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Month: January 2014

My trip to CA after Tinker Bell

I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon last Sunday then stayed an extra day to go to Disneyland.  The last time I was there was in 1991.  Yeah, a long time ago.  Below are pictures from my fun trip.

I told my nephew he needs to get me this keychain.  He laughed.

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Time for the parade!

It’s a Small World.

I saw Woody!

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Disneyland looks beautiful at night!

The fireworks at night were spectacular.

Time for some sightseeing before heading to the airport.

Finally a good breakfast in Hollywood.

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I had a great time in CA.  The weather was just perfect, I enjoyed running the race, and had a great time at Disneyland.  Oh and I am a little bit jealous for those that live there because I am tired of the snow and cold weather in Chicago.

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon

This past weekend I made my way to CA  to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  I had a blast running that race!  However, I almost did not run the race.

My flight was supposed to leave at 10:10 am on Saturday morning with a connecting flight in Denver and then on to Orange County/Santa Ana.  The Chicago flight was delayed so I was not going to make it to the Denver flight.  After searching for a few minutes, the agent found a flight that would get me into CA at 3:30pm.  The catch?  I had to fly to Des Moines, IA, wait on the plane, head on to Las Vegas, and then get on another flight.

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Once in CA almost everything went smoothly except that we didn’t get off the plan till almost 4. I ran out of the plane and airport to catch a shuttle to the hotel (thinking that I could check-in and then walk to the expo).  Well, after talking to the shuttle agent he told me to just get to the Disneyland Hotel for the expo and then catch a cab to my hotel.  Good idea!  Except the driver was still waiting for other passengers.  Boo. After about 10 minutes later we were off.  Oh, and the driver had an attitude with me because I told him I had to be at the Disneyland Hotel by 5pm.  And because now this post will be longer than I intended to be, the driver dropped me off at 5:10.  Yes, I was late and could not get my bib.  Luckily, I found out that I could pick it up on race day.  That made me so happy because I was almost in tears when I found out the expo was closed.

On race day I was up at 3:00am.  I made coffee, got ready, and ate two pancakes.  I then walked to the shuttle bus stop and saw the bus coming along and I was at Downtown Disney in about 5 minutes. So convenient.  I must have walked over a mile to the Information Booth to pick up my bib.  Then I just wanted for the race to start.  It was 48 degrees which is ideal running weather.  Eventually I got cold so I ducked inside one of the hotels and stayed there till almost 5 and then made my way to the start line.

If you’ve ran a Disney Race you know that it is always fun and exciting right before the start of the race.  I was in corral B so it took me about 10 minutes to cross the start line.

I ran, walked, and took pictures for about 3 miles.  It was fun running through Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was still dark and I enjoyed all of the lights.

I ran the last 10 miles with Jeff Galloway.  I actually enjoyed the run/walk method.  I’ve ran and walked during a race but never followed any specific time frame.  With this method I was able to run at a decent pace and take quick/short breaks.  This made the miles go by faster and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line.

I enjoyed this race much more than the WDW Half Marathon.  It wasn’t as hot and there was more to see.  Plus, I enjoyed the convenience of shuttle buses to and from the race.  I stayed at the Best Western Plus Raffles Inn & Suites and there was a shuttle bus stop just a short walk from the hotel. My favorite part was running by “It’s a Small World”.  I stopped for a minute or two to admire the lights.

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Things did not start well for me on my way to CA but it sure ended well.  My finish time was 2:28:17.   My next Disney race will  be next month in Disney World for the Glass Slipper Challenge.

Brooks PureProject Apparel

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a Brooks PureProject Apparel Fashion Show at Fleet Feet Chicago.  I almost did not go because I was tired by the time I left work and did not want to make the drive to Old Town when home is by Midway Airport.  Anyway, I am glad I went because I had a blast and I got to see a former coworker that I hadn’t seen in about 6 years.

The first thing I did when I arrived was to get some wine and food.  It was delicious!!  I must have filled my plate about 5 or 6 times and my stomach was very happy.

