Thursday, March 28, 2013

Off the Wagon

Life after Princess has been anything but dull, but admittedly I have found myself in a bit of a lull.  I thought initially that since I didn't have anything to train for, or the big looming goal that I had in Princess that once I had my goals in place for short and long term that all would automatically right itself and I would be back in full forward motion.

Not the case, as I had mentioned in my recaps I tweaked my knee and in giving that time to rest up I lost a bit of motivation.  I had never allowed myself down days, or very rarely had down days that have a whole lunch to myself without a run was oddly appealing.  During that same time I had applied for and interviewed for a new role in a different group within my current employer, so I wanted to stay close to the phone.  Even when I finally heard that I did get the job that still didn't get me back on track.  The gym was a five minute walk now instead of two and on and on.

This once three time a week runner was dropping to a Saturday run if I was lucky.  Even my nightly kettle bell while tv watching started dwindling.

The other downside to this was that I started to make poor food choices as well. I have found since thyroid cancer took my thyroid and my metabolism (and so on, and so on) to maintain MY happy weight I have to be diligent about how and what I eat. I'm sure being obsessive/compulsive about the calorie consumption seems counter productive, but it has worked for me and for my situation.  I let myself get into some bad habits when I was training because I could "make up for it" on my long run days. I stopped drinking as much water too.

What I found by not running like I needed to, and my not doing any form of cross training and eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted was that I started to get sluggish and I gained some weight that I have not seen in well over a year.

My initial reaction to the weight gain is "oh, no!  My thyroid levels are off" My poor maligned, non-existent thyroid gets blamed for everything. I'm thinking this time that the weight fluctuation is not thyroid related but Suzanne related.

So I am getting myself back on the wagon.  Back to three days a week running, back to running at lunch no matter what.  Back to drinking my water, back to great food choices and back to My Fitness Pal.  My plan is to be diligent while I wait for my yearly endocrinologist appointment next month, if by then I have not lost the weight that I have gained back and my TSH levels are ok, then I need to work harder.  If my levels are way off from my Synthroid dosage then and only then will I blame my thyroid.

For now it's on me.  While I would love to request someone to hold me accountable, I realize too that I am the only one who can really make myself do it and I'm bound and determined to get my stuff together again.

So what do you do when you get off your path?  Do you stay on the same road not asking for directions or do you stop and go back the right way?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Almost went Goofy for Dopey

For my fellow runDisney friends you know that a new race was announced last week called the Dopey Challenge.  For those of you that have not heard about this, it involves a 5k, a 10k, a half and a full marathon over the course of four days. For those doing the math that would be 48.6'ish miles over four days. 

As I mentioned recently, I have plans to do the Goofy Challenge, which was just the half and the full for 2015 to hit the ten year anniversary and to give myself time to train appropriately.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the new announcement on Friday.  Twitter was abuzz, my Facebook had several mentions of it as well.  A new challenge, a new distance (the 10k) plus an inaugural year.  I went a little crazy.  Started planning, started talking to friends to see who might be interested.  Even got the ok from my husband if I wanted to try it.  I even tried to figure out how many DVC points I would need and time off. 

Then after the excitement died down just a bit, I started thinking about it a little more rationally.  While I could feasibly train for the full between now and January, I sort of felt that I'd be cheating myself some time to train the right way for me.  I realized I wanted to be able to get a few more half's under my belt before tackling the full.  I want to respect the distance.  It took me 1.5 years to feel confident enough to run the half, and even up until the day of the race I was afraid I couldn't do it.  The full should be no exception.  Inaugural Dopey or not. 

The other things that factored in to my decision are the family Disney trip in October for fall break.  It just seemed given the distance for me from here to get to Disney it would be too close from mid October to heading back in January.  Plus trying to save money for spending money for a race for me over months with three birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas just seemed a little off.  Sure I could ask for my birthday and Christmas funds for me to go to my trip but....

