2018 Will Be One for the Books – All the News at Once

This empty nesting business is not at all what we’d been warned to expect.  We’d heard scary stories about sadness, boredom, loneliness, marital discord even.  I’m pleased to report that none of that stuff has happened.  We’re spending our time on more adventures than ever and while it may only be January, I’m happy to say…

2018 Will Be One for the Books – All the News at Once

First, a little back story.  As it happens for many people like us, our nest didn’t stay empty.  Joseph moved home last summer to save money and knock out another semester of school, but he was keeping a secret.  We soon learned that having him home would be very temporary.  Joe’s been accepted into the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World and will be reporting for duty next week!  We’re incredibly excited and proud for him.  He’s wanted to apply since he first learned about the program several years ago and the timing is perfect right now for him to make this dream a reality.

Whatever will we do to fill the time while he’s away?  I’ll tell you exactly what we’ll be doing…getting ready to be grandparents!  Megan and Grant will be welcoming a baby girl this summer and Raymond and I are over the moon!  Our lives have been full of joyful surprises lately and we feel blessed beyond measure.

Here’s what will be happening next…

Starting with the tomorrow’s blog post, Joseph and I will begin a series of Disney College Program articles.  For the next few months, we’ll share his adventures and any tips and tricks he discovers for anyone else who dreams about an internship at their favorite vacation destination.

Megan will also have lots to share.  She’s run her first 10K, her first half marathon, and is about to run her second of both race distances (Fairy Tale Challenge), all while expecting.  She’s been a trooper training through quite a bit of morning sickness and I bet she’ll tell us what keeps her motivated.   Because Meg will be visiting Disney World three times between now and the baby’s arrival, I’m sure she’ll have plenty of advice about the do’s and don’ts of park touring while expecting.  There will also be nursery prep with plenty of Disney touches, I’m sure.

Since I believe any age is a great time for a Disney vacation, I can’t wait to start planning our granddaughter’s first trip!  I’m about to learn a lot more about things like Baby Care Centers and kiddie pools, I think.  Oh, the cute baby clothes and princess costumes!  I only thought Disney got all of our money.  We’re about to take this to a whole new level.

In our family, there’s never a dull moment, but this year is shaping up to be extraordinarily exciting…can’t wait to share it with you!

Have you got special plans or events in 2018?  I’d love to hear about it!

The Road to runDisney – Princess 2018

Next month we’ll be on our way to the much-anticipated, long-awaited Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World.  Raymond, Megan, Joseph and I are really looking forward to all the fun and excitement runDisney events hold.  Raymond will be there to cheer us on for what will be Megan’s first runDisney experience.  (Go Meg!)

The Road to runDisney – Princess 2018

When the three of us registered for the Fairy Tale Challenge (10k Saturday, Half Marathon Sunday), I remembered how I felt when Raymond and I flew to Disney World in 2015 for my own first runDisney experience.  We flew from our local airport in Louisiana which is tiny and flights to Orlando always involve a trip west to go east.  So, if memory serves we changed planes in Dallas. Lo and behold, there were a big bunch of other (mostly women) runners headed to Disney World!  How did I know?  They were wearing EarHats,  tiaras, and Disney shirts.  They were carrying Disney tote bags and backpacks – all were as excited as I was and I struck up a conversation (you know me) with a few of the other runDisney people.

Many were repeat runDisney participants, most were as excited as I was.  One lady in particular stood out in my mind and had an impact on how I thought we should prepare for this year’s events.  This particular woman was about to run her very first 10k.  At Disney World!  She wasn’t excited, but super worried instead.  Her apprehension stemmed from the fact that she didn’t know if she could complete the distance.

When it came time for Megan, Joseph and I to make our training plans for Princess 2018, I couldn’t shake the memory of the worried women I’d met in 2015.  I suggested Megan run her first 10k to use for proof of time and then we could run her first half marathon together in December.  That way, she wouldn’t be worried a bit about her ability to complete 13.1 miles and she’d be able to focus instead on the fun and excitement of runDisney events.

So, in early December, we ran the Cajun Country Half in Lafayette, Louisiana.  It was a great course – flat with beautiful scenery and excellent places for Raymond to meet us along the way and cheer us on.  Santa Claus theming created a bit of fun for running wear and the weather was cold and crisp – perfect for Megan’s first half!

We weren’t in a hurry, having already submitted our proof of time to runDisney, so we spent our time along the way enjoying each other’s company and listening to the eclectic music I played out loud for our entertainment.  When we crossed the finish line, I could tell Megan felt great!  We had a wonderful family adventure for the weekend – Lafayette has some of the very best food in the state!  Megan put her first half marathon successfully behind her.

I understand for many Princess Half/Fairy Tale Challenge participants, part of the fun and excitement is participating in a 10k or half marathon (or both) for the first time.  For our family, we believe knowing we can complete the distance comfortably and stress-free will allow us to confidently immerse ourselves in the Disney magic that is especially plentiful in runDisney events.

Are you participating in any Disney Princess runDisney events?  We’d love to hear from you!

