Studios.  As we were making our way towards the 2 mile marker, the race leader was on the other side of the course heading to HS.  And he was bookin it folks!!!  We all cheered for the faster runners as they passed us on the other side - that's the runDisney race spirit!

At mile 3 we hit Disney's Animal Kingdom and it was decorated for the holidays!


One thing I did not care for in Animal Kingdom was the lack of lighting.  Animal Kingdom is typically not open at night so it was really neat to see the park after dark but there was uneven pavement and not a lot of light to see with.  We took it pretty slow through Animal Kingdom and made some picture stops.





Thanks again Bonnie for sharing your pics!  And yes, I ditched the hat in corral F but Tania wore hers the.entire.race.  No wonder she made the Disney Parks Moms Panel this year ;)

We headed out the back side of Animal Kingdom through the parking lot and back out onto the highway, but not without seeing these awesome light up guys that I first saw during the mile 20 spectacular in January!


The trek back to Hollywood Studios was a bit daunting with some hills  overpasses that I could live without.  We slowed things down a bit and enjoyed each other's company.  I had my headphones in but honestly wasn't listening to any music.

We entered Hollywood Studios on the backside of the Tower of Terror, much like during the marathon, but this time we ran by the Rockin' Roller Coaster (which I have never ridden) and down Sunset Boulevard towards the iconic Sorcerer's Hat, where a DJ was rockin' some mad tunes for being so late early.  I wish I had snapped a picture of that but my phone battery was already low again at this point.

I was anxiously awaiting the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights and it seemed like it was taking FOREVER to get there - at one point we ran out of Hollywood Studios and back through a parking area (and by the dumpsters with the day's garbage - EWW!) and we ran into this guy:

Bonnie warned us that his arms were heavy and GEESH they really were!  But I still couldn't pass up the photo op.  I'm gonna wreck it!!  HAHA

I was about to get upset thinking we weren't going through the lights after all, when we turned back into HS by the Lights, Camera, Action stunt show and then - there it was!!!














TOTES worth the wait.  It was just the little pick  me up that we needed to head towards Epcot to the finish line.  But first, we saw these guys and HAD.TO.STOP.

I was attempting to look like a Jedi here.  But Tania's facial expression wins for best of the night!!

Leaving Hollywood Studios through the entrance we found ourselves headed to the Boardwalk area for the final few miles of the run.  This area was a tad congested but I was pleased to see more crowd support, especially given the fact that it was well after midnight already!  Running on the Boardwalk by the Beach and Yacht Club resorts brought back marathon memories, and I got to see the Boardwalk Resort at night, which made me excited for our trip for Princess weekend coming in February!  Through the International Gateway we went and this time we entered Epcot by the Land and Journey into Imagination.  Here the crowd support was in full force, as runners who had already finished were trying to make their way to the after party.  Everyone was still in great spirits and they cheered us towards the front of Epcot and then out the entrance where the laser lights greeted us at the finish line.

I thought these were SO cool!

13.1 miles and 3 hours later, we were done.  A personal worst as far as times go but a personal best for fun!!!  It was around 1:30am and normally I am dead to the world in my bed but I had mustered up a little energy to enjoy a little bit of the after party in Epcot.



This beef tenderloin was SO yummy!

We got back to POFQ and were asleep by around 4:30am - this mama hasn't been up that late in a LONG time!  And it made for a really rough wake up call 3 hours later to catch the Magical Express back to the airport.  But it was totally worth it.  I wasn't sure about doing a night race but I have to say that if I can make the stars align just right, I would love to go back next year!

Beignets for the road anyone??



QOTD:  Do you ever run a race just for fun?









Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap Part 3

Alrighty, where were we...

Saturday morning, yes!

Tania, Bonnie, and I all scored one-day park tickets as part of our charity registration and the thought of letting them go unused just seemed like blasphemy - SO, against our better judgement, we got up to hit rope drop at Hollywood Studios Saturday morning.  They were having Extra Magic Hours and opened at 8am, and we were hoping to get on Toy Story Mania before the line got too cray.


And I have to share a little secret with you guys - would you believe I got up, got ready, rode the bus to Hollywood Studios, walked to Toy Story Mania, stood in line for about 35 minutes, AND finally rode the ride all without a SINGLE cup of coffee???