Also there is the little thing called the Princess Half.  I had planned to do that in 2014 and have recruited some friends.  And there would be no way to do both Marathon Weekend and Princess Half weekend.  It would need to be one or the other.  The other glaring advantage for Princess is it just coincidentally happen around my yearly bonus.  So it's a good time to go, less saving involved.  Have I mentioned we are a cash only family? So saving and being prepared financially is an important consideration for me.  I'm also holding out hope that the Princess will also introduce a 10k for that weekend and maybe, just maybe, I'll hit inaugural for that. 

The other part is that registration falls on my husband's birthday and while I did have the ok to proceed.  It seemed a little funny for me to spend that kind of money on myself on his day.  Nothing says Happy Birthday like spending more money on a race than his birthday present.

As it stands right at this exact moment in time, I am looking away from Dopey.  Despite my overzealous Snow White infatuation and focusing on the Princess. Then continuing on with my Goofy quest for 2015 and who knows by then I may be willing go Dopey.  Of course stay tuned.  I have a couple more weeks to change my mind. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Wee Tiny Festival...Shamrock the Ville 5k Recap

There are a couple of things that seem strange about writing this, first it's my first 5k of the year and second it's not run Disney.   I am back in the realness of my everyday world.  Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, but as long as I was recapping, reviewing, reliving, re-whatever, I was still in the midst of the Disney magic. Also, now that I have a whopping one half marathon under my belt I have found myself saying it's "only a 5k", when this time last year 5k's were all I knew.

Shamrock the Ville is actually one of my favorites here locally, it benefits a great local non-profit called the Mary Martha Outreach.  I love this one because it is just fun.  Most people costume up to an extent, well maybe not so much costumes but a general green theme is prevalent.  It's also the first race I wore a tutu in.  Of course my idea of a tutu back then is so completely different than my idea of a tutu now.  However the significant part of the tutu wasn't the size, it was that I was starting to dip my toes in the whole, "just have fun, and don't worry about looking silly". Up until fairly recently I was always concerned how things appeared and what others would think and I am realizing that really the only person that I need to worry about is myself.  If I'm comfortable and having fun that should be all that matters. There  is a vibe here that is more about family and fun and less about time.  Though if you know me at all, it's always about time even if I say it's not.

I did not wear a tutu this year.  Instead, I decided to break out my lovely Ariel SparkleSkirt.  You can bet this baby is going to  see the light of day whenever I can break it out.  Otherwise the hubs might hang me up by my toes, or at the very least deny my next request for a new running skirt.  Which might or might not have already happened.  After all nothing says St. Patrick's day race than a green SparkleSkirt with scales, right?  As an aside, I definitely looked like a fish out of water at the little ran's two soccer games which happened right after the race. (Sorry, I had to go there).  At least people knew what I was doing before I got there, but still...

I met a friend there who was running her first 5k and we walked over to get our chip.  We located our other friends and got separated until after the race.  She was planning on walking and I was trying to once again reach my illusive sub thirty time.  I started out with two friends, and then my shoe came untied.  Grr...Then I realized I didn't set my Garmin, double grr.  Halfway through my other shoe came untied...triple grr. As you can imagine that pretty much killed my sub thirty. However, the advantage to me not getting my Garmin started on time is that I had no clue how I was running, I was just running.  Sound familiar?  The other takeaway is that apparently I need to tie my shoes better.

 I ended up crossing the finish line at 30:41 gun time.  My friends crossed at 28'ish minutes.  After being slightly pouty about the fact that had I not stopped to tie my shoe (twice), I most likely would have stayed with them and finished well below my goal.  That being said I snapped out of the pout relatively quickly when I looked up my gun time from last year.  It was 34:07.  Seriously, how could I be grumpy at not getting my goal when I had finished so much better than I did a year ago.  Right? Admittedly, I was still irritated with myself, but slightly less so with that revelation.  I ended up finishing with a chip time of 30:32.  Which is my second best time on a 5k ever, so I'll take it.