 

runDisney Proof of Time – Fairytale Challenge 2018

Sometimes the simplest things become inexplicably challenging!  So it was with supplying Proof-of-Time for the upcoming 2018 Fairy Tale Challenge (Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon).

First let me explain why we even care about sending in a proof-of-time for these races.  Proof-of-time is used for corral placement in runDisney events.  The faster you are expected to finish, the earlier you are allowed to start.  Simple as that.

Reasons NOT to send in Proof-of-Time – You or someone you are running with wants their particular runDisney event to be their very FIRST race.  For a lot of people who are new to running, this simple fact gets them through all the training miles that lead up to the magical event(s).  If you want your first race to be an incredibly memorable one, you will not be disappointed.  Another reason you might not need proof-of-time is that you simply don’t care when you start the race.  I know lots of folks who schedule long post-race Disney vacations and race days are not spent park touring.  You’ve got all the time in the World to focus on the task at hand – not a bad thing at all.

Reasons TO send in Proof-of-Time – The most obvious one is that you’re an elite runner who has a chance to place in these events.  If that’s the case, you ROCK and I salute you!  Our reason for supplying proof-of-time is made up of much less than lofty race-winning dreams.  We want to get going as early as we can so we have as much of the day left as possible once the running is through.  We’ll still have a full day of park touring and dining plans once the race is over.  We only spend three or four days at Walt Disney World for these events and time is of the essence!  Yes, it’s exhausting, but we do it anyway.

Back to our proof-of-time for 2018.  Joseph and I like to run a 10K in October called the Grin and Bear It.  It’s a flat course, close to home, and the weather is usually cool and fall-like for the out-and-back course along a pretty lakefront.  We knew we could use our 2016 times for the 2017 Princess races, but on the outside chance that this year’s times would be better, we registered and ran it a couple of weeks ago.  What about Megan, you ask?  Unlike Joseph and I, Meg HAD to run a 10K before the November 14th deadline to have any proof-of-time at all.  She’s never run a 10K before and had already booked a weekend away that conflicted with the Grin and Bear It race.

So we found a 10K race on October 28th in Lake Charles, Louisiana for her to enter.  Not close to where we live, by any means, but close enough for a quick overnight trip.  I’d started coming down with something on Wednesday and by Friday I felt lousy enough to know I wouldn’t be running on Saturday.  No worries, though, Megan would go on without me and I’d be there to cheer her on.  We left Friday right after work and were on the road for the approximately 31/2 hour drive by 6:30 pm.  We’d booked a hotel room really close to the race start to maximize sleeping time and I’d picked up bananas and Cliff Bars for breakfast.

Everything was going great…GPS lady was talking us through directions.  We grabbed a quick dinner-to-go at Taco Bell in Alexandria and had just finished eating when we stopped at a red light, were sitting there for a minute waiting for the light to turn green and then BAM!  We were suddenly rear-ended.  HARD!  It was dark out and raining and there was no way I was getting out of the car to approach the stranger that had plowed into us.  Once we realized we were okay, I kept my eye on the driver through my rearview mirror while Megan called the police.

After talking to the dispatcher for a few minutes as they ran down their list of questions to ask, they requested that (since our car was drivable) we pull out of the intersection and off the road.  As I pulled forward to comply, the driver that hit us simply drove away.  Yup.  We were victims of a hit-and-run.  The police were perfectly nice and sympathetic.  Must have been a slow night in Alexandria as no less than three cruisers arrived on the scene.

Megan and I were unfortunately unable to get the full license plate number of the other driver, but based on what we did record, the police thought the other vehicle was a rental.  My only consolation is that it cannot possibly be undamaged so at least they’ll have to deal with the rental car agency over it.  I’m out my $500 deductible and Joseph and I will have to carpool while the repairs are being made.  In the grand scheme, this is no big deal.  We weren’t hurt, just shaken up (and really mad) for a few minutes.

As we do when faced with adversity, Megan and I shrugged it off and got back on the road.  We were settled down for the night quite a bit later than expected, but safe and sound and back on track.  We set three alarms for 5:15 am and called it a day.

Race morning dawned clear and crisp and perfectly calm – excellent running conditions!  Megan checked in at 6:40 and we sat in the car to keep warm until it was time for her to line up with the other runners for a 7:30 start.  I keep watching for my friend Karen who writes one of my favorite blogs.  I spotted her just before the race and she made me feel so much better – Megan wouldn’t be alone on the race course after all.

55-minutes into the race I started walking backwards along the course to find Megan and cheer her on.  I didn’t get far before I spotted Karen who was doing great (second female finisher)!  I walked on a little longer and there was Megan!  She looked comfortable and was running really fast!  I jumped on the course with her and ran along with her telling her what a great race she was having and how proud I was of her.  Megan’s final time for her very first 10K was 1:01:16.  She was happy and said she felt great.  Mission accomplished.

So, there you go.  Sometimes simple stuff gets complicated, but life’s like that…you can either deal with it or let it get you down.  As for me, I felt even worse as this week began and finally broke down and went to the doctor yesterday.  Next week’s Disney Sea-and-Land vacation is swiftly approaching and I want to be 100% by then.  Adventure is out there!