True story.

I think it was the Disney magic that kept me energized.

Speaking of Disney magic, have you ever seen this guy??


The only time I have ridden Toy Story Mania at Disney World we had Fast Passes so I have never stood in the queue - this guy is interactive!  Totally awesome.

Needless to say, after fulfilling our mission of riding Toy Story I needed coffee, so we headed to Starring Rolls where I enjoyed a delish blueberry muffin (carb-loading time my friends!), and snagged a bagel to eat that night.  I also might have snagged a Butterfinger Cupcake that we all shared...

And I know you are looking for the picture evidence but it doesn't exist because we ate it.  We also split a Carrot Cake Cookie from the Writer's Stop.  Don't judge.

Future Disney Moms Panelist Tania told Bonnie and I about the Animation Academy inside The Magic of Disney Animation and we decided that we would head over after breakfast and join the next class!  

We passed Sofia greeting friends outside of Disney Junior Live on Stage and if her line had not been miles long I would have gotten in it because my girls LOVE Sofia.  

They take approximately 50 people in each Animation Academy class and the three of us were lucky enough to snag seats in the 9:30 class.  






Each session is led by a Disney artist who directs you in drawing your very own Disney character sketch!  For this session we drew Sorcerer Mickey.




The finished product - I think my Sorcerer Mickey needs to go on a diet...or maybe he should runDisney like the rest of us, eh??

Since we were already in the same building we stopped for the character Meet and Greet with Minnie Mouse - her line was insanely short!

Aww, she gave me a hug!  Morgan would DIE.



Me, Minnie, Tania, and Bonnie

We had lunch ressies with the other DisBroads at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian resort at 12:30 so we knew our park time was coming to an end soon but we still managed to squeeze in a little souvenir shopping and some more picture stops before we headed to the bus.




We even got to see part of the set up for the Osborn Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights that we would be running through that night!  Spoiler alert - these are AWESOME!  But more on that later...


He had made me stand at attention.  Remind me to tell you guys how the army men scared the jeepers out of Samantha on our vacation last year...


Bye Hollywood Studios, see you tonight!!

We hit the bus to the Polynesian and got to the Kona Cafe right on time to meet up with the other broads for a tasty lunch.

DisBroad Amy's mom, DisBroad Amy, DisBroad April, me, DisBroad Suzanne, and DisBroad Julie
(photo courtesy of Amy)

You like my shirt?  You can thank the folks at Sparkle Athletic for that one :)

After my experience at the Women's Half in Nashville I previewed the menu for Kona to pick in advance what I would get to eat that day, and I had my eyes set on the Pan Asian noodles with chicken.  Seemed pretty safe, right?  Well, after speaking with DisBroad April about the sushi (she eats it before every race) I decided to give it a try and it ended up being an EXCELLENT choice!  Not only was it tasty, but I wasn't overfull, which was good because I knew I'd want to eat some small snacks for the remainder of the day to fuel for the evening's race.  I opted for the California Luau Roll, your traditional California roll with crab (no fake stuff here, it was YUM!), cucumber and avocado but this one had a touch of pineapple that I LOVED.  

This stuff was so good, and reasonably priced too.  We have eaten at Kona Cafe for breakfast before but this was my first lunch experience there and I have to say that we will be back!  Although I wish they'd work on the speediness of their service before we do because we didn't end up leaving the restaurant until 2pm...

Anywho.

After a quick monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom we found ourselves on the bus back to POFQ so we could begin resting up for the race!  Sounds like we had a busy morning, doesn't it?  Well, we probably overdid it a bit in retrospect but I still had a blast doing it!  

Next up:  my Wine and Dine Half Marathon race recap!!!

QOTD:  Have you ever taken a class at Animation Academy?  What character did you draw??



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Saturday night it was time for us to celebrate Samantha's birthday with all her closest friends and family!  

The birthday girl begged for months asked if she could have her party at Memphis Point Gymnastics.  What mom would say no to a place that would do all the work for me??  Sign us up.

When we arrived on Saturday they had the party room all decorated in Samantha's favorite colors, pink and purple.




Before all her friends arrived, Samantha and Morgan took advantage of the "open gym" and played around.





One by one Samantha's friends arrived and for the next hour the kids played until their hearts were content.  This momma didn't have to do anything but sit back and watch the fun.  AND maybe have a little fun of my own.