Here lies the beauty of running, as long as I don't make my goal, I always have room for improvement.  It's a competition against myself.  I love that I can now look and see where I was at a certain race last year, and compare it to where I am now.  It may not be where I want to be, but chances are next year I will be.  Chances are also great that I won't be happy with my time then either. Friends tell me I am too hard on myself, and I might be.  But, and it's a big but, if I'm not hard on myself, who will be?  I am the only one who can motivate me to do better.  I have to work for it.  If I could click my running shoes together and be at my goal time it wouldn't be nearly as fun as the work and the determination it's taking me to get to my goals.

So for now, I will celebrate my "wee tiny" victory and I will work the rest later.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

G is for...

Goals. I have a few new ones. As is the case with any new goal, they aren't real until I throw it out here right?

Accountability is everything and what a better way to make sure I hold myself accountable than blogging about it.

I found that I had focused so long and so hard on Princess that when I came home I floundered a bit. Without having something to focus on I sort of went half hearted back into my weekly running. I realized that I needed to have new goals to focus on. I have a short term goal and my new super scary long term goal. Princess Half had served as my super scary long term goal for a year and a half and now that I've faced that unknown it's time to up the ante.

I stumbled on my short term goal after a brief Twitter conversation this week. By the way, thanks Captain. If you see this.

The new super scary long term goal I have had in place for awhile. Even before Princess. Just felt it was appropriate to face that goal before discussing the next one.

The short term goal, run three half marathons in three months. Princess being the first. I signed up for number two on Thursday, which is what prompted the Twitter conversation that became the impetus for this goal. I signed up for the 10th anniversary Aquarium run. A semi-local treasure that will take place on April 6th. Half number three will be the Oklahoma City Memorial Half on 4/28. This one is a more somber race but so glad I can participate in this one. More details to come.

The super scary long term goal is Goofy. No, really it's Goofy, or rather Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. For those who are not familiar with this particular race, it's another runDisney event.  It takes place during the Marathon weekend in January.  I am planning on taking part in Goofy's challenge in January of 2015.  What is so special about this challenge?  It would be completing a half on Saturday and then the full marathon on Sunday.

 Since I held out to run my first half at Disney, I feel that it's appropriate to run my first full there as well.  Why wait you might ask? Well, first I want to run Princess again next year and as much as my husband loves and supports me.  I think he might even balk at me wanting to do two runDisney events literally back to back.  The second reason, is if I wait until 2015, it's an anniversary year and well that usually means anniversary bling.  I even have started recruiting several of my running friends to come along on this one.

So in 2015 I will take part in Marathon weekend and hopefully Wine & Dine for the first time in November.  I have already started lobbying for Wine & Dine and I already have the tentative go ahead with my runDisney races through 2016.

After I finish my short term goal at the end of April.  I will tackle my next short term goal, which might just be training for the fall races and of course the Route 66 Half Marathon in November.But who knows what will come my way between now and then.  For this moment though my feet are now fully held over the flame.  I'm excited to see what lies ahead.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Princess Half Random Wrap up. 100th Post edition

So I realized shortly after the end of my recap that I had reached my 100th post since I started this adventure a little under a year ago.  I didn't reach it in a super speedy manner, but here I am.  Hmm...kind of seems like my running pace.  Not always fast, but I get there.  I promise though I won't grumble about how long it took me to get here.

I also realized I had a few random things that didn't make my recaps and thought I would do a quick random things in honor of my 100th post.   Even though this is technically now my 101st.  :) So here we go.

Don't worry I won't actually list 100 things (though I guess I could)...

1.  Never EVER EVER again will I book a flight out of a city three hours from home just to save 200.00 in airfare.  Yes, I realize Storm Q was a fluke but thank you.

2.  Southwest Customer service mostly rocks.  I changed flights a total of six times and had some really great reps.  Lisa, on the other hand probably won't claim that one.