Are you a runDisney participant?  Do you send in proof-of-time?

runDisney – Star Wars Dark Side Half 2017

“When you said challenge, I thought you meant running the two races.  I didn’t know the actual challenge was lack of sleep.” – Joseph Green in the starting corral for the Star Wars Half, 2017

runDisney – Star Wars Dark Side Half 2017

3:15 am.  Mickey Mouse called and said it was time to start the day just as the alarm on my phone (across the room) started to play its tune.  Is there an adjective to describe more-than-exhausted-less-than-dead?  Whatever that word is, Joseph and I were it.  We got ready in silence except for the few moments of panic when we couldn’t find Joseph’s race bib.  Crisis averted, we practically chugged our coffee as we made our last-minute preparations.  Matching shirts on, Cliff Bars and PowerAde in hand, playlists ready, we were out the door and headed to the bus stop once again by 3:50.  We could have actually walked to the starting area from our resort, but…seriously?  No.

We’d been the recipients of a little extra Disney magic the previous afternoon and had a surprise waiting for us in our room.  Fuel for our fight against the resistance!  Well, being secret rebels, we could not be swayed from our mission by PowerAde and granola bars, but we did appreciate the gesture and that PowerAde came in handy on race morning.

The bus was waiting for us once again and this time it was so crowded that by the time we picked up runners from Shades of Green, the aisle was packed and every seat was full for the short trip to the starting area.  For a few moments there on the dark bus I was asking myself exactly how I though I was going to be able to run 13.1 miles with zero energy, but then we arrived and I put on a happy face determined to use the fake-it-til-you-make-it philosophy.

We met up with Dave and Anne at the same spot as the previous morning – all of us a bit less cheerful and we forgot to pose for any pictures together.  Joseph was assigned to corral B and I to corral C for this race, but he moved back to start with me and we settled in to wait our turn to go.

The course this time would take us first to Animal Kingdom, then to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finally through Epcot to the finish line.  Like the day before, the first few miles alternated between pitch black and flood lights except as an added feature for the half, there were “lasers”.  Moving colored lights that, when they hit you, were instantly and completely blinding.  Luckily, we made our way without serious incident and started to notice signs we were nearing Animal Kingdom.

We entered the park near Kali River Rapids and made our way uphill towards Expedition Everest, passing monkeys and cheerful Cast Members as we went.  We barely had time to stop for a few quick selfies before we passed up DinoLand USA and were out on the road again.  At mile 8, volunteers were offering GU packets and, being a little picky about what I eat while running, I grabbed water and passed on the GU…I should not have done that.

Around mile 10 we arrived at the Studios and took the same route in and out, but there were more characters to see than there were for the 10K.  The Storm Troopers had a short line, so we waited for a picture with them.  One said, “Greeting Citizens”, we posed for the picture, and the other one said, “Move along”.  So we did.  Once again taking the walkway along the water towards the Boardwalk.

We got to run around the entire Boardwalk and that’s extra fun because quite a few people show up to cheer for runners and many of those fans hold funny signs.  Looking at the signs was how I spotted Tim and Bob from The Resort Loop Podcast and I was SO excited to see them, I stopped to speak to them and introduce Joseph, but forgot to take a picture.  Their show is great, you should give it a listen.

Before long, we were headed up the bridge to Epcot. This slight uphill felt monumental!  I was paying the price for not getting some carbs back on mile 8.  We’d taken a couple of short walk breaks between miles 9 and 10 and I knew we only had about a mile to go, but I needed just a minute of rest.  Joseph looked sad and I told him with a joking tone that while I knew I was a disappointment to him, I had 30 years on him and I was out of gas.  The very nice young lady running in front of me, having heard what I said, spun around and insisted, “You’re doing GREAT!”.  Then she reached into her pocket and handed me a “salted watermelon” flavored GU…which was the most delicious thing in the world to me at that exact moment.  I am still so grateful to this perfect stranger!  Like spinach for Popeye, that GU gave me a burst of energy and we immediately ran right on to the finish line.  Here’s a picture of us after I felt better:

For as tired as we were and as bad as we’d felt waiting for the race to start, we had an amazing time.  We also felt pretty great when we finished.  Overall, it was everything we’d hoped for (except enough sleep!).  We found Raymond and the three of us were enjoying cold recovery beverages (beer) and munching on some snacks when Anne and Dave joined us and we had fun comparing our experiences.  The weather was beautiful and we had the whole day ahead to enjoy being at Walt Disney World.

If I could change anything, we’d have gone to sleep earlier and I would have fueled better during the half.  I must add emphatically that having someone to run with increased my enjoyment of these events immensely!  Thank you, Joe!!!  I love you.

Here are the stats:

Finish Time:  2:35:28

Overall Place (We crossed the finish line exactly at the same time, but clocked 2 places different!)

  • Lisa: 5,196/16,311
  • Joseph: 5,194/16,311

Gender Place

  • Lisa:  1,965/8,800
  • Joseph:  3,231/7,511

Age Group Place

  • Lisa:  93/522
  • Joseph:  173/359