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?

Checking in on those Disney New Year’s (non) Resolutions

We’re a bit past the midway mark of 2017 already!  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  Goodness, how this year is flying by!  I don’t know about you and your family, but we have been crazy busy this year and there’s no slowing down in sight.  I took a quick peak back to my New Year’s post to see how I was keeping up with my plans…

Checking in on those Disney New Year’s (non) Resolutions

The SOUP!  I’m really not sure why I fall in love with soups in Disney restaurants more than any other type of food.  Last Christmas at Jiko I was crazy about the Curried Butternut Squash Bisque and tried my best (fairly successfully) to reproduce it at home sans duck confit and quince marmalade.  I’ve made it twice so far and it was very tasty both times and close, but not exactly right.  I’m waiting for the weather to cool off a bit before I give it another go and I’m still committed to trying to record an actual recipe to share.  I tend to produce my most successful creations by throwing a bunch of ingredients together without measuring anything.

The Dark Side CHALLENGE!  Joseph’s first runDisney events and my first ones not having to run alone.  Star Wars 10K and half marathon…check!  A good time was had by all.  Happy, happy memories.The MOVIES!  There’s just one movie left on my short list of must-sees this year…Star Wars: The Last Jedi (December 15th).  I thought Beauty and the Beast was good and Spider-Man: Homecoming was solidly entertaining (even with all the teen angst).  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was by far the best movie I’ve seen this year.  I’m a huge Guardians fan and spent a fair amount of time worrying about the sequel not living up to the original movie.  HA!  Worried for nothing.  Volume 2 was everything I’d hoped for.

Scuba School!  Joseph and I, then later, Megan and Lyndsey (Joe’s girlfriend) have all completed our PADI open water scuba certifications.  We’re now working on our advanced open water and rescue diver certifications as well.  Who knew this would be so much fun?!?!  We’ve got some diving in Florida coming up to practice our new skills.  One downside…I either had to buy new swimwear or continue on with the single, well-worn Target suit I’d purchased several years ago.  I waited until all the swimsuits at Dillard’s were 1/2-off and forced myself to go shopping.  It was just as horrible as I expected, but I now have two new suits for vacation.  And they’ll be covered up most of the time by my wetsuit.

Booking a Disney Cruise was on the list.  That one was so easy, we’ve got not one, but two cruises in our future.  This fall we’ll be sailing on the Fantasy’s 7-Night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.  Next fall, we’ll be on the Wonder’s 4-night repositioning cruise from Vancouver to San Diego.  Does this mean we will finally get to Disneyland?  I’m sure working on it and will keep you posted.

Last Item:  Disney Undersea Adventure.  On our upcoming Caribbean cruise, Raymond and I will be visiting Tortola, St. Thomas/St. John, and Castaway Cay.  We were able to book two scuba diving excursions through Disney Cruise Line.  In Tortola our adventure is the Certified Scuba Wreck & Reef Dive.  In St. Thomas we’re signed up for the rather boringly named St. Thomas Certified Scuba excursion.  Both adventures include two dives – one to view coral and wildlife, one to explore a shipwreck.  We’re super excited!  On this cruise we’ll also be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary!

Did you make any Disney (non) Resolutions for 2017?  How are you doing with your list?

Have you done any of the scuba excursions on a Disney cruise?  Got any tips or feedback to share?

runDisney – Star Wars 10K 2017 Race Recap

Race one of the Dark Side Challenge!  Having stayed up much too late eating at Narcoossee’s and watching Wishes from our table, I set the alarms to allow maximum sleep time while still allowing us enough time to get ready and walk to the event bus by 4:00 am.  I set my phone across the room with the alarm set for 3:15 am and placed a wake-up call for the same time.  The cheerful voice of Mickey Mouse on the phone would surely make getting up with less than five hours of sleep easier, right?

By 3:50 we were ready to go.  Star Wars-themed shirts, ear buds, phones, and race bibs in place, we told a sleepy Raymond goodbye and headed for the bus.  I’d brought along Cliff Bars for breakfast and we munched on those as we walked.  I’d expected to see other runners, but we were alone in the dark, making our way from the Villas at the Grand Floridian past the resort’s main entrance, past the park bus stop, and finally to the runDisney bus. We climbed aboard and found a big crowd of folks who were as tired and silent as we were.  The bus stopped for more runners at Shades of Green and then dropped us off in the pre-race assembly area.  It was probably about 4:20 by now and we could see some runners sprinting their warm-ups.  Yeah, we wouldn’t be sprinting at any point and felt no need to warm up any further than what we were already feeling from the humid morning air.  The temperature was around 70-degrees.

Runners are divided into two groups for entrance to the starting area – those with bags and those without.  We breezed on through the “without” entrance and I immediately started looking for my friends Dave and Anne.  In a sea of ten thousand runners, I couldn’t believe I spotted them almost right away.  We had only a few minutes to chat and snap a few pictures before the announcement was made for runners to begin making their way to the starting corrals.  Joseph and I wished them luck and made our way to corral A.  We had an hour to go before race-time.

runDisney does an excellent job of trying to keep you entertained while you wait.  With a stage and screen set up, live emcees alternated with Star Wars movie trailers and film clips.  Corral A is a bit of a double-edged sword.  You get to start the race first (after the wheel chair division), but you’re with the most serious runners, so there are a lot of people trying to squeeze to the very front of the crowd.  We found a relatively calm spot to wait and after the National Anthem, we were led to the starting line.  Every wave is sent off with a burst of fireworks!  All I could think about was how much the resort guests trying to sleep nearby must have been loving that!