3.  Disney's Magical Express is heaven after being stressed out for two days.

4.  Bay Lake Tower is beautiful.  Loved the location, the decor, the views.

5.  Didn't love the Bay Lake Tower wifi.

6.  Loved being right on the monorail.

7.  So happy to be a DVC member and to have these options.

8.  If you can't go with your family, bring your best race friend or your biggest and best cheerleader.  Bonus points if it's the same person.  :)  Hi friend

9.  Mickey head rice krispie treats with the chocolate dipped ears are amazing.

10.  Be prepared to spend money at the expo.  I stopped buying anything for me after the expo closed and started buying family gifts at the parks.  I got everything I wanted though at the expo.

11.  Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to people that you have interacted with on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  Chances are they won't think you are too terribly stalkerish, and chances are if they interact with you there they probably won't mind so much if you do say hi.  Need to work on this next time.

12. I loved my Sparkle Skirts Ariel Tech skirt.  So cute, and so comfy and the pockets are amazing.

13.  If you are going to measure where to place purple sea shells on a tank, make sure you have the correct sports bra on or your shell placement might be a little off.  Helpful hint.

14.  Sparkly Soul headbands truly do not move.  They fit even my goofy shaped head.  They almost make me want to grow my hair back out so I could wear them more often.  Almost.

15.  Pick a costume that you are comfortable with and that ultimately you will feel the most happy in.  For me  my Snow White costume was heaven.  I felt like a princess and did not feel self conscious at all.  A sweaty, princess but a princess none the less.

16.  If you can't be silly at Disney where can you be silly?  Sometimes breaking out of the comfort zone is fun and not nearly as scary as it seems.

17.  Atutudes on Etsy rocks!  Not that I've had much experience with running in tutus yet, but this tutu was amazing.  so light and soft I really didn't even realize it was there.  Thanks Kristal for your help (and for not thinking I lost my mind when I first approached you.)  Once I register for next year, I'll be emailing again.  :)

18.  Try something new every day.  Not monumentally huge, even something small can create big changes.

19.  Did I mention that Mickey rice krispie treats with chocolate ears are amazing?

20.  Don't get so wrapped in goals, or what you didn't accomplish.  It's possible to miss the very things you did accomplish.

21.  Be gracious in everything.  No one is on the same path even if you are on the same course.

22.  Take pictures, have fun.  Be silly.  Embrace the day.

23.  Tower of Terror is still my favorite ride, followed closely by the Rockin Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest.

24.  Characters are a little different when two adults are visiting with them and there are no children present.  Dare I say that there were some pretty funny moments with Princesses that probably would have not happened with little people there.

25.  Wear the medal proudly when you are there.  Celebrate the victory and enjoy the sisterhood (and random brotherhood).  Or should that be Princesshood?

I think that's all of my random thoughts that did not make it into my recap, but still worth mentioning.  I thought I would be a little more disappointed after the race was over.  While I did have a little bit of sadness when it was done, I am more excited than ever because I know there are more run Disney events coming for me.  Might even have races planned out through 2016.  Not too terribly obsessive.

Note to self (and hubby):  Must up DVC points to accommodate my racing wish list.  Just kidding...sort of.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Path to Princess Half: The Journey Ends? Part II

So where I was?  Oh, that's right the story of a not so young Mommy of two following a crazy idea that led her to the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Before I left Magic Kingdom, I made one last stop...and then kept right on going.  Sorry if this is TMI, but tutu's and POP's are not a match made in heaven.  But I digress.  The smile would not budge from my face.  If I could show you my race photos there is not one where I was not smiling.  It's amazing how finally doing something that you had planned, obsessed and drove others crazy about makes you feel.  I sort of felt at this point that I was invincible.  My hip wasn't bugging me, my knee was not bugging me.  I was just running.  Running in the "Happiest place on Earth" to be exact.