It's blurry but yes, that's me, getting my air splits on thanks to the trampoline!

After an hour of play the kids were all ushered upstairs (much to their dismay) for pizza and cupcakes.  Again, thanks to MPG for providing all the paper products and drinks, it really made the party hassle free for mom and dad!



#momfail - I forgot a candle for Samantha's cupcake!  We did that on her real birthday so it just completely slipped my mind.  We still sang though!

I think all the kids had a blast and I know the two Smith children in attendance slept REALLY well that night.  I'm so thankful for places like MPG that do a lot of the work for you - taking the hassle out of the birthday party allowed us to enjoy it even more!

QOTD:  Do you prefer to do all the work for a birthday party or let someone else take care of it?


Monday, November 18, 2013

That Time I Won a Race

AKA my Heroes in Recovery 6K Recap

Warning - this post might get a little emotional.



Saturday morning my alarm went off bright and early for the Heroes in Recovery 6K.  I left my house before 7am to meet my running buddy Kristan at her house so we could ride downtown together. I added this race to my schedule even though it was supposed to be a rest day, since the cause was really important to me.  I had picked up our packets the night before so we got downtown and only had a few minutes to spare before the race began.

Which was good because it was a little colder than I was anticipating.  I had worn a lighter long sleeved top and my Urban Camo Sparkle Skirts.  I think I would've been ok were it not for the wind - since we were downtown closer to the river it was a little chillier.  But the race staff and volunteers were all incredibly helpful and before long we were headed for the starting line.



I was pleasantly surprised to learn Friday evening that this was a chipped event.  Not that I was expecting anything big of this but usually the smaller events are not timed.  The race director even told us when to start our Garmin watches so we would be in sync with the race clock.  A beautiful rendition of the national anthem was sung, and we were off.

I told Kristan that I would stick with her to make myself take it easy during this race but around the 1.5 mile marker she needed a walk break and told me to go on ahead.  Since this was a relatively small race (150 runners registered) it was not near as crowded at the beginning so we had actually run about a 10:00 minute mile for the first mile and she's fresh off being sick.  I felt bad leaving her but I was feeling great and in the zone so I went with it.  The race course actually covered a lot of the same ground that I will be seeing in a little over 2 weeks at the St. Jude Half Marathon, including a run down Riverside Drive.  The sun actually peaked out a bit and made for some pretty pics of the ol' MEM.

You can see the infamous "M" bridge in the distance, as well as Mud Island 

Another shot from Riverside Drive, with the Pyramid in the distance

There's a really NICE downhill to get to Riverside Drive but that only means one thing - you gotta go back uphill.  And no matter if it's Beale Street or another street the hill is just as bad.  We had just passed the 5K sign and I was taking this race easy so I decided to walk the hill.  Before long we were turning on Main Street running beside the trolley tracks heading back towards Court Square for the finish.

My official time was 37:49.  I was extremely pleased.  And everyone got a medal too!  That was a pleasant surprise.

Kristan finished not long after me and we were all set to head home when we saw that we had both missed the Results tent so we headed over to get our official time results and that's when I got this:


No folks, that is NOT a typo.  I actually won my age group.

I can't believe it so I've got to say it again:  I actually won my age group.

And Kristan placed 3rd!  It was a good day for the Kristens, even if she spells hers wrong - LOL.  That meant we got to stick around for the awards, which is something I have never done but it was actually really nice. A lady from La Paloma (a drug and alcohol treatment center) spoke and thanked us for all running that day to help #breakthestigma.  


We had tried to get my aunt to go to La Paloma; I was glad to see them there showing their support for the runners!  And then they began handing out rewards to the winners and for the first time EVER (and probably ONLY time ever, haha) I received my award for winning my age group!


Thanks Fleet Feet and Heroes in Recovery for the hat!  

Overall this was a great event.  I know it was a small but it was very organized and well run.  Whole Foods provided bagels and bananas for before and after the race, as well as bottled water.  I also felt it overwhelmingly rewarding to race for a cause that was so close to my heart.  I think Aunt Lesha must've been with me that morning and helped me stay strong for the finish.  This one's for you, Aunt Lesha.



QOTD:  Have you ever run a race for a cause near and dear to you?