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There was women and men’s apparel.  The line that was presented was two shirts for women and one for men, jackets (for men and women), and a pair of pants for men, and shorts and capris for women. We also saw the new line of PureProject shoes.

The fabric for the shirts is so soft.

From the website:

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Cute jackets right?

Love the jacket and would like one for me.  The shirt is the same material as the women’s.

Can’t wait to run in these shoes!

I love running gear.  I have a lot at home but once in a while I find myself buying something new for me.  I almost bought the short sleeve shirt but could not justify paying $60 for it…yet.  🙂

Overall it was a fun night!

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Oh, and let’s not forget about my former coworker, JF.  So great to see her!!

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All photos are from Colin Gazley.

Walt Disney World Marathon

On Sunday, I ran my 6th marathon and the final race of the Goofy Challenge.  On Saturday I ran the half marathon and my legs were sore at the end.  Yes, I was worried because I had no idea how I was going to survive 26.2 miles.

On Sunday my alarm went off at 3am.  I made coffee, changed, went to the bathroom, and ate my breakfast.  We then left around 3:45.  I felt like there was more traffic on Sunday than on Saturday.  Not a big deal because we still made good time since we were in our corral a little after 5.  Then the fireworks and off we went.

I was so grateful that the weather was just PERFECT.  It was about mid 60s and I felt really good running the race with JB.  Well, my legs were not happy.  JB rocks!!  She held a good pace and for the most part I kept up with her.  The race took us through almost the same route as the half marathon (except the overpass which made me happy).  I must have been more alert because I enjoyed running through Magic Kingdom so much more than on Saturday.  The view of the castle was so beautiful.

I was feeling really good and did not want to stop for any pictures.  I didn’t even stop (just slowed down) at the water stations.  I think I finally figured out how to drink from a cup while running without spilling any of the water.

I was doing really good until almost mile 12.  There was a water stop and I told JB to keep going.  My quads were killing me!  I was almost in tears because I was in so much pain and I wasn’t even halfway done.  I got worried.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish.  I panicked.  I decided to go for it and finish the darn race.   I took advantage of the big bottles of Biofreeze at the medical tent and put some on my quads.

Next we ran through Animal Kingdom.  I loved it there.  I kept on running but took some walking breaks.  I saw Rafiki but did not want to get in line for a picture.

Then came running through ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I enjoyed that so much more.  We ran at the Track and Field Complex and Champion Stadium which made my legs happy.  I was so hungry and was grateful for the bananas at the next food station.  I knew I was almost 3/4 done and that made me very happy.

The rest of the way I ran as much as I could while taking some walk breaks.  The sun was already out but I never felt hot.  At some point there was a breeze and that felt really good.

One of my favorite parts of the race was running through Hollywood Studios.  I’ve never been there and had a blast!  Plus, I knew that once we ran past it then it was just 3 miles till the end.  There were so many spectators and that made me happy.

Once I got to mile 25 I lost it and broke down.  I could not take anymore the pain in my legs.  The spectators were saying things like “You’re almost done” and “Great job” but I did not care.  I just wanted to be done.  I walked a lot during the last mile.

Another familiar view and I knew I was almost done.

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Once I saw the finish line, I ran as fast as I could.  Finally done!  Finish time is 5:30:37.

I met the fabulous Jeff Galloway.

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Even though my legs were hurting on marathon day, I still had a GREAT time at the race.  I enjoyed running through the various parks and was really happy about the weather.  Not once did I feel dehydrated, dizzy or anything else associated with hot weather.

I am so happy I had the chance to run this race.  I ran it for fun and not for time.   My goals were to 1. Have fun and 2. Finish the race.   That is exactly what I did and could not be happier about it.  I know Disney races are expensive but I encourage you to run this marathon.

One complaint I have is that some runners were just plain rude.  JB and I ran together for almost 12 miles.  We ran on the right side and close together as possible.  There were some runners behind us that when it came to pass us, instead of going around, they ran right in the middle of us.  One guy was running so close to me that when he said”On your right”, he almost tripped me.