After heading back out of Magic Kingdom and back on the highway to Epcot.  I realized I was hitting my golden miles.  I've mentioned this before that somewhere between mile 6 and mile 8-9, I just lose track of everything and am in my own little world.  I usually have my best pace and am truly running without a care in the world.  Runner's high? I can tell you that the Princess Half was really no different.  For the life of me I could not tell you what character stops or diversions there were along this stretch of road. I remember the sweet volunteers, I remember watching other runners with their friends, walking, running...Just enjoying being there.  I remember passing the 10k mark and not really know what my time was.  Which again was good because I would have not been happy.  It was 8 minutes behind my first ever 10k time and that was only my third race ever.  

I can also remember the oh so important mile 7 mark.  Why so important?  Well you see that is when I got to hear what the prized Mile 7 song was  There had been a poll earlier requesting suggestions, the most popular suggestions moved on to a vote.  I was so curious to hear what it was.  I have to admit I did not vote for the song that won.  It was Alicia Keys "This Girl is on Fire".  I thought it was too slow.  I usually have to have either super poppy or super aggressive songs playing when I run and I just couldn't imagine it.  That is until I heard it when I got there.  At that moment it made sense and listening to the lyrics, I got it and now will have a special place in my heart for that song.  Yes, I might have even gotten teary again.  I swear.  For a person who is not super emotional I teared up more than I have in a long time.    

Due to the humidity I was pretty much hitting every water stop, alternating powerade and water.  I had carried a couple of Gu with me and of course my energyBits.    As I went a little further down the road I decided to make a stop for the heroes.  I had passed them earlier on my way to Magic Kingdom and they were still there.  I also figured at this point I was off my time so it didn't matter.  So I hopped off the road and got in line.  I have to admit this picture was slightly awkward.  i didn't know where to go or who to stand by, probably should have gone more center but ah well.  File that one away for furture reference.  

Shortly after this point was when my knee started giving me a little trouble but I kept going because by this point I was over half way there.  Not finishing was not an option.  So on I went.  As I was heading up the the hill to the exit ramp I was so happy to see the Sergeant from Toy Story there barking orders.  That moment was one of my favorites.  He was very well placed and oddly motivational.  

Next thing I knew I was heading through the Epcot tolls and back into the park  It was nice to be back in Epcot and by that point there were so many people cheering us on it was mind boggling.  Perma-smile stuck on my face I ran through the park and  flipped back around to the backstage area. I know I kicked into auto-pilot at this point and just was moving, moving, moving.

Then I heard them.  The gospel choir. Such a sweet, sweet sound to hear  Especially on a Sunday morning.  The importance here though is that they were signifying the finish line was near.  I rounded one last corner and there were the stands for the ChEAR squad and just crowds of people cheering everyone on.  I tried to look for Lisa, but I didn't see her.  I had turned my phone off earlier because the battery was wearing down rapidly and I wanted to make sure I had enough power to track her down.

  At any rate, there looming in front of me was the finish line.  I was about to finish my first ever  half marathon  I ran for that finish line with all of my might.  

And just like that I was done.  See that picture to the right?  Yes, it's kind of blurry.  See that look on my face?  That was the look of someone who accomplished something she thought she would never do.  It's also the look and body position of someone who is about to break into a happy dance.  I have seen the video of me crossing the finish line, so I know what comes next.  There is a little hop, and then self congratulatory hand clapping.  It was half adorkable, half embarrassing, but so glad to see that moment captured.  

I couldn't believe that I had finished. I got my medal and texted Lisa to see where to meet her. I kept picking up the medal and looking at it.    I was in such a daze that I walked right past the official finisher's medal picture stop.    I met Lisa over by the race retreat area and then we went to stand in line to get my name and time engraved on my medal.  