We were off.  This was an entirely new race course and while we’d seen the course map, we didn’t really know what to expect.  At first there was a whole lot of nothing.  Pitch dark in places, we couldn’t even see our feet.  Then there would be flood lights before more darkness.  We saw a couple of character stops, but had agreed to save stopping for pictures for later in the race (if at all).  Because we had 13.1 miles to run the next day, we concentrated on keeping a comfortable pace and not pushing ourselves too hard.  That was actually more challenging than I thought it would be – hot, humid, nothing to look at in the dark, I could tell we were speeding up to get to the fun part.

At nearly four miles into the race, we finally reached Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We entered from an area behind Tower of Terror and it struck me as a little eerie to see the Hollywood Tower Hotel but not hear any screaming.  Here’s where we got to see lots of Star Wars characters!  It was light enough out to enjoy running down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards.  Coincidentally, my playlist hit the Star Wars theme song just as we got to this part of the race.

Next we took the walkway along the water towards the Boardwalk area.  This is a narrow sidewalk!  We were able to keep running, but there was quite a bit of congestion.  Dave and Anne told us later than when they reached this part of the course it was so crowded that no one was able to run at all.  Once we reached the end of this part, we ran through the Beach Club resort area and into Epcot. runDisney - Star Wars 10K Race Recap

At this point, we had reached the mile 5 marker.  We passed the U.K. and Canada pavilions, ran past Spaceship Earth, out into the parking lot and across the finish line.  We got our medals, drinks and snack boxes and headed to the post-race area where we found some nearly-empty bleachers to sit on while we cooled off and munched on our goodies.  Joseph and I both felt surprisingly good!  We were ready to get back to the Grand Floridian to clean up and get on with the fun of being at Walt Disney World!  One race down, one to go.RunDisney - Star Wars 10K Race Recap

Here are the race stats for those of you who like that stuff.  Yes, I held Joseph back, but he insisted that running a race together meant running it together and he didn’t care about his time.  I love that kid!

Finish Time:  1:04:53

Overall Place (We crossed the finish line exactly at the same time, but clocked 5 places different!)

  • Lisa: 1994/10,895
  • Joseph: 1999/10,895

Gender Place

  • Lisa:  577/5,888
  • Joseph:  1,421/5,007

Age Group Place

  • Lisa:  33/397
  • Joseph:  69/195

 

runDisney Race Ready Accessories

If I ever declare bankruptcy, I’m pretty sure the fault will lie squarely with Amazon Prime.  It’s too easy to type in a few search terms and buy, buy, buy!  Recently, I decided to treat myself to a couple of items in time for the Dark Side Challenge.

runDisney Race Ready Accessories

Have you ever noticed how cleverly targeted Facebook ads are?  That’s where I first saw the Running Buddy “Buddy Pouch”.  Not an armband and not a fanny pack, these simple holders are carried at the waist and are attached to the wearer with magnets.  Perfect for runners, Buddy Pouches will hold cell phones, keys, gels, ID, etc.  Quick trip to Amazon and I found the one suited best for me:  The Buddy Pouch 6+.  It’s large enough to hold my iPhone 7 in the charging case.  Reasonably priced at $22.98, I  added it to my cart!

See, this is the thing with Amazon Prime…I have a hard time stopping with just one item.  Next I started thinking about the ear buds I was running with and how annoying they are.  The cord’s always in my way and the pieces that go behind my ears keep falling off.  I started browsing and voila!  I found some Senso ActivBuds wireless headphones with tons of positive ratings.  They come with loads of accessories and I thought $36.97 seemed like a good price.  I added those to my cart, clicked to check out and two days later, my boxes arrived!

To test these new accessories, I wore them both for my last long run (9 miles).  I was worried that the Buddy Pouch would be too weighed down by my phone in the charging case (pretty bulky) – maybe the phone would bounce or make the waistband of my shorts sag or be annoying in some way.  I’m pleased to say that none of that happened.  The Buddy Pouch was so comfortable, I didn’t even notice I was carrying anything.  The fabric on the back of the pouch (that’s worn next to your skin) is smooth and wicks moisture well.  I’m very pleased and would give the Buddy Pouch a 5/5-star rating.The Senso ActivBuds work well, were easy to set up, and provide great sound.  I did have to change the eartips to a smaller size and find the position of the on/off switch and the volume control buttons a bit of a challenge to get used to.  Not having a long, annoying cord connected to my phone is wonderful!  ActivBuds provide up to 8 hours of playback so I don’t have to worry about running out of music.  The pieces that fit behind my ears are very flexible and much more comfortable than what I had before.  The charging accessories and carrying case are also plusses.  I’ve run with them several times now and am happy with the value and performance.  I’d give ActivBuds a 4/5-star rating simply because I don’t like the location of the on/off switch.

I’m ready to run!  In just a few more days, Joseph and I will finally put our hundreds of training miles to the test…Star Wars 10K and Half Marathon, we’re coming for you!!!