Now, would I do these two races again?  No.  Maybe just the marathon but definitely not both races.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

On Saturday, January 11, I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon as part of the WDW Goofy Challenge.  This was also my first race of 2014 and my 50th half marathon.

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I arrived in Orlando on Thursday night and slept till about 7am on Friday morning.  After breakfast and a shower, it was off to the expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I went to one location to pick up my bib and then another location for the expo and then to another location for another part of the expo.  Did that make sense? I thought it was ridiculous!  As for the actual expo?  I was not impressed AT ALL.  I thought that for it being a big weekend for Disney, there would be more vendors.  And remember the expo was in two different locations.  I bought two skirts from Sparkle Athletic and two headbands from Sparkly Soul.

I got three nice shirts.  Umm, don’t two of them look like they’re the same color?  I thought so. However, my friend JB told me that one is black and the other one is navy blue.  Upon further inspection I realized that she was right.  I got a small Clif Bar in blueberry which was yummy!  Now, have I mentioned that I paid $340 for both the half and full marathon?  You’d think that for the amount of money I paid I would get much more then that?  Yes, that’s what I get for paying that much money…three shirts and a small Clif Bar.  OK, enough complaining….for now.

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The start time for the half was 5:30am.  So that meant we had to leave no later than 3:45am.  The night before I set my alarm for 3:00 but then forgot to actually turn it on.  JB woke me up at 3:30 and I frantically got ready, made coffee, and ate a light breakfast.  Then off we went to the race.  By the time we were at the start line, it was about 5am.  It was a humid morning.  Oh and I was nervous but excited too.

Off we went.  Did I mention it was humid?  I was sweating before mile 1.  It was cool running when it was still dark.  There were some areas where it was not crowded at all but then there were areas where it was.  I ran mainly on the right side and let others pass me.  🙂

It was pretty cool running towards Magic Kingdom.  It was even better running down Main Street. There were so many people cheering for us and it motivated me to keep on running.  I wonder how early they got there to wait for us?   The view of the castle was amazing and I loved it!  Gorgeous.  I took some pictures but they’re blurry.  Boo.

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Along the way I stopped to take pictures with some of the characters.  The line for Goofy was way too long and I did not want to wait.

I took it easy and was not worried about my time.  I just wanted to enjoy the race.  The overpass is what killed my good mood.  Ugh!  It was long and not fun at all.  I knew that was the most difficult part of the race and that it was just a few more miles till the end.

When I saw this I knew I was close to the finish line.  It was great seeing so many spectators cheering for us.

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Finally done!  Finish time is 2:47:36.

I felt pretty good throughout the race.  Yes it was humid and I made sure to drink something at every water stop.  Also, I took a Gu about every 4 miles.

This was my first Disney race.  Here are my two cents:

Did like

  • Disney theme
  • Running in/through Disney park
  • Runners in various costumes
  • Shirts
  • Two separate areas for corrals A-H and I-P
  • Plenty of spectators
  • Abundant of water stops

Did not like

  • Expensive race
  • Too early start time
  • Not much of a goodie bag
  • Part of the course was boring
  • Boring expo

I have mixed feelings about my first Disney race.  I really, really wanted to enjoy it.  I am not saying that I didn’t but I can’t say that I had a fabulous time.  Spoil alert:  The marathon was so much better.  I think it could have been better (expo, goodie bag, and course) for the amount of money I paid.  I know I did not pay to see characters along the course but it would have been nice to see more of them along the way.

Since there was a group of us running this race, JB got a suite at the Residence Inn (about 15 minutes away from Epcot) and it turned out to be cheaper than staying at a Disney Resort.  Of course it helped that one of the guys running also had a car so he was able to drive to/from the race.  That also gave/saved us time getting to/leaving the park after the race.

Would I do this race again?  Maybe.  I just wished they weren’t so darn expensive!!