It was then that I found out what my time had ended up being.  I was over my goal time. I had wanted to finish under 2:30 and I finished at 2:40 and some change.  I was so so close.  But considering I did make several stops and I was gimpy I was quite pleased with it.  I tried to not allow myself to be disappointed for not making my goal, that the important thing was that I actually ran in The Princess Half Marathon and that I had an amazing time.  I also learned at this point that I did actually lose four minutes from my eta after my 10k time.  So I appeased myself with that.  

After we left the park we headed back to the Contemporary grabbed breakfast.  I indulged in the most yummy Mickey waffle, complete with strawberries, bananas and salted carmel.  Along with turkey sausage and chocolate milk.  We took breakfast back to the room and vegged for a little bit and I iced my knee.  I may or may not have taken a brief nap. After an hour or so we headed out to the Magic Kingdom and ended the night with dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table.  

We got back to the room after dinner only to find a delivery from my husband sitting on the bed waiting for me.  It may be cheesy to say but it was a truly magical day. It was everything that I had imagined it to be and more.  

So is this the end of my journey?  No, I suspect this is only the beginning.  Much to my husband's chagrin.  I am officially hooked on run Disney.  I am hoping and planning for next year already.  I might even have a costume idea already on standby.    Bring on Princess Half 2014!

One of my favorite quotes when I decided to run the half has been:

it was through this experience that I learned that is so true.  I can accomplish anything I set my mind on.  Even if I don't think I can do it and doubt myself along the way, I will get it done.  

And so my friends, this particular journey might have ended.  But there are numerous untold journey's waiting for me.  I can't wait to see how the rest of my personal journey and my running journey unfolds.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Path to Princess Half: The Journey Ends? Recap Part 1

It is probably not surprising to hear that the night before the half  Was not the best night of sleep.  Probably even less surprising to hear that from the Wednesday night prior to Saturday I had serious sleep issues.  Now granted part of it was due to storm and travel anxiety but part of it was just a combination excitement, dread, and sadness that the day I had been planning for was coming up.  That all of my planning was coming to an end.  Add on to that the nerves about my new knee injury and my hip flexor issues from the previous weekend.
When my alarm when off I actually hit snooze once or twice before I got up  and then I went into panic mode and rushed around to get ready as I was supposed to meet my friend at the monorail at 3a.  I hopped in the shower threw my costume on and attempted a little bit of make up, even though I knew with the humidity it would be gone relatively shortly.  

I was a few minutes late but the first monorail hadn't made it there so it was all good.  We got in line for the monorail and headed out to Epcot.  Even that early it was a mass of people and we made our way down the red carpet to the waiting area.  So, so many beautiful Princesses were there even at that crazy early hour.  I loved looking at all the costumes and the activity.  I enjoyed the energy of the warm up and just the sheer excitement of everyone there.   I went in to the Race Retreat long enough to have some coffee and to bring some out with me.  

Shortly after I came out it was time to head to the corral holding areas.  I had decided the night before I would start with my friend in the D corral even though I was assigned to B.  I did this because it was nice to hang out with and because I was afraid of not being 100% and getting behind.   It was amazing to watch the people before me and behind.  It was just an ongoing stream of people.  I knew that there were 26,000 people that had registered.  I just wasn't sure what it would look like or even what the procession would like on the way to the corrals.  It was until after I got home that someone pointed out to me that we were only about 5,000 runners off from my town's entire population.  So crazy to me.  

When we got to our corral I started to obsess a little bit and the pre-race jitters hit.  I stretched I watched the interviews and all the commotion and just anxiously waited to start.  I couldn't believe that I was finally there and that very very shortly my first half marathon would begin.  I took pictures, I checked Twitter and Instagram so much that by the time the race started I was already down to 44%.  

Finally, the race began.  The Fairy Godmother made her appearance and the fireworks and the corrals started moving.  I got so caught up in the magic of the moment that I even forget to get my Garmin ready.  Which I am thinking now may have been a blessing in disguise.  
Next thing I know it was our turn to take off.  I think I may have hugged my friend, but in all honesty those moments leading up to the fireworks that sent us on our way are a blur of nerves and happiness.  It was shortly after we crossed the start line that both my friend and I realized that we forgot to start our Garmin and it took both of ours awhile to get the location.  I would say a good five minutes had passed before I could start it. 

I will admit initially I was irked, how would I keep track of my time?  How would I know my pace.  How could I be so silly as to not to remember my Garmin needed to be started.  After a few minutes more my friend started her intervals and I took off on my own.  

I had decided fairly early on that I most likely would not make any stops until I reached the castle.  I had formulated in my head who I would and would not stop for and when and where I would stop. I was amazed with all of the entertainment along the route between character stops.  I wish I would have made better mental notes because everything was just so awesome. Every time I came upon something new I would just soak it in.  

The one thing I realize now in retrospect was that I was so focused on my goal that I missed some good photo opportunities, but at the same time I was so absorbed in people watching and my own thoughts that it was usually after I passed a character stop that I realized it was even there. I didn't want to disrupt the flow of traffic so I kept going or the lines were longer than what I wanted to stand in.  Probably a disadvantage to starting in D.  At any rate, the single focus kept me pushing forward.  

Finally we entered the toll gates for Magic Kingdom and the adrenaline kicked in.  I was so excited to get into the park because I knew the castle was so close.  For me the idea of running through the castle was the biggest draw of this race.  I got goosebumps just thinking about it.  We edged up the hill (that just the night before on the way back to our room I had commented that I hoped we didn't have to run) towards the park and then a few short minutes later I hit the park.  

Words can not even describe what I was feeling at that moment.  The site of the Magic Kingdom and Main Street, the crowds cheering people on that they didn't even know.  I saw my first real "go random stranger go" and continued around Tomorrowland, past Buzz Lightyear, past the Tea Cups.  It was at the tea cups that I got giddy, because I knew what was right around the corner.  Literally.  Finally, it happened.  I saw the castle.  I saw THE CASTLE.  I was about to run through that castle.  It was then that all of the training, all of my hopes were realized.  And then it happened.  I cried.  Yes, I got all teary and tried to keep my composure because I wanted to have a decent castle picture  I ran through the castle and there I was passing by crowds the likes of which I have not seen in any of my previous races. I briefly scanned for Lisa who was ChEARing me on but didn't see her so I kept moving.  

As I rounded the corner from the castle it was then that I spied Mr. runDisneytv himself, Mr. Dennis Marsico.  Guess what?  I stopped.  I waited for him to finish what he was filming and when he walked by I stopped him.  You see I have a sweet five year old girl who is obsessed with the run Disney channel on You Tube.  This same girl thinks he is awesome on all sorts of levels and so running into him was one of my goals for the weekend.  If I could come home with a picture with him, my cool quotient would multiply exponentially with her.  I also thought it might buffer the blow that, well, Mommy went to Disney World without them.  When I stopped him, I introduced myself by my Twitter name/blog name.  I found myself doing that several times throughout the weekend and it was very surreal.  At any rate, I asked if he would mind taking a picture with me for her.  He was an extraordinarily good sport.

I went a little further and ran into Tiana and Naveen from Princess and the Frog.  I was on a roll and stopped for them also  This was an unplanned stop but significant in the sense that the same sweet five year old, shares a name with a song from the movie.  My sweet girl is Evangeline, and since we discovered the song Ma Belle Evangeline, that has been one of our favorite parts of the movie.  I may or may not have that pegged as a good father/daughter dance song at her wedding in about forty years. 

I ran a little further and then had to make a stop of a different kind.  I will add at this point I was horrible with my Garmin.  I forgot to stop and start it several times over so I just gave up and let it run. Again, it was so nice not to be so obsessed with my time that I was truly able to absorb and just experience the moments as they were happening.  

This seems to be a good stopping point for now.  I have so much to say but don't want to just ramble on.  So be on the lookout for part two.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Path to Princess Half: The Expo & Royal Family 5k

After all of the tumult of the travel I was so relieved to finally be in Orlando and was finally relaxed by the time I got on Magical Express.  By the time I got checked in and found my room I was giddy.  I knew Lisa was en route from her stop in Milwaukee and that she would be there soon as well. 

This was my first stay as a DVC member and my first stay at Bay Lake Tower and it was amazing.  I loved the room and the view and I was surprised at how big the studio actually was.  It was perfect for two of us, but could have been tight for four. 

Once I got in the room and let my phone charge for a bit I met one of my friends from a message board by the coffee shop at the Contemporary and off we went to the Expo. 

I had been reading on Twitter and on Facebook that the Expo was packed so I was prepared.  I will say the packet pick up was a breeze though.  I went to the booth for my bib number for both the 5k and the half, and then we went shopping. 

It was super busy and as a person that is probably overprotective of her personal space I actually did farily well with the crowds.  I had in my head a list of things that I wanted and fortunately our wish lists were at the same spots so we made beelines to them.  We visited Raw Threads and I finally got my coveted Snow shirt.  We visited Sparkle Skirts and I finally was able to meet Leah in person.  So sweet and so nice to meet her in person.  The next stop was the run Disney official merchandise booth.  While the line was crazy long, it was a fast moving line at the time we were there.  I got my I Did it shirt, a mouse ears 13.1 and a nifty new cup for water at work. 

We must have just hit it at the right time, as it was busy, but not nearly as bad as I had expected it to be.  Again, this is coming from a person who does not like crowds.  Maybe it helped that we knew exactly what we wanted and didn't just wander from booth to booth. 

After our shopping was done we parted ways as my friend was meeting her family for dinner reservations and I was making my way back to the resort.  I found Lisa and we went to the room and then went straight back to the Expo so she could get her bib for the Royal Family 5k.  No additional shopping was done, we did wander around a little but it was so close to closing and neither of us had eaten yet that we just got the bib and made our way back to the hotel.

That night we made our way to The Wave for dinner and spent a little bit of time at Magic Kingdom.  We headed back to our room to get ready for our early wake up call on Saturday. 

The alarm went off way to early and we both got ready and were on the bus by four am.  After walking around a little and taking some pictures we found our corral and waited for the start.  We thought we were at the back of the corral...only to realize later that we were actually at the front.  The plan was to move our way to the back as soon as we could.  We moved about half way back and settled into a spot. 

When it was time to take off we settled into a nice pace.  We had decided early on that this would be just for fun since it wasn't timed and we would stick together the entire time and do pictures etc.  Lisa's injured foot started acting up so we did intervals and stopped to take pictures.  It was so fun to be able to do the whole thing together and even though she told me to leave several times, I am glad that I stayed.  When we finally got to the finish line we crossed it together. 

I am so glad I got to do the 5k, how many times do you get the chance to run around the world at Epcot before the park opens?  It was so much fun and I enjoyed the more laid back pace.  Even the more competitive side to me was quiet.  Probably was back in the room sleeping.  But the character stops were so much fun, I'd gladly do it all over again. 

It was during the 5k though that I did something to my knee.  No clue as to what it was or what I did.  I only noticed it about an hour after the race.  I was kind of gimpy the rest of the day, but we went on with our plans.  Which involved more Expo shopping time and second trips to Team Sparkle for matching skirts for my sweet little and I to wear at a race coming up in the summer.  Then off to Sparkle skirts to buy shorts with pockets for under my tutu.  I loved my Sparkle Skirt for the 5k and the pockets so I thought it would be a good fit and it was. 

After the expo we spent some time at Hollywood studios and then back to the room.  I was up way too late for my 2a alarm but it was such a fun day I didn't want it to end.  But I finally was able to shut my brain down at 1130 and crash out for the night. 

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